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Mental Training in the Martial Arts

I was less than a year old.  My parents were driving myself and my twin brother, Hank, to our first shoot for Ghostbusters 2.  They were late, which I would come to find out was standard operating procedure.  I was told I threw up when we got there, my parents thought it must have been the car ride, and I was cleaned up and began shooting. Years later I am being bullied in elementary school, I am having a hard time talking, I am so mad I can’t even get a word out.  I want to, but my voice is shaking.  Not something you want to happen when you are staring down a bully.  The difference was it wasn’t from fear, it was from rage.  But it isn’t much different, anger or fear, if you can’t control it, it isn’t going to help you in any conflict. I’m at my first martial arts tournament, I am sick to my stomach nervous, I head to the bathroom before my event.  I chuck my breakfast into the toilet reverse osmosis style.  I noticed though, I felt better.  All but momentarily.  I went down and ended up placing at my first event.  Progress, I think.  Unfortunately you can’t time throwing up perfectly every time. So began my quest to try and learn how to better control my emotions.  I’ve read so many books on the topic, Highly Sensitive People, The Art of Mental Training, Radical Acceptance, The Book of Five Rings, and numerous mindfulness books.  All in hopes of better controlling the emotions I get in the moment.  I don’t seem to...

Would you Never Block?

There are lots of different martial arts styles out there.  In 4S Ranch alone, you have BJJ, Krav Maga, Karate, Shotokan, Muay Thai, Kempo, the list goes on.  One thing I have never quite heard of before, however, is the idea of not blocking.  One of my students sent me the video below from a seemingly police officer/military guy explaining that he would never block away from his body.  He covers by using his arms to absorb the blow, but he never does a block away from his body. Check it out: He explains in the video that you should be closing distance and getting to a dominate position on someone, that blocking wastes time and that professional fighters never block with their arm away from their body.  I agree with a lot of this, getting a dominate position is smart.  Closing the distance makes sense as long as you know what to do from there.   But like everything in the martial arts, it is situational. In Kajukenbo every block is treated as a strike.  Most blocks happen as a result of the person throwing another punch, rather than wasting time trying to block everything like mentioned in the video, your training to respond with something that will cross the center line but also protect you if they turn.  So that is one use for blocking that I would say is important to note, all blocks, other than parry’s are strikes.  He also says parries aren’t useful, and yet the same professional fighters he notes before use them all the time. Absorbing is a useful way of blocking. ...

5 Signs you are Training too Hard!

I have been training for this amateur fight since May.  I thought I was going to be fighting in June but that was cancelled.  So I have been maintaining a weight lower than I am used to(usually clocking in around 160 if I am not paying attention to my weight, right now I am 145).  I amfighting in a 135-142 division at an IKF fight next weekend at the Sheraton.  The great thing is the fight is 20 minutes from 4S Ranch, so I do not have to travel far. That being said, there are so many factors that complicate training for something so serious.  Here are some things that contribute to overtraining, or to a lesser extent overreaching. Enough Calories I have a really hard time eating when I am trying to stay light.  My family lives right next to Camino del Norte in Rancho Bernardo.  It is so easy to hit a restaurant north or south.  My wife and I eat out a lot on the weekends, so I am constantly undercutting calories during the week(not a good idea).  My lack of self-control makes resisting sweets and foods I like pretty much impossible, so I am not feeding my brain with the food I need to recover the best I can. Sleep We have a one year old that has become a crib escape artist.  We finally got a net that goes over her crib, and she hates it.  Rather than feeling safe and secure, she acts like we have locked her away in a Nazi concentration camp.  Waking up in the middle of the night makes...

Parents who Engage Rather than Involve

My wife’s parents love her.  My in-laws are incredibly hard working people.  They live in Del Sur and rather think of themselves first, they are always thinking of their kids.  That can be good and bad though, for the reasons we outlined before in the last article.  I never understood why I did not appreciate them more until I had an online conversation with a friend. In martial arts, you have a teacher who is on your team.  They are coaching your child all the time in a way that you just can’t.  Even with my daughter on the mat, I cannot interact with her the same way I do the other kids.  For her I have to make martial arts a game, a special father daughter activity for fun.  I learned this the hard way.  I can’t stand watching her not give 100%, it is a pet peeve of mine.  I internalize it as a personality trait instead of thinking about what else could be going on for that person.  My daughter is a typical five year old, but because I am so emotionally invested I can’t see that when I am teaching.  I push her too hard, I am not as positive with her.  I criticize her, when I never criticize my other students.  But I do it from a place of caring, so it is okay, right? Wrong!  I am being an INVOLVED parent.  I am putting what I think is important first without caring at all about my child’s feelings.  When I am yelling at my daughter to try harder, I am not thinking about...

How to train Resilient Kids

Here are Five great ways to help your kids become more resilient if they live in Ranchi Bernardo or 4S Ranch!   Join a Mindfulness Stress Reduction program Pioneered by Jon Kabat Zinn, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction(MBSR) has become a staple in the mental health world.  In a world that rarely lets us be present and in the moment for long, MBSR helps train your brain to stay focused on one thing at a time, helping you learn how to relax, and ultimately question your thinking.  It has become a staple in cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy.  Check out the course at UCSD and teach it to your kids.  We teach basic meditation in our martial arts classes.  It is a great skill to get started. UCSD Guided Exercises Teach them to Exercise Very few activities change your mental state faster than exercise.  In fact, it is the fastest way to change how you feel.  Exercise has been an important part of resilience for highly successful individuals for years.  Teach your kids the importance of exercising everyday to reduce stress and stay fit.  Learn how to start small and progress below.  Martial arts is a great way to exercise and it doesn’t require weights, you can do it pretty much anywhere. Exercise Progression: How Much, How Fast, and Why It’s Important Eat Healthy Kids are going to copy your habits, and it starts young.  If you are teaching them to eat unhealthy than you are training them to deal with health problems their whole life.  There is a lot of debate about what makes up a healthy...

Learning from Everyone in Rancho Bernardo

One of the best things I have learned from Master Giuseppe is to keep an open mind and keep learning.  I have never met someone so skilled continue to learn from so many different people.  It has been inspirational to me to see that kind of growth through a CANI attitude(constant and never-ending improvement).  That is one of the reasons why I continue to train not only in my art but in others as well.  I do it for a few reasons.  In Rancho Bernardo, and San Diego in general, there are some amazing martial artists.  I did not start a martial arts school to make money, I started it because I loved martial arts and I thought that was what you did if you wanted to train a lot at 19.  I’ve trained BJJ and Muay Thai one street over, I have trained with a TKD black belt who had a competing program across the street.  I still teach a jumping spinning back kick the way I learned it from him.  I love martial arts, I am not going to sit around on one thing when there is so much more to learn.  When we first opened our school, we had Master Mario Gajo(Guro back then) come in and ask about our space.  He started teaching stick fighting to us, again, a great opportunity to learn.  I have gained so much by keeping my doors open and not pretending like I know everything, no one does.  I feel bad for those who just run martial arts like a business It keeps me up to date.  I remember this...