I was recently discussing my strength training regimen, which I have been maintaining for about a year, with someone who was interested in how I approached it. She commented that I must really enjoy it to keep it going so consistently.
I arched an eyebrow. “Actually, I really dislike the act of strength training. Lifting weights and doing exercise purely for exercise’s sake is tedious for me.”
“Then what motivates you to keep training,” she asked.
I thought for a moment, then replied, “Absolutely nothing.”
This past weekend I travelled to New Jersey to visit Sensei Damien Wright’s dojo, Wright Fight Concepts, to teach a seminar. While I was there, I had the opportunity to train in one of his classes in which he gave me an introduction to the fundamentals of Nagasu Ryu Jujitsu. I also had the opportunity to meet and have a long chat with the founder of the style, Shihan Wayne Ford, who goes by his nick name, “Papasan” (seen in the photo with me on the right). Between my time with both Sensei Damien and Papasan, I learned that our styles are quite similar in principal, but with interesting stylistic differences that are easy to incorporate as a Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu student. I’ve divided up this article into a few of the many Papasan quotes that characterize his teachings.
With the new semester of Ready-Set-Kiai for (3-4 year-olds) and Jiu-jitsu Tykes for (5-7 year-olds) classes in full swing, lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading on effective teaching methods for children. While the books I’ve been reading are oriented to children’s teaching, for the most part, the suggestions offered are good advice for teaching any age student. In particular, I read about how to offering praise and criticism that motivates them to learn and helps them improve. (*The book I learned this info is featured at the bottom of this post. Be sure to check it out.) (more…)
Over the past few weeks, this article series has looked at different aspects of rape culture, from the gender socialization issues (in part 1) from which it’s born to the complexities of victim blaming in dealing with rape victims (in part 2). In this last piece, we’ll take a hard look at the widespread misconceptions about rape, and ultimately, what things we can do individually and as a society to address the problem.
The Commonness of Rape
One of the problems about rape is that it is seen as a rare event. If you talk about rape with people, especially guys, most will say they’ve never known anyone who has been raped. When you tell people the truth, that 1 in 5 women have survived rape or attempted rape, they find it hard to believe. Most people know someone who have been mugged, had their car stolen, their home broken into, etc. but few people can think of a single person who has been raped. They find it hard to accept that such a high proportion of the women they know have probably faced rape or a rape attempt. Their perception of reality doesn’t match up, so many distrust the statistic. The only ones they hear about are ones that pop up in the media. The truth is that many victims keep quiet about their rapes and don’t press charges. Even if they do seek support from a few trusted people, many just don’t want to make it common knowledge. They often feel embarrassed and ashamed, as though they should have done more to prevent it. With victim blaming so prominent in our culture, it’s all too understandable why they might feel that way.
Last week I started discussing what rape culture is and the gender socialization issues for both men and women that contribute to its perpetuation. This week I’ll be going into more detail about specific issues related to rape culture, starting with victim blaming.
Understanding the Problem of Victim Blaming
The idea behind victim blaming is that by engaging in certain behaviours, victims are inviting crimes upon themselves. It is not limited to sexual assault crimes, but it is a cultural norm for them.
While I was attending self-defense lectures at the the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation 2014 training camp, I had the opportunity to speak with dozens of women who work at trauma centres that help women who have been raped. These women told me that time and time again they hear women talk about how fathers, brothers, friends, cops, etc, tell them that they should not have engaged in such risky behaviours in dealing with them as rape victims. Unless you’ve been through it, work with or spoken to people who have, there’s no reason why you would know how common it is. Here are some examples rape victims commonly encounter: (more…)
While I was driving home yesterday, a Vancouver radio announcer on 99.3 The Fox started commenting about the nude photos of Jennifer Laurence and other celebrities that were leaked by a hacker who had obtained them by criminal means. He went on to say that of course it wasn’t right, but who in their right mind would store their nude photos on a Internet-based storage system. He later talked about whether or not it was right to look at said photos, going on to admit that yeah, he was a bad man and sneaked a peek. (more…)
I was reading a fascinating book about skill development called “The Talent Code,” which delves deeply into the psychology and physiology that helps people to do this effectively. One of the most interesting chapters talks about the difference between the teaching styles of a soccer coach vs. a music teacher. The author claims that an effective soccer coach sits back and stays silient, allowing players to learn through open play, giving feedback in between sessions of play. Meanwhile, the effective music teacher interjects and instructs frequently to produce the specific results that constitute good playing. I believe this is only half the story. (more…)
Last week, I wrote about why martial artists should do strength training. One of the reasons was injury prevention by surrounding your joints, spine, etc with muscle for support. It can also help by preventing a worse injury, as I discovered while training at the summer camp last weekend. One of my training partners accidentally pushed my locked shoulder beyond its range of motion while rolling out of the prone subject control position in which I was being held (the arm was supposed to slip out during the roll). Fortunately, the extra muscle support I had from strength training meant that it only caused a minor muscle pull rather than causing joint damage, for which I was relieved. I was still injured, nonetheless, so I had to carefully consider how to proceed. (more…)
Many years ago, I came to believe that strength training was detrimental to being a good martial artist, or at least for the type of self-defense oriented training I do, that relies on technique in order to overcome bigger, stronger attackers. The reasoning I had in my mind was that putting too much emphasis on improving strength meant that you would be more inclined to rely on that strength to perform techniques. Honestly speaking, that was really just an excuse, as I didn’t particularly enjoy strength training. I still don’t, but I now realize it’s an important form of exercise that should be a part of every martial artist’s training regimen.
There are many benefits to strength training for martial artists, a few of which might surprise you. (more…)
Being a teenager is different than it was for me 20 years ago. This always becomes apparent to me when I talk with teenagers who are my relatives, who train with me at our dojo, or even my 15-year-old Little Sister (I’m a Big Sister volunteer mentor.) Technology has advanced leaps and bounds. The way we work, entertain ourselves, communicate and live is completely different. But one thing remains the same when it comes to being a teen; it means you’re old enough to think coherently and independently, but not necessarily experienced enough to recognize your personal biases and how it shapes the way you think, act and make choices. Getting out of your teen years doesn’t mean you get past this, but as you live through more years you get more opportunities to see the patterns of your choices in action and therefore more chances to see how your biases influence you. As such, I’ve compiled a list of things I would tell modern teenagers, if they genuinely wanted my advice based on my experience and personal perspective.