Altering Our View Points

Caption: "Say that is a fast kick!"

The gift of martial arts! Growing up I was imprinted with the idea that I was less, borderline evil and not good enough in general. I wanted to be a black belt, a cartoonist, a writer or a cop. In the course of my study of the martial arts I became all of these to one degree or another. Most everything I have done in my life has blossomed from my passion for the martial arts.

Yet, I have noticed that martial arts have helped not only myself, but others to grow in three very distinct areas which are: Physically, mentally, and emotionally. The funny thing is that most of all these changes come filtered through strength, endurance and the ability to relax that begins most of our martial art study.

Martial arts changes our vision of how we see ourselves and the world. I studied martial arts on my own from FBI manuals as a kid and then from my first teacher who studied kempo karate ju-jutsu (his term), in occupied Japan. My lessons were a a non-commercial type of instruction; on a one-on-one basis. I was to be his apprentice in magic but I had a strong interest in martial arts too so he showed me both.

While pressure from churches my family attended, made it nearly impossible to study either magic or martial arts as both things were evil, in their sight. Many people from these groups even went so far as to tell me that my Asian friends and teachers were also evil.

Still, I did manage to attend commercial schools now and again. These were mainly melting pot styles and/or Hapkido and Tae Kwon Do schools, which at the time were called Korean Karate. Although I have mainly worked in private situations, either from work or with basement/garage type schools and this happened from the late 60’s to the late 80’s. I had moved several times in my youth and continued to do so after I was married. This enabled me to train with many styles and mixed Americanized systems. During this time, the concepts of Jeet Kune Do (JKD) was a big influence on most of my teachers and myself.

Martial arts has been a gift to me as it gave me the confidence to stand up for others without having to go into a rage. It also helped me become self-deprecating to defuse situations or breakdown social barriers. Martial arts has inspired me to tackle areas where I had failed at before and it has helped me endure pain from injuries and try to work around them. Martial arts has taught me that failure is the biggest part of the gift of improvement.

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