10 Tips To Reignite Your Passion

10 Tips To Reignite Your Passion

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!

Mean Streets – Jarmesty Martial Arts

Mean Streets

 

Mean Streets – Jarmesty Martial Arts

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!

 

RDX Curved Focus Mitts and Boxing Gloves Review

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RDX Curved Mitts and Gloves Review

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.

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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!

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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!

The changing face of experts….

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The changing face of experts…

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!

Want to be involved? Get in touch!

Close Quarter Combat Craziness with Defence Lab!

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Close Quarter Combat Craziness with Defence Lab!

Endorsed by Liam Neeson, used in films such as Jack Reacher and Batman Begins and hailed by many top martial artists as the future, Andy Norman’s Defence Lab is taking the world by storm and for good reason as I’ve recently been finding out. Anyone who follows The Martial View on Facebook knows that I fairly regularly post videos and articles sent out by the Defence Lab team. I do this for a number of reasons; I think the material is fantastic, both in terms of the content as well as the production and I think Defence Lab is paving the way for professional martial arts in terms of business, content and image. Last Saturday I attended the Defence Lab `Defence in Action` workshop in Andy Norman’s home town Hull, held by Paul `Demolition Man` Strauther which focussed on close quarter combat craziness and my verdict? Absolutely mind blowing…

What makes the workshop and classes I’ve been attending recently so incredible? The techniques?The instruction?The application? Yes, all of the above, but it’s also more than that, it’s the family atmosphere Defence Lab have managed to create which I’ve seen lacking in some schools. Having trained at both the Nottingham school under Charles Hartnett and also the workshop under Paul, from the moment I arrived at the venues I was welcomed by the team and the students who took the time to ask how I was, see my background and generally have a chat. It’s a great thing seeing a room full of people decked out in the Defence Lab black and green, laughing and joking but also learning an incredibly practical, dynamic combat system developed from real life situations. Everything that was taught in the classes and the workshop was practical and had an application with a special focus on Defence Lab’s speciality, multiple assailants. Techniques were shown and explained by Paul then put into a real life context through drills such as the `Temple of Chaos` which includes working and escaping from a multiple attack situation.

The pure practicality of Defence Lab, combined with the image, branding, endorsements and family feel truly is making Defence Lab the future in martial arts in my opinion. With Andy Norman’s Defence Lab being cross-branded with Phil Norman’s `Ghost` system and Bob Breen’s `4D Combat` as well as Eddie Quinn’s `The Approach`, these all combine to form one hell of a lot of martial experience. This also shows a refreshingly collaborative approach in the world of martial arts where many bicker over whose style is best and Defence Lab has the feel of people just wanting to make friends, train in a great environment and learn an incredibly practical form of self-defence. With Defence Lab schools now active around the world, there has never been a better time to join the Defence Lab team and I would highly recommend experiencing training with them both from a martial arts perspective as well as being a part of something that is taking the world by storm and revolutionising the martial arts forever.

 

Ego and the Martial Arts

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Ego and the Martial Arts

It can be argued that martial artists are egotistical and there’s plenty of examples where this is just the case. Think of other sports or hobbies such as football or basketball and we realise that these are team games. You succeed, the team succeeds, the team succeed, you succeed. This is not the case for martial arts however, and in many cases, martial arts are a completely solo journey where you focus on developing yourself and no-one else. Is this a bad thing? Potentially not, but it does beg the question as to whether professional, or high ranking martial artists aren’t just a little selfish and egotistical?

Let’s take a traditional art such as Aikido or Karate, the focus is on you. You develop yourself physically and mentally and compete in some instances to further your knowledge and skill. Martial arts are not a team sport, they do not rely on a team mindset or environment, they rely on you as an individual having the strength and determination to succeed and this in many ways can be a great thing – it can teach self sufficiency. Many draw their inspiration or energy from a team, feeding off the group dynamic and using that to achieve athletic performance or zone in on their task. Martial artists in many aspects don’t have this team environment. Sure you belong to a club, may have friends and family supporting you, but when you get up to fight, or compete, or grade, it’s you and only you in front of the judge or inside the cage. Only you can rely on you in martial arts. As said, this can be a great thing, but can it also lead to egotism? There are countless examples of egotistical instructors, teachers, sifus, grandmasters, shihans etc who think their style is the best style, or even worse, get their students believing what they teach is the one and only way and that no touch knockouts are a legitimate thing and something that can be achieved if enough time (and money) is invested.

There’s also plenty of fantastic high ranking instructors and teachers out there who give all their time to their students and are open and honest about their style, their limitations and other styles. Martial arts are what you make of it but the journey, especially at the start, is a very personal one in many instances. Is a certain level of egotism or narcissism okay in the martial arts – I think so! After all, it’s your training and your progression whether that be competitive martial arts, traditional martial arts or self defence training, either way its your development that comes first.

Book Review – Tales from the Western Generation by Matthew Apsokardu

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Tales from the Western Generation by Matthew Apsokardu

So a friend of mine and fellow blogger Matthew Apsokardu from www.ikigaiway.com asked me to write a review of his new book that has just been released on Amazon and I was more than happy to do so! Free book for me if nothing else :P. Those who follow the facebook group will know I have just ordered a shit ton of self defence and martial arts books so look out for some more reviews soon, as well as a recommended reading page!

I know nothing about the history of Karate, or much about the history of most martial arts to be honest and in general find it pretty dull to read about, but Matthew’s book was the exception! I was actually surprised to find myself really enjoying it, learning about the historical and cultural changes that led to the evolution of Karate as it is practiced today from the pioneers in the early 1900s to the tournament scene in the 1960s and 70s.

