A discussion I have often heard amongst practitioners of self-defence and Krav Maga systems is whether sparring should be included in the curriculum. There are many valid arguments for both sides and different schools and instructors approach it differently. Here are my two cents.
A while ago I wrote about the false notion (at least in my eyes) that traditional martial arts and modern combative applications, most predominantly Krav Maga, do not mix well or, as some even claim, are diametrically opposed in the martial arts sphere. But are they?
Speed. It’s a great attribute to have, whether you are looing at self-defence or competition. To watch fighter with blistering speed is always awe-inspiring. But too often speed is looked at as how fast your hands are moving, or have fast you can move your feet. While this is definitely important, speed encompasses a lot more than just that, and is really a term that encompasses a variety of skills! So what is speed really made of?
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?
A quick blog on something that has popped up in conversations several times recently, and I've been experimenting with these variations of one of the most fundamental techniques in Krav Maga - The 360 defence with a counter - to find what works best for me.
Want to know which varaitions works best for you? Read on!
There's an old samurai maxim, which says 'a man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action'. While I do not consider myself a master, I am obssessed with martial arts and so I am always looking for parallels I can draw from training to pretty much everything else. While my experience in art revolves around music and martial arts, I believe that these principles apply to every other art, as well as to business, life, the universe and everything. Recently someone on Facebook shared this post about being a professional session musician. I was instantly amazed at how relevant this was to being a proficient martial artist, especially one who is interested in multiple disciplines and styles. I'd like to share my thoughts on this with you in the hope it helps you with your art, whatever it may be!
A while ago I discussed the ‘Dojo Syndrome’. I received some very positive feedback about the first three articles (you can read them here, here and here), with many instructors saying ‘this is exactly what happens!’ and had a few requests to post some more tips. I hope this helps you with your training!
How clean your desktop is could indicate how likely you are to survive a violent attack! Not sure why? Read on!
Gershon Ben Keren recently published a fantastic article about reading and masking intent in martial arts and self-defence. You can read it here.
It illustrated beautifully the importance of being able to mask one’s own intent while reading an opponent’s intent (or that of a potential attacker) as key to successful attack and defence. Everyone who has engaged in combat sports is familiar with the concept of telegraphing, both physically and otherwise.
We can conclude from this that intent plays a key role in success in the martial arts. Intent is what allows you to predict and avoid attacks, as well as land your own. But this does not relate only to physical movements.
Let’s take a detour and look at confidence, machismo, honour and respect. As the old saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Martial arts teach us confidence, honour and respect when done in the right environment, but can also come with a certain amount of machismo, or ‘fake honour’. Conflict over perceived insults or disrespect can arise, when intent is not well understood.
So how do we get better at reading intent?
I’ve had a few conversations recently with fellow school owners and martial artists about certification and rank, and about participation, talent and effort.
Especially in light of the recent inspirational Krav Maga and BJJ gradings that took place at CAIA I feel that it’s important to explain what those things mean to me as a martial artist and teacher.
Criteria for grading changes from style to style, instructor to instructor, school to school. And so it should. That being said, I have been, and continue to be, openly critical of things I see in the martial arts world that I feel ultimately hurt the industry and the art.
Chief among those things is the focus on the acquisition of qualifications or awards over skill. This is not directed at anyone in particular, but rather my own assessment of things I have seen and experienced.
Is it bad to have many certificates and qualifications? Of course not!
Is it wrong to celebrate your achievements? The opposite is true – you must celebrate your achievements.
This becomes a problem, however, when there isn’t a clear understanding of how effort comes into the equation. Here are 3 bizzare, funny and, I think, sad stories that illustrate this.