Archive for self-help

Blauer’s Ten Commandents of Street Survival

Posted in Day's Lesson, Miscellaneous, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic, Training, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2012 by Combative Corner

I – THOU SHALT NOT NOT TRAIN

Imagine for a moment losing a real street fight.  Imagine the impact on your confidence, dignity and pride.  Imagine if you were hurt and couldn’t train or possibly go to work for several weeks.  Imagine if when you “physically” recovered you were gun-shy in sparring.  Imagine all this.

At the time of the attack you took too long to recognize the danger, hesitated and as you started to react you were knocked to the ground and though you put up a valiant effort you were beaten.

Upon reflection you realized that you lost this fight for several reasons:

  1. Your actual understanding of the theories of “intuitive radar”, “attacker profiles”, “sucker punch psychology” and “fear management” were limited.
  2. Actually, you never did “sucker punch” drills.
  3. You had never done “threshold and pain tolerance training” or
  4. Worked on “ballistic ground fighting” and
  5. You never analyzed natural stances.

This scenario is a fantasy or perhaps a nightmare.  But it need not be.

“Totality” in your training is simply about being thorough.

I always tell my students,

If I am to lose to the superior fighter.  Let me lose because he was better than I was.  Not because I was worse than him.”

How hard do you train in relation to “why” you train?  Think on that.

Coach Bear Bryant said, “The will to win compares little with the will to prepare to win.”  That is one of my favorite quotes and pretty much sums it up.

You can’t not train and expect to be your best at a moment’s notice.  Boxers agree to fight 3 months in advance so that they may train for the contest.  You don’t have that luxury.  As my friend Marco Lala said, “You can’t fake endurance.”

II-  THOU SHALT NOT DEFEAT THYSELF

The mental side of combat is so vast and powerful that it quite literally determines your next move.  Dan Millman wrote, “When faced with just one opponent and you oppose yourself… you’re outnumbered.”

Powerful words.  Your mind can be your ally or your most formidable opponent.  Your thoughts can motivate you or they can create the inertia State of psycho-physical paralysis.

Psychological fear leads to doubt and hesitation.  Unchecked it can devolve into anxiety and panic.  Unsolicited, a ‘Victim’s vocabulary’ starts: What if I lose?  What if it hurts?  What if I fail?  Thoughts like these must be eliminated from your vocabulary for you to perform at your peak.  Your ‘self talk’ or ‘internal dialogue’ must be positive, assertive and motivating.  Your inner coach must empower you to greater heights, to surpass preconceived limitations, to boldly go where… you get the picture.  That is what it means to not defeat yourself.

III- THOU SHALT NOT GIVE UP

The will to survive is probably the most neglected area of our training.  It is also the most important.  Knowing what to do and knowing which tools to use is important but compares little with the ‘will to survive.’  If you have great technique, but do not know how to dig deep, I will bet on the opponent with heart.  Will beats skill.  “Not giving up,” means Not giving up.  You must research this.

Irrespective of your training, there are situations that can catch us off guard.  Sudden violence or specific threats outside our Comfort Zones can overwhelm us emotionally and induce the ubiquitous “victim” mind-set.  To off-set this I have my students tap into their “desire” to survive by writing out a list of things they will lose if they do not survive the fight.

This list is memorized (ideally, long before any serious altercation) and serves as an unconscious motivating force that triggers the survival mechanisms when our theoretical warrior-self is experiencing technical difficulties.

The list should include the most important people, places and things in your life.  And you must remind yourself that if you “give up” in the street – you may be giving up that list as well.

In 1987, this concept became the Be Your Own BodyGuard™ principle.  This is a powerful metaphor for street survival.  Sometimes we feel that we would rush to someone else’s aid quicker than we would defend ourselves.. this is a common emotional feeling, however, it is not very practical if you are the intended victim.  So ask yourself, “Who (or what) would you fight to the death for?”  And if you are the person’s Bodyguard, who is yours?

My friend… be your own bodyguard.

IV – THOU SHALT NOT FEAR FEAR

More dangerous than your opponent is your mind.  If it doesn’t support you you’re 3/4 beaten before you’ve started.  There are really only two types of fear: biological and psychological.

