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  1. #1

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Confessions of a Repentant Bullshidoka

    My last post felt very therapeutic. For those members of this fine online establishment willing to indulge me, Iíll describe my personal history in the traditional martial arts. I like to write, so itís a bit wordy.

    Iíll break it into vaguely chronological sections, like so:

    Uncle Ralph: OK, heís actually my momís cousin, but I always called him ďUncle.Ē He gets an honorable mention because Iíve always thought of him as my first teacher. He was the first adult in my life that knew martial arts himself, and began to set me straight on a few things- well, namely that the stuff I loved so much in Kung Fu movies would get you killed in a real fight (his literal words). He showed me a few basic techniques, but mostly talked to me about martial arts in general, and the various styles he had studied: Wing Chun, Shaolin Kung Fu, Jujitsu, Tai Chi Chuan, and a bunch of animal styles are the ones I can remember. I honestly donít know if he was any good at all, but he was my first martial arts mentor, for better or worse. Actually, I havenít heard from Uncle Ralph in years, I should check up on himÖ.

    Goju Ryu: When I was ten or so, I started studying Karate at a local club. It was run by Sensei Smith (canít remember his first name)- who, in turn, trained at the Olympic Center (VIneland, NJ, now closed) under Eddie Andujar and Marty Manuel. I stuck with it for a year or two- got my yellow belt; about to test for green when mom pulled me out over scheduling conflicts, and driving distance, since it was a couple towns away. I remember the opening warmups were very physical, lots of pushups and other strengthening exercises.

    ATA: Just before my fifteenth birthday, my mom told me about a new karate club at the local YMCA. Since it was the first and only martial arts training available in my hometown, I decided to give it a shot. I went to a weekís worth of classes, managed to learn the form and one-steps (not that hard, since I had done kata in karate), and then tested for 8th grade Yellow Belt (now Orange Belt) that Saturday in front of H. U. Lee himself (I even messed up the form- right in front of the guy who invented it!) I ended up sticking with it for a long time, but eventually left because I couldnít stand the organizationís business practices. I have a lot to say on that topic (not all bad), but will digress for now. (Would additional ATA commentary be best attached here or to the ATA thread?)

    Inayan Escrima: I got the opportunity to study this while I was in the ATA. My ATA Instructor was a bit of a snooty, elitist bastard, and when they announced they would be teaching stick fighting in the early nineties, he decided to go directly to the source instead of waiting for the program that was going to come from G.K. Lee (who had been sent of to get a crash course from Suro Mike Inay). Suro Inay visited our school on a few occasions for weekend seminars- from the first time he did, we incorporated his training into our everyday black belt practice at the school (I was a 2nd degree by this time, and teaching pretty much all the color belt classes). We also used rattan sticks, not those ****ing blue foam things (I am a first hand witness to how the ATA bullshidoized an excellent system into utter garbage. The single stick form alone is proof of that). I only achieved a Level 3 Sinawali certification, but it felt like the most ďaliveĒ training I had done to that point.

    Kickboxing: Also during my time in the ATA. A fellow ATAer was an amateur kickboxer in Delaware (donít recall what org, though), and we did a few sessions of full contact sparring when I visited his school. It was my first time doing any sort of full contact. It was a whole new world to me, but I liked it, and we got a little over excited as we got into it. My friend from Delaware broke my nose and knocked me out (only for a few seconds, but I came to sitting on my butt with a puddle of blood gathering between my legs).
    It turns out that years of sparring without punching in the head doesnít actually prepare you for when someone is punching you in the head. Who knew?
    Also, as I think back on it, we werenít doing any leg kicks or knees, so I guess it was really full contact karate, not kickboxing. In either case, itís memorable to me as one of the few ďaliveĒ things I got to engage in during my ATA years.

    Tai Chi Chuan: I snuck in a year or so as cross training during my ATA years. The classes were scheduled for Sunday morning- one of the only days I didnít have TKD class to teach! The style supposedly came from a Tibetan temple, and the form was very different from any of the established TCC styles Iíve encountered since. We worked through the same chi kung routine every class- it was very simplistic but comprehensive for working all the joints of the body. I liked it right away, and found it fun to do, but remained dubious of its reputation as a fighting art. Iíve never been properly taught to do push hands, or done it with knowledgeable people, so Iíve never gotten a good taste of what it might provide, besides the health benefits.

    Gracie Jiu Jitsu: Again, during my ATA years. After seeing our first UFC together, as mentioned in my first post, my snooty bastard of a school owner immediately booked a seminar in California with Rickson (or so I remember). Upon his return, we incorporated the basics of ground fighting into the daily routine for black belt classes. Nothing complicated- we learned the guard and a few basic submissions and never ever give up your back- but we did roll, and that made it feel worthwhile, even if our skills and instruction were questionable. I canít imagine I amount to even a white belt in GJJ, but I got to learn what grappling feels like.

    Kajukenpo: After I left the ATA, I didnít train for a year or two. Eventually, I discovered a karate dojo a few blocks from my apartment. I said ďAny training is better than no trainingĒ and since I didnít have a car, the close proximity was a big selling point for me. I stuck it out there for about a year, and it was better than the ATA in many ways. Primarily, sparring included punching to the head, and we did it every class, which was perfect for me- I spent weeks getting lit up before I started covering myself. It was nowhere near as McDojo as where I had come from, it was still quite bullshido. When I signed up, the owner/teacher asked about previous MA experience. I told him that I was a black belt in TKD but from an org that no one recognized or even heard of (usually my experience), so I would just as soon start over as a white belt. He seemed surprised but said OK. After a month of going to class he said ďStop pretending to be a white belt and start wearing your black belt to class.Ē So I did. I guess that technically makes me a 1st degree in Kajukenpo.

