Posts Tagged ‘Awareness’

A Time for Self-Defense

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Self-Defense,Tags: , , ,
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In good times people don’t think about bad things but as times become more uncertain people think about planning for the possibility that things will get worse.  With apparent turmoil in almost every aspect of our lives, people have begun to think about and even prepare for the worst.

With a worsening economy, perceived threats to our freedom, rising religious extremism, a perceived demoralization of our populous, many are led to conclude that a more dangerous future might await us.  Right or wrong we as a society seem more aware of the dangerous world we live in and our need to prepare for the worst so as to avoid it.  An ounce of prevention type of reaction…  As a result self-defense sales of goods and services have soared in recent years.  This increase supports the reality that people feel they may need to defend themselves due to ever increasing dangers.

While self-defense activists applaud this trend, there is a significant responsibility for the average student that I don’t feel is being properly communicated.  Too many students come in for a short self-defense class and leave pumped and feeling invincible. Or students that purchase a self-defense tool like mace, pepper-spray, a gun or other self-defense tool with little or no training.  Notice I called these items “tools” and not weapons, because while we classify them as weapons that classification leads to the students misconception and thereby increases their danger.  Most people think of a weapon as something to be afraid of, which it is.  But how frightening is a pair of nunchakus in the hands of an amateur?  Honestly they are more of a danger to the amateur then they are an aid!  Honest, law-abiding people assume that everyone shares their fear of the weapon they wield; whether that is their self-defense skills or karate skills or their self-defense tool makes no matter.  How many movies have we seen where the good guy warns the bad guys that he/she know karate?  How often are the bad guys even fazed by this fact?  The reason, they have accepted that their chosen profession, being a bad guy, comes with the risk of injury.  I have seen it with inexperienced police officers, who assuming because they wear a badge that people will respect it and thereby do as told.  When they face someone who isn’t impressed with that little shield they carry, their perception of power can and does quickly evaporate.  Unfortunately many officers, like the honest, law-abiding citizen, learn the harsh reality of self-defense: vigilance and control.

It is a good thing that people are taking a more proactive approach to self-defense but the instructors must help the students understand that self-defense is a skill that requires practice and a state of mind.  Self-defense is not something you learn about and then put on the shelf until you need it.  If that is your approach then you have a false confidence.  Even the most seasoned and skilled fighter who is out of practice is rusty and thus vulnerable.  In the Rocky movies, Rocky doesn’t simply get back in the ring, he trains and prepares himself.  The difference is that Rocky knew when he was going to face danger.  For the honest, law-abiding citizen that eventuality is very abstract.  When I was growing up it was very unusual to meet someone who had *never* been in a fight.  Today it is unusual for me to meet a student who has ever been in a fight.  While some may feel that is a testament to our advanced civilization, (I have another article coming up about that topic), it leaves most ill prepared to ever face a conflict.  Anyone that has been in a fight and been hit, remembers that first hit they took, you really do see stars!!

How do we learn to defend ourselves?  Must a student enroll for life to stay sharp?  Unfortunately, No.  Must a student attain his/her Black Belt to have adequate skills?  Unfortunately, No again.  The student must understand that taking responsibility for their self-defense carries significant responsibilities as well.  The responsible self-defense student will train regularly to become familiar and comfortable with their chosen techniques, style or tool.  For most this is the fun part of ‘practicing’ self-defense.

Students can practice their skills all the time, staying aware and looking for the pitfalls that potentially await them.  In doing so this heightens their awareness and keeps them ready.  But doing this without practice of the physical skills is almost pointless as you will be aware of your dangers but unable to deal with them.  That is like owning a gun but keeping it in a locked safe in the basement, not much good if you are in your room upstairs when you need it.  Without practice you will find yourself in an ‘if only’ moment of dread.

This begs the question of adequate practice, what is it and how can it help you prepare?  That is a hard question and can vary from person to person.  My simplest answer is, you want to practice in an environment that is constantly challenging you to do better, that means it shouldn’t feel comfortably safe, but it should be comfortably safe…  I hold to the precept that students should take at least one refresher course once a year as long as they are practicing with a friend or loved-one throughout the year.

Without practice you will be ill prepared despite the most elaborate preparations.  Remember that physical practice is only about half of the battle, you have to be mentally prepared to defend yourself.  Practicing coupled with vigilance in your awareness of your surroundings will help to calm your mind in the event of a real need to defend yourself.  Vigilance and control are the keys to self-defense, vigilance in your practice and awareness, control of your body and mind.  Self-defense is something everyone should be involved in, young and old alike, it leads to respectful confidence (as opposed to false confidence) and a peace of mind that you no matter the outcome you have done your best.  No man is truly old until he knows regret, don’t regret your lack of preparation, learn to defend yourself today!

After all you don’t want this to be you when your loved one’s are depending on you…do you?

