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Thread: Conflicted about testing

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    Default Conflicted about testing

    I have a situation where I could benefit from the great many experiences and the wisdom of the fine Kenpo-ists that frequent this board.

    The problem is that I don't know that I feel ready to test for orange. I know the material but, I am having problems with two very key factors.
    1. Balance - kicking set 1 is not what it should be as a result of my lack of balance. I can throw good, solid kicks until I reach the reverse spinning back kicks. It's just not sharp. I've been doing core exercises to help this but, since my back surgery my balance has gone to hell in a hand basket.

    2. Transition from nt. bow to forward bow...a big problem and another side effect of having 3 vertbrea fused together. However, I'm not going to dismiss the fact that I can improve this problem with lots more practice.

    Testing is in about two weeks and I keep a very busy schedule. I make time each day to practice but, I am not comfortable with where I am and my ability to test. My instructor indicated that he feels that I'll be ready but, I like to be able to really rip the material when I test. Consequently, I'm very conflicted.

    Any suggestions, recommendations, issues, complaints, comments, admonishments or encouragement is very much appreciated. There is true value in the wisdom that can be solicited from the members of this forum.

    Thanks in advance.

    ~Peace
    ~Bill Richardson

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    Forgive everyone everything

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    I'm really hard on myself also. Your instructor knows if you are ready or not. Sometimes you just have to trust him (or her) to judge your level of expertise.

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Hi Bill,

    The spinning rear kick can be a toughie. Try concentrating on the 'spin' before the rear kick, make sure you are balanced then execute the kick. Many times folks think about the kick first without having their weight centered. Try it in two steps, first bring your feet together as you spin then once you are balanced you then throw the rear kick - it doesn't have to be that high. Do it like that and soon enough it will feel natural and come out smooth and strong.

    If you have trouble shifting into a forward bow because of your back, modify subtly your neutral bow by shifting your rear foot out just a bit. Have your feet compliment the tourquing of your hip and shoulders.

    I hope this will help you and I am sure the good folks here will give you more tips!

    Good luck with your test and let us know how you did!!
    "Fall seven times, stand up eight." Japanese proverb

    "I've seen some cats do some crazy stuff like bending swords with their necks and breaking flaming bricks... thats great and all but can they fight?" *shrugs* Moses Powell

    -Hank Colado

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Bill,

    Remember that getting an Orange belt means you are a good Yellow belt, not a perfect Orange Belt.
    Brad Marshall SP
    KKFI

    trgodbm@yahoo.com

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    Bill,

    Remember that getting an Orange belt means you are a good Yellow belt, not a perfect Orange Belt.

    Very well put.
    Quality outweighs quantity every time.

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    Bill,

    Remember that getting an Orange belt means you are a good Yellow belt, not a perfect Orange Belt.

    Well said and one that I will have to remember for myself when I am undecided at test time.
    A black belt covers 2" of your butt. Covering the rest is soley up to you

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Right on, Brad. We don't expect perfection at Orange Belt. You also might have to do the kicks differently because of the fused Vertabra. Talk to your instructor about that and have him help you.
    We had a person with the same thing and taught him a slightly different way of throwing the kicks. It helped him a lot. He is a good kicker now.

    I am Most respecffully,
    Sifuroy

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Kicking and stance work can improve your balance.

    For kicks, stand with both legs together and your knees bent. With your right leg, throw a front snap kick, side snap kick, and back snap kick, only putting your foot down after the back snap kick. Repeat on the left side and then do some more reps. Watch your form on each and every kick and make sure you're getting good extension and retraction. If you're having trouble doing the kicks, then kick lower, but continue to focus on form.

    Focus on stances for a workout session or two. Constantly feel where your weight is as you step through on your neutral bows, minding your center of gravity as you move. Same when switching sides, doing push and drags, crossovers, etc. Good posture is a must. Make sure you turn your hips fully when you shift from neutral to forward bow, and are rotating on the ball of your rear foot. Hope some of this helps.

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Quote Originally Posted by toejoe2k View Post
    I have a situation where I could benefit from the great many experiences and the wisdom of the fine Kenpo-ists that frequent this board.

    The problem is that I don't know that I feel ready to test for orange. I know the material but, I am having problems with two very key factors.
    1. Balance - kicking set 1 is not what it should be as a result of my lack of balance. I can throw good, solid kicks until I reach the reverse spinning back kicks. It's just not sharp. I've been doing core exercises to help this but, since my back surgery my balance has gone to hell in a hand basket.

    2. Transition from nt. bow to forward bow...a big problem and another side effect of having 3 vertbrea fused together. However, I'm not going to dismiss the fact that I can improve this problem with lots more practice.

    Testing is in about two weeks and I keep a very busy schedule. I make time each day to practice but, I am not comfortable with where I am and my ability to test. My instructor indicated that he feels that I'll be ready but, I like to be able to really rip the material when I test. Consequently, I'm very conflicted.

    Any suggestions, recommendations, issues, complaints, comments, admonishments or encouragement is very much appreciated. There is true value in the wisdom that can be solicited from the members of this forum.

    Thanks in advance.

