SW Portland Martial Arts Blog


September 29th, 2023

For most of us, it’s difficult to take criticism. We’re wired to take it personally. Clear pointers about technique get garbled inside our heads and we turn them into moral judgements. It makes the already challenging task of trying something new even more difficult, maybe impossible.

How do we solve this dilemma? As usual, there’s no perfect answer, and there’s not even a single answer, but there are some ideas that over the long haul appear to work for most people. As coaches, we try and deliver corrections in technique as just that – about the technique and not about you as a person. We’re trying to point out a more effective way, not to deliver a moral judgement. As a student, try and take corrections as steps to efficiency, rather than personally.

Yeah. Great don’t take things personally. So easy, right? Wrong. After all, it is you making the mistake, right? And since it is you doing the thing wrong then the responsibility falls on you and therefore you are wrong. Maybe. Even if it your brain convinces you that this is the true chain of consequences, it doesn’t mean you are wrong in some grandiose sense. It means you’re wrong about this one technique and (more importantly) you can fix it and be right.

Troublingly, even if you correct something in practice, you’ll almost certainly find you keep doing it wrong when the pressure increases. So it goes. It takes a long time to ingrain good (or bad) habits. Be patient with yourself as a student and we promise to be patient as coaches. Together, we’ll improve your technique and heck, maybe it’ll get easier to be wrong (and correct the problem) in the future.

The New Gym!

August 27th, 2023

We moved! Well, we moved one of our gyms. In a magic world of endless rental options, we’d prefer one big space that could house all our programs, but in the real world of Hillsdale, we’ve got two small gyms that can barely contain the awesomeness.

Come on down and check out the new digs at 6309 SW Capitol Highway. I think the best part of the move is that we no longer have to explain that while the address of the gym is Sunset Boulevard, the entrance actually faces Cheltenham street. We weathered that storm for 14 years and managed to survive, I suppose.

Here’s to 14 more years! Or more, that’d be awesome too.

Understanding Movement

August 11th, 2023

First and foremost, we teach kids martial arts. Given time and effort, students who come to our martial arts classes will gain a functional understanding of striking, grappling, wrestling, and self defense.

But they’ll also get lessons in basic human movement. How to jump, roll, push, pull, squat, fall, and so on. Why? Because all these things come up in martial arts and if a student doesn’t have these basic skills, they will struggle with improving as a martial artist.

Plus, what’s more fun than dragging your partner across the floor? That’s right… having them drag you across the floor.

Out of Position

August 9th, 2023

It’s much easier in the grappling arts to tell when you’re out of position: you’re on the bottom, getting crushed, and unable to move. Sure, it’s not always super obvious, but after a couple weeks of training, folks generally figure out which positions are the bad ones and they start connecting them with getting tapped out.

In striking, it’s a more difficult thing to see. You get hit, and it just seems like maybe the other person is faster or better or both (and maybe that’s true.) So how do you get someone out of position in striking?

Alex showed us one way yesterday: alternating targets. We learned a combo that alternated between the body and the head, thus forcing our partner to continually shift their defense until they were out of position. Once they were out of position, we threw a strike or kick to where it would be most difficult for them to defend.

Interestingly, this got me thinking that though being out of position in grappling seems more obvious than striking, it is actually achieved in much the same way as the combo we learned yesterday. If you can get your partner’s defense bouncing between two or more possible threats, that is often when a sweep or reversal or another submission presents itself.

The final conclusion then might be: if you can get your partner’s defense to shift between two or more possible attacks, they are more likely to put themselves out of position and open an opportunity for you to deliver a clean attack.

Tournament Time

August 5th, 2023

We love our kids tournaments! They are an awesome time to give students a chance to put their skills to the test in sparring, grappling, and forms. This year’s fall tournament will take place on Saturday, October 9th from 9AM-Noon.

This year, for our fall tournament, we are excited to change up the sparring section for the older kids (8 and up). Instead of point sparring, the older kids will be playing continuous sparring – in which they are awarded 1 point for every leg kick, 2 points for every body shot, and 3 points for every head shot. Like everything, it’s an experiment with safety, skill, and fun as our guidelines.

You can sign up on our events page.