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19 Feb



Dojo vs. The Street

19 Nov

This article was written some time ago and I came across it the other day when I was going through some of my older writings. Re-reading it I found that the information was just as true today as it was when it was originally written. It seems a lot of self defense schools misunderstand or misrepresent “sport karate” as “self defense” and vice-versa . I have met instructors who have no idea what this means. They train the same for the upcoming tournament as they would prepare themselves against a gang of street thugs. While everyone is free to train how they will, there are much better ways out there than the “one thing fits all situations” ideology. Like I have said in the past, be wary of any instructor who uses the words “never” or “always” there is no such thing in conflict, whether that conflict be sport or combat. You don’t prepare for a flood by building a house, you build a boat. Learn the difference between commonly accepted sport martial arts thinking and combat thinking. Sport martial arts deals with winning. Combat deals with survival. Each arena certainly has its own particular merits. Tournaments take sparring to the next level and build character in much the same way that regular class does, but on a more amplified level. Fighting, or combat is the true test of the martial artists ability as a whole. Survival is not just a physical thing. The same way a tournament is not just a physical thing.

The problem comes when a persons sport karate wont cut it in a situation wherein they need to survive. They are fast, they are powerful, they are skilled. I hate to tell you but a lot of students and instructors hold faith that there sport karate will win every situation that they come up against. This is simply not true. I have met some awesome world class martial artists. These guys (and girls) could probably collapse my skull with a roundhouse kick. But bear hug them and drive them up against a concrete wall and their kicks are mostly useless. Remember, train against as many types of attacks as many different ways as possible. There are no absolutes, learn to apply one grab defense to a different grab, alternate and interchange your defense techniques. You will learn quickly just how versatile you can be in the ring of street self defense if you start applying everything you know to everything else you know. Think of it like internal cross training. Open your mind to the endless possibilities which are the world of street conflict.

Bruce Lee’s philosophy that defining a thing limits it, is true when we look at street fights incomparison to traditional Dojo combat training. By classifying and creating systems, rules, and methods, over time we limit our success in achieving our goal of realistic training. To be realistic we must first understand what is real. Street situations by their very nature are real, it is a situation in which conflict has arisen, conflict by which loss of life is a very real possibility. Within the Dojo, we are students of one another and the Martial Way. However we must go beyond this modicum of learning and pursue reality, that which is through and through real by nature, in order to find and train by that which is pure “martial truth.”

In the feudal societies of Japan, knowledge of combat situations came from experience, knowledge of conflict came from the analysis of those situations that the person had survived or that others had died from. Today in the modern Dojo, there are few who have extensive combat experience and fewer still who see combat on the daily level.

If we study only those around us, who have little to no combat experience, how do we gain in combat knowledge, or the knowledge of conflict?

As martial artists we are to “protect the innocent against deception” (Grand Master Ken Champ, Tai Chuan Do Martial Arts) training based solely upon theory and not on experience is deception. As I have outlined above, true knowledge comes from experience, speculation is what generally comes from theory. However, rather than seeking out fights and conflict, an equal amount of experience can be gained from deflecting potential conflict and using mental aspects of the martial arts to overcome combat situations in a non-volatile way. Thus we turn theory into experience by using the mental essence of the Arts. Certainly no replacement for actual physical experience, but sparring, if properly used, can provide this on a smaller scale.

The chief purpose for which I write this is to prevent unrealistic training. Attacks should be executed with the intent to kill, but with the motivation to safely train Uke (judo: the one receiving the technique).

We must always be mindful of that for which we train, keep hold of the realistic principals of the martial arts and forsake the “okay” or “pretty good” self defense techniques. Strive for GREATNESS!! If our school is a sport based school, our focus should be on the winning of matches and the perfection of our tournament and character. If our Dojo is based upon self defense, our primary Kime (focus) should be that of neutralizing opponents and on a higher level: avoiding conflict altogether on the street and in the home. Should our training halls Kime be on the more esoteric disciplines of the Arts, we should strive to live in harmony with the people and world around us, infusing good character and spirit into society through good attitude and actions that benefit both our society and our environment.

Please keep the following in mind as you train to have a successful character, spirit, and art.

