The past few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to be working my way through Carl Cooper’s Toxic Fighting System 3 set of DVDs. I’d seen a lot of Carl in publications such as Martial Arts Illustrated, met him a few times and was impressed with the simplicity of the Toxic Fighting System and so couldnt wait to get started with the DVDs. I wasn’t disappointed!
As said, the Toxic Fighting System DVD set is made up of 3 DVDs – Volume 1 The Fortress, Volume 2 Core Striking and Volume 3 Defences against being kicked on the ground. Let’s get started!
First thing to be said, the logo is f***ing cool! Professional, clean and really stands out! The DVD intro is professional as well with the usual disclaimers then some funky music and a snippet of what will be covered in DVD 1 – The Fortress! As the name suggests, the Fortress is all about protection and positioning in order to counter strike and defend the head. The idea is well explained by Carl and tested with progressively harder punches in order to build confidence in the effectiveness of the Fortress as a principle. The Fortress is then explained in both attack as well as defence, entering in and seeking vulnerable targets to strike with elbows, hammers or headbutts. The first DVD goes through various drills and exercises to build this up and show it’s application and thats the first DVD done!
…But wait! There’s more! Out takes! That’s right, in a very Jackie Chan-esque way, the last 10 minutes or so of teh DVD are out takes which I have to admit are quite amusing and a nice way to round off a DVD dealing with the fairly serious topic of street attacks!
On to Volume 2 – Core Striking. Again the intro shows what will be covered in a little snippet and the main principles of striking are well explained again by Carl who shows his depth of knowledge. Carl also shows the efficacy of these techniques for everyone in the form of his student Mike, affectionately known as “Wobbly” who has cerebral palsy in his legs. Despite this, Mike is shown demonstrating some pretty impressive hammers and rhinos during this DVD set. The Rhino is looked at first and again, explained technically then put into application from both empty hand and knife. Other strikes such as hammer fists (double and single) are looked at as well as “The Shockwave”, a nifty little strike you’ll have the get the DVDs to see ;). The DVD once again ends with some banter (Carl’s a pussy take 1) and out takes, and that’s DVD 2!
The 3rd and final DVD covers ground work defence from kicks and stomps in kneeling, sitting and lying down positions. Some cheeky rolls to take legs out are also added and multiple attack scenarios covered as, as most of us know, fights are rarely one on one anymore. More out takes and banter and that’s a wrap!
Overall thoughts? A comprehensive, practical and legally defensible system of self defence with great explanation in the DVDs by Carl. Is it flashy? Not really… Is it functional? Definitely and that ultimately is what is needed for the streets. Carl does well to cover a large amount of info in sizeable chunks with a good teaching style and base of knowledge. The out takes are fun extras and the fact Mike or “Wobbly” features heavily in the 3 DVD set shows the system works for everyone. Some of you may or may not know that Carl has had a big role in the `Warriors Assemble` awards in a few weeks time, the Midge Ure to Tony Pillage’s Bob Geldof. The event celebrates people in the martial arts who have overcome adversity and pushed on and for Carl to be a leading figure in this event (which I can’t wait for) says something about him as a person. I highly recommend these DVDs for anyone really, either to use as system on its own, or to incorporate into another style or system.
To invest in your self defence training and get these DVDs follow the link HERE for DVD 1, HERE for DVD 2 or HERE for DVD 3. Alternatively you can message Carl Cooper on facebook for the DVDs or email email@example.com and a deal can be done for my lovely readers!
To purchase tickets to `Warrior’s Assemble` on 24th October which again I highly recommend with paralympic medalists as guest speakers as well as Alex Reid as host visit a link to the website HERE
Hello people! Sorry for the delays in posting but it’s been a pretty busy few weeks with one thing and another! Time for a new post though and today we are looking at the `No Lie Blades`, a wicked piece of kit designed to test you skills with a knife and show just how hard it is to defend one!
The `no lie blade` was kindly provided by Anton St James of the Master’s Academy in Plymouth. I ordered it on the Wednesday and it arrived on the Thursday – how’s that for customer service?! The blade itself comes in two editions – single sided or double sided. I received the double edged knife packaged nicely with 4 lipstick like markers used to mark the felt edging of the knife to see where you’ve been stabbed and slashed…. play time!
