Most of you know that I am a regular runner and that I live in the mild, wet climate of Vancouver, BC on Canada’s west coast. We have amazing summer weather that isn’t blisteringly hot and/or humid as it
is in the vast majority of the country. The rest of the year is also warmer than the rest of the country, and we get almost no snow, but it’s wet, wet, wet! It’s not that our weather makes running prohibitive, but it does take a little more commitment to keep your running schedule going in the face of pelting rain. (more…)
Putting yourself in the public eye, whether it’s as a sports competitor, martial arts instructor, writer, actor, film producer, etc, is a bold move for any person. What you create or impart is a representation of who you are, your knowledge, talent, efforts, and skills. The more people you touch, the bigger your potential impact on the world around you. Being in the public eye puts you in a position where you can have great power, but simultaneously puts you in a position of great vulnerability. For people to see you, you have to rise above the crowds. In doing so, it makes it easier for them to throw rocks. (more…)
Some of you may already know this, but I am a sci-fi geek. I am a big fan of Star Trek and have thoroughly enjoyed J.J. Abrams’s alternative reality, modernized version of the original series with Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and all the characters that made that show. While I won’t engage in arguments over which Star Trek captain was best, I do have a soft spot for Kirk’s fighting spirit, and have found myself citing examples from Star Trek to illustrate certain points. This article delves into this more deeply. *SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t seen the first new re-make of Star Trek and want to see it fresh, don’t read this article until after you’ve seen it.
A little while ago, I wrote a blog post about adapting self-defense as your attacker naturally defends against or resists various strikes and takedowns you use as part of your defense. Another likely adaptation an attacker is likely to use is changing their attack. For example, if they are grabbing your wrist to drag you somewhere and you use a shin kick to distract them and loosen their grip, they might adapt by letting go completely then immediately trying to punch you. If you expect for your defense to always go according to plan, and that every part of your defense to have the exact desired effect, an adaptive attacker could catch you completely off guard. (more…)
I have always been hesitant to offer martial arts training for really young children. I’ve baulked at the idea of “Tiny Tigers” or “Little Dragons” programs in the past, based on the idea that the martial arts are too subtle and complex that there is no way a young child can really learn them effectively. And I still believe this. That being said, there are other ways to introduce the martial arts to young children in a manner that is more appropriate for their current level of physical, mental, emotional and social development.
A few months ago Steve Hiscoe Shihan showed me his Ready-Set-Kiai program for young children that introduces some basic concepts of martial arts training, but with a stronger emphasis on teaching fundamental movements skills that all children of that age should be learning so they can participate in sports and develop confidence using their bodies, with a strategic balance of basic martial arts skills that helps them to more seamlessly transition into more complicated martial arts skills later in their development. The program is based around 8 specific skills, which are introduced in more basic forms then built upon with more difficult versions as they master them. (more…)
Everyone has their own personal values, but if I were to ask you right now what your one core value is that relates to all your other values, would you be able to give an easy answer? By knowing what your one core value is helps makes sense of why you do the things you do and react to people and situations in certain ways. It is a personal insight that can help you overcome the struggles you face so you can more fully embrace your strengths.
Discovering Your One Core Value
Life starts with our childhood years. The experiences we have during those years strongly influence the way we look at the world. That is why when we experience trauma when we’re young, it continues to affect our world view long into adulthood. Pretty much everyone experiences something that is personally traumatic to them at a young age, producing some sort of fear that influences their actions thereafter. As we gain more experience in life, we may undergo more experiences that continue to support that fear. Alternatively, we may develop positive coping measures that help us move past that fear. Either way, that fear shapes our one core value that influences all the other values we develop in our lives. (more…)
Everyone has different reasons for joining a martial arts school beyond learning the skills being taught. Some want to improve their fitness. Others want to meet new people. Some just want to get out and try new things. Others want an adrenaline rush.
At our dojo, we like to create opportunities to expand our students’ horizons by doing different types of activities outside the dojo together. This past weekend a group of us took part in “Run for Your Lives,” a zombie-infested 5k obstacle race. We put together a team of people who have trained at our dojo and completed the race together. We also played the roles of “Jiu-jitsu zombies” for some of the later races, when runners came face to face with our “undead dojo” many paused to re-group and psyche themselves up to make the run through our group, making the zombie experience that much more entertaining.
Yesterday, I held a brown belt test for two students at my dojo. One of them had been training with me pretty much since I first started teaching in the Vancouver area, just over 7 years. The other had started less than 2 years ago, having come to the dojo already holding a black belt, with 9 years of training in another style of Japanese Jiu-jitsu having studied on the east coast. I am happy to announce that both students passed, but there is so much more to it than their test results.
After the test, the student who had trained with me since the beginning presented me a gift he made himself, which you can see in the photo below. When he presented it to me, he gave a short speech. It was along these lines: “When I first started training it was to learn self-defense, but I gained so much more. Training with you gave me the confidence to go after my dreams.” One of his dreams was to work in law enforcement and now he works as a BC sheriff, as represented in the gift he made, which I’ll be hanging prominently at the entrance to our mat area. I couldn’t help but tear up at this meaningful gesture.
It is said that elephant trainers can train their animals to be held by nothing more than a small rope tied to one of their legs that is pegged into the ground. When they are very young and much smaller they use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s more than enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free. Humans do this for many things in life too, it’s in our nature to use predictive reasoning to make our processes more efficient. But sometimes things change and the process no longer makes sense. For this reason, we should always keep an open mind and re-analyze the things we do and the reasoning behind it. (more…)
In the martial arts, we often talk about the mental benefits of our training. This is not just about developing courage to face a self-defense situation and fight back if necessary. Nor is it only about building the confidence required to learn the physical skills involved in one’s training. The mindset learned through martial arts training also has practical applications for dealing with the wide variety of personal challenges and conflicts we face in daily life. (more…)