    ~Peace
    The reason I "Thanked" you on your thread here is that I think it's one of the BEST uses for KenpoTalk, period..... To come here with something that you need to get sorted out in your head and tap into the opinion and experience of MANY other Kenpoists! It's the type of thing I really want to encourage!!!!!
    I've not read through other people's responses YET, so I may be repeating someone. Forgive...

    One of the most important things, I think, in the experience of being a martial arts student is the "Instructor - Student Relationship"; and each has their roles to play to hold up their side of the deal. Looking back over my own martial arts history, I know that I never did anything horrible, but I sure wish I could go back and do better by my instructors than I did. The student-instructor relationship is the MASTER conduit through which we recieve (or impart) our martial arts experience, period.

    I like to use the analogy of a house. IF we compare our martial arts existence to a house, then the instructor is the Front Door and the garage door! They're the main portals that we gain entrance through. IF those doors are stuck, you'd be in a fix!

    Anyway......
    The instructor's role is 100% benefit. They must be conscientious about and make certain that their efforts are aimed at the overall behoof of every student and the school as a whole. It's a tricky balance I think, but crucial. I think it's one of the biggest differences between a so-so instructor and a Great instructors. Great instructors nurture you like a tree, sometimes watered, sometimes pruned....always cared for.

    The STUDENT's Role ((YOUR role)) is simply to be loyal, dilligent and to TRUST that the instructor is fully taking care of their Role of 100% benefit for you. PERIOD.

    So....taking that into account, I'll say this:
    IF you aim to be a good student:
    #1. TRUST that they're taking care of you, that they know what they're doing ((MUCH much better than you do, otherwise....why seek instruction from them)) and that what they're doing all that they can for your benefit. In other words, it's your duty to 'trust' them.

    #2: Be loyal to them. IF you trust that they have YOUR own best interests at heart.....then go full steam ahead with what they say to do. You've expressed your concerns to him and he's listened and reassured, but he's still wanting you to test, so be loyal and forge forward.

    #3: Be Dilligent!! You owe yourself and your instructor the VERY BEST you can do, and then some! So give it. If you're concerned about your progress and readiness....improve on every single thing you can think of with all the FIRE you can muster, as often as you possibly can. WORK HARD, WORK INTELLIGENTLY, WORK OFTEN!!!

    I personally think that if you try to do these things, you'll look back on this stage in your journey in later years and be VERY glad you did.

    Your "Orange Belt" stage is only ONE phase of your progress, but the overall goal is to be the absolute best martial artist you can be....
    and that's for the rest of your life!

    Go for it!!

    Your Brother
    John
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    ~ David Bly

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Quote Originally Posted by KenpoHank View Post
    If you have trouble shifting into a forward bow because of your back, modify subtly your neutral bow by shifting your rear foot out just a bit. Have your feet compliment the tourquing of your hip and shoulders.
    I had a student who was 56 who'd had several back problems (an ex-pro boxer and ex-pro rodeo bull rider). He used this same type of modification, or at least a close approximation.

    Thanks Hank

    Your Brother
    John
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    ~ David Bly

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Thanks to each of you for your thoughtful and considerate answers. I must admit that testing without "owning" the material feels unatural to me. None the less, based on the confidence of my instructor and the depth of wisdom that exists on this board, I'll test on the 14th of this month. Thank you all very much.

    Now, does anyone have any advice on expediting the healing process for a broken toe? I broke one last Thursday in class while sparring. That makes only two broken toes since beginning martial arts training oh, so many years ago. At some point, I'll learn to pull my toes back on my round kicks as opposed to "slapping" with my instep. Old TKD training that just won't seem to go away!
    My last belt test, I somehow cut/punctured my instep (same damn foot) on Benny-AR (it was an honor to spar with him) from Arkansas. But, as my favorite author and warrior writes, "If thou sufferest painful dings and bruises then thou art doing it right"...right? On second thought, if I break my damn toe...I don't think that's indicative of "doing it right". I'll learn, eventually.

    ~Peace, God bless and Merry Christmas!
    ~Bill Richardson

    Rudeness is the frustrated attempt of a small mind to communicate.

    Forgive everyone everything

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Are you allowed to wear shoes when sparring? The number of broken toes at our school dropped dramatically when most people started wearing wrestling or martial arts shoes. That said, you need to learn to pull the toes back first....

    Lamont
    Pekiti Tirsia Kali and Kenpo Karate
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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    It might be helpful to mention you are somewhat nervous about the test to your instructor, and he could make any suggestions?

    Kenpo Gary

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    I just learned something that greatly improved my kicks. Spin on the balls of your feet rather than the heels or flat footed.
    Good luck on your test. I have one coming up that I don't feel ready for, but I trust my instructor and will do my very best.

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Scholars and Warriors,

    Just to let you know, I did test (broken toe and all) and actually did better on the things that I was most concerned about than I figured I would. It's amazing how a little pre-test medatation helps focus. I now tie on an orange belt for class.

    The real benefit that came from this was that my 11 year old son has regained an interest in martial arts. He had some pretty bad experiences with our previous instructor and lost interested in training. However, he went to the testing to observe and became very excited about the prospect of training again. I've had him go to a couple of classes since, just to ensure that he really wants to train and he gets more excited after each class. I'll be signing him up tonight. Had I elected not to test, my son would not have been exposed to what we do and would still be dissolusioned about training.

