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  • New Posts

      • 1
      Should I bow out of sparring?
      First off, I'd like to say how glad I am to have found this site. I have been doing a lot of reading and a lot of the info will be beneficial to me.
      I often have questions about what we do in class and/or the stuff I'm trying to do at home. It's difficult to ask my instructor after class, since it's usually interrupting him working with a student. Ive been biting my nails for 5 days now since my last post to give other people a chance (I'm guessing that's an etiquette rule?) - but if I'm too post happy, PLEASE tell me!
      This question is about sparring. I'm TERRIBLE at sparring! I used to be excited about it when I thought I had a chance of learning it, but I am just not catching on and it's a struggle. I spoke with my instructor at the end of last year, and arranged that when the class is sparring, I could work on other things by myself.
      The reason I asked is not for my own sake but for others'. When there's a tournament coming up, we focus on a lot of sparring. I'm usually partnered up with a competitor (there aren't many sparring partner choices for me, sadly). I do so badly that I feel it's an injustice to my partner, who needs a partner that will help them I'm improve for the tournament.
      We just started a new year of classes and I suspect my instructor will have to be reminded about our arrangement. But I'm curious about what you think. Since I don't compete, is it a good thing that I step aside for the others' sakes? Or will I kick myself later when I feel ready to take my next belt test and haven't improved my sparring technique?
        • 1
        Richie Analyze what makes you bad? Most peoples problem are two things:

        poor footwork
        don't know what to do

        Foot work:
        *work on moving in and out without stepping, like a jump, totally forgot the terminology
        *to be lighter on your feet start jump roping
        *do your kata and kihon, really fast, like really fast. If you find you are tripping over yourself slow it down to a speed that you can and get faster over time

        Don't know what to do:
        *Know what you are good at, what kihon are you good at or like doing. Create a three hit combo that will make someone block on area and you hit another
        *watch videos on combos and how to create openings, DRILL these combos over and over and over....and over again.

        All you need are around three of these and you will start doing well. It is all in the mind with sparring.
        • 1
        ChuckD I agree with the comments so far that you should try to keep sparring. I believe that people sparring others that are uncomfortable sparring have a lot to learn as martial artists as well. Hopefully to help their growth they will take these opportunities to instruct and encourage. When I spar someone I typically let them set the pace. If they are uncomfortable or new then I just go into teacher mode and try to help them get comfortable, show them combos, let them attach to get used to punching/kicking at someone.

        So please do not step a side would be my advise. Work hard to improve your sparring and the people sparing should also be learning how to teach. It certainly is a two way street.

        my humble 0.02.
        • 1
        Dave Magliano Hi Tracy. Strictly my opinion, but sparring has many pros and cons. Over the past 30 years or so, I've seen a lot of folks who are good at sparring but not so good at the art they study, e.g kata, self-defense, they way they treat others, etc. I think one of the beneficial aspects (of sparring) is the chance to come face to face with our fear of getting hit. If you do that often enough, you have a much better understanding of the danger of fighting and why it's important to avoid it. On the other hand, if your sparring is not much more than sport and doesn't resemble the art you study, you must ask yourself what value it has for you. This is a discussion between your and your teacher. Just my two cents.
      • 12 more comments
      • 1
      My self
      Hello everyone I'm Navin Kunwar from India I'm doing Goju-Ryu style around 12 years I'm 4th degree in Goju-Ryu style. Im chief instructor Maharashtra state in India.