Fear (biological) has been generally described as the “fight or flight” syndrome for most of our modern history.  This definition does not serve us once the physical confrontation is under way and is really not pertinent to your success.  Though the adrenaline surge created by your survival signals is a component of success, it is the mind that ultimately determines the action you will take.

Psychological fear, on the other hand, is an emotional state.  Therefore it can be controlled and used to create action.  However, due to the lack of good information on fear management, fear, as we feel it, usually creates emotional inertia: your body’s inability to move.  Inertia or panic is created by psychological fear when the mind visualizes failure and pain.  Understanding this process is necessary to conquer fear.

We use three acronyms, to help us remember that psychological fear is only in our mind.  They are:

  1. False Evidence Appearing Real (External stimuli that distracts ups; physical evidence: weapons, multiple opponents, etc.)
  2. False Expectations Appearing Real (Internal stimuli that distracts us; how we visualize, images of pain and failure.)
  3. Failure Expected Action Required (A trigger to DO SOMETHING!)

Cus D’Amato, a famous boxing coach, said, “The difference between the hero and the coward is what they do with their fear.”  The next time you feel it – fight it.  Challenge your fear.  Attack your fear.  Do not fear fear.  We all feel it.

Fight your fear first then fight your physical foe. 

This is one of the true ways of growth.

V- THOU SHALT NOT TELEGRAPH YOUR INTENTIONS

When it’s time to fight, most fighters telegraph their intentions.  This “faux pas” is committed at times by everyone and every type of fighter, including you and me.  From street fighters to professional boxers, from military generals to serial killers.  We all telegraph.

Telegraphing for most is considered to be a physical gesture, but really, the physical telegraph is usually the third stage of the telegraph ‘Domino effect.’  In my seminars I always remind participants that you can only beat the opponent when the opponent makes a mistake.  Think about that.  The “real” opportunity occurs at the moment of the telegraph, when the intention is revealed, when there is hesitation or a momentary lapse in attention.

Start thinking about the various ways we reveal ourselves, signals that create the telegraph: anger, erratic breathing.  Adopting a specific stance, going for the knockout, verbal threat.  These are some of the most common telegraphs that would afford an experienced opponent some mental preparedness.  Remember that your opponent should be the last person to see your attack.

This subject is so vast that I can’t do justice to it here.  Just remember that fighting is like tennis, the player who makes the most unforced errors, generally loses.  But don’t look at the obvious.  Be sure to study our Sucker Punch Psychology and Non-Violent Postures theory.

VI – THOU SHALT NOT LOSE THE STREET FIGHT

You must know in advance that you will survive the authentic street fight.  By ‘authentic’ I mean a true situation where you have a moral and ethical reason to take action.  Only then can you be resolute in your conviction and only then will you have the support of good and the force of the universe behind you.  This may sound corny to some, but when you use your skills for “life” (for preservation), rather than “death”, (abuse of your skill) the emotional power that is available to you is exponential.

You must also appreciate the relationship to the pejorative ego in combat.

You don’t “win” a real fight.  You survive one.

Win & Lose are labels our ego uses.  Think survival.  Think about your life and why you’ll survive.  This is true power.

Remember this: Never fight when your opponent wants to fight.  Never fight where your opponent wants to fight.  And never fight how your opponent wants to fight.  Take care of those three factors, I’ll bet on you.  Sun Tzu wrote: “The height of strategy is to attack your opponent’s strategy.”  Study this.

*On purely a strategic level you can study the Samurai treaties about the mind and the ego and death.  They reveal much about the appropriate mind-set for lethal combat.  If you catch a glimpse of the power of this mind-set you will recognize true power and you will be sure not to abuse this power.

VII – THOU SHALT NOT INVITE DISASTER

You’ve heard the expression “An accident waiting to happen.”  So many victims of violence failed to use simple skills like awareness and avoidance.  No one deserves to be a victim, but many street tragedies result from “planning for failure through failure to plan.”  Though the world is an incredible and wonderful place, it does have its dangers.  If you respect the simple truth and spend a little time developing your Survival Toolbox, you can get back to the real task at hand: enjoying your life.

For simplicity sake consider there are two types of victims.  Those who deny and ignore (apathy will usually help seal your fate) and those who manufacture danger at every turn.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to read Gavin De Becker’s excellent book, The Gift of Fear, get yourself a copy.  It is the first time, in my opinion; anyone has effectively explained the fear signal in a positive, useful light as it relates to danger and violence.  His examples and theories are welcome additions to the pre-contact arsenal necessary to try to avoid violence.

