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Bowley Kenpo Karate » Belt Promotion, Philosophy » Marinating in Kenpo Karate

Marinating in Kenpo Karate

Outside of Kenpo, cooking might be my biggest hobby. Or maybe just eating. Either way though, fajitas are one my favorite meals to make on the grill. One of our secrets is to marinate the cut of steak before grilling it. Marinating the meat allows it to pick up extra flavor and more depth. It’s the difference between a good meal and a great dinner.

Time between advancements is used to marinate in the art.

Time between advancements is used to marinate in the art.

Recently a number of our students have advanced in rank. The tests were hard fought with excellent showings of their acquired skills. As we look to the future though, their next belt tests are months away, many months in some cases. A couple are farther off than it normally takes to learn the required curriculum. Why?

Because martial artists need to marinate.

Kenpo karate isn’t only about leaning the necessary basics, forms, or techniques of self defense. It’s about leaning them well. To gain the experience and do the repetitions takes time. If we rush to learn everything too quickly, we retain nothing.

The marinating time between advancements increases the further down the martial arts path you go. For instance, usually there is 9 months between green belt and brown belt or 1 year between the last brown belt and black belt. At play here is more than just time to do the drills and become fluent in the movements. There is also a gaining of maturity.

The journey from beginner, intermediate, advanced, to expert for certain requires learning all the techniques and curriculum. There’s more to it though. There’s a level of wisdom which goes along with the journey. Wisdom like this comes from experience and time. This seasoning comes from more time on the mat, teaching a little bit, visiting with higher ranks and elders of the Art, competing or judging in tournaments, or attending seminars outside of your organization or Art. These experiences add depth (and flavor) to your journey making your a wiser, better martial artist. The time between advancements allows you to marinate in the Art.

Great fajitas have just a touch of grilled crust, juicy interior, and enough flavor to stand on their own. (Though salsa and guacamole are nice too.) A great martial artist can defend himself, understand and explain the principles behind the movements, and has the wisdom to know when (or not to) use it. Both the meal and the martial artist need the time to marinate in order to be spectacular.

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Sam Bowley
McKinney, TX

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