      Thank you
      • 1
      Ninja Bye
      Q. So, how does a Ninja Turtle say goodbye?
      A. Got a scute! (Look it up, if you need.)
        • 1
        S.P. Coincidentally, at an outdoor neighborhood trad-dance festival last weekend, a 6-year-old got separated from his folks. I heard, then saw him sobbing. Two employees from a nearby florist followed his teary tracks, got ahold of him and brought him inside. (Other people went on with their business.) Next day, thinking it would be nice to commend them, communication went something like this (translated from my cautious Japanese):
        me - Yesterday, in this area, a child couldn't see [find] his parents.
        staff [expressionless faces tho' I'm a 5-year sometime customer) - Child?
        me - You both so kindly helped him. Did his parents come?
        staff - Yes, came.
        me - Thank you for your efforts.
        them - (With a hint of a Mona Lisa smile:) Yes.
        • 1
        S.P. Haha, my (real-life) turtle always says "gotta scute/scoot" (as a rescue, she fears any nearby movement). Thanks for the joke!
      • 2
      Running distances & TKD - bad combo for your knees?
      I run 4-5 days per week, as well as attend Taekwondo classes 1-2 times per week. Both activities create stress on the joints - knees especially. I am slowly increasing my running mileage every 1-2 weeks, in the hopes of someday running a half or full marathon. If I (so far) have not had pain issues, is it ok to be running & doing TKD with proper stretching & strength training, or am I just asking for trouble and should rather focus on just one or the other? If it's ok to do both, how much time should I be spending on stretching and strength exercises? I'm in my early 40's and thinking much more about injury prevention and physical ability longevity.
        • 1
        Trevor Hill I got my problems after I stopped.
        • 1
        Micheline Gravel Hi Tracy! I want to wish you success in your marathon goals. It doesn't get easier with age but it's not an impossible task. I'm 47, I practice karate 3x/wk and I commute to work (7Km) mostly on a bike (5x/wk). My carrier route is about 5Km of walking. I get a lot of headwind in the open fields and with such a heavy bike, my knees have been taking a pounding. I don't have your sporting aspirations but I do know that a good stretch and massage have helped. Varying your fitness program when your regular workout feels stale helps too. For example, when I'm really stiff, I still do legwork but focus on perfect technique instead of strength. It gets rid of lactic acid buildup and I feel fine the next day when it starts all over again. I'm sure you'll be fine pacing yourself; listen to your body. It sounds cliché but it works. Good luck!
        • 1
        Tracy L Thanks for the replies, guys. Unfortunately running on grass is not an option for me. I live in the country, so it's either the gravel road or running on a slant which (I'm sure you'd agree!) is a big no no for my hips. I WILL be careful about increasing my mileage, though. And I do have an elliptical, so if I do get knee pain I will definately switch it up - great suggestion.
        One thing I'm not sure of is if it's ok to wait until I'm having knee issues to act on these things, or is it too late by then - if I should be very proactive to prevent the onset? I don't want to be paranoid either and not push myself:)
        Thanks again.
      • 7 more comments
      • 3
      I am new to this site and to social media in general.
      I am 41 years old, the mother of two boys, and have just started my 4th year of Taekwondo lessons and my 3rd year of running. These activities are now a huge part of my life and keep me going. Before this, I was an inactive person. I love my new active lifestyle - I've learned so much!
      I'm always eager to learn new tips on how to improve, so I'll be posting a couple of questions shortly and I look forward to hear what you have to say.
      Thanks! Tracy L
        • 1
        Kathryn Carson Hey there! Glad to see you join the community! I'll shortly be 45, and I'm a mom of one. It's a strange and wonderful thing, being a fortysomething martial artist mom. As a popular t-shirt says, "Underestimate me. That'll be fun." :-)

        I started taekwondo at 38, and got my black belt at 44. It took a bit longer than I expected, but an autoimmune disease, cancer, and learning an entire second school of forms from scratch kinda delayed things a bit. (My school began as ITF, and converted fully to WT last year. I'm now considered one of the three "forms monsters" in the school, because I do my level best to keep both schools of tkd alive.)

        Like you, I got a "second wind" on life when I found taekwondo. And it has proved absolutely essential to my cancer survivorship. It provides structure and stress relief in ways that very little else in the world does. I also highly recommend mindfulness meditation (vipassana) and yoga (any style!) to smooth out the rough parts of life that taekwondo misses. (And yoga *really* gets your kicks higher!) :-)

