Having taught martial arts for nearly two decades, you come to notice certain learning habits people have that come from societal influences. For example, in Western society, people have don’t feel comfortable “failing” at something. When they attempt to do something, they want to do it as close to perfection as possible, which influences the way they practice a skill.
In Jiu-jitsu, some will start a technique then stop half-way through as they realize they’re not getting it quite right. If I let the student keep doing this, it would be entirely possible to see that student stop and re-start a technique over and and over without actually getting through it once before the class is called to see the next technique. Another way the unwillingness to fail can manifest is when a student either asks lots of detailed questions, or spends a lot of time talking about it, analyzing how it’s supposed to work, etc. These types will spend so much more time talking about it, fooling themselves into thinking that simply talking about it will make them better at it, that they don’t spend as much time practicing it. These types strategies for avoiding looking foolish or “failing” at a technique can hurt one’s mentality towards self-defense, as well as one’s development as a martial artist. (more…)
If you read our blog regularly, you probably know that we are strong proponents of personal development in and through the martial arts. Learning self-defense and getting/staying fit are the main reasons most students join us, but the ones that stay over the long term usually find other less obvious benefits that seep into them over time through their training. Today, we’re going to feature the top 10 articles related to personal development in and through the martial arts in the history of our site. Here they are below. Enjoy!
Focus is an important skill to have, in the martial arts and in general life. When we are working on a particular task, having the ability to focus completely on it makes the difference between getting the job done efficiently or having it drag on as you wonder where the heck all the time has gone.
Many people take up a martial art for the mental benefits the training can bring, including focus. Part of the reason it develops focus is that one’s development as a martial artist is very much connected to how well people are able to focus on their training. This development comes naturally for many, and they reap the benefits it brings, including quicker progress and greater retention of what they are exposed to in class. (more…)
A few weeks ago, I was training a student to apply arm locks with a slightly different approach than he was used to. Having trained over 8 years in an another style of Jiu-jitsu before moving to Vancouver and training at our dojo, he has already developed a good “lock sense”, so showing him this different approach that is really efficient in terms of energy, but harder to apply, requiring greater fine motor control, was something I knew he would be able to handle.
For certain locks, it was easy enough for him, but there was one particular lock that he had trouble using this approach on. Over and over, he tried the entry and was struggling to get it. Then I had an idea. (more…)
In my last blog post, How to Run a Female-Friendly Martial Arts School, I offered advice to martial arts instructors on retaining women who are truly attracted to the martial arts with the goal of alleviating some of the frustrations losing female students they see as having long-term promise. There is something to be said about the woman’s role in all this though, particularly when training in a martial arts school or style that is dominated by men. There are some inherent awkwardnesses for both men and women that can occur, but the woman can do a number of things to help make the training atmosphere better themselves and the men they train with. Here are a few ways how.
Since high school, one of my life goals has been to become a published author. I recently completed that goal when my new ground defense book/DVD, When the Fight Goes to the Ground, was published by Tuttle Publishing, a well-known international martial arts publisher that’s been in the business since 1948. (more…)
Last year, I made one small change in my life. I took up running. Well actually, what I started with couldn’t even really be called “running”, more like walking/running. I decided I wanted to give running a try for cardio as well as weight loss to slim down a bit to match an actress for stunt doubling work. I realized, however, that I needed to build up my body’s tolerance to pounding the pavement, so I started with walking with a bit of running, following the slow ramp-up process I described in my post, Running Workouts for Martial Arts Practitioners. (more…)
This is a classic joke that points to the need for practice to achieve mastery. But is pure physical practice the most efficient and effective way to improve in the martial arts? Studies on the use of visualization as a part of physical skills training suggests that simply practicing may not necessarily be the most efficient way to “get to Carnegie Hall”.
A study made by Research Quarterly took a close look at the effects of mental practice on improving skill in sinking basketball free throws (as written about in Dr. Maxwell Maltz’s book, New Psycho-Cybernetics). Here’s what happened (excerpted from Maltz’s book): (more…)
Training in a martial art can bring a lot of good to a person’s life, from physical benefits like improved coordination, balance, agility, endurance, strength, etc. to mental benefits such as increased confidence, discipline, personal awareness, mental clarity and focus. Today I’d like to look at a training benefits that is both good for the body and mind; the reduction of stress.
There is a lot of talk in the media of modern western society about how stress levels have been going up over the years. It’s widely recognized that these stress has adverse affects on our health, leading to or exacerbating physical conditions, including heart disease, obesity, headaches, backaches, gastro-intestinal problems, etc, as well as mental conditions, including anxiety, panic attacks, depression, addiction, etc. (more…)
While everyone loves to think that getting into the mindset to train is as simple as entering the dojo, the fact is we live busy lives. We’re constantly thinking of this or that, trying to juggle school, work, kids, relationships, etc. Our minds are a jumble of thoughts and emotions, and training without mental focus is likely going to get you punched in the head. So here is a list of steps you can take to help clear your mind: