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Introduction: Long time lurker, now actually posting.

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    Introduction: Long time lurker, now actually posting.

    I always feel pretty weird writing these introduction threads, but here goes.

    My introduction into the martial arts started with my father, who studied Tang Soo Do and Judo in the late fifties and throughout the sixties (possibly seventies as well, I'm not sure). I think he was some type of "midnight blue/dark blue" belt in Tang Soo Do (I think I still have his old belt somewhere), and I'm not sure what belt he was in Judo, but I believe he mentioned brown at some point. I'd have to dig up some old photos from somewhere.

    He taught me a few fundamentals, and was a pretty tough trainer. I wish I knew who he trained under back in the day. I think it was in southern California.

    When we moved to Oregon, after visiting a few schools, we settled on a Kajukenbo school in Newberg, run by a guy named Brian Fraiser. He is a black belt in Kajukenbo, and had cross-trained in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. The Kajukenbo portion focused on the "Chuan Fa" methods, if I remember correctly, and the logo said "Lopez Dojo." I have the t-shirt somewhere still.

    It was pretty fun, and I got a nice sampling of martial arts techniques. The small bits of grappling I learned there saved my bacon more than a few times from crazed weirdies. I trained there from around 1994 to 1999ish or so, before I joined the Marine Corps in 2000. I was only an orange belt in Kajukenbo, even after all that time.

    I studied MCMAP in 2002 while in the Marines, but only attained grey belt. I tried getting my green belt, but I got a bit too injured in the course to continue with it, and was unable to test out. I was not very good at all. I used to get choked out all the time in their grappling portion. Then again, everyone I had a course with had a heavy wrestling background. I used to get thrown all the time too, since I was very much a lightweight (nowadays I'm a bit heavier).

    While I was in the Marines, I eventually studied Okinawan Kenpo, under Kyoshi Richard Myers around 2002-2005 at MCBH Kaneohe Bay in HI. At first I was highly skeptical (I had a notion at the time that "traditional karate" was a bit weaksauce for some reason. I can't remember why. I was young and dumb), but Kyoshi Myers changed my mind. The guy was really tough, and even knew some grappling. I trained with him and really enjoyed it. I attained a yellow belt, and was on my way to orange before I EAS'ed out and returned to the mainland states.

    I was unable to continue my martial arts training for a while, as all my focus was on getting a decent job. Eventually, I moved to Monmouth, Oregon, and went to school there on the GI Bill. While I was there, I decided to get back into martial arts again. I took some classes from a man named Warren Allen, who taught some basic karate and tai-chi at Western Oregon University. He seemed alright, and gave some good advice, but he didn't teach past the very basics. He mentioned he got a lot of his training from either Chuck Norris, or from someone who directly trained with Chuck Norris. He mentioned Chuck Norris a lot in class.

    I tried out an "American Schools of Shaolin Kempo" place in Independence, but it wasn't a good fit. I eventually (briefly) trained at a place in Monmouth, run by a guy named Tim McGinnis, who teaches a mixed blend of martial arts, to include American Kenpo, TaeKwonDo, and some Jiu-jitsu. Despite my skepticism about TKD (I had some bad experiences with it in the past), it seemed alright.

    From what I remember, they do about two hours of adult class twice a week (maybe three times? I can't remember now), with the first hour of class being striking and kata/form work, and the second hour being some grappling (minus the "ground and pound" portion). They did seem to focus a lot on the TKD aspects in the striking class though, and there was some "slap and tap tag" point sparring going on, but there was some "alive" training (such as full contact sparring, heavy grappling, throws)as well. I don't recall there being any "two-step" technique training or anything like that.

    It was fun, but very different from what I had been taught in the past (they do blocks completely different than what I had learned in Karate and Kajukenbo, and the forms/katas were totally different. The kicks and punches had some similarities, but many were flashy and really high, or required some setup. Some of my sparring partners would telegraph a lot). I would usually keep my hands up fairly high, in a boxing-style stance, whereas everyone else would keep theirs low. Still, it was alright. Being different doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. I figure I just have a lot more to learn.

    I sadly dropped out rather suddenly after getting hit by a car. Had to take some time off from almost everything for a while, and I didn't get back into it. I was only there for maybe, four months. I still consider rejoining, but I'm oddly apprehensive about it for some reason. I'm not sure why.

    I sometimes train with the martial arts club at Western Oregon University, but I'm still not in the best of shape to keep up with their training tempo. They train pretty hard all the time. When I briefly trained with them, they were strictly MMA. I think one of the guys there trained at TeamQuest. I've since heard it might be under new management now, and they're considering focusing on Kung-Fu and Tai-Chi.

    So there's my introduction in a nutshell. Despite my various bits of training here and there, I make no claims to any sort of skill or expertise in anything. I am a newb who is essentially looking to get back into the Martial Arts again.

    TL;DR: Trained some, sucked a lot, want to get back into it. Karate stuffz, ow my back.

    Western TaeKwonDo closing down.

    On a side note, I just discovered that Western Taekwondo, the martial arts dojo (dojang?) in Monmouth, that I briefly attended (the one run by Mr. Tim McGinnis), that taught TKD, Kenpo, and Jiu-Jitsu, is closing up shop after thirty years in business. September 30th is their last day. Sad times.



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