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  • Top Rated Posts

      • 10
      What questions to ask before joining a martial arts school?
      It is very important that beginners ask many questions before joining any martial arts schools. This will help them to avoid financial headaches, inappropriate styles, training problems, McDojos, 25 year old Grand Masters, etc.

      What key questions would you suggest that new students ask?

      For example, I would suggest that students ask if the school has a low priced trial period in order to get acquainted with the school, system, instructors & students (before signing any longer-term contracts). Then ask if there is any required contracts (i.e. annual contract, month-to-month contract, etc.) and then ask what are the extra costs (i.e. additional testing fees). Students need to determine the real cost of training and the length of this financial commitment.

      Please help beginners by listing some essential questions that should be asked before joining any martial arts school.

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
        • 5
        Al W Questions I would personally ask the instructor of the class
        1: How long have you been training?
        2: How long have you been teaching?
        3: How often should I train?
        4: How much do lessons cost?
        5: How do I pay for lessons?
        6: How much does membership cost?
        7: How often do you grade students?
        8: Is there any extra cost for gradings?
        9: Do I need to purchase a uniform?

        But most of all ask yourself "Is this the Martial Art for me?"
        • 3
        ChuckD The thing I like about the school I'm at is people can try a few classes for free. Also there is no contract. The instructor literally said if he is not teaching well enough to keep people there with out a contract then something needs to change. There is a small belt test fee of 20 dollars up to like 30 or 40 for higher ranks but that is only like 1-2 times per year and maybe 3 times a year for an adult.

        I think the best thing is to take a few classes and what how the instructor behaves and how the senior students behave. Are they helpful to new students? Respectful etc...
        • 2
        Mike First, are there really schools that won't let you watch before you join? I can't think of one in our local market.
        After a few years in MA, a few different schools and countless instructors the first thing I would ask or at least look for is cleanliness, "do you clean your mats and equipment", "how often", "with what".
        How often do we train with the high belt /master?
        Observation gallery?
        Flexible class schedules?
        Can I train with my wife/kids?
      • 49 more comments
      • 8
      What movie inspired you to start your martial arts training?
      I was inspired by many movies (i.e. Bruce Lee, etc.). However, the ones that really stick in my mind are the Seven Samurai and some of the old dubbed Kung Fu movies (esp. the movies with Gordon Liu).

      As a kid, I always loved martial arts movies where it was good fighting evil and where hardwork & dedication overcame training difficulties.

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
      http://www.blackbeltwiki.com
        • 4
        Lil Sarnt It wasn't a movie that inspired me initially. My first inspiration was the old TV show "Kung Fu." I used to watch this as a child and then go outside and reenact the episodes. I was a strange little kid.
        • 3
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Karate cowboy? Far off. Billy Jack was a Hapkido expert and of Navaho indian background! :)

        Will
        Black Belt Wiki
        • 2
        dtaylorbrazil It wasn't one movie but many English dubbed movies. During the winter time I enjoyed watching Kung-Fu Theatre. It seems like the plot was always the same. Bad Samurais or ninjas raid a town. A survivor travels and trains with a master while his wounds heal. He then comes back with several other victims and takes the village back.
      • 179 more comments
      • 7
      The Real Power Of What We Do
      I assume most of us using this platform have developed some type of martial arts background. We all have our own reasons for beginning this journey but I believe the majority would have to admit we started training to learn how to fight. If you stay in the game long enough, your ego gives way to a deeper purpose for the many hours (and injuries) accumulated from continuing along your chosen path. And though we may question ourselves at times (at least I do) as to why we keep training, if we're lucky we get a reminder of how much of an impact we have on others.

      That happened to me yesterday.

      After class, one of my students pulled me aside and admitted that when he started training with us over two and half years ago, he had a serious drug problem. Like a lot of people who come to our small dojo, he underestimated the physicality of what we do (aikibudo). He was uncoordinated, couldn't perform the simplest ukemi or footwork. He threw up a lot (we have a puke bucket just for that.) He was often frustrated and dejected after class, noting that he could not understand why this so difficult because other physical pursuits were typically easy for him. While I knew he initially had a poor diet, I had no idea he had dependency issues.

      But he kept coming. Week after week, he kept coming. Slowly but surely, his technique improved as did his demeanor and physical appearance. He trained despite minor injuries. He learned how to deal with the elements - our dojo is not heated or air conditioned. He learned how to handle discomfort. Most importantly, he learned and continues to learn how to mitigate his ego.

      We talk a lot about the impact good budo training has on the ego. By the way, the origin of the word "budo" may be Japanese but the meaning goes across the board. Anyway, I think most of us can agree that a poorly developed ego leads to all kinds of life issues. Drug and alcohol abuse, relationship problems, money problems...war. It all has to do with ego.

      In developed countries like ours, the majority of the population seeks comfort in various ways and thus feed their egos. Few people seek the discomfort of serious training in any form. Perhaps this is what the founders of our respective arts had in mind when they brought their knowledge to the world.

      Most of us can knock people down in some way, shape or form. We spend years toughening our bodies, perfecting our technique. Sooner or later the physical aspect of training gives way to a deeper purpose. We may train ourselves and others in some form of combat, but physical skill has limits. The potential impact we have on others is limitless.
        • 1
        David Cochran Very well said. To your point about ego; I have been blessed to practice under a full Korean Grand Master who is 84 years old now. His Master was Wong Gi (look it up). One of his many accolades was being an Instructor in the South Korean army. So in the nexus, ego never came into the equation. It was a need to survive. Today's society has no comprehension of this need. Much less the mental complexities associated to it. It is great to hear someone truly talk in terms of the Martial Spirit. Keep it up.
        • 1
        Micheline Gravel Thank you all for posting.
        • 1
        S.P. Dave, you wrote "Most of us can knock people down" but what you have done goes way beyond that: you have built someone up.
      • 10 more comments
      • 7
      Reasons Why People Leave Our Dojo
      Anyone who teaches martial arts has to contend with the "revolving door syndrome." People come and people go. They might stay for a week, a month, maybe even a year and then they just stop training. The funny thing is, people often quit shortly after they finally decide to purchase a uniform and equipment. Some times I get a warning, other times people simply disappear. Of course, I will follow up with those folks to make sure they are ok and I typically get any number of excuses as to why they stopped training. Here are a few in no particular order with my response.

      "I don't have time to train." What things in life do you have time for? Just be honest and tell me it's not a priority for you. I can understand and accept that.

      "Aikido is too difficult; I just don't get it." Do you always avoid difficult things in life? There is no success without failure. Repeated failure is how you learn self control and discipline. Worthy pursuits are never easy.

      "I want to train, but life keeps getting in the way." What does that mean? If this is something that's really important to you, you will find a way. But don't blame life...that's on you.

      "You are too militant for me." You do understand that "martial" means military, right? I may have high expectations, but that's only because I've done this a long time and I know what it takes for you to learn it and be able to use it. If you want want to be taught by someone who will constantly stoke your ego, there are a lot of other folks out there who will gladly take your money.

      "I can't afford the lessons." When have I ever said you can't train if you can't pay? We can work something out.

      "Aikido doesn't work. It's not practical for the street." Your aikido doesn't work because you don't train often enough and when you do train, you don't commit yourself. If you want quick and easy, buy a gun.

      "I keep getting hurt." That's because you don't train or do anything physical outside of the dojo, or you still smoke or drink too much or have a poor diet. Learning a real martial art takes tremendous commitment that includes getting into and staying in good physical condition. You get hurt because you have not physically and mentally committed yourself to training.