Knife crime is becoming an ever increasing problem in society if we look at the media. Every day we seem to see a new story about a child bringing a knife to school, or someone getting stabbed after an argument occurs. Therefore for anyone looking at realistic self defence training, knife training is definitely an area of study. This being said, one YouTube search of knife defence will show you just how much is out there in terms of ideas and principles of knife defence – some good, some bad. I’ve never and hope never to be involved in a knife fight and so have no experience of what would realistically work. This is where the `no lie blade` adds an element of realism in to your training, allowing you to see exactly where you get slashed and stabbed as you try to defend. The blade is a realistic size and weight and the grips fits comfortably in the hand allowing for fast slashes and thrusts and a realistic training session. The lipstick dye is easy to apply and clearly shows where you’ve been slashed. For someone who has very limited training in knife defence, it was certainly a wake up call and eye opener…. I died…. a lot! The knife is tough enough to withstand some pretty heavy damage as I tried breaking it after we played to see how tough it was to no avail, but not so much so that it properly hurts when you get slashed and stabbed.
For those looking to add an element of realism in to their knife defence and self defence training I would highly recommend the `no lie blade` for its simplicity and ease of use. It will add a new dimension of realism to your training and improve your knife defence skills simply through experimentation of when you get slashed and when you don’t. Overall, an awesome piece of kit that I highly recommend! NLB courses also run throughout the year which I have heard only good things about! Contact Anton St James on Facebook or www.martialartsplymouth.co.uk for more information on the `no lie blade` and go to www.trainingknives.net for the `no lie blade` official site!
As people who are on my Facebook group know, I’m fairly active on social media. It can be a great way to connect with people in your field of interest, get chatting and build connections. It can also be a great way to get your content out there such as the articles I write on this blog. However, more and more frequently I’m seeing videos and posts taken on mobile phones of people being attacked, beaten up and even sometimes stabbed and so the questions have to be asked of why is it being filmed and why aren’t people helping?
I think most of us would like to think that if we saw someone getting beaten up or mugged, our first instict wouldn’t be to pull out our mobile phones and film it, but either to inject ourselves or signal for help either in the form of finding police, shouting to attract more attention, or firing up the bat signal. However, psychology suggests that this is not always the case and human beings will not always help another human in trouble, it’s all dependent on the circumstances they are placed under. Basically studies have shown that even the most apparently norman human being can become capable of this if presented with the right triggers.
So let’s look at the `bystander effect`. Ask yourself, if you were walking through town late at night, heard a scream and some struggling and saw a teenage girl in distress, would you help? Now ask yourself the same question but instead of being on your own, you’re with a group of 10 friends. Would you be more or less willing to help?
In 1964 a woman was murdered and newspapers reported that 38 people had heard or seen the attack and done nothing. 38. Two psychologists, Darley and Latane wanted to know if the face these people were in a group played a role in their unwillingness to help. The psychologists invited people to take part in a discussion over intercom. During the conversation, one of the discussion participants would fake a seizure which could be heard through the speakers. When the partipant believed they were the only ones speaking to the individual who had the fake seizure, they rushed to get help. However, when the participant believed there were four others involved in the conversation, only 31% went to help, the rest assuming someone else would. This study has been recreated numerous times leading to the term `The Bystander Effect` whereby
Individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim when other people are present
We take our cues from others not acting or tell ourselves someone else will do it. So how does this apply in terms of martial arts or self defence? Do we have a higher moral duty to interject if we see or hear something? Would we interject? Martial arts schools offer self defence training as a marketing tool – no-one wants to feel less safe and there is an instinct for us to survive and protect ourselves. We’ve spoken before about how often, dojo martial arts do not translate well into real world violence, but what about the discipline, etiquette, courage and general decency we are also taught in the martial arts? Would these traits help someone stand out from the crowd and have the confidence to speak up and act?
It certainly wouldnt hurt in my opinion.
It’s been said that knowledge is power and even being aware of the bystander effect can make people think twice and act when perhaps before they would have sat back and waited for someone else. As martial artists and self defence enthusiasts, we seek knowledge on keeping ourselves safe, but how many of us think about keeping others safe as well? Would we be the one to stand up and take action rather than sit back and let the bystander effect take place?
Wow what a week it’s been! It’s been so good but all flown by in a blur! Firstly the Martial Artists Supporting Children with Cancer charity event in founder Lucci Del-Gaudio’s home town in Nottingham, then a BJJ masterclass by none other than the legend himself – Royce Gracie!!
