My Martial Arts Journey Begins

Martial artists always created their arts to solve a problem.  Judo was created when Dr. Jigoro Kano put his mind to solving the problem of how to train at 100 percent effort without getting someone injured by the crippling techniques of Japanese Ju-Jitsu.  Helio Gracie created the basis for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by trying to solve the problem of how a weak guy could survive and overcome a much stronger attacker.  Karate and Okinawan weapons developed as a means of protection against the samurai.

The problem I have been trying to solve for the last three years is how you adapt a traditional martial art to today’s self-defense needs.  Using techniques the way they were done to defeat samurai is not effective in the modern era.


Ken Breaking in the late 1990s.

I have been a fan of combat sports for as long as I can remember.  I used to watch boxing with my stepfather all the time.  He taught me a little bit about the proper way to punch.

Dad was going to start me boxing when I was twelve but was suspicious of the man running the local club.  Dad’s instincts proved to be spot on when the club closed a few weeks later.  The man absconded with the club’s funds.  It never reopened.

Obviously drawn to combat sports, it is not hard to understand I would be drawn to martial arts.  In 1994, I began taking Shotokan Karate lessons to meet the PE requirement of my Associates Degree.  A few months later, my nephew Jimmy asked me to join his Taekwondo class.  I began training with Master Pat Weseman and her husband Art Weseman.

During this time, I became aware of a new martial arts tournament which began in 1993.  The original Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) were style versus style martial arts contests.  A quiet guy named Royce Gracie was taking everyone to the ground and submitting them with chokes and arm locks.  Royce, who only weighed 176 pounds, was beating men 50 pounds heavier.  He looked more like a book keeper than a professional athlete.  After seeing him, I decided if you really wanted to defend yourself, you must learn how to grapple or fight on the ground.

As the years went on, I got married and took four years away from martial arts training.  I came back to martial arts for good with my young daughter Caitlin in 2000.  By this time, I had not been watching too much mixed martial arts but that all changed in 2005 with The Ultimate Fighter television show.

I will continue speaking about my martial arts journey in future posts.

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