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The Martial Arts Experience

Martial arts embrace all of the various extensive systems of training for combat, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development.

Whilst I like watching martial arts, in particular karate, which is really catching on here in the Cayman Islands, would I like to actually do it myself? Former British Champion Master Jim Wilson has all the answers in his DVD “Beginners Guide to Karate”. This is what I learnt from it and if you like what you read I urge you to buy a copy of the video. It’s much more than a beginner’s guide … it’s a full explanation of basic technique performance.

If you have self-doubt it’s not a bad thing. It’s a way for you to take a step back from your training and logically ask yourself if karate is still for you. Only you can answer this question but to make sure that you continue to give karate a chance I recommend that you focus on three things: why did you get started in the first place; what has karate done for you so far; and what do you still hope to get out of your karate practice? If you answer ‘yes’ then continue reading.

Do I have the potential to become a black belt? Yes you do. Everybody has the potential to do anything they want. The question you should ask yourself is, “Will I allow myself to reach my potential of becoming a black belt?”

Can Karate really help me to defend myself? Yes and no. After three months of training the chances are that you will not be able to defend yourself unless you are taking a specific and intensive self-defense course that is solely focused on street survival. You are probably taking a mainstream martial arts class in which case you should expect to gradually develop self-defense skills over a significantly longer period of time. If your primary goal is self-defense then take a course that deals with that specifically and also read and learn about basic awareness tactics for going about your everyday life.

Is all of this talk about ethics and spiritual values really true? At first it seems as if punching and kicking don’t really match the values of discipline and respect. I can’t blame you for thinking that especially after picking up your daily copy of iNews and reading about the latest mugging, robbery and most at the point of a gun. However the fact of the matter is that self-awareness leads to a greater appreciation of truth in your life and what it means to you specifically. By practicing martial arts you learn about your own strengths and weaknesses and through hard physical training you learn how to break through previous limitations and take yourself to the next level in your growth and self-discovery.

This usually translates into higher moral and spiritual values that in turn lead to greater self-discipline and respect for our fellow citizens. I believe that all of this is true but it obviously takes time, effort and commitment to make any kind of lasting behavioral change.

Will I ever get these techniques and drills right? The more you practice, the more likely you are to get the techniques and drills right. Your ultimate success in karate is in direct proportion to your effort, focus and persistence. The more that you focus on the fact that you are not getting the drills right, the more you will become frustrated. Change your focus, keep it positive, and suddenly you will get the techniques right.

Doesn’t everyone get hurt in sparring? Everybody gets minor bumps and bruises in sparring even if when are wearing protective gear. This is part of martial arts training. Don’t believe anybody who tells you differently. However, very few practitioners experience serious injuries while training at a reputable school that takes every precaution necessary for the safety of its members. The use of safety gear is one reason for this, but a more important reason is the care and knowledge of a competent instructor who knows how to gradually introduce sparring drills that are both age-appropriate and rank-specific. A competent and caring instructor is more important than any piece of safety gear.

These are some of the local listings for Martial Arts:-

Purple Dragon International Tel: 946 1241 web:

Cayman Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Tel: 916 0227 web: (under reconstruction)

C.A.S.K Karate (at King’s Sports Centre) Tel: 925 3367; web: www.

Good luck and best wishes on your journey in karate. Maybe I’ll see you there.



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