Martial Artists Supporting Children with Cancer Nottingham
I’ll admit I was looking forward to this event for weeks. The Martial Artists Supporting Children with Cancer events have been around the country the past few months, raising money with awesome events with awesome martial artists, and this one was to be in Lucci’s home town of Nottingham so was extra special! If there was a who’s who of people I wanted to train with the UK, they were all at that event! The legendary Trevor Roberts was there teaching, the awesome and inspirational Eddie Quinn who I’ve been dying to meet for a while, the fantastically practical Russell Jarmesty and the awesome Sifu Peter Mogridge among many others! Defence Lab was there being represented by the talented Charles Hartnett and Mikey Wright, Anthony Pillage was there as ever showing his support and a wealth of knowledge and talent was all placed in a sports hall in Nottingham.
Highlights? Eddie Quinn was top of the list for me, teaching an inspirational and fun seminar where he tried to condense 3 hours of info into 1 hour! We even got to play a game of Dodgeball and it was great to see a whole room full of well known martial artists dodge, duck, dip, dive and….dodge, then translate this into their striking! Russell Jarmesty was another one I was looking forward to meeting having chatted with him a few times online, over the phone and seen his stuff like his `Mean Streets` app, check the review here. He didn’t disappoint and did a great little section on practical jiu-jitsu he tested working on the doors.
What an awesome day!!
Royce Gracie Seminar
Wow, what can I say. It’s not everyday you get to train with legendary UFC winner Royce Gracie. Basically the guy that kicked off MMA and made Gracie Jiu-Jitsu the force to be reckoned with that it is today. The event was awesome, catching up with friends at Anthony Pillage’s fantastically well equipped academy in Coventry and learning some BJJ from the very best! We looked at takedowns, chokes, armbars and defences, giving a great overview with various levels attending from those in their BJJ gi’s and blue/purple belts, to others who had never done BJJ in their life. Energy, awesome, instructor, awesome, facilities, awesome, overall….awesome!
It’s going to be a great few months of martial arts, from awards dinners (nominated for an MAI Hall of Fame), to trips abroad, to trips around the UK seeing friends and learning more!
1st November we have our next Martial Artists Supporting Children with Cancer event in my home town of Lincoln! We have 10 awesome instructors lined up that I had a hand in picking and a great mix of styles! All done in the great Function First Academy! Be there people!
Martial Arts, no matter which one you do be it Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido, Karate or MMA should be a lifelong pursuit, simple as that. The day you think you’ve learnt everything is the day you should hang up your belt/gi/boxing gloves. It never stops and never stops being interesting. Having said this, it’s usual to have down periods, periods where you dont want to train, have things going on in your life that make it hard, or simply can’t be arsed! So I present to you 10 tips to reignite your passion and get you back to your usual ass-kicking self!
10 – Watch your favorite Martial Arts film!
This may sound like a bit of a dumb one, but if you look at any of the interviews I’ve done on here, in nearly every single one they quote a film that initially kick-started their interest. Normally a Bruce Lee film, going back and watching your favorite flick can help you remember why exactly you’re doing your chosen martial art. Is it for the culture, discipline, respect, fitness? Is it just that you want to look damn cool flipping people round and smashing tiles? Whatever your reason for choosing martial arts, going back to the source could easily reignite that passion within and make you realize that training feels good!
9 – Speak to others you train with
Ask anyone anything that they are passionate about and you’ll realize that passion is infectious. Anyone who makes a success in life is due to the fact they are passionate about something. You can be the most learned and accomplished individual in a particular field, but without passion it’s impossible to impart that knowledge and infectious enthusiasm that makes charismatic people a success. People you usually train with are there for a reason; they love what they do. They feel that enthusiasm, that passion, that drive to learn more and just being around this kind of energy can lift you up and shoot you back in to your training before you know it. Just as some find inspiration through watching their favorite martial arts movie, others find inspiration from the people they train with.
8 – Speak to your instructor
Part of an instructor’s job is to maintain your interest. This is a bit of a give and take as it’s not entirely an instructor’s job to make you come to classes, but they should ensure you are progressing, learning and having fun. Explaining what the problem is to your instructor may be able to help them reignite your passion and get you back to your fighting fit self. Little theme emerging here….speak to people…. instructors, other students. Lacking the motivation? Chances are the instructor did at some point too, maybe other students did. What did they do to get out of it?
