Self Defence, Pot Holes & Sand Castles

 To most people ‘self defence’ is about warding off assailant(s) quickly and easily without attaining a single bruise or scratch. This is most likely due to assumptions that if one learns all these skills they should be able to defend themselves. Unfortunately, this is not always true because in the real world there are no rules, no respect, attacks are usually spontaneous, and the presence of fear and adrenalin will likely affect mental and physical ability etc. We are usually hard wired to avoid trouble which is another setback. The only way you may come out unscathed would be pre-empting the danger and reacting to it before it starts (fencing skills). Your martial art is your back up artillery if things don’t turn out the way they should.

Whatever martial art, you need to learn it as best you can but, to those who have very little experience in actual street confrontations, you need to learn from those who have the experience and hopefully that might be your Instructor. At the end of the day it is the simple and direct techniques that will save you and most of these may not look so fancy (thank goodness for that because showing off can get you into strife – please read on about my mate). These very few techniques required for these situations will only be as good as the level of skills you have attained through your martial arts training. Usually, the higher the grade, the better you should be able to use these skills successfully in a physical street altercation. I remember one of my colleagues in the cops, many years ago, a very good Karate Black Belt got himself into a bit of trouble and he spun around and tried to land a spinning heel kick; needless to say he got knocked down and hell was kicked out of him whilst he was in the gutter. I asked him, “You never do that in sparring so why on earth did you do that? He said he didn't know. In other words he did not have the correct weapons (techniques) available to him.

Of course, avoiding trouble is the best policy; if you see a pothole, you walk around it. If a beach is known to be shark infested you might consider building sand castles instead. Another factor which some people overlook is a good cardio workout because this is extremely important when all of a sudden you need that extra energy and breath. Our organisation ensures we equipe our students with the right 'arsenals' because 90% of new recruits will mention 'self defence' being their primary reason for taking up the martial arts. I personally don't want to feel like a 'used car salesman'; I want to make sure people get what they came for. We all want to enjoy life and we certainly don’t want to deal with any sort of trouble so we don’t go looking for it. Just watch out for the potholes.

Martial Arts and Bootcamp Training

 This is interesting since we often fall victim to the clock. We, Australians, seem to have the attitude ‘it’s OK to be late’. If this is true then how come we get really annoyed when we have to wait? Lately, there have been quite a few people coming late to martial arts classes, with no guilt on their faces; You probably have noticed I call them 'the night shift’. What would happen if you turn up at work or school like that? I don’t think the boss would give you a pay rise and I don’t think the school teacher would give a student an early mark. As a teenager I would catch 2 buses and walk 2 kms to get to martial arts training and I had a half hour to spare before class. Times have moved on and we now have the luxury of a motor vehicle bringing you right to the doorstep.

We should be showing people, as martial artists, we are dependable; being on time is a good way to start. If you develop this into a habit you will miss out on the stress of being late. The excuse of ‘I have a little further to travel’ wears a bit thin. In my experience, the further I worked from home the earlier I got to work. The closer I worked to home the later I got to work. Don’t stress out if circumstances prevail; there will be times when you might be late for class!

Remember, your training is important to you. Don’t let people or matters get in the way. NOT ALL IMPORTANT MATTERS ARE URGENT AND NOT ALL URGENT MATTERS ARE IMPORTANT. Post a note on a wall to remind you of your training sessions. I am sure this will provide a bit more motivation to get to every class. Martial arts is like bootcamp so you need to acknowledge a big part of your training is based on discipline. Nowadays, people seem to be spend a substantial amount of money to get this bootcamp training.

See you in class, come early so I can at least say hello to you. It makes your Instructor feel good when you can come in early enough to greet them and show them your enthusiasm by not being late.

Kids! You’ve Got to Love’ em

 It’s truly amazing to see students who start off at a very young age. Sometimes, we adults, become annoyed when the kids ‘get out of hand’ in class but we have to be patient and acknowledge this is part of growing up; we were once kids so we should not forget that. A time will come when these little ones will be able to have a mature conversation with you. You will also realise that you might have to tell them to take it easy on you. I have seen many of them grow up, including my own, and some of them who have stuck it out long made it to Black Belt. We, Instructors, find children to be a very important part of the school because they are the ones who will lead the way into the future; they have a lot of years ahead of them. If a child comes up to you, especially if you are a higher rank, give them some attention; usually it is because they look up to you. We all agree we feel good when somebody of higher rank compliments us on our performance; that goes a long way with a child so feel free to pass one on. Complimenting can also be for a child behaving in class and doing a good turn for one of the other students. Even better still pull one of them aside and teach a technique. Especially important for the Instructors ‘students don’t want to know how good you are, they only really want to know how much you care’. KIDS! YOU’VE GOT TO LOVE' EM.