Sensei Paul Hinkley's Birthday Today

Mr Hinkley was one of my American Karate and Taekwondo instructors when I was with the SMU Martial Arts Club. A soft-spoken polite and intelligent man, he is at once one of the most effective fighters and instructors I have met. He generates what seems to be an unbelievable amount of power from a lean wiry frame.

I've heard a few things about Mr Hinkley, all of which are mentioned in awe. Here is a snapshot of what has been whispered to me:
1. He wakes up in the morning and practices forms for 1 hour every day.
2. He shaves and brushes teeth with his non-dominant left hand in order to improve fine motor skills
3. He took a full bo strike to the head (done accidentally) and didn't flinch. It was mentioned that he was grinning whilst blood poured down his face.
4. He was doing 100 situps a month after open abdominal surgery.
5. A black belt friend of mine received a roundhouse kick to the forehead from My Hinkley, apparently the most powerful strike he ever received in his life, and thought that that was the end of his world.

Mr Hinkey approaches the martial arts with an engineer's eye. He was talking about bunkai, applications, effectiveness of strikes, and angles of entry before they were 'in fashion.' Through him, I realised the value of technique, kata, and basics. From his influence, I realised that martial arts required us to engage an opponent mentally.

Once upon a time, Mr Hinkley was belabouring a point about step 27 and 28 in Toi Gye - an open palm strike into a manji-uke (one down block and one up block). He was discussing the need for the lower block to provide a sheering force to the right hand groin strike. While I didn't understand why he singled out that particular point for those of us who were there, nowadays I find myself belabouring the same issue over and over again to my own students!

Above all, I remember Mr Hinkley as a martial artist who was constantly seeking to improve himself. There was no other person he was more tough on than he was on himself. He is the model traditional martial artist.

All of us would be served well to look at Mr Hinkley's journey through the arts as inspiration for our own progress.

Please join me in wishing him a happy birthday.

Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

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Matt said…
A very warm happy birthday wish to him! Martial artists like Hinkley Sensei are a rare commodity indeed and we are lucky to have them around.

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