May 19th, 2017
Many martial arts classes feature movement staples like the push-up, squat, and pull-up. It makes some sense. These motions will make the students stronger, better, and presumably nudge them in the direction of being better martial artists.
I’d like to propose a more purposeful insertion of fitness movements in martial arts class. For instance, yesterday in kids class we were working on switch step roundhouse kicks. So I had the students do movements that involved rotating and switching their feet. We could have done push-ups, of course, but there is no obvious connection between the push-up and the switch step roundhouse kick. My idea then, is to keep the fitness movements in class but have them be related to whatever technique we’re working on.
To put it another way, let’s try not just squatting for the sake of having a better squat but because we are martial artists, let’s squat so we can have a better double leg takedown.
May 2nd, 2017
I want to talk about what we, as teachers, gain from having a kid’s program at the school. This is not to discount the gains that the kids themselves make from training. They make huge strides in their problem solving skills, athleticism, martial skill sets, and awareness. The kids get amazing benefits from training… likewise, the adults who teach them get amazing benefits.
Teaching kids class will help your triage skills. You must, as a teacher, learn to let go of small infractions and tend only to the things that are going to cause actual problems. If you shout at every child who looks down at the floor while punching, many of the students will give up. Instead, it pays to casually mention to the whole group “look forward when you’re punching”.
Teaching kids class will build your patience. Many children lack basic social skills and listening skills when they enter class. Not only do you have to be patient with them comprehending a roundhouse kick but you also have to help them figure out how to work with other students who they don’t know. The reward, as a teacher, is when after months of classes, the child who used to stare at the ceiling and wait for someone to pick them as a partner instead runs confidently and finds someone on their own.
There are many more benefits but the point is this: many martial artists that end up teaching classes think that teaching kids class is a waste of their time. It’s not. Teaching kids will make you better at teaching adults. I know when I started teaching, I had no interest in teaching kids. Now it is hard for me to calculate how much better my teaching skills are because of running a kids program.
April 18th, 2017
Tonight in sparring class, we wrapped three fighting principles into one technique.
The three fighting principles were: extension, bridging the gap, and independent motion. The technique was the skipping front kick.
In the skipping front kick, you move the lead leg (which is also the leg you kick with) first. This is independent motion. The purpose of this is to disguise the action. If the kick was excuted by first moving the back foot forward, then your opponent would have an easier time seeing the kick coming and an easier time countering the kick.
Next, after moving the lead leg first, you hop forward. This helps cover the distance between you and your opponent, the very definition of bridging the gap.
The final step of the skip kick is to extend the leg. Since the word extend is in the previous sentence, I won’t even bother to point out how the kick includes the fighting principle of extension.
The truth is that you could probably fit all 26 of the fighting principles in there. That may seem like it makes them so amorphous as to be useless. To the contrary, the fighting principles are not exclusive. They are merely ideas that help us see techniques from different angles, thus hopefully allowing us to apply those techniques in different situations.
April 4th, 2017
Sometimes people want to study martial arts. Sometimes people want to take a self defense class. We’re fine with that. We offer self defense seminars. We offer martial arts classes. We think that, long term, martial arts provides students with a thorough understanding of practical self defense. We think that regular training helps students understand their capacity in terms of what threats they can realistically handle because they’ve gotten enough feedback from drills and against the active resistance of their partners. We think that self defense seminars are fabulous at introducing students to actual threats that exist in the real world and giving them some basic physical and mental skills to cope with those threats.
So if you are interested a self defense seminar, check out our new Self Defense tab. If you want martial arts, check out our Martial Arts tab. We’re here to help, either way.
February 22nd, 2017
How much grappling is a Mo Duk Pai student expected to know? As a starting point, for an orange sash, the student should be able to fall safely, get an untrained opponent (of their same size) off of them, and be able to stand up quickly and safely from the ground.
Tonight in class we drilled two of those ideas – falling safely and getting up quickly off the ground. Falling safely means knowing how to sit down and reach towards the ground with your hips (and not try and break your fall by reaching with your hands. Getting up quickly and safely means being able to stand while a partner is taking swipes at you and not get knocked out – the technical standup is a great tool for this.
The video shows two students taking turns falling over safely and then standing up quickly and safely. Hopefully that helps clarify (some) of the expected ground game competency we expect from an orange sash in Mo Duk Pai.