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
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
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.
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