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Sensei Flinthart

Posted April 22, 2013 into Sport by John Birmingham

Woke up at five this morning with a migraine closing in on me. So I'm disinclined to spend much time in front of the screen for the next few hours.

Never mind. Mr Flinthart has all your Monday morning reading needs covered with this excellent post about taking three of his littl'uns to a tae kwon do tournament.

It was a well timed post for me, having spent an hour with Anna on the weekend laying down the basics of kumite. Not satisfied with the gnarlier street defence aspect of jujitsu she'd asked if we could do some 'regular fight' training, where the fighting is bound by rules and obigations of honor, unlke those methods in which she's being trained for self defence.

Flinthart explains how they do things in his dojo, which is pretty much how they do them everywhere children are taught in the Tokhon Ryu.

I expected my three players to get tagged out on points fairly early. After all, the ruleset actually precluded about eighty percent of what they know how to do: no grappling, no locks, no throws, no ground-fighting, no strangling, no knees, no elbows, etc. In the Scottsdale dojo, I break it up for them, of course. Sometimes they practice judo-style, trying to throw. Other times they wrestle on the ground. Sometimes they practice the standing/striking stuff. And there are games: with padded foam "swords"; games where they try to push one another out of a designated square. Learning games. And sometimes, for the fun of it, I ask them to put it all together: stand and strike until someone grapples. Then struggle for the throw. Then keep going on the ground for a submission of some sort.

That's what they think of when someone talks about "fighting" on the mat.

In other words, they went into this competition at something of a disadvantage. Not only were they barred from most of what they know, but they were competing with kids for whom the standing/striking stuff was all they did.

What happened next is well worth a read. Especially if you have your own littl'un and you're considering enrolling them in a martial art. (With one caveat. Flinthart's kids live at home with him. They live at the dojo, in other words. They live the art every day, whether they know it or not, whether they are on the mat or not. It's not the same as turning up once a week for an hour's practice).

5 Responses to ‘Sensei Flinthart’

Dirk would have you know...

Posted April 22, 2013

Well. One of 'em weren't my personal kid, like. But he's around here most weekends. You know what kids are like in a country setting: they're kind of communal.

I was damned proud of 'em, though. The ability to adapt their own game, and derail that of the opposition while staying within the rules is as much as I could have asked for.

You're right about living in the dojo, though. I do occasionally reflect on the way ju-jitsu has altered the way I live, and yes, it's under the skin. A long way down. From breathing to walking to lifting and carrying; from problem-solving to prioritising and just about everything else. The underlying principles of absorbing what comes and adapting it, taking energy and redirecting it -- these are things that can be applied to simple living, and they do make it a lot easier.

I expect the kids see a lot of that, whether I think about it or not.

JG has opinions thus...

Posted April 22, 2013

I didn't know you were a ju-jitsu sensei, Dirk. How many years have you been practising it? Did you meet JB through ju-jitsu? It sounds like a lovely martial arts, utilising the transfer of energy... eg 'from breathing to walking to lifting and carrying'.

I can see how ju-jitsu is an analogy for life, and how it could be useful across one's life (ie learning self control, transforming difficulties to challenges and advantages).

What martial arts discipline would you recommend for older females (ie middle-aged and over)/beginners with no martial arts background?

JB - Sorry to hear you have another migraine. I hope it goes away soon.

Joanna :)

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Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted April 22, 2013

When I hear 'kumite' I instantly think of that fabulous Jean-Claude Van Damme training film 'Bloodsport'.

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coriolisdave is gonna tell you...

Posted April 22, 2013

Awesome stuff Flintheart. What you describe as your go-to sparring sounds very much like ultra-traditional TKD "TKD sparring" - basically, anything goes, grappling/etc/etc. Still kick-heavy, being TKD done by TKD people, but still. It's not done anywhere near as much as the more sporty stuff, unfortunately, but it definitely exists.

Not sure if the WTF mob (aka olympic-style, which is who your hosts sound like) do it, but if you can find some local ITF clubs you could host your own wee tourny. I know I'd have loved to go to something like that back when I was training.

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ShaneAlpha mumbles...

Posted April 22, 2013

Studying any martial art, armed or unarmed, influences your life in ways you never expected.

And kids gowing up in that environment just absorb it through their skin, which scares the hell out of those of us who started later in life.

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