1. Realize that there is no logic on the street. Our Dojo is a controlled environment, yet even though we are trained and “brought up” in a controlled environment, we must learn how to control our own environment, no matter what the geography, situation, or chaos of that environment. The primary way to control one’s environment is through the use of the mental facets of your art. Akai (inner spirit) is also a key factor, having a strong psychological presence in any situation gives a degree of leverage over others (friends and opponents alike).

2. Remember to neutralize your opponent, destruction is never beneficial, even when your life is being threatened. If neutralization means killing, than kill. But do not get into the mentality of destroying your opponent, do only that which is necessary to avoid conflict and achieve personal survival and the survival of those around yourself.

3. Street situations, battle, and personal conflict each demand that you do not hesitate in the slightest. If hesitation occurs, higher force is needed to take control of the situation, usually forcing you to use force that would not have been necessary in the split seconds or moments before you actually acted or reacted.

4. Miyamoto Musashi has stated in many places within Go Rin No Sho (The Book of Five Rings, written late 1500’s AD) that one should have the intent, and be intent upon cutting each and every time their sword is swung. In the same manner, strike only with the intention of hitting, and enter into conflict only with the intention and means of success. Meaning that you should only enter into conflict if you have the tools/ skills, intensity/ focus to succeed. Anything else would be heroic foolishness, which is commendable and stupid at the same time. The end of heroic foolishness is more costly to your health and the health of the others involved in the situation, a much less desirable solution than full success. If you can enter into conflict and end it precisely, quickly, efficiently, and effectively, you have cut (done) well.

5. Study the warrior’s way, learn what it means to be a warrior and a martial artist, not just a student of your style or core Martial Art. Learn from all around you, those “below” and those above. Ask questions, question your very existence and journey through life. Arm yourself with the answers that you find, sharpen your spirit into that of one whose life is balanced.

6. Discard that which slows you down, embrace that which aids your speed, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Live a life free of bondage to man’s devices.

7. Remember that you can always re-learn that which you have already “learned” and that you can learn from everyone around you and everything that happens around you.

When it all comes down to death and taxes, don’t forget to separate the two main fields from each other: combat, and competition. Train differently for each. Train completely for each. Be willing to go further, and faster, with absolute commitment than your opponent. In this way you will be victorious, even if you lose.


Paladin Protection

© 2010 Paladin Asset Protection Group

The Silent Teacher

17 Nov

“What is the sum potential of one martial artist?”

This is a difficult if not impossible question to answer because of the nature of the martial arts themselves. The individual is just what he/ she is described as, an individual. That being as it is, each student and artist has a different potential. Each has their own learning style, pace, background, experiences, beliefs, and abilities.

Yet even with the diversity and individuality found in students of the arts each has the potential to go as far (if not farther) than their body will let them. Physical boundaries can be stretched, mental horizons broadened, spiritual depths fathomed. In my mind each martial artist has the potential to: one) Be what they aim to be if dedicated and prepared. And two) Become the “face” of their style.

Where is your aim? What are your goals? Questions that I have asked of myself so many times that they are really no longer questions but a way of waking up in the morning. Seeing what is before me I set out to accomplish that which I have purposed to complete throughout the journey of the day.

Perhaps this is not you in the morning, or you at all for that matter. I admonish you and encourage you to start thinking in this manner. Goals in our life tell others that we feel a purpose. It gives us direction and pace. It lets the world know that we have a passion driving us on some level of our psychology to complete what is set before us and in so doing, better our lives.

Goals can be of many natures. They can be short term or long term. They can be based upon any number of objectives or criteria. But regardless, as I said, goals denote a drive to complete, to change, to grow. Willpower alone unfortunately will not get us anywhere; we must be of strong character and body as well. We must sharpen ourselves to a fine edge and then we must wake the next morning to re-define that edge by setting a goal above the one we had on the previous day. In short we must always have something above us pulling us up, begging to be overcome, taunting us to defeat and conquer.

What we are able to accomplish will depend on many things, but it will all start with a thought or feeling. And so we must start our accomplishment by being prepared in our mind to accomplish. We must have the commitment of spirit, discipline of body, and dedication of mind to follow through and complete the goals we set before ourselves. You must ask yourself as I do: “What are you prepared to do?” “what am I going to accomplish today?”

