Brave kids, It’s less common to hear these days but an old known fact “Make them brave, not safe” is making a come back.
Brave Kids- The Law
UTAH in the US has just passed a new law making it legal for parents to allow their kids out alone.
Let me repeat that. It’s now legal in UTAH to allow your kids to walk to school or play out on their own.
Why I hear you ask was it ever illegal?
The last few decades we have been guilty of wrapping our kids in cotton wool and its having negative social effects as well as mental health effects.
I’ll be writing in more depth about that this year as ive been deep in study covering this subject and i have a lot to say.
Brave Kids – Illusions?
Making kids safe is an illusion or at best massively misunderstood. For example, why did injuries in car accidents go up when baby seats were made law?
It is of course instinctive to make them safe but we do it at a cost. I’m not talking taking stupid risks here. Wear a helmet on your bike and be sensible, but take risks, you have to take risks.
We have thousands of stories and classic literature warning us of the dangers of the overbearing parent. There are fantastic tales with archetypal characters that represent the human psyche. The world is full of these stories, from Disney to Buddhism the warnings are there.
Brave Kids – Build them
So finally in UTAH, parents can let their children walk to school without being arrested. This shouldn’t be news, this shouldn’t be happening. The fact that it is, happens to be both good and bad. Good its happening, bad it ever was.
I wouldn’t normally post an advert, I despise most marketing (except my own) but this video has a great message
Last week we discussed flow drills, this week we’ll look at shadow training. An important part of martial arts training, well not just martial arts. Many other sports and high achievers use this method of training. Some were doing so several hundred years ago.
If you’re interested in the history of martial arts and combat then check out this. Written by a Miyamoto Musashi who retreated to a cave in 1643 and wrote The Book of Five Rings, a manifesto on swordsmanship, strategy, and winning for his students and generations of samurai to come, he created one of the most perceptive and incisive texts on strategic thinking ever to come from Asia.
Its a wonderful timeless book and he incorporates shadow training into his regime. Now he won 400 or so sword fights so im trusting it as a valuable tool on that alone. But seriously, science has this backed up and well proven these days.
Shadow Training Martial Arts – Why we do
Shadow training develops the mind, you can shadow train calm, slow and methodical like a Tai Chi master. Or you can go full blown Tyson, who was incredibly intense with his shadow fighting.
Video linked below, i’ve linked a video of myself too so you can see my style of shadow training for self defence.
Your mind does not know the difference between shadow training and the real thing. You are building the neural pathways while doing so. Do this enough and do this well. Then come the fight or sparring session your brain thinks you have been there many times before.
Shadow Training Martial Arts – It’s not easy
Now if you are not such a visual person its not so easy but still worth while. Olympic athletes and professional sports people from bob sleigh to formula 1 use this method in their training.
It’s a damn good work out too, no excuses either. No training partner? No problem, put a pad on one hand and a glove on the other and go mental for 2 minute rounds. You will be on your knees gasping for air if you give it all.
Martial arts flow drills are but one way, there are multiple ways to train martial arts and over the next few weeks I’ll cover some of them.
All are useful, some you’ll prefer. But don’t just stick with the ones you like. Get out of your comfort zone and grind it out.
Martial Arts Flow Drills – Tools to enhance
Flow drills can be used in all arts, kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Self defence and so on.
What I personally like about flow drills is once you have the drill memorised. You have the freedom to flow and see opportunities inside the work. When you are shown new work, techniques etc, you are too busy just trying to remember where your hands should be or remember to breathe. If you train you know what I mean eh.
Martial Arts Flow Drills – The basics
I’ll use a Self-defence MMA example here.
In pairs, it would go something like this. Strikes, takedown, ground position, counter, strikes on ground, submission, escape, back to feet. REPEAT left and right reference.
Now we have the flow we can begin to study
Martial Arts Flow Drills – Study time
Once the drill basics are memorised you are free to flow. Now once you are flowing you’ll see things appear. Your mind free’s up enabling you to see things you’d normally miss.
It’s a wonderful learning experience if you relax and go with it. Now finding a great training partner who’s not trying to crush you is the hardest bit.
Martial Arts Flow Drills – Royalise it all as my BJJ coach John Will says
We have the flow drill, we are finding things we couldn’t see before. Now what?
