1. Train Your Balance.
Improving your balance helps your kicks, throws, takedowns,
stances, and many other techniques in the martial arts. Try
standing on one foot while you put your shoes on and tie
them, one foot at a time. While you’re waiting in a
check-out line or for a bus, you can also train your
balance simply by standing on one foot. If you’re going to
do this, however, try to do it inconspicuously, unless you
don’t mind people thinking you’re a bit strange! Below are some extra tips for training balance. (more…)
There lots of people who really want to take up a martial art, but think they can’t for whatever reasons. In many cases, these reasons hold people back from ever making an attempt or they start their training and then feel they have to give it up because of them. I can’t possibly know everyone’s particular situation, but I can say that there are a few common themes that can certainly be addressed. (more…)
We all come up with reasons why we can’t do everything we want to do. Too old, too small, too short, too tall, too busy, not fit enough, not strong enough, not coordinated enough, not enough money, the list goes on. But these aren’t reasons, they’re excuses. Most standard excuses like these can be overcome if the will is strong enough. Find that a little hard to swallow? Sure, it is. Excuses are what make us feel better about never really trying. Well here are 7 people who don’t make any excuses for what many would call their “disadvantages”. These people will inspire you with their examples. (more…)
As you progress in your chosen martial art into more advanced levels of development, you start to work on higher level skills. At our dojo, higher level students, usually purple and up, start to learn to apply their skills with more speed. Speed is important in the martial arts. The faster you can move, the more likely you are to catch your attacker off guard and get out of the way of incoming attacks. That being said, there are 3 principles that should not be sacrificed in order to become faster. They are as follows: (more…)
1. Be prepared. Bring an extra uniform, water bottle, first aid supplies, and any other equipment you might need for the weekend. Make sure you’re familiar with the schedule and locations so that you’re on time.
3. Be aware of equipment differences. When you’re training with people who come from different dojos and different styles, they may use different types of uniforms or equipment. For example, people in Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu usually wear groin protectors so we make no bones about making contact to each other’s groins. That being said, people in other styles of Jiu-jitsu or even other dojos don’t necessarily wear groin protectors, or maybe only the men wear them while the women go bare. People might also wear lighter uniforms, which may not be able to sustain heavy abuse from throwing grips or other techniques that require the use of the gi. Communicate any differences that may be relevant to what you’re working on.
4. Be more cautious training with people you don’t know. There is always a few more risks involved in training with people whom you don’t know, especially when they are from different styles. Everyone has different levels of experience, different knowledge of techniques, different levels of pain tolerance, different injuries. So when you’re training with someone you don’t know, go slower and use more caution. Communicate openly, asking questions like, “Are you comfortable with this breakfall?” or “How is this level of contact, speed, etc?”.
5. Don’t overdo it. Martial arts conferences often put you in a position in which you might train more than you’re used to. Make sure you go at a pace you’re comfortable with. If you need to skip a session to let your body recover, by all means, do it. There’s nothing worse than coming away from a conference with an injury that could have been prevented with common sense.
6. Keep an open mind. When exposed to different instructors and styles, you’re going to be taught things that are new or completely different from the way you may have been taught at your own dojo. Keep an open mind and make an honest effort to learn. Allow your cup to be empty so that it can be filled. Besides, instructors rarely favour people who think they know it all and/or ask loaded or smart-allec questions.
Have you any other tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
In the Police Pressure Point System developed by Professor Georges Sylvain, founder of Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu, the lateral femoral area is not actually a pressure point but a motor point. The difference is that an attack to a motor point can result in a motor dysfunction when struck, while a pressure point only causes pain. In the case of the lateral femoral area, when attacked, it can result in a motor dysfunction in the leg, making it difficult to stand on or use it. It can also be quite painful.
The lateral femoral is centred on the outside of the thigh, around midway between the hip and the knee, where the nerve is closest to the surface of the leg. The nerve affected is the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve (see area in red on the right in image below). Please note that the centre point in which the effect is greatest can vary from person to person, but a strike to this spot within about a 5″ diameter will still affect most people.
In my early training days, when I was young and stupid, I didn’t think that a leg kick using the shin could be as effective as a knee strike. To prove the point to a Taekwondo black belt friend of mine, I volunteered to take a leg kick to the lateral femoral at 50% power. I didn’t fare much better than the fellow in the above video, hitting the ground like a sack of potatoes, gasping in pain. The full story of this embarrassing anecdote is in in chapter 10 of my book, Weapons of Opportunity.
In Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu, we teach the above leg kick, but we also like to use our knees to strike the lateral femoral. Knee strikes to the lateral femoral can be useful for law enforcement for controlling an unruly suspect that is causing trouble while being escorted. It’s nice because it is a low-level force option that doesn’t generally cause injury. That being said, my favourite self-defense technique that uses the lateral femoral is against a side headlock before the attacker gets it fully applied. See the video below for a quick demo (not our greatest film work, but you can get the idea).
If you decide to train strikes to the lateral femoral, or any motor point, it is safest to limit the amount of power you apply on your partners, otherwise you’ll find yourself short of volunteers to receive said strikes. We stick to around 5% power (or less depending on the partner) when training, enough that your partner will feel it when on target so they can provide feedback on target location, but not so much that they’ll experience lingering pain or difficulty using the leg for the rest of the night. This is the amount of power I used in the above video.
One last note on the lateral femoral is that it may not be effective against people who are drunk, high or in the middle of an adrenaline dump. When in these states the responses of the subject’s nervous system don’t always register the effects of strikes to this area. They may feel it after they have sobered up or have come down from their adrenaline dump, but that isn’t useful if you need the effects in the moment, so in this situation, it may not be a great choice.
Almost every martial artist has a list of favourite martial arts movies that they have a soft spot for, ones that excite and inspire them in their training, or psyche themselves up for an upcoming test or competition. I have my own top 5 list that I will share with you here (in no particular order). Bear in mind that these are not necessarily movies with the best fight scenes (I’d have to make a separate list for that), but ones that I actually enjoy watching from start to finish.