Martial Arts News – March 2017

“In battle, do not think that you have to win. Think rather that you do not have to lose.” Gichin Funakoshi Founder of Shotokan Karate

Articles

Martial Artists Against Bullying

Unfortunately, bullies seem to be everywhere.  As martial arts instructors, helping children deal effectively with bullies seems like a no-brainer, but it’s important that we begin with a solid foundation. This is a free program that provides the foundation that any martial arts instructor can use to plan their own seminars to help kids deal with bullying.

Even if you’re an expert, its worth a glance.

  • Session I – What is bullying? Why do people do it? Why is it bad to bully others?
  • Session II – What should we/shouldn’t we do when we see others being bullied?
  • Session III – How should you deal with bullying?
  • Session IV – Buddying

10 Requirements for Teaching a Self-defense “Move”

Here are some things to consider when you are figuring out what drills to do during your next self-defense session.  There is no “one move” that will work in every situation, but there are lots of moves that won’t work in any.  These question will help to get the most out of the moves you practice.

  1. Is the Move significantly better than an instinctive response?
  2. Is the Move appropriate for the situation?
  3. Does the Move meet the standard for legal self-defense?
  4. Does the Move meet the criteria of attempting to create the results of the Rory Miller’s Golden Move? (Damage the attacker. Minimize the student from taking damage. Put the attacker in a worse position. Put the student in a better position)
  5. Is the Move consistent with the student’s goal of creating one of the following results given the student’s risk/occupation profile?
    (Escape for your student. Control of the attacker by your student. Disabling the attacker by your student.)
  6. Is the student capable of executing the Move in an actual conflict?
  7. Does the student have the prior training and experience to be able to execute the Move under stress?
  8. Is the student able to train this Move to become proficient?
  9. Will the Move NOT put the student in a worse position if the Move fails to work as intended?
  10. Is the Move consistent with increasing the student’s understanding of the context of his or her actual risk profile?

 

7 Tricks to Finally Nail the Whole Portion Control Thing

This is my struggle these days.  When I was young I could eat anything and get away with it, but now I need to be more selective.  A good workout and picking the right foods helps a lot, but it will only go so far if you aren’t also limiting the intake.

  1. Always aim for a 50/25/25 plate – 50% vegetables, 25% lean protein and 25% starch/carbs
  2. Eat off smaller plates – This will help to trick your mind, and it’s a good tool for those of us who always seem to be going back for seconds.
  3. Set aside leftovers before your meal – This can help with the “well, there isn’t enough to save, so I might as well finish it” mentality. (One I suffer from when chocolate cream pie is involved.)
  4. Go halvsies at restaurants – The portion sizes at restaurants are often way to big. You don’t have to split the meal with your partner. Take half of it home for later.
  5. Stop eating straight from the bag – Dump the chips into a bowl when you are snacking if you want to know how much you are eating and to prevent yourself from accidentally finding an empty bag in your hands.
  6. Survey the scene at the buffet – Do the walk and plan your meal before loading up your plate.
  7. Separate meal time from TV time – Focus on the meal so that your mind is fully aware that you ate something.

Videos

How to Practice Effectively

This video from TED Ed looks at what it means to practice, and how we can do it better. It’s not just about the hours we practice, but the quality and effectiveness that goes into that practice.  Practice needs to be consistent, it needs to be focused, and it needs to target our current weaknesses or current limits.

For example, if I can do twenty-five pushups with ease, then only practicing ten probably isn’t  going to do that much for me.  Also, when working on technique, try to find an area for that technique that you can improve. Can your kick be faster or more powerful? Does your chamber or balance need work?

Don’t just practice what you are good at. Work on improving each time that you practice.

When you practice, stay focused.  If you are watching TV while practicing your kata, you aren’t going to see much improvement on the kata, and you probably won’t remember what you watched on TV either.

Start out slowly to get the form correct. Practice is about repetition, and you want to repeat the right thing, so begin slowly (or in slow-motion) to make sure you are doing it correctly, then pick up speed as you become more comfortable.

Take breaks. Frequent repetition is good, but your body and mind needs to take breaks. Instead of going for one mega-long workout, try doing three smaller ones spread throughout the day.

And once you get proficient, visualize what you are practicing. Imagine yourself doing it as vividly as you can in your head. This last tip is great for right before testing or competition. It helps to reinforce what you have been practicing physically.

Books

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Karate-Do: My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi

Whenever I need a little inspiration for my own, personal martial arts journey, this is one of my go to books.  Considered by many to be the father of modern day karate, this book provides an excellent insight into the early days of karate.

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Martial Arts News – February 2017

Shadow Boxing

“Never discard knowledge that is not applicable to you, but store it. The day may come when that knowledge could be taught to someone who can apply it.” Ed Parker, Founder of American Kenpo

Articles

Don’t Be a Talker, Flopper or Resister!

Nice article on how to be a good partner during drills.  The talker does the drill once or twice then wants to talk about something else. The Flopper offers no resistance, toppling at the slightest touch. The Resister is made of steel on the first repetition, making it difficult to work the basic forms.

Play the game

This article by John Titchen talks about what it takes to be a good partner for drills, including some concepts about holding targets.

A couple of key take aways from the article are:

  • Work at the appropriate level of resistance. There is a time when someone is first learning a drill where too much resistance will impede their ability to figure out the body dynamics, but as they become more proficient, they need more resistance in order to pressure test the motions.
  • The person receiving the technique (bag holder or person who the self defense technique is being applied to) should be learning too. No one in a two person drill should just be standing there.

