Going To Try Again, Wish Me Luck

Discussion in 'Kenpo / Kempo - General' started by DocWard, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. DocWard

    DocWard Green Belt

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    After thinking and toying with the idea for quite some time, I've decided to try returning to Kenpo. I've not been active in the martial arts for many years. In my mid-twenties through my early thirties, I studied Kenpo and managed to attain my First Degree Brown Belt, Ikkyu. Thanks to work in my career, my enlistment in the National Guard, marriage and kids, it took me a significant amount of effort to get as far as I did.

    As I began working toward my Black Belt, those same issues, along with physical ailments caused my progress to stall. I reached a point where practice was painful, and I was sure I needed knee surgery. I stopped training, which eased my knee pain to the point where I could continue in the Guard, but I finally went to my doctor and... Needed orthotics. I was far enough out of my training, and dealing with increased operations tempo in the National Guard and getting ready for deployments, that I never returned to training, but always kept it in the back of my mind. I've continued to stalk here, and to be a "student," if only from the academic standpoint.

    I did spend a brief period of time trying out aiki-jutsu, as well as my Army Combatives training, but my military career has left my shoulders in less than ideal condition, and the aiki just exacerbated the problem.

    So, a couple of months back, I ended up "friending" a guy who had earned his Black Belt under my old instructor, Dan, recently, and he encouraged me to get back to it. I went in and talked with Dan, and called today to start lessons again. I'm nervous, even scared, but excited too. I know I have so much to re-learn that I will face frustration and a long road. I've mentioned my physical maladies to Dan, and he assures me we'll work around them. I'm in my early 50's, retired from the military, and aside from a bit too much weight, I'm relatively healthy, other than the shoulder pain I deal with.

    Sorry for the lengthy post, but I tried to keep it short as a "re-introduction." If you've read this far, thanks for indulging me, and please, wish me luck! Now, to try to find my old notes and that darn brown belt. I wonder if my gi still fits.
     
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  2. Tames D

    Tames D RECKLESS

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    Best of luck Doc. Just keep showing up.
     
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  3. Buka

    Buka MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Best of luck, Doc.

    I made black belt in Kenpo this past spring. Only took me 43 years.

    Go gettum', brother.
     
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  4. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Have fun with it. Mind your shoulder, but don't let it tell you what you can achieve. There's probably stuff you'll have to alter to protect that injury, but you've done harder stuff in your life.

    So, like I said, have fun with it!
     
  5. CB Jones

    CB Jones Senior Master

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    Not only will I wish you luck....but I’ll wish you good luck. ;)
     
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  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Now you're just being picky.
     
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  7. DocWard

    DocWard Green Belt

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    Well, thank you! It is greatly appreciated!

    And thanks to the others who have commented so far as well.

    It looks like my old white gi fits OK, if a little snug on top. I haven't tried either of my black ones yet. I suppose it is sort of a mindset thing for me, recognizing that even though I have received a brown belt, there is much that I need to go back and re-learn. So, for awhile at least, I will wear a white gi. I managed to find the binder with my old certificates, but not the binder that had my complete set of notes. I did manage to find where I had started putting those notes into digital form! I think when I first started doing so, I was using a 3.5" floppy disk. Fortunately, I kept everything when I updated computers, and had it on a thumb drive. Unfortunately, it is far from complete, so I will keep looking. I might have to buy a new belt as well. I've found every old belt but my brown belt.
     
  8. Christopher Adamchek

    Christopher Adamchek Orange Belt

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    Break a leg! - YOUR OPPONENTS LEG - MUAAHAHHAHA
    good luck, im sure youll do fine
     
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  9. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Good luck with your return, but a serious question.... why would you want to wear your brown belt when you don't remember the material that goes with it?
     
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  10. DocWard

    DocWard Green Belt

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    An excellent question! Now that you mention it, I'm not exactly sure of what I should wear. I suppose I will ask my instructor, since he is the one who awarded me my ranks. On the one hand, although my knowledge and memory of specific techniques and kata have faded, once I start sparring, I think I might quickly be sparring above the lower levels, since I have actually done a good bit of that, including with others involved in karate before retiring from the military.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  11. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    Chookas.
     
  12. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    Yeah but sparring is only a very small part of kenpo.
     
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  13. DocWard

    DocWard Green Belt

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    Agreed, which is why I will ask my instructor. I mentioned sparring only because it can help avoid mis-matches, or assist in working with specific individuals during sparring, among other things.
     
  14. DocWard

    DocWard Green Belt

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    So, first lesson today! Mostly, we went over blocks, punches, kicks and the like. Dan said my techniques looked generally good, except for a couple of bad habits I picked up that I will need to unlearn. We also worked on a couple of kata.

    As far as what belt to wear, Dan pulled my paperwork and said I earned my 1st Degree in 1998( HOLY ----!!!!), and that I should wear it. When I asked about the old techniques and katas, he said we'll start working on the black belt material, and work to sprinkle in the rest as we go until I am where I need to be. In his opinion, I earned it at one point, and it shouldn't be a problem with confusion since I will be doing mostly private lessons and not dealing with younger or less advanced students.

    I will be doing mostly private lessons for now, because in 2017 he took a nasty fall down some slick stairs and as a result, has a lot of metal in his lower left leg. He was out of commission for almost a year, and as a result, he lost many of his old students. He is still slowly building back up, but has a lot of free time on the schedule, and not really enough students to do group classes, although he does have a few of the older advanced students who show up for sparring class. Looks like my next purchase is going to be some sparring equipment.

    It might be an advil kind of night, though.
     
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  15. AAMelendez11

    AAMelendez11 White Belt

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    I think it's great that you're picking it back up! As to why you should wear your old belt - you earned it, even if it was a long time ago, so you deserve to wear it.
    My timeline is way different than yours, but I earned my Nidan before taking a 5 year hiatus from Kempo years ago. I returned to it and kept my rank. It didn't take long to get back upto speed and in no time I was back to 100% and teaching again. I even continued advancing upon my return.
    Take your time and get up to speed at your pace. It will benefit you that much more.
    Good luck - and have fun!
     
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  16. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    That sounds like a great place to relearn all your material. You can get the attention needed to remember all your material and have someone who will actually be able to notice if your past health issues or becoming problematic! It will also save you the hassle of having to explain to lower belts "Yes, I am a black belt. No I can't help you with your green belt techniques." Regarding what belt you wear...it honestly doesn't matter all that much, so whatever your sensei says, I say go with it. It's also awesome you'll be able to work directly with your old instructor :)
     
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  17. DocWard

    DocWard Green Belt

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    It is great working with him again. Seemed like we fell right into it, even after so long. And yes, he actually mentioned not needing to explain myself to lower belt levels!
     
  18. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Cool. Glad you're enjoying things. Relish the soreness - you've earned that.

    I hate he lost so many students when he was down. That's one of the risks when you're the only instructor at the school - I hope he's able to build back up pretty quick.

    As to the belt, like Kempodisciple says, the belt means only (and exactly) what it means in that school, so if the instructor says wear it, then it's the right belt to wear. And it'll give you some extra incentive to get up to speed. I know a guy who was the senior brown belt when I was...yellow, I think? He left somewhere around then and came back around the time I got my black belt...10 years later. A few years later, he's back to being better than me at some stuff, and is one of the more skilled practitioners (and teachers) at that school.

    EDIT: That timeline doesn't work. He either left later than that, or was gone longer than that. From yellow to black for me was almost 12 years
     
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  19. DocWard

    DocWard Green Belt

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    Well, I am sore today. Certainly will make my half hour lesson over lunch interesting. But, I expected it, so who am I to complain?
     

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