Where Have the Basics Gone?

by Bahram "Burt" Eskandarion (2002-10-26)

(Written in 2002)

Boy, do I love the smell of the sweat in our studio. Do you know what I am talking about?

You know, when the whole class is working out hard and rough. Kicks and punches are flying everywhere and everyone does get into a deep horse stance. The cold outside air mixes with our body heat and makes a blanket of mist on the mirror. Do you know what I am talking about?

Well, if you are one of the lucky few that still belongs to a school that believes in training hard then you know.

I have been fortunate to be in a school that still believes in basics. Let me say that correctly: strong basics.

I've been traveling with my teacher Mr. Tom Kelly (Si-Bok) to different camps and tournaments around the country. What I have begun to notice is a disturbing pattern that is emerging among some of the schools.

What happened to basics? When did belt promotions and accruing another rank became more important than basics? What is this new age Kenpo we keep hearing about?

Why do we feel that we have to change something to make it better when all we need to do is apply ourselves to learning it correctly with all our heart and spirit?

What happened to carrying on the torch that was lit by our brothers and sisters who came before us and gave their blood and sweat to make the Art what it is today?

Do we honestly expect students to learn techniques and try to defend themselves on the street when they can't even throw a punch or kick correctly?

It is not about what the Art makes you, but what you make of the Art. Do you get it?

Well, if you do, dig in. go back and hit the floor and put more sweat and blood into your Art. Stop looking for promotions and ranks, and start looking to promote your Art by good, strong basics.

"Knowledge does not grow like a tree where you dig a hole, plant your feet, cover them with dirt, and pour water on them daily. Knowledge grows with time, work, and dedicated effort. It can not come by any other means."
---Ed Parker's Infinite Insights into Kenpo, Book 1

Well, that is what I think but I may be wrong!