It would be nice if simply ‘trusting’ survival signals were all we needed to detect and avoid danger.  Unfortunately, there may be situations where we do everything right, but still find ourselves in the thick of things and must take physical action.  Preparation is paramount.

Learn to evaluate a stimulus in advance.  This mind-set will spare you a lot of trouble if you do a little research.  In the end, most situations are easily avoided with the right attitude, awareness and advance analysis.

Here are the critical areas you must examine:

  • Evaluate your routine.  Are there any obvious places you could be attacked?  Is there something about your schedule, behavior, residence, etc. that sends a ‘come and get me’ message to an opportunist criminal?  When you you attack you and why?
  • Evaluate your mind.  What type of person are you?  Do you find yourself in many confrontations? (Of any nature)  How do you deal with them?  Do you lose your temper quickly?  Do you accept abuse (verbal, mental, etc.) too readily?  Both reactions could create serious problems in a violent confrontation.
  • Evaluate your arsenal.  You may take care of the routine and have yourself in total control and still be faced with a threat.  What specialized skills do you bring to the confrontation?  Many of us become fairly proficient with our empty hands in a ready stance in the dojo where we know the rules, we know our opponent, the level of contact is agreed to and we’re wearing equipment and.. I think you get my point.  Do you really understand the nut on the street?  Are you confident on the ground?  Against a weapon?  In a survival scenario?  Total confidence results when you ask pertinent questions and research, to satisfaction, the answers.  That’s being proactive.  After all, this is your life.

Apathy and denial will seal your fate in a confrontation.  Other personality aberrations like an inflated ego, misguided inferiority complex, and overconfidence all contribute to the issue of safety.  There attributes will create problems during confrontations of any nature.  Be proactive about the things that can cause you grief.

I have a simple belief that keeps me honest and introspective:

I believe we experience confrontations every day of our lives, (“Confrontation” defined as any situation that affects our enjoyment of the moment – I know people who take traffic personally!).  Therefore, the degree of calmness and clarity with which we deal with our confrontations will directly determine the quality of our day and therefore, the quality of our life.

VIII – THOU SHALT NOT KILL, UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

Bruce Lee wrote in his Tao of Jeet Kune Do, “Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain.  Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life’ Do not be concerned with your escaping safely – your life before him!”

Hmmm? What do you think of this? Pretty powerful, huh? Not how it triggered a visual and how it affected your mind-set: power or fear?  Though Bruce Lee’s quote has much value, it sends a dangerous message if not analyzed correctly.

Many people who come to the martial arts for self-defense buy into the mythological image of cool nerves, impenetrable defense and total control.  Unfortunately, the sociopath’s intensity on the street bears little relation to the energy in the dojo and so those martial artists who have not done diligent homework for the street situation are predisposed to fail.  This doesn’t mean they will.  But, it means they survive in spite of the way they trained.

What would you do if…?  Have you really visualized different scenarios and analyzed what would be necessary to escape the confrontation safely?  It takes courage to walk away.  Is avoidance a component of your self-defense system?  How far would you go to avoid bodily harm? Would you kill?  What moral and ethical issues do your responses raise?  do you possess a directive, one that would support you in a court of Law or when you looked in the mirror?

When you train with integrity, and respect all humanity, you will grasp the deepest message in Bruce’s words.  As a last resort I endorse his message.

IX – THOU SHALT NOT SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRITY

There are key areas of concern for this commandment.  Human beings are designed for improvement.  Our brains and bodies are built for success.  We use only a small percentage of our brain’s capacity.  Our bodies are capable of massive muscular and cardiovascular development and we have only just begun to explore the power of spiritual development.

Remember earlier I wrote that the mind navigates the body?  I believe that there are three fundamental rules we all break from time-to-time that prevent us from maximizing our performance and development in many areas.

