Friday, April 01, 2005

A different art

I got an interesting post yesterday from "pictureworthy" who suggested that I might try a different martial art, like Kung Fu or Tai Chi. Both of these are so-called "soft" styles as opposed to the agressive "hard" style of Tae Kwon Do.

This has occurred to me before. In fact, I've often thought that once I feel comfortable with TKD, I may switch to a "softer" style. I know that once I get to the higher belt-levels, strength and aggressiveness are going to be more important.

I must admit, I am drawn to doing something that makes me somewhat uncomfortable (the aggressive sparring, kicking, and punching of TKD). It makes me think more about why I'm uncomfortable with it, and think about whether TKD can be used to promote peace. I'm reading a book by Karate black-belt Terrence Webster-Doyle right now about this issue--I'd recommend his books to any martial artist.

I'm actually interested in finding out more about Wu Shu (Kung Fu) and Aikido. Problem is, it may be difficult for me to find a school around here. It's so easy to study at Hughes--lots of classes to choose from, etc. Plus, I like the place and the teachers!

Any thoughts from any readers about different types of martial arts? What have you done? What is it like? Can any martial arts be used to promote peace?


Matt said...

I've been studying Kuk Sool Won for a little over a year and a half now. Like TKD, its a Korean art. More accurately, it is a system that incorporates various aspects of other arts, as compiled by KSW's founder.

It includes the kicking of TKD, and expands on the hand striking. However, it also includes "softer" aspects and movements. We learn joint locking, throwing, breathing techniques, falling, and eventually, grappling and weapons. It is regarded as a comprehensive art.

Just something to think about if you do decide to try out another style.

As far as which arts can be used to promote peace, to me, that's like asking what words can be used to promote peace. Its all in how you use them. Just like martial arts.

Hard, soft, whatever, its just the way in which you train and use your body. How you apply what you learn, and how you coduct yourself and the example you set, those are the things that determine what you are promoting with your art, and with yourself.

Best of luck to you!

Pam said...

In response to your comment about wanting to do something that made you a little uncomfortable, I may be able to offer a little insight. I started TKD as an extremely shy six year old. I was very much out of my element for about the first year (I even had problems making my kihap loud enough, because I'm so quiet by nature!) But over the years TKD became an outlet for me, where I could just vent my frustration with a loud kihap or relax with the familier rhythm of the katas. Ten years later, I'm still somewhat out of my element when it comes to sparring, but that's what makes TKD exciting for me; it gives me a challenge. I really like your blog and I wish you the best in whatever you decide to do!