Now we take out one part of the drill, say an armbar. We work on the armbar until every detail is world class. We drill it in isolation thousands of times.
Then when its Olympic gold standard we drop it back into the flow drill. A wonderful thing now happens. The rest of the drill looks shabby in comparison. Like when you buy a new pair of shoes and your clothes look scruffy, the nightmare of many an old punk rocker. So what to do?
Royalise the lot, over time you make the flow drill world class, do that and hey presto you’re getting good.
Focus and attention play a huge part in martial arts. When someone is moving around in front of you throwing kicks and punches it pays to be in the moment.
The mind is a tricky little thing though before you know it, there it goes. Thinking about PS4 or whats for tea.
Laser Beam Focus – New ways we have been working it with the kids
So in our kid’s classes, we have been working with some new simple techniques to improve focus. Into laser beam focus of course.
Thes can be used at home by the parent for two minutes at a time twice a week. We noticed almost instant results. Though saying that it is something that should be done with persistence. Over many years if you really want a warrior mindset
Simply get a meditation bell (follow this link) Now sit down with your child, eyes closed. Ring the bell and when you can’t hear the bell any longer raise your hand. You can stop the bell ringing at different times. Or let it fade away naturally. This really does focus the mind and you can do it along with your child. Hey, you might feel the benefits too. Actually, let me rephrase that. You will definitely feel the benefits if you do this.
Get a cushion, lay down and put it on your child’s belly. Instruct them to breathe in and move the cushion up, breath out and bring it down. Repeat, do this twice a week for two minutes at a time. Breathing techniques are at the heart of martial arts and meditation. Breathing helps you control your power, emotions and resistance to strikes. Join in with your kids, as with exercise 1 you will benefit from this enormously.
Laser Beam Focus – In a crazy distracted world
Just a few minutes a day can have a profound effect. In todays world the skill of controlling the mind, not being distracted. Well, I think we all know, Facebook, Twitter and on and on it goes.
Theis is not wishy-washy hippy nonsense. The studies are out, they have been confirmed by science and millions of people worldwide.
Look after your mind because the revolution is internal
Self Defence Classes Lincoln – Realistic Self Defence
So what is realistic self-defence and who says it’s so?
I hope we would all agree that self-defence for the modern day street is not the same as it was 300 years ago. Basic combat principles remain I believe but the society has shifted somewhat over the century’s as has the environment.
Martial arts have evolved over the centuries and in the last few years with the emergence of MMA some would argue that they have evolved more in the last 10 years than in the previous 300. Like I say, some would argue so keep your lid on.
Self Defence Classes Lincoln
I myself have been studying self-defence for many years now and most of that journey was alongside the founders of the now dissolved Keysi Fighting Method. They were amazing years and the training answered the questions I had based upon my experiences of street fight’s, shootings and knife attacks during that time in my life. Many of you who know me or have read my articles in Martial Arts Illustrated or followed my blogs know some of my story.
Self Defence Classes Lincoln
Now what became apparent to me some years ago was with the rising popularity of MMA your average person studying Martial Arts was becoming proficient very quickly. The MMA style of training meant that the work was pressure tested on a daily basis. As I became more involved in MMA and organised our own shows and attending others I also saw a new breed of fighter. Some of those training and competing in MMA were fighting on shows on a regular basis. Some even competing Friday and then Saturday on another show. Back to work Monday and the gym Monday night, next weekend do it all again. One guy who competed on our show jumped out of the cage, put on his shirt and went to work like he’d just been to the gym on a treadmill.
Now I’ve always known there are people out there who just love to fight, that’s not my point. What I noticed is there are now lots of people out there who love to fight and can fight, and the numbers are growing rapidly.
Self Defence Classes Lincoln
During the following years I trained and studied with good friend Tony Davis in MMA. When I started teaching MMA it was purely for the sport application and the love for competition. What I also realised was I developed a much healthier outlook on life and my training due to the style of training and the humbling experience of failing a lot on the mats and getting tapped out repeatedly. Remember I came from a pretty hardcore lifestyle, living with the travelling community for over 20 years. Involved in serious violent situations for many years then straight into KFM. There ensued years of hardcore realistic study of how to smash and destroy everyone and everything. That’s all I did, I had no job and plenty of time. All I did was train and study violence and violent people after living with them for so long I guess you could say there wasn’t much Yin In my Yang. Don’t get me wrong, it was awesome but now at my age? I guess I’m chilling out a little.
