“Fear of Contact”, by Hadith Lundell, Karate Illustrated April 1983 Vol 14 No 4
FEAR OF CONTACT – Many students are scared of being hit, of accidentally hitting somebody else, of losing control. Dan DiVito believes in rigorous physical conditioning and a kind of warm gradualism that begins with slow-motion drills
Many beginners in the martial arts are secretly uncertain whether they will ever be able to deliver or accept kicks and punches in either combat or sparring without flinching. Many mid-level students are held back from true progress by their fears of being hit, while others are deathly afraid of injuring someone one through a lack of self-control. Naturally enough, there are others who enroll with boxing or streetfighting experience, all too eager to hit. Dan DiVito, Hollywood tae kwon do teacher, believes that to become a truly skilled martial artist is to develop simultaneously in mind and spirit and body.
Contact, DiVito believes, is necessary for the martial arts student before he can come to a necessary appreciation of the levels of force. A mastery of technique is only half the battle, he maintains. A conquest or subjugation of fears is essential before the student can learn to feel and move with an opponent’s reactions. How ought a student to prepare for contact then?
DiVito calls for both education and conditioning.
Under the guise of education, DiVito would introduce the topic of chi or ki, not, he recognizes, a universally acceptable topic among all martial artists. Chi, says DiVito, is the quality of energy emanating from the human spirit, an energy that has different qualities at different times.