What really makes the book is the interviews conducted however with pioneers, mavericks and trendsetters of the martial arts who have set the tone for those that practice martial arts today. The book is incredibly easy to read, informative and enjoyable and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the history of martial arts or martial arts in general. This book is a must have on the shelf for any serious martial artist.

To purchase the book, please follow this link – http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Western-Generation-Stories-Firsthand/dp/0692436545/ref=la_B00XZSFAFY_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432176686&sr=1-1

or alternatively follow http://westernkarate.com for kindle copies!

Well done Matt, great book!

 

The Martial View is changing!!

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Okay, I know I said the changes were coming in the next few months, but hey I’m going to announce it now! THE MARTIAL VIEW IS CHANGING!! In the next few weeks The Martial View will complete its change into `MAUnity`!! For those who don’t know about the change yet, MAUnity is the evolution of The Martial View, a group dedicated to forwarding the Martial Arts Industry and promoting collaboration and cohesion within the Martial Arts Community! This has been over 6 months in the making and we have some really exciting articles, interviews and webinars coming your way! Not forgetting our new weekly webshow, MAUnity Style of the Week, where we showcase a different sports, self defence or traditional style every single week! We have had a MASSIVE reception already with over 50 different instructors from different styles interviewed for the show! I’m excited and hope you all are too! This is about working together so everyone here already supporting The Martial View will instantly become part of the `MAUnity Community` (Little rhyme there too) and will get to be part of the new movement. Let’s work together and show everyone why we love martial arts and self defence so much!! Thank you for your support so far and it’s time to move The Martial View on to bigger and better things!! Onwards and Upwards, seeing the big picture!

Martial Artists Supporting Children with Cancer

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Last Sunday I was lucky enough to attend the Martial Artists Supporting Children with Cancer charity event at the awesome Twin Tigers Dojo in Scunthorpe organised by Lucci Del-Gaudio of Combat Ju-Jitsu in Nottingham. The event was attended by well over 60 people and numerous self defence styles and martial arts were on offer such as Jeet Kune Do with Rob Jarvis, Urban Krav Maga and Empower Self Defence. The event was for a fantastic cause and it was great to see instructors from different backgrounds and styles all teaching and training on the mat together, without any politics or differences in opinion, showing that this can happen!

The event was the third of it’s kind with others in Basingstoke and Walsall, and more are planned for the future, with locations including Leicester, Nottingham and Lincoln. I’d highly recommend getting down to one of these events as there are so many different styles on offer, new people to train with and just a generally awesome atmosphere for a generally awesome cause! Cohesion in the martial arts for a worthy cause such as this one is to be commended and goes to show that martial artists and self defence instructors from different areas and styles can work together and showcase their styles, free from politics when needed!

Follow Martial Artists Supporting Children with Cancer on Facebook here and if you want to donate, feel free to at the Just Giving website found here

What does self defence mean to you?

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What does self defence mean to you?!

Self defence is a minefield. The Martial View website could easily be dedicated just to self defence as there is just so much to discuss, talk about and ponder! People have different ideas of self defence, some are based on their own personal experience, and some are based on what they’ve been told/taught. I think all self defence viewpoints are valid but there is often a misconception that martial arts = self defence, and in my opinion this simply isn’t the case. The frankly redundant argument about which style is best in a real life situation is prevalent in the martial arts world, with some arguing, for example, Karate is the best form of self defence, others Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, some Jeet Kune Do. For me martial arts are exactly that, martial arts, not self defence. They can overlap sometimes and knowing some form of combat art definitely isn’t going to hurt in a real life altercation, but isn’t the be all and end all of self defence. So I ask, what is self defence to you?

I’ve luckily had few experiences where I’ve had to use physical violence to end a confrontation, but it has happened, yet I still prefer to avoid a potential situation wherever possible and this to me is true self defence. If you’ve been in situations which could clearly have ended in a punch up, but managed to either spot the danger before it arose, or managed to talk your way out of it, to me, this is the best example of self defence. It shouldn’t be flashy or clever, it should be direct, straightforward and easy to grasp. I’ve heard arguments that the best form of self defence to learn is MMA and although I see where people are coming from in this argument I disagree. To be proficient in MMA, as with any contact sport, takes years. Self defence should be effective in a matter of hours. Sure you can learn to strike, kick, takedown etc, but do you have to learn MMA to do that? A few hours learning simple avoidance/awareness, de-escalation techniques and some simple physical skills that rely on gross motor skills such as palm strikes, elbows and slaps are way more effective in my opinion and aren’t particularly technical or difficult to grasp. Self defence should be as efficient and effective as possible.

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Flashy wrist locks, shoulder throws and arm bars simply won’t work in a real confrontation unless you are either very lucky or very skilled as adrenaline and an un-cooperative opponent will make even the simpliest of wrist locks very difficult to adminster in a situation where you are really likely to get hurt. Do they work on a drunk guy who’s a bit annoying and simply needs to be told to get lost. Yes, I’ve used them before and they’ve worked a treat. Will they work against someone barreling in really meaning to cause you some harm? Probably not. In this case, nasty as it sounds you have to meet violence with violence and do everything you can to get out the situation and so elbow strikes, palm strikes, biting, shredding and kicking are far more realistic.

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I love learning about self defence and want to learn all I can on it from as many people as I can, as so many people have different ideas of what it entails. To me personally it should be as simple and easy to retain as possible. You should know your legal rights in relation to self defence, and understand the physiological and psychological changes that will takes place during confrontation. Finally avoidance and awareness is of paramount importance and the foundation for self defence, above the physical techniques and strategies. So what are your thoughts?