Skip to comments.W. Va. Gov. Gets Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do
Posted on 01/15/2005 2:33:10 PM PST by Kuksool
Don't mess with Gov. Bob Wise the outgoing West Virginia chief executive won his black belt in Tae Kwon Do on Saturday.
Nearly two decades after his initial attempt and just three months after surgery on both knees, Wise performed a series of body moves, traded arm chops and leg jabs with a partner, and kicked and elbowed through pieces of wood at the Kang Tae Kwon Do Academy.
"I'm ecstatic, really," said Wise, 57. "This is something I've worked for for a long time."
Wise was one of 80 students from gold belts to black belts, from 4-year-olds to senior citizens who competed for higher ranks Saturday in front of an overflow crowd. He is believed to be the only sitting governor with a black belt, said Sok Ho Kang, the academy's grand master.
An extramarital affair led Wise to not seek re-election; fellow Democrat Joe Manchin will be inaugurated as his successor on Monday.
Wise earned a gold belt early in his nine-term career as a congressman, which ended when he ran for governor. But he suffered a broken rib during a tournament and didn't take classes again until after he sent his son to Kang a few years ago. In October, the avid jogger underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees to clean out torn cartilage.
"I don't know that my job is that much different than anybody else's, whether you're a truck driver, police officer, whatever," he said. "How do we deal with that stress and how do we focus our energies to what's important? Tae Kwon Do is about the best school for learning that that I know."
Along with California's bodybuilding Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (news - web sites), active chief executives include Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is training for the Little Rock Marathon in March, losing more than 100 pounds along the way.
"Governors are very competitive by nature," said Peter Wiley, director of management consulting for the National Governors Association. "They're usually high energy, so this kind of athletic competition goes hand in hand."
North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley once lost control of a stock car and slammed into a speedway wall at 120 mph while practicing for an all-star event in Charlotte. Idaho's Dirk Kempthorne rides his Harley Davidson motorcycle to meetings in other states.
Gary Johnson, governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2002, was a world-class triathlete and in 2003 climbed Mount Everest (news - web sites). He was a passenger on a balloon that flew 1,740 miles from Albuquerque to Delaware to win a race in 2002.
Wise prefers to stick to martial arts, especially the part about punching through a board.
"Once you break the first one, there's a pump. Your adrenaline gets going," he said. "When you get it right in the middle and you hear 'crack,' it's an incredible feeling."
My personal favorite is Ed parker's kenpo. It is a very efficient and devastating art. After studying Goju karate for many years, I switched to kenpo and will never go back, although I think Goju is an excellent art also. I was never impressed with the Korean styles, such as TKD and TSD.
TKD is a beautiful art. One of my best high school friends is, today, one of THE masters of TKD today, he is korean, grandchild or nephew of Master Choi (General), who invented TKD.
Thanks for those links. I'll have to check them out later since I'm on a slow wireless connection at the moment.
My only 'martial arts' training is in jujitsu and grappling. It's pretty effective, since the whole goal is to get people on the ground and disable them. As a general rule, any combat move that requires you to kick into the air and stand on one leg makes you vulnerable to being toppled.
I test for 3rd Gup in a week.
I'm not a fan of high kicking. Looks great in the movies... but...
I did Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan a long time ago too...
But you also have to remember, that if you're fooling around with friends, karate guys can't really punch people, so you would have to judge them in a real fight. The same goes for Kung Fu.
Kung Fu is particularly deadly, because almost all strikes are to the enemy's throat, eyes, or groin. You can't do that in a "rassle" with friends, nor even in a competitive sport. Go to the link I posted earlier. Check out the speed of that guy. Imagine him trying to machine-gun punch you in the throat... all the while, he holds your hands down. Watch his technique... that's kung fu. No high kicks. No spinning acrobatics. Straight "Ling Wang Wan" puches to the throat. Fight over in seconds.
He'll get my respect when he wins a round in the UFC.
Ed Parker passed away in the early 90's. He trained thousands since the 50's. One of his best is Larry Tatum. I don't know if his site has any video clips. I do know that several people have documented the entire system on instructional video. There was a very good movie called 'Perfect Weapon' starring Larry Speakman that was released right after Parker's death that shows kenpo very well.
High kicks tend to be a trademark of the Korean systems. The point behind teaching students to kick high is improve flexibility and endurance. Going through a one hour class focused on high roundhouse kicking drills is great way to burn calories. But, I agree that for self-defense purposes, kicks should be no higher than the waist.
Maybe they will get things done, chop chop, in WV.
In December my kids tested for their yellow belt and hope to test for their orange belt in Feb. Is "gold" the same as yellow.
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