April 24

Bill “Superfoot” Wallace: Sparring Is Only Fun When You’re The One Who’s Scoring

Not everybody can say they took a hook kick to the jaw from someone who retired after 6 years undefeated as a full-contact champion.

I can.

Granted, it was controlled. But still.

Bill “Superfoot” Wallace had some excellent sparring tips to share with a young group of students Sunday morning.

Superfoot’s strength is with his left leg as a result of an injury to his right leg. Sure enough, in the hour we worked, all of the techniques led with the front, left leg.

Adam Bockler with Bill "Superfoot" Wallace

His seminar capped off an amazing Hall of Fame weekend.

April 21

Make It Your Own: Martial Arts Tips from Geoff Meede and Eddy Parker

Make it your own.

That was the overarching concept behind two of my favorite sessions at the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame this year.

Martial arts instructors tend to do teach in a relatively similar fashion. The moves may be different, but generally, they begin with a certain set of movements, then gradually increase the difficulty by adding in body movement or more techniques.

The attendees, for the most part, tend to lose the individual techniques as soon as they move on to the next combination. I would guess that most people lose the techniques they were taught within a few days, maybe a week.

Maybe I’m just forgetful, but I can’t tell you the exact techniques I’ve learned at almost any seminar because we didn’t practice them repeatedly during the session, and I probably didn’t work it enough at home.

However, martial artists should look for what Eddy Parker and Geoff Meed were showing in Indianapolis. The techniques themselves don’t matter.

Find what works for you, and use it. 

Mr. Eddy Parker teaches kung fu in Peoria. Starting his training under his uncle when he was 5, the 40-year-old has more than three decades of experience. Because he’s based in Peoria, I’ve been able to get to know him fairly well over the past several years. A stand-up comedian/shoe salesman/security guard, he has a broad range of experience in life.

One statement he made that resonated with me was to make what he was showing my own.

It’s true.

I’m not going to be an expert in hung gar kung fu any time soon.

However, I know enough about karate to recognize similar movement patterns.

For instance, one of his self-defense techniques looked an awful lot like a kihon. Instead of doing Mr. Parker’s prescribed set of techniques, I switched it up and added some karate flair to it.

“Everybody look over here,” he shouted.

And he asked me to show my technique. He loved it.

Geoff Meed, an actor-turned-school owner, expressed the same philosophy.

Borrowing techniques from his kempo experience, such as “vengeful dragon” – which he said he thought was a bizarre name – he first told us to “follow the script,” so to speak, when it came to performing the movements.

After each person in the group had a go at it, he encouraged us to make it our own and try to be more realistic.

These were both excellent sessions with fantastic martial artists.

Next time you go to a seminar, pick out what you like and what you don’t like. Use your art as a basis to see if those techniques would work in your style. If not, drop it. If so, then figure out how to optimize it for you and your art.

April 18

Master Ken Roasts the 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame

It’s ironic that I was awarded Karate Black Belt of the Year by the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame when just hours earlier I’d traded in my black belt for a white belt in Ameri-Do-Te.

Let me explain.

I love to laugh, and I love the martial arts.

So imagine how stoked I was to learn that Master Ken would be doing a presentation at the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

Master Ken is a character played by Matt Page on his YouTube show, Enter the Dojo (note: It might be considered PG-13 for mostly language).

The style of the show is perhaps best described as “The Office” meets “Karate Kid”. The show centers around an egocentric martial arts instructor named Master Ken, who teaches his own homemade brand of fighting called “Ameri-Do-Te” to a band of misfit civilians.

Source: KarateByJesse.com

Master Ken and Sensei Bockler pose

Master Ken and Sensei Bockler pose

For nearly half an hour, Master Ken entertained the crowd of several hundred and provided evidence to support his claim that his martial art truly is “the best of all, worst of none.”

He dissected various martial arts, pointing out their supposed inefficiencies and calling them irrelevant and outdated.

“Krav maga? What a joke. They don’t even use the belt system. They give each other patches like a bunch of Girl Scouts.”

Then he turned his attention to roasting various martial artists in the crowd.

Master Ken confused Ed Parker, the father of American kenpo, with Eddy Parker, the kung fu stylist out of Peoria, before immediately turning to tai chi chuan instructor Steve Aldus.

“Tai chi is the only martial art to be officially sponsored by the AARP,” he ribbed.

Finally, Master Ken brought up some volunteers to demonstrate various Ameri-Do-Te techniques, which I’ve not included in the video.

Master Ken mentioned that his program was offering a black belt exchange, in which all the scores of black belts in the room could give up their belts for an Ameri-Do-Te white belt.

After this segment, I took Master Ken up on his offer.

“Sorry, sir,” I said. “I don’t have my black belt with me because it’s in my room.”

“That’s fine,” he replied. “Just promise to burn it later.”

