Friday, March 27, 2009

Glorified Kickboxing - The Truth (an eyewitness account)

People such as myself who practice a variety of martial arts, especially non-traditional arts such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, are often showered with insults by ignorant and misinformed Kung Fu purists, who refer to us as Glorified Kickboxers. Well, you lot, suck on this ...


After many months of searching for a true master of Glorified Kickboxing, chasing down rumours that came to nothing, I finally gained an invitation to the McDojo of
the Chief Exalted Grand Poobah of Glorified Kickboxing Harry Wonk, 108th degree master
and holder or the coveted Turquoise Loincloth in Modified Traditional Glorified Kickboxing (MTGK for short).
Harry, an imposing, well-conditioned man of about 32 years old, and his assistant, Wolfgang Smart, greeted me formally with the MTGK Combat Curtsey.
I identified myself.
"So you want to learn about Glorified Kickboxing," Harry said. "Good! Most so-called 'martial artists' treat our art with disdain. But that's only because their only exposure has been to rogues and charlatans, not true followers of the magnificent and wonderful art that is Glorified Kickboxing.
"Do you want to watch our training session, or join in?"
What a singular honour! "Join in, please! And thank you!" I cried eagerly.
We stood in a triangle, facing each other, about ten feet apart.
"We like to warm up with the same movements we use in fighting," Harry explained. "Much more activity-specific." He and Wolfgang began bouncing on the balls of their feet like Masai Warriors from a Discovery Channel documentary.
I joined in with great enthusiasm. How lucky was I?
We bounced on the mats, we bounced on mini-trampolines, we bounced on Swiss balls, we took turns bouncing on a makiwara that Harry had had mounted horizontally six inches off the floor as if it were a tiny springboard.
"Clueless martial artists say bouncing is cr@p", Harry told me as we stretched out our calves and rotated our ankle joints after the bouncing was done. "Fools."
"But doesn't it wear you out? Disrupt your structure."
Both Harry and Wolfgang laughed out loud."No, no. Bouncing does not disrupt your structure. Bouncing disrupts your OPPONENT's structure."
I must have looked doubtful or perplexed, because he said. "I'll show you. Wolfgang, assume a Kung Fu stance."
Wolfgang took up a pretty standard cat stance, weight on his back foot. Harry took up a posture in front of him and began bouncing rapidly up and down, back to front, side to side, diagonally, in circles, all over the place. After about ten seconds I saw that Wolfgang had become mesmerized by the movement. His eyes followed Harry's randomly precise bounces the Way Curly's eyes followed Moe's hand as it moved up and down and side to side before Curly's face shortly before Moe's fingers speared into Curly's eye sockets. Wolfgang seemed to grow dizzy, and abruptly fell on his butt.
"There you go," Harry said, pointing to Wolfgang, still sitting. "These Kung Fu tree huggers talk about 'no-touch knockdowns', Glorified Kickboxers actually do it all the time!"
We now went through a series of mobility exercise for shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers, with endless repetitions of a variety of drills concentrating on the first and second knuckles of both hands.
"This is why some people call us Glorified Kickboxers 'knuckle-heads', because we spend so much time conditioning the knuckle joints."
I wondered at the purpose of all this work on the joints. But that was to be convincingly demonstrated to me shortly thereafter.
"Kung Fu styles like Wing Chun pride themselves on being simple and direct," Harry continued. "Glorified Kickboxing, on the other hand, is complicated and as indirect as possible. We combat simplicity with complexity, directness with circumlocution. The Yin against the Yang."
Harry smiled, looking as wise as the Dalai Lama."So, for example, Wing Chun never kicks to the head," Harry continued. Wolfgang snickered, and Harry nodded smugly.
"In Glorified Kickboxing, the ONLY target for kicks is the head."
I was excited. This was starting to make sense.
Harry continued. "When a Wing Chun guy is asked, 'Why don't you kick to the head', their standard response is, 'Why don't you punch to the toe?'" He laughed from the belly like an advanced Qigong practitioner. "These fools have obviously never encountered the Glorified Kickboxing Toe Punch." With that he suddenly dropped to one knee and delivered a horrendous punch to the mat, less than a centimeter from my toe. The entire building shook - the DVD's in the adult store below the MTGK gym would no doubt be covered with plaster fallen from the ceiling. Four new knuckle impressions had become permanent fixtures in the surface of the mat.
"Th ... th ... that was pretty convincing," I stammered.
Harry nodded. "Some guys overuse it, though. We call them 'toe-hunters'."
"How do you guys shape up, say for a streetfight?"
"Like this." Harry and Wolfgang squared up, both bouncing as if on pogo sticks, their rear hand held near the shoulder, their front hand circling furiously alternately using the shoulder and then the elbow. It reminded me of La Canne's circling guard, and the wind up used by countless cartoon pugilists, and by Sugar Ray Leonard in one of his matches against Roberto Duran. Harry's foot suddenly shot out, then doubled back, then moved in a path so convoluted that even the Minotaur would have been lost in it forever were it a maze. And finally gently smacked Wolfgang in the ear.
"The Gordian kick, a staple of Glorified Kickboxing," Harry explained. "See, in Wing Chun, kicks always go in a straight line. Hah! In Glorified Kickboxing, we confuse the guy with indirection."
"Wow. What defenses do you have against BJJ guys and groundfighters?"Harry and Wolfgang exchanged knowing smiles. "That old chestnut. Have you ever heard of the Glorifed Kickboxing Reverse Takedown?"
I hadn't, but of course I was now busting to know what this was.
"BJJ guys and all those other losers think you have to fight them while one or both of you are lying or sitting down. With the Glorified Kickboxing Reverse takedown, you do the obvious thing when the guy is on the ground - bring him back to standing so you can fight him there properly!"
He motioned to Wolfgang. "I'll demonstrate."
Wolfgang got down in the crab posture used successfully by Antonio Inoki in his wrestler/boxer matchup with Muhammad Ali. He threw a few kicks at the legs of Harry, whose bouncing easily kept him out of harm's way as his left arm circled like a wind turbine with only a single blade. Suddenly Harry dropped prone to the floor and ... what happened next was impossible for our pitifully inadequate vocabulary to describe, but for an instant he more or less BECAME a human bulldozer, plucking Wolfgang off the ground and onto his feet, surprised and off guard, with Harry in front of him, bouncing and windmilling dangerously.
I don't think I said anything. Just stood there, mouth agape, completely enthralled.
"Just as a final demonstration, I'll perform the Glorified Kickboxing Logarithmic Fractal Spiralling Punch - GKLFSP for short."Harry and Wolfgang begans bouncing, facing each other, their arms, circling rapidly, appearing deadly as the propeller that killed the Nazi strongman in his fight with Indiana Jones in the first movie of the franchise.Harry's arm moved.
I've seen representations of the "electron cloud" around the nucleus of an atom described by quantum mechanics, but Harry's punching actually did it. There was this blur all around Wolfgang's head, then suddenly Harry's fist smacked into his solar plexus and he was knocked supine. Harry immediately picked him up to his feet with a reverse takedown, followed immediately with a vicious toe punch.
Wolfgang hopped in a circle, clutching the impacted foot, howling.
I left there with Harry's best wishes, a preview copy of Harry's soon to be released DVD - "Glorified Kickboxing - the pre-McDojo Years", and a feeling of absolute certainty that I had witnessed a demonstration of one of the greatest martial arts this side of the Andromeda galaxy.

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