Asking yourself the questions above, will you find that you are prepared to take upon yourself the ultimate responsibility of leadership in the dojo? Are you ready? Are you willing? Are you prepared? To become the “face” of your style?

When I look at the leadership structure of my dojo I see ranking students that hold within themselves the potential to become tomorrows “face” of the style to which I belong. The masters will always be, but at the same time they will not always be. At some point the next generation will come of age and transition into the senior leadership of their art as the older generation retires or passes on.

If the younger generation does not transition into the senior leadership, they will fade into the obscuring mists of anonymity, known perhaps for something, just not their leadership in the style. Do not misunderstand what I try to communicate to you. The student may be a senior leader in many forms. There is the monastic elder; there is the city ruler, the humble dojo instructor. And such a vast array of other forms senior leadership can take on inside, and outside the walls and confines of the dojo. After all, martial arts is only limited to the dojo when we hold it captive there, imprisoned and unrealized.

The martial leader in today’s society can be found in many places. He might be found retired in his hometown. Hiding in a hermitage, or standing on the street corner. In the training hall, or in the ring with his champion student. At the table with his family, or in the garden writing. Worshiping his God, or praying for sustaining strength to continue his task and heritage of leadership in the martial arts.

Remember that the individual is unique, each one man or woman producing, creating, and teaching in their own way, set apart from those around them by the very fact of their uniqueness. Senior leadership does not have to be “in the dojo” It is found in the war against drugs, in the halls and gathering places of worship around the world. It is found in the arms of a parent reading to their child a bedtime story, and it is found in the dedication of ones life to the arts, regardless of occupation. A leader leads not by “leading” but by “guiding.” They lead by DOING.

A leader tells you how many miles down the road you have to go and which turns to make to get to your objective, a guide shows you the way, leading you down the path that they have traveled to get to the destination that will benefit the life of the one being led. A leader leads by guiding the student, at the same time learning always from that which takes place around them.

In a very real sense, in order to be the face of our style we must become so much a part of it that it in turn “becomes us” So then the question becomes: What will allow us to become our style?

When we put on our uniform, and I really mean style because the donning of a uniform and the performance of a facet of our art have the same philosophical meaning. When we put on the uniform of our style we represent it. In the same sense as a soldier when he dons the uniform of our nations military, he represents with pride the nation to which he pledges allegiance and serves without question or hesitation. This is the uniform of martial arts: That we represent through and throughout our practice of the arts all those that created, shaped, taught, and defined our style up to the generation of our practice and preservation.

When a person sees you perform in your uniform, sees you teach, or is taught by you; they see first the style, then the person. It is our job to show them the heritage that we represent. It is our entrusted task by virtue of the belt we wear to pass on with integrity the training we have been given. Each belt is not just a simple rank for means of structural identification, but is a level of earned trust that is not to be taken as a small thing. We are to proudly represent those that entrusted us with the rank we all too often misuse in small unknowing ways. It is a gift, a tool, a blessing, and a heritage to live and stand by.

In a very real sense we lead not by teaching but as a more casual by product of our dedication and discipline in training. To become our style we must sharpen ourselves to the max. We must constantly and concretely be redefining our limits and thinking. We must be ever changing, ever learning, ever growing, and never ceasing. How sharp we are tomorrow depends on how we sharpen our self today. There are many sayings that can be applied to the message of this article. Yet the one I see fitting best is this: “don’t talk about it, be about it.”

To be a leader true to our roots we must become our style. That is when those below, and the ones who are new to our schools, will want to follow us into the grand adventure, this path we call: the martial arts.

We must be a silent teacher. A person who leads by example, teaching with words only when necessary. Our lifestyle should be that of our style, and so by the student seeing us live, they will come to know how to live themselves. And eventually they in turn will replace us. Just as we replaced those who taught us, and the cycle will continue. How pure and true the next generation is, is in our hands. And so that is our sum potential, the potential of a leader in the arts.

Paladin Protection


© 2010 Paladin Asset Protection Group

Discipline and Excellence.

