Martial Arts

January 30, 2008 at 9:29 am | Posted in exercise, martial arts | 7 Comments

Well, I’ve done it again. I’ve started taking martial arts classes again.

It’s been 15 years or more since I’ve studied Isshinryu karate at Jersey Judo Karate Kai in Mine Hill, NJ and Oak Ridge, NJ under Sensais Norris and Wargo, respectively. I studied there for a few years in my late teens, more sporadically once I started college.

It’s been about 5 years since I’ve studied Aikido at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ under Sensai Skinner. I studied there for about two years, but I regrettably stopped training to concentrate in grad school. It was the right choice to make at the time, but I wish it wasn’t necessary.

And now, after living 1 1/2 years in the north country, I have settled on Tae-Kwon-Do. It’s really the only game in town. There are other styles, but the drive is far, and the instructor who teaches on campus, Andrea Malik, comes highly recommended. Her students seem friendly and serious about their training.

And it’s sure more of a physical workout that Aikido ever was. I’ve had one class, and my heart was racing, I was out of breath, and I pulled a muscle doing a turn kick (roundhouse). I’m a little sore, but it’s a good sore, and it’s the first I’ve felt it in a long time.

So, Tae-Kwon-Do it is. Woo-hoo!



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  1. I took Tae-Kwon-Do years ago, back when I was in grade school. It definitely focusses more on physical fitness and fighting ability than on philosophy or mind-body alignment or other spiritual concepts.

    The class I attended was also involved in competition. They encouraged students to compete in tournaments and give public demonstrations. I don’t know if that attitude (which I never liked that much) is held by all TKD schools, or just the one I attended.

  2. I googled the instructor of this class. The second link that came up was a discussion forum on Martial Arts Planet. Another instructor was talking about the legacy of great female masters left by Grand Master B. C. Yu (whoever that is), and my instructor was one of them.

    “Best of all, I know Master Andrea Malik. She runs a great (low key) program at State University of New York (SUNY) at Potsdam. … Master Malik is held in very high esteem here in Potsdam and I would recommend her program to anyone coming to SUNY Potsdam.”

    Two of the professors in my department have their kids in her class, and they also have only good things to say.

    Anyway, the point I was going to make was that this other instructor on the forum described her program as “low key.” Perhaps that means she and her students do not strive to be so visible in the tournament scene?

  3. Congrats on your return to Martial arts. I’ve gotten close to returning a couple of times. Frankly, I haven’t willed myself to spend the money. Sad, right? I even found a couple of schools in my area that teach a style about as close to my Father’s style as could be. They call it “kenpo” though I know that different people call it different things. His style is definately Okinowan in flavor, though he made many mdoifications. But their emphasis on the whole body, the mind, and the circular movements, sound familiar to me.

    One of these days, I’ll make the commitment, plus my boys are about the right age to start, and I’d love to give them a chance to see if they like it.

  4. Do you think your kids would be more or less likely to join if you were already a member, or if you weren’t? Just curious. Some kids really look to their parents, some eschew the interests of their parents, some switch between those at various times in their lives.

    I need this. I had regular physical activity in Arizona bicycling to work most every day, and softball in the winter, spring, and summer. I’m going stir crazy here. I think the lack of sunlight may be a factor, too. I’ll tackle the physical activity first. Good scientist. (pat, pat)

  5. It may vary mostly by age. At young ages, you starting first is probably a plus. And if they try it early, by the time they rebel they might like it too much to stop.

    I definately like Karate more because my dad was into it. But that didn’t stop me from dropping it for a while, but then I started again. So, I took Karate from him from about 6-10 and then 16-21.

    In my kids case, my being in classes too would be great, but most clubs seperate kids from adults now, so maybe it wouldn’t have as much impact. THey certainly know that I and my father are into it. Legacy? Not really, but it is part of them, part of their family. And that counts for something.

  6. Oh, man. I’m going to 26th and 7th Ave. and walking around. I’ve been promising myself that I would go back, and here you are inspiring me.

    Tae Kwon Do gets a bad rap, I think. There are some really wonderful things to discover in every school, and Tae Kwon Do is no exception. I look forward to hearing about what you learn!

    I’ll check back in with you and let you know where I end up – I’ll make a decision by the end of this week! Maybe we can visit each other’s teachers? That would be interesting . . . my Sifu used to do that . . . great learning experience.

  7. Why does TKD have a bad rap? What do “they” say about it?

    Before I stepped on the floor, I watched a testing session. Two students were testing for brown belt, so I got to see quite a bit. There’s a lot more jumping techniques than I’m used to. My old style kept them to a minimum, and even discouraged them. I’ll have to get over that bias so I can learn the TKD techniques faithfully.

    Visiting sounds cool. 🙂

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