Friday, February 5, 2016


Welcome!  My name is Christophe J. Clarke.  I have been “practicing” martial arts since the mid-‘60s, and I continue to do so.  Even after years of martial arts exposure, practice, training, competing, and teaching – I believe that I am “just average” - still seeking a higher level of martial understanding and always digging deeper for more knowledge and wisdom.

When I was young, and just beginning my martial arts training, I tried to absorb everything about it.  And, unfortunately, I picked up some incorrect perceptions along the way.  For example, I used to believe that there was a difference between karate and kung fu.  I thought that kung fu was better than karate, and I also knew that others believed the opposite to be true. 

As I matured within the practice of martial arts, I soon learned that believing one art is better than another is actually an ignorant thing to say.  But, unfortunately, many people still don’t know the difference.  Here is what I mean:

Karate simply means “empty hand”.  Kung Fu means “great skill” or “don’t give up”.  When you get to the depths of these arts, you realize that their true definitions have nothing to do with fighting, but everything to do with consciousness.  In this way, the arts are the same.   

Throughout my life, I have met some of the greatest martial artists and masters of all time.  I have been blessed to travel and experience martial arts in China, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Russia, Argentina, Germany, Brazil, Canada, and the U.S.  My life has been a great adventure – seeing the world, meeting new people, learning new languages, and experiencing other cultures. 

From all of these amazing experiences, I have learned that:  (1)  martial arts is something we ALL share, something that is loved in each and every place I have traveled; and (2) the world is actually really small and we're not so different from our brothers and sisters afar.

For this reason, I chose to write my first blog post about the relationship that we ALL have to the tree of martial arts - a tree that has many branches and many leaves, but which all come from one source and one seed.  My hope is that we continue relating with each other through our arts and respect the tree itself as a whole (because cutting down a branch would be like cutting down yourself).

In my opinion, martial arts is like the Armed Forces.  In the U.S., we have Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, and the Coast Guard - all working for one purpose, which is to keep the country safe.

Similarly, martial arts has multiple branches:  Gung fu, Taiji, Karate, Judo, and Weaponry - different forms of martial arts to cover different situations.  (With this understanding, true martial arts has always been “MMA”.)

Whether you focus on a particular branch or a particular fighting technique, whether you call it “Armed Forces” or “Martial Arts” – they are all “forces” that work together as a group or system for one cause or goal. 

So, let’s focus on the tree and all do our part toward the common goal and deep meaning of martial arts.  I hope this blog will help in promoting this goal, as I will continue speaking on this issue in the weeks to come.  (And, of course, I would love to read your comments and opinions in response.  This is an important issue within the world of martial arts!)


DOES TAIJI HAVE MERIT IN MARTIAL ART WARFARE?  In my next post, I will comment specifically on Taiji and how we together need to restore the bridge to this lost treasure.  We all must do our part in this mission, so we must discuss our responsibility in Taiji as a martial art. 

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