Thursday, May 04, 2006


I'll admit it. I've been looking at another martial arts school's website.

Don't worry, TKD friends, I'm not thinking of leaving our school! I am pleased with the instruction I get there, with the fellowship of the students, with my progress as a martial artist.

But my frustration with hand and arm board breaking (and some of the comments I've received when I asked about breaking injuries on Karate Forums) made me wonder how I might find martial arts practices that are best for me.

I don't have a particular loyalty to Tae Kwon Do. I like the kicking and sparring; I like the forms. Yet, my goal is not to be a Tae Kwon Do champion (or even expert) but to be a martial artist. By that I mean someone who's focused and strong, someone who can demonstrate the graceful, powerful movements of forms, someone who is competent and unafraid of sparring. None of that has to be Tae Kwon Do. Other martial arts fulfill those goals.

Anyway, I spent some time looking at the website of a nearby school that teaches "Samurai Arts," the Jade Tiger Dojo.

Jade Tiger actually got me started in martial arts! After I saw an Aikido demonstration by that school a couple of years ago, I started thinking about learning martial arts myself. In fact, I liked the idea of learning Aikido . . . except for the falling down part! (Aikido uses joint locks and throws rather than punches and kicks.) Plus, that school is a good drive from my house: about 30 minutes. Our dojang is a quick 5-10 minute drive from my house.

Still. I like some things about Jade Tiger. The teacher seems knowledgeable about and interested in teaching about Japanese culture and history. He has swords classes for children. And he teaches other weapons, like bo or staff.

Unlike my boys, I'm not interested in weapons, generally. But something about the bo--its simplicity, perhaps--makes me wonder what it would be like to learn forms with it, to spar with it.

I'm staying where I am now, but maybe at some point I will take classes in bo at the Jade Tiger.

Maybe I could substitute bo for board breaking!


TKD Rocker said...

I never realized this until I read your post, but my dojang incorporates a lot more than just Taekwondo into our curriculum. We have self-defense class once a week, and although its just called "self-defense", it is technically Aikido. Then there is weapons; we do make a distinction between TKD and Kobudo (We wear a different uniform, use Japanese commands instead of Korean ones, etc.) But I had never thought about how diverse my school is. Thanks, and remember that even though Taekwondo is in many ways a "team effort", it essentially boils down to what your needs are and what you want to get out of your training. Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

I may have mentioned this before, but have you seen the Xtreme Martial Arts documentary on the Discovery Channel? It's also on DVD or at your library. They show many different weapons, and go through the origins of the weapons - many of which were originally farming tools.

There's something very ancient, powerful and elegant about the bo staff and the samarai sword when used in forms. I prefer the more classical-looking forms, however the flashy "competition" bo forms (like those by Lauren Kearney) are impressive to watch.

I've done quite a bit of work with the nunchuks, but only a single bo staff form. I too would like to develop my weapons training more, and I agree that it makes you a more well-rounded martial artist.
Kicker Chick