        Congratulations on the hard work you've already done, and best wishes for your continued success!
        • 1
        Ix Hi I did a late start at 45. I barely started, Im on purple belt. Ibrake the benefits of enjoying the adult class and getting me move.
        • 1
        Christopher Adamchek Love hearing new stories of people finding their way to the way of martial arts
      • 9 more comments
      • 1
      POV - getting kicked on the ground defense
      • 3
      Bruce Lee's One Inch Punch is Bullsh!t
      More Tiger Wisdom from everyone's favourite Martial Arts Instructor
        • 1
        Micheline Gravel LOL I saw this roll by on FB. It totally made my day. I really feel for his assistant.
      • 1
      Veggies and Perception
      Various people and things pushed me into a mostly vegetarian diet from 25 years ago (tho' I do eat some fish, eggs & cheese). Those people said they had a kind of 6th sense, like feeling something was going to happen...and it did; and a generally heightened sense of awareness.
      After my first 2 years on mostly veggies, sometimes someone would come to mind I hadn't seen for a while and in less than a week, they called, mailed or we ran into each other.
      These days, while I can't tell a bad guy's around the corner, it seems I can feel something "in the air" so I move more carefully (mindfully?). And in last week's belt test, one grader's soft "uh" out-breath sounded like a voiced "not up to standard in ... part of the kata".
      Anyone else experienced something similar?
        • 2
        S.P. Thank you, Viktor. I have e-mailed the link you gave, asking if there is such a workshop out my way.
        • 1
        Viktor It's not only about a food you eat. But food also "blocks" our natural abilities. If you are interested in developing all human abilities you should to try kundalini yoga or attend at least one holotropic breathwork workshop by stanislav grof (
        • 1
        Trevor Hill I found it when I was training a lot. Got very aware of spacial surroundings and other people's movement.
      • 5 more comments
      • 3
      Budo And Sport Fighting
      Most traditional martial artists have in the back their minds the question of combat applicability.  In simple terms, "will it work in the street?"  It is good question.  We spend hours, weeks, and years perfecting physical skills with the intent of possibly using those skills in an actual confrontation.  As a clarification, let us concentrate on the weaponless arts, e.g. karate, judo, aikido, hapkido and the empty-hand forms of gung-fu. 

      Fighting contests have been the "gold standard" for testing martial arts applicability for many years.  Several arts, such as Kyokushin Karate founded my Mas Oyama Sensei are predicated on pitting one fighter against another in an ultimate test of physical skill and mental tenacity.  Of course, the modern standard is Mixed Martial Arts or MMA.  These gladiator-esque competitions enthrall audiences all over the world.  Competitors come from many different backgrounds, fusing striking and grappling arts into a formidable, individualized system.  Some would argue, the ultimate form of "self-expression" in combat.  Watching a match between two seasoned fighters, the average person generally concludes that this is what martial arts training is all about.  

      ​I would disagree.  This is what competition is all about.  When I compete with some one, I have an opponent.  If I am forced to fight some one, I have an  adversary.   One practice is for fun, fitness and a sense of accomplishment.  The other, if it is taken seriously, is about life and death.

      ​While defining budo is a difficult task and a subject for another discussion, we can safely categorize it as a study of military principles and practices with an emphasis on personal development.  In other words, the study and practice of war.  The study of war involves strategy and tactics whose ultimate purpose is to overcome aggression and maintain order; to avoid or stop aggression as quickly as possible.  Thus, while the strategy may be to avoid conflict, e.g. staying clear of places where there is sure to be confrontation, the tactics might be something as simple walking away from a fight...or a front thrust kick to the pelvis when walking away is not an option.

      ​In terms of close-quarter combat, the strategy of traditional martial arts is to never place one's self in a position equal to that of the opponent.  In a broad sense, this is why nations strive to have superior air power, nuclear weapons, technology, etc.  So, warriors train to have superiority against any foe.  As warrior, I would not want to meet another warrior on the battlefield for a single engagement just to see who wins.  That would be poor strategy and a waste of limited resources.  I would much rather catch that warrior off guard and unaware, thus seizing the opportunity to end a conflict before it starts.  Seeking and purposely engaging in conflict as a contest of physical ability places me in a poor tactical position and allows for a greater chance of failure.  In war, failure means death.  Choosing to engage in conflict such as an bar or street brawl, for example, places me on the same level as the average thug and demonstrates a deficit in my mental and spiritual development.  Whenever I "square off" with some one, I have in fact chosen to engage with that person.  Not the best strategy.    

