Are You Through Playing Games?

Young students and junior grades can be forgiven if they get bored and want a little excitement to boost their enthusiasm during training.  Hence, the little ‘bells and whistles’ instructors have to use to keep the momentum going.  However, there comes a time when these toys should be put aside and students no  longer have the need for the instructor to entertain them.

The brown belt (or 2 years into training) is usually when the student starts getting serious.  It is the stage when the student has outgrown their desire for toys and games and takes on a different attitude towards their training.  Can you imagine how an adult would feel if you give them a toy to play with?  It would be treating them like a child.  I am sure any student with a mature attitude does not want that and prefers to be treated seriously. 

The cycle of life is raising and nurturing children until they are mature enough to look after themselves.  Students are raised and nurtured in the much same way by martial arts instructors who will always be there to guide them.  Anybody wearing a brown belt should start thinking about what will it take to make them better, not what will it take to make things better.  Game over!

No Brainers

Just recently one of my Black Belt students saw a couple of ‘meatheads’ in the carpark who were so pumped up they were carrying on as if they had just won a fight in the UFC.  My student asked them if they were expecting some sort of trouble.  They said, “Nah mate, we just finished MMA.  We’re all pumped up”. 

 MMA (mixed martial arts) is a great sport and there are quite a few good instructors with a lot of experience who can teach it but, with the growing popularity of MMA, they have to compete with bogus instructors who have zero qualifications. 

MMA has also shown to be a calling card for idiots.  The glamour of wearing shorts, rashies and tattoos and not having to worry about belts and respect for instructors would be too much to resist.  Perfect for the 'no brainers' who want a quick fix for their ego and wanting to scare people with their tatoos and deep sound of their voices. 

MMA is the 'in thing' now for a number of reasons.  First, it is more of a reality based martial art.  Its application to real-life confrontations is noticeable.  Secondly, MMA students don’t have to worry about belts and honourific titles making it a much more egalitarian sport.  Third, the training wear and equipment is a lot more fashionable; no need to worry about gi’s or tying belts.  However, there is a strong argument the traditional arts are important in shaping effective and ethical martial artists. MMA Instructors with traditional martial arts backgrounds and values are the sort of people the industry needs to survive. 

The MMA scene gives opportunity to unqualified instructors to jump into the martial arts industry without having to worry about answering questions about how long have they been training for, who taught them, what do they know and if they have anything to show for?  I am sure there will be no shortage of 'no brainers' to keep them going.