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DIEP - Learning Martial Arts Through Reflection

Self-reflection has long been recognised as one of the critical components in self-development, critical thinking and goal setting in high achievers. From the samurai to boxing, BJJ and MMA champions, from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 CEOs, reflecting on one’s actions is the fastest and most effective way to maximise your training. Want to know how to do this effectively

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Is Self-Defence a Lifestyle Choice?

Is self-defence a lifestyle?

A very interesting point of discussion in a seminar with Richard Dimitri and Chris Roberts recently has really got me thinking on a different aspect of self-protection training. While it is something that I am acutely aware of, I have never really verbalised it. So here goes.

But before we proceed… A key word throughout the next few points is moderation. Read all the way to the end and you’ll see what I mean!

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Talk the Talk Before You Walk the Walk

Training in self defence is so often focused on the acquisition of technique - If the attacker does this, you should do that, and so forth. But often there is little emphasis on what you can do to avoid fighting in the first place, and having good de-escalation skills, or 'Verbal Judo', is critical to doing that successfully. One of my favourite instrutors, Mannie de Matos, always says that "self protection is 90% about controlling your environment, and 10% about controlling techniques". 

This blog is a summary of notes from a university lecture I delivered last year on personal safety. It is greatly influeced by the works of George J Thompson, who was a major proponent of the term 'Verbal Judo'. So how can you use this?

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It's You Vs You, Part 1: Martial Arts Mediocrity, Excellence and Success

I want you to go through the following exercise in your head:

Imagine you’d spend your 20 years training in a martial art with the belief that you’d be able to defend yourself, but have never tested it out under extreme or real conditions or outside of your dojo. Imagine you would then have someone challenge you to try it on a fully resisting opponent, one whom you don’t know and does not respect you and your martial art. You try it, and it doesn’t work. Not even close – you get your butt kicked thoroughly.
Alternatively - imagine you’d been training to compete in a tournament, and have been beating everyone in your class easily. You arrive to the tournament and your opponent, someone who is less experienced than you, beats you comprehensively in no time at all.

Are you on the path to mediocracy or excellence?

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Not All Arts Were Created Equal

The other day I saw a fantastic quote by Boxing legend George Foreman:
"Boxing is like jazz; the better it is, the less people appreciate it”
 
As a person who spent most of his life working as a professional musician as well as studied music quite extensively, I connected with this instantly. 
 
When I shared this quote on social media, a large number of the people who responded were musicians. This was to be expected, seeing as they probably related to Jazz being a hugely under-appreciated genre of music, often only truly understood by other musicians.

It also made me think of the recent speech made by Meryl Streep, where she famously said that ‘Mixed Martial Arts… are not the arts’. It made a lot of people in the martial arts community – practitioners and fans alike – angry at the fact that another artist (and in fact one of the most decorated and celebrated artists in recent history) made such a claim.

Was Streep correct? If so, what’s the difference between sports and arts? At which point does one become the other? Can they overlap? What about combat sports and martial arts, can those questions apply to these two as well? 
What, in a bigger-picture sense, is art?

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