  1. Avoid Comparison: Compete with yourself.  Use other people for inspiration only.  If someone is better than you are, use his or her “skill level” as a reference point.  Find out how they train and what their beliefs are.  Many people miss this point and experience frustration in their training.  The pejorative ego is duplicitous and works overtime on comparison.  It’s your job to defuse this emotional time bomb and get focused on your path.
  2. Don’t Judge: Don’t judge others.  Don’t even judge yourself.  Learn to evaluate, diagnose, weigh, and consider.  When you change the “judgement filter” to one of “analysis”, you will gain so much more.  Like comparison, judgement is a detour away from our goals.  Many times we enter some arena (relationship, job, fight) worrying about what the other person is bringing to the table.  Howe can you be yourself and work on you when you are fixating on them?  True education takes place when we start to notice our tendency to compare and judge.
  3. Limiting Beliefs:  Many of us have been fed negative programs during our life and these ‘ideas’ eventually become our very own erroneous beliefs.  And they severely handicap our growth.  How often do we say or hear statements like, “You can’t.” “That’ll take too long.”, I’ll never be able to do that”, “What’s the point?”.  The list goes on… you get my point.  Beliefs that do not serve your goals, success, happiness, or dreams must be purged from your mind.  This is an easy process.. you believe it is too hard.

Just remember that starting off positive is every bit as important as actually starting.

Here’s another key concept in the performance enhancement formula my company has developed:  You’ll often hear motivators state: “Your potential is unlimited.”  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Actually ‘potential’ is quite finite, whereas ‘capacity’ is unlimited.  Think about it [and yes I know this is completely backwards from conventional thinking].  Your ability is limited by your capacity.  But you can work on your ‘capacity’ daily.  And therefore ‘capacity’ is continually evolving.  However, ‘potential’ is fixed.  In other words, your potential is limited by the fact that you are human, or of a specific gender, age, size and so forth.  Potential is also something we ‘can’t do’ yet.  The trick in maximizing performance therefore, will be our ability to reframe, to create a personal paradigm shift and really direct our energy into our ‘current abilities’ and forget about where we could be if…

Confused?  Read the next two paragraphs and then reflect a little.

I have done a number of motivational seminars on this very important paradigm shift, an empowerment process I call The Myth of Peak Performance.  To consider, evaluate, plan and proceed, you must understand the difference between “capacity” and “potential.”  What you can do is your capacity.  What you would like to be able to do is your potential.  But, at the end of the day, you can only do as much as you can do.

Reflect on this expression:

“You’ll never know how much you can do until you try to do more than you can.” 

In training, assess your capacity, recognize your potential as greater, and create realistic goals so that you experience success regularly and you will be on your way to self-mastery.  But do not fixate on your potential.

In the self-defense and martial art world many practitioners severely handicap their capacity by not sharing information, not investigating other options and ideas, not asking questions, etc.  To go beyond the limitations of style’, you must challenge all ideas so that your training results in unshakable faith in your skill.

X – THOU SHALT NOT REBUKE OTHER SYSTEMS

Bruce Lee said, “Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.”  This commandment is important on two levels.  Firstly, on an emotional level it is so important to make peace with everyone we contact.  This attitude is contagious and if we all adopted a more loving and compassionate view of life and of our fellow human beings, we would all experience a significant increase in happiness and peace of mind.

In the martial arts world there exists so much comparison, pejorative competitiveness and politics, that our industry is simply a microcosm of the warring nations and rival gangs that pollute our cities and countries.  Please reflect on this.

We are on the same team.  We train to better our selves.  We choose different schools and styles for a variety of reasons.  But we all want the same think. Peace.  Inner peace. Confidence. Self-control.

So keep an open mind.  Maintain a “Beginner’s Mind.”  A beginner loves to learn.  He is intent and intense.  Learn to communicate, listen to the words, and listen to the voice of body language.  When someone shows you a different way or explains a different approach, listen keenly.  Savor, digest and absorb.

And secondly, as a martial artist and self-defense specialist, you cannot afford to limit your training.  The more you understand any and all strategies, approaches, attitudes and methods, the greater your confidence.

So remember, training must be holistic: Mind, Body, Spirit

(*Note how each commandment interconnects and a flaw in one of the areas could very well throw the equation into flux.)

*Article is re-posted with permission & unchanged from the original. 

From Tony Blauer, “Permission is granted to quote, reprint or distribute provided the text is not altered and appropriate credit is given.

