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Karate instructor and YouTuber Jesse Enkamp has traveled the world learning a wide variety of different fighting styles, from Muay Thai to MMA. In a recent video on his channel, he turns his attention to the Japanese martial art Taido, invented by Okinawan sensei Seiken Shukumine.
Taido instructor Mikael Jansson describes the discipline as “three dimensional”, and Enkamp himself compares some of the fluid, danceable modes of movement to the Brazilian Capoeira fighting style.
“Taido has a lot of awkward circular motions,” says Enkamp. This, he learns, is the result of Shukumine’s experiences during World War II, when he was drafted into his nation’s naval forces and developed his own evasive maneuvers for submarines. He then adapted it for combat.
Jansson gives Enkamp a crash course in Taido’s moves, teaching him everything he can in just a few hours, and then Enkamp decides to take everything he’s learned and apply it in a real combat situation. But he quickly realizes that he has not learned enough.
“Every time I attempt a kick, my opponent sees it coming,” he says. “I literally hurt more on the ground than I am my opponent.” Enkamp switches opponents, but it becomes apparent that Taido becomes even more difficult if you face someone who is smaller than you.
“It turns out that the secret to Taido is combining multiple moves into one flow,” he says. “Because if one technique doesn’t work, maybe the next one will work… When I combine different moves, Taido starts to work. It’s almost like magic; I become creative, efficient and fearless, because I know if a technique doesn’t work. If I don’t land, I’ll have a second chance, a third and a fourth. Because a flowing river never stops for nothing.
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the UK covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.