A live demonstration of martial arts brought the skills of the ancient world to Pam Hick-man's "Connections" class at Timpview High School Wednesday.
With nine years of instruction and experience under his black belt, Isaac Patient and his sister, Sarah, who are students at Timpview, showed juniors and seniors how one defends oneself, anticipates a potential foe's attack and works with swords, scythes, daggers and the ancient version of the nightstick.Patient broke boards with a blow from his bare hands and later with his heel, explaining that the "secret" lies in the snap and focus.
"It doesn't require lots of strength," said Patient, snapping two and then three boards in succession.
"It does require complete concentration."
When Sarah's attempts to split the board didn't work, Patient said she's got more on her mind, being a freshman at the high school and more concerned about what people will think.
"I don't care," said Patient. "So I am free to concentrate fully."
Amber Hull and Derek Fry, also Timpview students, helped in the demonstrations, showing the importance of putting an opponent off balance and paying strict attention to where he or she is.
Patient said while every martial arts class instructor emphasizes not using the fighting skills frivolously, the skills can be critically helpful in a life-threatening situation.
"We have different things we do, for instance, if someone's trying to kidnap you or you're being mugged," he said.
He said over the years he's studied martial arts, including jujitsu and tae kwon do, he's broken eight ribs and all of his fingers and toes.
Hickman explained that the ancient art actually began in India with Buddhist monks, springing from the Zen Buddhism culture.
"Some parts are meditative. Most have strong religious overtones," said Hickman. "All deal with an awareness of self in and of the world, and with enlightenment of the body and mind."
It became an "art of empty hands" where the body actually becomes the weapon against evil with strict rules and disciplines.
However, said Hickman, it is important to see the value of the discipline and skill outside of its use as a fighting tool.