7 – Write down an achievable goal for your training
Lack of passion can sometimes be the result of having no goal or development in your training. Small, achievable goals help us to push harder, increase our interest and make us feel damn good when we achieve these goals. Struggling with the warm up during class? Next month you won’t be, you’ll be at the front of the pack leading the way! Struggling with a certain technique? Get advice, research, practice practice practice! This time next month, you’ll have nailed it. Small achievable goals help us to reach the main goal, progression in the martial arts, so set yourself little ones and chip away!
6 – Improve your lifestyle/fitness
Martial arts should be physical and improve your lifestyle and health. This comes as a result of training. If you train once a week for an hour however, you won’t be seeing improvements fast. Combining training with day to day changes in your life like diet, exercise, lifestyle etc can all add little differences that in the long run will improve your overall training. You’ll be faster, more flexible, have more stamina and be able to understand more and more of the techniques and principles you are learning about. Little consistent changes eventually equal a bit change.
5 – Look for similarities in things, not differences
Lots of people cross-train and this is awesome. However, when it gets tricky is when you take on too much and feel that what you cross-train works against each other. Last week I was speaking to someone who does Aikido and Parkour and feels that sometimes these work against each other for his training. I advised don’t look for the differences, look for the similarities. What do both have in common? Both work to develop the body in a number of ways such as strength, stamina and flexibility. Both require patience, technique and self control. Both require being in the moment when you do it, not thinking about other things, but being immersed in that moment. Even if you don’t cross train, this can also be the case in your day to day life. Find the similarities in your training and your day to day routine. How many are there? What translates across? Do this and your art and your life start merging in to one.
4 – Write down what’s going on!
Physically writing something down lets us see it clearly and puts it clearly on paper, sometimes bringing clarity to an uncertain situation. So go ahead write down whatever is pissing you off and then try and find some clarity in it! All eventually leading to getting you back doing what you love!
3 – Get a private lesson
Group lessons are great, they’re sociable and you get the group feel with everyone working together! Private lessons are also great however! You get some individual feedback, some one on one training, a great workout and a great little boost that you can then take to future lessons. A private lesson with the instructor can be exactly what is needed to give you that kick up the arse and get you back to having fun and progressing!
2 – Do some research
This links to what I’ve said above. Knowledge is power. Finding something difficult? Can’t get a move, technique, principle? Research it! Ask people, look on the internet (a source of some great, and some truly awful knowledge), ask your instructor, go to DVDs, books… any resource to find the answer. Research and exploring martial arts outside of class is half of the fun for me but I’m a bit weird! Give it a go and see what happens!
1 – Just train!
Honestly, sometimes no-one feels like going training. Best remedy for it. Go to training. Once you get there, you’ll have a great time, be surrounding by good people, and be buzzing at the end of the class. Don’t feel like going training but you go and still feel crap after? Find a new club. Simply as that. The minute you stop enjoying martial arts training and can’t get it back through training there’s something wrong so at that point, it’s time to find a new club!
So last week Russell Jarmesty of JMA Academy in Atherton, Manchester released his much anticipated self defence app, `Mean Streets`. As soon as it was released I logged into my Android account and downloaded it, eager to check it out and see what it had to offer. Honestly, I was impressed!
Anyone who is on Facebook knows the Russell is pretty active on social media, being one of the four `Martial Arts Guardians` who produce a free magazine dedicated to highlighting the best in martial arts and self defence. Russell regularly posts videos from his academy in Atherton (which looks amazing by the way) along with videos demonstrating real world self defence that he has acquired through many years working as a doorman. Techniques such as snatches and barring are a big hit for him and so I was eager to see what the app involved and how it was laid out.
The home page is broken down into 6 main sections: Introduction, Tutorials, Techniques, The Street, Qik View and More. The introduction lays out basically what the app is about saying there will be more in the series, and that the app is meant to bring a bit of thought to training, something to go and try in your own time. Simplicity is key with Russ and as he explains, a lot of what he does is based on `Third Party Martial Arts` or stopping someone from getting to someone else, due to the world of work he was in.