      ​My tactics then, must come from hours of rigorous and unrelenting training with and without a partner.  This type of practice conditions my mind and body to act and react to conflict in a smooth and economical fashion without hesitation.  It would not make sense for me to spend what little time I have each day practicing sparring tactics if my ultimate aim is to end conflict quickly and efficiently.  It's really that simple; you will fight the way you train.  If you train for the ring, that is the way you will fight.  If you spend your time training on specific combat tactics and condition your body for that type of engagement, that is the way you will fight.  Two completely different training mechanisms with two completely different goals.

      ​The goal of competition is to win.  By defeating my opponent I overcome my fears and doubts about my abilities.  With every successful bout, I gain confidence and build my ego.  If I fail, it pushes me to try harder.  Competition teaches me to keep striving for life goals.  It's not bad thing; it's just not budo.

      ​The purpose of budo is to mitigate the ego, not enhance it.  Training forces me to come to grips with all of my faults (mental, physical and spiritual) and overcome them through repetition.  This slow and arduous process eventually changes my outlook, the way I engage with people and ultimately, how I handle conflict.  A person who has practiced budo for any length of time eventually realizes that there is no quick gratification, no trophy or title that truly helps him on the path to self perfection.  

      ​I am not saying that sport is a bad thing.  I am suggesting that when we mix budo with sport we tend to lose important aspects of each.  This is why traditional martial arts typically do not fair well in an MMA ring and why competitive martial arts look nothing like their original forms.  One is sport, one is not.  The strategy and tactics are different as are the purposes for each.  Pitting one against the other does not prove anything, so let's stop worrying about it.  You do your thing and I'll do mine and we can all get along.

      Dave Magliano
      Jissenkan Aikibudo
      ​Dojo Cho
        • 1
        Al W Personally I don't believe MMA and the UFC is the standard for any art. Too many people are blinded by MMA and often pass over one art for another claiming one to to be BS because they don't use it in UFC.
        • 1
        Manie Well said! May I comment on the practical implications of your analysis?

        You define a dilemma I sensed years ago when I was in the army and trained unarmed combat. The thing is - we had buddies as training opponents. How can you apply a lethal or injurious technique on a friend? You must hold back or apply the technique wrongly. As a result the skill is not transferred properly.

        Turning to JKA, here we focus the damaging power of a strike (kime) just before contact, keeping in mind that in a real situation, the point of impact is 3 inches deeper than this point of physical contact. In addition, if your sparring partner is not on your level (as it often happens) you must keep his/her proficiency in mind. Therefore your blow is just a bit slower, so that the opponent can develop the block. This attitude is just not on when your life is on the line. I fear that the reason why martial artists sometimes do poorly in the street, is due to the necessity to hold yourself back.

        In response to this dilemma I have set my mind on two things: "Never play around, no horseplay - my friend can get hurt" and "With an intruder in my home, I go full-out". The bottom line is for me that the situation defines my attitude.
        • 1
        Juan A. Carrasco I fully agree. Competition in martial arts has its sense in a certain time but it is not the ultimate goal. If you think so you are following a sport career not a martial arts career. Competition is all about win (win points, win each combat, win the championship...) and this is interpreted as success for many, but he success in budo is in a different order, an inner one.
      • 1 more comment
      • 1
      How do you know
      So I talk to people and they say their "whatever" is getting better or it is the best it has ever been. I "feel" this too. I know I have so much to learn and drill the feeling is still there.

      How do I KNOW my karate is the best it has ever been? I practice with the same people regretfully and thankfully. So they may be getting better with me or stagnant while I am getting better.

      How do you quantifiably know you are getting better as a martial artist?
        • 3
        Al W It's one of these things you'll never know about unless someone points it out

        Remember the ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory nor defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants
        • 1
        Richie Very good point, it is the journey, not the destination, thank you for the reminder.

        I have had a strange path so far in the last three years of my training. I have been losing confidence here and there because I am in a new circle of practitioners. Their standard for BB was much higher than my last dojo. I have SOOO much catching up to do.

        Getting tired of saying, "I don't know that." Working my hardest to fix it though.
        • 1
        Kim I've found that when I struggle with something for a while, I'm usually growing, too, and that good times are ahead. But the struggle part can last a while. Then there will always be something new to learn or something old to fix- you're never "done". So that motivates me to stick with it and work when stuff is hard.
      • 3
      Bunkai Lesson Tips
      As part of my continuing development I'm giving a lesson on the bunkai of the kata Heian Nidan.

