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Caramel Apples

Friday, February 19th, 2010

A couple years ago had you asked me, “What thoughts would go through your mind if someone walked up and pushed you?” I would have probably said that it would make me mad and I would push back. I know the correct response should have been to turn the other cheek, but as you can see I still don’t have the answers.

Just the other day, in a small kung fu class in the little town of Tyler, a couple of us guys were getting some instruction from the “Man” It had something to do with plucking, center, being empty, timing, and caramel apples I think. You’re saying, “Caramel Apples?” Yes, caramel apples, and believe it or not it was a great analogy. I think I described our lesson as a grenade going off in my mind. I had just enough know how to see it, but was unsure if I could ever really grasp the whole concept.

What’s bad is that this confusion isn’t after my first week of kung fu, or my first month or year, but I’m going into my third year now and the questions just get bigger, broader, and a little further apart. After talking with my sihings, they all have the same problem understanding. That gives me some comfort, but not much.

This is what keeps me training every week. It may sound weird to some. – why would you want to keep working so hard at something you will never fully understand? Because it’s that complex, it amazes me. More everyday. The more I think I know, the less I really understand.

So now when I get pushed, I’m wondering…Did my shoulders fold around the punch? Did they drop in the hole? Did they have my center? Were they empty when I plucked? And then I’m telling myself, I was off balance, they had my center, I was too late, or did he say get a beat ahead? Was I supposed to return the strike? I think I turned that time. Was I supposed to turn?

Then I SCREAM to myself, bow to the “Man”, and leave more confused than ever but I can hardly walk out the door.

The Bug Within

Monday, June 15th, 2009

It was an average enough day. Nothing out of the ordinary, when a strange man came up to me at work. I was helpful and got him what he needed, but I had second thoughts about his mental competence. He went on his way, and I went mine, thinking nothing more of him and moving on to the next customer.

About fifteen minutes had passed and I heard a page on the intercom system. It said, “Mr. Decker to the front lobby, REDLINE.” This means to drop what you are doing immediately and get to the front. This is when my spidey senses told me something was wrong. I could hear the anticipation and nervousness in the person’s voice that called me, and I was off with the speed of a ninja.

Once I got to the front lobby, I saw a manager, a helpful customer, and the same man that I had encountered earlier, sitting down on the ground. I then ask the manager, “How may I be of assistance?”, as I pushed out my chest and dropped the tone of my voice. He told me that the man sitting on the ground made it to the front, left his groceries and proceeded to stand on the counter. He then began to undress. They stopped him from undressing and got him to the lobby and called for backup. Since I was backup, I introduced myself to the gentleman and ask his name.

He was very nervous and couldn’t sit still. He then began to take his shoes off. I called him by name, asked him to sit still until the police came, and asked him to put his shoes back on. He said “WHY. I would never hurt anyone.” He then stood up and came toward me with his hands out.

Without thinking, my body reacted. I blocked his hand, moved to the side, twisted his hand behind his back, and helped his face to the floor. He started kicking violently and yelling. I told him to be still and the police would be here soon. The more he moved and twisted, the further I pushed his fingertips up his back.

The police arrived soon after, and my heart was still beating 100 miles an hour. Once the man was off with the police the manager turned to me and said, “How did you do that?” I gave him the best answer that I had; “I don’t know.” It was really all a blur to me, I really didn’t know what I had done. It was pure animal instinct. It actually kind of scared me. The manager said, “Show me how to do that. That was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” It wasn’t just animal instinct; it was the “BUG” inside me busting out. I told him I couldn’t show him how to do it. I could show him the moves, but he would have to come and train to find the “BUG” inside him.

Kung Fu: The Real McCoy

Monday, May 18th, 2009

MMA and ground fighting are the new craze in martial arts. Every time you turn on the tube you can find a UFC fight and I can’t help but be interested. The people that train MMA are amazing athletes. Their bodies are in superior condition, through both physical strength and endurance training.

I recently had the opportunity to visit another school that teaches Brazilian Jui Jitsu and train with them. I introduced myself to the instructor and thanked him for the opportunity. He explained the general outline of how the class would be conducted and asked if I had any other martial arts background. I told him that I had been doing Kung Fu for about two years.

