Beat up old guy musing

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by Xue Sheng, Jul 4, 2020.

  1. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    I am fairly certain, beyond getting me labeled a whiny old geezer, that this matters little to anyone but me, but I feel the need to write it out.....

    I was just watching a show on Karate, a style I tried very briefly back in the late 70s, at a Fred Villari kempo karate school, when I realized, waaaaaaaay back in 1972, when I was stricken with my martial arts addiction, my goal was to get a black belt someday.

    In 1972 I started with Japanese Jujutsu (no mat on the floor by the way, just a carpet...inside a fencing school....surrounded by fencing foils and fencing masks) and the belt ranking went white, green, brown, black. There were degrees of each belt and I got all the way up to second degree white and I was ready for my green belt test, when we had to move. My fathers job changed, from military (22 years) to civilian work. Never found another Japanese Jujutsu school near me after that.

    Then went to Taekwondo (before it was an olympic sport). Belts then were white, yellow, green, brown, black. We had joint locks, take downs, sparring (believe it or not, without pads...or a mat), and inclose fighting drills. I had all the katas and training to take the green belt test (again) but I could never get to the tests, which were held on weekends. Then the school closed.

    I returned to TKD in my teachers other school a couple years later, but I was older (19 to 21) dumber and more interested in women, dating and drinking than TKD, so I pretty much stagnated. And then....moved again.

    New York State
    Started looking for a martial arts school, was looking at a Judo school, and a Karate school, and then I severly injured my back at work,, spent some time in the hospital for that one. Afterwards I re-injured my back a few times, but not as sever, spent a week or two laying on the floor, but did not have to go to the hospital again for the back.

    Sitting in my living room, wanting to train, having no idea what to do, but also did not want to re-injure my back end up bak in the hospital again, I was at a complete loss as to what to do. The ironic coincidence here was a chuck Norris movie, Forced Vengeance, came on the television and I started thinking I will never do any of that again, when I saw one of the characters, Sam Paschal, doing something he called Tai Chi. I had just seen an add for a taijiquan class that day and that movie made me think, well, at least it is something. That was darn close to 29 years ago. That lead me to many other Chinese martial arts styles, Xingyiquan included, and had wanted to train Xingyiquan ever since I read about it in "Kung Fu Magazine" way back when I was in Jujutsu.

    I have since taught taijiquan, with the martial arts if students wanted it. I also was going to teach Xingyiquan, but xingyi was a hard sell. Xingyi can be painful to train (see Santi Shi), it is not pretty to look at ,and it is very aggressive. Not something your average "Internal Chinese Martial Arts" student is looking for these days, so classes never got far. Basically I marketed it wrong and to the wrong people.

    But today I realized, watching that Karate show, that somewhere along the way I forgot my goal of getting a black belt. All the styles I have trained, for the last 29 years, where Traditional Chinese styles, without belt ranks. Of Chinese based styles tI have trained none had belt ranks either. And this left me once again thinking....I want a black belt.

    I don't know why I still want a black belt, I have not wanted one for over 25 years. I likely could not train a style that gives belts these days anyway. Not sure I could deal with all the basics and training, due to arthritis and a history of knee surgery. And I best not forget the possibility of blindness in one eye if I take 1 to many hits in the head.

    I doubt I will lose sleep over this, I am working to get back to taijiquan and hopefully Xingyiquan, with hopes of getting back to teaching in a couple of years as well as after I retire, a few years after that.

    I just wanted to write it down....if you got this far without thinking "what a whiny geezer" :D thanks
    windwalker and axelb like this.
  2. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    I like the post, kind of like a brief autobiography of some of your martial arts.

    The "black belt" is one of those things that I hear a lot of people say it doesn't matter, usually by those who already achieved it.

    After getting my black belt in kungfu, I found it strange when I was going to various different club's and cross training, at least 2 clubs talked to me about fast tracking to blackbelt in their style. This really put me off even more!
    Both these were styles that would take 3 years for an average person to get black.

    I guess if you really want it you can go to a Gokanryu school, they do no contact sparring and hand out blackbelts like participation awards.
    But I can't imagine you'd want a belt to easy to obtain.

    There are a few things I would have liked to achieve, mostly competition, and now my health is too much of a liability.

    Maybe an online black belt course, I'm sure there are many of those around it could do :D
    Xue Sheng likes this.
  3. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    No, if I were to ever get a black belt, it would have to be, what I would call, a real black belt. Otherwise I could save my self a lot of pain, time and money and just buy one for $20 from Century Martial arts. ;)

    I'm one of those old martial arts dinosaur types after all :D
    axelb likes this.
  4. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    I thought that would be the case, you don't seem the time to accept plastic awards :D

    My desire to get a blackbelt came in part from my father achieving his in shotokan in early 80s
    Knowing that it took him 10 years with regular training and what he told me about the grading process gave me a standard I knew I would have to expect for getting my blackbelt.
    When it came to it, my grading wasn't as rigorous and strict which has always made me feel like it wasn't up there in standards of blackbelt with the old school.I certainly feel it was enough, but as the years go on I still feel the need to achieve more.
    Xue Sheng likes this.
  5. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    Yet, you still did the work, it was not given to you.

    That is what I like about my youngest's Aikido school, they don't give belts away, it takes a lot of years to get to a black belt.
    axelb likes this.
  6. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Well-Known Member

    Hey Xue, I was gonna suggest I could mail off a belt to you, I’ll even print up a certificate thingey, and get this: I’ll only charge you actual cost!!!

    Seriously, I think if I took you through the curriculum of the one system that I do have a black belt in, you wouldn’t want it. With the training you already have, you would find it uninspiring and not terribly useful overall.

    Bah. Honestly, I’m glad to be training where we just don’t bother with them. Life is better.
    axelb and Xue Sheng like this.
  7. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    AWESOME!!!!!!....where do I send the check :D

    Like I said, I doubt I will lose sleep over it, just something I wish I had accomplished when I could have. But I am not complaining about training in TCMA an d other styles that had no belt ranks, I enjoyed almost every minute of it, and I do not wish they had belt/sash ranks. I guess it is more of a nostalgic thing....guess that happens when you get close to retirement (just this week, found out I am a lot closer than thought) and you are darn close to being a sexagenarian....which is not as fun as the word sounds :D.

    Once the knees work, assuming they ever work properly again I plan on focusing a lot on Xingyiquan again, already doing Santi Shi to help increase lag strength after surgery, and if my thinking does not change I am likely to take my taijiquan in a different direction as well.with a different style or two too.
    axelb and Flying Crane like this.

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