Master Ken has officially accepted Sensei Bockler as a student of Ameri-Do-Te

Master Ken has officially accepted Sensei Bockler as a student of Ameri-Do-Te

What a fun gimmick. I would have loved to have chatted with Matt Page about the character and the show because I appreciate his DIY approach.

I guess if you’re an 11th-degree black belt, though, you only have so much time to give.

April 13

Karate Black Belt of the Year: 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame

Martial arts seminars are like family reunions. At least, that was the atmosphere at the 2014 Martial Arts Hall of Fame in Indianapolis, Ind., this past weekend.

Sensei Bockler with the signatures of all 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductees

Sensei Bockler with the signatures of all 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductees

I myself felt like that significant other being introduced for the first time to the family. You feel like an outsider at first, because they have years of history with everybody and you’re getting to know them for the first time.

But I know at the end of the day, I’ll have walked away with stronger relationships. And that’s what keeps me going to things like this.

After a list of thank yous, I’ll give you a sneak peak at just one of my weekend’s highlights.

Coming soon, I’ll post more pictures and video in new blog posts specific to the seminars I attended. You’re going to love it!

Thank Yous

Since we didn’t get much mic time because of the scores of people receiving awards, I wanted to thank some people for this significant award.

Thank you to Steve Aldus for nominating me as the Karate Black Belt of the Year. His support and guidance is invaluable. Receiving an award is nice. But to me, the bigger rewards for what I do as a martial artist, and now as the proprietor of my own school, are twofold.

One, being recognized by an esteemed martial artist like Mr. Aldus is incredible. With all of his knowledge of martial arts and the things he’s done throughout his life, it’s a real honor for me that he thinks highly enough of me to bring me into this group.

Sifu Steve Aldus, Mrs. Aldus, Sensei Bockler

Sifu Steve Aldus, Mrs. Aldus, Sensei Bockler

The second – and most important – reward is that my students come to class every week to learn from me. As somebody mentioned in their Hall of Fame speech last night, we can’t be instructors without students. I go to things like the Hall of Fame seminars, like the a Chinese martial arts seminar, like Iain Abernethy’s seminars and more because I learn so much about my own art and style from visiting others. As a result, the students get a well-rounded martial arts education.

Thank you to Joe Chianakas for starting Metamora Martial Arts for hooking me into the martial arts back in 2003, and thank you to Dave Hawkey for continuing me to push me to get better all the time.

And thanks to my family for their support of my endeavors, and especially my parents for coming to Indianapolis for the ceremony.

The Peoria Martial Arts Scene Rocks

Sensei Bockler and Sifu Parker

Sensei Bockler and Sifu Parker

There’s no question about this. The level of martial arts talent that is in Peoria is unrivaled.

There were no less than three tables full of Peoria-based martial arts instructors and students at the Hall of Fame banquet.

One, Mr. Eddy Parker, even represented Peoria by presenting the most fun seminar of the day. I say that despite not attending about half of the events since they took place in different rooms.

However, Mr. Parker’s session kept growing and growing. It was fun, and I think people really learned something, too. I always enjoy seeing Mr. Parker’s demonstrations and seminars, and I can’t wait to share videos and some of my thoughts from his session this weekend.

 

February 22

2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame Induction

In conjunction with celebrating the 12th anniversary of Metamora Martial Arts this month, I’m honored to announce that I will be inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame this April alongside a multitude of stellar martial artists.

USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame - Official Hall of HeroesOne of my martial arts teachers and inspirations, Mr. Steve Aldus – a multiple-time Hall of Fame inductee himself – has nominated me for the award.

Dr. Jim Thomas, the co-founder of this Hall of Fame, wrote the following in his acceptance letter:

“You as a leader in our martial arts industry have paved the way for our new and up and coming generation of skilled martial artists. It’s you who walks in the path of “Bushido” as you diligently run your school, sacrifice a lot of your free time living your dream and love. Consequently your students are mirrors of your teaching!”

The ceremony takes place Saturday, April 12, in Indianapolis, Indiana.

By accepting this nomination into the Hall of Fame, I aim to learn from the other instructors who belong to this group. In turn, this will allow me to share new knowledge with my students and teach new techniques and strategies in the hopes of shaping superior martial artists.

Other events for the weekend include seminars Friday evening and during the day on Saturday, as well as a tournament to cap off the weekend on Sunday.

Seminar guests include:

  • Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, one of the most renowned competitors in the world
  • Master Ken, star of Enter the Dojo, the world’s only 11th-degree black belt and founder of the greatest martial art in the world, Ameri-Do-Te (heads up: Enter the Dojo is probably a PG-13 rating)
  • Ray McCallum, a legendary point fighter from the 70s and 80s
  • Art Camacho, a well-known martial arts figure in Hollywood
  • Frank Dux, who was portrayed in Blood Sport by Jean-Claude Van Damme
  • Geoff Meed, a Hollywood stuntman
  • Tony Rivera, an original Guardian Angel
  • Alvin “Goldie” Mack, president of the Alliance and instructor of Sinbad