The Practical Problem of Teaching Self-Defense

Teaching civilian self-defense can be complicated. Every person is different, and the situations that they need to prepare for are equally different. And, when it comes time to use self-defense skills, it’s never in the best situation. You’ll be injured, alone, out-numbered, out-gunned, caught by surprise, or any combination that works toward your attacker’s advantage and against you. As instructors we need to do our best to give our students a fighting chance in these situations.

When Running Will Get You Killed Against An Active Killer

The standard training these days for civilians in an active killer situation, is to run, hide then fight. Run first. If you can’t run, hide. If you can’t hide, fight.  The articles looks at the situation where the killer is in the same room with you, withing 20 feet, and has you targeted.  At that point, it is too late to run.  You can’t hide when someone is watching you.  Your best option (and it’s not a great one) is to attack.  Couple of key points in the article:

  • It takes a typical law enforcement officer 1.5 seconds to ready their weapon which is about the same amount of time it takes for an average person to cover 21 feet.
  • We all tend to get tunnel vision during an aggressive confrontation. Shifting five feet one way or another can be enough to cause the aggressor to get you back into focus.
  • And, by attacking, you are resetting the OODA loop. (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act).  A hesitation by the attacker of even a second can allow you to get into position.

Get out of Jail

It’s important to understand the self-defense laws in the area that you live, but it can get tricky when you travel.  Different states have different laws, and it is even more complicated when you travel to a different country.  This article by Kris Wilder explains the AOJP principle.

  • A (Ability) – Does the attacker have the ability to harm you?
  • O (Opportunity) – Does the attacker have the immediate opportunity to harm you.?
  • J (Jeopardy) – Are you in immediate jeopardy of being harmed?
  • P (Preclusion) – Even if everything else is true, can you do something else (like flee) to get out of harm’s way?

Books

Infinite Insights into Kenpo: Mental Stimulation

I find it helpful to read the works of the old masters to gain a greater insight into karate.  Ed Parker is the founder of American Kenpo and a leader in popularizing the martial arts in the united states.  I read Mr Parker’s Infinite Insights during my early days at Action Karate, and I’ve recently picked them up again. In the words of Mr Parker, “Never discard knowledge that is not applicable to you, but store it. The day may come when that knowledge could be taught to someone who can apply it.”  The first time I read it, I looked for only those things that could apply to my own training. Now, I’m looking at it to see how it could apply to others.

Podcasts

Iain talks to Peter Consterdine 9th dan!

Iain Abernethy interviews Peter Consterdine.  Peter was one of the founders of the British Combat Association (BCA), World Combat Association (WCA) and is one of the forerunners on focusing on realistic/pragmatic training in Karate. The sound quality is off on this one, but there is a lot of great content that makes it worth listening to multiple times.

Videos

Watch “Karate Nerd in Okinawa” (Free Web Series)

Jesse Enkamp gives us all a chance to visit Okinawa vicariously through his 8 part web series. Each episode is about 15 minutes long. In it he explores the culture and landmarks of the birthplace of karate, and they end with a brief glimpse of a local dojo.

Double Hip Action – Knock Out Punch

This video demonstrates the double hip action that Iain Abernethy mentions in his interview with Peter Consterdine.  Kyoshi Dave Kovar also talks about using hip action to generate speed and power during his seminars.  As a young student training in Shotokan, I often recall Sensei Vernon telling me to use my hip, a message I often repeating when I am teaching.

 

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Martial Arts News – January, 2017

Various articles and stories that I found interesting during the month.

When I’m not practicing technique, I am often reading about the martial arts, looking for ways to improve my own self-defense skills, knowledge as an instructor, or just general knowledge.   I’m a firm believer that training doesn’t end when you leave the dojo or after you’ve reached your black belt.

Articles

The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice

A reminder that repetition is not enough. We have to practice with a purpose by studying our current performance and comparing it to our goal.

De-escalation Tactics

Most self-defense situations don’t need to end with a physical confrontation. This is a four part series of articles by John Titchen that review the principles, verbal approaches, a video on body language and a final article on taking the ego out of it.

The Parry-Pass Method – Karate’s Universal Defense

Nice explanation on the use of both hands during blocking drills.

Self-defence against knife attacks: a full review

An analysis of over 150 recorded instances of violent knife attacks identifying attacker behavior and points to consider when defending yourself.

Headlines, knives and kneejerk reactions

Not new, but interesting nonetheless.  John Titchen looks at the change in knife offenses in the UK.  In 2015, there were 26,370 crimes committed with a knife.  182 of those were homicides.  10,270 were robberies, which indicates that about 2/3 of all knife offenses were violent in nature (attempted murder, intent to harm or sexual assault).

Stand Your Ground Laws in Pennsylvania

This came up in discussion the other day.  Pennsylvania has a stand your ground law which authorizes the use of deadly force to protect yourself or others without being required to escape first.  This isn’t an unrestricted right. You can’t be engaged in a criminal activity, must be in a place where you have a right to be, must believe it is immediately necessary to use force to protect yourself against death, serious bodily injury, kidnapping or sexual intercourse by force; and the person threatening you displays a firearm or other weapon that is capable of lethal use.

 

Books

Training for Sudden Violence: 72 Practical Drills Kindle Edition
by Rory Miller

This book contains drills that help you understand yourself, your enemy and the nature of violent confrontation.  Many of the drills should only be attempted under the supervision of a qualified instructor, but even those that might go beyond what your comfort or training level permits contain information that will broaden you knowledge of violence.

Seminars

PRACTICAL KARATE SEMINAR with Iain Abernethy

Iain Abernethy will be in Swarthmore PA on October 6, 7 & 8. I just registered for this today. If you are interested in the practical application of karate for self-defense, then you’ll love his seminars.

Click here for tickets.

Keith and Iain at The Charland Institute of Karate in Connecticut

 

 

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