“If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.” —-Vincent Van Gogh
Wait, wait, wait; I know what you’re thinking. Why are you quoting a guy that cut his own ear off while in a delirium caused by drinking a now illegal drink (absinthe)? Well, just because this guy was “out there”, that doesn’t make his statement any less true.
When we set out to master something, whether it is martial arts, medicine, art, or underwater basket weaving, the fact remains that we learn a lot about life.
What is a Well-Rounded Martial Artist?
Posted: June 15, 2010
We often hear people speaking of being a “well-rounded martial artist”, but what does that really mean? The term means many different things to many different people. Of course, the person you are speaking to will always say that they are well-rounded. No-one ever says that they are one dimensional, even if they are.
So how do we determine what constitutes a well-rounded martial artist. First of all to be well rounded, we have to be able to deal with all the ranges of combat: kicking, punching, trapping, and grappling. (Some systems treat trapping as an element instead of a true range; but the important thing is that they address the trapping range/element.)
Any system that doesn’t spend time in all of these ranges is really missing the boat. I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that you not the best kicker, puncher, trapper, and grappler in your class. (Unless your class is extremely small, or you’re at a really bad school.) Each person has strengths and weaknesses and we must continually try to improve each element. If you think you’re a great puncher, and you come up against someone who is better than you in that range, what do you do? Do you crunch up into a little ball, lie down on the ground and cry, or do you switch to another range? The answer is pretty obvious, but if you have only practiced punching, then you don’t have a lot of options.
Technique Based Martial Arts vs. Principle Based Martial Arts
Posted: June 13, 2010
When I tell people that I teach a principle based martial art, they are often confused. They wonder what that means. Aren’t all martial arts principle based? Well, that all depends on how you teach it. Many martial arts schools aren’t even familiar with this terminology, as most are what we call “technique based”.
A technique based martial art is one in which the student is taught technique 1, technique 2, technique 3, and so on up the line. The teacher allows the students to collect techniques, but it is debatable as to whether or not the student will make those techniques his/her own.
The main difficulty with this type of instruction is that it is not very customizable. For instance, if I have been taught to always think in terms of techniques, and I teach my students in the same manner, the end result would be to make the student into a copy of myself.
A Very Disturbing Trend
Posted: June 12, 2010
Over the last few years, a very disturbing trend has developed among our country’s youth. The ability to focus seems to have vanished. The problem becomes extremely apparent as students prepare for college and when they begin attending college.
There is no doubt that trying to get into a good school takes a lot of work, but the amount of time it is taking children to study has grown disproportionately to the added demands placed upon them. In other words, they are taking far longer to absorb their material due to a lack of mental focus.
There are of course exceptions, but as a general rule, the ability to focus seems to have diminished. When I was younger, we were thought of as the MTV generation. (That’s right, when MTV actually played music.) With fast paced editing and constant stimulation, it was thought that we would have trouble focusing on one thing for any length of time. It can certainly be argued that this trait was indicative of my generation, but this trend seems to have continued and it is an epidemic with today’s youth. The constant barrage of video games, media, the internet, and text messaging has seemed to turn our young minds to mush.
Ong Bak /Thai Warrior Chase Scene…
Posted: June 11, 2010
If you haven’t yet had the chance, I highly recommend buying or renting the movie “Ong Bak”. Tony Jaa’s athleticism is amazing. The fight scenes are great as well. If you don’t mind reading subtitles, I feel that the original Thai version of the film is better than the US version. In either case, the action sequences are the same, and this movie made Tony Jaa an action icon in the martial arts community.
The following is a short clip from the film. Let me know what you think of this clip, and of the movie if you have seen it.