The tutorials consist of explanations of techniques and principles varying from grabs to strikes to intensity drills, all well explained by Russ, looking at multiple scenarios and multiple camera angles for easy to follow drills. The techniques themselves look at functional warm ups (no running involved), tips for practicing the techniques, threats, third party techniques as alluded to earlier and grabs, again all explained well with multiple angles so it’s easy to follow.
`The Street` section is probably my favorite in the app and shows a range of scenarios from one opponent to multiple. 9 defences in total are shown and explained well, giving multiple scenarios and possibilities as anyone who has ever had an altercation in real life knows, things don’t always go according to plan. Plan A is looked at, but also plan B, C and D focused on simplicity and what is most likely to work! It’s no holds barred and intensity is key with hard strikes, eye gouges and groin strikes to get you out of the situation fast.
The Qik View is exactly that. Short clips showing warm-ups, third party techniques, and grabs. Easy to digest and easy to refer to, again with multiple angles showing full speed applications. The more section is a summary of the information in the app, along with links to JMA Academy, Facebook links and links to The Martial Arts Guardian along with a disclaimer.
So my overall thoughts? The app is easy to navigate, digest and get to grips with showing simple techniques for self defence that both beginners and seasoned martial artists could learn from. Russ’ explanations are clear simple and articulated well, and it’s not hard to see why he is considered one of the best in the country in terms of real world self defence. He draws on his extensive experience but simplifies it down to easily digestible bites that are great for those experience in self defence/martial arts, as well as complete beginners barely able to throw a punch. For only £4.99 there is a ton of information and you can see that Russ and the app team have put the effort in to making it a professional product. I highly recommend this product for anyone interested in broadening their knowledge of self defence. The app is available on Android and Apple devices and here’s also a link to the Martial Arts Guardian Website! Enjoy!
So I thought this week that it was about time I treated myself to a new set of gloves and focus mitts. My last ones are looking slightly worse for wear after years of MMA, KFM and recently Defence Lab and some MittMaster. So I got myself on Amazon and had a browse! The RDX Curved Focus Mitts and Gloves stood out to me. RDX are a well known brand, well respected and I’ve previously bought RDX gloves so knew the quality would be good. I wasn’t disappointed!
The gloves and mitts came packaged well, having that new pad smell that anyone involved in combat sport knows and loves! The pads are slightly smaller than my previous ones which to me is a good aspect, leading to greater accuracy in punches, kicks and strikes in general. The pads also have that perfect level of padding where there’s enough to absorb any hits you may receive during training, but not so much that your punches are lost in the padding. There’s still a pretty satisfying thump when you give them a whack! The pads are also pretty to swap with no straps or velcro. They simple slip on like a glove, giving great impact absorption while sticking to your hand due to the curvature of the pad.
The gloves are the same, good quality, easy to slip on and off and you can tell they are high quality and will last a while. They’re pretty thin so not great for hard sparring but for pad work and light contact these are perfect! The price was also great with both of these available for under £25 which for the quality and durability I think is pretty good value. I’ve bought expensive pads in the past, over £35 and had them fall apart on me after a couple of training sessions, slipping off my hands and generally disintegrating in no time at all. These pads as said stick to the hands making pad feeding easy and comfortable and even after hard hits show no signs of taking any impact!
Basically I’m sold and looking forward to giving these pads a really good go at Defence Lab this week where I can give them a real smashing. RDX are a quality brand and for the price, the RDX Curved Mitts and Boxing Gloves are a safe buy for anyone involved in martial arts or self defence!
Here we interview Kenji DuBois Lee, main man responsible for bringing the Jacques Payet Project to life. Jacques Payet is a 7th degree black belt in Yoshinkan Aikido and was live-in student of Yoshinkan founder Gozo Shioda for many years. As a westerner in Japan, Payet Sensei was able to build a close relationship with Shioda Kancho and wasn’t as bound by the rules of the student-teacher relationship and so was able to form a close bond with Kancho Sensei, gaining many insights in to the man and his powerful form of Aikido. Payet Shihan now teaches around the world and is revered by many as one of the top Yoshinkan Instructors in the world. He also recently graded me to 3rd Dan and is a thoroughly nice guy! Here’s the interview!
Hey Kenji thanks for interview, what is your background?