      My plan is to eventually one day hold seminars and workshops like Terry Wingrove, Ian Abernathy and Jesse Enkamp

      What I'm looking for us what to expect? What questions are my fellow peers likely to ask me?

      Any advice is welcome and greatly appreciated
        • 2
        ChuckD I would be prepared to make slight modifications to bunkai. Say for example you are working out bunkai and you are both say for sake of argument 6ft 200 lbs but you may end up teaching the bunkai to someone 5'2" 100lbs or 5'10" 300lbs. A bunkai that works for you may not work for them so I would recommend being flexible. Good luck and hopefully you can post video.
      • 1
      Foot Sweeps or "Sweep the Leg"
      I have just added a section to the wiki on foot sweeps (leg sweeps). I will expand it when I have a minute but if you would like to add any additional sweep details or techniques to this thread, I will cut & paste them over to the wiki.

      Also in honor of foot/leg sweeps, here is a classic scene from the Karate Kid. :)

      Black Belt Wiki
        • 2
        Al W There are two commonly used in Karate

        Ashi Barai - Rear Leg Sweep
        Namae Ashi - Front Leg Sweep

        Both pretty much the same it's just they reflect which leg is used.

        For more information look at the Kata Tekki Shodan
      • 1
      Sensei Paul Walker Demonstrating the kata Gankaku Sho
      • 2
      Wiki Additions & Revisions
      I would like to publicly thank one of our new members, [256287,Celeste R Domke] .

      She pointed out that the wiki needed to revise the Taekwondo section to reflect the name change of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) to World Taekwondo (WT). I have started making changes to the following pages and hope to finish updating other related Taekwondo pages over the next week.

      Taekwondo -
      Taekondo Forms -

      If any other members have ideas for wiki additions or revisions, please contact us -

      Black Belt Wiki
        • 2
        Al W [171668,Will - Black Belt Wiki] if possible could you add Gankaku Sho to the Shotokan Karate Kata Wiki page?
      • 4 more comments
      • 1
      Grab and knife to the throat - defense
      Pin the knife
      offset with the angled
      loose the
      wrench the arm
      Grab and femoral
      pass, spin, and pull to the
        • 1
        Krav Maga Genève Lior Zabari Hello there,
        Nice tech.
        just some points - palm lock is nice but to small and limited more so if the other person has sweety palm you might slip your hold. and end up confronting an attack.
        the aggresor left hand is always free in this method leaving him the chance to strike with it.
      • 1
      Robot learning Nun Chucks
        • 2
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Sorry for the delay in approving this post. Some internet connection issues today (the modern day version of the dog ate my homework) :).

        Black Belt Wiki
        • 1
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Our scary AI future - Terminators with martial arts skills!!!!!

      • 1
      WTF vs ITF
      Which is the best between WTF and ITF?
        • 3
        Kim I'm not sure what you mean by "best".

        I study ITF style but our black belts are learning the Kukkiwon forms as enrichment. I like the ITF forms better, but that's just my opinion- some of the Kukkiwon forms look good and are fun.

        ITF point spars vs WTF Olympic style sparring. I trained a little bit of Olympic style but just competed a couple times. I liked the continual scoring of Olympic vs point-stop of ITF, and I liked not worrying about controlling my contact in Olympic, too. But I don't want to spar full-contact to the head, either, so that's out. I don't care for competition point, but do enjoy class sparring where we are supposed to utilize a lot of different kicks. Competition point and Olympic style both seem to use a handful of techniques and can be a little boring to watch (compared to pre-electronic scoring matches). Again, just my opinion. And I don't believe I would fight either style if I was in a true self defense situation.