    Thanks to everyone who encouraged me and offered advise that was contrary to my trepidations. You proved yourselves absolutely correct and the epitomy of cumulative wisdom. I've heard it said that the smartest person in the room is everyone...and when a room is full of people with the levels of intelligence and wisdom as what can be found on this forum, we are all so much better off.

    Again, I cannot thank you enough John Brewer, Kenpo Hank, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Broad, Brother John, sifu roy, hemi, sentinal, Blindside, Kenpo Gary, and flounder. Yours is the wisdom that I pledge to carry away and scatter to those who will receive it.

    Now, I'll close before I get all misty like a little girl.

    Full and humbled salute, sirs.
    ~Bill Richardson

    Rudeness is the frustrated attempt of a small mind to communicate.

    Forgive everyone everything

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Quote Originally Posted by toejoe2k View Post
    Scholars and Warriors,

    Just to let you know, I did test (broken toe and all) and actually did better on the things that I was most concerned about than I figured I would. It's amazing how a little pre-test medatation helps focus. I now tie on an orange belt for class.

    The real benefit that came from this was that my 11 year old son has regained an interest in martial arts. He had some pretty bad experiences with our previous instructor and lost interested in training. However, he went to the testing to observe and became very excited about the prospect of training again. I've had him go to a couple of classes since, just to ensure that he really wants to train and he gets more excited after each class. I'll be signing him up tonight. Had I elected not to test, my son would not have been exposed to what we do and would still be dissolusioned about training.

    Thanks to everyone who encouraged me and offered advise that was contrary to my trepidations. You proved yourselves absolutely correct and the epitomy of cumulative wisdom. I've heard it said that the smartest person in the room is everyone...and when a room is full of people with the levels of intelligence and wisdom as what can be found on this forum, we are all so much better off.

    Again, I cannot thank you enough John Brewer, Kenpo Hank, Mr. Marshall, Mr. Broad, Brother John, sifu roy, hemi, sentinal, Blindside, Kenpo Gary, and flounder. Yours is the wisdom that I pledge to carry away and scatter to those who will receive it.

    Now, I'll close before I get all misty like a little girl.

    Full and humbled salute, sirs.
    Well Done Bill
    Brad Marshall SP
    KKFI

    trgodbm@yahoo.com

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    I liked reading through this thread. It seems so often, I heard students asking about the exact opposite. THEY think they are ready for the next rank (even though they have nothing to compare that basis on in the big picture), and it seems like they just want to be given rank.

    I applaud you for realizing that a belt is only an outward, external thing that reflects the knowledge and skill that is inward from your study. I hope many more people can read something like this and examine "why" they want their next belt.

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Quote Originally Posted by punisher73 View Post
    I liked reading through this thread. It seems so often, I heard students asking about the exact opposite. THEY think they are ready for the next rank (even though they have nothing to compare that basis on in the big picture), and it seems like they just want to be given rank.

    I applaud you for realizing that a belt is only an outward, external thing that reflects the knowledge and skill that is inward from your study. I hope many more people can read something like this and examine "why" they want their next belt.
    Kenpo is not my first pony ride (though it is my favorite, to date). I remember the days, in my youth, when I was overly anxious to get that all-important black belt. Now, I'm in it to be a good martial artist and for the intrensic benefits of training. My fear always is that I'm going to make the instructor look bad, and he just doesn't realize it. However, as the "wise ones" on this site so indicated, my instructor knows better than I what is poor, what is sufficient and what is good. I just need to listen to him.

    I'm in no race to black belt (and beyond) but, I am glad that my instructor is "pushing" me along. I'll try not to be so hard to push in the future.

    ~Peace
    ~Bill Richardson

    Rudeness is the frustrated attempt of a small mind to communicate.

    Forgive everyone everything

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    I would really consider concentrating on Stance set 1 and 2. This not only teaches you your stances but how to keep your balance. I am a very big fan of Stance set 2. In the kicking set I would recommend counter balance. In Mr. Tatum's 4 hour seminar video he goes over this. I found it to be very interesting.
    "To hear is to doubt. To see is to be deceived. But to feel is to believe." -- SGM Ed Parker

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    Default Re: Conflicted about testing

    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post
    Bill,
    Quote Originally Posted by MARSHALLS KENPO View Post

    Remember that getting an Orange belt means you are a good Yellow belt, not a perfect Orange Belt.


    I can understand the idea of waiting until you think you are ready before accepting a new belt, but I have to agree with Brand and Brother John.

    Myself I was an orange belt for 4 years. Mostly because all I wanted to do was hit and kick people . . . but some of it had to do with accepting the responsibility of being a purple belt.

    And remember itís not your opinion that matters (in this case) but the opinion of your instructor. If your instructor says itís time to test, itís time to test.

    For the record I as a 4th Black for 13 years before accepting 5th, Iím not saying itís easy, but as my seniors put it to me Ė just because you're seeking perfection Ė that is no reason to hold up progress.

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