How To Learn

When I learned my martial arts in the 70’s and 80’s I went to lessons, took a notebook and took notes in my own way. When I went home the notebook went up on the mantelpiece and I worked from there, it was very personal and taught me how to learn. When I went back for my next lesson my instructor expected me to have practised and learned what we did last time. IMO it’s still the best way to progress. Nowadays we produce the notes for the students and videos that can be used on any device, the problem … Continue reading How To Learn

Shedding Skins

Shedding skins As you train, meditate and grow, it’s inevitable that you will leave some family and friends behind. When you don’t fulfil their expectations and they don’t get what they want from you, they can become bitter, disappointed and accuse you of changing, if they aren’t big enough to accommodate the ‘new you’ a parting of the ways is inevitable. You will reach a point that the relationship becomes toxic for both of you and no reasonable compromise can be reached, don’t be afraid to let go because it’s best for all concerned, sometimes we have to shed our … Continue reading Shedding Skins

Lose Anxiety

All your life you have believed that you were born into this world and have to conquer everything around you. You have to work hard to become successful and highly regarded by all those around you. The more qualifications and visible skills you acquire, the career you forge, the more money you make, the better house and car you have all form a part of who you are no how you are judged. As this structure breaks down and many people are suffering from anxiety and depression, others are turning to an alternative way both through choice and necessity. You … Continue reading Lose Anxiety

Setting The Right Goals

Looking at the conversations on FB this morning it struck me that many people are perfectly happy learning and teaching a martial art at a superficial level and I guess that’s the same as any other art or sport and creates a gateway and introduction for many people, but what happens when you want to go deeper? Firstly you have to decide your goals as deeper can be anything from Buddhist priest to street fighter, so the search for deeper instruction becomes the major difficulty. I could never find THE instructor I needed so had to got to various sources … Continue reading Setting The Right Goals

I’m not normal, I acknowledge that. I’m out of synch with what is accepted as ’normality’. I don’t have to try to think outside of the box, I have a problem understanding the logic of inside of it. I have never related to our culture, was a very troubled person until I discovered the intelligent analysis of Buddhism and Asian philosophy. It didn’t bring me to normality but helped me to understand that my cursed mind in our culture was also a gift that has helped me to share my ‘outside the box’ thinking with others who feel out of … Continue reading

Don’t Waste Your Time Training

Sometimes I wonder how much energy and time have I wasted on pointless exercise. All that mindless running, weight training, push-ups, sit ups, ‘warmup’ exercises and sparring that burned valuable energy, wasted time and did nothing to direct me where I needed to go. You can’t put an old head on young shoulders but with hindsight I could have done things in a far more intelligent fashion. A lot of ‘traditional training’ had so many repetions of useless movement and the blind ignorance of teaching ‘in the way my instructors taught’. Training should have a far more intelligent, structured approach … Continue reading Don’t Waste Your Time Training

Cultural Indoctrination

When you’re young your body can consume your soul. People notice your body, you’re proud of it and carry it in that way. You train it, dress it, preen it people notice and you are flattered by their attention. You only exist in the eyes of others and they notice you. Social media ‘selfies’ bear this out.  The gym pics, the 6 pack pics, the bathroom selfies, the desperate need to be noticed, how you look on the outside is who you are. Martial Arts clubs pander to this, meditation and a deeper, holistic health are pushed to the side … Continue reading Cultural Indoctrination

Instructor’s Eye

You think your instructors can’t see behind your BS, your excuses, your mask… but the truth is they can see right into your soul. It’s just polite for the instructor to not reveal what they see, so they smile patiently as they listen to the excuses, the distractions and only help or reveal what they see when appropriate. It’s up to the student to tread the path, to put in the time and effort, to sort out their life and emotions, an instructor has to wait until the time is right to put in their bit. But don’t think for … Continue reading Instructor’s Eye

A Successful Martial Arts Coach

After 50 years in the martial arts and going through various incarnations of successfully teaching various arts, being one of the first professional instructors and starting one of the first full time centres, growing old and having to use others to teach many classes I’ve learned a bit about teaching and running a full time centre. What’s the biggest secret of success? It’s you. The coach. This point is often glossed over with ‘continued professional development’ like gathering certificates, doing courses, seminars and the like, but neglects the most important part. You need depth, the part that can’t be easily … Continue reading A Successful Martial Arts Coach

Being Different

I was considered stupid right up until my mid 20’s. I just couldn’t get on with the way our education system and culture worked and was therefore considered lazy and disruptive, failed all my school exams and was kicked out into a succession of low paid jobs ending up in the security world not even having read a book. When I saw Japanese writing the pictatorial aspect of it strangely appealed to me. When Japanese karate came to the UK the zen ‘life and death’ simplicity also appealed dragging me in. Karate made me more violent but I had found … Continue reading Being Different