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Great Martial Arts Knock Outs

Newsletter 911

(In)Famous Knocks Outs in the Martial Arts

You’ve all seen clips of great knock outs.
Whether its Muhammad Ali,
Connor Gregor
Holly Hombs…
you can see great knock outs all over the net.
But here are some knock outs you haven’t seen,
and,
hopefully,
never will.
They are from my own personal trove of experience.

The first one isn’t a knock out per se,
but it sure qualifies for this newsletter.

Back in the late sixties kicks were just coming in to their own.
You see,
we mostly practiced front kicks, side kicks, wheel kicks.
Then Chuck Norris came along and showed us the spinning kick.
Man,
this drove us crazy.
Students at dojos everywhere were trying to spin and kick.
Spin and hook heel.
Spin and wheel.
Spin and whatever.
Out imagination FAR outran our abilities.
So one day this fellow shows me the latest and greatest…
it was a jump spinning rear kick.
And the kick was done with the leg straight,
really snazzy,
Man,
I watched this dude jump up and spin and knock coke cans off a fence…
and I was hooked.
So I practiced,
and practiced,
and in my mind I was a kung fu movie,
knocking down legions of bad guys.
In reality…
I wasn’t so good.
But I was trying…darn it!
I was trying!

One day I was playing baseball with some fellows.
There was a dozen of us,
it was a beautiful day,
and I was playing second base.
The field was a little dusty,
the sun was shining down,
and I waited for some situation to resolve.
A couple of guys arguing about plays,
or rules,
or some such.
And standing there,
my mind wandering,
I began to do spinning kicks.
The guys all knew I did Karate,
I was always doing something like this,
so everybody just stood around
and watched me,
and waited for the game to resume.
I spun and I spun,
and in my mind
I felt I had it.
I could see myself jumping,
soaring,
perfect arc of foot,
perfect balance.
And,
possessed by my fantasy,
I leaped into the air,
spun,
and collided with the ground.
I mean,
on a scale of 1 to 10,
ten being the worst,
I was a ten.
To the guys standing around,
it looked like I had dove into the sky,
jerked into contortions,
and threw myself on the dirt,
as awkwardly as possible.
For a moment nobody said anything.
They just gawked,
then they laughed.
And everybody was laughing.
What i had done was so stupid looking…
even I laughed.
I mean,
I had gone beyond the bounds of embarrassment,
even I could appreciate the heights of my stupidity.
That’s one.

The second knock out was real,
and,
interestingly,
it involved jump spinning kicks.
My instructor was not immune from the desire
to soar through the heavens,
and kick over a regiment of bad guys.
So one day he was practicing,
jumping and spinning,
and he was pretty good.
Except…
for that low hanging tree.
That’s right,
he leaped into the air,
spun beautifully,
and knocked his noggin on a branch,
and knocked himself out.
And he was really out.
He was unconscious for a half hour
before one of the guys found him.
Sprawled peacefully,
visions of spinning back kicks in his head.
That’s two.

And,
first place in this menagerie of misadventures,
goes to me.
You know,
it seems almost sad,
that such strivings for perfection
result in such…imperfections.

One of the tricks my instructor could do
was push ups on two single fingers.
We are not talking about a bend of the fingers,
we are talking about totally stiff index fingers.
A complete push up.
Now,
there were things that were beyond me,
there were things that people could do
that I would never be able.
But…
I knew I could do push ups on single index fingers.
So,
I began practicing.
I practiced regular push ups,
I practiced push ups on fists,
on the backs of my hands.
I imagined a rod of iron going along my backbone.
My visualizations were perfect.
I began doing push ups on half fists.
And,
I began reducing the number of digits.
I got to the point where I could do push ups on single index knuckles.
I began doing push ups on fingers.
Totally straight fingers.
Three fingers.
Two fingers.
It’s interesting,
it’s not strength,
it’s balance,
and it’s a frame of mind that pushes the world out,
and focuses awareness in the fingers.
Perfect balance.
I remember the night I got up on the single fingers.
Man,
what a charge.
I had made it.
Amazing.
I felt like I could do anything in the world.
And,
feeling so good,
I decided to do a couple of more push ups.
But…I hadn’t reckoned on the amazing amount of fatigue.
Focusing the mind like that
really drains it.
If I had waited for the next day,
I would have been okay.
But I was just charged up and ready to go.
I got up on the fingers,
and…
everything collapsed.
All that focus gave way…
as did all of the energy it required to do those push ups.
I felt right smack on my face.
And I actually knocked myself out.
I wasn’t out for long,
probably a couple of minutes.
No more than five.
But I was out.
Like a light.
Sleeping peacefully.
And that’s three.

So,
three knock outs
(two knock outs and a knock down)
that you will never hear about.
But,
you know,
that’s life.
That’s what happens when you go for something.
And the trick,
as we all know,
is not to accept it,
but to get back up,
keep going,
and really learn the martial arts.
That’s a life goal worth having.

Have a great work out!
Al

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