A typical 6hr training session in land of the morning calm “Korea”  another hot humid summer day,  shrill cry of the cicadas,  interrupted by a visitor who had been watching. Another young GI much like myself. He asked Mr Park if he could spar with me. Mr. Park sensing his intent told me to “knock him out, real kung fu way”

At the time, having had many encounters before using White Crane, I felt confident. This would be no different then the others, just a different tool set. Unfortnetly one I had not really tried out yet.

The GIs style could best be described as a type of kick boxing, He moved with a boxers ease and style, not the Tae Kwon Do “TKD” normally taught in Korea at the time to most GI’s stationed there. The kicking style, footwork and hand usage was quite different.

We circled each other using our respective arts, I closed the distance using a typical mantis step only to find my opponent had moved and countered at the same time.

I caught the initial movement a quick jab, but was amazed as my body seemed to do a series of movements unrelated to the follow up movements of my opponent leaving me open to his kicks, which knocked me down. This strange set of events would be repeated. Three more times….

He would move, my fist movement would be correct always followed by a series of movements that he exploited each time knocking me down. Leaving me unable to respond real time after any first movement.

Being a soldier at the time each time I was knocked down I did not think I had lost, I thought I just got killed.


While I did manage to throw the guy into some nearby bleachers after three times, I understood that there was really nothing I could do. The third time I was caught in this fashion Mr Park, asked if I wanted to continue..

I did but also understood I had no answers for what was happening, My movements were not real time. I was caught in my “training”

We stopped the match saluted each other,,,,Mr Park came over to me and said “now I will teach you to fight” the cold shark eyes not showing any emotion. I looked at him and started to take care of my injuries getting ready for the long bus ride back to Camp Edwards.

I understood at the time I could no longer trust my reactions as I had in the past because of the training. This caused a major reflection process to occur within me.

It was the first time I had ever lost a match in such a way.


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