Okay everyone! So apologies for letting the blog slide a little as of late! Between running a full time martial arts school, getting in as much training as I can, training people up for instructors and getting the book Martial Masters Vol. 1 up and running at the beginning of the year, it’s been busy!
I am now back on track however and ready for a relaunch of the blog. However….
I need your help! What do you guys and girls want to see more of?
Experiences running a martial arts school?
Let me know and I shall do my best to provide!
We are also expanding the team and looking for some writers! So if you feel you have a knack for writing and have some stuff to say on anything martial arts, fitness or training related. Get in touch through here, or through Facebook! We’ll get you up and running on a successful(ish) blog!!
Look out for the next post and a little relaunch coming very soon!
I’ve just finished Matthew Chapman’s new book `99 ways to get a student`and wow am I impressed. I was expecting good things I have read Matt’s other books both on business for martial arts school owners, as well as his excellent book on how to win your first MMA Fight and I wasn’t left disappointed. Clear concise and with action points you can take straight into your marketing plan to build your martial arts school!
It’s not surprising to see why Matt has a successful school after reading his books due to his thoughtful and insightful ways of getting a new student through the door and retaining them. His latest book lists over 99 ways to gain a new student focusing on both online and offline marketing. Online marketing is gone into in great detail, from SEO tricks to get you ranking higher on google, to online offers and promotions to get people through the door and enjoying the fun of martial arts. His offline content is just as good, with fantastic ways to gain a student from working with local businesses to establish yourself as the local expert in martial arts, to billboards or referral programs. All action points that can be implemented straight away!
I started reading the book then immediately stopped, grabbed a pen and paper and began reading again as I knew this was definitely a book where lots of notes would be taken to put into my monthly marketing plan. I recommend this book as an absolute must for anyone looking to grow their martial arts school or learn more about the martial arts business side. Easy to read, even easier to implement, this book is gold dust for those looking to step up their marketing.
It’s no surprise that as Lead Instructor for Defence Lab Lincoln, I’m a pretty big fan of Defence Lab. I like the style, I like the evolution and I like founder Andy Norman’s motto of “work hard, be nice and be honest”. As a result of this I was pretty excited when I heard Defence Lab would soon be releasing their Virtual HQ! Well, that time has now arrived and on Tuesday 18th October, the Virtual HQ will be going live!
What is the Defence Lab Virtual HQ?
Simply put, the Virtual HQ is an online training resource and introduction to Defence Lab from Andy and the crew. The HQ is broken down into various folders and sections including weekly investigations, architectural framework and primal reactions. All of these areas are shown and explained by Andy and his elite team. New videos are added every week, giving you time to rep and drill the previous week’s material and giving you an overall feel and sense of the professional, yet effective system of Defence Lab.
Who is it for?
Honestly – The Virtual HQ is for anyone with even a passing interest in martial arts, self defence or fitness training. No matter what style or background you come from, there is something here for you. The beauty of Defence Lab is that is never stops. It is constantly developing and evolving with the times. 1 on 1, Defence Lab cover it. Multiple attackers? Covered. Sticks, knives, bats? Covered! You name it, Defence Lab cover it and this is why the Virtual HQ is going to be such a fantastic and ever developing resource for the martial arts and wider community.
What makes it different?
Defence Lab are not the first to release online videos or courses, yet they are the first to do it in such a professional and well developed manner. The videos are shot in high definition and thorough explanations are given by Andy as to why Defence Lab do what they do. Andy provokes you into thinking for yourself, questioning the system and therefore opening your mind to new information – something that martial artists are not always too willing to do! The overall look, feel and content of the Virtual HQ is something I have never seen before in terms of professionalism, content and general style and this really will be something that will revolutionise the martial arts world and make people stand up and take notice.
When is it available?
The Virtual HQ from Defence Lab will be going live on Tuesday 18th October and Defence Lab have already started releasing sneak peaks and teasers through their social media channels of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To register your interest in Defence Lab’s Virtual HQ, please head over to their main site to keep up to date with the latest information and follow them on social media at the links below.
The Virtual HQ is going to be something very special and you do not want to miss out. I cannot put into words how awesome the Virtual HQ is in terms of look, feel and content and this is a must have resource for anyone interested in martial arts or personal safety. So go ahead, follow Defence Lab and sign up for more info on the resource centre that will revolutionise Martial Arts.
I’ve written before about Matthew Chapman and his fantastic series of Mittmaster videos, as well as his business seminars and book `Black Belt Biz`which I highly recommend! This post is on his video and lesson plan subscription – again which comes highly recommended!
Quite simply Matt’s Mittmaster series is a must have for all martial arts school owners in my opinion, whether you teach traditional martial arts, self defence or sports focus. Pad feeding is an essential part of every martial art, improves reflexes, timing and fitness and is just a great addition to any class!
The Mittmaster videos are broken down into 3 main levels, allowing progression and ensuring that you never get bored or complacent with the content. The videos are well thought out, well explained and you can see directly how they relate into the sports combat world of kickboxing, Muay Thai and MMA. Each level comes in two sections, the video section showing the pads drills, then the lesson plans which are again, well thought out, well explained and perfect to implement into your class.
All this is available instantly once you subscribe, and active until such time as your subscription ends, meaning you can go back to look at level one drills even when you are on level three. I’m sure we all know the benefits of pad drills and pad feeding for both the person hitting the pads, as well as the person feeding the pads and it’s not hard to see why Matt has become so successful in his development of these drills.
