Last June I started attending Martial Arts classes and it has been an eye opening experience. In college, I was a member of the Tae Kwon Do club. It wasn’t a really organized group, but it gave me a taste of martial arts and I realized this is something that I wanted to pursue. I switched sports in college, but it has always been on my bucket list to continue TKD and strive to train to the black belt level.
Every couple of years or so since moving to Maine, I would look into classes, but because we work long hours, I had a hard time finding TKD classes that would work. Last year I started taking my bucket list a lot more seriously and realized that while I might not be able to make TKD work, looking into other disciplines might scratch that itch. It doesn’t mean that I won’t continue TKD at some point when my schedule allows, but in the meantime I could learn another discipline and practice my skills.
After looking around at dojo options in the Portland area, I signed up with the Greater Portland School of Jukado in Westbrook. I’ve had patients with children taking these classes and have heard amazing things about Doshu (the Hereditary Grand Master) and Shihan (Master Instructor). They had a first month introduction rate and I figured that I had nothing to lose.
Jukado was founded in 1972 by Grand Master Terry Suyom Mayer and is a blend of Kung Fu, Karate, Aikido and Judo. It is teaching martial arts for everyday situations. We do a lot of fitness in the classes as well as locks and holds (getting out of someone grabbing you), katas (choreographed movements) and weapons. I have been amazed at what I’ve learned in such a short amount of time and feel that it’s increasing my flexibility which is something that we lose as we get older.
One of the most impressive aspects of the dojo are the children in my classes. I typically go at a time that is a blend of children and adults of all ranks (most of the kids outrank me actually). Respect and discipline is taught every day and the kids are incredibly polite. They always make eye contact and say excuse me when passing and always say hi to me or ask how I am in class. In the day and age of so much technology, it’s nice to see kids learning the basics of social skills. In order to test for a stripe or belt (ranking system), the parents are asked how the kids are doing at home. If they are not trying hard in school or minding their parents, they may not be eligible to test.
One of the best things about Jukado is that during the classes, I am able to focus on form, flexibly and function, which is one of the major aspects that we concentrate on in our office. Increasing these 3 aspects of health can do wonders to decrease injuries as well as increase overall fitness. I have a long way to go until I am training at the black belt level, but each step along the way is getting me one step closer!
- Dr. Cait