The Martial Way …

Martial Arts … ‘martial’ pertaining to military. Art as in something to aspire to, a little bit special, but never quite master.

So what are military skills? Well apart from the obvious ones (everyone says fighting, no one ever says not fighting) there is discipline, respect, integrity, the ability to understand rules, the ability to challenge those rules (within reason) focus, positive mindset, acknowledging flaws, aid for others, voice an opinion, listen to an opinion, agree and acknowledge, disagree and accept, pride – without prejudice, and faith for those that have room in their lives for it.

I could go on … I think I will.

Kids turning up without belts. “But it’s not going to stop me training is it sensei? I mean I can still punch and kick can’t I sensei.”

Indeed Daniel-san! “But it’s part of your uniform, your uniform is part of the discipline, without the discipline how can there be art or pride or respect or focus.”

Grading forms not returned when required. “Oh I didn’t know sensei, I though it was next week. Can I grade next week, I know everything?”

Indeed Daniel-san. “The grading is for you, your advancement, your journey. It obviously isn’t that important, you obviously lack the discipline and self-esteem and respect for your sensei.”

Grading day. “No I haven’t got my syllabus folder or license, but I can still grade can’t I, I don’t really need them?”

Indeed Daniel-san. “Your grading form asks you to bring these items along and present them at your grading. The fact you’ve forgotten tells me that your focus is not where it is meant to be and, therefore you lack discipline.

You get where this is going?

If you just want your kids to ‘thug up’ and beat down anyone that challenges them in some way, then that is neither Martial nor Art.

What we teach is a package. A set of core principles that becomes a ‘life skill’ a coat of many colours with each colour representing who you are at any one moment in time: the pupil in school, the kid being threatened, the kid standing up for a friend, the kid running from a pack of neanderthals, the nervous kid in the exam room, the scared kid at the bus stop.

Have you got where this is going yet?

Your children are on a fantastic journey and part of that journey has brought them here, to me. But you need to ask yourself why have you brought them to me?

For them to learn how to protect themselves?
To learn a martial art?
To socialise and meet new freinds?
For exercise?
Baby sitting services?

I can tell you now every single one of those reasons, resonates with truth, but now they’re here, on this part of their exciting journey, they’re going to be exposed to stuff that I believe, they need to start fixing this screwed up world of ours.

Every kid that trains with me gets punched in the face, kicked on the legs, thrown on the floor. Because ultimately, even though we’ve not mentioned it, the underlying current driving this ‘agenda’ is a need to deal with violence.

I consider ‘non contact’ martial arts clubs horrendous and dangerous places to send kids. They create a false sense of security and, in many cases due to the quick belt advancement arrogance, not the kids of course, but the parents of those kids, they are the arrogant ones!

Kids need to be punched and kicked. They need to get up shake it off and punch back. Kids need to know that’s okay to walk away from a threat. It’s not cowardice, it’s self protection, kids need to know that its empowering to stand up for a friend, to speak their mind but also to understand when it’s prudent to retreat. Kids need to know that it’s okay to be scared and that they can use those feelings as fuel.

I’m a coach not an instructor. Your kids are encouraged to grow and fulfill their potential in preparation for the next stage of their journey.

Coaching, as opposed to instructing, encourages thought, reflection, participation, self analysis and builds self-esteem.

This is all the stuff that doesn’t fit the martial arts leaflet blurb.
Telling parents that their kids will get punched and kicked makes them bluff and shake their heads while spluttering:

“No,no,no! I couldn’t allow that, far too violent.”

“And you’re talking to me because ….?”

“I want them to learn how to protect themselves.”

“How many stupid pills are you on a day?”

Our classes have hidden gold, treasures that I encourage the kids to seek out for themselves. Some of these treasures like compassion are buried within them, others they find leaking from the mindsets of others – not just the coach.

So where is this going?

To be honest I don’t know, I think I got side tracked, but, I tell you what, having read this in the light of my recent price increases I have to conclude that I am outstanding value for money:)