Category Archives: White Tiger Ramblings

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

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 SrM Robert Gross on this event. He is an awesome martial artist and I believe that we’ll make it a success.

Stay in the Moment!

Forms…stay in the moment!

“Forms are memorized. Don’t let the next memorized move take your attention away from your current move. Always watch your target. Watch the kicks! Watch the cuts! This goes along with don’t practice dying. Unless your current threat is eliminated, you can not know the next threat. If life was a form, we would all know what is next and be prepared to deal with it. Unfortunately, that is not reality. We need to have high speed problem solving skills.”

So says Tanya…during the November 21st WTMA East Central dojang Taekwondo and Haidong Gumdo classes. She had the class doing hyung and gumbub (forms) and noticed that many were doing the patterns only by rote. That doesn’t help develop the combat…problem solving…aspect of the martial arts as we present them.

This enforces our teaching that each technique should be correctly completed before moving to the next one. Included in this is retaining the intent of the technique to completion also. The greater benefits include the development of strategies that can be adapted to work in daily life.