On the 900th hour …

Since the beginning of my training in BJJ I have been keeping a log of the hours put in; 900hours to be exact!   Quite a few BJJ people have told me how they love that idea and wish they could’ve kept a record themselves.  The purpose of keeping a log is to keep track of what I'm doing and measure my dedication and progress.  It is also a personal reward rather than preoccupy with rankings because, in BJJ, they are so far and few in between. 

One has to continually learn and update skills in the martial arts so I have to take a seat as a student in order to do this.  The difference is not only that I have to learn the techniques but I have to be able to teach them to my students so my learning approach has to be different.  It's actually quite rewarding when you can demonstrate and teach what you have learnt. 

It is not easy for Instructors to take the plunge to open their minds and take on new ideas because the realisation is they may have to take off their Black Belts. The principle of our martial arts organisation was built on trying out and introducing new ideas, otherwise, we would not be where we are today.  As the Chief Instructor, it was up to me to work with and learn from people who are expert at what they do.  I have made many good friends along the way and you realise there are many good people out there.

A sample of my log

To our students we have done a lot of hard work to bring to them everything on a silver platter, however, it is sometimes difficult to convince students of everything we teach them but they only have to look around at those who will take on everything given to them and they will soon realise what they are missing out on.  Looking forward to 1,000 hours.

“I remember the days ………”

This is worthwhile blogging – our first BKJ Kickboxing grading at our full time martial arts centre just recently.  Over the years we have been cross training Karate students in Kickboxing because of our passion in other martial arts but difficult to do in a regular class environment where Karate is the main focus.  Finally, we were able to kick off separate Kickboxing classes under the auspices of Kyoshi Richard Norton.  It is almost 4 months now and we were impressed with the results of our students who just walked off the street to sign up for Kickboxing not that long ago.  Kickboxing today is much more user friendly, inviting and safer than it ever has been.

 I remember, in the early '90's, training Thai Kickboxing, at the Everly St boxing gym in Redfern working out with World Champion Alex Tui and the legendary trainer, Kru (Master) Sakaad Pethyindee for 2 years.  Sakaad was infamous and a legend in Thai Boxing (with over 320 professional fights and 10 world titles to his name).  If you were game enough to walk down that street and didn't get mugged or attacked (let alone in police uniform), you were going to do alright except for the hard punishment you had to endure in class.  Luckily for me, my car was never stolen or ever damaged because I was regarded as a 'brother'.

It was difficult learning from a Thai coach.  Little communication, no manners, no promises – just hard training.  I would come home sometimes at 2am because to be part of the group, we had to hang out and drink Japanese Sake (crazy).  But that is what it took those days if you wanted to train with the best at the time.  At the end, I was rewarded an Instructor’s certificate from Kru Sakaad and Alex Tui.  Sakaad has long gone back to Thailand but Alex is still at the gym and now training his own people.

It is just so nice to be able to do this all over again but now with our own students.

It’s a Numbers Game

I had a really good time teaching the Kid’s Karate class this afternoon because it gave me a chance to test my teaching ability and skills standing in front of a younger group.  The question is ‘do I have what it  takes to get my message across’?  If I am to be a Master Teacher I should be able to walk into a room and take on any group whether it be young, old, experienced, inexperienced etc.  When dealing with a group such as beginners or very young persons, the skills of the teachers have to be much more acute.  The Instructor has to look for various ways to get the message across in the best way possible.  A good Instructor should have the ability to teach one student or a hundred.  There would be many inexperienced instructors who will start to fold when the numbers go up purely because of not being to address large groups (maybe even stage fright) or even lack the skills to control such large numbers – now there's a new meaning for that cliche 'it's a numbers game'.

These are all challenges.  Standing in front of the ACT & Qld students last month, many of them for the first time, one has to quickly look at faces and assess how they should they be spoken to and look for visual signs to see how well it is working out.  It is not an easy task but after years of experience this personally has not been a problem for me.  Kyoshi Richard Norton and Professor John Will will ‘perfectly’ take charge of any group by getting their attention and asking them to be able to do exactly what they want.

My Kids class was great and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.  There was something in it for the kids and there was something in it for me.  Straight after that, I jumped in and taught the MMA class. That's another notch on my belt.  Great night!