Every so often a prospective student emails me and asks me if it’s realistic for an older person to take up Jiu-jitsu. Most of the time the people asking are in the 40s and overweight or out of shape. I’ve always said that it’s possible for anyone of pretty much any age and physical condition (provided doctor’s approval) to start training, but it was only after Rick Karnowski started training with us, that I had the perfect person to point toward as proof. (more…)
I recently started thinking about all the parents that train at my dojo and their training patterns. Some come to class like clockwork every week. Others come more sporadically. Then there are some who sign up with the best of intentions to train regularly and then fall away from training for months at a time because of their parental commitments. Not having any children myself, this got me thinking: Is it very challenging for parents to maintain their martial arts training because of their kids? Some people seem to have no trouble, others find it a struggle. What is the secret to keeping it going? With no experience to draw on, I turned to Facebook to ask my many martial arts friends for help answering these questions. The following tips are the result of said inquiry. (more…)
It’s important to live your life on purpose. Not to go through life letting everything happen without taking an active interest, but to have intentions for yourself so you keep developing as a person. When you achieve goals, it’s important to pay homage to them and celebrate the sense of accomplishment it brings.
I recently graded for my light blue belt in Shorinji Kan Jiu-jitsu and I’m happy to report that I passed and am feeling altogether smurfy in my new belt. As I go up the ranks in Shorinji Kan, I’m reminded of how the nature of training and grading preparation changes the higher you get. All too often students get into the higher belt ranks in their style without being fully aware of the shifts in responsibility so it’s important to understand what this entails.
The Shift in Responsibility
When you’re in the citrus coloured belt levels, your instructor more or less takes care of you. You put complete trust in them to make sure you know what you’re supposed to know for your level so that when you’re put up for your next grading, you’re aware of what is expected of you. But when you get up to the upper intermediate and senior level Kyu ranks, the responsibility shifts. Sensei is often more focused on the lower ranks’ development and you start to play a role in their development too, running warm-ups, teaching breakfalls, sometimes even teaching techniques. As a result, you don’t always necessarily get to train some of the higher level techniques that you’re expected to learn at your belt level. (more…)
One of the keys to excellence in the martial arts (or anything for that matter) is to keep doing it. It sounds simple, but many people fail to do this, even with the best intentions and the greatest appreciation for the art. So why does it happen? People simply fall out of the habit or fail to develop the habit in the first place. (more…)
Martial arts instructors have the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of their students. They give students the opportunity to improve their coordination, endurance, strength, flexibility, etc, but they can also help instil confidence, discipline, and mental clarity, which can benefit all areas of their lives. Most instructors very much want to help their students improve their lives. They become instructors with the best of intentions. Then what happens? They pour all their efforts into running great classes, but find that students come and go very quickly and the majority don’t stay for the long haul. Even the very best instructors face these issues, no matter how much experience they have or how many accolades they’ve received. Naturally, instructors then try to figure out how to make their students more loyal. (more…)
I have a few students getting ready for belt tests. I know that many people have a tradition of watching their favourite martial arts movies the night before a test to help pump them up. I imagine people also do this before big competitions as well. Anyway, I’ve put together a list of my 6 favourite martial arts movie fights that each have their own themes for motivation. (more…)
Last year I wrote a post about how to be a good uke (training partner). But what happens when you have to work with someone that’s a less than an ideal uke? Depending on what the problems are with the person, there are different approaches you can take to help fix or minimize them. I’ll characterize a few types of less-than-ideal ukes and offer solutions for dealing with them in this post.
Inexperienced Uke. Sometimes you’ll have to work with people who are new to the dojo and need a lot of understanding and guidance as they train. They may not be the most fun for you to train with when you want to go a little harder or work on more advanced techniques, but it’s important to help them take those brave first steps into the world of martial arts. Everyone has to start somewhere. You likely received guidance and encouragement when you first started. If you didn’t, think about how much better it would have been if you had and try to make the experienced better for your uke. They will appreciate it more than you can imagine, which helps add to the general positive atmosphere of your dojo. (more…)
I recently read Stu Cooke Sensei’s blog post, The Beauty of Paradox, which concluded by saying that “Getting past the first batch of pain is likely the major barrier for people that try the martial arts”, saying that they don’t understand the point of the unpleasantness and don’t get to a point where they appreciate what it’s all about.
This is true for many people, but there are those who take their training a bit further, accepting the part that physical discomfort plays only to face a second sticking point: frustration. (more…)
I’ve trained at a lot of different types of martial arts schools and I have therefore seen wide variety of ways that instructors relate to and connect with their students, varying from uber-traditional to laid back, with many variations in between. There is no one “right” type, with benefits and drawbacks to whatever type one undertakes as an instructor. Each type attracts different types people. In this blog post, I’ll describe 3 different variations that I’ve seen. (more…)