February 2017, Martial Arts News – Part 2

“The art should definitely be taught to suit the individual and not the individual the art.” Ed Parker, Founder of American Kenpo

In this post I talk about self-defense tactics, working with kids, and different ways to think about blocking.

The Martial Arts New is a monthly series that takes a look at articles, videos, podcasts and books that can help to improve your knowledge of the self-defense, technique, history, teaching and what ever else may catch my eye during the month.

Articles

Youth Physical Development Model: A Scientific Compass for Every Karate Sensei!! (Part 1)

This article contains several charts that identify key areas to focus training based on age and gender.  For example, with younger children, you will accomplish more developing fundamental motor skills and strength as opposed to sport specific skills.

In Karate kata and self-defense drills can be considered the sport specific skills. The fundamental motor skills are what you get when you break down sport specific skills. The younger the student, the more that you need to break it down.

While at a seminar this weekend, one instructor used the phrase “Break it down to the ridiculous,” and used introducing a natural stance to young students as an example. Back straight, eyes focused ahead, arms relaxed and in front, feet spread – These are all points that we take for granted now, but need to be explained and demonstrated to younger students.

14 Self-Defense Tips Every Woman Should Know

These are good suggestions for everyone, although there is only 13.  They skip number 10 on the site

  1. Mentally Prepare Yourself
  2. Have a Plan
  3. Follow Your Intuition
  4. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
  5. Don’t Look Like a Victim
  6. Be Car Smart
  7. Predict Dangerous and Controlling Behavior
  8. Know Your Strengths & His Weakness
  9. You Have the Right to Fight
  10. Don’t Be Relocated
  11. Stay Alert on Vacation
  12. Be Safe at Home
  13. Prevent Date Rape – Date rape is still rape. Defend yourself against someone you know just like you would against a stranger on the street.

To predict dangerous behavior, you should be aware of things to look for.

Common Pre-Incident Indicators (P.I.N.S).:

  • Forced Teaming — When someone tries to pretend he has something in common or is in the same predicament as you when it isn’t true. (“Let me help you with those bags of groceries. We don’t want that ice cream to melt.”)
  • Charm – Being polite and nice to manipulate someone. (“I can’t let you carry all these bags by yourself. Let me help you get them inside.”)
  • Too Many Details – If someone is lying they add excessive details to make them seem more credible. (“I’m going to your floor anyway. I’m meeting a friend, but I’m running late – my watch stopped working. So, we need to hurry. Come on. We have a hungry cat waiting for this cat food.”)
  • Typecasting – An insult to get you to talk to someone you otherwise wouldn’t. (“There is such a thing as being too proud. Now stop being silly and hand me another bag.”)
  • Loan Sharking – Giving unsolicited help and expecting favors in return. (“I’ve carried your groceries up four flights of stairs; just let me put them on the counter.”)
  • Unsolicited Promise — A promise to do (or not to do) something when no such promise was asked for; this usually means the promise will be broken. (“You can leave the door open, I’ll leave as soon as I put the bags down, I promise.”)
  • Discounting the word “no” — Refusing to accept rejection.

The above list (shared in the article) originally come from the book The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. I haven’t read this yet, but it is on my “to read” list.

How to Be a Good Karate Parent (Hint: Use These 6 Magical Words)

While the article is about karate, this applies to anything that our kids are doing.

According to psychological research, there are scientifically proven phrases that parents can use with their kids to ensure they stay motivated and super happy with their performance.

The top three statements moms/dads can make as their kids perform are:

Before Performance

  • “Have fun.”
  • “Do your best.”
  • “I love you.”

After Performance

  • “Did you have fun?”
  • “I’m proud of you.”
  • “I love you.”

And the number one phrase that made kids feel the best when they played sports is “I love to watch you practice.”

Videos

3 and 4 year olds – Physical SOD

Sometimes timing is a weird thing. The same day that I was reading the article about Youth Physical Development Model that is linked above, my instructor sent me a link to this excellent video by Melody Shuman.

It’s important to recognize what is normal for a student’s physical stage of development, and to communicate that to parents.  When a young student keeps dropping his arm or tends to roll over on her side after sitting for only a few seconds, it’s not because they are lazy. It’s because they are still developing strength in those muscle groups.  The kids who seem to be able to do that without problem are already above their physical stage of development.

3 and 4 year olds – Intellectual SOD is a related video that is worth watching in conjunction with the first one.

10 Commandments of Self Defense

Prof David James of the Vee Arnis Jitsu School of Self Defense talks about 10 important rules to be successful in a self defense situation.  The video demonstrates each concepts as he explains it.

In the opening of the video, there is a reenactment of a street conflict.  Watch it a second time and notice the reaction of the other people on the sidewalk.

The summary of the 10 points below is my take away on them.  Many of Prof James’ rule apply after the situation has escalated to a physical confrontation. Avoidance, Awareness and Deescalation are still the safest ways to avoid injury, but when they fail, it’s important to understand the physical nature of confrontation.

  1. Evaluate the Situation – Identify all potential attackers or threats.
  2. Three Foot Rule – You have to close the gap if you want to do damage.
  3. Start in a non-threatening manner – Allow the attacker to become overconfident.
  4. Control the Focus – Control the level of Eye contact. Understand when maintaining eye contact increases or decreases the threat.
  5. Motion Causes Motion – Understand how the body reacts to a strike.
  6. Element of Surprise – Attack when the threat is distracted (ie talking/threatening).
  7. Strike from the Closest Point – Use the shortest distance to eliminate reaction time.
  8. Change the Focus – Redirect the attacker’s vision/attention away from you.
  9. High and Low Concept – Strike at opposite ends of the spectrum (high, low or inside, outside)
  10. Faster Forward/Slower Backwards – You can move faster forward, then your opponent can move backwards. Maintain the offensive once you have it.

Gedan-Barai Limb Control

An interesting look at how to use the downward block to set up locks, chokes, take downs and strikes.

Books

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Martial Arts Character Education Lesson Plans for Children

Now that title is really a mouthful.  Lately I’ve been looking at different ways to improve myself as an instructor.  At Action Karate, we have an excellent program for training new instructors, and one of the aspects that we focus on is the mental benefits of karate.  It’s always good to see how other people approach the topic, and over the last week or so I’ve read about a half-dozen of Mike Massie’s books. None of them have been a disappointment. His work is definitely on my recommendation list for instructors who want to improve as teachers and as school owners.

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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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