Self Defence Classes Lincoln
Over the years as my skills developed and my ability grew I became disillusioned with the pure self defence style. I began to notice areas especially the ground that were seriously underdeveloped and not understood
When does pain meet its limits? At what point does causing pain to your opponent fail you?
Simple, when it doesn’t hurt them, from my own experience pain doesn’t really play a part in the fight when it’s for real. I have been beaten unconscious by a gang of men before, I woke up fighting and got beat unconscious again. I felt nothing.
Experiences like that and then my study of the arts confirmed my beliefs, you need to understand how to deal with people who are bigger, stronger and do not feel pain and the only way other than the cop out eye gouge argument or use a weapon is. Learn BJJ or no gi or wresting etc.
Do not misunderstand that last statement; I do not believe BJJ or any other ground-based sport to be adequate for multiple attack situations. If that were true then pure BJJ guys would dominate the MMA scene without studying other striking arts. What I am saying is ground movement from these arts is essential to become a well rounded fighter
We have also all heard the stories or seen the footage of BJJ guys tapping out much larger opponents over and over. Not down to brute force or strength or relying on pain (much) but through superior posture and structure and securing position with incredible movement and technique.
As I’m always being told by my grappling coach. “Position before submission” well the same applies to applying devastating strikes on the ground. Secure the position first, otherwise there gone.
Self Defence Classes Lincoln
I always came across the same response from people in the self-defence world when I posed question like.
“If you don’t know putting your arm in the wrong place means your opponent will break it in seconds. “
“Yeah but that’s sport and were street and if he does an armbar in the street he’s an idiot because blah blah blah.”
“Yes I reply, but he’s an idiot who just snapped your arm because you gave it to him due to lack of knowledge”
“We don’t study the sport because its sport” was the answer. Even worse on many occasions I was told “They need to worry about us, not the other way around”
Self Defence Classes Lincoln – Delusion
It was such a deluded mind-set and arrogant. I’d watch people putting themselves in compromising situations where even a novice fighter would snap an arm or choke them out in seconds, over and over again without realising it. But everything is ok because we don’t have rules so we can do what we want seemed to be the ultimate answer to everything.
We have all met or heard this I believe“I don’t train the ground because I don’t fall down, I don’t go to the ground”
Now we all know this is delusional beyond belief, I mean you are in fact a walking miracle if you have never fallen over in your life. Saying we don’t study this or that because its sport is no different and if you find your self thinking that or being taught that, get out of there or keep a clear mind and cross train.
I loved my pure self defence years, they were crazy and intense and I learnt so much, my life changed for the better and I regret nothing. I do now realise something now though. Self defence answered my questions in the beginning, answers to some life threatening situations and violence, but it stopped answering them in certain areas like the ground. As I became a more proficient fighter and I saw the modern day martial artist and street thug adopt a new style of training and pressure testing it daily, fighting for fun, for real and regular.
The enemy is changing and your style of training needs to keep up with what’s out there. If its art for art’s sake then good for you and whatever makes you happy. But if you’re studying for reality then the question should be.
What is reality?
Do some research, talk to door supervisors to see what common changes they have seen in the last few years. Watch CCTV footage from the many streaming sites out there. Think about a 20 year old juiced up young man who from the age of 12 has been following UFC, fights for his local club, trains hard and loves to ruk on a Saturday night on the streets if he’s not got a legal fight. Ask yourself, really honestly do you believe in your training? Now there are 2 of them and they mean it, do you still believe in your training?
Now all that being said, have some fun and get more from your art than just kicking and punching.
Martial Arts Lessons Ive learnt on the mats that have had a profound effect on my life
Martial Arts Lessons 1/ Emotion
Learning to control my emotion on the mats has had profound effects off the mats in my daily life. When sparring and your opponent has the better of you there are two major choices 1/ Get mad and respond with anger or 2/ Stay calm, work out how you got there and try not to let it happen again. When you have been training this for years it’s second nature. Instead of reacting to every drama out there, you see things with a new calm perspective
Now simply apply this martial art lesson to arguments, Facebook attacks, finances and so on.
