Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Gun

Over at Gut Rumbles, Acidman was talking about Martial Arts, the best way to take someone out, and wrestling probably being the best way since most fights end up on the ground. His son is a wrestler and has trained Tae Kwon Do and definitely has found that wrestling is more conducive for him.

So I’ve been mulling this around. I’m not disagreeing with him, actually. I just think there are some things that people need to understand about Martial Arts in general. Let me first state that a gun is the way. The Great Omnipotent One is always teasing me saying he doesn’t understand why I bother with Karate that he prefers a gun and he is correct. But carrying a gun with me 24/7 doesn’t give me a cardio work out, improve my agility and flexibility, or help me if I happen to be stuck without a gun, and it doesn’t burn off the raw anger I have on a daily basis.

Being a Shodan (1st deg) blackbelt in any Martial Arts means one thing… you have learned the basics to start real training. That is all. Of course there are exceptions. There are those that just quit testing and train as a Shodan forever and they are ones to seriously contend with, but in general, when someone is Shodan, it means they’ve worked really really hard, there’s been an awful lot of sweat, they are very motivated, and they have JUST started their journey as a Karate-ka (student of Karate).

My Sensei has told us over and over that just because we become a blackbelt does not mean we can automatically defend ourselves. Yes, we are better than we were without any prior training, but our real journey just begins upon making blackbelt. I will liken it to the art of painting. If you are to become a great painter, you must first learn about different paints, materials, mediums. When you learn how everything works and how it fits together, than you can pull your tools together and really start learning your art. It is the same in Karate. We spend years, literally, just learning basic blocking and striking techniques, how to use the power of our legs and torso, hip rotation, and stances. It can take 3-5 years to learn that just well enough to achieve blackbelt… which only means you are ready to start training Karate seriously, and not that you were not serious before, but now… the journey has really begun.

As you move up the ranks of blackbelt, things change, from what I can see. The training you have been receiving AND teaching for so many years has rendered much of what you do instinctive. Someone who is a Sandan (3rd) or Yondan (4th) is not someone I would mess with in a parking lot. In Shotokan Karate, one of the many goals is to NEVER let your opponent get you to the ground. We are not a grappling Martial Art. There are others like Jujitsu that do that and do it very well.

There are many things that come into play in Martial Arts that do not come into play in wrestling or boxing, both of which I am NOT knocking. (TGOO was a boxer.) In Martial Arts, however, considerable time is spent on how to assess and avoid situations. The goal is NOT to get in a fight, but to try to avert aggression.

Those of us who train in good dojo realize our limitations. I, being a small woman, have not a prayer against a man. I joke a lot that I can defend myself against small women, midgets, and children. All else, I’m completely hosed. I hope that in time, I will know enough instinctively that if I were to get myself in a bad situation, that I can do what needs to be done to escape. My Sensei tells us , we do not want to stick around and fight. That is not the goal. This is self defense… do what you got to do, then get the hell out and do it as best you can on the first strike.

I respect all forms of Martial Arts. They have formed their different ways for various reasons. Some are better in certain situations than others. Nothing is perfect. And I very much respect wrestlers and boxers. The people who train these sports are tremendous athletes who are very in tune with their bodies. They are able to defend themselves in bad situations because of the skills they have learned training. However, like Martial Arts… they are not perfect either. As Acidman says, a gun will win every time.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any of the martial arts are mainly good for exercise and mindset. Still, knowlege of them can buy you a chance to get away. Just don't ever forget rule number one. Hit the soft parts with your hands or feet. If you have to hit the hard parts, use an implement of some sort.

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great help for me to understand why people are doing the martial arts. I have a great belief in a gun, but what you wrote gives quite a bit more dimension to understanding why.

For some reason I can't get my name to post.


11:30 AM  
Blogger Harvey said...

Excellent point. The purpose of martial arts is to never need to use them.

I've got a black belt friend, and he told me pretty much the same thing. This from a guy who worked as a bouncer for a while.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL - this always reminds me of how people would react when I told them I was doing tae kwon do... the first thing they'd say (and it was almost invariable) "what would you do if..." (add your own stupidly outrageous situation here - like some big biker dude pulled a big knife on you). I would look at them and say - I'd do whatever they said, and if I got a chance to get away I would. This always made their mouths drop open in astonishment. They figured I would have some really cool martial arts way of disarming someone... what morons! Oh yeah, we practiced stuff like that, but real life situations are totally different from the class experience.

The best thing about the martial arts - other than the workout itself and the chance to get rid of that anger (LOL) - is the fact that you can take some hits. When accosted, most people are afraid of getting hurt. Fear leads to an inability to act when you have the chance. If you know - hey I can take some good hits and keep on going - you're less likely to freeze up after the intial scare. (even most people in martial arts don't realize that they will initially freeze when accosted unexpectedly - it's a natural reaction).

But what I really really don't like... are those 1 or 2 day self defense courses. It's just enough of a class to make someone over confident and get them in real trouble... most women I know, who have attended them, feel "empowered". Oddly enough I wonder how in the world they can be so confident when I'm not sure what I could do in similar circumstances. Anyway, good post. *grin*

-- Teresa

4:49 PM  
Blogger Graumagus said...

If said biker dude pulled a knife you could run away, and if after a mile or so he was still after you, your superior cardio training will probably give you a distinct advantage :)
Being large and strong, but clumsy as an ox I prefer the "Grab someone and keep hitting them until they stop moving" method (which, thankfully, I haven't used since high school).

10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog is very intelligent. I made the error of going to the same instructor of TKD as Grau, and he showed people how to be beautiful as someone is pummeling you. The experience cost me the cartilage in my right knee. When I was finally lucky enough to meet an instructor that was indeed gifted, my limitations physically finally caught up with me.
Back to your post, I enjoyed it immensely and shows that you have indeed mastered the most important parts of the martial arts.

2:40 PM  

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