13 Nov

The lack of discipline in personal training is where today’s martial society begins to break down and decompose. In the yesteryear of samurai-ship and even more recently with the codification of martial arts systems around the world, the student was driven by a sense of purpose with such conviction that discipline in their personal training was not an issue.

Throughout the majority of today’s Dojos and backyards the common student maintains such a casualness about training that even the strictest of discipline in their minds would be considered mundane and lackadaisical by samurai standards. That being said, we must take into consideration that the majority of modern students, including their instructors, train with an altogether different purpose than our martial predecessors of old. Today’s society needs are drastically different than that of the feudal societies of the past. In today’s world honor is more of a personal notion rather than the community code that it was in previous centuries. And so with the overall change in social perspective and personal beliefs as related to honor, we no longer duel to the death or commit ritual suicide, nor do we consider becoming militant based upon verbal abuse to our persons. Today’s fighting in the majority of Dojos is less focused on actual fighting and more on competition. Less on survival, and more on “winning”.

With less of an immediate societal need to survive, we consequently train far less for survival. As a by-product of this drop in the need for survival training the techniques we use are far less proven and far more theoretical or “cinematic” in nature. Actual effective battle technique and proven survival training have been lost with the evolution of martial arts from a martial society to today’s corporate consumer society.

The only remaining need we have today in professional circles for survival is the training of our military and law enforcement personnel. Those in need of training outside of professional circles like the common man are those citizens that live in far less fortunate areas of our communities, or might have a greater chance of encountering those individuals or groups that are hell-bent on carrying out some evil deed or crime.

It is common knowledge that the majority of modern men and women, even children, cannot carry weapons on their person. Indeed it speaks volumes about our law enforcement practices that for the most part the everyday citizen does not need the use of weapons for personal protection. However, should the need for defense arise and we find ourselves without a weapon, without a member of law enforcement, and without the proper training, we are indeed “up a creek without a paddle”.

Unfortunately in today’s world far too many students of the martial arts are not truly prepared to defend themselves. What is sad is that they believe in their minds that they are more than adequately ready and capable of defending themselves. With the lack of survival training, and the increase in theory, students are left incapable of efficient effective self-survival.

The only common citizen students who are left capable of survival are those who break through the lack of dojo discipline and inculcate into their lives the training methods and rigorous routines of the olden warriors, the samurai.

Regardless of today’s differences in society from feudal years gone by, and also regardless of the changes in the need of every day man’s survival- we must return to the proven methodology of samurai training, lest we deceive ourselves with the belief that we can truly “cut it” in a survival situation.

Consider this: If you were going to play in a baseball game, you wouldn’t train for it by throwing around a football all the time, would you? It is under this ideology that I find myself standing confused in most dojos. If the goal of martial arts is to survive by becoming first proficient and then masterful in the art of self defense and personal combat, why then do most training halls inculcate doctrine so contrary to the very nature of the subject being taught?

In past writings and musings I have stated that one should train in accordance with the focus of the school that they attend. The problem arises when students, and instructors before them, fail to separate the arenas of combat and competition. Sports do not work for survival, and survival- while it would ultimately win the match- will get you disqualified from the sporting match. Too many times students involve themselves in situations or are brought into circumstances of survival with only sport training. The outcome is typically less than desirable. Just as bad is the student with survival training that has not maintained the rigorous study and self discipline of personal training to ensure victory in a survival situation. To obtain victory we must cultivate and maintain a strict discipline in our lives. Mental training, physical ability, and emotional willpower are all important factors in this cultivation, and cannot be forgotten in the training hall or backyard gym when we turn out the lights. We must build within our training the spirit of discipline that the samurai embodied. So much so that we ingrain into the very fabric of our lives these principles:

Train hard all the time, never cease to demand excellence from your way of life.

Train for yourself! this is the only way you or others can benefit from your training.

In all things glean knowledge, even mistakes are victories if we learn from them.

Above all else- FOCUS, focus on one thing and do that thing to perfection, this will make the next thing you do that much better for the lessons you learned from the first thing.

