GOING OUTSIDE OUR SYSTEM
By Master Willie Lim
When I was training
in TKD I was young and eager, an like
so many others, interested only in the free sparring. In my limited
capacity at the time, free sparing was
real self-defense to me. I hated doing
forms and did them only because they
were a prerequisite to my next grade. It had
been said that a lifetime was needed
to master a form. Yet within the teachings
of the time that idea seemed ridiculous
and so was generally rejected by most
What was happening was that the only
principal being taught was the kick-punch,
perhaps because it was seen as the simplest
way to learn. As a result, when we attained
black belt level we were still doing
the same thing but with greater proficiency.
Bear in mind this was still the elementary
level of the art. Hence so many of the
techniques wouldn't work as taught, e.g.
we were told that a jumping side kick
is to throw a guy off his horse. How
realistic is that? In fact, there are
many ways to use this technique, least
of all the aforementioned.
If you went to a car
yard and bought a car and it didn't perform
as expected you wouldn't hesitate to
demand better quality. However, in the
martial arts you and I have been taught
so many techiniques that will not work
and yet we have not complained. This
is because martial arts has been portrayed
as being so stepped in tradition that
it would be "wrong" to
question. Hence a lack of knowledge has
been hidden under the mask of tradition.
I have developed beyond
the traditional by going outside the
system and continuing my search with
those more knowledgeable than myself.
As a result I am able to appreciate my
own style more, see the true depth of
form and understand its multiple applications.