Back to Instructors Main Page

Todd Lilly's Martial Art Biography

I started Han Moo Kwan Tae Kwan Do and Aikido in 1998, both are offered at Lockheed. I decided to try both classes and see which one I liked best. I became the Aikido club president in 2001. In 2002 I was awarded first degree black belt in Aikido then first degree in Han Moo Kwan TKD in 2003. I was certified as a Han Moo Kwan instructor in 2008 and became the club president in 2010. When I figure out what martial art I like best, I will let you know.

The reason I started martial arts training is simple: I have always wanted to learn a "martial art". Growing up in a small town, then college (in a similar small town), I did not have the chance to train in martial arts. I was generally picked on in elementary school and junior high. I was tall and thin, not a good combination. I was generally afraid of getting beat on. I always wanted to be like the guy in the movies, so I could make the bullies pay. I don't waste my time worrying about the bullies anymore (itís not time well spent)

Being awarded a black belt was really a shock. In Aikido, the sensei walked into class and told us to do some free-form techniques. After 1.5 hours, he told us "I guess you should go get a black belt before the next class". It was an interesting way to receive a black belt. It made me think that this is a very miss-understood award. Black belt is just the beginning, now I learn the most by teaching others. Teaching helps one understand (and learn) the subtle nuances that make techniques work.

In the beginning of my training I was absolutely interested in sparring and self defense. My test scores showed this, I received many of the highest (worst) scores in my class. A few times I seriously thought about quitting. One of the black belts talked to me about this. He said "if you quit, they win". I didn't quit and eventually we all won/gained something. Now that I have trained for a few years, I have learned many very important lessons, three of them are: 1) bad days happen: it only takes one missed block or a lucky punch to ruin your day. 2) The small girl or out-of-shape old man might know something: (I had to tap out to an old man, who looked like he was resting on top of me while contemplating the clouds). 3) Avoid fighting: I was on the track team from jr. high school through college, I learned how to run before I learned to fight. Try running first and don't quit.

I have had many breakthroughs or ďAh-haĒ moments while training in martial arts. Itís interesting that most of these self revelations are actually things that my instructors have been saying/teaching for years Ė I just finally was able to use the information. One example: I (all of us) have been instructed to stay positive and donít worry about the mistakes made. One should continue performing at 100% and correct mistakes later. I have handed this little jewel of wisdom down to my students, only to realize (after many years of training) that I was getting hung up on small mistakes in my forms. Ah-ha....

Run, don't fight. If you have to fight, donít quit - win.


Home | Biography-Kelly | Biography-Todd | Biography-Aaron | Biography-Jeff

© Copyright 2000-2010 Han Moo Kwan Tae Kwon Do Club, Sunnyvale