        To me, all Taekwondo can be good Taekwondo.
        • 1
        David Cochran I feel a major point is sparring vs self defense. TKD traditionally is an out fighting style so yes, most purists will be in trouble if a grappler ever gets inside. I always think of the story of my Grand Master being jailed in 1974 for kicking a horse in the head and knocking it out at a demonstration.
        • 1
        Charlie Studiner The downfall I have found in WTF (hold 1Dan) is the lack of punches and punch defense that are trained for sparring. When ever I compete the first thing people notice is my hands drop down, while this is great for saving energy and getting your last chance blocking as close to the kick as possible in a WTF style sparring match, this does not work with a high hand technique of other styles. A well trained sport Karate or a Muay Thai fighter can get a back fist or Jab in before a side kick defense can be released, only one reason, we are watching the legs and waist and not the hands. this is caused by the lack of training in hand technique to the head (No points in WTF, so why practice). I often wondered does ITF allow hand techniques to the head for points and if so, would this make for a better balance training both as an art and a defense?
      • 3 more comments
      • 2
      Tournament schedule/calendar
      I am interested in attending more martial arts tournaments (mostly within a few hours of my home). Regardless of style. I was wondering if there's a particular site anyone on here goes to in order to keep updated on current tournament schedules or calendars. My intent is for spectating, not competition at the moment. I have Googled a few search terms along these lines, but would like to get more guidance from some more experienced hands. Thanks for any help. ~C
      • 1
      Goju-Ryu Kata
      hi my name is george...i need to know if there is 12 or 13 kata in goju-ryu...
        • 1
        Christopher Adamchek Hi [247408,George Rivera]
        there are 12 official core katas of goju ryu with sanchin sometimes being turned into two katas hence sometimes 13
        and then their are variations among schools and organizations borrowing katas from other styles or implementing kihon katas
        • 1
        Al W [247408,George Rivera] I suggest starting with the wiki page and go form there
      • 1 more comment
      • 1
      Master Ken's Knife Hand Strike
      This video looks at the destructive power of Master Ken's knife hand strike. Of course, to learn more realistic knife hand strikes, you should visit the wiki's section on punches & hand strikes :) -

      Black Belt Wiki
      • 1
      Grab and knife defense
      Knife attacks often start with the empty hand, here i disrupt the grab and rake the eyes as he thrusts the knife
      • 3
      Top 10 Ways to Practice Kata
      These are not originally written by me, but they are my top 10 favorite methods of practicing all of my kata. These are methods that I actively use in my own practice.

      1.) Practice kihon. By practicing these basic techniques (known as “kihon waza”), you will magically improve every single kata you know. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

      2.) Practice smaller sequences of the kata. Narrow it down and just practice specific sequences in order to improve the whole.

      3.) Do the kata with just your lower body and then with just your upper body. Isolate the singularity of each movement.

      4.) Do the kata as slowly as you can with 100% singularity of technique. Focus on the feeling of total body movement with each transition.

      5.) Do the kata with your eyes closed. Shutting off a sense will significantly increase the awareness and focus of your other senses.

      6.) Do the kata in your head (visualize). Our brains are surprisingly bad at discerning whether something happens in real life or “just” in our imagination. Use this to your advantage to practice your kata on the bus, at the grocery store, in the shower, at work, in bed or wherever.

      7.) Do the kata in your everyday clothes. Shoes too. Are your movements suddenly becoming impractical? Why? That’s just silly. Make them practical.

      8.) Roll a dice. Do the kata as many times as the dice shows. Choose another kata. Roll the dice again. Et cetera. Repeat for a set amount of time.

      9.) Do the kata and pretend you’re “angry”. You’ll evetually dip into the limbic system (lizard brain) and actually become angry. That’s when things happen. You might cry. That’s okay. Nobody needs to see. It’s all about learning to ride your emotions, channeling them through the kata, eventually getting into the flow. With practice, you will be able to flip this switch instantly.

      10.) Lastly, just do the whole kata as if your life depended on it. No second thoughts. No looking back. No retreat. No surrender. Take no prisoners. If your gi isn’t totally messed up, and your belt isn’t on the ground next to a pool of vomit and a pool of sweat, then well, old sport, you probably just didn’t try hard enough. Try again. Refocus.
        • 1
        Aaron Bennett Osu!
        Thank you from a newbie. Numbers 2, 6 and 9 were super useful info. Perhaps the most useful I've been offered in my Kyokushin journey thus far.
      • 1
      My Journey to Nidan
      After recently receiving my Second Degree (Nidan) Black Belt from Sensei Norman Beck (an honor that I am both proud of and humbled by), I wanted to take a look back and reflect on that journey in a very technical way. I decided to sit and make a list of all of the various kata, forms, and drills that I've learned and worked through over the years, including the 7 new forms of which I have had the honor of being part of their creation over my past two years of training in the way of Kosei-Ryu Bu-Jutsu.
        • 1
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Hi Kristopher

        Thanks for the posts. Just remember for the future that multiple blog links are frowned upon within the wiki community. Infrequent links are okay if they are needed to illustrate an idea, contribute something to a long discussion, etc.