    The Garage Days: OK, so bear with me here. I became one of those guys. Yeah, I know, Iím already one of those guys in so many ways, but I became one of THOSE guys. One who teaches a half dozen students in his backyard (and basement/attic/apartment during winter!). After leaving the aforementioned karate dojo, I found myself wanting to workout, but needing workout partners. I also had a few friends and acquaintances asking me for lessons, since they knew I used to teach. Seemed like a good idea at the time - if I canít find sparring partners, Iíll train them up. I mostly focused on the escrima with them, and the kicks from Taekwondo (because they are IMPRESSIVE LOOKING and CHICKS DIG IT). It was an experimental phase for me- I got to concentrate on teaching things that I actually thought might work instead of garbage mandated by rank testing requirements, like one steps and the ďself defense techniquesĒ. I tried to teach what little grappling I knew, but lack of adequate mats, floor space, or even decent lawn space prevented it. Eventually, I gave up teaching this way- lacking a training facility really limited our activities, and I didnít think I was providing very good quality of training.

    Since then, I havenít done any serious training. Now that Iíve squared away some other aspects of my life, I want to fix that. For years, Iíve read about Throwdowns and dreamed of attending one. It used to be I was too broke to go- now, Iím not so broke, but Iím out of shape and broken down myself. Someday soon, though, I hope to show up to a TD, receive a royal ass-whooping, and learn a thing or two.

    If youíre still with me, then I congratulate you for an exceptional attention span for the internet age. Thank you for indulging and old guy who wanted to share his story.

    <TL;DR Read the ****ing title, thatís what itís there for>

  2. #2
    hungryjoe's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    SneakyGoblin,

    Not even ask about the user name but feel free to explain since you've been honest about the ATA years. Don't start another thread as I think it was Omega that deemed the last existing thread would be the last ( search function noob) (never used that in ten years here, feeling wet and sticky).

    How old are you? It'd be a shame if you didn't get to experience flying through the air to be point checked by Mother Earth before you're actually too old to safely land. Judo or Sambo. BJJ if you must (-:

  3. #3
    Holy Moment's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    For years, I’ve read about Throwdowns and dreamed of attending one.
    Meet me on the beach.
    Dan Severn loves raping people.

  4. #4
    BackFistMonkey's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    You are basically next door to me, and I have family there.
    Maybe when I heal up we can put something together.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghost55 View Post
    Violence is pretty uncommon in clubs in this area, and the dude didn't seem particularly hostile up until the moment he slapped me.
    ďI don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.Ē
    BILL HICKS,
    1961-1994

    Quote Originally Posted by WFMurphyPhD View Post
    Slamming the man in the bottom position from time to time keeps everybody on their toes and discourages butt scooting stupidity.

  5. #5

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by hungryjoe View Post
    It'd be a shame if you didn't get to experience flying through the air to be point checked by Mother Earth before you're actually too old to safely land. Judo or Sambo. BJJ if you must (-:
    I second this. Not the static, "this is harai goshi... here it comes..." kind of throw, either. It has to be a clean launch right in the middle of randori. The type you never saw coming, and leaves you looking up at the ceiling with absolutely no idea what trajectory your body traveled on its way there, and no recollection of anything that happened in the span of time your body wasn't in contact with the mat.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by hungryjoe View Post
    SneakyGoblin,

    Not even ask about the user name but feel free to explain since you've been honest about the ATA years. Don't start another thread as I think it was Omega that deemed the last existing thread would be the last ( search function noob) (never used that in ten years here, feeling wet and sticky).

    How old are you? It'd be a shame if you didn't get to experience flying through the air to be point checked by Mother Earth before you're actually too old to safely land. Judo or Sambo. BJJ if you must (-:
    Ok, thanks for advice. I have been thinking about Judo, specifically. Frankly I'm surprised about Judo's resurgence- in my TMA days, it was the most disregarded art due to its popularity as a sport. In another thread, someone mentioned a fairly reputable Judo place in Cleveland, I'll check it out.

    I am 44 currently. Have sciatica (much better over last 2 or 3 years tho) and the post-surgery knee. Think that prevents serious Judo practice?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Holy Moment View Post
    Meet me on the beach.
    Which beach? Where? Are you nearby?? That'd be cool- I lament that I passed up wrestling in high school. Maybe you can show me the basics?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by BackFistMonkey View Post
    You are basically next door to me, and I have family there.
    Maybe when I heal up we can put something together.
    Heck, even if you find yourself in Cleveland before you heal up, We can get together for drinks and share stories.

    Hope the healing status on track,though...

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrouchyOldMan View Post
    I second this. Not the static, "this is harai goshi... here it comes..." kind of throw, either. It has to be a clean launch right in the middle of randori. The type you never saw coming, and leaves you looking up at the ceiling with absolutely no idea what trajectory your body traveled on its way there, and no recollection of anything that happened in the span of time your body wasn't in contact with the mat.
    I have had a similar experience through common horseplay(plus the occasional sweep during sparring). Sometimes I've landed on my back so hard that my stomach hurt. Is it anything like that?

  10. #10
    Holy Moment's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by SneakyGoblin View Post
    Which beach? Where?
    Sandy Hook, NJ.
    Dan Severn loves raping people.

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