I have been living in Japan for nearly 7 years, making short films for the past 4. I like to consider myself a Self University graduate seeing as I pick up tricks of the trade mainly through online tutorials and real life trial and error. I shoot, write, and edit wedding, promotional, and business videos for a living. I’m happily married to the world’s most amazing woman who brings me happiness everyday. My interests include hanging out with creative action-takers, beaches, mountains, and soccer.
How did the JP Project initially come about?
One day a good friend of mine, Izzy, told me, “Dude, I’m gonna move to Kyoto and dedicate my life to aikido: intensive training 6 hours a day 5 days a week for a year.” After that year, he did it again! Over the years I watched as Izzy transformed.
Physically, he made me feel like a slob for not having a six pack and waking up after sunrise, but he also went through a rather impressive internal transformation. His business boomed, spirituality deepened, and even with the newly acquired bulge on his knee resulting from hours on the tatami mat, he was constantly exploring the boundary of possibility.
Because I was the video man for his business I spent a lot of time filming him, listening to his ideas, discoveries, and interpretations of a purpose-driven life. Purpose – which Izzy seemed to find loads of in the dojo – was taking a stronger grip on my life as well. Inevitably we spent many conversations exploring the overlap of martial arts principles and everyday life.
As you might have guessed by now, Izzy was training at Kyoto’s Mugenjuku Aikido dojo under the instruction of 7th degree instructor Jacques Payet, who, as Izzy pointed out to me in one of these conversations, “has an amazing life story that would inspire the sh*t out of you.”
Thus the stage was set for me to enter the dojo and meet the man himself.
My first time in Kyoto Mugenjuku dojo was for a 5 day shoot where I produced a short film highlighting the dojo’s Kenshusei program. This short film was well received by Jacques Payet and the international community.
A year later, Izzy, Jacques Payet and I sat down for some coffee in a small cafe across the street from the dojo. This was when Jacques Payet told me about his journey of becoming a 7th degree master, and what his hopes are for the future.
We came to the conclusion that film is a very effective tool to reach the masses. With the unforeseen success of the Kenshusei short film, we decided to implement this tool once again, this time to deliver Jacques Payet’s life story. The desired outcome being a wave of inspired and purpose-driven youth across the globe.
What was it that made you think JP would be a great choice for the project?
From my understanding, in aikido there is a push and pull between what I control and what I don’t. Even though the extent of what I control has a limit, if I am committed and effective enough I can use these outside forces and be part of something amazing and far more powerful than anything I could do alone.
This project is the perfect example of such forces combining. The timing, the people involved, the city I moved to, all these outside forces were staring me in the face like, “C’mon man! This opportunity is right here, right now. So what are you gonna do about it?!”
So I committed.
Now as for why I think Jacques Payet would be a great subject for this documentary film project.
Yes, Jacques Payet overcame challenges, accumulated accolades, and gained the respect of the martial arts community around the world. Yet, the even more significant part of this project isn’t exactly his life.
What strikes me is how so many young adults are taking the same journey a young Jacques Payet did and how even more people are stepping into their own journey.
The important thing to note is their journey.
Jacques Payet is blazing an amazing trail but it’s not as if he wants others to follow him. Rather, he wants to see others fully commit to blazing their own trails.
He wants you to feel alive – not just to go through routine, tradition, and necessities – but to truly feel alive, by finding your own path, committing to it, and embracing the discoveries along the way.
In this sense, this documentary project came to be because of the inspirational power Jacques Payet’s journey has, as well as me choosing to step up to my own.
Just after my 3rd Dan test
What do you hope will be achieved through the project?
In a word: empowerment.
Personally, I’m finding so much happiness blazing my own trail in this part of my life right now. I’m 29, well-travelled, blessed with an amazing wife, ridiculously supportive family, and talented friends around the world. When I told them, “Hey, I’m gonna make my first feature length documentary film” I was met with mixed responses. To be completely honest, I had no clue how I’d do it, who’d help me, where I’d get the resources, and I began to hear that all-too-common voice of doubt. I had a long list of reasons to give up – worse yet – not even try.
But as fate would have it, the subject of my very first feature length documentary is an aikido master.
And like any master will say, to master anything requires doing what’s difficult, uncertain, and often unrealistic, just out of reach.
