Insights and Reflections

The New Martial Arts Mystique (Martial Arts Scepticism Series)

The New Martial Arts Mystique (Martial Arts Scepticism Series)

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”  Albert Einstein   A Martial Arts Blind Spot?   Violence is a serious business. Whether you face it in a full contact combat sport or in the form of an assault, the margins for error are often slim. Since the periodic demystification of the martial arts in the western world[i] whole subcultures supporting modern […]

Continue Reading

The Martial “Art”

art2

“All art is useless” – Oscar Wilde If you are involved long enough in martial arts you will inevitably arrive at the game of semantics known as “Define a martial art”. This can become a heated philosophical discussion or a rapid nerdy descent into pedantry. The dictionary definition for martial arts, which usually labels them as systems of fighting from the Far East, is not helpful in deciding this one either. The prolific martial arts writer and historian, Robert W. […]

Continue Reading

Trick or Treat? – Self-Protection Education

Trick or Treat? - Self-Protection Education

Halloween is not the easiest of events to connect to self-protection or the martial arts. This is despite some wonderful efforts by colleagues of mine who have put forward advice dealing with the "Zombie Apocolypse". Neverthless I did write something regarding fear for my non-martial arts blog, where I wrote a section regarding self-protection, "Paint it a Blacker Shade of Dark". This year I would like to briefly touch on the customaray practice of "trick-or-treating" and how it flags up […]

Continue Reading

Respect: How Can it Benefit Self-Protection?

Enhanced by Zemanta

“Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that's real power.” –          Clint Eastwood On a good day I will be able to ask my junior martial arts class what our club’s first tenet is and a sea of eager hands will shoot up.  Some – those who haven’t quite got to grips with our fourth tenet of discipline – will blurt out the answer: “Respect!” And so it is.  But […]

Continue Reading

The Lust for Failure? 2007

Cover of "Little Miss Sunshine [Blu-ray]&...

Cover of Little Miss Sunshine [Blu-ray] "Losing: it’s like winning, but with more experience." – Anon 2013 Introduction Below is an article I wrote back in 2007 long before I started making a deeper study into the nature of failure and mistakes. That particular journey moved me more into scepticism and critical thinking, as well as a willingness to embrace the benefits of accepting personal errors. Since writing this piece I read the brilliant "Mistakes were Made (but not by […]

Continue Reading

Women-Only Self-Protection: A Defence

Enhanced by Zemanta

Statistics seem to consecutively show that women are and always have been less likely to be victims of violence than men. And yet surveys also consecutively show that women fear violence far more than men. There is clearly something amiss here. The first statement could be set against the point that most violent and/or sexual offences against women go unreported. It is a valid point and one that should never be ignored, but I would still argue that most people […]

Continue Reading

What should be and what is: Long Term and Short Term Self-Protection

What should be and what is: Long Term and Short Term Self-Protection

“Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” –T.S. Eliot In 1992 the prosecutor for the trial that saw former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson convicted of the rape of beauty contestant Desiree Washington asked the assembled jurors a simple question: Did a man have the right to rape a woman who, upon their invitation, came to their hotel room at two o’clock in the morning?  Years later supporters of Tyson would continue to put a type of red herring logical fallacy […]

Continue Reading

Kiai: The Fading Cry of the Martial Artist

Small scream

Small scream (Photo credit: Wikipedia) "Kiai is often thought of as merely being a shout, but this is not correct. Kiai is the convergence of all your energies at a single instant that ensures your goal is attained." – Iain Abernethy "Bunkai-Jutsu" Perhaps one of the most neglected natural martial arts weapon is the voice. It appears to be little more than a ritual in most dojos, dojangs, kwoons or gyms of today. The power shout or "Kiai" in Japanese, […]

Continue Reading

Martial Arts Scepticism: We Art What We Eat?

English: John Harvey Kellogg

“Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.” – Henry Kissinger   I remember, back in the 1980s, when caffeine was bad for you. A commercial for a brand of decaffeinated coffee, called “Care Haag”, linked the consummation of caffeine to an unhealthy lifestyle. How times have changed. Today caffeine seems to be added to everything. A whole new industry in “energy drinks” has taken off with individual beverages containing several times more caffeine than […]

Continue Reading

Foundation Conditioning Part 1: The Four Pillars of Strength

Enhanced by Zemanta

*This is the first part of a series of articles on basic conditioning for martial arts. For the introduction to the series click here Introduction "I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds" –Henry Rollins. I was a teenager waiting to fight at a taekwondo tournament when I heard a fellow student grumble, “This isn’t right, […]

Continue Reading

A Short Note About Bullying

Enhanced by Zemanta

The anxiety a child faces when entering a secondary school for the first time is well known. Books upon books have been written discussing this key moment in the lives of young people. The majority of new children are on the bottom rung of the age ladder, ignorant of the new institution's social and working structure and awed by its size in comparison to their primary school. This all makes them prime candidates for bullying. Therefore, it is small wonder […]

Continue Reading

Foundation Conditioning Introduction

Enhanced by Zemanta

“There's no such thing as tough. There's trained and untrained. Which one are you?” – Denzel Washington as John Creasy in Man on Fire When I interviewed Straight Blast Gym UK representative Karl Tanswell back in 2006 about his views on martial arts I posed the question “What is the most neglected part of martial arts training?” This was part of a general a questionnaire I used to research an intentionally polemic book on the truth about the history and […]

Continue Reading

Me versus Me: A Short Meditation on Training Solo

Enhanced by Zemanta

I walk into the old barn. One side, the side where my old kick bag hangs, is part occupied by hardy animals. The other side, the side where my multi-gym stands, is a makeshift garage. The bag was a Christmas gift I received in 1993. It has hung in several different places, but it has remained in its current location for the longest period of time. It now hangs from a ton strap, which enables me to climb the bag […]

Continue Reading

That Which Does not Kill us… A Martial Arts (and Media) Ramble

Julius the actual hyena who bit me in his most famous role in a Government information commercial on car crime.

“If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem.  Everything else is inconvenience.”  – Robert Fulghum One moment I had hold of the reins and the next I was tumbling through the air. All my training, all those constant repetitions of break-falling and rolling left me for a split second. Raw instinct took over and my left arm shot out to take the impact. There was a […]

Continue Reading

The Calypso Effect

Enhanced by Zemanta

  “People, like nails, lose their effectiveness when they lose direction and begin to bend.” –        Walter Savage Landor Staying on-course is not an easy task for a martial arts cross-trainer.  Today more visible and accessible options are on offer than they were in previous times. The martial arts industry has evolved alongside more aggressive marketing tactics and the growth of multi-media. A modern martial arts school has learnt the advantages of offering more programmes to it students rather than […]

Continue Reading

The Calypso Effect

calypso

“People, like nails, lose their effectiveness when they lose direction and begin to bend.” –        Walter Savage Landor Staying on-course is not an easy task for a martial arts cross-trainer.  Today more visible and accessible options are on offer than they were in previous times. The martial arts industry has evolved alongside more aggressive marketing tactics and the growth of multi-media. A modern martial arts school has learnt the advantages of offering more programmes to it students rather than closing […]

Continue Reading