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I just earned my master’s belt in Tang Soo Do. I train and teach at the Upper Marlboro Martial Arts Center in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Master John Baylor will be holding a free self-defense seminar on Saturday March 22nd between 1 and 3PM. The Upper Marlboro Martial Arts Center is located at 6417 Crain Hwy. in Upper Marlboro, MD. If you’re in the area stop by, you like it.
There are several things I mention in every class. Martial arts is not just about punching and kicking; there is a lot more to it than that. Some of these things I have mentioned in other articles I have written. Please check the my blog for those posts.
This is also called being in the now. It means to put your mental energy into what you are doing at the present time. The analogy I use in class is of a knife and a hammer. The knife can cut a sandwich but a hammer can’t. The reason is the knife focuses all of the energy onto the thin blade. So much energy in so little space cuts the sandwich. A hammer spreads the energy out in all directions over the hammerhead. The energy is not focused and the sandwich will not be cut. In class the students should focus their energy on martial arts and forget about other things for an hour.
Martial arts can be thought about logically. Intellect is the best weapon in a martial artist’s arsenal. Knowing how the world and the body works will make all of the martial arts techniques understandable. The student can see why the techniques work the way they do. If you hold your right arm out in front of you palm down and turn your hand clockwise your elbow will naturally bend. If you turn your hand counter clockwise your elbow will naturally lock. If someone grabs your wrist; grasping their hand and turning it counter clockwise will lock the elbow and put you in the advantage.
Another part of the logic is, understanding basic physics. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I teach the students that a punch is thrown with the entire body and especially with both arms. As the punching arm shoots out, the opposite arm fires back in an elbow strike to the rear. It greatly increases the strength of the strike.
Momentum is a friend of the martial artist. Understanding direct momentum and angular momentum allow you to understand what is termed as the soft sided techniques of martial arts. When a punch is thrown at you, your opponent is committing most of his or her energy in the forward thrust. Stepping to the side and guiding the energy past you will leave your opponent off balance and vulnerable. If you can hook the arm and turn in a tight circle, that angular momentum will increase your opponents speed and further degrade their balance and a fall will be inevitable.
We have a lot of children in our classes and we like to stress the real reason for marital arts. We teach them techniques that hopefully will allow them to escape an attacker and run away. I tell them, “Run away and call a cop; they get paid to do that sort of thing.” I stress that, unless you have to protect someone, you need to get away. You are not there to smite the wicked. You are not there to see that justice prevails. You are there to do your best not to be there. Perform a technique that gets your free, strike once to slow down your attacker, and then run away.
We have a good group of children and adults in the classes. I’ve watched kids come in at age eight or nine and no taller than my ribs become strong and decent young adults. Most of them now tower over me and will give me all I want in a sparing match and that is quite satisfying to me.