Martial Arts Lessons 2/ Debate – Go ahead punk, change my mind
When I walk onto the mats I’m an open book, ready to learn, unlearn and relearn. If you’re tapping me out I’m not just resisting the truth and denying whats happening. I’m listening to whats happening and how it happened and I’m learning to adapt and evolve my game. This means accepting new ideas and ways of doing things.
Now transfer this martial art lesson into your next Facebook argument or debate with a friend. Do not enter like a politician firmly fixed and immovable forever defending your idea. Let a better idea take over, adopt it, grow and evolve. Enter with this mindset “Go ahead punk, change my mind”
Martial Arts Lessons 3/ Living in the past
When rolling in Ju Jitsu and ive taken my opponent to the mat with a leg reap. There is a point I need to let go and let gravity and the energy do its thing. If I hold on in some cases it makes it much worse for me, I’m living in the past, I should have let go. There are times when we need to hold onto the past and times to let go. One can lead us to submitting our opponent with a beautiful armbar and one can lead us into being arm barred. Know when to let go.
Living in the past can be like walking through treacle, it’s sometimes useful of course though many stay attached to negative emotions for many many years, learn to let go.
Martial Arts Lessons 4/ Goal setting – Motivation
Having goals helps measure growth in skills and performance as well as something to aim for. Martial arts gradings are a series of goals structured over a 25 year plus syllabus. The early stages are every three months giving students clear goals and skills to develop. This, in turn, motivates people to achieve set goals and builds the habits of virtually every successful person on this planet.
Martial Arts Lessons 5/ Here Now
Martial arts helps develop a mind that remains present, focused and sharp. When performing high-intensity sparring or pad drills, you are forced to stay in the moment. A momentary lapse and drift into whats on TV later will lead to a short sharp shock in the form of a glove on your nose. You can have a truly awful day, stress, work, finances etc. When you get on those mats the world melts away and you are in the moment, all that exists is right here right now.
Life is like a sausage machine, you get out what you put in.
So it’s common to hear martial arts coaches to claim its more than punching and kicking and it is, of course true. Though the usual examples of weight loss, fitness, confidence and so on are really default benefits that happen regardless in most cases.
When we coach at Function First we have a philosophy of “Off The Mats As On The Mats”
Multidisciplinary Synthesis: Their thinking process involves linking different ideas from different disciplines. It’s valuable because most of today’s problems are solved by applying not only one branch of knowledge. A tip: read more to build a lattice work of mental models.
Now this is is a huge area so in this blog we will briefly cover our time and attitude coaching method
The Stuff Winners Are Made Of
So the average Function First Adult member trains 4 hours a week so let’s look at 1 class or 1 hour of training and break it down
Train passive pad feeding and your already down to 30 minutes training in that hour
Now add drink breaks, take off 5 minutes, now down to 25 minutes in that class
Now add changing pads and gloves over, another 5 minutes. Now down to 20 minutes
Now when coach says lets go, you smile and say a few words to your partner and another 5 mins of training gone chatting. Now down to 15 minutes
Toilet breaks, coaching talk time, arriving late and on we go
Add it all up and its scary, with a sloppy mindset in one hours training you could actually be doing 10 to 15 minutes actual hard work
With a fighters mindset you make every second count, that of an engineer building a bridge over a 1 mile river. You know, 1mm out at the start and by the time you reach the end you fall into the river.
Time management and attitude can mean more than you think.
Be that person who turns up early, starts hitting the pads immediately, pad feeds like you are fighting, and keep the mind in the arena.
This way you can treble what others in the same class are doing.
Thats the secret to getting ahead, you both travel to get there, you both spend the same time on the mats but one of you does 3 times the work.
Remember practice does not make perfect but perfect practice does
Now think this… They do 1 year’s training and with applied mind in the same time you do 3 years
Now think this… They do 10 years and in the same time you do 30 years
This is where mastery is hidden
This is how we teach our kids and adults to get ahead in the world, not just on the mats
Now Apply Off The Mats As On The Mats
Anything you care about or value, apply this mindset to it, kids, relationships, listening, finance, sport, nutrition, health and so on
You decide, leave this earth having given something your best shot.
So depending where you are on your journey that headline will or might not make sense.
I’m going to talk to you as if you have experienced this feeling and if you haven’t then keep reading it will help when the moment arrives, and it will.
