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

Teaching Children To Meditate

Teaching children to meditate. Children have to be taught in a different way to adults, it should be threaded through their normal training. To ask them to just sit or stand still without proper instruction will make them uncomfortable and not want to do it. Mindfulness is taught through posture and breath to induce calm and included in all slower technical learning by also getting them to focus on one aspect of the movement. This way it becomes a normal aspect of their training. Children can sit or lay down in good posture and breathe naturally but a bit more … Continue reading Teaching Children To Meditate