Just back from Korea, mantis “dao” broadsword practice

Do you want to try your White Crane against my student?

My first introduction on a  hot, humid summer day in Korea to a style and teacher who had used his art during and after the Korean war.

The teacher a medium sized Korean man nothing really special stood out except for his eyes. People often talk of the eye of the “Tiger”  Mr Park,  had the eyes of a shark…Cold, jet black, seemingly with out emotion.

Do you want to try your White Crane against my student

In Chinese Martial Arts tradition, it’s the only real way to know something.

In a gym on a US Army camp close to the demilitarized zone “DMZ” a test was being conducted between 2 very different ideas.

The student Mr Cho, unknown to me at the time was one of Mr Parks top students who would later go on to do body guard work for foreign heads of state.

We saluted each other and set up about 6 feet apart from each other.   Each in a posture distinctive to the style.  Having encountered many other stylist before, White Crane being at home as long range style I was quite confident of the outcome.

Started to move, before my foot hit the ground Mr Cho, had covered the distance, dropped low, and touched my face with a quick flicking movement of his hand the mantis “dill sow” or mantis claw.

We looked at each other and smiled, both knowing the outcome should it continue, one not in my favor. I saluted him and turned to Mr Park who was watching quietly.

The speed, and manor of how he had covered the distance was something I had not yet encountered to this degree.  With more time it would have been something I could have adjusted to and dealt with, I also felt that I needed something more in my CMA training.

A choice, one not lightly made.  It would mean totally reworking everything that had served me well until this point.

Mr Park, in our next meeting asked me,

” I can train you to be a teacher, or I can train you to be a fighter” . There was no hint in his eyes of which way was better.  Feeling I already knew how to fight I returned the question “whats the difference ?”

Mr Park, said ” A teacher has to know many things, a fighter only has to know a few things”  with no indication of which would be the better way.

A “matrix” moment in a time before the matrix.  


“”You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” The term red pill refers to a human that is aware of the true nature of the Matrix.”

I choose the red pill “teacher” not understanding until much later this was a mistake.


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