Speak Up!- Podcast for Matured Martial Artists

I had a great pleasure to talk with Sensei Matt Jardin about mental health, martial arts and brain.

Matt honoured me to be his first guest, I have thoroughly enjoyed this conversation, Matt has the gift to make you instantly welcomed and comfortable.

Please have a look at our conversation below.

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About the author: Les Bubka is an experienced martial artist, personal trainer and therapist who specialises in posture, mobility and Karate.  Les works with a wide variety of clients including martial artists and athletes as well as those suffering with postural dysfunction or those who wish to improve their fitness and wellbeing

I hit Sensei !

A few recent events and conversations at the dojo inspired me to write this article.

The first event was during a sparring session when one of my students delivered a lovely, spot on, spinning back fist that nearly took my head off. The second was during another sparring session where I had a good rear naked choke on a student. As he was doing a good job of getting out from it I allowed him to escape.

 

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I didn’t think that either of these situations were unusual until we started to chat about it afterwards. I have to mention here that many of my students are already experienced martial artists and so have backgrounds of training and gaining achievements in other clubs.

 

What was surprising for me was their reaction to these events. In the first instance, after this lovely back fist my student got scared. I was puzzled, why would she be afraid? So I asked “what’s wrong?” She replied “I’m worried that now you’ll punish me like my old sensei did.” I replied “why would I punish you? I’m congratulating you as you delivered a perfect shot at the right time, it was superb.” She asked me if I was not embarrassed that a student had hit me in front of the rest of the class? Well we’ll get to that a bit later.

 

The second situation was similar. The student had a previous background in martial arts and he was puzzled, asking why didn’t I finish him? I had the opportunity to do so. His previous teacher had always done that, showing him that he was a lesser fighter than the teacher.

DSC_0856 - CopyI don’t attempt to criticise other instructors as everyone has their own methodology of teaching. My view on this is that as a coach I try to point out the best in my students, and the way to do this is to support, motivate, and praise them but to also be honest. If they do something incorrectly I let them know. If something is done properly they are always acknowledged. This applies to all training aspects from kihon to sparring. As a coach I have to leave my ego outside of the dojo for the benefit of my students.

 

My approach is to get the best out of students. When I see that they have an opportunity to execute a correct technique no matter if it’s a strike, kick, lock or choke, I allow them. It doesn’t make me weak or embarrassed and gives motivation to my students that they can get me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not easing off but I make it possible with effort to achieve. Always making sure that I praise them for their achievement. I don’t get upset if a student, regardless of their grade, will catch me with a great punch and I don’t need to get revenge or punish them. I enjoy their progression as it shows me that I have taught them correctly.

 

As someone who suffers with anxiety, this is one of the few areas that I feel confident that I know my value and I don’t feel embarrassed or a lesser man if a girl with a white belt will choke me out, she simply did a good technique.

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This approach builds trust between a coach and a student. Students know that no matter what they will be treated with respect, building the right behaviour model when they spar with someone else in my dojo. No one is trying to show superiority and all of the students and instructors respect each other. This attitude makes me proud to be a part of a great team of like minded people.

 

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About the author: Les Bubka is an experienced martial artist, personal trainer and therapist who specialises in posture, mobility and Karate.  Les works with a wide variety of clients including martial artists and athletes as well as those suffering with postural dysfunction or those who wish to improve their fitness and wellbeing

Karate Confirmation Bias

Browsing through the vast amount of articles, clips and conversations on forums and Facebook groups about martial arts I have noticed that a significant amount of the material covered is influenced by confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias is a fault in our thinking process. It makes us find and accept favourable information to confirm our pre-existing beliefs. Usually it is a belief that our [insert your style or system here] of martial art is superior to all of the others.

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We have three major camps trying to discredit others – the traditional camp, the self defence / combat camp and the sport camp. There are as well cross overs and mixes between these camps all claiming that their stuff is the best. I have noticed only a handful of people who use critical thinking and accept facts as they are and do not try to stretch them to fit a pre-existing belief.

Martial artists display this behaviour when they research or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The bias is stronger for desired outcomes, emotionally loaded issues and for deep beliefs.

All of the camps tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their techniques or methodology. For example, selective biased searching, interpretation and memory have been used to explain opposing views and belief perseverance even when evidence for them is shown not to be true.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Due to the fact that we all have a similar physique – two arms and legs, there are a lot of similarities between martial arts. Yet  instead of finding a common ground practitioners often prefer to close their mind and look for “evidence” to support their superiority. In response to evidence provided to the contrary they discard given information. “I don’t trust books.” “I have never seen it happen therefore it does not exist.” “My master said this and that…”

New Microsoft PowerPoint PresentationI’m fortunate that at the beginning of my career in martial arts my teachers introduced us students to the concept of keeping an open mind and exploring other styles. Encouraging us to test, search and implement evidence from different martial arts. This has resulted in modifications in my Karate, where I’m constantly searching for better ways and implementing them. These modifications have come about as a result of influences from Wrestling, BJJ (sports camp) to law enforcement (combat camp) and obviously Karate (traditional camp) to improve my own efficacy.

I don’t see differences between martial artists but commonality and prefer to think about us as one Tribe rather than separate camps fighting each other.

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About the author: Les Bubka is an experienced martial artist, personal trainer and therapist who specialises in posture, mobility and Karate.  Les works with a wide variety of clients including martial artists and athletes as well as those suffering with postural dysfunction or those who wish to improve their fitness and wellbeing

Bigger and Stronger Opponent

HI all
 
In this clip I address this comment
 
“I prefer to see usage of technic on a bigger and stronger opponent, because it will be the case on street”
 
Is it really always bigger and stronger attacker? Do we have to train with bigger partner in order to get ready for fight?
 

