I am so lucky! I started practicing martial arts with serious clarity, purpose and a willingness to change over 15 years ago. That blows me away… My life has changed drastically from attending school buildings in my hometown in 2003 to working at office buildings in my hometown in 2019!
Everyday of the last 15 years, I have practiced some amount of martial arts.
I began at 18 years old with Tai Chi. I found my first master, Siu Fong Evans, a year later which came with exposure to multiple highly skilled instructors, teachers, and masters.
Tai Chi, Wushu, Wing Chun, Bujinkan, Kempo were all well represented at Jing Institute of Chinese Martial Arts and Culture.
I moved to Los Angeles for university and practiced American Karate, Aikido, and whatever else people brought to the Martial Arts Club and Karate classes. I remember fighting and surprising many people.
I worked in Burbank and attended Jiu Jutsu and Systema schools before I found a new master, Sempai Robert of Kyokushin Karate. His background included much more which gave him a unique skill set covering everything from Supreme Striking, Kicking, and Breaking to Locking, Tripping and Throwing. A Karate-ka does not attack a downed opponent. We walk away from the fight as soon as it is won.
I took lumps, black bruises, broken toes are just a few of the many delights of Kyokushin. When you search for the ultimate truth, you must walk through Hell to grasp your destiny.
The heart of our karate is real fighting.There can be no proof without real fighting. Without proof there is no trust. Without trust there is no respect. This is a definition in the world of martial arts. – Mas Oyama
While monitoring your own training, you must seek instruction. Turn to the classics and you will find treasures beyond your dreams. I highly recommend multiple books including:
The Book of Five Rings, by Miyamoto Musashi : “The Way is in Training.”
Tao De Jing, by Lao Tzu :
“The Way that can be walked is not the eternal Way.
The Name that can be named is not the eternal Name.”
The Dao (Way) of Tai Chi Chuan, by Tsung Hwa Jou:
“My arms are broken. The slightest tension will destroy me.” – Cheng Man Ching as referenced in the book recounting the dream which changed him from an intermediate student to a master.
I returned to San Diego and refocused on Tai Chi. I attended the Taoist Sanctuary and got a taste for Chen Style Tai Chi, but the schedule didn’t work with traffic so I continued my search and found a new master, Master Sang Han. A highly accomplished Tae Kwon Do 7th Degree Black Belt and Chen Family Style Tai Chi Quan Lineage Holder.
Four years under his tutelage has transformed my body and practice.
So, you may be asking…
“This article is supposed to be about Some Benefits of Martial Arts, especially Tai Chi!”
You’re correct! And it is.
All of this time, I have been improving myself, grading myself, testing myself, finding new ways to improve myself, making a plan, learning new ideas and philosophies, pushing my understanding to the next thing and challenging myself daily.
What do you think comes from that? Much more than good punches and kicks.
Physically, I’m stronger than ever before. My flexibility is not as good as when I was 22, but it’s quite good. My power and speed have never been so well tuned.
Mentally, I’m well versed, immersed and consumed by research and development, determining truth from fiction, examining everything from as many perspectives as I can to see the whole picture. These skills were drilled into me through the study of forms, duplicating 3-Step attacks, defending and trapping with my eyes closed.
Social Safety, I’m well prepared for aggressive language, posturing and movements. I have seen, studied, practiced dodge, intercept, control and attack techniques. The less than 1% change of a physical, violent engagement is something I am ready to handle.
The next 9% of dangers are Avoidable and the remaining 90% of threats are nullified with Awareness
Reflexes, noticing an object teetering at the edge of a shelf, reaching out to catch or balance it without thought, without expectation, with ease is something to behold. It cannot be setup, it can only be experienced by surprise.
So, I can’t recommend the practice enough. If I can’t teach you, let someone else teach you. Just do it for a few months and you can get a few treasures that will stay with you and grow over time. Trust Me, please 🙂