Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Aaron Cook injects optimism into team GB Tae Kwon Do

Aaron Cook wins in the 80kg weight class at the British Open Tae Kwon Do Championships and ranks him number one in the world.

I do find it strange that competitors can lose so much composure following a point score though. It seems to me more like gamesmanship than martial art. They also seem to not follow up if they themselves are convinced of having scored a point, appealing to the judges often and crying and moaning. Oh dear. I think I'm getting old. Or at least am I old fashioned?

Monday, 27 September 2010

Don't just sit it!

As I'm sat here, skipping Kempo class, I feel...well, relaxed. I need a night off to crack this cold I have and hopefully I'll be back on form soon and training with gusto. I need to as the only way to learn a martial art is by doing it. Learning the key principle behind techniques is useful but it's in no way a replacement for doing it.

Knowing that martial arts training techniques are governed by principles such as "changing a small force into a larger one", "applying rotational motion", "transmit more force by adding momentum" are pretty fundamental when studying a martial art. Put another way, using some principles of physics and knowledge of the human anatomy including vital points can go a long way but it just can't replace feeling it.

I often read the mantras spun out by teachers about this principle or that and I understand it. They are often well put and I have no problem grasping the base idea of how to move a person in a certain way or how to immobilise a joint because of this or that physiological principle but really the only way to learn and appreciate is to do it. This means feeling your opponent and sensing where the right spot is to plant a fulcrum, or move them to the floor. Don't be mistaken though, this is in no way magical or mystical. It's sheer hard work and perspiration. Trying the technique on others (lots of others), and experimenting in a dynamic way is the only way to true mastery of a technique. I say this not as a master but a student who keeps trying.

I once made, what I thought, was a compliment to a super skilled, guitar-playing friend of mine saying, "Wow, you're really talented! You've got a gift!". Instead of delight, though, he replied in a level voice that it wasn't down to talent but sheer hard work; trial and error and hours and hours of practice. You can understand how to read music and how it's supposed to work but without hearing it, playing it, practising it, it's just theory!

Don't let your martial arts become a theoretical past-time... feel it!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Spartan's from Cambridge Shorinji Kempo Dojo come back *with* shields

Today a bunch of Mad Badgers ran in the name of the Cambridge Shorinji Kempo Do

jo (CSKD) at the Spartan race (, Bassingbourn. This was a gruelling (otherwise it wouldn’t have been ‘Spartan’, right?) 5 kilometre race at the military barrack assault course with some interesting additions.

On top of a LONG dark tunnel to crawl through, streams to splodge through, burning bales to jump over and mud to crawl through we had a very cold swim (about 30 metres) in the lake and a succession of hills to run up…and down!

But we survivied! Crispin, Sarah, Chris and honorary CSKD member Ian all rejoiced at the end at gaining our medal (and an additional bloody nose for Crispin who seemed to forget all ukemi skills). The pugil stick wielders felled Crispin, onto his nose (I simply screamed, "Not the face! Not the face!".) He took it in good sport though and after tea and sausage sarnies we felt warm enough to ..go home!

Nice one everyone. Especially Crispin who ran it all in his dogi…