We may not be samurai, but we are called as martial artists to have samurai hearts, to train our bodies with precision, and to be clean of character and pure of mind. To have discipline in all that we do, to defend the innocent, and to protect the weak from oppression and deceit. In order to answer this call, we have to WANT the workout in each class, we have to DEMAND excellence from ourselves, in class, and out of class. Demanding a thing is not to ask politely, it is not to say “I will accept a substitution”. A demand is unwavering in its wanting. Excellence is not called “okay”, or “pretty good”. The discipline to demand excellence from yourself each and every moment that you train in the martial arts will immediately impact the rest of your life. Self-Discipline is a domino effect. The next time you train, demand excellence from yourself and push over the first domino to living like a samurai.

Paladin Protection

(c) 2010 Paladin Asset Protection Group


Dealing with the Bully

26 Oct

It seems that the martial arts industry as a whole has turned its focus on the topic of bullies and the despicable art of bullying as of late. For whatever reason this seems to be a hot topic these days, and to tell the truth I wasn’t aware until just now that it ever left the spotlight. When you look on martial arts websites and pass by self defense school posters, you see buzzwords and slogans about overcoming the bullies in our lives. I guess commercially the “focus” of martial arts can change on any given day, but the focus of the martial arts as a whole is really always focused on one thing in my opinion. Survival.

We can dress our art up in whatever trappings of religion or philosophy that we want to. We can claim that we are “defensive”, or “protection oriented”, or even “reactionary in nature” but when the chips are down and roll call is underway, it’s all about survival. Sure the person in question who is trying to survive might be someone else, and you their defender, but even then, it’s all about survival.

So in this particular day and age, bullying is the menace that we train students to survive against. Of all the types of bullies out there I am certain that defense against the schoolyard bully and street punk are the two most commonly trained defense methods. Juvenile bullying is commonplace and has even led to suicide in recent news http://crime.about.com/b/2010/03/30/nine-charged-for-bullying-suicide-victim.htm This may be an extreme case but it certainly is a possibility for any scenario with bullying at it’s core.

We must train appropriately against our foe in any given scenario. A bully who wants your lunch money or cell phone or latest homework notes, is far different from the street punk who wants your shoes or Ipod or jacket, etc. The environment, intent, and circumstances are all different. Bullying must not be tolerated, it must be stamped out as quickly and firmly (yet kindly) as possible in children and teens that exhibit bullying tendencies in the classroom or school setting.

So when all the gravy is gone, what are the meat and potatoes so to speak of dealing with bullies? How should we handle being bullied? Certainly the Hollywood version of “punch him in the face until he cries” is not the solution we are seeking. Here is a basic road map to dealing with bullies, and aggressive individuals in general: Avoid. Talk. Resist. Overcome.

Avoidance without showing fear is the best way to deal with bullies, making sure that a person of authority is made aware of the bullying when it occurs. A great deal of “schoolyard” bullying comes from the bully’s inability to express emotions in a proper and healthy manner. In more recent news, social rejection has become almost as common a cause for bullying. People, especially teenagers and young adults, tend to fear what they do not understand or that they consider to be socially unacceptable by some cultural or social standard (whether real or imagined).

If avoidance does not work, which I guarantee it wont always work, talking is the next step in dealing with the bully. Entire textbooks can be- and are- written detailing how to handle verbal conflict, how to understand psychology, how to de-escalate a situation, etc. The short and dirty version of talking a bully down is to destroy his intent, this could include co-operation depending on the circumstances.

If bodily harm is unavoidable, a decision must be made. Do you resist or not? Do you give up your “lunch money” or is physical confrontation necessary? There is no one hundred percent right or wrong answer that can be given to this question. Every circumstance within each situation is different from the next in such a drastic way that you have to base your decisions on the morality of the moment. Will you get a punch in the jaw and a kick in the ribs regardless if you cooperate? Is your cell phone worth a black eye? Is stepping in to defend Johnny or Susie from bodily harm at the hands of four bullies going to offer a solution to the problem or will you simply become another victim, left on the pavement beaten and broken?