 

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About the author: Les Bubka is an experienced martial artist, personal trainer and therapist who specialises in posture, mobility and Karate.  Les works with a wide variety of clients including martial artists and athletes as well as those suffering with postural dysfunction or those who wish to improve their fitness and wellbeing

From Kata to Fighting

 

60242248_2284265311811678_1967447573958492160_o.jpgKata (form) – Karate shadow boxing. The mention of Kata evokes all sorts of emotions in people. From passion to laughter everyone has an opinion ranging from a functional self defence training tool to merely a comical dance performed by kids in pyjamas. Unfortunately over the years this picture of a dance has been painted by an ignorance of Karate teachers. This has led to the display of unrealistic applications for the moves within the forms with a total disregard for anatomy, physiology and common sense. As a result we see demonstrations of techniques out of this world which have no real chance of working

Kata is an essential part of the Karate. Most masters agree that the pure essence of Karate are its forms, but forms that are understood and studied not just copied and mindlessly repeated.

“Like textbooks to a student or tactical exercises to a solider, kata are the most important element of Karate.” Gichin Funakoshi

“In karate, the most important thing is kata. Into the kata of karate are woven every  manner of attack and defense technique. Therefore, kata must be practiced properly, with a  good understanding of their bunkai meaning.”  Kenwa Mabuni

For me kata must be functional, not necessarily looking very crisp with structured timings. The latter attributes are great for sport competition and aesthetics, but when I look at that type of performance I can see that often performers don’t know why they do all of the moves within the given form. It is a very athletic and eye pleasing performance but function is left behind.Kanku_kata

“Never be shackled by the rituals of kata but instead move freely according to the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.”Nakasone 

I value more a kata where I can see that the person executing it knows why he does what he does. The movement may not be so precise but it screams that I’m doing ‘this’ now.

“We must be careful to not overlook the fact that kata, and the body positions that comprises them , are just templates of sort; it is their application in combat which needs to be mastered.” Choki Motobu

At my club beginners don’t start with learning the form pattern, they are introduced to the principles and partner work along side the kata. In my experience it is easier for students to learn a form if they understand what they are doing.

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When students grasp the basic concepts then we can focus on technical aspects of a kata and polishing technique. The next step is to introduce partner work with little resistance, so the practitioner can find the right technical pathway to make a technique work. When this is achieved we add another layer whereby the compliance is decreased, but trainees are sticking to the structure of one attack one defence. In this way they have a basis of understanding ingrained for an application of an element of a kata and they can follow closely the kata’s path.

UntitledEvolving on from a low level of resistance we move on to pressure testing where a student will still stay with a given application but wears protective gear and resistance is applied. There is no continuity after the initial attack, students focus on one given attribute and try to make it work under pressure. The next step is full interaction with a live resisting opponent who is allowed to fight back. The “defender” at this stage is still trying to make the chosen application work. The last stage of this learning is a free work where one partner is the attacker and the other is defender. The defender has the kata available to use and can use freely parts of the form depending on the need in the moment.  For example he can choose to start with an opening section moving on to the last part of the kata as circumstances change and follow that with the middle part of the form if necessary.

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The final stage is sparring – not the sport style of sparring but starting from a dispute and then one partner decides to attack. The defenders target is to fight back and try to use the kata’s tools to achieve an opportunity to escape or disable the opponent’s ability or will to attack. In this stage we don’t worry about which kata part is used or joined together if it’s effective.

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Les Bubka

About the author: Les Bubka is an experienced martial artist, personal trainer and therapist who specialises in posture, mobility and Karate.  Les works with a wide variety of clients including martial artists and athletes as well as those suffering with postural dysfunction or those who wish to improve their fitness and wellbeing

Wrist Grab Defence – Why bother?

Hi all

On one of my videos someone posted this comment,

“Can anyone post applications where it is not someone grabbing the wrist..this is a very clear and well executed video… I have never known someone to grab the wrist …but as I say excellent and clear thanks you”

I made a shot clip explaining my position on this subject, do you agree with me or in fact there is no point teaching defence agaist wrist grabs?

Be yourself

A lot of people that I teach try really hard to be someone else.  In their eyes they should be like pop or film stars or like fitness models.  I too have been guilty of this, striving towards and pretending to be a better version of myself.  Unfortunately this way of thinking leads to nothing good as we will always have this internal battle between our true self and the false projection.  You will never know what potential you may have until you release your true you.  Since I stopped worrying about who I wanted to be and started to be the person that I truly am my life has blossomed.  I do what I love, I’m with who I love and I’m enjoying life.  Most importantly my life has started to come together and I’m successful, perhaps not in the eyes of others, but in my own, which makes me an incredibly lucky man.  I like this quote by Oscar Wilde a lot:

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Here is a fable about a ‘cracked pot’ which describes how we are shortsighted and not seeing our true potential and purpose.

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“A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. “Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?” “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it somewhat. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Be yourself no matter what flaws you may think you have, others might take them as your most valued qualities.

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About the author: Les Bubka is an experienced martial artist, personal trainer and therapist who specialises in posture, mobility and Karate.  Les works with a wide variety of clients including martial artists and athletes as well as those suffering with postural dysfunction or those who wish to improve their fitness and wellbeing.