Tony Blauer is one of the most sought-after authorities in the area of self-defense and is the owner of Blauer Tactical System in San Diego, California. For more information on him, visit his website at http://TonyBlauer.Com and/or follow his postings on his Facebook Group (Personal Defense Readiness).

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The 3 A’s of Good Business Practice

Posted in Day's Lesson, Miscellaneous, Philosophy, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2012 by hybridfightingmethod

I am willing to bet that everyone reading this right now has at least one customer service horror story?

A gym that intentionally bills you more than once each billing cycle. A phone company that destroys your life with astronomical and irrational charges. And any other possible shady situation that leaves you regretful and resentful.

Too many martial arts instructors are great martial artists, but are horrible business people. They struggle and suffer at their own hands because they do not know how to handle adversity, or they have personalities themselves that are rather off-putting.

In my opinion, if everyone incorporated these three concepts into their business practice, they would dramatically improve their business, their clients’ experience, and their own quality of life.

ACCEPT

My parents always told me when growing up, that if I did something wrong or made a mistake – that if I told the truth about it I would be in less trouble than if I lied and got caught. They were trying to teach me to take responsibility for my actions. This goes a long way in business.

I try very hard not to put myself in a position where I will have to apologize and be an inconvenience to someone. But if I do, I don’t play the blame game – I accept the responsibility for my mistake and I will offer not only my apology, but also something above and beyond to make up for the mistake. That could be free lessons, free merchandise, a gift card to a restaurant…the options are endless.

If you do this, your clients are likely to be more forgiving of your shortcomings.

Accept responsibility.

ADOPT

Sometimes random things happen that aren’t your fault. But that won’t stop people from blaming you.

I remember one year back in college, I was flying across the country to get from my parents place to my school. When we got to the airport, we were told that the airline’s head office had a major shutdown and the computers were offline, delaying every single flight that day. That company was WestJet. This was a make or break moment for WestJet in the eyes of all those affected.

My flight was delayed for 5 hours. Some were less, some were considerably more.

WestJet began by apologizing for the inconvenience, ordering pizza and drinks for the entire airport, and announcing it over the PA system. That was cool, but what came next was amazing.

Two weeks after the incident, my family got a letter in the mail from WestJet. It was an official apology for the mishap, with a note that for every 2 hours our flight was delayed, we would receive credit equivalent to the fare of our purchased ticket. Because my flight was delayed 5 hours, and I had only booked a one-way flight, we received $598.00 to apply to future WestJet flights.

I will now always speak positively to people about WestJet and their customer service. As long as they keep up this behaviour, they will be here for a long time.

Sometimes things happen that are out of our control and that are not the fault of anyone. But if you can adopt responsibility for whatever happened, and go above and beyond for your clients, you will gain far greater value than you could ever lose.

ATMOSPHERE

Finally, people want to know that you care. People are social creatures, and we gather around other people of similar values, likes, dislikes, etc.

There are few feelings more nauseating than going into a gym or membership-based business and feeling like a dollar figure rather than a valued person.

I had a woman come up to me just last night after seeing a portion of my class, and asked me when she could come try it. She is on a one-week trial membership, and she told me that in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class she took the instructor was too busy texting on his phone and talking with his buddies to offer any assistance to the students in class. Sounds ridiculous, right? I have seen worse. That class is just a paycheque to him.

My good friends Gordon and Ashley Wood run a highly successful martial arts school in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada called Evolution Martial Arts. They are always expanding, and they are always getting voted as #1 martial arts school in their area by anyone and everyone who has had the pleasure of training there.

I equate their success with 4 things.

  1. They plan their classes. They do not just show up and wing it. Their curriculum is structured and this structure allows them freedom to invest most of their time into their students.
  2. They make you feel important. They know you by name, and they make you feel like a part of a family.
  3. They are highly skilled martial artists, and highly skilled martial arts instructors.
  4. They do not have contracts. If I want to leave them for any reason whatsoever, I can do so with absolutely no penalty. I will also not be made to feel guilty or negative in any way. This, I believe, has led to positive word of mouth that has launched their business into a rarified atmosphere that few other schools can claim to know.

If you can create a positive atmosphere where people are genuinely cared for, you will be amazed at the positive yield that it brings.

To summarize…

If you can both accept and adopt responsibility for mistakes that are or aren’t your fault, and create an energetic and caring atmosphere – you will improve your business exponentially in several ways.

