Martial Arts Failures

One Man's 30 year journey from Martial Arts failure to success


Throughout the years, many different schools, many different teachers, private lessons, regular classes, seminars, a trip with a fellow student home, certain things said to me, stayed with me for life. And  a great weight I have carried is there are so few who could appreciate what the weight of  a profound comment , that “ahhhh haaaa” moment, when you appreciate what is said, but do not know what to do with it…at the time,anyway. So please allow me to bore you with some of the comments that I have stored on my mental hard drive the oldest one is actually 35 years old. Wow, am I getting up there! In fact, let me start off with that exact quote, from the teacher from the first Karate/martial arts school I ever visited. I was 18 years old, stationed in Baton Rouge, LA.  I was a body builder, not a martial artist…yet. But being there were no gyms for many miles from my ship, but there was a karate school maybe 20 minutes away I decided to go check out what an actual class looked like. So after calling the school and “asking permission” to observe a class, after it was over, the teacher started taking just to me as he waved good bye to all the out going students. And he said: Did you see how well that particular fellow you were watching could punch? He is only with me one year. But the teacher  said, I ask my students to practice their punching at least 50 times a day on each side no matter what. He then said something that hit me over the head. He said:





1-” Fifty punches doesnt really sound like very much, does it. But if you do that daily for a year, thats 18,250 punches! You tend to become pretty good at something after you have done it 18,000 times, dont you?”

Bam! Baseball bat right over my head. I shook his hand and said I would let him know. On my way home I said to myself, “Naaaaa, 50 times a day is just a few minutes. Waste of time. Let me do it 250 times on each side so I can do 500 punches a day and that would equal 182,000 punches per year. Now that’s punching!” So I did 500punches the first day, by day 2 I was sore as a lame horse, and by day 3 I became totally frustrated and bored with Karate, quit practicing and never went back. This is what often happens when you start an “art” as a teenager who does not know his own limits or have a true concept of time. Years later I realized I wished I did those 18,250 punches. Want me to get really sick. Times that by 35 which is how many years I would have been doing that. I don’t even want to know the number, I would throw up. I was then, and for 25 years since, thinking in terms of a long time being 6 months. What can I get out of something in 6 months was always the question to most everything I did in Martial Arts. It isn’t a bad question, just an incomplete one. Do we all agree?


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3 thoughts on “Quotes

  1. #2-When I asked my Baji teacher how long he had been training in Baji and he replied “Not long. 16 years.”

    I was stunned 15 years ago when I heard it, but even more so now. I see that what being a warrior inside and out requires, is to have no problem with the amount of time needed to achieve your goal.

    • #3-When you are really doing Tai-Chi, if someone attacks you as you step off the curb, a second later he is laying on the ground, you go surprised “Oh excuse me, did I hurt you?” That is real Tai- Chi”*” William Chen-Yang Tai Chi Master

      * Let me add, what I took it as meaning was that it applied to any art. He might as well have said “That is real fighting.”

      I have heard from several teachers and advanced students that when someone attacked them, they did not know what they did to end the fight, only that their attacker was sprawled out on the ground. Is this necessary to be so “uninvolved” in the “event” as to react with full speed and timing at your command? I don’t think so. Because I have heard from other fighters that when attacked, they specifically focused on punching “through” the part of the opponents body they wanted to hit.
      Isnt the two extremes interesting to look at, though? Both accomplishing the same job, both with opposite mindsets.(At least consciously.)

  2. To comment on my own post,I must say it really spurs me on to start training again I still have not returned! I suppose NOW….if someone asks me what I would like my goal in Martial Arts to be, the answer now would have to be “To enter the battle** so poised, so relaxed yet focused, so able to block out the entire world(or include it) that when the battle was over I could actually astonish myself and go “I did all this?” Win OR lose!

    **When I say battle it could also be a drill or sparring session as well, or even just practicing a form or juru or anything that when finished I cant remember doing it, yet it was done with great power and grace and purpose, all together.

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