To overcome bullying you have to understand and practice several things. You must understand that overcoming is more than victory, it is survival after the conflict for both parties so that the incident doesn’t happen to others as well, this does not mean that lethal force is used to stop the bully. It simply means that the least amount of necessary force was used appropriately and effectively to end the conflict in question. You must also have the skills and means to overcome the conflict if it should go to the physical level. Being verbose and gifted with words is great, but if negotiations fail or never get off the ground, do you have the ability to defend yourself or others effectively? Finally you have to have a plan, you have to know your standards ahead of time. The outcome of warfare is most often decided before the battle has ever started. If you know and practice a set of standards and skills ahead of time, if you are prepared for conflict, you will inherently perform better in that conflict than someone who has to make snap decisions in the midst of combat.

You cant prepare for everything, If you prepare for one hundred attacks, the one hundred and first attack will kill you if you are not prepared in mind and body to make the decision that is needed. Dealing with bullies is a regrettable yet integrally large part of our educational society and workplace culture. Being prepared to deal with it when it happens is our best bet at overcoming and defeating this ignorant behavior.

As with all things, train hard, train well, and train with truth.


(c) 2010 Paladin Asset Protection Group


25 Oct

An interview with martial artist and EMT Chris Carkhuff regarding leadership in the martial arts of today.

PaladinProtection: “Good evening maam, how are you these days?”


PaladinProtection: “Great. Charisa, you have been practicing martial arts for how many years now?”

Chris:About 9 years”

PaladinProtection: “And you are now an EMT in the professional world correct?”

Chris: “Yes.”

PaladinProtection: “Real quick before we get to the bulk of the questions I would like to ask you this evening, how has your knowledge of the martial arts helped you in your profession?”

Chris:When I started martial arts I was a very shy 15 year old. Martial arts has boosted my confidence and boldness in pretty much every situation. whether it is dealing with a patient who is high and beating the life out of the cops and ems personnel or working on a mass casualty incident where everything is chaos and as the emergency responder I have to stay calm and collected.”

PaladinProtection: “What in your opinion makes the most significant difference between a good student and a great student?”

Chris:The amount of time and dedication they put into their discipline. And the amount of pride they take in what they do.”

PaladinProtection: “What defines a leader as a leader of excellence in the martial arts?”

Chris:Some one who knows what they’re doing, are able to do it, who cares about the people they teach, and is able to teach to the students learning style, not above doing any task and can serve others, not arrogant, can have fun but has actions appropriate to the situation, mature, wants to help others succeed, the list could go on and on. You have to be a cut above, a step ahead but able to help the under dog. They take the initiative.”

PaladinProtection:In your personal life, what from the martial arts has had the most beneficial impact on your daily living?”

Chris:This is a hard question there are so many things from martial arts that have been beneficial to my life. the ability to look a situation in the face and look like I’m keeping my cool and have everything together and under control. to not waver on subject matter that I think I’m right on.”

PaladinProtection:Can you describe what is better to desire when training in the martial arts: Quality or quantity? And why is this so?”

Chris:It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish, but more often than not I think quality is more desirable to focus on. Without the quality all the quantity goes to waste.”

PaladinProtection:What words of advice do you have for a student new to the martial arts?”

Chris:Be careful about which style you get in to, not all are as they seem and may not be what you want. People are more important than being a martial arts freak but you will get nothing out of the style unless you apply yourself to the discipline. Knowing, doing, practicing martial arts is worth it.”

PaladinProtection: “What feedback can you give the leaders of the martial arts world so that they may better understand where they can improve as trustees of the arts?”

Chris:Keep it real. nothing is worse than having people running around thinking they are able to fight and able to defend themselves when all they can do is compete and/or pass tests…I don’t want to be the emergency responder that has to pick up the pieces. That is not to say that there shouldn’t be competitions but they need to not deceive ppl into thinking they can actually fight and hold their own.”

PaladinProtection: ”What is the single most influential truth you have been taught by your time in the martial arts?”

Chris: “Looking confident goes a long way.”

PaladinProtection:How does a leader or teacher in the martial arts handle personal failure? Does this differ from a student’s way of handling failure?”

