I can’t emphasize the value of finding a good martial arts teacher.
I began Chinese Kenpo Karate back in 1967. The instructors were good, there was a lot of awe for how deadly this guy was…we talked about it all the time. He was so quick and slick…then, through a series of odd incidents, I wound up at the Kang Duk won.
People didn’t talk about how deadly Bob Babich was, they just spoke softly and politely around him. The reason they spoke softly and politely was because he was soft and polite.
I noticed other martial artists come to visit, some of the big names in the area back then, and within moments they were standing like school boys, hands clasped in front of themselves, speaking softly. And there were always choppers out front because the Hell’s Angels had discovered him. Yet, when those burly bikers entered that dojo, they suddenly became soft and polite.
And when he did speak, he didn’t say much. Tell the truth, I only remember him saying a dozen things to me over the seven years I studied there. I only remember three of them. ‘There are many ways to the top of the Mountain,’ ‘A tight fist is a heavy fist,’ and ‘How’s work?’
But, here’s the odd thing, when he stepped onto the mat you felt it. It would be really bizarre, but I would be working with somebody on the far side of the mat, and I would feel a sharp tingle go up my legs, and my head would jerk around…Bob had just bowed and placed his foot on the mat.
And I did hear stories. The time somebody threw a shotgless at him, and he knocked the shotglass out of the air with his own shotglass. My friend presenting him with a square of particle board, and him striking it with one finger and leaving a hole in the board. And other stories.
But stories, even when they came from my best friends, are always suspect. Fortunately, I experienced events. That’s the only thing to call them, events.
Having him touch my arm and feeling it go numb. Being tossed around like a ragdoll. Most incredbly, however, was when he decided to point you in freestyle…he would just focus his eyes, shuffle forward, and it was like a buttered sword slipping through the karate you thought you knew.
The most important thing about all this, however, was that he wasn’t alone. By that I mean that his students didn’t just get soft and polite like him, they began to show his abilities. The higher black belts would work with you, show you, teach you, give of their all, but…when they focused their eyes and decided to point you in freestyle, it was like a buttered knife slipping through the karate you thought you knew.
And, importance of importance, the individual newbie could feel himself getting better. We could feel ourselves becoming like greased butter, we could see through attacker’s, and we could feel this ‘electricity’ growing within.
Now, why do I tell you this.
An old man thinking back to his youth? Ha. Because of Karate I may be old, but I am still a youth. So it’s not that.
It’s because I want you to have the ability to see through an opponent. I want you to ‘feel the electricity’ in the real martial arts. I don’t care about tournaments and all that foolishness. That is man beating man.
I care about you, and that’s what is at the bottom of the true art.
If you want to follow this path, you should check out Evolution of an Art and Temple Karate. They are at MonsterMartialArts.com.