Perth Martial Arts News (114)

3 Hilariously Sad Stories of Effort and Reward

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.


'Woof Woof' - Tales of Intent, Confidence, Ego and Dog Poop

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?


Economic Theory and Your Training, Pt. 2 - Lessons From Behavioural Finance

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?


Economic Theory and Your Training, Pt. 1 - There May Be Something Here...

There is an old adage in martial arts:

“Those who have attained mastery of an art will reveal it in their every action”

While I certainly don’t consider myself a master - what is ‘mastery’, anyways? You can find some thoughts on that here - I do train a lot and have had the privilege of training with some of the finest practitioners in the world. More importantly, I have an overactive imagination and an extremely curious and analytical mind, which is both a blessing and a curse. The result of this is that I hardly ever sleep because my brain doesn’t stop turning. And this means I spend most nights up thinking about random things, which inevitably end up circling back to martial arts. And being obsessed with training, to me everything circles back to martial arts. Martial arts are the way that I relate to everything in my life – my relationships, my career, my community, my views and thoughts, as well as many random other things. If you are the same, you may find this interesting…


Venn Diagrams and Martial Arts: Tradition, Sport and Self Defence

A topic that has been coming up in conversation and discussion over and over again over the past few weeks has been the differences between combat sports, self-defence and martial arts.

To the average person with no martial arts experience, they are often overlapping, perhaps even interchangeable. Indeed, most martial arts schools advertise all three regardless of the style they teach.

But are they exactly the same? If they are not, do they overlap and to what extent? Or are they totally different, or even mutually exclusive, modes of training?


Lessons From A Tattoo - Attachment, Contentment and Progress in Martial Arts

A little while ago I wrote about why you should love training what you hate. You can read it here. I’d like to continue from there and talk about why loving what you train can be a dangerous thing. Not sure why? Then read on!


A Broken Compass: Mayweather Vs McGregor, Morality Vs Curiosity and Combat Sports Vs Martial Arts

I recently published an article about why I believe that martial arts are truly the highest form of art and self-expression (you can read it here). A significant part of that article focused on the fact that unlike many other arts, which put the self and the ego on a pedestal, martial arts are founded on a strict code of conduct of positive values (respect, humility, responsibility, dedication, etc.), that are supposed to teach one to control the ego and ultimately be a better human being.

But in order to balance the equation, I’d like to talk a little bit about the other side of martial arts; the side that is not so nice, and which I’d like to tie to popular culture and male-dominated sports. And it's not all stuff you're going to like... Ready?


The Many Faces of the Dojo, Pt. 3 (or 'Enough Stereotypes Already!')

The last two posts (you can find them here and here) have seen me, and hopefully you as well, sit at home and giggle, cringe and frown in memory of some of the more difficult and challenging people one may – no, in fact will – meet along one’s martial arts journey. And in fact, I have been some of these at various points, as I'm sure you have as well (hence the cringing...).

Again I would like to highlight that these are not reflecting on any one person in particular, rather things that I have seen, heard and, with some of them, have been.

So get ready for the final instalment of sweaty skirmishers, devoted duellers, rambunctious ronins and scornful Samurai who make our journey entertaining, challenging and, at times, a little frustrating.


The Many Faces of the Dojo, Pt. 2 (or 'More Stereotype Fails')

I recently wrote about some of the curious characters, of which there are many, that we may meet along our martial arts journey (you can read about them here). These stereotypes are common in most martial arts clubs, and some clubs have a culture that invites, or creates, more of one or more of the other but most of us will see - and indeed be - some of these at one point or another.

After some requests from you for more of the same (thank you!), I've added a few more to the list for your reading pleasure... or horror. 

Ready for today's list? Read on!


The Many Faces of the Dojo, Pt. 1 (or 'Martial Artist Stereotypes')

The dojo is a great place to meet different people. It attracts people from all walks of life, and training in a very real sense is a great equaliser. Religious belief (or lack thereof), ethnicity, income, gender, age and education – those things should not effect on what you accomplish at the dojo. On the mats we are all equal and the only distinction is made based on hard work and dedication, which ultimately results in a better skill set which we then share with everyone.

But as we go through our journey, we inevitably meet some curious folk on the way. And dealing with them can be a real test of our character… So who are these strange people?

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