You are right, as a 2nd Dan of Tang Soo Do, I can tell you it takes a
bit more than 3 months of one hour a week sessions. But not to
despair, your goal apparently is to feel a bit more confident and
relaxed in aggressive situations, not to learn a martial art. I can
help you with that in your time frame.
Place on your door, a black spot about the size of a dime and about
the height of a man's Adams apple. Don't picture it there, really put
the spot on the door with a magic marker or something like that. Now,
stand at arms length from that spot and practice for 30 minutes
putting your thumb, your index finger and your middle and index finger
together to that spot on the door. Practice taking a small step to do
it, and standing flat footed. Practice with both hands.
When you are able to do this accurately every time at full speed, turn
to the side and practice with both hands getting to the spot again.
For the next 30 minutes practice sprinting for 25 yards. No more than
that. Just 25 yards. Sprint the 25 yards, walk back to your starting
point, turn and sprint again. Do this for 30 minutes.
What are you learning. First you are learning where to place your hand
if someone attacks or grabs you. Have a friend place his hands on your
throat as if to choke you. Put your index finger to his throat, don't
jab him, but a single movement to touch the area just above the collar
bone, where you would put a breathing hole for someone whose throat is
smashed. Now, extend your shoulder towards him. There is no one strong
enough to keep his hands on your throat as you do this.
A fast strike with your thumb to the same area will put someone off
you really fast. If you practice this for 30 minutes a day, the
chances of you actually getting that strike will drastically improve.
Practice making the strike as directly, and straight as you can. Keep
your elbow in, don't let it jet out to the side. Keep it too your side
or even bring it in to the middle of your chest as you strike out.
This is a bit harder than it sounds. Of course if it wasn't you
wouldn't need to practice.
When you first start move slowly, accuracy is more important than
speed. Speed and power will come, but if you aren't hitting exactly on
that spot then what good are they? Pay attention to your body as you
do this, where are you off balance and when is your arm not moving in
a direct line to the spot? Adjust your stance until the move is a
straight line to the spot and you are not off balance at any point.
Remember to bring your arm back as quickly as you can. Don't leave it
hanging out there for someone to grab a hold of.
A quick strike to the throat and being able to turn and run 25 yards
as hard as you can will get you out of almost any situation. If it is
beyond the need to do those two things, then you are probably in real
trouble. Real trouble takes real solutions. But I will tell you this,
if you honestly do this for 3 months, you will start to feel less
clumsy and more confident when facing intimidating people, be they
your boss or your big brother. It will allow you to stop thinking
about the physical aspects of your dilemma and face the areas of
communication with more ease. After all, if it does turn physical you
know you can drop him with one shot.
You may find you like that feeling. It is quite addictive after
awhile. I haven't been in a real fight in almost 12 years, but knowing
that if it does turn to that, I can handle myself, is probably the
reason. Most physical encounters are based on a fear of not being able
to handle them. Knowing I can, allows me to focus on the other aspects
of the encounter. You will also find you are more relaxed and focused
throughout the day.
If this continues, and you want to take it a step up I would recommend
either a grappling art such as Jujitsu or Akido. Your "clumsyness"
will be an asset there, not a hindrance. Stay away from boxing and
Korean arts, they move very fast and rely on a tremendous amount of
balance while making power attacks.
Clarification of Answer by
30 Dec 2002 17:58 PST
This is rather subjective on several levels, you, the teacher, the
time you put in, etc. Find a teacher that you like, first off. Talk
with them. Take a class, and go watch a few classes. Make sure you are
comfortable with what they are teaching and how. There is a lot more
to martial arts than beating someone with your fist. For my first dan
test I had to show knowledge of healing, language, and poetry on top
of being able to deal with multiple attackers.
To answer directly, I would guess about a year, with two classes a
week and a day that you practice what you learned for at least two
hours. But this again is very subjective and hard to say. It's not
like learning a programming langauge or anything else for that matter.
Really it's a lifestyle change.