Outside the Martial Arts Box!
I used to ask my instructor
what he did to get better.
What did he work on?
What were his training methods?
He answered me:
‘I just do the forms.’
But he could stick his index finger
through a board and leave a hole.
there had to be something more.
It took me a while,
but I figured out the ‘extra ingredient.’
Going outside the box.
I’ve written about his kicking bag.
We couldn’t go to a store and buy a bag back then,
we had to make our own.
I bought a duffle bag,
packed it with sawdust,
used it for a while.
It was a true piece of…stuff.
But it worked,
and I practiced,
and my kicks got better.
He did the same thing,
He was able to find the canvas ‘sleeves.
He filled it with sawdust,
and the thing was too light,
didn’t pack right,
fell out of shape after a few hundred kicks.
So he experimented,
going ‘outside the box,’
and packed it with sawdust and water.
It got moldy.
He tried adding bleach.
and he tried other methods.
His stroke of
outside the box
He cut newspapers in circles,
and stacked the circles in the bag.
never fell out of shape,
light enough to hang without bending the rafters,
and so on.
This is true ‘out of the box’ thinking.
He did something totally unique,
nobody had EVER done anything like this,
and likely haven’t since then.
But his kicks were truly…
outside the box.
let me describe the trap you are currently in,
which stops you from thinking outside the box.
I came across a fellow on the net,
and he was talking about if bags get too hard
you can’t kick them.
And he’s going into the physics,
and how it is physically impossible
according to the rules of the universe,
and so on.
If my instructor had ever paid attention to the physics…
he never would have made that bag.
He would have been trapped by,
not the physics,
but the belief system surrounding physics.
I was once told that a bumble bee can’t fly.
His weight is too much,
his wings too stubby,
according to physics,
the bumble bee can’t fly.
Thank god the bumble bee doesn’t know physics.
Thank god the bumblebee has his own belief system.
And we get all these athletes
training by physics,
eating the food,
using the training devices,
following regimens described by people
who know physics.
Before the four minute mile was cracked,
it was considered impossible.
No human could ever do that.
on the top tier of runners,
you’re sort of a wannabe
if you can’t break the four minute mile.
But the physics didn’t change.
What changed was people’s belief in physics.
they didn’t accept the physics,
and they went ahead and broke the rules.
Went outside the box.
Did something that nobody believed they could do,
in their supreme moment of ignorance,
they believed in themselves,
and ignored the idiots.
They went outside the box.
When my instructor kicked that bag,
it was too hard,
he should have broken his foot.
he figured out how to kick the bag a little,
and his foot got stronger,
but more important,
his belief that he COULD kick that bag got stronger.
as he kept kicking that bag,
his kicks slowly improved,
and his belief system,
his idea of what it was possible for him to do,
So that is how you go outside the box.
You get an idea,
you chip away at it,
you look at it,
and you expand your belief system
beyond the belief system
of those that are trapped by belief systems.
you don’t have a unique idea?
When the instructor has you do ten kicks in class,
Go home and do a hundred.
I noticed that the fellows in my school
who had the best kicks,
were practicing 200 kicks per kick per side.
So I went home and started practicing
250 kicks per kick per side.
am I glad I did.
I’m 70 now,
and when I practice with these young kids,
my front kick is still faster,
and they really don’t like blocking it,
it hurts them to block it.
what about forms?
Do you do your forms twice or thrice
and then call it?
How about doing your forms ten times?
have you ever done a form100 times in a row?
It changes you.
It changes the way you think about forms.
It changes your belief in forms.
Something I used to do,
I was practicing Tai Chi,
and I decided to pile stance it.
There are about 108 moves
in the classical form,
I took a full minute to do each move.
Took me two hours to do one form.
I was different after that.
My Tai Chi was different,
and I started to really understand
what the old Tai Chi masters were talking about.
I hope this gives you an idea on how to think outside the box.
The only advantage you’ve got is your imagination,
imagination IS thinking outside the box,
so put in a little extra sweat,
and put yourself outside the box.
is definitely outside the box.
I combined Karate and Tai Chi,
and got some interesting results,
results not covered by the fellows spouting their physics.
Here’s the link.
Have a great work out!
Here’s a link for an article about when I first started doing this book on Kenjutsu.
I intended to finish it quickly, but it’s actually been five years!