Risk and Reward

I remember speaking with an 'old school' black belt from the 60s and he was telling me of the weirdest training exercise I've ever heard of. Black belts in his school were required to put their hand into a plastic bag full of roaches - reach for a handful and squeeze them dead. He justified this by saying once you got over the idea that your hand is precious, it was much easier using it as a weapon and letting it fly.

This theme of self-sacrifice in the martial arts is not a new one. Old school training and fighting methodology is replete with anecdotes and myths. The idea that with the right amount of self-sacrifice, you can commit yourself to those techniques which will stop your opponent in his tracks.

Commitment and intent are two highly prized traits for a martial artist. But as modern practitioners, we must also value intelligence and survival. Each technique and tactic will have its own risk and reward. It is up to the practitioner to know how much force they can generate but also understand what kind of rebound or injuries can occur if you are met with non-compliance or if you miss or if you didn't get the right angle of entry ... etc.

I've seen a really large experienced black belt fall to the mat after getting his hand broken - he was side kicked and he left his hand near his hip. The hand got sandwiched between his hip and the foot. Now if someone like him drops to the mat from a relatively 'small' injury -- the assumption is anyone else will be affected similarly by even lesser pain.

Be alert.

Colin Wee
Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]


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