‘I Do’

 We’ve all seen vows take place at weddings especially the 'I do' bit and then it’s all over and done with but nobody thinks, at the time, how much time and effort has gone leading into this moment.

Tournament is usually a one day event and competing may only be a matter of minutes.  The most important part is the preparation and training leading up to the event. 

I hear some students say, ‘I am not ready’.  Does that mean they are not willing, or does that mean they are not ready to take on the extra training?   In martial arts competition there is no such thing as losing as long as you did your very best.  But there is an upside to this.  Stepping into the arena is an opportunity to test your skills and gain experience that only competition can provide.  I notice the incredible improvement in students who put their hands up to compete.  Not only does their sparring and kata improve but overall skills and confidence.

I was talking to Billy ‘the Kid’ (World Champion Boxer) today about how many people out there are willing take on everybody as long as they don’t have to step out the front door of their school.  It’s best these people, especially those who have never competed, to keep quiet and maintain a low profile because it is a small world. 

Whilst competition is not for everybody I do encourage students to at least, just the once, experience that arousal and adrenalin when confronted outside the norm of their surroundings – call it a little preparation for that shocking street encounter should it ever happen.  Those who don't compete should look at becoming skilled coaches and motivators to assist those who want to 'take on the world'.

Letting students know they have the potential is all it may take for them to say, ‘I do’ when asked, ‘who wants to compete.’

Congratulations to our fine young outstanding athletes last weekend at the recent AMAC championships:
Etan Foo, Siddarth Warrier, Jake Mountford, Alex Piotrowski, Kyle Welevita.

The Greatest Feeling Ever

In the martial arts, people who are not concerned with belts are usually in it for the long haul.  Those who aspire for belts rather than knowledge, it would seem they have a very short martial arts life span unless attitudes change.  The importance of a belt is what it stands for and what you do for it.  Any other way he or she is either being misled or is misleading themselves.

Those who have received a belt and were not ecstatic about it is because, deep down, they did not deserve it especially those expecting or even asking for it (there are people out there that do that).  The value of the belt is the uncertainty of when and if given.  Not meeting the requirements in a grading can be a positive thing because it encourages the student to never give up (one of life's greatest philosophies).  To change the grading system so everybody can get over the finish line is to weaken the art and deceive the student.  

Spare a thought for the humble BJJ student who does not know when and if they ever get their belt; just a little stripe if they're lucky enough but they don't complain.  I think we can learn something from this.  

People should remember they are in the martial arts for the training, not for belts.  Instead, belts are a consequence of training.  Those outside this thinking are only kidding themselves. Earning a Black Belt is one of greatest feelings ever.  It is well worth waiting for.

Nurturing a Baby

There are times when Instructors might feel teaching beginners, in the martial arts, is a mundane job by having to go over the basics.  Good instructors see things differently.  It's about challenge to get the point across to these very important people.  Beginners are new and have special needs, and need to be  nurtured just like a newly born child needs a parent.  But there is also another underlying factor for the Instructor; the thought process in which a technique needs to be explained to get the point across to the beginner.

During a BJJ class of beginners, the other day, it struck me.  The thought process of going over the basics by verbally explaining the techniques is the very same process of proof reading a document.  Proof reading can be done by reading it out aloud to yourself to see if you can pick up any errors or see if it makes any sense.  I thought, ‘wow’, this is really enjoyable.  I mentioned to the students how I also had learned something by doing the very basic stuff with them because I can see unfolding bits of the puzzle as I was explaining the techniques.  They also said, 'wow' (trust me, I'm having a giggle here). 

The bread and butter stuff sometimes seems to get put on the back burner because we always want to be excited with new ideas and ‘toys’ not realising the basics which are taught to beginners are more important than the higher level stuff because they are the foundations that hold the art rock solid.

It’s Not a Lie if You Believe it

We live in a society where we can get almost anything.  However, people in less fortunate circumstances don't expect much and have to work hard to get what they want.  That is why, in the martial arts world, we are experiencing a belt frenzy because people forget that belts (ranks) are about participation and accomplishment as a reward for their time and effort.  It's fast becoming that people, in the martial arts, expect belts without having to do much.  You can forgive students for thinking that way but not Instructors or Black Belts.  

The BJJ philosophy is don’t ask for a promotion because the only belt you will get is a belting.  One young BJJ white belt last year kept asking me when was he going to be graded.  I said, “You have 23 hours  training.  Your mate has done 43 hours and he’s not even ready for promotion.  Now you tell me when do you think you should be graded."

There are some Instructors, of various disciplines, who like to get in on the act (BJJ) but not having to do the work.  They have contacts and can weasel their way around the system to get their belts in return for favours. It is better these fools stay home and help mum or the wife with the ironing.  They may impress their students but not everybody else.  They should do a risk assessment before making claims because, if found out, that may also reflect on everything else they have done in the past.  Now I know where they get their thinking from – to quote George Costanza (SEINFELD), "It's not a lie if you believe it."

Amazingly, those who don’t ask for gradings are the ones who work really hard and the ones who do ask, do very little.  Clearly, there are some issues here.