I usually don’t watch any reality show, but I make exception for The Ultimate Fighter series, where contestants compete for the UFC contract. I just had a chance to watch an episode, which featured Andy Wong vs. Brandon Melendez.
One of things they highlighted on the episode was Coach BJ Penn’s reaction as he watched Andy refused to use his grappling skills that he is known for. I could hear Penn screaming to “Take him down” repeatedly. Despite that, he stubbornly stayed on feet and traded fists against Brandon who is clearly a superior striker, only to find himself losing at the end of the match. … (more)
As my wife and I sat and watched, he cuts makiwara that are standing around him, one at a time. He is a master of Iaido, a style of Japanese swordsmanship. His sword moves in smooth motion, as though it is just moving in the air with nothing else in its way. But the barely audible thuds of falling pieces of makiwara remind us that he is indeed making the cuts. … (more)
Senior-junior relationship seems to mean something completely different here in the U.S. than it does in Asia (or rather, I should say in Japan, since that’s where I am from and know well). … (more)
One of the downsides of Taekwondo, and most martial arts for that matter, is the system of ranks — the procession along a prescribed path towards an “end rank” that signifies an overall understanding of the art.
I would like to let you in on a little dark secret of mine.
I am a big “scaredy cat.“ There, I have said it. … (more)
The black belt testing is finally over. That’s a lot off the minds for those of us who participated in the testing.
The testing was a grueling experience for me both physically and mentally, as I expected. … (more)
Over the years, I have watched quite a few students earn their black belt status at our school. They have put forth great efforts to reach that point. I sat and watched them test, and happily gave my blessing for them to obtain the belt for which they have worked so hard. … (more)
Every now and then, I hear: “I wonder why so-an-so comes here. I mean, they don’t look like they want to be here, and they certainly don’t look like they want to improve.”
Often times the object of such observation is a female, most of them youngsters. While I understand the above sentiment, I also understand the mentality of young girls — I’ve been one of them, after all. … (more)
Some students don’t want to spar. Maybe they don’t feel ready to do so. Maybe they are a little afraid of getting hurt. Maybe they feel a little intimidated. Or, maybe they think it’s only for those who are interested in competing. Whatever the reason is, they avoid getting involved in sparring whenever possible.
While I don’t agree with sparring and competition being the core of training, I strongly believe that it is an important aspect of training, even for non-competitors. … (more)
It’s been several years since I started actively coaching the Lehigh University Taekwondo Team. I initiated this as a way of giving back to the University Club, where I started my training. … (more)