        Black Belt Wiki
      • 2
      My Black Belt Journey
      It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I've taken that single step multiple times in my life. Each time, the journey made me a little smarter, a little stronger, and a little more humble in the person that I know myself to be. My journey in the martial arts is no different... as a matter of fact, it has played a huge role in my journey through life.

      The following is a brief writing of that journey...
      • 3
      How common is it for people to be passed along in Rank when they are clearly not...
      The other night I sat waiting for my class to start and watched a group of Black Belt Candidates working through one of the poomsae. They will be testing for their black belts in two weeks.

      Now to put this in perspective, for the first two years we learn only eight poomsea. Then the third year we are tested on those same eight again, two at a time.

      So when you are ready to test for your black belt, as this group is, you test with those eight poomsea among other a whole list of other things.

      I work on them weekly, sometimes daily. This has been a huge benefit to me, as I not only enjoy them, but if I am not focusing on remembering the next move in the sequence, I am focusing on doing it better.

      Many, if not all I watched had forgotten many of the moves.

      Again and again they made mistakes, looked at each other to see what comes next. It was painful to watch them.

      As I watched I felt this passion for Taekwondo just burning in me. I kept thinking a person ready for a black belt test should not have to be shown the moves like a novice.

      I understand that there will always be different levels of executing techniques, and knowing my own physical limitations I never judge others.

      Eventually I turned the passion inward and it made me determined to work even harder on everything. I do not want to be in the same category next year when I am ready to test for my own black belt.

      As many of you know, I studied Tang Soo Do over thirty years ago, I have only started studying Taekwondo these past two years. I don't want to sound all "Get off my lawn" about this, but is what I am seeing common now? This would never have flown "back in my day". Is this what schools have to do now to keep the lights on?
        • 2
        Kristopher J. Linville A great teacher can develop a poor martial artist just as easy as a poor teacher can develop a great martial artists. The majority of the power and responsibility for the type of martial artist that a student becomes is within the student. Self-motivation to consistently train with techniques given will determine the true strengths of a student... regardless of the system.

        That being said, in my area, Tae Kwon Do is generally positioned as "Karate for Kids" and as such hold the opinions of the paying parents in higher regard than the development of the children being trained. Little Johnny is almost guaranteed to get his 6th stripe on his camouflage belt as long as mommy and daddy paid the $50 testing fee and is current on their $70/mo class fees. Otherwise, mommy and daddy will likely chose a less expensive hobby for their children to fail at.

        That seems a bit harsh of an opinion, but there is a reason that the stereotype of "McDojo" exists and the widely used mockery of "Pay Kwon Do" is seen all over the place. It's an unfortunate truth that capitalist society has moved martial arts schools into for-profit businesses where quantity is greater than quality.

        I honestly believe that all systems, all techniques, and all concepts have something to teach us. We much approach everything with a beginner mind and draw what benefit we can from the simplest of things. But we must also remind ourselves that ultimately it is up to us to travel our own journey and seek out a teacher that will point us in the right direction and let us stumble over our own truths. Sometimes, that truth is... we suck... and that should be ok.... just take the next step, and the journey continues.
        • 1
        David Ianetta Thank you for all your comments and insights. For me I guess I'm going to keep focusing on getting better so I can feel that I will earn my black belt when I test for it. I do feel that pretty much giving away the ranks does cheapen it somewhat, but I know there is not a lot I can do about that.
        • 1
        Pasquale Albino In 27 years I teach Hakkoryu Jujitsu and only Promoted 3 Black belts.
      • 12 more comments
      • 1
      Do you know any ex Karateka training after a heart attack operation or if it is allowed?
        • 2
        Kristopher J. Linville First and foremost... Ask the doctor(s) for physical activity release. Then obey the doctor(s).

