I have trained in martial arts for some time, and was a self-confessed fitness junkie for a very long time before I met Sensei Noah Greenstone - a true Jujutsu master and all-around martial arts expert of the highest level. Noah is a wise, kind and gentle Sensei (ok, sometimes not so gentle…) who always giggles as he twists us into pretzels and who has a Kiai that makes the walls shake. This is a blog about one of his favorite sayings, which has shaped my learning and that of all of his students.
I would like to share my interpretation of an approach often highlighted by the phenomenally talented master, Dr Gavriel Schneider, who is a great teacher with a scientific approach to training.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain confidence, fit into those jeans or learn how to defend yourself, learning how to effectively set goals is key to achieving them.
The process of effective goal setting is not only relevant to your training, fitness or health regime, but is just as relevant for maintaining great relationships, building a successful career, and pretty much everything else in life!
Christmas and the New Year are always a time for reflection, and are also the cause of a phrase that now reeks of unfulfilled potential and wasted gym fees:
‘New Year’s Resolutions’
Everyone has made resolutions that they haven’t kept before. But why are they so hard to stick to? And how can you improve on keeping those resolutions?
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?
In my previous article, I discussed some examples of economic models that can be used to optimise one’s martial arts training.
The connection seems obvious in a way; Many of the highest ranking martial arts experts I have trained with are also savvy, successful business people and entrepreneurs. After all, martial arts theory has been used by business people the world over for many centuries. Books such as Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and Musashi’s Book of Five Rings are considered timeless classics on warfare, but also as guides to corporate strategy and business management. Indeed many of the famous Samurai were not only warriors, but also statesmen who served in an advisory capacity beyond that of a hired sword or bodyguard. If martial arts theory can be applied to business, why can’t the opposite be true?
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?