Jones' Outlook

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The lessons of martial arts

I know that most people may not know the difference between a spinning wheel kick and a reversal kick nor would they really care to know. But sometimes its hard to go to demonstrations because people may not understand the differences between the martial arts.

When I tell people hear that I'm in Tae Kwon Do, they automatically see Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee. They are respectable masters in the martial arts world but they aren't what I'm about. But sometimes when doing demonstrations in public there are always the questions, "Can the ladies beat you up in class?", "Do you fight the kids?", "If you were walking down a dark alley could you defend yourself?"

Honestly, if a person is a martial artist then they would know better than to get involved in a situation were they would have to fight; it's the last option. But if I was forced into a fight, my martial arts skills would be one of the last things I would use. It's not that I feel they are bad but I have been trained to fight differently and to stop kicks and punches.

Each style of marital arts is different - some in major ways. others is subtle ways. Some styles are more aggressive and others are passive. There is nothing about any one that makes it better than the rest. I have seen a video of a Tai Chi artist take out a person studying Judo. Tai Chi is commonly used in China... for morning exercise.

Tae Kwon Do is well known for its kicks but I'm not the most flexible guy. I work at doing them the best that I can and like to work hard on my punches.

But I don't always focus on the fighting, there is a deeper meaning to the martial arts and though I might not be poetry in motion, I think I do catch some people off guard with how I can move. In TKD, there is a serious study of forms and movements, the forms have definitions and as martial artists we learn the meaning of the forms, not just punching and kicking. Some are named after important people in history or important events.

So people may be asking, what should I study if I want to go into martial arts? My opinion is that you have to find something that will work for what you want.

I was looking for something that would help lose weight and be less strenuous on my damaged left knee. Another thing I consider is the instructor. You have to like who will be teaching you and consider their philosophies. I have met instructors that I would love to study under that are not in my area of the arts and I've met instructors that teach TKD that I would not want to study under.

I have friends who study other martial arts and some are in town as part of the Kenpo (karate) school. We do friendly banter between each other but we do respect what the other does because not everyone who gets into martial arts is serious about becoming a black belt in their respective arts.

I would like to become a black belt and I'm not sure how long it will take me. I only test when I feel ready which can be as quick as two months or as long as four months. I love studying Tae Kwon Do. It's fun for me and I like competing as well. Will I move to study a different martial art in the future? That remains to be seen.

If you have any questions about the different martial arts, researching on the internet or asking a local instructor of the art may help. If you see a demonstration, don't be afraid to ask questions. I have yet to see a person not wanting to talk about something they are passionate about.

* Contact the columnist at jjones@stormlakepilottribune.com