Category Archives: White Tiger Ramblings

Ramblings about the martial arts, training, life and other subjects. That’s why its called “rambling”.

Integrity

Box of things earned.

Over the past couple years, I’ve learned more about the poor behavior within the martial arts than I ever wanted to know! I’ve had my own horror story of being homeless after believing that I was going to become part of an organization that would lead toward a huge goal that I had. I also watched as that person/group tried to convince seniors of the Kwan that they would fulfill those goals…even after a 10 year federal prison term.

These experiences have made me skeptical as many high rank people start talking about what they have planned. I now watch much closer and listen more. This has led me to learn that there’s a whole group that…

1) delays submitting Dan applications to the Kukkiwon for 10 months to over a year, 2) schedules testing at random intervals with unspecified requirements for Dan – Black Belt – testing, 3) charges anywhere from $600 to $10,000 for Dan testing.

These are sad examples of what happens in an unregulated industry. How do you know what is a good school? How can you believe that you and/or your child(ren) will get a proper martial arts education? These are samples of the questions that you won’t know until after you start training. Yes, sadly, you will have to join a class for a while and attempt to become part of their family before you truly find out if you belong there.

Here are a couple ideas on how to help you figure things out before you get in too deep. Things to ask about are…

  1. If the school can’t tell you about who their current teacher is and where (s)he trained plus who their teacher was and their teacher’s teacher was.
  2. If the school talks contracts for certain levels before they even let you try a class.
  3. If the school doesn’t have a schedule for training and testing.
  4. If the school doesn’t list it’s tuition and test fees.

Those are just things off the top of my head. There is SO much that can be tainted in a martial arts school that hurt the student trying to learn and the family finances. It is here where anyone not training but thinking about it has the chance to keep these schools honest. One of the key principles of training in the martial arts, Taekwondo in particular, is that of Integrity. If the schools and their teachers can’t answer questions honestly, how can they teach integrity to you and your child? If the school owners and teachers answer “I don’t know.” to questions asked, then you may not want to be there!

That’s Why There’s A Team!

Rene: “I just–I screwed up. You know, Oliver was right to kick me off the team.”
Dinah: “You were in an impossible position.”
Curtis: “Yeah, and when you’re in an impossible position, that’s why there’s a team, D.
Just like Dig said.”
— Arrow (6×09): Irreconcilable Differences

So, this was going to go the way of superheroes with leadership and teamwork but a closer reference has shown itself. I knew somewhere along the line there would be the opportunity to comment with pride about my student’s creation called “push-up club.”

When a group of students were preparing for their Haidong Gumdo, Korean sword, black belt test, they realized that they had push-ups to do as a portion of the test. What do good responsible students do in this situation? They get together at the end of class and do push-ups. Most only did what would be required for the test, but they were there doing them,

Now, at the time none were looking at how doing push-ups as a group was building our team further. They weren’t looking at becoming a leader within the school, either. They just did the work that they knew needed to be done. The several students with military experience have commented that push-ups have always been done to build teams. Even recently, watching an episode of Miami SWAT on Netflix, not my choice, the 22 team all joined in with the probie to do push-ups, which were caused by messing up his assignment. This is done to help drive the point that the team does together always, plus that the team is more important than the individual.

I agree with this concept, though, I don’t believe that it truly develops a stronger team when it is pretty much expected to do. Someone not wanting to do the push-ups would be seen as not part of the team, so it is kind of a false development of the team. Why do I believe this way? That’s a really good question.

The real reason for my stance on this is illustrated by how push-up club has evolved. Back in October 2016, in the middle of their wedding reception, the bride and groom and fellow students had push-up club. Moving forward to May 2017, another wedding reception where students married had push-up club while the DJ played YMCA (yes, it was a Star Wars theme). The third comes from a random evening out socializing with friends and push-up club erupts.

In all of these illustrations, push-up club happened because all there CHOSE to join in. This is truly how push-ups build teams and leaders. All those who choose to do the work benefit from the group’s work and growth. I’ve said it many times and will probably say it many more…I’ve got awesome students!

Do what Works – Guest Post by Bill Hedrick

Do what Works

I was originally going to title this: “Don’t try new things,” But of course that would send the wrong message.