      "I don't agree with wearing 16th Century uniforms. Nobody wears a gi in the street." The concept of the martial arts uniform (keikogi) has only been around for about 100 years. Uniforms soak up sweat and blood and help keep the training environment clean while protecting your skin from cuts and abrasions, allowing you to train for real confrontations.

      "I can only come once a week." I'm only asking for two nights out of seven. If your schedule is really hectic, then I will help you find a way. If that means training with you on a different day for a while I will do my best to accommodate you...but you have to meet me half way.

      "I found another art I'd like to try." Great! Keep training and drop me a line once in a while. The door is always open if you decide to come back.

      Some of this probably sounds a little harsh but I'm willing to bet there are a few teachers out there who have heard these excuses. It doesn't bother me if you decide to stop training or go somewhere else. I just want you to be honest with me...and yourself.

      Dave Magliano
      Jissenkan Aikido
      ​www.jissenkan.com
        • 2
        Leon Reeder I think when people come to train in Tae Kwon Do they see all the neat things a train Martial Arts can do in the movies. They walk in expecting to do all these things in a short time. After a little bite of time reality sets in and then they realize this will take a long time and effort. I believe what my Korean master said is most American are somewhat lazy and expect things to be quick and easy. When it gets tough they simple quit. All the time I see people who come to class and they can not do the techniques or patterns because they simply do not practice. A lot of them will set on their butt and play video games and not practice. My Korean master has a description of a lot of Americans, they will go to the apple tree lay on their back, open their mouth and say apple drop right here. He said you have to get up and go get the apple. As an instructor I don't worry about those who leaves, I focus on those who stay.
        • 2
        Beth Loomer Even not being the main instructor I hear these excuses. Time and life are the two most common excuses I hear. I dont know why people cant just say, "I dont want to do this anymore." Why is that difficult? It would be more accurate most of the time. Although I do know a few people who really do want to be in there but just cant with their job schedules and that is the most frustrating. We even made a middle of the day class for those people and a few of them take advantage.
        • 1
        David Cochran In retrospect, "revolving door" is a little strong for me. It implies failure as a Dojang/ business. Our Dojang hovered around 30 students for a couple of years and then blew up the next three years with a high water mark of over 200. No we were not a McDojo. We had one children's class and one adult class 5 days a week along with many other classes. I think this topic ties tightly to the "What to ask before working out at a school" topic. It is imperative the instructor set down and learn all they can about a prospect. Yes, All the physical/mechanical components to any style is a constant. But do you teach/treat a person with prosthetics the same way. Of course not. So part of being an excellent instructor/Master/Grand Master is seeing and using objectivity to result a positive and correct outcome. Adversity is one of the best drivers in MA. To take the stance of "that is all I need to create to have a good class so it is up to the student to buck up" is counter-productive. Figuring out when to push and when to support is just hard. All this said, there are some who come to class simply to find it is not for them. No harm, no foul.
      • 28 more comments
      • 7
      Should martial arts instructors know CPR & first aid?
      When you combine out-of-shape middle aged adults and vigorous martial arts training, you have the potential for medical emergencies.

      Do your instructors know CPR & first aid? Or should they only know how to call 911? Does your school train for medical emergencies (i.e. heart attack, broken bones, serious bleeding, etc.)?

      Related question - How has your school dealt with medical emergencies in the past?

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
      http://www.blackbeltwiki.com
        • 3
        Andrea Harkins "The Martial Arts Woman" Yes, for sure. While it's been a while since I've taken a course, my husband and son have both updated their training recently.
        • 3
        Llewena Carrero In Australia for emergencies you call "000".

        Most instructors I know have basic fist aid training or a First Aid Certificate.

        I have a First Aid Certificate and thankfully to date I haven't had to use my knowledge.
        • 2
        Trent Zelazny Taking a CPR class next week, actually. Everyone should probably know, in life in general, but especially when it involves anything physically active. I wish I had done it ages ago. Better late than never, I guess.
      • 83 more comments
      • 7
      New Wiki Members - Please Say Hello
      *********************************************

      *This thread is now closed - If you want to say "Hi". please post a new topic and say hello. I apologize but new messages were getting lost as the thread was getting too long. Please add a new post as we would love to hear from you.

      ***********************************************
      Old Message

      New Wiki Members - Please use this section to say hello to the community.

      We know that some new members can be a little intimidated if they have to start right off the bat by adding anything to an existing martial arts topic. Therefore, this section was designed to break the ice by allowing new members to leave a quick and/or short "hello" message. It was also meant as a way to help new members to become comfortable with the community's posting & commenting system before they attempt to add anything to the other topics.

      We have turned this post into a permanent section on the top tool bar of the wiki community. Hopefully, it will be a place where new members can feel comfortable introducing themselves to the community (versus having to jump straight into a martial arts discussion or posting a hello randomly on a non-related martial arts topic).

      Quick Tips - You can reply to this message by typing in the comment box below, you can follow all of the recent replies/comments made on this site by using the "Comments" section on the top tool bar and you can use the "Post Something" button (found on the top right of the main sections) to post a new main topic (i.e. question or video).

      Saying hello also saves you from becoming a hidden "lurker" who does not take full advantage of this friendly martial arts community. Everyone here wants to help you improve or to learn from your experience. FYI - Most if not all of the top-rated posts are still open for comments & replies.

      If you are too shy to post, you can also vote a topic/comment up or down. Members enjoy it when their commentary is received well and they receive positive feedback (either in words or up votes).

      **FYI** - This system is geared towards the best answers (those with most positive votes) rising to the top (so people can find a good answer quickly). The drawback is that new posts can be buried on this thread. To get around this issue for new member "hello" posts, you can always say hello by posting your initial message as a new main topic (click on the "Post Something" button) versus just replying to this post.

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
        • 4
        Maryse Duchaussoy Hello everyone, I newly started kyokushin and needed some writing info that your site so kindly provide. I doubt I will be posting a lot as I am a novice on the topic, but I am looking forward to reading what you all have to say.
        • 0 4 votes
        • 3
        cecil Hi! At 52 years of age, I have been studying Kung Fu & Tai Chi for just over a year now. About to test for Green belt in the Kung Fu and Blue Sash in Tai Chi. As a teen, I briefly studied Isshinryu, but lack of transportation made it a brief study. Later, as an adult, I tried Tang Soo Do for a while and then settled on a Karate School that blended styles 'Empty Hands Martial Arts'. I fell away from the fitness life in my 40's due to career and other pressures. The recovery process for a badly broken leg a couple of years ago led me to getting my ass off the couch and back in gear. I will be learning other styles as I progress. Really enjoying being back in the arts. Looking forward to staying active for the rest of my days. I appreciate this site, it seems very comprehensive and informative.
        • 0 3 votes
        • 2
        Aaron Bennett Hi all.
        I'm 37, a Paramedic and live in New Zealand.

        I literally last week started training at a local Kyokushin club that my young son has been involved with for a couple of years.
        I'm motivated by the fact that I'm finished (formally) studying and needed a new project.
        I figure Karate will keep me fit and well hopefully physically and mentally.
        I guess you won't see me posting other than to ask questions as I'm only here to learn and have nothing of substance to add to any thread presently.

        Who knows if I'll still be training in 12 months time, however I've yet to start anything I didn't "finish".

        I look forward to getting to know some of you.
        • 0 2 votes
      • 411 more comments
      • 7
      Martial Arts Humor & Jokes
      Thought it would be really great to get some martial arts jokes to tell in class to break the ice with my young and new students in autumn, if you know of any jokes or humourous anecdotes that can appeal in a class, but still not let it descend into anarchy, I'd love to hear them.
      Let my kick off:
      "How many karate instructors does it take to change a lightbulb?"

