Archive for training partners

Roundtable Discussion 011: Notable Influences

Posted in Discussion Question, Roundtable Discussion with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2011 by Combative Corner

“Who’s one person that has inspired/taught you in the martial art(s) and who may never be considered ‘well-known’?”


This guy was just another student like myself, but he is Master Chen’s (Zhonghua) most senior disciple (seniority – not age).  Ronnie Yee lives and teaches in Regina, but was able to travel to our camp for Hunyuan World 2002.  I learned a lot from my time in Edmonton, but what really stood out was how easy it seemed for Ronnie to put complicated Taiji theory and concepts into a form that was more ‘palatable’ to our young minds.  He was a fellow wushu practitioner (so we had that background in common) as well as being a massage therapist.  He knew magic and played with some of the youngsters there (including myself- I love magic!) and introduced me to the rope dart… a weapon that is now my favorite to play and perform.  In just one weekend, Ronnie Yee had a pretty huge impact – and I feel very fortunate to be there at that date and time.  He didn’t MySpace, and he certainly doesn’t Facebook or Twitter (maybe one day in the future), but there is no doubt about it, he’s a fine martial artist and is somewhere working his “magic” ways on his students.

[Video]Ronnie pushing hands with Master Chen]


For me it is Arden Cowheard 6th Dan Kodokan Judo. He is almost 91 years old and still teaching. I still attend and teach there but Aikido and other arts are my true calling.  He opened his Dojo and heart to me. I grew up without a father but I had so many great father figures in my life and he is one that changed my life.
After my first class I never had to pay for a class from that point. But He knew my heart was into the study of Aikido. So I talked to him and said. ” Sensei, there is a very powerful Aikido teacher coming to topeka to teach for a weekend. May I go and train with him?”
He said ” Yes Robert!!! Go where your heart leads you.”  From that point I never left Aikido. I found my love. I still trained Karate and Judo. But without my Judo teach helping to raise me up and not holding me back he helped me to bloom into the person I am today.
He may not be well known. But he is a hero to me. A real Budoka. My family and countless others. Rei Sensei!!


He was my Krav Maga instructor in 2003, and he taught me how to teach kids martial arts. He taught me how to teach adult martial arts. He taught me how to be an excellent communicator. Above all, he was and remains to be an excellent friend. A finer man you would be hard-pressed to find.



He was my very first martial arts instructor when I began Tae Kwon Do when I was 13. He started my martial arts career. As a teenager he not only instilled in me the confidence and self respect that made me the man I am today, he also helped me discover something that I seemed to be naturally good at. As someone who was never great at sports that was a big deal for me.

Master Lee taught me to never hold back when it came to my techniques or how hard I tried in class. He expected a lot from his students and never let us get away with doing things half way. He was a great instructor and I’ve shared stories of my time training with him with my students on more than one occasion.


My father has taught me much about the ways of Tao and Buddha without saying a word, he just lives it. He goes on doing things without taking credit for all that he has accomplished. I was actually raised to live the Martial Way without even realizing it. I was born and raised living the Martial Way. My father will never be well-known because he has no desire to expose himself, he claims no titles, he is not a Martial Artist. He is a man of Gung Fu, but he does not realize it. He will never be “well-known” but if I am ever to be “well-known” then maybe my stories about him will be “well-known.”


My Karate teacher, Gilles Beaulieu, was my first martial arts teacher. Although he was teaching in a relatively small city, he still managed to have a thriving class for a while. I have memories of Gilles conditioning us by having us punch each other in the gut (which I don’t think is kosher anymore), running way more than I liked, and doing crazy things like 1000 crunches the day before I had a presidential fitness test at school. As a kid who was not in great shape and really hated the exercise conditioning, I still loved the class. Even though he was tough on us with the training, he was inspirational since he was doing all the work too and making it look easy. All the while, he maintained a positive energy, built up people’s confidence, and established a sense of community in the class.


Training Partners – By: Johnny Kuo

Posted in Martial Arts, Training with tags , , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by mindbodykungfu

Johnny Kuo :

Originally posted on his Group “Mind Body Kung Fu

I sometimes get asked whether training with beginners is boring or pointless. When you advance to a certain level of skill, it can be frustrating to have to train “below your skill level.” However, I choose not to view it that way. After spending a significant amount of time (years actually) as the only I-Liq Chuan guy around and having to build a group from beginners, I’ve come to appreciate the opportunity presented by training with a beginner.

It is tough to advance your skill when your abilities are not being challenged. As with any skill, you need to push your limits to broaden your understanding. The value of training with a beginner is not in pushing your limits. What training with a beginner does is force you into a teaching role. The best way to learn something is to have to teach it. You may think you know something, but trying to pass on your knowledge reveals gaps in your understanding. You need to fill in those gaps by approaching the skill from many different perspectives so that you can deal with the myriad of different backgrounds and unexpected questions you receive with beginners. While you may not advance your skills interacting with a beginner, you can still deepen your current level understanding and solidify your basics. That in itself is invaluable foundational training.

Training with anyone, beginner or advanced, is an opportunity for mindfulness practice. Training should always involves focusing the mind to be aware. Boredom can set in while training with a beginner, but this is a fault with the advanced practitioner rather than the beginning student. Zoning out with a beginner is losing your attention to the moment. The goal of the practice is not just to develop superior martial ability; it is also to hone one’s awareness to perceive the conditions of the moment. It is also prudent not assume that the beginner is inferior in skill. Someone trained in another art is only a beginner in your art. You need to pay attention simply because a “beginner” may still penetrate your defenses due to inattention or incomplete understanding on your part.

With the role of the teacher, there is an element of gratification from training a beginner. It does take work to pass on knowledge, and teaching can sometimes take a fair bit of mental and physical energy. But watching the light bulbs turn on as principles click is highly satisfying. The more I teach, the more I get to observe understanding blossoming. Watching the growth of understanding is a nice perk of the teacher’s role.

Training a beginner is never really boring. The training process with a beginner can be tiring as you may need to assess and correct poor movement patterns, find ways to prod their understanding, and present concepts from multiple perspectives. All that effort can be rewarding though. You get to deepen your understanding, get extra mindfulness training, and most importantly, build up your future “advanced” training partners. (original post)


Johnny Kuo


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