It can be a devastating blow to hear from a person of who is overseeing the growth and development of your martial arts education that “you’re better off carrying a .22” I have been practicing for a total of 6 years (at that time) to come as far along as carrying a .22 pistol is my best line of defense. So not only am I standing there after class winded and muscles hurting badly feeling more defeated by a person I was beginning to respect.
Looking back on the conversation Sensei never said anything about my kata’s, my ability to teach karate, or the one step kumite’s. He was genuinely worried about my safety outside of the dojo. What I failed to mention in the last post “Way of the Gun” is that the Sensei carried as well. Using his martial arts skills for defense was one thing he hoped he never had to do.
I am a believer of looking for the silver lining. I learned a lot about myself in the sparring match between me and Sensei. During the match someone yelled out “don’t chase him, let him come to you!” Now that I am older and have read the Art of War that make sense now! I had to develop a strategy for fighting – no – for defense! I am a handicap person. Let them come to me. I will defend my ground. I am not looking to pick fights nor am I looking to be a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger or Neo from the Matrix. Besides, I am practicing a traditional art that is meant for defense, not for sport.
I love traditional karate, the kata’s are crisps, and the lines are clean. I like the slow wrap, fast snap, and the explosiveness of the moves. Most of the moves work best with wide range of motion using long legs and long arms, good for driving back the opponent and staying outside their reach. This is similar to a long range rifle. I have short arms or in this case a snub nose for getting inside the guard up close and personal. I realized that I needed to supplement what I was learning. In the years to come I began looking at other types of martial arts. I became interested systems that focused on close quarters combat such as Krav Maga. However in West Virginia I couldn’t find a class or an instructor to teach it. Instead I found a ju-jitsu class. The Ju-jitsu instructor was able to modify moves so they would be effective for me despite my limited range of motion. Even though this particular ju-jitsu class focused on sport; the instructor took the time to work with me on the self-defense aspect of the art.
After a year and half of practicing ju-jitsu I ran into the karate instructor. We caught up on fun times and I told him about how I was doing ju-jitsu. He seemed impressed with hearing about my new skills and is anxious to spar me. We still talk occasionally but have not made a date for a rematch. I am more confident than ever I can hold my own against him. If I do get to do a rematch I plan to post the video on here.
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