With the instructor, an assistant instructor, about six other students, and myself, we began the warm up – some running, push ups, sit ups, etc. After the warm up we went through and practiced several techniques: the Kimura, passing the guard, and a few chokes. Most of it was Greek to me, as I’m not used to doing my training from the ground, without shoes, and wearing a gi.

Then we began sparring…from the ground…on our knees. I was completely out of my element. Suddenly this guy dove at me, head first. I yielded back, wrapped my forearm under his neck and choked him out. My opponent quickly tapped. This caught the attention of the instructor. He told his student, “We’ve talked about that. You have to protect your neck. Tuck in your chin.” We set back up and he dove in again. This time I yielded to the side, caught his neck in the bend of my elbow, and choked him out again. After he tapped and we set back up, my opponent says “And what type of training did you say you do?”


Kids are Sponges

Friday, December 12th, 2008

My son will be six in January, and he has been in the Little Mantis Kung Fu class at TKKF for 24 weeks. A couple days ago, my family and a friend of my son were at a school event when I was shocked at what my son was doing. He was teaching his friend some of the techniques that he had learned in his Kung Fu class.

I was blown away. He was telling his friend, “This is what you do if someone grabs you, this is what you do if they grab your arm, this is what you do if they pick you up, and then you run. That’s called Stanger Danger.” I was so proud. He told his friend, “First you palm strike, then push kick, then run, and you can elbow, and you can snap kick, and you can block, and you can double block, but then you run for help.” His friend was doing the techniques with him, and of course my son had to interrupt from time to time to correct his form.

Kids are sponges. Why not let them absorb the knowledge of what to do if confronted by a stranger? He is always coming home and telling me, “Grab my shoulder.”, and before I know it I’m getting kicked in the leg and punched in the stomach. He says, “That’s what you do if a stranger grabs you, then you run.”

That is what Sifu Brandon Jones teaches in the Little Mantis Class, Stranger Danger. I’ve peeked in on many of my son’s classes and Sifu Jones truly loves what he does. The kids are learning self protection by acting through dangerous situations and having a blast at the same time.

Come to TKKF and see how your child can learn to protect themselves if a dangerous situation with a stranger should ever arise, and while they are learning, they’ll be having so much fun, that they don’t even know they’re soaking up this knowledge.

Bit By The Bug

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

I want to share with you my experience with Tyler Kung Fu and Fitness. I’ve always been amazed with martial arts. From the first Karate Kid to Bloodsport, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to discipline your body to do things you never thought that it could do.

I’ve been training at TKKF for about a year now, and I feel that I am in the best physical shape of my life. I started out training in the Cross Training Combat class. The first day that I came in, Sifu Brandon Jones told me that it would be an intense work out, and was it ever. After the warm up I was about ready to quit, but the macho guy inside me had to save face. We did push ups, on our palms, on our finger tips, on our knuckles, and then came the sit ups, the leg lifts, the bag work out, the kicks, and the list goes on.

The next day I felt like I had ran a triathlon, but what I saw was what we were learning was REAL. The training that we were doing wasn’t only conditioning, but it was learning a reaction to what could happen in real life. We weren’t breaking boards, we were learning the applications of Mantis Kung Fu.

The combat class quickly led to Kung Fu. You see all the movies and the hoopla on T.V. but this was REAL. I guess that is the point that I want to drive across. I was just amazed and still am to this day that someone could train their body to sit in a horse stance for a solid hour, and hour squatting with your legs bent at a 90 degree angle, back straight, and breathing through the pain of your legs burning out of control and trying to keep them from collapsing. I have trouble fighting through two minutes.

And after a year you begin to think, hey I’m in great shape, I’ve learned a lot, and you realize that you haven’t even brushed the surface… and it drives you. It makes you think, what could I accomplish, how much harder could I train to be better, what could I read to make me a better martial artist, who can I talk with to teach me more, how early can I leave work today to go and train?

If you want to learn fancy kicks or how to break boards, I urge you to go somewhere else, but if you want REAL martial arts training, a caring staff of instructors, and the application of this training for real life self defense…come to TKKF.

Hi, I’m Jimmy Decker, and I’ve been bit by the BUG.