When I was a kitchen designer my biggest problem is that I didn’t want to do things the same way. If I found a good way to solve a design problem, I would use it once or twice and try something new. Most often this resulted in failure. I coined a saying, “There are many new bad ideas, there are few new good ideas.” Recently, it came back to me in Gumdo class. We were doing “Zombie drills,” where a zombie would come at you doing straight cuts and you had to block or avoid them. I found a good way that worked for me and couldn’t stick to it. Several of my classmates had the same issue, we would try something flashier after using a technique that worked. Master F. observed that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Do techniques that work! I saw this in action at Northwoods Conquest, in the youth weapons division. The winner did Ssangsu 5 and 7 (sword forms) in combinaton and nailed it. Another competitor tried a mashup of a stationary cutting drill, a bit of one sword form and a couple moves from another form. He got lost somewhere along the way and quit. Another competitor tried to do Ssangsu 3, got lost somewhere in the middle and butchered the end. He used a kagum, metal training sword, for the put away and ended up grabbing the blade, had it been sharp there would have been literal butchery. Another student simply did a good Ssangsu 1 and earned a medal. He did what worked. In competition you need to stick with what works for you. Stretching your limits should be done in training, not in competition.

True Growth

Okay, the audio is poor but it says a lot!

This is out of New Zealand but applies everywhere! I agree completely with his graphic about successful athletes. I also hope that people will start viewing the martial arts as more than just a sport but a way to teach the points he mentions! The personal growth areas of character, values, virtues and discipline are SO much more important to develop than how many trophies/medals you have on a shelf!

Fight Like A Girl

I don’t know that I’ve posted anything here but…
Back in the day, when I was yellow belt (Karate North Gold belt – 8th gup), I started sparring. This was March 1981 or so and a Purple belt (4th gup) lady pulled me aside to spar with her. It ended up that she was tired of being “beat on” by the 15 & 16 year old males in the class. Their lack of control and excessive contact was beyond what she was interested in.

So, after a few weeks of sparring with just her, there was a night when she wasn’t present for sparring. The whole fun of that night is when I ducked under a flying side kick from a fellow student about 4 years my junior. Yeah, he missed as he went over my back, then I punched him in the head.

Since that night sparring him and a few others, I’m proud to claim that I fight like a girl. Now why do I put it this way? Because it isn’t a negative thing. It is a way to understand what tools you have and how to use them. I’m not the strongest nor fastest and, if I hadn’t spent the time with her, I probably wouldn’t have continued with Taekwondo. My personality doesn’t fit the aggressiveness of the sport.

I’ve been banged on pretty hard by some of the competitors in my sparring division during colored belt days. The sneaky that I learned was the only way that I could keep up with them. Since then, I’ve kept sparring and challenging my students to understand the fight. This work has also helped me develop a better understanding of personal protection and problem solving.

I guess where I’m trying to go with this is that, yes, there are many differences between males and females physically, which is basic physiology. Then again, I would rather watch the quality athleticism of women’s college softball and basketball over men’s baseball and basketball. The games are cleaned with more actual playing. I guess I’m good with fighting like a girl.

Thoughts into Words (Bunhae)

When I started training in the martial arts, I found that learning techniques came quickly. The coordinated movements seemed to fit together with decent balance. The flow of techniques in drills – stances to kick to stance to punch – helped develop them further. This is the start of developing discipline and focus.

This was much easier than figuring out how a pattern moved and why it moved. Developing the application of techniques is only proper to martial arts training. The work put into figuring out why a technique has been included in the pattern. Then how is it being applied as the technique shows up in other patterns,

Okay, so now I’ve got the movement down and an application set. What do I know? Probably still very little. I do tell students that they can use a “Hollywood” story to hep them remember the pattern but I warn them to not keep that as the only story. That version may not include practical application of the techniques. It isn’t until you look at techniques as being applicable combinations separated in patterns by direction changes. Yes, when you change directions, you change the fight. Patterns aren’t really one full fight but rather several linked together.

The next item that comes into play is being able to articulate what you see as the application of a technique to another student. I have written student manuals to help students but I know that in several places my labeling of technique and movements are inadequate. They don’t say what is truly happening but I don’t have better words. This ends up being an illustration of why I’m always a beginner. There is way too much to learn and pass on.

Arnold Sports Festival/Battle Of Columbus 2018

I have the distinct honor to be the Gumdo/Kumdo Co-Director for the merged Arnold Sports Festival – Battle of Columbus. The joining of these events returns to the 2001-2004 version BUT this doesn’t mean that the event hasn’t grown! The addition of Gumdo to the event is a great step forward for the Korean sword art! Please consider joining me at the OPEN TO ALL ASSOCIATIONS/FEDERATIONS event!

Arnold/Battle Of Columbus

Awesome Day!

So, today I received the appointment to b the Co-Director of the Gumdo/Kumdo division of the Arnold Sports Festival/Battle of Columbus. this is a great honor bestowed by Supreme Grand Master Choi. T am honored to work with Senior Master Robert Gross on this event. He is an awesome martial artist and I believe that we’ll make it a success.