When I earned my 1st Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo during December 2005 at Willow Martial Arts, I had already studied Judo for three months. My instructor, Master Pat Weseman, is a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Judo as well as a 6th Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. With this background, a number of our self-defenses were Judo based, so I wanted a deeper understanding of Judo.
At Black Belt, we are also encouraged to study other arts and bring the knowledge back to our school. I studied Judo for several years eventually reaching 2nd Degree Brown Belt. I also studied Gracie Jiu-Jitsu through Gracie University even though I did not attain formal rank in this art.
As the years passed and my interest in applying mixed martial arts to self-defense increased, I began to focus more on grappling and less on my base art, Taekwondo. I realized about six months ago that I saw myself more as a grappler than a striker even though TKD is what I consider my main martial art.
I decided to fall back in love with Taekwondo by focusing on three areas over the next six months.
One of the best aspects of Taekwondo is the ability to train solo through forms training, walking drills, bag training, etc. I consider forms or poomsae in Taekwondo to be the art of martial arts. The first initiative is scheduling one forms practice of at least 30 minutes once a week.
Second, I noticed a propensity to favor right leg kicks as I’ve gotten older. To address this weakness, I’m putting more emphasis on left leg kicks for the next six months as well.
Finally, I’m focused on teaching the art more in-depth to our students. If you want to learn a technique, what enhances the technique and what detracts, you should start teaching. Teaching brings the art into laser focus. Students think instructors are always teaching but the students teach us as much as we teach them.
I still like grappling and won’t abandon the training. I am returning the focus to where it needs to be. TKD first, other arts second.
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