Friday, August 31, 2007

Uncommon sense

I remember when I first started doing TKD in the late 80’s I was pretty naive. I’ve written on that some before.
One day we were practicing low kicks and I asked, “Why are we kicking so low?” The instructor told me we were practicing kicking bad guys in the knees. I thought that was ridiculous. “Why would you want to kick someone in the knee? That’s stupid.” I was surprised to find out that those things are easy to break and are debilitating when broken.
I suspect that there are a lot of things like this in the martial arts that are only common sense after someone points them out to you. Things that seem so trivial or fundamental that we rapidly lose track of the fact that we didn’t always know them. If we can forget that not everybody knows it, then we can forget to teach it to our beginners. Can y'all think of some examples in your practice?


  1. Pat, I'm not sure this was forgotten, but I used to block with my fingers out even though I was constantly told to make a fist. Until I had to get my wedding ring removed at the emergency room because of a jammed finger it really didn't sink in. Obvious, maybe...

  2. Just viewing the pic and waiting for the guy to scream in agony is painful. An you think I want you to teach me how to kick ass? Dream on.

  3. When I first showed up in my current instructor's dojo, with some few years of Taekwon-do in my background, and they showed me bunkai for kata movements I had never seen, it was a series of lightbulb moments. I don't think it had ever occurred to me while doing TKD that it wasn't necessarily the case that all the kata movements were strikes, blocks, and kicks. Now, it seems obvious that, as my instructor says, one should be able to interpret any given movement as a strike, or a block, or as tuite, and sometimes as a blend of two or more.

    But it weren't always obvious, y'know?


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