      "100! One to change the bulb and 99 to say it would not work on the street!"
        • 5
        Andy So this guy walks into a bar.... Ok you can let him go now
        [176815,Alex] :)
        • 4
        Al W A Texas cowboy walks into a dojo thinking it’s a bar. Upon entering he says, “Well hell I thought this was a bar not a dance class.” This upsets the Sensei who approaches the cowboy and replies, “This is no dance class, this is martial arts dojo!” Then he politely bows to the cowboy. He then takes a stance and throws a sidekick, stopping 2” from the cowboy’s nose and says, “That was side kick from Tae Kwon Do. Then politely bows again. He then throws a lighting fast palm heal strike, again stopping 2” from the cowboy’s nose and says, “That was Tiger Palm from Chinese Boxing, “ and again politely bows. After which there is a loud “PRRINGGG!” The students stare in awe as their Sensei is out cold on the floor. Then the Texas cowboy says, Tell that guy when he wakes up… that was a crow bar from Home Depot.
        • 4
        Al W My cousin was an incredibly tough man. He was a karate black belt who eventually joined the army. Sadly the first time he saluted he killed himself.
      • 85 more comments
      • 6
      Blackbelt Wiki Community 2nd Anniversary
      Last year we had our 1'st 'Birthday' as an online MA community so I thought this year we should change it up a bit and have an 'anniversary' instead :)
      Either way we are now officially 2 years old and going strong. Once again I would like to thank all of our active members for making this an excellent place to discuss, question, debate (occasionally make fun of) and otherwise just generally help and advise each other on the various aspects of our respective martial arts practice! I would also like to again encourage our non active (or new) members to get involved and start posting! Special thanks to @Christopher Adamchek and @Superamazingbadgerman for being (and remaining) active members since day one. Also a special thanks to all of our other regular active members (you know who you are, as do I but I can't be bothered to name you all and I don't want to risk offending anyone by forgetting to include them lol)! And last but not least, again and as always special thanks to @Will - Black Belt Wiki for creating both the wiki and this community in the first place. Ok that's this years speech over with 😂now for a big round of online internet emoji based applause! 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏
      PS as a special anniversary treat I have arranged a free bottle of sake for every member! To collect your free sake, simply go to your nearest store that sells the stuff, collect your 'free' bottle, tell them to put it on @Al W's account and run like hell! :)
        • 2
        Hermit Yep, a big thanks is needed for [171668,Will - Black Belt Wiki] from all of us, like a MA club, often the headaches from running things are more stress than someone needs, but we are thankful for a place to come and meet other crazies.... I mean martial arts lovers like us!!
        • 2
        Will - Black Belt Wiki I also want to thank all of our ACTIVE members over the past 2 years such as [171786,Christopher Adamchek] , [172230,Superamazingbadgerman] , [172080,Rachel DS] , [212430,James] , [212770,Al W] , [220601,Richie] , [218075,Michael] , [176815,Alex] , [217441,Ray] , [183970,David Ianetta] , [213500,Goldin Christie] , [172304,Llewena Carrero] , [172965,Philip Marc] , [199593,timothy] , [220307,Beth Loomer] , [227432,Nico] , [200995,Hermit] , [239084,Natasha] , [182588,ChuckD] , [217372,KSP08] , [235717,Logen Lanka] , [180146,Chris Ashcraft] , [231905,Rom Hamilton] , [175989,Karin Fourie] , [244169,Dave Magliano] , [181819,Ben] , [181024,Ceri Cat] , [177175,Antony] , [213158,Martin Alcala] , [172087,Ray McLean] , [172965,Philip Marc] , [189786,Kathryn Carson] , [181251,Hanmudo Hwarang] , [209759,Mary Cayte Reiland] , [235694,Joe Bramblett] , [200293,Sensei-Chap1] , [187953,Brandon] , [179113,Ralph] , [176848,Mark Winter] and everyone else who takes time out to contribute ideas and comments to this community. Your active participation helps to make this community fun and useful!!!

        For our non-active members, we hope you post occasionally because this will help to make the community even better (as it will add your experiences, knowledge, humor, insights, etc.).

        Will
        Black Belt Wiki
        • 2
        Will - Black Belt Wiki I also want to thank [171807,Andy] for all of his community moderating skills, humor, common sense (except when 2 liters of vodka are involved :) and most importantly his friendship.

        Will
        Black Belt Wiki
      • 19 more comments
      • 6
      Happy Birthday Blackbelt Wiki Community!
      Yes we are now officially 1 year old! First of all a big thank you to @Will - Black
      Belt Wiki for creating this community out of the ashes of the old black belt wiki message boards! I personally believe that this community is the best place currently available on the Internet for fellow martial artists to meet, discuss MA topics and interact in a safe and no
      BS environment. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate ALL fellow members for their contributions and for making my job as a community moderator so easy! Looking back over the past year it is perhaps ironic that I (as a moderator) have probably been the worst behaved on here (except for
      [172080,Rachel DS] who should be ashamed of herself for being such a bad influence and leading me astray on so many occasions)! :)
      My only wish is that more of our 300+ members would get involved and post something (anything!!! Lol). May our community continue to go from strength to strength (quick pass the barf bag!) and continue for many more years to come!
      I would also like to say a big 'screw you!' to all of the spam merchants that either I (but much more so Will) have had to delete and ban over this last year! Osu :)
        • 2
        Keston Destiny I want to thank Black Belt Wiki for allowing someone like me with no knowledge of karate into your lives. My daughters have been so prosperous on their journey through karate and it's been an enjoyment to be alongside them. I'm proud to say that after 14 trophies, 5 medals, and 5 tournaments my girls will be advancing to yellow belt on June 9th. So I'm very happy for this community and pardon my lack of activity, I do care.
        • 2
        Christopher Adamchek Wow, one year already
        • 1
        Rachel DS It has been a pleasure leading you astray [171807,Andy] and I mean that in the most innocent way possible. It is important to have a sense of humour at least proportional to one's sense of passion. I have certainly got a lot out of being involved in this online community and hope it kicks on despite the occasional knock out joke from any of us. 😂 O tonjobi emedeto gosaimashita and domo arigato gosaimashita to [171668,Will - Black Belt Wiki] for creating the community!
      • 13 more comments
      • 6
      Tiger Balm & Andy
      In honor of Andy, I have just now added Tiger Balm to the community store :) - http://community.blackbeltwiki.com/store

      Of course, we are still waiting for Tiger Balm to make [171807,Andy] an official spokesperson!

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
        • 2
        Andy [171668,Black Belt Wiki], just had a look at the Chuck 'facts' :),did you know that when Chuck Norris was born he slapped the midwife and made HER cry? :)
        • 2
        Rachel DS [171807,Andy] tiger balm fixed my sore arm....that was good.....commend from kids' vacation care teacher when I dropped them off (freshly balmed for the day) - "you smell really good"......priceless.....So not only is it good for healing all ills it is apparently a good substitute for body spray / aftershave / perfume (insert name of favourite smelly product).....lol
        • 2
        Rachel DS I think the first time I came across TB was in thailand. They put it on everything.....I am allergic to bee stings (ie difficulty breathing and lots of swelling etc) and we were on tour when a bee flew into our song tau and stung me on the arm - the tour leader put some on the sting and I got an icepack at the next town but we were miles from doctors / hospitals....between the tiger balm, a compression sock and some ventolin and antihistamines I managed to stay out of hospital!

        Incidentally [171807,Andy] the placebo effect is bone fide. I will have to find the study I just read on it. (This was applicable to reiki etc I think as opposed to TB but it would flow on to anything).

