The Art of…

Having a hobby is a good thing. When one is over the age of 50 the hobby, typically, is golf, mall walking, or something lame like that. I decided I didn’t want to “grow old gracefully” like many of these people or those I went to high school with. I chose to try and complete something I started when I was in my teens. I’ve said this in other blogs, but sometimes life gets in the way and it is hard to get things done, but after I completed my bachelors degree I wanted to close another chapter in the book and go back to earn my blackbelt.

I always had a special place in my heart and mind for karate. When I was young I trained under a third Dan, Chuck Buzzy, who trained under Master Edward Ormanian who trained with Chuck Norris under the direction of the Grand Master Hwang Kee. It’s kind of like my cousins, friends, neighbors dog, but it is all relative. In true form our class was taught in the local community center in the late 1980’s.

I chose the martial art of Tang Soo Do. Mostly because it was the only form of karate taught near me but I really enjoyed the forms. I wasn’t one much for one steps. One Steps are the moves one practices to defend against standard attacks. Having been in actual fights where there are no rules, thus no standard, I found it hard to comprehend this part of karate until recently when I discovered that it is all about muscle memory and also having the knowledge to perform multiple defending techniques against an attack…as well as the confidence it builds.

Tang Soo Do has literally been around for thousands of years. No one truly knows where it came from, but the best guess is it was formulated across all of Asia. The style I’m in now is Korean. It derived in China and takes into account stylization from Okinawa and Japan too. It is a hard style and some day I want to learn some Judo. I believe that mixing the hard and the soft together would be quite formidable.

Well, I only practiced long enough to earn a 7th Gup (Orange) belt. The belt systems are different in each style of karate depending on the Kwan (school) governing the art but the numbers are the same in all of them. Karate counts down to blackbelt from 10 to 1 with 1 being the first Gup prior to earning a first Dan (blackbelt). I was versed in the knowledge to earn my 6th Gup but work, women, and fun seemed to weigh in heavily and eventually I dropped out of karate.

Nearly twenty years later I got back in. At that time I practiced and earned up to my first Gup. The school I trained in, at that time, was in Livonia Michigan and my fiancé and I lived in Redford (right down the street). Well, my fiancé worked at night and I worked during the day so I wasn’t at home when our next door neighbors house was rubbed in broad daylight. It, easily, could have been our house they broke the window of and climbed in on my fiancé while she was sleeping. So we moved far away. It was too far to travel back to class so I stopped going once again.

Eight more years had passed. The school grew and many of the people I went to school with earned their black belts. Of those people, one young man started his own schools. Fortunately one was near me and I started up again. In March of 2022 I will earn my first Gup, again, and be on my way to finally earning my first Dan.