Mar. 8th, 2012


Mar. 8th, 2012 09:40 am
darren_stranger: (Default)
I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about this 5th Dan business and where i'm going with taekwondo in general, turning things over and over in my mind and going in circles, so i think i need to put some of these thoughts down in text to get them out of my head.

In particular, i've been thinking about this 5th Dan grading, what it would mean to me and why i would want to do it in the first place.  The main reason that i come up with is confidence - having a 5th Dan could have some positive effects on my self-image and how i relate to the world.

Apart from enjoyment, one of my main reasons for doing taekwondo is for confidence and the ability to take action, not necessarily in a self-defence situation but for life in general.  One reason people often don't help others who are in trouble is because they lack the self-confidence to act (aka the "Bystander Effect") and i want to be more the sort of person who is willing and able to help someone who needs it, whether it's something like a first aid situation or just someone struggling with their shopping.  One incident that happened back when i was training for 4th Dan showed this perfectly, and gave me an insight into just how martial arts could have a practical positive effect on me as a person. 

But, while achieving 5th Dan might provide a boost to that sort of confidence in some ways, it's also a double edged sword.  While self-defence and fighting skills aren't my main reason for doing taekwondo, the fact that it is a martial art means that fighting is an integral part of it, and having a 5th Dan carries an expectation (in my mind, at least) of possessing a certain degree of ability in that area.  Put simply, to be a 5th Dan who doesn't know how to defend himself, with at least a reasonable degree of skill, would make me feel like a fraud and would undermine any gains in self-confidence that would come from achieving that rank.  That's pretty much it in a nutshell.

Of course, the question is what to do about it.  I can say that i don't want to think about doing the grading until i have a better handle on more advanced self-defence skills, but the question that remains is how do i set about building those skills.  If i haven't learnt that stuff yet, after so many years, then i'm obviously going about it the wrong way and need to change what i'm doing.  One thing i have figured out is that i need repetition - i can't just do something a few times every now and again and have it stick.  I need to do things over and over, week in, week out, in order to remember and become fluent with them.  That's why poomsae is my best skill, because we do it all the time and i can also practise by myself at home.  Self-defence is not so easy.  One strategy i've thought of is to identify certain techniques that i want to master and then just grab another black belt any chance i get and practise them.  Another thing i really should do is talk to Greg and Barry about it and find a way to say "look, the way we practise this stuff just isn't working for me", though that's kind of difficult as it does seem to work for everybody else.

Another thing i've been toying with is the possibility of taking up a class in hapkido, so that i can spend more time working more systematically on those sorts of skills, though that's a more long-term prospect, as starting a new art as a white belt isn't going to enhance my advanced level skills in a hurry.  It is something i'd like to do though, as i think the techniques and principles of that art would be a good complement to taekwondo.  Finding the time would be the tricky part, as the classes near me all clash with taekwondo, other than a Saturday morning class. That one i'll look into, though spending more of my Saturday at training may meet with some domestic opposition.

I'd also like to get back into refereeing for fight competitions.  I was speaking to Bill about it the other week and it seems they are desperately short of referees.  I used to really enjoy it, but stopped doing it years ago when i somehow dropped off the mailing list and fell out of touch with the rules and practices.  I'd really like to do that again, because it's exactly the sort of thing that is good to build confidence, quick thinking, presence of mind and decisive action, all the things i'm looking for from martial arts.  It would definitely beat the hell out of spending a day watching people do poomsae and ticking off minor technical errors one after another.

One other thought also occurred to me this morning:  I should get back into reading martial arts magazines again, just to keep myself inspired and motivated.  Because sometimes, especially when i'm dwelling in these sorts of thoughts and self-doubts, i forget why i even like doing martial arts in the first place.

Edit - Looking back on some old entries, it seems i've been very much in this place before:


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