Jeri Massi;Tae Kwon Do; Martial Arts; Women in Martial Arts

Jeri's Martial Arts Pictures, Page Three

Testing for Fourth Degree

I trained faithfully for fourth degree black for three and a half years, and then a couple months before the test, I evidenced early signs of a form of cancer called Paget's Disease. After several exams that led to a biopsy, I was finally pronounced cancer-free. But the experience left me under-trained in some of the finer points I had wanted to work on right at the end before the test. And I committed an incredible blunder in overtraining so severely that I came to the test with my right hip joint inflamed, and I was physically exhausted. It was a test of mental resolve more than anything else.

With my right hip joint inflamed, I came to the training hall early, and in the half-light, I tried to work the right leg to see how much I could do with it. Actually, as I worked and prayed in the silence, a great peace came over me. I think that hour spent alone before the test was one of the richest and yet most quiet hours of my life. I did not have cancer, and I would soon be in fellowship with my Christian black belt brothers and sisters: my favorite people. They would hope for the best in me and yet be honest and instructive.
The leg held up better than I had expected. Here we are, with the training hall open, during the drill session. All the people who had come were either there to serve as partners, opponents, or else as evaluators. The man I am working with, Bruce, is a very dedicated martial artist who has developed many fine boxing skills. He is one of the kindest men I know. I felt lucky to get him as a partner. He expected me to do my best, but he certainly did not do anything to sabatoge me, and he knew how to let me show my skills to their best.
The next four video stills show a very formal, classical drill called one-step sparring. My opponent simply executes a straight-line attack (a stepping punch). This is as basic as it gets, yet all the way to the highest levels of black belt, we are required to test on these skills. On the one hand, I would not fight like this on the street to defend myself, as it is too stilted. One the other hand, classical drills like this teach you to sidestep instantly and get out of the way (or better yet, throw out a kick to interfere with the attacker's motion), so it is probably useful as a tool. In the first two pictures, I sidestep and kick, then spin, grab his collar from the back, and kick his front leg out from under him.
The still on the left shows a more conventional footsweep, executed after a series of elbow strikes.

The still on the right depicts a side kick, our Number One kick. Great for power and speed.
I dislike classical knife defenses because I doubt I would use the classical methods to disarm an opponent. Jeet Kune Do and the Filipino martial arts offer much more practical methods for getting a knife away from an opponent. However, there is no doubt that the classical "key lock" which I am executing as Bruce tries to stab me with a fake knife, is a vital hold for any martial artist to know. It's a way to get an opponent's arm to bend in its natural motion before it is turned against the shoulder blade's natural positioning, so even a woman can successfully apply it, even if just for a moment. That should be long enough to execute a throw.
Breaking two boards with a back kick. A fairly lackluster kick, really. I was exhausted, and I was thankful that the boards broke. It was hailed as a good test, but I was thankful that it was over. I spent the next six weeks letting my right leg and hip heal, and then I began the training process for fifth degree black, scheduled for five years from now.

Thank you for viewing!
You can also view vide stills From the Scrap Book
And I have stills from the Training for Fourth Degree Black Belt
Thank you for viewing!
E-mail from readers is welcome.

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