For the very first time ...

That title needs to be sung for you to understand how last night, after having one partner for the last 20 years of practicing Traditional Taekwondo … I felt like I was having a mind blowing affair.

The hyung Chulgi is known by other names – tekki in Japan, naihanchi in Okinawa, and last night, … I heard it called by what could very well be its earliest predecessor ‘mabuchin’ (see http://dandjurdjevic.blogspot.com.au/2008/05/naming-of-naihanchi-naifuanchi-or.html). While the form isn’t well known to the current generation of ITF or WTF Taekwondo practitioners, it’s been influential with ‘classical’ Korean schools and certainly with Japanese and Okinawan karate-ka for many generations.

The occasion last night was a cross training event between my school and fellow IAOMAS instructor Dan Djurdevic. For those of you who aren’t in the know, Dan is possibly the smartest martial art instructor I know. In fact, I’ve encountered only two martial arts scholars in my lifetime – Dan is one of them. Shihan Dan, as he is known at Wu Wei Dao, has been studying the martial arts since 1981. The list includes but probably isn’t limited to: Gogu-ryu Karate, Aikido, Kobudo, Jodo, Jenjutsu, Arnis, Qinna, and Taijiquan.

My thought was to reach out to Dan to help me promote my September 13th 2014 IAOMAS Martial Arts Conference by scheduling a cross training opportunity between our schools. He offers one training session, and in turn, I will do the same for his mob.

I am truly a lucky man to experience the best of the martial arts with friends and inspirational colleagues like Dan Djurdevic

I am truly a lucky man to experience the best of the martial arts with friends and inspirational colleagues like Dan Djurdevic

Of course, each time you meet an inspirational teacher – irrespective of style, you can expect to reach beyond yourself. Dan invited the class, myself included, to explore a soft-style Chinese version of Chulgi. Did you hear that woosh, feel the flow of those movements? It was totally different to the pulsing staccato of Chulgi I’m used to. And the turns? Chulgi doesn’t turn. Ever. We did last night.

At the end of the evening whilst we were chatting, Dan mentioned something which is what I really intended to share through this post. He said that many soft stylists become harder as they mature, and many hard stylists soften much in the same way. Soft style arts, he said, lacks structure … and once you realise that, knowledge of ‘structure’ helps you become effective. Likewise, as I have personally come to realise, practicing a hard linear style is worthless unless you know that relaxedness and flow is very important before power transmission. There’s no point having the most powerful punch in the world if you can’t intercept strikes, cover yourself, or land your strike in the first place.

It is such insight that helps us become more effective technicians, helps us go beyond ‘methodology’ to become objective oriented Taekwondo practitioners.