View Full Version : Do You Keep Your M.A. Training/Skills To Yourself? Why?

10-29-2000, 08:38 PM
This topic may have been discussed in a previous posting, but I couldn't find it.

My son (15 yrs old, black belt, Shaolin Kempo Karate) keeps his training to himself. Nobody in his high school knows of his training except for a few close friends and those who may have seen him at a karate demo that he participated in. He feels that he is avoiding potential problems (being challenged to a fight to prove his skills/rank or asked to show off his skills). Also he believes that by not making it generally known he's a black belt that the element of surprise would be on his side if he ever found himself in a situation where he could not avoid a fight.

My son went to a tournament/invitational this past Spring and ran into a green belt who goes to the same high shcool as he does. He knew the green belt and have over heard the other boy talk about his MA training, but never discussed his own training. You can imagine the surprise the green belt had when he saw my son competing and winning 1st place in both junior black belt katas and weapons. After the events the green belt approached my son, gave him a courtesty bow and congratulated him on doing so well and told him that he had no idea that my son was such an "expert" in karate!

10-29-2000, 08:59 PM
MA is an intrigal part of my life, I speak about it the same way my friends talk about their children or their car.

Most everyone in my interactive circle of people knows I do MA. The ones who were interested know more than the others. As to people outside that group, I don't walk around shouting it out /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Kung Lek
10-29-2000, 08:59 PM
Hi terry-

That's great that you are so proud of your son.
And good for him in being so disciplined.

Truly though, it is a matter of individual choice as to whether or not one wishes to share their experience with others.

Everybody on this board by default does not hide the fact they are a martial artist or interested in martial arts.
So you likely won't get a response from someone who is very private about it.

For me personally, I wish to promote and spread as much as I can about martial arts and specifically those arts I have the fortune of being taught.


Kung Lek

10-29-2000, 09:27 PM
Kung Lek - I realize that anyone posting to this forum is connected to the martial arts in some way (parents of a martial artist, a martial artist-student and/or instructor, etc.). This question was directed more toward how you have to deal with your non-martial artist friends, strangers, and so on. This can be especially tricky if your attending public school (junior high or high school) and some of the jerks you have to deal with there.

Kung Lek
10-29-2000, 09:48 PM
Hi Terry-

Yes that is true.
I think that it is interesting that your son has made this choice for himself.

It is uncommon to find such modesty in a highschool student. Especially considering that it sounds like your boy has a real passion for the ma he studies.

i am not one to approach and broach the subject unless the context is present. If the context is not present then I will not generally advertise that I practice any form of martial arts.

If i am with another group of folks who some of or all are martial artists, the topic of conversation will usually lead to and stay on ma for a good amount of time.

Exposure of my place in the heirarchical structure of the school I attend is something I will usually not mention at all unless asked.

I generally define myself only as student, because that is first and foremost what I am in context to the Martial arts I practice.


Kung Lek

10-31-2000, 07:11 PM
Kung Lek - my son takes a very similar tact as you when dealing with non-martial artist friends and/or strangers. If the subject is brought up, he would tell them that he does some karate and not elaborate (how long, style, rank, etc.) on the subject. He views people he meets as a potential adversary until he gets to know them better, I hope this is not a sign of paranoia. I think that he may have gotten this from his grandfather (my father) who is from the old country (Canton, China).

Kung Lek
10-31-2000, 07:51 PM
Hi terry.

Well, I guess he's keeping himself sharp!

personally, I view unknown folks as potential friends, but I can understand the mindset associated with martial artists from Canton! Ha ha. All those rooftop fights would probably get you assessing people as adversaries quite regularly.

is your family Toisan District? Hakka?


Kung Lek

10-31-2000, 09:32 PM
Kung Lek - just updated my profile. Please email me and I'll give you some more info about my ethnic background which is not relevant to this open forum.

10-31-2000, 09:58 PM
Does anyone else have an opinion or experience regarding this matter that he/she would like to share with us? Please do.

11-06-2000, 03:51 PM
Kung Lek - my father is from the Toisan District and my mother was borned in California, but her parents was also from Toisan. I'm second generation American borned Chinese (ABC). My wife was borned in Hong Kong and came to the U.S. as a teenager (junior high school age). Our son was borned in Hong Kong (adopted at 2.5 yrs old).

Enough about me, would you like to share some info about yourself? Are you of Asian background?

11-07-2000, 12:03 AM
Demonstrating your martial arts skill to people is VERY VERY DANGEROUS.

To me, it's akin to putting a bullseye on your back and saying "Attack me".

Just read the posts here. Many of these folks are just ITCHING for a fight.

Having dealt with these types of people in real life has made me very wary of demonstrating my skills. That I'm perceived as an easy target due to my lack of size and color only makes it MORE dangerous.

To avoid these folks, I now practice alone or with selected individuals.

11-07-2000, 04:34 AM
It takes great will power and a person of great humbleness to not expose him or herself to others around them. We could count the people here who do not take a bit of pride in telling people that we study whatever style for however many years.

For me, it is not that I hide it, but that I never really find the place or time to show it. I don't purposefully hide it, not expose it.

The only thing that I do purposefully keep secret are two of the Tibetan Hai-Gong exercises that I am not studying, Awaken the Prana and another one that my Great Aunt taught me.

My instructors don't say I can't show other people this, but to me it is a sort of respect that I show to them that I cherish the practice a lot and that I acknowledge they do not always teach people Hai-Gong, and it is not my place to show or tutor people it either.

On Kung Fu, I do show people once in a while when they ask, "What would you do if I did this?" *punch*. And I do willingly tell people that I study a Martial Art when asked and once or twice I have told a few people without prompt.

To me, the defensive Martial Arts are not something that have to be hidden. Like I say to some people, "If you're so interested, then why don't you take it? Its cheap."

Underaged Drunken Monkey

11-07-2000, 04:37 AM
Oh and one more thing.

If you say, "Well you could be showing them your skill so they can use it on you later!"

Hah. I heard that more than once before. Believe me, no one is going to learn how to apply a technique from 10 seconds of watching.

Underaged Drunken Monkey

11-07-2000, 04:51 AM
Showing me your skills tells me what skills you have. I don't need to learn to counter it, I know how to counter it, and now I know what you have. You are less likely to get me by suprise, since I know what techniques and defenses you will use.

Knowledge is power.

11-07-2000, 07:02 AM
From a few replies, I got the impression that some of you may had have some problems because it was known that you're a martial artist. Would anyone like to share their experience with us and tell what would you have done differently to avoid the incident?