        I am going to put some TB on my arm in a tic (currently on ice) - practising bunkai with a partner tonight who got a little over zealous when I told him to do it harder......hopefully better by Sunday as that is the tourney.....:S I have 2 more training sessions and some work with my real bunkai partner to go before then too.
      • 19 more comments
      • 6
      A Karate Guy Never Gives Up
      An off shoot of Any inquiring about dropping out and having the natural spirit for martial arts. My nephew recently started taking classes (he is 4 years old) i was play sparing with him after class and gave up to fighting him and he told me "A karate guy never gives up" , it was adorable.

      Its all about spirit, he will most likely make this an important part of his life, im eager to see him grow in it.
        • 4
        Andy Here's another story about not giving up, 16 years ago i got my lower right leg crushed between 2 forklift trucks in an accident at work. The doctors said I would be lucky to walk properly again and to forget martial arts. I ended up with titanium screws in both sides of my ankle and a titanium plate grafted to the lower part of my right fibula, I was on crutches for the best part of a year. I still carried on practicing as well as I could and when I was undergoing physio therapy during my recovery the physio therapist informed me that I still had a better degree of pantoflection (whatever that means lol) than most other people and asked me if I practiced Ballet!!!! Look at my profile pic can you picture me in a tutu (don't answer that lol). Anyway I made a full recovery, have full mobility and can still perform full force kicks with my right leg (even though the doctors have advised me not to lol).
        • 2
        Andy Thanks for that Rachel that explains why I haven't been able to find any reference to what my physio therapist was talking about lol, oh and I think I'll stick to cross training as opposed to cross dressing. :)
        • 2
        Andy Chris that is great! :)
      • 12 more comments
      • 5
      Situational Awareness Introduction
      Situational Awareness

      This is a vast topic, and probably the most essential element of self defense. Being "Situationally Aware" will, most of the time, keep you from getting into a bind in the first place. But what is "Situational Awareness?"

      "Situational awareness or situation awareness (SA) is the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time, or some other variable, such as a predetermined event. It is also a field of study concerned with understanding of the environment critical to decision-makers in complex, dynamic areas from aviation, air traffic control, ship navigation, power plant operations, military command and control, and emergency services such as fire fighting and policing; to more ordinary but nevertheless complex tasks such as driving an automobile or riding a bicycle." (Wikipedia; Situational Awareness Definition, first paragraph of page)

      "Who would be after ME?"

      So, in essence, Situational Awareness encompasses pretty much everything you do. But there are times when you are tired, distracted, busy, or complacent when you can be taken unaware, and that is what a potential assailant is looking for. You may say; "Who would even consider ME? Why would anyone think to rob (rape, assault, murder) ME?" Well, it is not about you, necessarily. Most crimes that are committed person-to person, the criminal does not know the victim. The criminal simply saw a target of opportunity. It is about opportunity. I has nothing to do with you, personally. In cases where the assailant knows the attacker, situational awareness is still a key component in keeping you safe from assault. And there is a large element of opportunity for the criminal involved.

      But how do you achieve the omni-potent status of being "SITUATIOANLLY AWARE."

      You need to focus on your surroundings and be effective at understanding what is a threat and what is not. It is perfectly alright to live a normal life. You do not need to go out armed to the teeth, guns drawn and wearing your black belt to show all that you are ready (and willing) to destroy all potential threats. There is quite a difference in being a paranoid and being a competent, normal individual (that is more than capable of avoiding bad situations, and God forbid, defending yourself if you get in a bad situation). But how do you achieve the omni-potent status of being "SITUATIOANLLY AWARE." The simple answer is that you already are. Refer to the definition (courtesy of Wikipedia) above. You have to be at least somewhat aware of your surroundings and what is going on to function. So the trick is to train yourself to heighten that awareness. On the "Internets" there is a wealth of information. Pretty much ANY topic you can think of, anything at all. If you plug your question into the search engine of your choosing, you will get literally hundreds of millions of results relating to said question. Situational Awareness is not any different. I simply typed "Situational Awareness" into the Google Search Bar and this was the result: About 2,970,000 results (0.71 seconds). There are training courses, schools, online free training, articles (probably not as good as this one), and on and on.

      A couple of Tips........

      Here are a few tricks that you can do to begin training yourself to automatically heighten your awareness. First thing.........PAUSE. That's it. Pause. Take a moment. Stop fiddling with your keys, texting, playing Pokemon Go,
      or whatever. Look around. Assess the situation: Is it dark, and if so, is the area you are in illuminated by street/parking lot lights? Are there people in the area? If so, are these people rightfully in the area (coming form the movie
      theater, bar, shopping mall), or are they just hanging out and looking around (maybe for a target of opportunity)? What next? You have PAUSED, you have LOOKED AROUND to identify potential threats. So, now what??
      That depends. If all seems safe, or if you can avoid potential problem areas and still get to your destination safely, then you would obviously proceed. If there is a reason to not proceed, for even the simple fact that you do not feel safe
      for any reason, get the onsite Security (if that is an option) to escort you, or call the police and explain that you are alone in a dark area and you do not feel safe going to your car. In most cases, they will send an officer to ensure that
      you get to your car, into your house, etc., safely. Do not be afraid to ask for help. It is better to ask for the escort than too have to call the police after the worst has happened so they can investigate the crime.


      Lets Wrap This Up!

      So. We PAUSED. We LOOKED AROUND to identify any potential threats, and we have DECIDED a safe course of action. That is the basics of becoming more proficient at being Situationally Aware, and thus, being better able to protect yourself. It is now up to you to refine this, and have it become second nature for you. Look into getting enrolled in a training course, or research the topic more online. Be vigilant about training. Complacency will get you in trouble.
        • 4
        Michael There are good habits to help keep yourself situationally aware, such as identifying the entrances/exits when you go into a building and selecting a vantage point to see all who are coming/going. When bad actors arrive, you can know before things go down and have potential escape routes.
        • 3
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Andrew

        In addition to situational "distractors" such as texting, chatting on the phone, etc., I would also add the problem of situational "foggers or numb-ers" such as alcohol.

        Will
        Black Belt Wiki
        • 2
        Bill Emmes This is a great thread!!! So many people walk around every day with no clue of the environment they are in or what is even around them. We are easily distracted with cell phones, texting and ipods. I see young women walking or jogging with their ears plugged from an ipod or some music storage device. This is an easy target for an attacker as this person is certainly not aware of much more than what is in front of them and the words to the song they are listening to.

        I have to say this is an area that I see far too much of and discuss a lot with my peers. My male friends who think they are too big a person for someone to mess with will sit somewhere with a headset on completely disconnected with their situational awareness and do not realize how easy a target they are since they are so distracted and an attacker can very easily come up behind them and wallop them senseless!

        I am always telling my wife to look up and look around as she is more inclined to keep her eyes down as she walks. Also, using peripheral vision to see as much as you can as things outside of your frontal vision can occur. One should also be able to listen to what is going on around them and to an extent, feel it as well.

        Pause, Look & Listen are some of the best pieces of advice to gain a situational awareness of an environment that has been so well posted by everyone so far! Trust is another important tool. Trust your gut if you think something is not right and you feel uneasy in an area. Truth is, it probably is not safe!

        I try to teach my wife to look at a situation and immediately plan on how she can move quickly to escape or move away from a dangerous confrontation. Know your surroundings and be aware of the things around you should you need to act quickly. Unfortunately, people today tend to think of this as being paranoid and are too busy multi-tasking to take such advice seriously. Best advice is to slow down and simply pay attention.
      • 12 more comments
      • 5
      Positives AND negatives for new martial arts students over 60?
      Since we have a good number of "mature" :) martial arts students & instructors on this site, I thought you might like to share some of your knowledge & give some advice. What would you tell to a person who was over 60 and thinking about joining a martial arts school? What positives & negatives would you discuss? What have you discovered being a 60+ year old martial artist? What advice would you give so they could get the most out of the training and avoid common training pitfalls for older students?

