Keith Lichtcsien Testimonial
I began my Martial Arts Training in 1986 and was tested for 1st degree black belt in 1991. From 1989 through 1993 I devoted approximately 10 hours per week training and was asked to begin preparing for my 2nd degree test. While training for that test, I sustained a serious knee injury, but planned to return to the mat after rehab from surgery. During my rehab, business demands increased substantially and my first child was born. While my desire and interest never waned, my training was sporadic for the next 5 years or so and included attending a number of Black Belt clinics.
Master Tim Loomis was one of my teachers and testers for my black belt test. Our system was a broad-based hard style of self-defense, including throws, grabs, restraints, ground fighting, karate, knees, elbows, shins, and weapons defenses. When my son and his best friend were 5, they enrolled in the kid’s self-defense program and I am grateful for having been permitted to help instruct those classes. I was aware that Master Loomis had begun to seriously expand his training while he was one of my instructors in the late 80s, but only a very limited amount of the knowledge was shared with me during that time. The style in which I was training was highly effective and plenty challenging for me, so while I was somewhat curious to learn about other styles, it really wasn’t of compelling interest to me. Well, as I now know (my definition of ignorance being that you don’t know what you don’t know), I was ignorant.
I stayed in touch with Master Loomis, and one day decided to visit him at The Silent Mind. After we talked, he was extremely gracious in inviting me to train under him, and made the invitation irresistible by extending it to my son and his best friend, who both had achieved Black Belt rank in their youth program. It was important to me to be able to continue to train with them, yet they were only in their teens. (Today they are freshmen OSU Buckeyes). This has been a gift of immeasurable value to both of them and to me.
I am now in my 5th year of training under Master Loomis at the Silent Mind. I never really considered that well into my 50s I would be continuously learning at ever-deeper levels. It is challenging both mentally and physically, yet I feel stronger, faster, smoother, more powerful, more efficient, and more effective than at any time in my life. In fact, my training has helped me significantly in two other sports, one being highly physically and mentally challenging. Our style is seriously effective for self- defense (one would expect that, given Master Loomis’ extensive training and accomplishments in several self-defense styles/systems), but it is so much more! I believe that in most other styles, the physical beating takes a cumulative toll on the body so practitioners are forced to reduce their training as they age, losing flexibility and accumulating injuries, and often living in pain. Over the last 4 years, my experience has been the opposite. Minor injuries have quickly healed, I am continuously gaining greater physical skills, and I have somehow made progress overcoming old serious injuries (one sustained in 1978), something that I never considered possible.
Before this training, I was mostly unaware and somewhat skeptical of the efficacy and value of “Soft Style” martial arts and the practice of learning and practicing forms. As stated earlier, I was just plain ignorant… didn’t know what I didn’t know. Master Loomis’ system is a combination of Hard and Soft, and it is in the Soft and Internal that I have learned the most. Much of this has come through learning and practicing the forms, which are very challenging while being enjoyable. Often practicing the forms generates a euphoric feeling and an awareness of energy flow throughout the body. At the same time, virtually every movement in the forms has martial applications.
Master Loomis works with each of us individually to help us focus specifically in the areas most important to each student, based on where they are in their training. Last week, he instructed me to be softer and focus on flowing from movement to movement throughout the form, while another student was instructed to be more martial and aggressive, emphasizing the blocks and strikes embedded in the form, and we both were practicing the same form!
In my prior training, we memorized and demonstrated specific techniques to be performed in a precise fashion. Master Loomis asks us to compose our own techniques by combining multiple skills and techniques. This is much more challenging, and much more beneficial because on the street, an opponent will be unpredictable, and this approach teaches students to trust their skills, quiet their minds, and just simply react to what they see and feel. I don’t remember a class that didn’t provide me with learning and growth opportunities, and logically it follows that it is never boring, stale or stagnant, and I believe that is why I try to never miss class and always look forward to attending. Philosophically, I believe the single most important factor leading to happiness is following a path of lifetime learning and growth, and training under Master Loomis provides this for me. It would be my pleasure to have a discussion with people who want to learn more about my experiences.