Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Getting Back to Martial Arts Training!

Amanda and I posing for a photo; taken in 2008 by Stace Sanchez of KickPicks

I consider myself to be a lifelong martial artist, but it's been a long time since I trained with an instructor or with other people at a school. My martial arts journey has been a long one, starting from the time I was five. I've realized lately that regular martial arts training is missing from my life. Luckily, Amanda and I recently won a gift certificate for three months of training at a local martial arts school! This week we started training in Goju Ryu karate and Matayoshi Kobudo at Boulder Kodokan. I'm super excited to get back to more regular training.

My Martial Arts History

I started learning martial arts when I was 5 years old. At that time, my father had been training in Tang Soo Do (TSD); he saw my interest and got me involved as well. I trained in TSD through much of my childhood, until getting away from it in my adolescent years. Toward the end of high school, I got back into TSD for a short while before deciding to try out other forms of fighting arts, like Japanese Jujitsu, Aikido and Kenjutsu, and sport kickboxing.

During college, I returned to TSD to join my father and his wife at their new martial arts school in my old hometown. Interestingly, that was at a time when my father and his wife were beginning to transition away from the old school affiliation we'd had (there's a long story there that I'll probably write about some time in the future). My family were also in the process of shifting their training in Tang Soo Do to something more fitting for their goals. During that time, I became very experimental with my martial arts training. I started learning far more about the intelligent application of the martial arts to the real world and my training became a mixture of my knowledge of grappling and kickboxing with Tang Soo Do forms and techniques practiced more like the Shotokan versions. Much of that was thanks to the influence of my father, Master Gene Lau, as well as Master Jay S. Penfil, one of the best martial arts tacticians I've ever met. I also started reading and watching a lot of the work from Master Iain Abernethy, who's work on real-world applications of traditional martial arts is a great resource for any practitioner of the martial arts.

I had a golden period in my martial arts training for a few years where I was teaching at my father's school, Red Lion Karate, while we made a transition toward the Okinawan martial arts (my father now trains in Isshin-Ryu and Kobujutsu). When I first moved to Colorado, I did my best to continue training while looking for a new school. I probably checked out every martial arts school in the area, but all of them were fairly expensive for our finances at the time. A couple years passed by before Amanda and I spent a year training in Krav Maga at Colorado Krav Maga. We love the people who train there, but the drive was long and arduous and added to the expense of our training. It's now been about three years since I've trained in the martial arts (even though Krav Maga is modern combatives more than martial art).

I've been training on my own at home for the last six years, especially with kata and Okinawan weapons, but there's only so much that I can do on my own. Amanda is now working for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley and at a recent auction they held there was a gift certificate up for bidding that offered three months of training for two adults at a local martial arts school. We had to have it! I checked out Boulder Kodokan when we had first moved to Boulder and I really liked the school, but we couldn't afford the training at that time. Now we have the money and the drive to get started again. I've never trained in Goju Ryu karate before, but some bits of Goju Ryu were added to Isshin-Ryu, so I've seen some of what Goju Ryu has to offer. I'm honestly very excited to start training at this school. I started training martial arts 26 years ago, and I feel like it's definitely time to add some new martial arts knowledge and regular training in my life once more. I'll probably start posting a bit more regularly with regard to my training in Goju Ryu; to share the good, the bad, and the "meh" about the style and what I'll be learning.

Stick training on a mountain in Boulder, Colorado


  1. My mom likes to get all us kids involved in lots of sports and activities. My sister and I really enjoyed dance classes, but I was thinking about suggesting karate school for my little brother. It think it is cool that you have trained in martial arts for so long, and I hope that it will be fun for my brother as well.