Frozen People Skills

ktadmin Posted in Fun Stuff, Training notes, Video,Tags: , , ,
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This is an interesting experiment/prank that was carried out in Grand Central Station in New York City. 207 people froze for 5 minutes and held their position without moving or outward reaction to their surroundings. At least one of the frozen people was poked by someone trying to figure this out. So why is this of interest to a Martial Artist? For one it is a great display of self-control! Self-control is one of the cornerstones of Martial Arts training, without it we stand little chance of success. Yet many practitioners give it little attention. One drill I have done with my students is to have them freeze on command when practising. This can be done with almost any form including sparring and can be a great instructional tool. This helps the student learn to control their motor functions for instant response. Once frozen it is trivial for you to point out any mistakes in form but more importantly it is easy for the student to “see” their own mistakes. To often their is a mental gap between what we are told and what we preceive to be the truth, freeze training can help bridge that gap. Combine with the lesson of fine motor skill control and perfection of form, freeze training is a win-win combination! For fun though watch the video, perhaps you will think of some other uses for freeze training, regardless it is amusing!

There is another lesson here that deals with how people react to behavior they do not expect. In the video I don’t see anyone calling the police or actively attempting to figure out why the people aren’t moving. Personally I can think of a few things I would have tried, like going through one of their purses or pulling out someone’s wallet!! If they didn’t move then I’d have to seriously consider calling the authorities as then I’d have something concrete to give them! It would have been interesting to see the reaction of one of the frozen people to this type of reaction, since that is something they wouldn’t expect! In any situation doing what isn’t expected is usually a good thing because it can often give you enough of an advantage to either win or escape. Just a thought…

Is it a Family Thing?

Sensei Posted in Entertainment, OffTopic, Profiles,Tags: , , ,
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So it’s Saturday and I decided to do talk about something different…Nicole Saba. Now chances are that you have no idea who Nicole Saba is, honestly neither did I until a random search on my surname, Saba. But the more I read the more interested I became, especially since there is a remote chance we could be related. So who is Nicole Saba?Nicole Saba is a very talented Lebanese singer and actress. Her most recent album was released in 2004 and has been well received. While I have not found an English version of the album the single I heard, Bahebak Awy, was great and would easily suggest everyone take a listen. While her work seems to only be for sale in Arab nations I bet an English version would do well here in the West. Most recently, in November of 2005, Nicole performed with the rock band Scorpions while on tour in Doha, Qatar. Nicole’s performance before the 4,000 people in attendance from around the region was described as spectacular! Nicole has expressed her honor to take part in such an event, which she considers a chance of a lifetime, especially the fact that she sang with such a popular band. Nicole was scheduled to accompany them on their tour for three more stops and perform a duet with the band.

As an actress her career is short but distinguished with a 2003 release of a very successful film “Al Tajruba Al Denmarkia” (A Dutch Experience). Nicole is looking to expand her film audience beyond the Arab nations and is rumored to be in talks to co-star along side well know American actress, Demi Moore. Nicole confirmed this rumor but stated that the project has been slightly postponed due to the current conditions in Lebanon. In the mean time she has been cast on a few popular Arab Television shows. Most of her career activity is centered in Egypt which prompted her to shift her career to Cairo. The singer bought an apartment in Al Maadi district, and plans to reside there with her mother on a permanent basis. Nicole noted she will occasionally visit Beirut but feels living in Egypt is more suitable for her career, since most of her recording takes place in Cairo along with her numerous roles in different Egyptian movies.

Now much of the information available about Nicole is in the form of press releases so it doesn’t go very deep. However what I did find indicates that Nicole has not had an easy road to success. Referring to some recent contract issues she is facing one article states “Despite the difficulties Nicole encountered at the beginning of her career, she has overcome the obstacles and risen to the top.”. Also in January her former Manager filed charges against her which could bar her from performing in Egypt, where she now lives. But if she is a Saba she will fight on and eventually prevail! To often people only remember the successes of celebrities and forget the problems and challenges they faced on their way to success. We must not forget this lesson because those who fail to handle the challenges are never remembered and there in lies the lesson. Be strong with a Budo (justice) spirit and never give up. I am sure Nicole will prevail become more successful because of her experiences, positive and negative.

So who is Nicole Saba? She sounds like someone who knows what she wants and who has overcome many obstacles, a very dynamic woman! The more I read about Nicole the more I think we probably share some ancestral blood-line, we are both very motivated and have overcome numerous obstacles to get where we are… I seriously doubt we are related but it would be kind of neat if we are! Well Nicole Saba, if you are reading this thank you for the great song and hopefully we will hear or see more of you in the West. And if you make it to America, please feel free to stop by for dinner with me and my family! Either way I have sent Nicole a message and hope to hear from her soon. Until then let’s all wish her the best in life and career…after all her and I could be related!

Ninja Billy’s – Impromptu lesson

Sensei Posted in Entertainment, For Kids, Fun Stuff,Tags: , ,
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Impromptu Lesson