Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Going Home Again

I have a number of goals for 2016.

One of them is "Growing the Empty Hand".

I started in an empty hand art, but fell in love with Arnis - and weapons - pretty quickly.  I probably will always remain a weapons-oriented martial artist, because I am fascinated by weapons of all sorts, of all cultures, even.  All y'all know how I feel about meat and weapons, right?

A man after my own heart.

However, for the long term - for my personal growth, and for our martial arts school's long-term growth, I really want to develop more in the empty hand side of things.

While what I do in Arnis absolutely translates to the empty hand, I'd like to expand my repertoire a bit.  My inclination is to explore the Japanese arts, mainly because between that and the Korean arts, it appeals to me a bit more.  It also goes along well with my Kobudo study.

I've noticed, though, that I have to work a lot harder in Kobudo class because so much of what they do concept-wise is directly related to what the Karate and Tae Kwon Do stylists in the room already know and do.  Studying an art like that will probably make Kobudo a little easier for me.

To be honest, just as the martial arts in general appeals to only a very small percentage of the population, it is an even smaller population that is interested in studying weapons, especially for children, in the United States.  I don't know why this is, but it definitely seems to be true.

If I want to teach martial arts in the long term to more than a very small group of people, I need to add in an empty hand art into what I do.

Punching fog optional?

So, I have reconnected with my original Ryukyu Kempo teacher in Memphis, and I will be traveling there on occasion to study under him.  My first trip is at the end of April, 2016.  This will involve a couple of days of intense training, then going home and practicing my butt off until I get to visit him again.  I'll probably go once a quarter.

My teacher teaches a nice basic form of karate, with his tuite heavily influenced by Small Circle Jujitsu. As I researched and thought about it, I decided that this is perfect for me - the way I think about things, what I would enjoy teaching, and how it relates to my weapons work.

Nice, fundamental karate suits me well.

I have a friend in my AKATO group here in Dallas-Fort Worth that is going to work with me on the forms I am required to learn (he knows them all and is very, very good at them).  I start working with him in a few days (in March 2016).

So now my empty-hand path is in place, and I'm making progress.

I left Ryukyu Kempo as a Blue Belt, but he says we'll reconsider what rank I am when I visit.  White belt or some other color, I'm all good with whatever he says I am.

I get to go home again - to the city in which I was born, both literally, and in a martial arts sense, back with my original martial arts family, learning stuff I really want to learn.

I'm pretty stoked about it!

Have you studied more than one art?  Reconnected with old teachers?  How did you make those decisions?  Tell us about it!