I would highly recommend checking Mittmaster out if you are a school owner or just fancy learning some fun and effective drills to improve yourself both as a fighter as well as pad feeder. There is currently a free trial offer on the Mittmaster subscription right now and it’s just £9.99 for the first month so head on over to Matt’s Mittmaster page and get yourself learning some fantastic pad drills!
Last Sunday I was lucky enough to attend a Martial Arts business seminar with the the fantastic Matthew Chapman. I’ve been lucky enough to know Matt for a couple of years now first training in one of his MMA workshops in 2014. Since then I’ve followed and been impressed by his MittMaster series as well as his books `100 Essential Pad Drill for Kickboxing and MMA`, `How to win your first MMA fight`and `Black Belt Biz`. I was therefore really excited when I saw he was hosting a business seminar not too far away from me at the fantastic `Twin Tigers`facility in Scunthorpe and jumped at the chance to attend both the catch up with Matt for the upcoming `Martial Masters`book & also to get some tips on building my own business here in Lincoln.
People have varying opinions on making money with the martial arts, with the frankly idiotic view some people have that martial arts should just be taught for the love of doing it, not money. I disagree with this wholeheartedly and think that as long as an excellent standard of instruction is maintained, martial arts should be treated the same as any other professional service. I now run a martial arts class under Defence Lab in Lincoln and hope to make this full time as soon as possible. For this I need money, simple as. The more time I have training, teaching and learning martial arts, the more it will benefit my students and so I agree with Matt when he says that the best martial artists he has seen are the ones that have gone full time and can dedicate themselves to it.
Matt’s business seminars aim to grow your school through marketing & retaining your students – an area often neglected by martial artists who hope for students to come into their class yet do nothing to recruit. A very old-school mentality. Matt has a successful school with the Masters Academy, and is a published author and now creator of the MittMaster series popular all over the world. Matt knows his stuff 100%. His workshop was personable, informative and I came away with some fantastic ideas to implement in my school, hopefully to get me to the point of eventually becoming a full time martial arts instructor which is a dream I’ve had for many years now.
Matt provided tailored information specific to what we wanted help with, offered personalised advice and really took the time to get to know where you were with the business and where you wanted to be. This wasn’t a sales drive by Matt, looking to earn a bit of money by teaching a half-arsed seminar, I believe he genuinely wants to help martial artists succeed and spread brilliant martial arts to a wider audience. Through his ideas in terms of business, I also believe he’ll help you do this and get you to where you want to be.
The seminar included handouts that could be taken home, along with a copy of Matt’s book `Black Belt Biz`which in itself if an invaluable book for those looking to build up a martial arts business. We also get 6 months of support from Matt who has always been on hand to answer any questions I have asked him in the past and am sure will in the future. I came away from the workshop enthusiastic and ready to implement the ideas.
This is a review guys and I’m always honest with my reviews on here. Matt is a great guy and isn’t in martial arts to make a quick buck and get out. He has a great pedigree in martial arts and wants to help great martial artists fulfil their potential and have successful martial arts schools where they can dedicate their lives to training and teaching people who will ultimately continue that martial art on.
So would I recommend his course? Yes. If you are struggling to recruit or retain your students I think Matt can definitely help. If you’re looking for new ideas to recruit and get people through the door, again I think Matt can help. It was a great course and one that I’m definitely glad I went on! Worth the early Sunday morning and one I would go on again.
To find out more, check out Matt’s Facebook group here
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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!
So I’ve just finished watching and training in some of Matt Chapman’s Mittmaster series, looking at MMA, Trapping and Kickboxing and honestly… I’m well impressed! Matt has nearly 30 years of martial arts experience in a variety of styles including Kickboxing, Ninjitsu and Keysi Fighting Method and won a British MMA Welterweight Title in 2006. All this shows in the way he de-constructs and explains some pretty complicated pad work and the reasons behind it so that both pad feeder and the one hitting the pads is getting some great technical knowledge and progression!
Matt’s idea with Mittmaster is to raise the standard of pad feeders around the world as pad feeding can be just as difficult a job as the guy hitting the pads. Good pad feeding takes coordination, memory, timing and great technique yourself and through these series of videos, Matt takes you right from beginner level pad feeding, all the way up to bad-ass pad feeding!
The MMA and Kickboxing level 1 videos are great, going in to enough detail to explain why the drills worked and how they look in a real MMA/Kickboxing scenario, without Matt just rambling on talking for the sake of talking! Fitness and instruction was also looked into such as games where the leg is caught on a leg kick, therefore drop down and give me a burpee! Matt explains a number of different ways of doing a technique and different options available such as the whizzer where a short range whizzer allows follow up strikes, a longer range one allows for the head kick and the whizzer driving the head down allows for takedowns and submissions, meaning the full range of options is outlined.
The trapping video is equally as good with Matt breaking down relatively complex moves so they are easy to understand and develop, drawing on his real life experience on why he does things the way he does. Different angles are looked at and again, the technical knowledge is great, with Matt’s instructors including the JKD legend that is Bob Breen so you know he comes from a great pedigree of martial artists.
Basically guys! I recommend this product pretty highly. Matt really knows what he is talking about from a technical point of view, but he also has a great style of teaching that I know from experience and it’s translated through these videos. If you want to improve your fighting game as well as your pad feeding and technical knowledge I would definitely recommend these videos as well as the other stuff Matt has done such as his books on how to win your first MMA fight, or how to get more students at your dojo!