T.J. Kennedy

Hybrid Fighting Method

Improving Self-Defense, Add Violence

Posted in Crime, Self-Defense, Training, Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2011 by chencenter

The highest concern for me as a self-defense instructor is to properly facilitate and encourage (by way of writing, coaching, lecturing, etc) practical, safe and effective training methods; period!  Not ones that effect a person superficially, but ones that cut deep to the marrow of reality; the very real world in which we live.  To be honest, we (for the most part) live in harmony.  We go to work, we come home to our family, or we go out to dinner with friends.  Most people don’t even concern themselves with the very real possibility that a vicious assault lays just around the corner.

We all lack confidence, just in varying degrees.

As we “free climb” upwards from where we currently are [self-protection readiness] we must have a strong and sturdy grip [abililty] to change our state to one of: high intensity, strong-willed, 100% determined.  Our foothold to this climb is our confidence.

Believe me or not…it does not matter.  Somewhere within that skull of yours you understand that in order to effectively conquer a violent aggressor, the modern man or woman must find it within themselves to not only reciprocate the violence being done to them, but to break rules, to go against (in most cases) their religious/social/cultural beliefs.  What is right?  What amount of violence is right, if any?  At what cost?  What must be at stake for us to act in such a way?  All of these (and more) are important questions to ask yourself.

Most people (including myself) have a natural aversion to violence.

As a kid I trained in the martial arts so that I wouldn’t have to win through violence.  Everything was properly planned out, and when needed, I would respond with the same energy, skill and grace that my heros displayed on television and film.  I would always be in the moral right.  I would always be merciful.  I would always beat them with a calm, collected mind.  And I would walk away from battle without a scrape or bruise.  The sorry chap would never seek revenge or vendetta because of the fear of being humiliated twice over.

Luckily, I grew into a man.  And although I can still hold a smile to my “invincible youth,” I can easily decipher fantasy from reality.  Reality comes into play when play is wild and spontaneous.  Training for real world violence, therefore, should be conducted with as much zestful aggression as one wishes to have in the moment.  Punching a bag for the sake of punching amounts to very little.  It’s as if you were trying to drink up a lake with a fork.

I leave you with this question…

When violence becomes necessary… by this, I mean, when there is no other recourse but to fight for your survival, how might we know if we have what it takes?

My belief is that it rests on two key components: how you change your entire physiology to aid in your survival, and how we build our confidence through proper, situational, and realistic training methods.

Many martial artists insist on fighting fire with water.  But I strongly believe, and it is essential to know, that there are times when you must fight fire with fire!

¤

Please give your thoughts below.  Let me know if you disagree, and/or if you have something to add.

Michael Joyce

His Combative Profile

»»» click the picture above to visit a short interview of Coach Joyce in this month’s Skirt Magazine (Jan. 2011).

Roundtable Discussion 006: Life

Posted in Martial Arts, Roundtable Discussion with tags , , , , , , on November 22, 2010 by Combative Corner

Six martial artists, from six different disciplines were asked,

“How did the study of the martial arts impact your Life?”

¤

Robert Lara ::.. The study of Martial Arts positively impacts my life more and more each day. I started my studies in the arts to learn to be able to control attackers. But as the years have went by I now train to learn to control myself. To master the self is the true battle.

I do my best each day of my life to better myself through the study Martial Arts. I deal with Fibromyalgia and other health issues. Without the Martial Arts I would not have the tools to deal with my health issues. I wish you all the best on your paths in the study of Martial Arts.

¤

Brandon Vaughn ::.. That’s easy.  My martial arts training greatly increased my confidence and improved my self discipline.

I first started training for the same reason a lot of kids did because I wanted to be able to beat up all the bullies that were tormenting me at the time. As so often happens in martial arts, by the time you learn how to “fight” you realize that you no longer need to. Through Martial Arts I gained the confidence to stand up for myself but also the discipline to not let people provoke me into fighting over nothing. I went from walking looking down at my shoes to walking with my chin held high.

Martial Arts also helped me deal with some anger issues when I was younger and still helps me manage my temper to this day. Martial Arts gave me a healthy outlet for expressing my anger and according to my wife has calmed me down a lot since high school. One of the main reasons I enjoy teaching so much is because I get to help kids dealing with the same issues that I dealt with as a child. Nothing compares to watching a student’s confidence grow before your eyes.

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Freddie Lee ::.. Martial Arts holds great significance in my life. Before practicing Martial Art, all I knew of was sport, nothing about art. When I started training, it was a physical discipline, something that was nothing new to me. It was not until 2 years later did I begin to look deeper into it. It first started with being inspired by Bruce Lee. Practicing Martial Arts for the first time made me proud of my own culture and race. I was no longer ashamed. For the first time I went to seek out information about my original Chinese culture.

I first started reading “The Artist of Life.” That lead me to many other books related to Eastern Philosophy. Martial Arts sparked my thirst for knowledge and wisdom. Ever since then, my life was never the same. Ultimately it lead me towards enlightenment. Now I see the world from a whole different level. It has awakened me. I see very clearly now. And it began with Martial Arts; I have much appreciation towards Bruce Lee who had shared his wisdom with the world through his writings.

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Johnny Kuo ::.. The martial arts have impacted my life in several ways, but the primary effect has been on personal development. To understand an art, you need to focus your mental energies to perceive its essence. That sort of mental focus is not easy, especially in our modern day barrage of constant and varied distractions. The mental training has paid dividends in different aspects of my life. It helps me stay focused and calm when life’s pressures start mounting.

The other major effect of studying martial arts I’ve noticed has been more social. Training martial arts has given me the opportunity to interact with people who I would probably not run into otherwise. In my experience, the martial arts have been both a vehicle of physical struggle as well as a common bond which forms friendships and community.

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Coach Michael Joyce ::.. All people are different (especially children) and as I began to sprout upwards in this world, I played a variety of sports.  My father had always encouraged me to play football and I ended up becoming a fairly decent wide receiver.  In middle school, I could literally feel a strange “shifting” at work.  Running patterns on the football field and catching an oval shaped ball just didn’t cut it for me anymore.  Besides, I wanted something that could help to develop the image of what I had always hoped to become.  The martial arts, whether it was my earlier kungfu training, my college days spent studying fencing (mainly) or, later, my focus on self-defense and taiji… gave me an inner sense of fulfillment that I couldn’t get by being a team player.

In this world, it is important to do things on your own… or at least, have the capacity and confidence to do things on your own.  Although we all need people to guide us, nothing improves one’s confidence and sense of achievement when you know it was your strength, your courage, and your determination that produced the result.  Moreso, the result becomes even greater to see as one continues down the martial art path, whereby the result isn’t a championship ring, but something deep and profound that you wake up to every morning and something absolutely no one can take away.

Instructors ProfilesLARAVAUGHNLEEKUOJOYCE

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LET US KNOW WHAT THE MARTIAL ARTS MEAN TO YOU !

(write your comments in the space below)

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New Book : “Living The Way” Is Here!

Posted in Peace & Wellbeing, Products with tags , , , , , , , on October 28, 2010 by Sifu Freddie Lee

CombativeCorner’s very own, Sifu Freddie Lee comes out with his first book entitled, “Living the Way: Balancing Body, Mind and Soul.”  Author Lee shows “the Way” towardss happiness, love, and peace through living the simple life in modern society.

Publication Date: Oct. 28th, 2010

US paperback, 5″ x 8″.  76 pages. English.

Price: $10.00

GET YOURS TODAY

FEAR SHEDDING CD : MICHAEL JOYCE

Posted in Products, Training, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2010 by chencenter

Purchase your copy [HERE]

(Extend Sale Price) Ends Nov. 5th, 2010

$1 of Each Sold is Donated to RAINN.Org.  Thanks & Enjoy!

Roundtable Discussion 002: Meditation

Posted in Roundtable Discussion with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2010 by Combative Corner

“How important is meditation in your discipline & personal practice?”

Lee:  Living a life of meditation is the highest state in the Martial Arts.  In “The Book of Secrets.” By Osho, there is 112 techniques of meditation.  Sitting meditation is just one of them.  When I first started practicing Martial Arts, I thought sitting meditation was the only meditation.  As I continued my study, I came to the understanding and realization that meditation can take place during ANY activity.  Meditation is a state of mind, of complete awareness, completely in the present moment.  Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” really helped me understand what meditation really is.  Once you disccover what meditation really is, your life will dynamically change, you will realize true happiness and bliss, there is no future, no past, no ego.  You are connected with everything around you, you are whole.  Meditation takes place throughout the entire day, sitting, standing, walking, cleaning the home, exercising, playing with kids, making love, reading, writing, speaking, etc.  Meditation is living life totally and completely aware.