      What are your thoughts on injuries? Flexibility requirements? Balance? Keeping up with younger members? Strength improvements? Mental benefits? Other issues specific to older martial arts students?

      In addition, based on your experience, how does a new 60+ year old martial arts student differ from a new middle aged 40+ year old student? Would you give vastly different advice to these two student groups?

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
        • 5
        Graeme Reay I've just done my returned to kyokushin karate as an almost 60 year old (March) returning after a gap of 8 years. I had reached 1st Dan when I stopped, due to a non-karate related serious back injury and a job change that meant I was then commuting 4 hours a day making it almost impossible to get to training sessions. I have a few initial observations to perhaps complement whats been said already:

        - Muscle memory stay with you for a lot longer than you might expect. Though I absolutely murdered the katas we ran through this week they are defintiely still inside me somewhere! A bit of solid application and practice will help to get them out

        - There is no substitute for good old solid repetition (see above) to help build technique but being that bit older maybe helps you use your brian more efficiently to break things down and get them right. Unlike some of the younger karateka who rush offf all flailing armsd and legs, impressing themselves with their own flexibility and speed but never quite nailing things properly. In a kata an averagely executed bloick, kick or punch is still average, no matter how fast you can do it. And accuracy and power can often trump speed

        - Like being a total beginner again, the hardest step is the one that takes you into the dojo, either for the first time or as a returner. Once you have made ithat step, things will get easier

        - While away from karate, not only did I lose physical strength, power and flexibility I lost mental strength and robustness too. It took me years to realise this. Already I can feel mental strength returning and this will help me greatly in my work and personal life. I value this as much or even more than the (slow) inprovements I am seeing in my physical capabilities

        - Have realistic expectations and set yourself small, incremental short-term goals. Acheiving them spurs you on. Failing to hit a major less realsistic goal might demoralsie you so much you give up

        - Work with what you have got and adapt. At 17 stone (240lbs 109kg) I am 2 stones heavier than I was whem I reached 1st Dan and it isnt going to disappear any time soon. Ok, I'm not as flexible as I was and sparring with lithe young kickers is a challenge but getting up closer to stop them dictating things and let me use MY approach, weight and techniques gives them something to think about

        - The 3 day rule still seems to apply. Train on Wednesday, ache on Thursday, hurt on Friday, raring to go again on Saturday!!

        To anyone of a similar age who is thinking of starting karate or returning after a long lay off all I can really say is, please give it a try. Don't let a number on a page be a barrier. Of course be sensible and careful, and get checked out medically beforehand if you have any concerns. The rewards will be fantastic and you will also meet some great people. The bonds you build can last for life
        • 3
        Mike 57 years old here.
        Even when your brain thinks 25, remember you're 60
        Don't try to out muscle the 18 year olds
        Teen aged girls can and will kick you in the head
        Aches and pains don't go away in 3 days anymore
        2 minutes on the bag really is a long time
        The young women & men really do look up to you
        You inspire the parents in the audience
        "Old man strength" is a real thing
        • 3
        Graeme Reay Kyokushin dojo sparring this week. Now I can't tell whether my thighs are hurting because of trying to bunny hop up the dojo or from kicks during sparring. Both is suspect! But do you know what? I feel great. Alive! Only been a few weeks since I can back to training after a 7 year break but can already see and feel the difference it had made to both my fitness and confidence
      • 47 more comments
      • 5
      Online instruction... where do we draw the line?
      With a few of the posts recently, I have been thinking what impact/role should the internet have in the expansion of martial arts.

      The way I see it, YouTube instructors aren't much different than the VCR sense's of the 80's. They demonstrate the movements, teach the terminology, and can reach far more people than at a physical location. The obvious limitations of VCR instruction is that although we can pause and rewind the tape, we can never get any more than what was recorded. We will never get feedback on how we are performing the techniques, we will never be able to ask questions or get further clarification. None of the concepts will ever be expanded upon (unless a new volume is released).

      YouTube has the benefit of being a living medium where comments can be made, questions added, and new content provided. However, the creators of videos in the 80's were highly reputable masters of their own style whereas literally anyone can be on YouTube. I have seen plenty of videos of alleged "masters" who were obvious frauds and people who claimed they can do "no touch knockouts". On the other hand, there are plenty of legitimate videos out there, like Sensei Ando and Karate Culture.

      So, my question for you is what is Ok to teach via YouTube, what kind of things should only be taught one-on-one and what is toeing the line? Should there be expectation for instructors to show their credentials in their videos or on their site? How should the Internet (YouTube and social media) be leveraged to promote a dojo?
        • 4
        Andy Completely agree with all posts on this thread! I would also add that without other trained personnel to spar against and learn with (and from) then you have absolutely no idea as to whether what you have learned via video is effective or not (and a genuine situation is certainly not the place to suddenly realise that your 'become a 12th dan Ninja in 6 months video' was complete horsecrap!
        • 3
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Personally, I think that online videos should only be used to reinforce what you have already learned (i.e. remind you of the steps in a particular kata) or to show to new techniques that you might want to practice with a trained martial arts instructor (as you need a live partner to learn how to apply a technique, a trained instructor to avoid injuries, a trained instructor to correct any mistakes, etc.).

        You see lots of schools starting to put out videos because they think the videos will help them to attract new students and will help to boost the credentials of the school & instructors.

        Will
        • 2
        Al W I use the interwebs to look at Kata, I learn it and then ask my instructor to help me iron out the kinks
      • 15 more comments
      • 5
      Are martial arts movies good or bad for martial arts?
      Did you get sucked into martial arts after you had seen Bruce Lee fight his way upstairs the pagoda in “Game of Death”? Good, and you are certainly not the only one! But are martial arts movies actually good or bad for martial arts? Martial arts movies have undoubtedly been pivotal in popularizing once obscure, only regionally known self-defense systems. However, what is shown of these arts on the screen are (for the most part) flashy, heavily choreographed fighting scenes that bear little resemblance to the kind of real life combat that these systems were originally developed for (Bruce Lee himself once mentioned that that for his movies he preferred flashier over less flashy but more effective techniques). So, have martial arts movies shaped the way martial arts are perceived and through this corrupted them?
        • 4
        PAUL (paldo) REYNOLDS GOOD for martial arts!, I believe karate movies plays as a good marketing tool for interest and recruitment for those who have the desire to join a real karate class. Movies do motivate and create excitement, as most people realize that karate moves are rehearsed and is part of the fantasy world. Moreover, the moves had to be practiced by real karate individualists to make it into entertainment, so quality karate movements are recognized by those individualists. Even as a student of the arts; old karate movies provide a theme for entertainment and even a cultural lesson from the ancient times, and to some other karate-ka, it provides the technical expertise and meaning of techniques, that educates the practioner and practicing karate judges in identifying point contacts in there fight scenes. I do agree on the other hand, that karate movies can be sinuous, and they do shape the martial arts to a false-hood in real life. Today, the opinions of Internet karate junkies have no basis of professional karate degrees and experiences, that only confuse the young practicing karate-ka as they strive towards their karate journey. The only good measurement of this practice comes from the real experienced karate-ka to realize that, comparison of karate styles is controversal and has no relevance to one's karate development. In that, real life karate is a serious dedicated development, while movies are what they are, just movies for entertainment which causes karate enthusiasm!
        • 0 4 votes
        • Reply
        • 2
        Ray I am still asked when the spinning back jump flip kick with ninja stars and smoke will be taught.