Chris:How a teacher/leader handles failure will differ greatly from person to person unless they have all had the same training on how to handle failure. Personal failure should not discourage the person but should bring a moment for the person to re-evaluate what is going on, why they failed, and what they can do better in the future. How a teacher/leader deals with personal failure may not always differ from a student. It will depend on the age of the person. As a whole martial art disciplines do not teach people how to deal with personal failure. the closest they come is when a student is competing, the student looses then the teacher may speak to the student about how to be a “good looser”. the teacher/leader’s ability to deal with and handle personal failure would/ should be better if it was taught in martial arts.”

PaladinProtection:As a student in the arts what would you say are some key characteristics of a leader in the martial arts that would make you want to follow their way and learn from them?”

Chris:They have to be knowledgeable, able to perform what they teach, able to teach, not arrogant, approachable.”

PaladinProtection:Can you list 3 dos and 3 don’t s regarding leadership in the martial arts?”

Chris:Do – practice what you teach, know what you’re teaching, have patience. don’t – be angry, arrogant, be above any task. And one more thing: Do- present yourself with confidence.”

PaladinProtection:Great input, thank you for the insight! any final thoughts or words of wisdom?”

Chris:Keep it real. be able to differentiate between competition martial arts and martial arts that will work in real life situations. Follow Jesus with all you are, He’s always able to watch your back. Martial arts is more than just fighting, it includes respect of yourself and other, know how to act in situations and how to keep yourself out a questionable situations.”

(c) 2010 Paladin Asset Protection Group


3 Oct

Realistic training is a belief I have lived and practiced by for many years, but lately I have been thinking about several aspects of “realistic as possible” training. Bottom line: I still think there is no replacement for it aside from actual experience. I have been to classes in the past where the Sifu or Sensei has touted realistic training as a way to harden our bodies, or condition our minds for the brutality of combat. Actually when you think of it, nothing but the brutality of combat (whether it be on the street or on the battlefield) really truly prepares us for the brutality of combat. And as far as hardening our bodies? Sorry, that’s what strength training and power conditioning are for.

So what does realistic training do for us? Are there drawbacks? Are there pitfalls? What can of worms have I opened with these questions? Realistic training is not just a way of acting or action. It is, and actually starts with a way of thinking. Martial arts has been around for what a few thousand years? Combat and violence is older than that, stretching all the way back through man’s history to the beginning of man himself. And so man has had a need to train himself up in the ways of violence for many centuries.

Through much of our history on Earth, man has only trained those who fight for a living, the military. But there have always been those who have had a need to train themselves, and within the last century “martial arts” as we know it today has emerged with a long and wildly varied history. In today’s society everyone can learn the martial arts, or some imitation of it. Outside of the merits of any one particular curriculum, what sets one student apart from the next is their dedication to training. I have had a saying for many years, “martial arts is like a piggy bank, you can only get out of it what you put into it” Dedication to training is putting your money in at a faster rate than the next guy. Realistic training is putting in quarters and dollars instead of the pennies and nickels that others contribute to their own personal martial arts piggy banks.

Realistic training sets our bodies expectations closer to actual combat than “halfhearted” or “unrealistic” training. If our Uke resists us with the appropriate force at our rank then we will perform the waza with the level of force appropriate. Otherwise the technique does not work and we must try again with greater force. Our bodies learn to perform at a certain level, and to defend themselves with a certain amount of force against certain attacks. Of course we are not trying to hurt our training partners, but we must not be afraid of hurting them. In street combat the assailant is trying to commit some evil act, they are not our training partner. We must be prepared to use the amount of force necessary to ensure the safety and survival of ourselves and others.

When thinking about conflict, do not think that you can step up the effort when needed, this wastes precious time with your mind caught in the “fog of war”, that shrouded “unreal” feeling that can occur during conflict. More often than not our bodies will take over in a single heartbeat and react with the muscle memory of practice. I hope for your sake and those you protect that the instincts and training your body falls back on are sufficient for your survival and safety. The fight or flight instinct will kick in and our training will come out of our piggy bank. Those dedicated to training realistically all of a sudden have a lot more to show for their effort than those who haphazardly trained with no care as to how they trained, or what they were teaching their bodies. So next time you train, evaluate how you are doing your waza, strikes, even kata. Investigate the spirit in which you train, and raise yourself to the next level. Demand Excellence from yourself in training, and your body will perform with excellence when the demand arises.

PaladinProtection 10/03/2010

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