Friday, August 24, 2007

A mixed welcome back!

The title of this posts expresses more than just my feelings on my first post since my self-imposed exile at the end of July. It's also a comment on my personal situation.

Starting first with what's happened at TDA Training since I left, I have to say that I'm amazed, blessed, shocked, and impressed! The experiment of having guest posts by my blogging pals at the Convocation of Combat Arts was a great success. Site traffic didn't drop a bit. In fact, it ticked upward a bit, as I'd been slacking off on the posts for a few weeks anyway as my impending move was hindering my availability to post. A summary:

Rick Fryer of the new, but excellent, KICKS BOXES blog kicked us off (yes, I meant to do that!) with "NOW, THAT’S INTENSITY!," featuring some awesome training drill footage from, in keeping with the "training" theme of TDA. Rick then posted "WHAT WOULD YOU REALLY DO?," a wonderful anecdote on the moral costs of learning and using self-defense skills. Rick finished up with "THE POWER OF BLOGS:"

Imagine if legends like Gichin Funakoshi or Bruce Lee had been able to keep a blog. Think about all of the information, theories, and ideas that have been generated by Funakoshi’s books and Lee’s Journals.

Now just imagine how much better it all would have been if others could have shared their thoughts and opinions with these masters online. Sure, there would have been some controversy (there was anyway!) but there would have also been a lot of confusion cleared up as well.

With a blog, questions could have been answered, suggestions added, theories examined and extended. Who knows how much their ground-breaking ideas could have been refined and improved if they had been able to share their thoughts across the internet?

We can only guess how much our arts will develop and grow with this mighty new tool for communication at our disposal.

Blogs are now a huge part of the future for the new Information Age. I’d like to finish my time here by taking time to thank people like Nathan Teodoro for making the martial arts a part of that future.
Well said Rick, and thanks for coming over! I did notice that the moving boxes in TDA had been kicked over, though (sorry, couldn't help it!)...

Next, blogger Bob Patterson graced us with his Striking Thoughts on Jerry's Beasley's notable work, "Mastering Karate" in his post "American Martial Arts" and muses on how, despite their Asian origins, our country has put its own stamp on the martial arts world. Further, "I've trained in "Americanized" versions of Wing Chun and now Taekwondo so Beasely book really resonates with me. I think the first time I thought about this conundrum was when I tried to spar against my sabum using boxing strikes and wing chun kicks and blocks. Sabum's superior kicking and footwork shut me down. After that he would often say "If you can kick high you can kick low". Broadening his message to sum up this very long post I'd have to say this to all the martial artists who read this: It's good to keep an open mind because each martial art has value." Amen to that one, Bob. Thanks for helping out, and I appreciate you reorganizing the TDA Training bookshelf while you were over!

Aikido and Judo instructor Patrick Parker of Mokuren Dojo weighs in with his essay "Drawing your sword," on the escalation of force with which a martial artist must concern himself, starting with this quote from St. Bernard, of all people (now you see why I invited Pat over!):

…a warrior especially needs these three things--he must guard his person with strength, shrewdness and care; he must be free in his movements, and he must be quick to draw his sword. In Praise of the New Knighthood (Liber ad milites Templi: De laude novae militae) St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Pat then raised some hackles and drew a plethora of comments with "Why not Christian martial arts?" Why not, indeed. Some things we're supposed to avoid discussing are religion and politics, right? But what's more important than those things, in the big scheme of things? Patrick doesn't shy away from asking the tough questions - on MY BLOG! Good stuff, actually, and I intend to comment on this, and the other posts as soon as possible, and may weigh in with my own posts on these subjects if I can add anything valuable to the debate.

Then Pat finished up with a good post on "Ground randori," to build our skills on the mat. I love ideas like this, and if you do too, head over to Mokuren Dojo for more. Thanks for waxing the floors while you were down there. The TDA Training surface hasn't gleamed like that in years!

Gordon White of The Blue Wave Taekwondo School blog explains "Why Taekwondo differs from Karate." It's a well-written essay on something that many don't know, and he's honest about his bias (WTF) and qualifications for writing on the subject. It's refreshing to see such a disclaimer on a blog post, especially mine, where I often bloviate on subjects with which I have little to no formal training, just perspective. Anyway, if you have any interest in the history and formation of one of the world's most popular martial arts and sports, this is a must-read. I appreciate you coming over Gordon, but I did notice some footprints on my ceilings. Perhaps you should work on your low kicks when you come over??? Great contribution!

With the Black Belt Mama, you never know what you're going to get, so I invited her over with some trepidation (OK, just plain fear!), and was relieved to see her first post,"
BBM in the HOUSE!," a lighthearted poke at the martial arts - blooper videos! Not too dangerous, right? Then BBM really took a step out of the box with "Faith and Rank," using the analogy of church attendance to contrast with the concept of rank in the martial arts. She speaks:

It is often heard that once you attain black belt, you're always a black belt. However, any rank up to black belt means nothing if you quit and go back years later. You have to start from scratch. Starting from scratch of course, assumes that you think your accomplishments can only be verified by the color wrapped around your waist. The knowledge that any martial artist takes away from the dojo is theirs to keep and no one can strip that from them, even if the belt and its perceived meaning is taken away.

What is happening on the inside is always more relevant and important than what is happening on the outside. People attending church each week, who leave the building and don't practice courtesy towards others are not going to get an easy pass to heaven just because they are sitting in the pew each week. And karate-ka's who are only concerned with how hard they kick and punch are missing an important element of the martial arts, one that great masters knew was inherently important.

I think she's outdone herself, honestly. I will definitely be commenting on this concept, probably in a separate post, so look for that. I did notice some silver missing, but have been alternatively assured that she'll bring it back (she probably shined it when bored), and that it was some sort of secret agreement for guest posting! As if!

Finally, the Dojo Rat decides to show his face, and then claims that I abused him (see Guest Blogging At TDA Is Brutal !)
! I mean really! Anyone with eyes can see that the guy holding the beer IV isn't a doctor, and considering that I wasn't even in the TDA compound at the time that those photos were taken, it's clear that there's a frame-up in the works! Actually, DR kind of steps out of the box a little with that one, too. I was actually close to ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing) from that one!

The Rat finishes with two posts
(Aikido And The Dynamic Sphere and Dislocating, Tearing, and Dim Mak) about some excellent grappling tomes, which, with his endorsement, will probably hit the best-seller lists again.

Anyway, coming back to TDA Training world headquarters and seeing all the damage (plus a few improvements), gives me even more reason to feel that I made the right decision in making the location nearly inaccessible.

Thanks to my friends for the help while I was away, and thanks for reading TDA Training!

CoCA thread on Guest Blogging at TDA Training


Black Belt Mama said...

What a nice return! I hope everything has worked out with your house by this point.

And there's really no need to fear the BBM. Of course, if my neck had been back to 100%. . .

Dojo Rat said...

Nathan; I'm considering putting myself through law school so I can REALLY defend myself... (ha,ha)

Glad you're back, moving is always stressfull. Try a Beer i.v. drip, it works for me!

Nathan Teodoro said...

BBM - thanks again. As to my fear, that's just what someone whom I would fear would say, "Uh don't worry about lil ol me!"

DR- you are deadly enough already. I'll give the IV a shot. Uh, I mean, a try.

[Mat] said...


Nice return indeed.

It is an honor to be in the Coca. Not the soft drink, I mean.