Martial Arts and Litigation

Martial Arts and Litigation or It is not the Size of the Firm in the Fight, It is the Size of the Fight in the Firm

In the last blog post I referred to litigation as a brawl. I should know.

In addition to being a paralegal for Kaufman Law, I also a hold a third degree black belt in Mu Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do with Grand Master James Roberts. Back in the day, I told people that I stopped at third degree because I wanted to give my opponents the “third degree.” But the real truth is that Mr. Roberts’ also ran a weapons school. I fell in love with the weapons school. Only students who had gotten to first degree black belt in the Mu Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do school were allowed to apply for acceptance in this school. You can bet that as soon as I got that black belt, I was petitioning Mr. Roberts for admission.

Had Mr. Roberts opposed my entrance on the grounds that I was the first female to request entry, I would have told him that 100 pounds of fighting fury always works better when augmented with a large stick. But happily Mr. Roberts was enlightened enough in the 1980s to let me in. I worked hard and became the first woman weapons black belt his school ever had.

Let me explain about weapons. Think of it this way — weapons training is ballet with an edge.  We studied sword, kendo, bo, sai, and spear forms. We practiced line work with the shinai.  I haunted yard sales and thrift stores for any kid sized uniforms I could use. There is something utterly timeless about the split skirt hakama and the heavy weave of the keikogi that makes any movement you make in uniform a meditation in motion.

What I loved most, though, was the kendo practice. Nothing was cooler than putting on the chest plate, the gloves, the head gear and walking into that ring. Since I was always the smallest person there, I learned how to fight bigger people. When I’d fight my 6’6″ kendo teacher, I had an advantage as long as I stayed focused enough to crowd inside his defenses and then slip away from him. I was so much shorter that I had to dart in to strike while he would have to back up to take a strike at me.

Focus, focus, slip, slide and strategize are second nature to kendo players. Staying in the moment is essential. The most important thing I learned in kendo was that life is all practice.  Those hard-earned abilities I learned then serve me well these days as a paralegal. Each day brings new challenges and because of kendo, I stay focused and deal with them.  That is why you have heard me say, “Train hard, fight easy.” It is even truer outside the dojo in the ring of life.

Why am I sharing this? Because when you are in a litigation, don’t always think bigger firms are better. When I would weave a web of strikes around taller opponents, I would win.   Big firms may not always be the best for your litigation. Check out the smaller firms and find a good fit.

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