        After that, trust your body. Start slow and ease into it so that your body has ample time to let you know where the line is and how much you can push it before you've gone to far.

        Soft forms and stretching with only a little cardio can be a great way for students with any type of physical limitation to work up to more intense training, but every one in an individual and should be treated as such.
        • 1
        S.P. A friend had a heart attack and 3 stents were put in whichever vessel closed up. Took it easy for a
        month, gradually returning to kendo but wore a heart-monitor strap under his dogi and a sports-watch that showed the heart rate the strap was recording. When his pulse neared the level the doctor and a special treadmill-type test said was dangerous, he stopped to let it go down. Due to taking a blood thinner, a warning was to avoid a mighty whack on the head which could cause bleeding on the brain. That was 6 years ago, he's still around and restarted karate after a 40-year break. FWIW he's in his mid-70's.
        • 1
        Dave Magliano There are several considerations to keep in mind. Open heart surgery requires separation of the sternum or chest wall which is the origin of the pectoral muscles. The pectoral muscles along with several key accessory muscles groups (including the intercostals between the ribs) are highly involved in forward movements such as seiken. All of these muscles are involved in any kicking movements as they act as stabilizers for the torso. Thus any movement outside of normal daily living activities is typically avoided for 6-8 weeks after surgery.

        Another consideration is why this person had a heart attack. If he/she is a typically healthy individual, e.g. not overweight and gets plenty of exercise, then other considerations such as diet, family history, stress, etc. are factors in recovery.

        People who have undergone such an event are typically placed on a cardiac rehab program by their physician or heart surgeon about two weeks after surgery and this program can last anywhere from 3-6 months. If I had a student who wanted to return to training after such an event, I would have him/her wait at least 6 weeks and then start them back with slowly executed kihon and kata, exenterating the deep breathing aspects of the art in order to strengthen the abdominal and intercostal muscles. No hard training for 3-6 months (depending on the individual) and no kumite for 6 months or more. Above all, the student would not return to training (with me) without consent from the surgeon.
      • 1 more comment
      • 1
      Water Training
      Yesterday we had the opportunity to train in a pool. One of our students graciously opened his home and backyard to us and we had a great time.

      We started with kihon and calisthenics on land, then we got in the pool and practiced (as well as possible) kicks, punches, etc. in waist-high water. Very difficult. We progressed to aiki throws and that's where the real education began. Trying to perform aikido movement in water provides a unique sense of movement and energy flow. Furthermore, water forces you to move slowly and your movement patterns have to be correct or you find yourself pushing against the current. The best part was that it was a salt water pool.

      Whatever art you practice, I highly recommend this form of training if you ever get the chance.
        • 1
        Kim Works great!
        • 1
        Bill Emmes Hi Dave,

        My profession had me traveling the world for over 26 years at 100% of my time. During each stay I found myself using the hotel Pool and hot tub. One of the things I really enjoyed was to practice my kata's and individual forms/techniques in the pol. as you said, the water forces you to go slowly, buy it also offers you the buoyancy to easily be be pushed off balance. Each movement has to be done slowly and with a focus on movement. To me, this was a dire aid in how to execute a technique and it also forced me to go slowly and examine my movements very closely. I too would recommend this sort of training to everyone if the opportunity presents itself!

        Best Regards,

      • 1
      Fun takedown combo
      • 1
      October is National Bully Prevention Month
      What are you going to teach?
        • 1
        John Graden My new book, Stop Any Bully: A Family Plan for Taking Action is a law enforcement based system. It's on Amazon and at It provides an excellent curriculum for a anti-bullying seminar.
        • 1
        Christopher Adamchek We might be having a bullying seminar
      • 1
      Please don't post "ads" for your martial arts school or system
      Please don't post "ads" for your martial arts school or system. This is seen as spam and will not be approved by the moderators.

      This site is geared towards honest and friendly martial arts discussion... and not marketing. School links should go in the wiki's school directory, blog links in the wiki's blog directory, etc.


      Black Belt Wiki
        • 1
        Al W It's also a site where [171807,Andy] and myself can share the world's best MA based humour with you all
        • 1
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Obviously some links are allowed if they are helping a discussion or explanation. However, we live by the rule for potential spam... If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. :)


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