It goes like this, training is going well, you feel like your getting to grips with it and like you can get some of it to work with your training partners. In sparring/grappling your finding your thing and you keep getting a few of your mates with it, happy days.
Then one day a complete newbie comes in, can’t tie his/her laces, got the Gi on back to front and put the focus pads on their feet, ok you get my point. So you partner up with them and the usual timings and energy your used too all of a sudden feel awful, you cant seem to hit the pads well and even worse in sparring you can’t do your thing. To add insult to injury the new dude has caught you twice or pinned you and you cant escape and now your ego hurts.
Then you start to question.
Can i really make this work?
Maybe it only works because my partners train like me
If it doesn’t work on a beginner how can it work on someone in the street in self defence?
If it only works on people who train then what?
He doesn’t do what he should do , oh dear.
We all feel this at some point in our journey, it’s normal.
Think of it like this.
If you were in a car race and the guy in the car next to you is a newbie, he’s had 2 classes, he can’t take corners well, didn’t know how to control the clutch for an optimum start, was cluncking through the gears (yep this is a retro VW Golf MK 1 race day) he even turns around and goes round the track the wrong way thinking he’s winning or out smarting you and so on, you get the idea yes?
So the race begins and you have been training for a year or more, how do you think you’ll do in reality against this zebra (got bored of guy, dude, man)
Well hopefully you’ll kick his arse, i mean be careful, not cocky and never under estimate your opponent and all that jazz but you should really have the advantage.
The Reality of the fight is not training
Now in the training arena all these things are hugely important, your partner needs good timing on the pads or in sparring. This helps you develop your skills to a higher level, i mean you get good by training with people better than you. Not training with people with no timing or co ordination and so on. Its sort of obvious but this point still eludes us when our ego takes a bashing.
The car racer that goes round the track the wrong way is the antelope your trying to do a technique to, who goes all limp and just lies flat and rolls onto his back.
They don’t quite get the game yet.
The energy, movement and game plan of a higher level monkey isn’t there yet so it all feels weird and awkward and your cool stuff isn’t working. He’s missing his gears and taking the corners wide, brake’s coming on hard on the bends and so on.
On the mats your sort of co-piloting, you need to make adjustments for them to help them grow.
But don’t get depressed or upset, it’s all part of the journey.
Train thousands of reps and train with people who have better timing, people who give you great energy and move to the next logical position/s, and ok maybe some weird whacky unorthodox stuff from time to time. But that only really comes with the basics learnt well while keeping good posture and base all the time, they will help sharpen up your game no end.
But it’s important to train with the newbies, were all newbies to someone, i need someone to come down to my level to help me grow and the beat goes on.
Can keeping a journal of you martial arts training prove to be a wise idea for those interested in achieving their goals? It certainly would be more beneficial than not having one!
In all seriousness, keeping a journal is a worthwhile pursuit. Simply going to class and being in the moment will definitely help you develop a tremendous amount of skill. However, there is SO much material covered in class time over the course of several years, it would be next to impossible to remember everything that was taught. Consider this a good reason to keep a journal of your martial arts training.
There are three major components to a journal:
This does not mean the journal is locked solely into these three components. You can add any other items to it you wish. These three sections are probably the most important because they cover the bulk of the territory found in the actual class sessions.
Martial arts training goals
Goals reflect what you wish to achieve in the actual class. Goals can be short term and long term. A simple short term goal would be to see your kicks greatly improve over the course of three months. Long term goals could be to place high or outright win a national tournament. Goals are important to write down and chart the progress of because when you have not given clear thoughts to your goals, you end up wondering more than a bit aimlessly without any direction.
Technical information in your martial arts training
The technical information section is important because you will learn a lot of material over the course of a single month of training. Imagine what you might end up learning over the course of five years. You would never be able to remember the bulk of the material which is why keepful a journal of all the technical material you learn in class is valuable. Who knows? You might end up with a near encyclopedia of information before your martial arts career is finished.
Personal reflections may be dismissed by some, but they really should not be. There will be quite a number of special thoughts that pop into your head during your training. If you do not get into the habit of writing these things down, you will end up forgetting them. Losing your many reflections about the art(s) you are studying would be a shame when all it may take is five minutes to type them up on your laptop. You may even wish to review these items one day when the time comes to reflect on your past experiences in your martial arts training.