The Right Coast

September 16, 2004
Yet more martial arts
By Tom Smith

My martial arts dojo has a new website, and here it is. This way when I bloviate on about jujitsu and the like, you'll know what I'm talking about.

I feel this dojo is a real find. The most important form of self-defense you can practice in taking up the martial arts is financial self-defense. Martial arts schools typically want you to sign long term contracts that are models of one-sided, scary adhesion contracts. Often you actually contract with third party collection agencies. You get dinged with new fees and charges every time you turn around. More threats to your wallet than bad guys in a Jackie Chan movie. Not pretty. Soke Scott has no long term contracts, no testing fees, no uniform you are required to buy from him (though he'll sell you one if you want, at the Century catalog cost) and none of that other BS. That speaks more than lots of yak yak about the soul of the fist or the fist of the dragon or whatever. Honesty, value, all that good stuff.

Also, there's no substitute for a deep knowledge of several arts, and he has that in spades. Almost every week, I am impressed by the subtlety and detail that he conveys in the techniques. He is a 7th degree black belt and has worked with several prominent grand masters, but beyond all that, which I'm not qualified to judge anyway, his knowledge comes through in his instruction.

The dojo is Christian in philosophy, which is not oppressive or heavy-handed. You want to have some strong ethical foundation if you're studying ways to kill people, which is what a good part of it is, and Christianity is as good as any. Soke Scott is into applied psychology, so the vast majority of it is more psychology than religion. How to be disciplined, how to form good habits, break bad ones, etc. "7 habits of highly effective people," not fire and brimstone. There is a lecture every session while we stretch, which gives you something to think about besides how stiff you are. It's all extremely organized and structured, which is good.

Now we've been studying knife and stick (or escrima) for some weeks. I'm not crazy about knives, but boy can you hurt with and be hurt by them. More on this later. For now, just remember, grasshopper, if someone has a knife, run away as fast as you can.