On the way, but sometimes beside it. Here’s a short update on what’s going on in terms of training, progress and new experiences.
On Mondays and Fridays I am still teaching one children’s and one adult group each in the Lung Chuan Fa. Fortunately, I am supported by a number of fellow trainers, i.e. Sempai. Not only are they almost always present during training, but they are also present when nasty viruses knock me out (like several times this winter) or my job doesn’t allow me to come to training on time. Unfortunately, the groups have shrunk quite a bit at the moment, which makes me think about training contents and mediation again and again. Will I manage to design the trainings in a way that they are fun and enjoyable and still contain the spirit of Kempo? Am I too indulgent or do I demand too much?
Especially the last belt test was a tough one. Out of seven examinees three failed. Exactly the ones I would never have suspected. This was not only a bitter setback for the children concerned, but also for me as a coach. What went wrong? Why were some of the top performers in the children’s group suddenly unable to present even the simplest things? A real low point. And at the same time a wake-up call, which still keeps me busy, even though the exams have been a few weeks ago now. Is the exam programme too difficult? The three wobbly candidates had prepared for the orange-green belt – there is already a lot of demand in it. However, the three had often demonstrated their skills in the weeks before the exam. Was my preparation for the exam too lax or poor? Actually, I had worked according to a specially created training plan and repeated all the elements over and over again. Were the three perhaps overtrained? All three had been training at home on Friday afternoon, right before their exam. Or was the attitude of the three not good enough? Especially not with two of the students, because they are very eager and ambitious in almost every training.
Maybe it was also a mixture of different factors. I try to learn from it. I will train much more primary school in the future, because it gives the security and basis even for the more difficult elements. Clearer announcements, fewer explanations, less background information – but in return a more intensive training, especially with the children. A stricter pre-selection and, if necessary, also a longer waiting period between the individual tests. These are all things that I may have been too lenient with in the past and thus relied too much on the personal responsibility of the young adolescents. Once again I have noticed that many martial artists, whether small or big, consider Kempo a sport. Coach says, active person follows. Background, own research, own initiative – desirable, but not to be forced. And what makes up Kempo for ME is of course not the measure of all things and is different for everyone and should be. But am I then the right trainer? I think that will keep me busy for a long time. And I think that is the right thing to do.
At least once a month Niki gets me in his paws and we practice Kempo. Or something like that. Cause actually, we’re more into movement. My goal: My movements should become more supple, more come from the whole body, be more effective. A noble goal, which is not so easy to achieve. And so Niki turns my whole primary school upside down and lets me run track after track Zenkutu Dachi. But completely different from what I have been doing for many years. Out of this kind of round, height changing movement all other actions, all stands, punches and kicks follow naturally and actually much smoother. At least with Niki. With me it will probably take a few more years … In training with Niki I often feel extremely stiff and immobile. But now I understand where my mistakes are and where I can take action myself. And so after every training with my Silat and Kempo teacher I go home broken, but very happy and full of energy
In the regular Kempo training I am glad that Flo is back more often, because on the one hand he likes to take over parts of the training and I can become a student again. On the other hand I also get him to teach Uwe and me our next exam relevant techniques from time to time. The second master form is at least in my head, as well as the 5th Tai Tsuku. And the halberd form, which I have chosen as the form of the third weapon, is at least half practiced. By the summer, everything should be in place so that I can refine it. The kumite from 31 to 40 still feels strange, but Uwe and I can still do that!
New ancient Kempo
As if I don’t have enough to do with Kempo already – with Olaf Bock a new teacher has entered my Kempo life. At the suggestion of a friend of mine, Kempoka from Bad Bentheim, I went to a training session in the distant Westerwald. There I was and still am able to meet Sensei Olaf, one of the rare representatives of the original Shaolin Kempo. At first I was sceptical when I heard that this was a 9th DAN. On various internet sites my scepticism increased further, because as often seen here and there a new DAN was awarded. Anyway, I had (exceptionally) time and wanted to know what was hidden behind name and degree.
And big – positive – surprise: Olaf Bock really has what it takes. The man with the sideburns is not only an excellent connoisseur of the old Shaolin Kempo scene in Germany as well as in Holland, but also in training he is an extremely accomplished teacher who can impart his enormous knowledge very presently.
So far I could only participate in one of the monthly training sessions, but the Kata Chuan’ Fa and a first Bo form learned there were very impressive. Olaf does not let himself be disturbed by repeated requests and is a completely new and very valuable source for me to go even deeper into the original Kempo. I am looking forward to the next months and the trainings with Sensei Olaf and am curious how I can bring the original Shaolin Kempo together with “my” Lung Chuan Fa.
If you want to know more about Olaf Bock: Soon there will be an interview here.
While the time in the last months simply did not allow me to visit the Silat group around Niki, I could at least see the ladies and gentlemen again at one or the other seminar. But Alex, whose silat group “45° martial arts” I visit on Sundays at noon, keeps me busy. The unusual time makes sure that I find the time to train there every now and then. Alex is a completely different teacher and coach than Niki. I don’t want to decide by whom I want to be spanked, but while Niki has an amazing knowledge and an animal wide experience in many styles and martial arts, Alex is a real edge with a lot of experience in kick and Thai boxing and more the casual type. His student body, to which I may also count myself, is also an extremely likeable community of crazy people, who, however, are just entering the world of Silat. Which is very beneficial for my physical abilities, as there is a lot of primary school training. And since I am one of the slow learners, I like to torture myself together with the ladies and gentlemen 45s. Slowly but surely I am also doing well with Harimau and Gellek. And what makes me especially happy: The new skills in Silat flow automatically into my Kempo without any active involvement or effort. The styles are similar in nature.
I am curious what will happen until summer and how my journey will develop. And I am happy to report about it here.