By John Corcoran
Shortly after this cover story was written, Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, the “Father of American Taekwondo,” passed away on April 30, 2018. He was 86. This article is based on the last recorded interview Grandmaster Rhee gave during his life. It examines his stellar achievements and pioneering contributions during a career spanning over 61 years. Remarkably, Rhee’s many innovations have had a global impact on just about every aspect of modern martial arts.
“If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then an action is worth 1,000 pictures.”—Jhoon Rhee
Here’s the bottom line readers should grasp: As I write this article in the spring of 2018, there may not be any other person still living, who has contributed more to the very fabric of the entire modern martial arts industry than 86-year-old Korean-American grandmaster, Jhoon Goo Rhee. Now that he has passed, as an addendum I maintain my same belief. It’s not...
by Beth Block
As humans, our reactions slow down immensely in emergency situations. Therefore, as martial artists we repeatedly practice the same self-defense techniques for years, even decades, to prepare for the event of a real attack.
As instructors, we know that our students’ responses in an emergency will be flight, freeze or fight. This is hardwired into humankind’s DNA as the “survival instinct.” The goal of repetitive training is to shorten students’ reaction time when attacked and to provide them with the tools to allow muscle memory to take over in self-defense mode.
Now, let me ask you some questions. Is physical confrontation the only type of emergency you or your students will face? Is that all you’re preparing your staff and students for? Or, are you preparing them for any type of battle that may occur?
Are we looking to develop self-discipline?...
by Herb Borkland
As a 16-year-old Kansas City Golden Gloves fighter, Bob Thurman ran up an 86–3 record. In 1977, Thurman joined legendary karate pioneer Jim Harrison’s bushidokan style. Thurman entered pro kickboxing in 1979, posting a 19-1 record before his stunning 1982 defeat of world Middleweight Champion Alvin Prouder.
Thurman defended his World title 10 times. But, in 1989, after a mugger’s murderous assault on his wife, Betsy, he retired from the ring to create and teach worldwide his “CounterAttactics” system. It’s designed to stress mental awareness, psychological strategies, and tactics and techniques for surviving and escaping from street violence.
Bob Thurman: I grew up in Kansas City. My step-father ran a hotel-management company.
My real father was a Marine Corps colonel — a Marine’s Marine. I get my ass-kicking from him,
but my step-dad was an amazing human being.
by Antonio Fournier
I had a message from a Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA) member asking if it is was still beneficial to conduct a Mat Chat in her situation. She had transitioned from a one-hour to a 45-minute children’s-class format, and she was having a hard time fitting it in.
My response was, “It’s not only beneficial, it is a must.”
Her thoughts were that taking five minutes to do it shortened the amount of punching and kicking time.
I used the analogy of a river that is one mile wide and a foot deep, or one that’s one foot wide and a mile deep. It isn’t the width of the message that’s important, it’s the depth of the message that is.
So, why is the Mat Chat so important? It’s a start — and only a start — at connecting life skills to your martial arts program.
First, you’ve made lots of promises in your ads and...
by Karen Eden
Years ago, while working as a TV reporter in Pittsburgh, PA, I was sent out to cover a story about a wildlife refuge not too far off from the city.
The former wildlife specialist I interviewed seemed to have a heart for the unruly animals who wouldn’t conform to zoo and circus life. He also adopted the animals that people from around the country had mistakenly taken in as pets at one time or another.
I’ll never forget his words to me.
“I don’t care how tamed you think an animal from the wild may now be. They are always going to be wired to be wild and you must always keep that in mind,” he told me.
With that, he brought out one of his latest orphaned, unwanted animals. It was a bobcat … with a sinus issue. I honestly didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. This poor bobcat was consistently blowing his nose. Yet, he of course didn’t have the...
by Dr. Nguyen "Tom" Griggs
When I was around 15 years old, my dad (a.k.a., “Pop”) and I were working on his old ‘79 Dodge Ram Charger. It was banged up, had no air conditioning and the radio could barely stay in place in its holding brackets. As we worked, my dad had a life talk with me. He shared five rules for living that he abided by and made him successful.
I was honored to retell these points during his eulogy in June 2016. Seeing friends and relatives laughing and nodding in agreement told me that these are true pearls of wisdom. Allow me to share these points with you. I’ll frame them in the context of being successful in the areas of teams, leadership and conflict management.
1. Work hard and work smart. My dad was a very hard-working person. He advocated common sense, but knew that determination could only take you so far. Armed with only...
by Philip E. Goss, Jr., ESQ.
You train your students to physically defend themselves in as an efficient manner as possible. The shorter the unpleasant “transaction” lasts, the better. Sometimes, involvement in the legal system is necessary and truncating the process, as in a fight, is always in your best interests.
Neither I nor other attorneys operate under the assumption that legal talent is sought to draft all corporate documents. The Internet places a vast library of potential and free (but questionable) legal resources at your immediate disposal. Ninety eight percent of the time, what you find on the Internet can work for its intended purposes. However, it is the 2% that will cause you angst and added expense.
Just about everyone is familiar with the concept of a “legal injunction.” In short, an injunction is an order of the court that requires someone to either do...
by Dr. Jason Han
One of the most common injuries we see on the mat are ankle injuries. The foot/ankle complex is your primary contact with the ground, making it a critical piece to all dynamic movements in your training.
You would be hard pressed to find a friend or student that has not suffered through at least one ankle sprain. And, chances are that if a person has had one, he/she has had multiple recurrences. It has been shown that an important predictor of an injury is a previous injury.
Ankle issues can keep students and teachers out of commission for weeks. So, what does this injury mean, and what can we do to prevent it?
The majority of ankle sprains happens when the foot “rolls inward” and stretches the ligaments on the outside of the foot. It’s important to realize that damage to the ligament and swelling in the area causes you more than just pain. It also shuts down...
by Dave Kovar
Forty years ago this November, I opened up my first school in North Highlands, CA, a suburb of Sacramento. It was a tiny school in a mediocre area, and I had no idea what I was doing. What I did have was cheap rent and a lot of enthusiasm.
The school grew relatively quickly in the first year. But I couldn’t tell you how many students I had because I didn’t keep any stats. Based on my memory, I’d say I had between 80 and 100. At the time, very few children were training in the program. As a matter fact, I only offered kid’s classes Monday and Wednesday nights at 5 o’clock. I think I had the largest youth program in the area and I only had about 12 kids enrolled!
Over time, I successfully identified lots of things that didn’t work and I struggled a lot up into the mid-1980s. Then, something interesting happened.
There was this movie, let me...
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