Today was a good day, my knee that had been bothering me is toned down a lot, did not interfere with my workout at all. In fact, this was one of my better workouts, keeping up a steady pace on the heavy bag, getting my jump kicks just a bit more coordinated.
We did a “ladder” on kicks, counting one kick from each side, then two kicks from each side, up to six and then back down again. In my younger days this would have been considerably easier, but two years ago it would have been nearly impossible.
By the way, Trisha said that I should relate this to you guys so that you know the importance of stretching. Last Saturday I put together two large rather complex shelves 6′ x 6′ each. As you might imagine, there is a lot of bending, kneeling, lifting and other awkward movements, all told about 9 hours of effort and a drenched t-shirt. Afterward I was sore all over and moving very slowly, a bit surprised given my workout regimen.
Since stretching was on my schedule, I decided that I just as well get it done. To my great surprise, after 30 minutes of stretching, I felt great! The soreness in my legs, back and arms were gone and I no longer felt like an old man! I know I haven’t reached my goal of 20 years younger just yet, but it was a pretty good feeling.
On another note, I’m PISSED.
I had had a discussion with Trisha about Tae Kwon Do (in which I had at one time earned a blackbelt) and Muy Thai Boxing. It is obvious that Muy Thai practitioners are a lot more serious, and engage in full contact practice often, which makes them very well equipped for full contact competition (and yes, very badass!). Yes, they punch and kick trees, they harden themselves beyond what Americans are usually able to do in their busy lives.
On the other hand, Tae Kwon Do in America is not as intense and dangerous, but as I recall from my training, they are usually more agile, their kicks are better in technique, the combinations are better and they have a more rounded tool kit for fighting. It is also very structured so kids can learn in a definitive way.
And while you see numerous instances where Muy Thai fighter defeat Tae Kwon Do fighters because of leg kicks (which are illegal in TKD tournaments, so they have no idea what havoc is about to be wreaked) and flat out killer instincts, I mentioned that if I had kids and wanted them in the martial arts I would start them in Tae Kwon Do and transition them to Muy Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitzu later. Trisha had trepidation about this. She has a Karate background and said that the transition to Muy Thai from other styles was tough, especially the kicking.
This was puzzling to me because I thought the kicks were rather similar. So I went to youtube to find some comparisons.
The first video I found a guy demonstrating the classic round kick, but not using proper technique. He was coming in straight and twisting rather than arcing around as I was taught. Wrong! The second video…the same. The third video … the same.
Then it occurred to me that the Tae Kwon Do that I studied was the old combat style with the wide stances, hard blocks and powerful techniques designed to knock someone out with one blow. I remembered that after I had graduated college and looked around for schools in my new location, most of the schools had shortened the stances and changed some techniques. I kept my old techniques.
The reason they changed was that the modified techniques were slightly faster and they wanted to win tournaments. These were point fighting tournaments where everyone is buried in pads, speed is valued over power and a mere touch was scored as a point. Never mind that the new techniques were very bad physics and could never be competitive in a MMA.
Now that MMA has come to the forefront, the new Tae Kwon Do techniques seem to me to be the equivalent of slap fighting. While my own style of Tae Kwon Do kicking is similar to Muy Thai and possibly adaptable, the new Tae Kwon Do techniques are completely wrong in a combat sense. They have ruined this fighting art, and yes, I am pissed. And if I have children and want them to learn Tae Kwon Do, I will find someone who is old school, like me.
This is wrong for a Tae Kwon Do roundhouse kick:
This is correct for a Tae Kwon Do roundhouse kick: