Archive for Teaching

Benefits of Being a Self-Defense Instructor

Posted in Miscellaneous, Safety, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , on December 9, 2013 by hybridfightingmethod

TJ Kennedy 001When I first took krav maga I fell in love and immediately dropped out of school to pursue martial arts in a modern urban context. It was so amazing to me. Fast forward to 2005 when my love for self-protection and self-preservation burned in me and I wanted to understand as much as I could about violence and how I could most effectively prevent and counter it in my life -and then translate that via instruction to my students.

The best way to understand violence is to study it’s chief perpetrators – us.  So began my personal journey really studying everything I could get my hands on – a habit I still keep today: human behaviour, violence, sexuality, conditioning, sociology, evolutionary biology and psychology- the list goes on and on.

The human animal/machine is such a fascinating, often infuriating phenomenon, but the more I understood how this clock ticked the more I was able to mitigate emotional responses to non-physical threats in my life.  As I objectified them, and understood them in the context of an abused child acting out their traumas, I could even feel compassion for them.  Coupled with these fields was an interest in neuro-criminology, which is the study of brain anatomy and the effects of head trauma, brain mal-development, and other biological influences on the brain with respect to anti-social and violent criminal behaviour.  It also helped me objectify my prejudices and perspective to allow me more rational decisions under pressure.  Grouping these areas of knowledge together lends to a broad understanding of violence – which was my first goal – and that hunger grows and burns more every day.

Also gained were/are the social skills that are necessary to successfully navigate confrontational behaviour.  And at the end of it all, if my social skills failed, or in most cases of all-out attack, my physical skills were enough to do the required job at the time.  So being a self-defense and combatives instructor has really made me a better person all-around- and geez, you get to help people along the way, and help them find the same heights of growth you did.

Life is good.

T.J. Kennedy

Founder, Hybrid Fighting Method

Sifu Lee on Online Martial Arts

Posted in Martial Arts, Miscellaneous, Philosophy, Training with tags , , , , , , on May 22, 2012 by Sifu Freddie Lee

In order to learn Martial Arts online, you must have great self-motivation. Online Martial Arts training is similar to home schooling.  Many people will learn more effectively in public school because of the learning environment that is created. Public schooling is extroverted, home schooling is introverted. If you have self-discipline, training online can be very effective & possibly more effective than learning directly. Learning directly may not be an option for many because when you learn directly, you must pay for the time from your Sifu.  Also, the Martial Arts require thousands of hours of training.  Paying for each hour can easily become too expensive. A Sifu who teaches online can provide lessons at a very low cost to make it affordable for many. Training directly with a Sifu is like attending a University; it will cost thousands of dollars in order to graduate. Training online is like going to your public library & learning from all the books available that is relevant to your development in the Martial Arts.

Now in order to learn effectively at the library, you must be self-directed, you must have discipline, otherwise it will be ineffective. Most people in society need to attend a University to obtain a higher education, few people in society have the self-discipline to obtain a higher education without motivating factors that the University provides. The University provides you with the learning environment & it provides you with certifications & certain goals to obtain in order to motivate you to excel. They have standards set that you are expected to achieve in order to graduate. When you step into the library, there is none of this; you have to set your own goals & standards.

There are benefits of online training; there are benefits of training directly. If you have the opportunity & the money available to train directly, then of course that is the route to take. If you have no direct Sifu to train with & you do not have the money, online training can be effective. Online training can be very effective for the self-motivated individual, the introvert. Direct training will be very effective for those who are genuinely open to learn. Extroverts tend to favor direct training because of the training atmosphere, environment, & the benefits of learning within a group.

Online training at FMK can be just as effective for the self-motivated individual as direct training can be. The body & spiritual development is publicly taught through the FMK YouTube channel. Over 1400 videos are posted that are relevant to your advancement of the Body & Spirit. The only missing component to complete you as a Zen Martial Artist would be the combat training of FMK. That would be conducted via private lessons. Most of the lessons are designed for your advancement through self-training with or without equipment. Once money is saved, valuable equipment’s such as the Bob training bag, wooden dummy, weights, pull up bars, mirrors, etc. can be purchased to enhance your development. Your form, technique, physical abilities, & spiritual understanding can all be evaluated by Shi zu. Sharing private or public progress videos with Shi zu will provide Shi zu the opportunity to provide you with valuable feedback. Visiting the FMK kwoon based out of Chicago, IL before you become promoted to the rank of Sifu will provide you with all the sparring experiences you will need to become fully certified as a Sifu.

Those who train online can realistically advance quicker than those who train directly. Those who train online are more likely to be more spiritually advanced in FMK for the simple fact that they may have a greater appreciation for the spiritual teachings offered online at the FMK YouTube channel. Most of the spiritual teachings of FMK are not shared to Todai’s during direct training as it would take a vast amount of training time away. Direct Todai’s of FMK are responsible for keeping updated with all YouTube & Facebook postings so that they continually train their spirits throughout the entire day & continually develop a deeper understanding of the philosophies of FMK & Eastern Philosophy. Todai’s who train directly may tend to not keep updated with FMK teachings online; this ends up becoming their downfall. Online Todai’s are more likely to keep updated with all online postings & thus have an advantage in their Body & Spirit development. Direct Todai’s obviously have an advantage in combative development as they receive immediate feedback on their performance.

Sifu Freddie Lee

[via FMK’s Facebook]

Sifu Lee on Giving & Pain

Posted in Day's Lesson, Miscellaneous, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2012 by Sifu Freddie Lee

I love giving, but the problem that I constantly encounter is that it teaches a person to become spoiled. For many years I have always had a problem with spoiling others. If you spoil others you do not teach them. They never learn how to wash a dish b/c you always wash it for them. They never learn to do their own laundry b/c you always do it for them. They never really learn to be self-sufficient b/c you have always babied them. People have a very hard time going backwards in life. You give them something they like, they will become very upset if you then take it away.

If you never gave it to them in the first place, they would not know how to be upset b/c they have not become attached. If you have never smoked before, it is easy to stay away. But if you have been smoking for many years, it will be hard to let go. We have all been so accustomed to the internet, if they take it away, it will cause pain for many. Understanding both sides is not easy. A child may have to go through many decades of life before he understands the actions of his parents in the past.

Sifu Freddie Lee

[via FMK’s Facebook]

The West, Still Not Ready | Sifu Lee

Posted in Day's Lesson, Miscellaneous, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2012 by Sifu Freddie Lee

When Bruce was alive, he knew that the West was not ready for real Martial Arts, he was disappointed with the progress of his kwoons, so he decided to close his kwoons to go into acting. Over 40 years later, right now, the West is still not ready for real Martial Arts. I love teaching Martial Arts, but it is almost impossible making a living doing so if you teach it the way that it is truly meant to be taught, I’ve decided to go into field of personal training to make a living. The masses of people just want to lose weight, gain muscle, feel & look good – few of them truly wish to learn real art. Out of 100 people, you will be lucky to find one that has the Martial Spirit within.

People can be taught but they must be ready to listen.  Many are not ready to listen. I love to give, but if I give too much, I will go out of business. Martial Art is not meant for business.  I am truly experiencing the struggles of how to get a Martial Art school to stay completely pure & uncorrupted. You work so hard to find people who have the Martial spirit within them, but then they have no money to pay. Then you find those who have much money but then they are far from being ready to enter into the realm of Martial Arts.

You have to reach out to the right people, but the right people are often times thousands of miles away. I will try to last as long as I can, but eventually I may have to once again become more hidden, working a job to make ends meet, while keeping the spirit of the Martial Arts within me, hidden from the mass of society. The mass of society is not ready for what I have to teach, & during the course of my lifetime, I may never see a time when they are ready. The truth is meant to be hidden; it cannot be exploited & mass produced.

Martial Arts requires thousands of hours of study & training.  How can anyone progress rapidly if they must pay for every hour? It is like a child who must pay you by the hour in order to raise him until the age of 18, he will have to repay you for the rest of his life, or at least take care of you for 18 years in which to break even. It takes time to develop into a Martial Artist, but who has the time to wait? Bruce could not wait. By waiting you are slowing your own development, but forging ahead you are leaving loved ones behind, finding the balance is a difficult thing. I know if I forge ahead there is nowhere to go – Bruce already taught me this. By waiting I can be of great assistance. But I will only wait for those who show appreciation; I will not wait for those who do not appreciate. Some people are ready, some people are not, those who are not, I will not force. When they are ready, they will show me, they will not just tell me.

The pressure is on to make me perform. Without the pressure, I will find no need to perform. Why try hard if you are already living comfortable? When your living conditions are rough, that forces you to work hard, when you work hard you grow. This kwoon can only grow through hard work. Nothing comes easy in this commercialized world. The masses are constantly being bombarded by negative advertisements that it makes it very difficult to see the positive.

Sifu Freddie Lee

[via FMK’s Facebook]

Teaching Kids & Big Kids (Adults)

Posted in Day's Lesson, Miscellaneous, Philosophy, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by hybridfightingmethod


You learned in kindergarten.

That is the common maxim touted since I first found myself IN kindergarten.  Being in Ireland right now writing this, I am inspired to reflect upon my past world travels.  In 2000-2002 I spent time teaching kindergarten in southeast China.  My mentor back then, Alex Abdulnour, told me something about teaching kids that I hold very close to my heart to this day.  I believe that this same thing is applicable to teaching adults, as adults are just kindergarteners in bigger clothes.

Apply these concepts and you will become a much better instructor.

He said the following –

They want to know how much you care before they care how much you know.

This I find to be absolutely true.  You need to care about your students.  They can sense when you don’t, or when you are being disingenuous.  Relationships are like bank accounts.  You have to make a deposit before you make a withdrawal.  Before you can expect anything from your students and from people in general, you need to invest and show them you genuinely care.

Have a plan prepared for them or they will have a plan prepared for you…and you won’t like their plan.

Make sure you have a guideline going into class or you will be sorry you didn’t.  Dogs can smell fear.  Students can smell unpreparedness.  You don’t have to stick to the plan exactly – but have at least a skeletal structure in place to navigate your class.

Make them laugh.

Elicit positive emotions and make them feel good.  If you do this, they will connect the concepts you offer with positive emotions.  If you make your students feel good while learning, they are more apt to remember what you taught.

Think to yourself what teachers you remember fondly?  Did they care about you?  Were they prepared?  Did they make you laugh and feel good?

Also, as with everything, be a critical consumer of information (another tidbit given to me by Alex).  Take what I say, and weigh it like you should all incoming information.  Include the concepts in this article into your teaching, and you will have far more success in empowering your students with the information you are communicating.



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