So for me as a filmmaker, I hope to stretch my filmmaking career by learning as much as possible while I take these steps into the unknown. Even though I had been shooting and editing for years before this project started, I had never tried launching a crowdfunding campaign. I had never built a production team. I had never drafted an official request for funds. I had never made a pitch to influencers. I had never spoken with a bona fide producer about confidential private placement memorandum documents. I had never consulted with a campaigning agency. Now, even though we’re still in pre-production, I can happily say I’ve done all of these things and learned so much along the way. Image what I’ll have learned by the time we’re in post-production!
Most importantly, I know that there will always be more to learn. I know this because 7th degree aikido master Jacques Payet told me, “Of course I still learn new things everyday. It’s neverending. It’s for life.”
Even a master continues to learn.
Hence the name of Jacques Payet’s dojo ‘mugenjuku’ which can be translated as ‘never ending training.’ He instills this principle in his students and it is one of the messages I hope to share with the JP audience.
Simply put, whatever you want requires endless effort.
This process – endless effort – uncovers possibilities that are buried within ourselves which surface in the face of adversity. The more and more possibilities come to the surface, the more and more empowered we become.
Jacques Payet personifies this. Ultimately I hope to use his life story as a mirror so the JP audience can start finding possibilities within their own lives.
And if someone was making a documentary of me making this documentary I would hope that audience feel empowered as well! They would watch as an aspiring filmmaker makes his debut feature project about a martial arts master. Unexpectedly the young filmmaker begins to connect martial arts principles to his own life, in turn applying them to filmmaking, and begins blazing a new path in the world of cinema.
See, I wasn’t even able to articulate this a year ago!
How far is the project in development?
We’re in pre-production. We’ve done extensive research on what production level we can take JP to depending on how much monies we raise. We’ve spent even more time writing and editing the story of JP, again, to different degrees depending on the monies raised which will directly influence the scope of the film.
JP has taken multiple forms and been through so many changes since we committed to it back in November 2014. But I firmly believe these changes polished JP into what it is today.
Now we are in the funding phase of the project. Arguably the most important. Undeniably the most suspenseful!
When will the project be released?
I hate this question. lol
Once we finish the funding phase we’ll have a far better estimate of the release date. But I know this is important, especially when we’re receiving monetary contributions from supporters worldwide.
At this point, we are expecting to release in spring 2016.
We’d like to enter JP into film festivals in France, Japan and the United States.
What will the project focus on? Yoshinkan Aikido? Jacques Payet’s life?
The original title of this film was Aikido Is Life. The change was made to JP to put more focus on Jacques Payet and his relationship with Japan.
This film will focus on the overlap between martial arts and life within the context of aikido master Jacques Payet’s
3-decade journey to become a master.
How can people get involved with the project?
Make a contribution to our Indiegogo Campaign!
Rub elbows with big-timer producers? Contact us!
Ask 5 friends to pitch in on a group contribution!
Are you a musical genie who can whip up amazing scores for film? Contact us!
Become a sponsor by supplying our production team with transportation in Japan and/or Reunion Island!
Got access to gear in Japan and/or Reunion Island? Contact us!
Speak French, Japanese, and/or Russian and want to build up your resume as a translator? Contact us!
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Be honest with yourself, are you an expert in self defence or martial arts? In the age of digital media and knowledge at our fingertips, more and more so called experts are coming out of the woodwork, giving “expert” advice on martial arts, self defence and combat sports in general. There is a whole host of information out there on fighting styles, legality of self defence and mixed martial arts take-downs and submissions and with one google search you can find out what you can legally do to defend yourself, how to choke someone out, and how to throw a half decent left hook. The problem comes when they then think they can argue and advise people who have been out pioneering and testing this stuff in real life for decades!
Anyone can say and post anything on the internet, and this is especially the case in martial arts. A YouTube search of `Martial Arts` will bring up millions of results, some great, some fricking awful but all with someone’s own interpretation of self defence, martial arts or combat sports. When this interpretation is based on experience, knowledge, blood, sweat and tears, fantastic, we need people to push the boundaries and evolve with the times. When this interpretation is based on a few books bought on eBay, and a few hours spent watching some MMA highlights, the interpretation lacks some credibility. What seems funny is that it is often the ones with the least real life experience of training or fighting, that seem most vocal in their interpretation of it, probably due to the fact they overestimate their own ability and the genuine skill and depth of knowledge from others.
