Choose Counterpoint Tactical Systems.
Simple and done! Ha, I’m only half joking here. I’ve been thinking about the martial arts as a whole and how people get involved in their individual arts. As I started writing the post expanded and expanded; so, I decided to split it into three posts for the week. As I started with the writing, I wondered what qualifies me to even answer that question. The solution is for me to talk about my experience in the martial arts as a first blog post and let the readers determine if it qualifies me or not.
My first exposure to martial arts was – I imagine the same for a lot of small town kids like me – the Karate Kid. It spoke to me on many levels; the nerdy kid, weak and unpopular, befriends a wise Asian man and learns how to defend himself from bullies. I dove straight into as much martial arts action as the video rental store could provide. Only one martial arts studio existed in my town, and I signed up to learn Shotokan karate. It was nothing like the movies; it was much better. I learned forms, sparred, and felt connected to an ancient and timeless tradition. After passing my second belt test (orange maybe?), the instructor, who was not a wise, old Asian man, switched styles and organization to Goju Shorei/BKF Kenpo (which, now having seen American Kenpo Karate, we were just doing a modified traditional Japanese art). So, I started anew in this different style and had even more fun. Unfortunately, the school moved away, and the five minute drive became a 35 minute commute. Due to my parents work schedules, I couldn’t attend very many classes. And school basketball started; so, my attention was devoted to the closer sport.
During my junior year of High School, a friend of mine showed me Enter the Dragon. How cool is that movie? I chased down all of the Bruce Lee movies that I could find, and soon, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story found its way to our house. His style didn’t affect me as much as the portrayal of him as a martial arts scholar. At that time of my life, I was heavily invested in researching Taoism and Buddhism. So, the idea of a martial arts philosopher created the equivalent of a Big Bang in my intellectual world. Until this time, I hadn’t met anyone who thought deeper into the process of the arts and broader across the spectrum of human physiology than were embodied in the Tao of Jeet Kune Do. I read and reread Bruce’s book but did not get back into the martial arts. Primarily because I couldn’t find someone to teach me Jeet Kune Do (JKD). My high school ambitions were thwarted, and martial arts was nowhere in my future.
Obviously I was wrong.