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Perth Martial Arts News (105)

Van Damme and Krav Maga: What the 80's Got Right!

So I’m watching Bloodsport 4 the other day (don’t judge me) and a fantastic quote pops up. The prison warden is organising underground fights. To the death, of course, or what would be the point. Right before each fight starts he proclaims:

“We have only one rule… there are no rules!”

The crowd goes bonkers, and a barrage of flying kicks that would never work on anything other than a pad commences. Ironically, there are very strict rules in those fight scenes.

My unfortunate taste in movies aside, it got me thinking (well, and this blog here too).

This is a line I’ve heard in every single self-defence and Krav Maga seminar I’ve ever attended – and rightly so.

Just thinking about it the cheesiness of it makes me want to put my aviators and ninja headband on, rip the sleeves off my gi and start playing 80s synth rock while hitting the air with hilarious facial expressions.

But what does it actually mean? Why is it so popular?

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Let's Settle it! The Best Self Defence System is...

The internet has been abuzz the last week or so over a supposed feud between Krav Maga expert Ryan Hoover and the famous BJJ Gracie family. The keyboard warriors are out in force over who’s technique is better, who said what and who would beat whom in a fight.


As my friend, Guru Heikki Martikainen says - “want to talk politics? First we train. Then we talk”. In other words, let’s remember what’s important, and that’s training. Let’s do that first. So I listened to Guru Heikki. I just finished an hour of BJJ, then some boxing, and about to go do some Krav Maga. I’m now feeling like I can talk about this. 

I’m not going to get involved in the politics of who’s right or wrong with this stuff. What I am going to talk about is why they can both be right, and why they can both be wrong.


If I’m lucky, I might even answer one of the most hated questions on the Internet… What’s the best self defence system in the world?

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Fast Cars and D*ck Jokes: Getting Ready for Your Krav Maga Grading

Belt tests and gradings are a source of much fear and anxiety, as they are for anticipation, excitement and joy.

Having to perform in front of a panel of experts can be daunting. Having people watch you and scrutinise your performance is intimidating and can be frustrating, as is not getting the results you want.

At the same time, passing a grading successfully is an incredibly rewarding and empowering experience. Personally, my black belt grading in Krav Maga is by far the most powerful, positive, empowering and memorable experience in my life so far.

Gradings also build a strong team bond. Having to go through something tough (and a grading should be tough!) together with others builds a strong and lasting connection, and memories that will be shared for a lifetime.

If you are anything like me, then chances are you stress over these for months, and I wouldn't stretch to say 'year's in my case, in advance. So how do you prepare for a grading? What do you need to work on? What should you remember while you are doing the grading?

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Annoying or Dangerous? A Handy Guide to Self Defence Decisions

The Eisenhower's Matrix is a great tool for time management, used by successful businesspeople around the world.

The beauty of the matrix is that it can be expanded to many other applications. 
I'd like to share one of my favortie ones. It's a great tool for helping you understand what kind of threat you might be dealing with, and how the situation might develop. 

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Permission Granted: On the Willingness to Act in Self Defence

You are at home, asleep. Your partner is sleeping next to you, and your child is sleeping in the next room.

You wake up to the sound of breaking glass, and as you step out of your room to inspect, you see a knife-wielding assailant about to enter your child's room.

What do you do? If you had to fight, could you?

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Not Just Like Riding a Bike - Thoughts on Longevity in Self Defence

There are many wonderful lessons to learn from the martial arts. Not just about how to move your body through space, but rather about who you are, who you can be and how to interact with others.

But is there one style that teaches this better than others?

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The Art of Picking Locks - Thoughts on Teaching Martial Arts

I recall the following experience from the time I was studying music at university;
I was experimenting, before class, with a particular effects pedal for my guitar that I absolutely loved. The lecturer walked in 5 minutes late, while I was still playing around. He didn’t say ‘hi’ or ‘good morning’. What he did say was “yeah, cause that’s the sound we all want… turn that shit off and let’s do something useful. Start with this tune – 1, 2, 3, 4…”

In one short sentence, he managed to embarrass me in front of the class, mock my creativity and hurt my confidence. He moved on to the tune instantaneously and thereby eliminated any chance I had to reply or comment.
The rest of that rehearsal was torture. This was over ten years ago, and it still stings when I think about it! So why bring it up now?

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The 3 P's of Speed, Part II - Cycles, Resets and Defaults

If you’ve been around self-defence for a little while, you would have heard the term OODA loop. It stands for 'Observe, Orient, Decide, Act', and refers to how our brain makes decisions.

I have written about my interpretation of this here.

I refer to it as the 3P’s. I refer to it in this way not because I’m trying to be different or innovate, but simply because it’s easier for me to remember…

This concept is incredibly important to principle-based learning and problem solving, whether that’s in self-defence or in the ring.

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Etudes for Boxing (or 'Learning How to Make a Great Speech') - Drills for Timing, Range and Self Expression

Martial arts are a form of self-expression, so let's compare them to the one tool for self expression that we all share as human beings - speech.

We don't all speak the same, and every language sounds differently. When we speak a sentence, we put emphasis on particular words. We may speak slowly or quickly, and change our rhythm and pace. We use pauses to give meaning to certain words, and to allow the listener to process what we are saying. We change our pitch, tone and inflection to convey feeling and meaning. Where we stand (close, far, in front, on an angle, etc.) and how we use particular body language has a massive impact on the message we send when we communicate.

To me, sparring is the physical manifestation of the same principles. It is when we stop practising putting words together, and actually converse freely. It's when we improvise. So how do you learn to make great speeches when sparring?

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