A lot of people who meet me don’t believe a man in a wheelchair knows Martial Arts, even after they see me train.Some of you who follow this blog may have doubts, which is understandable, but onto the topic at hand.
Growing up, my temper was in check, until the teen years, then I started to lose my cool over anything. Oh, I didn’t have many issues with high school, but on the bus, there was a kid who use to egg me on that I had a problem with, but let’s fast forward. It got to a point teachers, my temper & a neighborhood bully, who use to enter the house while I was home got to me, making me angrier by the day.
So, talking to my mother, I asked if I could take Martial Arts, to try an curve me anger, she agreed & we started looking for instructors. At the time, many we visited we “By The Book, one size fits all” cookie cutter instructors, who didn’t want to teach me. This went on until I hit fifteen, then I came into Bill Baughman’s Hapkido Dojang. From the start, someone who took a look at what I COULD do and not just preach. Bill actually sat in a chair, reworking many of the techniques from my P.O.V., then teaching me them, which blew my mind! Nobody took the time to work and listen to my input before. He even encouraged me to think up techniques and we’d see if they could were doable, many were.
The day before my sixteenth birthday, he tested me by putting a board in front of me, seeing if I could break it. At first, I didn’t know if I could, so I hesitated, but he told me he knew I was ready. My first try, the board, cracked, but didn’t break. After my hand stopped throbbing, I tried again, this time, breaking it!!! Let me say, the idea of me accomplishing that had to sink in before reality hit! My training under Bil continued until my red belt, then he had to quit teaching.
Yes, I got my black belt, from a school that let me pickup from the red belt, teaching hand to hand and stick fighting, but as soon as they saw the tape of the last test I had with Bill, the instructor told me to trash what he taught me, because to her, it look staged. Rest assured, nothing he taught was staged, the blood, sweat and tears I put into the years I trained weren’t staged.
I’ve had the idea for a while to buy some Martial Arts gear and start training again! I’m not sure of the attitudes instructors have toward training people like me today, & really couldn’t care less! I just wanna practice again, you know? Also, even though these lessons on dvd people peddle aren’t as good as an actual class, I’m tossing around getting one on swordsmanship basics, to see if there are techniques I could work into my sword style.