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Martial Arts Frequently Asked Questions

0 Comments 🕔02.Mar 2017

Martial Arts Frequently Asked Questions
I’m 10 years old. My father says I’m too young to learn kickboxing. Is he right?
I think the law states that no one under the age of 18 can be a professional kickboxer. For a young kid to do kickboxing, I would think 13 or 14 years old is OK. [Kids should] at least be old enough to know what it’s like to train – old enough so their injuries can heal, where they don’t get banged around and hurt. No matter what happens, it’s still a sport; it has to be enjoyable to the individual. So I don’t think a kid should start too soon.
In kickboxing, you’re talking contact. In kids’ football, a lot of the players get burned out very young because they get beat up for a couple years and say: “The heck with this. I did this for fun, but it’s not fun anymore.”
By the time Golden Gloves boxers are 13 or 14, most of them have a flat nose. And they have to go through the rest of their life with that son of a gun. In kickboxing, head gear, large gloves and good control should be mandatory. Thirteen should be the youngest age anyone gets into it, because then a kid knows what he is doing. Before 13, karate, jujutsu, tae kwon do, hapkido, or another art might be better.
– Bill Wallace

Is wing chun kung fu the best martial art for kids?
That’s a difficult question. Wing chun is well-suited for kids because it’s not a strenuous sport. It will help kids grow naturally and develop coordination, reflexes and concentration. There is very little chance of getting injured in training because it is rehearsed and the practitioner is very familiar with it. Only later does he or she go on to free-flow chi sao (sticky hands) exercises.
– William Cheung

Is it tough being a woman kickboxer in a man’s world?
First off, I’ll say yes. However, it’s becoming more and more equal. There are two woman-sanctioned bodies just for boxing, one in Florida and one in New York. And there are tons of women fighting in Europe, as well as America. Equality is becoming a little more apparent these days.
– Kathy Long

How important is physical strength in wing chun kung fu?
If you’re doing wing chun properly, strength is probably the last thing on the totem pole. We always assume that if someone attacks us, he’s bigger, stronger, faster and somewhat intelligent. If he’s slower, smaller, weaker and stupid, you don’t need any kung fu. You can just smack him and tell him to go home. Wing chun was designed so the average person could defeat Manchu soldiers who were well-trained, well-fed and well-armed. If strength were a factor, you would surely be defeated when fighting someone stronger. The idea is to defuse the energy, reduce the level of threat, and redirect and deflect the force.
– Phil Holder

I just saw you on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and I think you’re great. How can I get into movies and TV like you?
The first thing is to enroll in a beginning acting class. Try to find one that has good all-around instruction that includes basic training in front of the camera and how to present yourself to casting directors (the people you have to impress before meeting the producer or director).
You’ll also need to have photos taken. They should be black-and-white 8-by-10s. If you want to do martial arts movies or TV, your photo should be of you in your martial arts uniform doing your best technique and should show your face very well. If you can afford it, you should also have a photo of just your face (called a head shot).
You’ll also need a resume – a listing of information about you. You need to list your name, phone number, height, hair color, eye color, previous acting experience and special skills. Don’t worry if you have no acting experience yet; just list your martial arts and tournament experience.
Once you have your photos and resume, you can begin to look for acting jobs. A good place to start is the “trade” papers – publications that include casting notices for TV and movies. A good one is Drama Logue. You can also get an agent who will help you find acting jobs.
A word of caution: An agent gets 10 percent of the money you make on jobs he or she gets for you. If an agent asks for money before you have a job, that is a clue that he or she is not honest and is doing bad business. Casting directors should not ask you for money. Also, it is very important for one of your parents or a trusted adult to accompany you at all times on auditions, meetings, photo sessions, acting classes or jobs. Remember that self-defense is not just learning how to kick and punch; it is also about learning safety awareness.
– Karen Sheppard

I read that you think it’s a good idea to study a variety of martial arts. I thought kickboxing was the most effective and realistic. Why do you need anything else?
I’ve studied different martial arts – san soo kung fu, aikido, kickboxing, jujutsu, kali and boxing – because I’m very open-minded. My approach is not to try to find one thing that is the best for you, because there are a lot of things that are “best” for you. I just like to be as well-rounded as I can. That helps me in everday life – to be able to adapt to any situation, whether it is a self-defense situation or something to do with work.
– Kathy Long

