Martial Arts Offers More Than Protection

If all you know about martial arts comes from watching movies you're not alone. Nacogdoches martial artists are attempting to spread the word about the art they love.

"The martial art we practice is called yoseikan budo. It includes aspects of karate, judo, jujitsu, weapon work," explained Phil Farmer who organized the week long camp.

Glenn Pack is the instructor. He hands out padded sticks. "This is a padded version of the samurai sword.if these were real swords it would be mutual death."

Farmer had the real thing. With safety in mind the blade was dulled, but if it wasn't you would have a dangerous situation. "As you bring the sword back it's razor sharp, so what you have is a 40" razor blade."

The Japanese martial art is primarily for protection, but the experienced martial artists also strengthen their stamina and increase their self confidence. Pack said, "It helps you preserve your health, learn how to control your emotion and to be able to deal more effectively in your ordinary life as well."

Each spar begins with a traditional bow, a sign of respect. This is something you want when your body is used to practice potentially lethal techniques. Farmer described the 'strangle' technique. "He's using the uniform to come behind and strangle. These strangles don't cut off the air. They cut off the blood to the brain."

Brutal it may sound, but it's also a dance in motion. A graceful workout that keeps participants focused. The key is, "Self control. The idea that before you are able to control an attacker or an opponent it's important you're going to have to be able to control yourself," said Pack.

These students not only learn the physical moves, but they study the art's rich history. The Japanese word 'yoseikan' is based on ideas that are important in every daily life. They are learning, truth and home.

The martial arts camp continues through Saturday. Morning workouts are on the Austin Heights Baptist Church lawn. Evening workouts are at the Nacogdoches Recreation Center.