Martial arts and self defence require years of study. You learn the basics, you explore the techniques, you make the techniques your own, keeping the principles from the basics. You then interpret the techniques, expand or narrow them down and then teach to others. It seems sometimes people tend to go step 1 to teaching others straight away, posting videos, advertising events and claiming expert level knowledge. Anyone can write a book on a subject. Anyone can teach a class on a subject. All it takes is a bit of research. What makes the difference is the interaction with the students and the way it is presented however. The individual knowing only the basics will be narrow in their approach, teaching a few techniques or principles and that’s it. There will be no individual feedback, no scenario training, no allowances for different sizes or strengths, no question and answer session. The knowledge will be one dimensional and lack substance. The only people who will learn from this is those who know less than you. Put up against someone with some knowledge and you’re in a proverbial creek without a paddle.
Too much information is available today especially in the case of martial arts, many of which have long traditions, cultures and principles that can’t be learnt in a matter of weeks. Looking at the source of the information is crucial. What’s their background? Do they claim to hold a 12th degree black belt in 72 different styles of killer Kung Fu and once kicked Chuck Norris in the face? If so, call bullshit. This type of filtering down of the arts dilutes the whole process and lowers the bar for all involved to the point where you get 4th degree black belts who couldn’t punch their way out of a paper bag. Loads of people know wayyyy more about martial arts and self defence than I do and when they speak, I shut up and pay attention. They are the ones who keep quiet and wait to be asked their opinion on a topic, not jump at the first opportunity to prove their knowledge and skill. They are the ones who offer a range of answers for a particular question, never black and white answers.
They are the ones worth learning from and dedicating your time and efforts to.
MAUnity will be launching soon. It will showcase these people. These people who are experts in their field and have tried and tested their methods. It will be a webshow with a different style of the week each week showcasing a style of martial art of self defence, along with background and clips. It will include reviews, expert tutorials, interviews and anything else we can think of along the way! It’s taking a lot of work to get PERFECT so bear with us but it will be here. The Martial View will become MAUnity in the hope of being a place of genuine knowledge for sport, self defence and traditional martial arts. I’ll be the host, which I apologize for as I have a face made for radio, but the content will be great with some top quality martial artists and self defence instructors already on board. It’s coming!
Martial arts are a lifelong pursuit as I’ve said over and over again, so what keeps you motivated when you train? Do you go for the social aspect? Do you go to learn and develop yourself more? Do you go out a sense of obligation – you’ve started may as well keep going? As people progress through the martial arts, motivations change and evolve as you yourself also change and evolve, going from beginner, to intermediate, to advanced. Do you aim to teach, always aim to learn, or a bit of both. The most effective schools and instructors are always the ones who continue to learn. Learn from those above them, learn from different styles and learn from their students in order to progress both themselves and their students.
Martial arts are an individual pursuit and a certain level of selfishness is probably required. We want to do the best for ourselves, especially in the early days, we want to progress and get good at whatever art we have chosen. As we progress however, our focus may turn to those less experienced, getting their skill level up and therefore improving your skills as an instructor. Martial arts are often quoted as saying we develop self discipline, respect and selflessness, yet do many of us actually practice these in real life? Fellow blogger Andrea Harkins who runs The Martial Arts Woman recently posted about the criticism she received at the start of her blogging, and I have to say I had the same from those involved in the martial arts. High ranking instructors saying I was too inexperienced/young to be writing about martial arts which I think is ridiculous, as well as some bloggers who were willing to help in the beginning, yet quick to criticise and publicly slate The Martial View once it started building a bit of momentum. These same people who advertise teaching respect, self-discipline and selflessness on their school advertising. It’s a shame there are not more who actually practice this in real life, not just using empty words. Recently Martial Arts Guardian Russell Jarmesty who runs Jarmesty Martial Arts Academy in Atherton Manchester posted a facebook post offering 1 year membership to his academy, fully sponsored, only conditions being you must be committed and must be out of work or in education. It’s selfless acts like this that actually improve the community as a whole which is what martial arts should be about. My motivation is to one day have my own full time school and be in a position to earn a living from the martial arts, while also giving back to the community as often as I can. How realistic this is we shall see but we can all dream and passion=success in my book.
What is your motivation for training? How far along are you in your training? Do you instruct? Simply learn? Or want to make martial arts your life? Motivation is important and previous posts have focused on setting goals both in fitness and in life in general. What are your goals?