        The other day I was closing down the gym when I was seriously asked. " how long till I can be like the guy from enter the badlands?" This was asked by an adult.

        I was once asked if I could get the instructor to skip all the "fluff training" and move on to the real ninja stuff.

        Calling the movies the gate way drug is puting it mildly
        • 0 2 votes
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        • 2
        Al W Martial Arts in movies and tv shows could be considered the "Gateway Drug" for kids. They see famous MA practitioners perform flash moves and think "Wow I want to do that".

        As [171668,Will - Black Belt Wiki] said, without movies the MA community would be very small.
        On the plus side there would be less McDojos
      • 18 more comments
      • 5
      How to be better fighter than a UFC or MMA fighter?
      Was training in a park recently with more experienced friend

      A passerby walked up and said that we looked good but asked if it could beat an MMA fighter. Before i could say anything my friend spoke up.

      "Absolutely....UFC has 31 rules - i have none. I would break every rule there is and probably a few they didnt even think to make."

      It was a great response!
        • 3
        Bobby McFarlane HAHA. As the "arrogant" guy who is being quoted in the original post (thanks for the undo praise Chris) I feel I should throw in my two cents. Because it is easy and even understandable to make assumptions about me and my philosophy when everyone fills in the blanks around one phrase I spoke. Everyone here is making good points. The question asked was in the context of, is it possible for you, a more traditional martial artist, to beat a professional. This is usually and in this case asked in a out of the ring self defense context. Not "can you personally beat any given MMA fighter I put in front of you right now?" And not "Will you beat an MMA fighter?" It would be bold to assume I could beat any given person without some information on the scenario. and even then "shit happens" is a real possibility... I could lose to a ten year old girl with a well placed even accidental strike. Likely? no. But possible. ... Let me deconstruct the biggest points here to explain my answer a bit more.

        "There is no saying an MMA fighter wont fight dirty."
        Totally true but not substantial. I train in a traditional combative art that looks for dirty fighting and aims to defend dirty fighting as well as use it. Fool proof? No... but the reason I say I will break their rules first, is because they usually don't train to defend those things because it would be a waste of training time for them. If you end up in a fight with a Pro boxer I would expect you would not go toe to toe with boxing techniques... kick him in the shin, the groin, wrap him up and grapple with him and he is going to have a lot more trouble with you. Many MMA techniques are built to be somewhat air tight... IF certain rules protect them. This is not exclusive to MMA its true in every martial art mine included. Techniques outside our wheelhouse are dangerous. An MMA rear naked choke is devastating and I challenge you to tell me how you would get out of it in the ring. Put an MMA fighter in a rear naked, cinch it in nice and tight and correctly and ask him to get out for the sake of his life before he passes out... and watch him struggle to get his chin down push your arm up wiggle etc... it wont work. Drive a thumb deep through his eye ball (yes this takes practice but yes I have practice), he will go. Sand in the eyes, clawing, kicking while they are down, weapons... Pro fighters don't usually train these things. Does that make me a better fighter? Heck No. MMA fighters are amazing fighters and athletes. Is it POSSIBLE to beat them in a fight? yep, start by breaking their rules and being a trained fighter yourself. True of any martial art or sport art.

        Comparing Martial arts as better or worse is foolish in most cases. You can train MMA 6 days a week and never fully pressure test your skills and end up a less effective fighter. You can ALSO train at a McDojo two nights a week and go home and work your butt off to understand the art, pressure test your skills in a safe environment, study the details, work through drills and become an excellent fighter out of a McDojo. VERY few fights ever really come down to my art is better than yours, that's the stuff of movies and video games. A real fight is too complex to fully calculate... it is one person vs another in one situation vs another with whatever level of awareness and readiness they have going for them THAT DAY. We train with the goal of our worst day being better than our opponents best day but that is not always the cards we are dealt. In any fight you should avoid the fight first because you likely have NO IDEA how it will go... if you end up in a fight you do your best with what you have but you better believe the more good training you have, the more likely it will be POSSIBLE to overcome your opponent whether they are an MMA fighter or an untrained child. Never underestimate your opponent...

        Side note... Yeah I know its the internet but don't ASSUME that everyone who says anything that you disagree with out of context is untrained, inexperienced, arrogant, or even being fully understood. They probably aren't... but maybe they are :P
        • 2
        Al W UFC/MMA shouldn't be the standard to which all MA are judged against.
        • 2
        James I agree broadly with both. One of the problems is that many of the techniques that are outide the rulebook either are very very difficult to land on a trained fighter or simply arent as effective as we'd like to believe.for example trying to get s thumb in the eye of a trained fighter is easier said than done and even if you get there as unpleasant as it may be its not a fight ender on its own. Strikes to the groin can take several seconds for the pain to register and can be fought through. The reality is that most of the fight ending knock out stuff is trained in by UFC guys every day and as [171807,Andy] says the key is to be as strong, fast and conditioned as they are as well as having a variety of interesting techniques to give you an exrra advantage.
      • 36 more comments
      • 5
      Is boxing a martial art?
      Is boxing considered to be a martial art by traditional martial artists?
        • 1
        DW Duke Not to me; but we all come from a different perspective. :)
        • 1
        Andrew Brown I would argue it is a Sport Martial Art due to all of the rules Boxers must follow and the Glove requirement.
        Ever watch two boxers without gloves? Fight ends in a few seconds with one on the ground and the victor with a broken hand.
        • 1
        Rob Wallace The sweet science, I would say definitely yes.....perhaps not in the traditional sense... but I would say fits all the markers of a martial art.
      • 35 more comments
      • 5
      Member's Showcase
      I see videos on here of people at competitions, and various other forms of media. Wouldn't it be nice if we could see each other perform our respective styles/arts? So I'm creating this post just for that, no videos of Chuck Norris roundhousing squirrels or any other videos of non -members.

      Criticism is always welcome but keep it clean and no bullying. Remember we're all different with different levels of skills and athletic ability
        • 2
        Al W Me performing Heian Nidan at the 2016 AMA Southern Open in Maidstone Kent


        https://youtube.com/watch?v=HXJff2lIX8o

        This was my first competition and I was nervous as hell
        • 1
        J&J My 8 year old son poomse blue belt.
        https://youtu.be/1oSQCH4-vr0
        • 1
        J&J My son winning his second Grand Championship for weapons at 8 years old. Testing for his brown belt in Taekwondo next week. https://youtu.be/fJxoSS4FCZs
      • 75 more comments
      • 5
      Luca Valdesi - Unsu kata
      Demonstration of Unsu Kata
        • 1
        John Luttrell As part of our club's 15th anniversary we had a course on Unsu with Sensei Hazard and Sensei Trimbel it was excellent and we all learned a great deal. If you get a chance to train with either of these gentlemen you will learn a lot.
        • 1
        Al W Can anyone help me develop the jump in this kata? I need to learn to perform the Sempu Tobi Geri on both legs for reasons that will remain classified at present
        • 1
        Al W If I could be half as good as him then I would count myself lucky
      • 4 more comments
      • 5
      Trials & tribulations of running a martial arts school
      What are the major problems of running a martial arts school? Does it involve finding students, accidents, training monotony, weekend schedules, non payers, legal issues, etc.?

      Since we have a number of martial arts school instructors and/or owners in this community (such as [171786,Christopher Adamchek] , [174082,Andrea Harkins The Martial Arts Woman]" , [186241,Nathalie] , [181642,Ced] , [175467,Kenneth Winthrop] , [178814,Patrick Lee] and many others), I thought they might share their "trials & tribulations" in order to educate others.