I am a 14 years old, and I love martial arts. I am really interested in ninjutsu and would absolutely love to learn it. Is there any way to train yourself as well as a teacher could? How can I find out if there are any ninjutsu teachers near me?
I really appreciate your enthusiasm for the martial art I brought back from Japan in the late 1970’s.
When it comes to training in the martial art of Japan’s ninja, books and videos can certainly help. That is why I wrote my series of ninjutsu training books for Ohara Publications, Inc. Books and videos are excellent ways to explore the philosophy behind the martial art you study. You can also get to know the instructor better and get some idea of the character of the teacher writing the books and offering training. Is this a martial art that promotes violence in the world, or does this training lead to the kind of strengths that will allow you to restore peace when things get dangerous?
Although books and videos are valuable tools, it would be difficult to actually teach yourself the ninja taijutsu unarmed or weapon martial arts without a good instructor. It takes the direct experience of training with a skilled practitioner to give you a feel for the dynamics of proper timing, distancing, placement, leverage and momentum to make the techniques in the books and videos come to life.
– Stephen K. Hayes

Is kickboxing a sport of a martial art? I say it’s a martial art, but my friend says it’s only a sport.
Kickboxing is the sport of the 90’s. The reason I call it a sport is because it has rules. In an art, there are no rules. In an art, there are no rules. An art is a way of life, a way of self-defense, a way of protecting your loved ones on the street. And there are no rules on the street. In the ring, there are rules. But kickboxing is a sport. Anytime you get paid, it is a sport.
– Benny Urquidez

I read about you in the April 1997 issue of Black Belt for Kids and had a question: How young is too young for a kid to start a martial arts class?
A good age for kids to begin martial arts is 5. A lot of instructors take them younger, but if they do, the class needs to be more play [-oriented] and less martial arts-oriented. My daugther, Selena, is already learning. I’m not going to force it on her, though. She mimics me all the time, and she wants her karate gi (uniform) on when she’s at the school. She’s out on the mat for about 30 seconds, then gets bored and walks off.
– Graciella Casillas-Boggs

I keep reading that it’s good to combine martial arts, but how do you know which ones go together and which ones don’t?
Combining arts like tae kwon do, karate and kung fu generally doesn’t work well because the arts do basically the same techniques, but they do them differently. One art kicks one way, and another kicks another way. How do you know which way to use? Combining a striking art like tae kwon do with a joint-manipulation art like hapkido, judo, jujutsu or aikido works well because there is little crossover as far as techniques go. For example, a tae kwon do practitioner kicks and punches well, but if somebody jumps him, he can’t do anything. Adding hapkido’s joint locks and pressure-point strikes can make the practitioner well-rounded.
– Ron Lewis

You’re my favorite forms competitor. How do you win so much? Who taught you the forms ou use in tournaments?
I break down a traditional form into sections and work on the stances, timing and flow for each one. Then I build up two or three sections until I can get the whole form. Each form gets repeated four or five times in a workout. The Japanese forms I learned from Butch Togisala, and the Korean forms I learned from Robert Ferguson.
– Michele “Mouse” Krasnoo

I always read and hear about Brazilian men doing jujutsu. Is the style good for girls, too?
It’s very good for girls because if somebody tries to grab a girl, he’s not going to attack from a distance. He will probably try to hug her. We teach students how to realistically escape from that.
– Royce Gracie

For real self-defense, what’s more effective: punching or kicking?
Punching is much more effective. Period. The reason is that we’ve all been doing it since we were knee-high to a little grasshopper. We have to learn to kick and to have confidence in it. And while we’re doing that, we’re also practicing punching techniques, so we’ve gained that much more skill with our hands. So I would say the puncher basically has the edge in a self-defense situation because he’s used to using his hands and he has more confidence in them.
– Bill Wallace

I’ve been taking shotokan karate for three years and like it. My friend says I should switch to jujutsu, because grappling works better. Is he right?
If you just do stand-up fighting, you can add to your martial arts repertoire by taking grappling. There are a lot of grappling schools, but don’t just walk into one. Get somebody who’s a grappler to recommend a good school, because ther are a lot of fly-by-night [instructors].
You should do a combination of everything. If you’re a good grappler, you should know stand-up. If you’re good at stand-up, you should know grappling. If somebody takes a swing at you and you try to grab him, he’s liable to knock you on your gluteus maximus. So you have to know how to block, bob and weave. The best thing is not to get hit, because they can’t knock you down if they can’t touch you.
If you do stand-up fighting – karate – you add to your knowledge by doing mat work. If you’re a good grappler, you should learn boxing and karate. If you have tunnel vision and say, “My art’s the only art,” that’s like eating spaghetti seven days a week: You don’t know what strawberry shortcake tastes like.
– Gene LeBell

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