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Friday, September 3, 2010


My first encounter with martial arts was in Tae Kwon Do. Now I need to emphasize that I am not putting down any art. All arts are good; it’s the training methods that make them great and useful. At the time, I enjoyed sparring in tournaments. Although my first tourney experience was a bit on the interesting side. As a 40some year old woman I was usually paired off with younger women. This very flexible young lady attempted to front kicked me in the head; I totally reacted out of a place I didn’t know existed… I swept her leg and put her on her back. TKD people are not notoriously known for their ‘falling down” skills. She was knocked out. I was sent to my corner, properly chastised and DQed (disqualified). Next match, after a very nice spin kick I naturally followed with a spinning back fist… it flows so nicely together. Whistle….illegal technique… damn… again, sent to my corner and DQed. For the next few months, my instructors made sure I did not do any more “illegal techniques” by chastising me and having me do pushups every time I did them. First I have to say that using physical exercises as a punishment is dumb, it’s a training method that should be enjoyed not used as a negative reinforcement. Second, let’s face… at my age I did not have a career in tournament sparring, I was training for practical purpose, for self defense. How does the negative reinforcement of performing a perfectly good technique that has proven to be so effective they made it illegal in tournament will train me in practical SD?
It will not. If I would ever need to use those skills in real life, I would hesitate because in the back of my mind I would remember being “punished” for doing those techniques. Hesitation might get me hurt or even killed. I seriously re-thought my training methods. At the time I did not have a lot of options offer to me. But when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. This is when I met Keckeisen Sensei. Every techniques I was trained to use (you know all those “legal” ones) ended up putting me on my arse when I used them against him. He had the skills I wanted. He had the training methods I needed. The light bulb went on and the rest is history.

Know what you are training for and train accordingly. If you want to train for sports and competition… that is awesome. It’s a fun and fantastic sport. Just remember that the same training will most likely fail you in real life situations. You will be used to play with a set of rules…. bad guys are counting on it. I don’t care what you think you can do, under stress you will revert to the same skills you trained your body to do, day in and day out.

“We do not rise to the level of our expectations but we fall to the level of our training.”

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