The Cold, Hard Floors and Your Karate Stance

One of the things I remember most about studying Martial Arts way back when was how the floors affected my Karate stance. Check out the video, I learned that form some forty years ago, and then I’ll tell you what it was like to study the martial arts in less than comfortable places.

The time was late sixties-earlyseventies. The place was San Jose, and the school was the Kang Duk Won.
At the time there were only a dozen martial arts studios in the whole bay area. One had to travel if one wanted to study the martial arts.
Mind you, luxury had already started appearing. I had started in a kenpo school in Los Altos, and that dojo catered to the upper class. Mats were clean and unblemished, mirrors lined the walls, bags were hung from the ceiling with care. Then I found myself at the Kang Duk Won. This was hard core Korean Karate, right out of Korean War mentalities.
The mat was ripped and sewn and duc taped until there was a speed bump right in the middle of the room. There was a hole in the roof, and if it rained you better watch where you hung your clothes. There was only one mirror, and it wasn’t too big. There was certainly no heat nor air conditioning. We were there to study the ways of war, not be comfortable.
The real laugher, however, was the toilet. It was tilted. If you sat, you hung on, if you stood, you stood to the side for a better angle.
Anyway, the thing I remember most was coming in for a class when the weather was cold. When the weather was cold our feet couldn’t grab the mat. There was probably something about the moisture on our feet and the cunabsorbing feature of the mat, and you just couldn’t get a grip. After ten minutes or so, it was okay, you were working out and forgot about that. But when you started, you couldn’t hold your stance, and it was like trying to do karate while wearing ice skates.
Well, comfort be damned, we learned how to hold a stance. To this day, somebody pushes on me and there ain’t no give…unless I say so.
I look at todays schools, with their bottled water and designer headbands, and I just sort of shake my head.I’m glad people are studying the martial arts, but they would learn so much more if they got a little uncomfortable. They might even learn what a Karate stance is really for. Check out my website, Monster Martial Arts, lots of articles and stuff on things like this.

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