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My Passion - Martial Arts

As described in The Plan in which I outline a way to take better care of yourself and to avoid the many problems people face “as they get older,” a phrase you will find I dislike. Having a long, healthy, and happy life starts on day one. It requires establishing a lifestyle the results in a life well lived. There will be links from this page to others regarding various martial arts, which is my passion, and one in particular for my Taekwondo Club, Albuquerque Taekwondo and Self Defense Club.

I am excited about providing the information on what I have studied, practiced, and learned. I look upon martial arts as others look at golf. A true master at golf will have a score of 9. Obviously this is impossible and we can only do the best we can. You will see that there are many forms of martial arts and there are always arguments about which is best and which techniques from one will beat the techniques from another. I am going out on a limb here regarding the Best Martial Art: There is no Best. Some things to note about the martial arts are:

•  There is no Best. There may be a best one for you but one size does not fit all.

•  Generally speaking, if two people from different martial arts are matched up, I would bet on the one with the higher belt level. A note of caution: the belt levels often don’t match up between the different arts. Some of more belt levels than others and the colors don’t always match up.

•  Generally, the more highly trained an individual is in a particular martial art, the better they are. By highly trained, I don’t mean how many classes they attend but how much they practice their art.

•  There are different reasons that people learn martial arts including

  • Fighting. Drawing blood and giving and receiving concussions. These folks are drawn to UFC and MMA. That’s not a place everyone wants to go. It is not my cup of chai.
  • Sparring. Many martial arts teach sparring in which there are stringent rules and protective gear. The blood and concussions noted above are to be avoided.
  • Self Defense. It is not intuitive but an MMA fighter may suck at self-defense. There are actually rules in MMA and UFC. In self-defense there are no rules, e.g. breaking someone’s knee or biting their ear off. This may be required if someone breaks into your house armed with a knife. This is my won major interest in martial arts including defense against knives and other weapons.
  • Forms. Forms or katas are choreographed sets of techniques that simulate attacking and enemy or defending against an enemy or enemies. It can often look like dance. Many people do not realize that Tai Chi, that slow-moving, and graceful series of moves often done in large groups, is a martial art. Most people take Tai Chi for balance and stability rather than as a martial art.
  • Balance, stability, graceful movement, and to protect against falling. All of the martial arts of which I am aware will help with this. I especially think tai chi is helpful for this although some people have problems applying these slow movements into our normal day pace.
  • Exercise including strength and power. The martial arts will help develop strength but I think martial arts are unsurpassed in developing power. I would bet on a 180 pound martial artist against a 300 pound weight lifter any day in a power contest.
  • Flexibility. We start to lose flexibility as soon as we quit moving particular joints. That happens at what age? Maybe twelve? Flexibility gets increasingly worse as we begin using the couch more and only exercise with the remote. Interestingly, I have found that a good many very muscular people, including weight lifters, have very poor range of motion. In our classes we will work with joint locks. I have noticed that most highly muscular people I have worked with are suckers for the various arm joint locks. They will tap out way before the yoga practitioner. Many people who work out with weights don’t do so at the extreme range of motion, making them susceptible to such locks. Practicing martial arts increases flexibility.
  • The Belts! The belt levels in martial arts can give a person a feeling of pride and accomplishment in what they have learned. The higher the belt level, the higher the deterrent against bullying and harassment.
  • Confidence!! I have noticed that the self-confidence level of most of my senior students has increased significantly from when they first started classes. They carry themselves differently and I know they won’t be victims. Self-confidence goes a long way. Even before knowing diddly about martial arts, the appearance of self-confidence I had, kept me away from a lot of problems I would otherwise have had in my travels.

With that introduction I invite you to explore the following pages for a background in, and in some cases, some detail on, various martial arts.

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