Robert Lara: For me Aikido and Meditation go hand-and-hand.

Without a calm, centered mind we can never apply Aikido Waza in the proper way.

Only when we Meditate first can we hope to be able to fully have a relaxed mind, body & spirit. Meditation plays a very high role in my own training. I would never have made it to where I am today without it.

Joyce:  I’ve always considered myself an introspective person.  Even when I didn’t know specific forms or methods of meditation, I would find ways to bring myself to a place; a place as calming as a trickling brook.  As I became engulfed into the martial arts, and what I thought it meant to be a martial artist, my view of meditation became skewed.  I thought that, to be great, I had to sit or stand for long periods of time and somehow a great gift would be bestowed upon me.  There are sometimes, when I still think that.

My personal belief in meditation is that it’s the medicine to our soul.  Our form; what we practice with careful intention is our art.  The higher our souls happiness, the higher our form of art.  Meditation, the ability to find a tranquil spot within you, whatever the method is essential to health.

Vaughn:  I remember when I was taking Taekwondo back in middle and high school we used to meditate at the beginning and end of each class. We would kneel towards the front of the class and mediate, usually just for a minute or two. To to clear our minds of the chaos of the day so we could better focus on our training before class started and to relax after the workout and reflect on the techniques and drills that we had just gone over at the end. While the style I train in now doesn’t make mediation a regular part of the class routine I still do it in my personal life from time to time. Mainly as a way to help slow my mind down so that I can focus better on the things I have to accomplish or to to help calm myself when I get frustrated or agitated. Every now and then when I have a student that has trouble controlling their anger at school or at home I will show them how to use meditation and breathing, among other things, to help better keep their anger in check. I think meditation is a useful tool that people can gain a lot of value from, they just have to open their minds to it.

Davis:  The course structure for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is sparring intensive (what we like to call “rolling”) and, as a result, every class one attends ought to be adrenaline/sweat packed or your not doing it right. It may appear to the outsider to be much more like a wrestling practice than a traditional martial arts class and the crazy, hyper-aggressive wrestler-types we all know and love are not, generally, associated with the Zen mentality. However, the assumption that meditation must be performed while sitting cross-legged and eyes closed attempting to tap into the flow of “the Ohm” is not only selling meditation short but misplacing the profits you made from the sale too. Meditation is the pursuit of a state of mind which allows the pursuant to not only understand but also become a unique part of the natural flow of the world around them. Us BJJ guys and gals may not know much about Zen meditation but if there are two things we know better than anyone its the importance of proper breathing (we are always trying to choke each other aren’t we?) and of the flow from one technique to another. It is often emphasized that you hit a move inside the transition period, an odd but important concept I cannot do justice to in writing here. In the novella Siddhartha, the main character the book is named after becomes the Buddha (or one with the Buddha depending on how you interpret it) only when he comes to understand the transient but inevitable nature of the universe. If you are to understand the meditation which comes with the practice of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu you must understand the martial art is just that: transient and inevitable.

Kuo:  I-Liq Chuan is a concept-based art which centers on the principles of Taiji (Tai Chi) and Zen. Mindfulness forms the basis of martial skill. As such, meditation is an important part of I-Liq Chuan training. Meditation is both a practice in itself, like sitting meditation or standing meditation; it is also inherent in regular solo and partner practice. The practitioner’s attention should always be present (mindful) in whatever is being practiced. Meditative practices expand the mind’s ability to perceive. At first, the perception of the self is emphasized to facilitate unification of the body with the mind. At this stage, the practitioner is developing kinesthetic sense, body awareness, and body control. Then, the attentions are expanded outward to the opponent and environment. When the mind can see the conditions of the moment as they are, it becomes possible to harmonize with the opponent and flow with the opponent’s force. True skill manifests when movements are based on perception of the true conditions rather than anticipations (or guesses) of what will happen.

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Please shot us your comments in the comment section below and let us know your answer to this very interesting question.

The Combative Corner Crew


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