Sunday, July 15, 2012


As a youth I was fat and weak. In high school I went out for wrestling one year, and slimmed down nearly to my ideal weight, but not quite enough so to avoid wrestling in the heavy-weight class. My first year in college, I took a class in Judo for the physical education credits, but was quickly hooked and returned to audit that class (unofficially a Judo club) for two more semesters, during which time I had an opportunity to watch a guest practicing karate (Wado Ryu). Noticing my interest, he drew me in for a bit of light sparring, during which he lightly landed several punches for every one I began to throw. His arms were slightly shorter than mine, but it didn't matter; he had an overwhelming advantage.

I was reminded of a situation years earlier, when an older student had taken exception to my campaigning for a ballot issue to authorize a bond to build a new high school, mid-way between the county's two largest towns. I was too close to the polling place, but that wasn't what he was objecting to. He picked me up, pinned me against a wall, and threatened to do worse. I'd been defenseless. Actions I could have taken occurred to me later, but it's just as well that they didn't at the time, because I would not have been able to follow up. He had an overwhelming advantage.

There I was, my second year in college, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, feeling less vulnerable following three semester in Judo, but still vulnerable, and newly fascinated with karate. This was also when the television series Kung Fu was in its first run. Deciding that what I was seeing on television suited me better than utilitarian karate, I started looking for a kung fu school. The closest I found with a reputable teacher was in Denver, so I moved to Denver, interrupting my formal education in the process.

The story of the following two years is probably best left untold, at least for the moment, primarily because it does not bear directly on my purpose here.

Later on I learned a little Tai Chi, and much later I spent nearly a year practicing regularly with a long, end-weighted staff. Since then I have continued to practice sporadically, and that practice has evolved into a personal style with some theory behind it.

It is that style and theory that I mean to address here, and my doing so is as much to motivate myself into more regular exercise (because I want to age gracefully) as it is to inform or inspire others, although that may happen too.

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