Tag Archives: protective pads

Martial Arts and The Fist and the Glove!

The Fist and the Glove!

 Good Morning!

Now do some stretches,

and make the day go right

by working out!

I had an interesting conversation during class

the other night.

I’m not teaching large classes these days,

I’m sort of gearing to a transition to Monkeyland,

so I teach a small bunch,

and I work on curriculum

the line up of arts I teach,

how to matrix them to best effect

so I can turn out a bunch of maniac monks

in the shortest time possible.


after I get a student through

the basics of karate and kung fu,

get him going on the grab arts,

and know that he pretty much understands

everything there is to understand in the martial arts

I start talking about something I call

the glove and the fist.

Anybody can be a fist,

but who can be a glove?

That asked,

being a glove is so simple

that it is hard.

Simply give up things like

anger and fear and tears

and those sorts of things

and see the world as it really is.

If somebody throws a fist at you

are you going to be a fist or a glove?

Do you understand?


the trick is simple,

don’t be apart from him,

be with him.

So what if he is your enemy,

so what if he is angry.

Just accept him,


and take the fist for what it is…

a gift.

A fist thrown in anger

if received the right way,

can help you lose your own anger,

defeat yourself,

rise above yourself

and find the source of your true humanity.

I know,

we go to the movies

and we are thrilled with the concept

of smackin’ some fool,

of beating the bad guys,

of being the hero and getting the girl.

Much harder to find yourself.

To put aside the Hollywood scripts

and learn how to embrace your fellow man

when he is at his angriest.

But isn’t that what the true art is all about?

Not fighting,

it’s easy to fight,

it is easy to hit, hurt, punch, maim, destroy…

it’s hard to open your heart and say

‘thank you for that punch,

I’ll try not to hurt it.’

So think about that when you are working out,

when you are learning how to break a knee

or knock a guy out,

or other such good things.

Those are the tools that we must learn

so that we can put them aside.

And remember,

if you don’t learn them,

you can’t really put them aside.


here is the art I am teaching

when I start talking to my fellows

about the fist and the glove.


Okey donkey
have a great work out.

zen martial arts
This has been a page about how to have a powerful martial arts fist.

Martial Arts Equipment, A Big Rip Off!

Does Martial Arts Equipment Really Protect You?

My first experience with Martial Arts equipment, and I am speaking of shin pads, gloves, and that sort of thing, came in 1968.

martial arts protective gear

Sink and Twist for Ki Power!

I was taking a freestyle class at my Chinese Kenpo school, and the instructor came out with all these pads.

“Got to wear these,” he said, tossing a couple of sets on the mat. “I’ve only got two sets, so you can put them on when your turn comes. You’ll have to have your own protective gear by next week.”

“Why do we have to wear them?” asked somebody.

The school owner said, with a grim smile and a wink of the eye, “So you won’t harm anybody, so you won’t get hurt yourself.” And the delirious message beneath his words, ‘You are so deadly!’

We near shivered with delight as we donned our Martial Arts Equipment.

Now, truth. It wasn’t our deadliness that was the issue, because we had all learned not to hit too hard, and there were very few accidents, and those weren’t serious. So what was it all about? Money. Money for the school owner.

And, more truth, there were more injuries as a result of wearing that Martial Arts Equipment. We simply felt we had to hit harder to get the job done, and we thought the chest pads were going to protect us.

Now, that is the simple truth of it all, but let me take a further step. A few months later I quit that school and went to a classical Karate school, the Kang Duk Won. There I learned some interesting things about freestyle.

At the Kang Duk Won we never used pads. Never. You were expected to control yourself, and you did. And, if you didn’t, you would find yourself freestyling with an advanced Black Belt, and he taught you control the hard way. Learn easy, or get taught. Period.

Now, you might think there is a brutality here, but there wasn’t. It is just that the advanced black belt would control you, pop you just hard enough to take your breath away, and stare at you. And the message was clear: ‘Control yourself, don’t be a danger to your partner, or we’re going to do this lesson again, and as many times as it takes.

And, I learned something interesting. At Kenpo we would fight, and you could get points on the black belts. They were better, but you could point them every once in a while.

At the Kang Duk Won, unless a black belt wanted you to point them, you weren’t going to. Simply, they were in control, and the only way you were going to win a fight was by learning your lessons well.

So the Kenpo black belts were good, but they weren’t in control.

The Kang Duk Won black belts were in control, and they were fantastic.

And, at the Kang Duk Won we never did full freestyle until brown belt.

At Kenpo I was thrown in the mix on my sixth lesson (right after I signed a contract). At Kang Duk Won I spent two years doing supplementary exercises so that I could actually freestyle. In other wards, I spent two years learning the bits and pieces. This explained an awful lot about the differences here.

Now, back to protective gear.

At the Kang Duk Won we learned how to control our punch, and through this control we learned how to ‘feel inside’ our opponent with our fists. This enabled us to develop ‘Ki power’ strikes, and these strikes were totally different than the regular strikes. These are the strikes that, the softer you hit the more they hurt. This is the ability to move energy around in our bodies so as to make the body immune to a strike.

And we never wold have learned this ability if we had worn protective gear, if we had worn martial arts Equipment.

Martial Arts Equipment