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
      http://www.blackbeltwiki.com
        • 1
        John Graden The primary challenge is to learn to look at your school through the eyes of your market and not yours. Those of us who train like beasts and become professional school owners are "different." We can't expect that the average person will have the same passion we do.

        Second to that is a lack of training as a teacher. If you don't get these two right, all the business systems in the world won't help.

        John Graden
        MartialArtsTeachers.com
        • 1
        Nathalie Hello everyone,

        My boyfriend and I operate a kyokushin karate school and I am training 2 teens to become junior black belts and 1 girl who is going for her first dan at the age of 24. This young lady has been avid at our school since 2011. Listening, being present, showing up, training, etc...Now, she trains 5-6 days per week to prep for the big test. I love her determination and she is very sweet.

        The thing is that she is very soft in her movements as in katas, she speaks very low, when she is quizzed, if we can't read lips, we don't get what her answer is and she has never kiai'd in the 5 years that she's been with us. She is very shy and does not socialize with anyone. Not that she has to but there is never a conversation unless someone else engages her, she just picks up her stuff after class and she is gone in a flash.

        I can kind of relate to her because growing up and as a young adult, I was morbidly shy but I made myself get over it and though I get fleeting thoughts of self-doubt sometimes, I don't let those get in my way. I even remember being shy to kiai in class and thinking, after a few years of hearing others just let it all out, that I better get over that one before I get noticed as the one who is scared to kiai so I just do it from the gut, especially since my brown belt level training for my bb test.

        I have explained the meaning of the kiai to the group (oh, and they do it but they hold back so much) (thank you Jesse, btw, for your great articles, I love referring to them) the importance of putting power into their katas plus how important the breathing is as in Sanchin kata . She will nod, agree and just continue to do what she usually does, soft punches and mouth shut, not a sound of breath nor kiai.

        One of my previous instructors who is strict suggested that during the kata part of the test, we should make them all redo the katas over and over until done perfectly (as in our usual way of testing) but make sure all the kiais are heard clearly otherwise this segment won't end.

        My first question is: Is it not a must at this level? and How do I make her feel secure enough to express herself? (believe it or not she has a masters degree in communications).

        Thank you for your attention

        Nathalie
        • 0 1 vote
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        • 1
        Ray Late to the party but.....

        I do not own or run my school. Nor do I have a real say in anything.

        I do have the largest class. My own account for gear with kwon u.s.a. I get everyone set up for tournaments open up most days, and sub for some of the other instructors on a regular basis.

        My biggest obstacle is not owning my own gym.
      • 28 more comments
      • 5
      Have you ever encountered a fake black belt?
      Have you ever encountered a fake black belt? While kids have been known to "exaggerate"... have you encountered any adults who have lied about their martial arts experience?

      I am asking because of a video that is going viral that shows a BJJ instructor going off on a fake black belt - http://www.inquisitr.com/2235940/miami-martial-arts-instructor-ruben-alvarez-outed-fake-black-belt-berates-him-to-wear-white-belt-if-he-wants-to-return/

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
      http://www.blackbeltwiki.com
        • 3
        Christopher Adamchek I havent encountered a "fake" black belt
        but i have encountered "black belts" who are definitely not up to par and the result of their school wanting money so they push the student through the ranks to collect promotional fees
        • 2
        PAUL (paldo) REYNOLDS Konnichiwa ! This blog has now lost its composure and smells of burn't french fries. Time for a refund and a new batch .
        • 2
        Al W "In Okinawa belt mean no need rope to hold up pants"
      • 223 more comments
      • 5
      Walls can be used as a martial arts weapon
      Many martial art styles and techniques take advantage of the floor as a weapon but a good solid wall can be just as good a friend to the martial artist in self defence and actual combat situations. Most walls are as solid and unforgiving as the floor and can be used to great effect in the martial arts. An opponent/attacker can be pushed with great force (by using a double open palm thrust to the chest, a technique that anyone familiar with sanchin should be already be versed in), you can catch an oncoming punch or strike and then spin to throw your attacker into a wall, also the effect of most high range kicks or punches can be doubled if you can position yourself so that the attackers head or back will connect with the wall on execution. You can practice some of the pushing or throwing techniques with a partner by placing several mats against a wall but I would only recommend using kicks or punches in conjunction with walls as a means of actual self defence.
        • 3
        Superamazingbadgerman Yea, for a complete system, you really do need to understand walls.

        They're a very common surface to have around only a dazed and confused fool wouldn't use, not to mention the fact that if you're in a confined space and someone does something that (hopefully) they'll regret, you're probably gonna get thrown into one (whether anyone intends it to happen or not).

        Obviously, your first resort (or second. or third...) should never be to back into one yourself (unless you'd be completely overwhelmed if you don't), but you need to be able to work with your back to the wall (after having been violently shoved into it by multiple RIPPED attackers) anyway. If a mugger or assassin or extortionist or whoever catches you by surprise (and if they're any good at it, they will), they would (or at least I would) likely slam you against a nearby wall and start threatening you with a knife or a gun or their bare hands or whatever they might have (not that I would do anything like that to you guys). You need answers for that just as effective as your answers for one on one unarmed combat.

        It's also nice to know how to work with one yourself since it's a neutral surface (like the ground) that takes a lot less effort to put someone into. You can more easily submit your attacker to the wall than you can to the ground (though it's less effective and certainly less disorienting), so you should study how you would do that from several positions before you need to do it for real.
        • 3
        Andy [171668,Black Belt Wiki] that is a great point Will, and many self defence principles advocate NOT getting backed up against a wall. Another good one if you ever do find yourself pinned against a wall by an attacker is to slide down the wall to create a little space between yourself and your attacker, bring up your knee, place your foot against your attackers hip and then perform a thrust using the wall for extra leverage.
        • 3
        Andy [172304,Llewena Carrero], some Jujutsu/BJJ techniques can be modified to work vertically but the laws of gravity apply so many cant, it is still a good extra set of skills to add to your overall martial arts catalogue though :)
      • 25 more comments
      • 5
      Teaching combinations
      Hi. I really enjoyed the section on teaching kids. Does anyone have ideas about how to teach 40 combinations, like we have in Shukokai? It is hard for the kids to remember them, and not easy to teach. Open to any ideas!
        • 2
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Whoops think I misunderstood. Just looked up Shukokai combinations - these are short kihon.

        Definitely make it into a game. Try breaking the kids into teams and make them compete against each other in doing the combinations correctly.

        Make it fun - throw out the combinations in a different order and if they get it right, you do push-ups! :)

        Will
        Black Belt Wiki
        • 2
        Christopher Adamchek incrementally is good focusing on a section but also show them the whole thing each time so they know what it is and dont think that you are treating them like they are little

        simplified bunkai , showing the kids how it works and have them act it out with others

        teach them kata concepts like turning direction and blocking hand that way youre not just correcting them each time or telling them to switch hands but you can help them figure it out by asking them which way they turned

        with kids sometimes its better to let them get the pattern of the whole thing then go back and almost reteach it with added details
        • 2
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Hi Fiona

        How do you teach it now? You probably already do this but do you break each kata into "chunks"? For example, do they learn the first 25% of the kata during week one (and get a tape)... and practice the first 50% in week 2, practice first 75% in week 3 and finally the whole kata in week 4?

        Do you teach Shito-Ryu katas or does Shukokai have separate katas?

        What is needed for each kid at different belt level? How many must they know for their black belt?

        Sorry for the thousand questions. :) Just trying to get some more info so people can help you.

