TRURO – A stiff shot to the midsection could buckle even the best of fighters. A shot to the groin, however, will buckle the best.
The statement was put to the test on Saturday afternoon, as the Truro Kajukenpo club put on a demonstration during a bake sale at the Mira.
Kajukenpo, a mixed martial art, is a combination of karate, judo, jujutsu and kenpo. Troy Olmstead provided the commentary while his fellow senior members, Raymond Fleck and Sherisse Smith duked it out on the mats.
“A big part of this is self-defense,” Olmstead said. “And a shot below the belt will take down pretty much anybody,”
The group, comprised of three adults and seven kids, were fundraising for a trip to New Hampshire at the end of the summer. The annual trips can be expensive for the group, especially with more of the younger ones becoming competitive.
“We’re hoping to bring some of the kids with us this year and give them the experience,” he said. “So public events like this are going to go a long way.”
After splitting into two groups and displaying various kicks and strikes, the kids took a water break while Smith and Fleck showed the more practical side of the sport.
The duo took turns engaging one another while the other defended against the attack. The self-defense display showed off the different styles of martial arts all rolled into one, with judo-like takedowns and jujutsu-style submissions.
Both competitors couldn’t help but smile after several of the takedowns. Despite hard smacks and loud thuds on the mats, the duo said they weren’t going close to full throttle.
“We were just going easy out there,” Smith said, smiling. “But when we practice more seriously, we can get away with not hurting each other. You have to know your partner’s limits, as well as your own.”
Several of the moves involve bending limbs to a critical point. Knowing when to stop is a trick that comes with experience, Smith said.
“It takes a lot of practicing together to know each other’s breaking points,” Smith said. “You really develop a feel for it after a while.”
Aside from self-defense lessons, Kajukenpo carries many life skills with it. Things like patience, discipline and reward are big benefits of the martial art, Fleck said.
“You give a kid an Xbox game and they’ll be excited when they get some type of achievement,” he said. “But two weeks later they finish the game and its worthless. With this, you get that reward for the rest of your life.”
Discipline is a big area of the sport as well, Olmstead said.
Upon first joining the program, kids are bouncing off the walls, he said. But after a few weeks, they stand perfectly still and attentive throughout the class.
“And you have to think outside the gym,” Olmstead said. “That relays over into the classroom, the workplace, and at home. It’s huge for the kids.”
For more information on the club, contact operator/instructor Gerald Tobin at 843-2623 or drop by the gym at 7 Pleasant St.