        Will
        Black Belt Wiki
      • 11 more comments
      • 5
      What is "hard" and "soft" karate styles?
      What does it mean when you see a karate style labeled as "hard" or "soft"? Does hard mean you chew on iron nails for breakfast and soft is tai chi-like? :)

      Seriously, wikipedia labels some karate styles harder than others - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_karate_styles

      Also according to the opinion of karate students (and not wikipedia) - what is the hardest karate style? And what is the softest karate style?

      Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
        • 2
        Bryce Hard and soft styles, in my own personal experience, tend to be all about how one approaches blocking. In hard styles (in karate, at least) such as Shotokan, you see blocks which have a lot of power, and the point of these blocks is often not only to avoid injury yourself, but to injure the opponent as well with the power of the block. In order to put up with the impact created by such powerful blocks, practitioners of hard styles will often take part in exercises to toughen up their bodies (see Kyokushin karate).

        Soft styles, on the other hand, tend to focus on staying relaxed during a fight and tend to redirect or avoid their opponent's energy as opposed to directly clashing with it. This means that the blocks themselves only use enough energy to avoid injury, in theory allowing the soft-style practitioner to retain their energy for later in the fight (with enough endurance training and body control their is obviously no difference in endurance levels between practitioners of different styles; this is just the theory). Wado-Ryu karate is one example of a soft style; the style blends the relaxed, circular movements of Japanese jiujutsu with the hard, direct strikes of Japanese karate in a style of movement called Taisabaki (or body shifting). In this, the practitioner shifts away from the opponents strikes using their core, employing their blocking hand merely as a safety measure to ensure that the punch or kick does not redirect (in theory, one could perform this part of taisabaki without moving their arms at all). This places the practitioner away from the opponent's strike, but closer to the opponent themselves, allowing the practitioner to move their shifted body weight into the opponent with their counterattack.

        One of the other black belts once asked my sensei which was better, and in response he said "punch is punch; kick is kick." In other words, both types of martial art can be deadly. It depends on yourself and your teacher, not the style itself.

        (Note: Sorry that the soft style explanation is larger; I am a practitioner of Wado-Ryu, and I have more experience with it than I do the hard styles. I felt I should only explain as far as I understood).
        • 0 2 votes
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        • 2
        SenseiMG For those who wonder why Kyokushin is considered the hardest karate I will give you some answer. Foundator of kyokushin or a main figure like Shigeru Oyama thought that there was no practice without sweat. Also, combat practice was their priority. Courses included training with pads but many movements are done directly on a partner. Talking about the first Kyokushin school in Tokyo, Shigeru Oyama said: « Face punches were allowed at this time. I was surprised to find that everyone had their hands wrapped in towels. Teeth will cut your hands. So everyone had their hands wrapped in towels.» Also, at that time, the hyakunin kumite (fighting against 100 man consecutively) has to be done to become a teacher of this discipline. Today, kyokushin become "softer(!)" in order to keep more students in their rank, but many traditions remains in the actual pratice and in the virtues of kyokushin. There is no more face punches but kick to the head is allowed, hyakunin kumite still exists as the ultimate challenge for those who wish to accomplish it and black belt exams include tameshiwari (breaking techniques) and many kumite (usually between 15 to 20 combats against different opponents for a shodan) in addition to kihons and katas.
        • 2
        Andy In practically all martial art (certainly of the oriental variety) hard and soft are both parts of the whole and one cannot be practiced without the other, Kata is considered a 'soft' technique (though it does incorporate many hard elements) because it involves visualisation, timing, accuracy (all soft/internal elements that should also be applied to sparring and other hard external elements). The thing is that it is generally a misconception (perpetuated by the Ashida Kim's of the martial arts world) that there are specific hard and soft styles. Take Tai Chi, it is often taught and practised by old ladies in village halls as a healthy exercise, there is however a real combat (hard) application of genuine Tai Chi and in it's hard element it is a devastating martial art. In Karate,Kata should also be practised under dynamic/isometric tension to strengthen the internal and external parts of the body which is another reason why Kata are included in the soft aspect of training.
      • 58 more comments
      • 5
      Where are all the karate women?
      I would like to connect with other women in MA. I train in traditional Japanese / Okinawan karate and am very often the only XX in class. I would like to connect with other like minded women who think it isn't crazy to train in MA.
        • 3
        Carman Cole I believe as a woman the key to getting us in karate is our families. Finding ways to connect with our children and spend time with them. Showing our family how to be loyal, patient, and respect esp.with my two boys, is so important. Families that practice together stay together. 😄
        • 2
        (deleted) p.s. personally, I would love to see more woman participate in karate and martial arts regardless of the distinctions I mention - the more folks the merrier I say.
        • 2
        Dr. Elizabeth Mattke Howdy! I'm kinda new here...kinda not, but I'm a martial arts woman whom will be testing next week for my orange belt in Okinawan Kempo Karate looking forward to it. I have my 1stances degree black belt in Krav Maga. Blessings.
        • 0 2 votes
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      • 127 more comments
      • 4
      Should I bow out of sparring cont...
      So appreciated all of your comments/suggestions from before - still have them to refer back to. Hoping to continue the sparring discussion if you're up for it? I'll add comments below.
        • 1
        David Cochran Well said. It is encouraging to hear your sense of loyalty. A necessary component in a successfully, satisfying experience regardless the venue. From experience, there is nothing wrong with learning about other schools/MA styles. It is very eye opening and broadens the learning experience making you a more well rounded, objective person. That said, you sound like a person/student searching for more, from yourself first and from your environment second. Done in the spirit to improve your environment, there is never anything wrong with respectfully introducing other ideas. Especially when you learn that there are things that can be improved. It is part of the growing process. In the adult dynamic between student/instructor it is unusual to see the need to be heavy handed and "my way is the only way" ideology. Everything should evolve.
        • 1
        David Cochran I do not mean to discourage you. I understand the small town dynamic. If you have limited or no other choices, well, you have no other choices. I encourage to continue you MA path. With your athletic background maybe it will help you if you dive into the academic side or your MA (history, lineage, etc....). How would it be received if you started practicing technique, kicking, etc.... with a resistance partner prior to formal class starting? May be eye opening on all accounts. Just a thought. Is liability an issue? If you have the opportunity, go visit another Dojang just for comparison. I would simply say you want to proctor a class. That way no offense should be taken.
        • 1
        David Cochran Your TKD year scedule explains some things. It is still unusual to have a class with little or no contact. Kicking the air can have value in balance and aesthetics but you will not know if your kick is effective. In the early days we used our body as the kicking pad, head excluded. A much more practical way to practice but a lot of wear and tear was involved. Of course you are not taking a ballet class. Are you working out with a child, possibly taking a "children's" class? It sounds like you are getting a lot of theory training but never transitioning to understanding how, where, when it works. MA is very repetitive, but until it is applied in practice repetitively it just doesn't work. I think that is where you are, having worked out long enough to understand the mechanics of some techniques but not the application. Understandably confusing.
      • 21 more comments
      • 4
      Big News
      So today marks my 34th birthday, and amongst the amazing gifts my family gave me I also got one other from my Instructor

      Today I graded for my Shodan in Shotokan Karate.
      What started out as a joke turned out to be a lesson in being careful for what you wish for. That being said I'm glad I went for it rather than pulling out when given the chance.

      Due to circumstances behind the scene my particular grading has to be harder than my peers.

      For the most part it was a crazy blend of basics, kata, and combinations. At points he would change it on a whim. Then some one step sparring and weapon defence thrown in the mix.

      When it came to the freestyle fighting I had 1-on-1, 2-on1, 3-on-1, and 4-on-1. The freestyle ended with a fight with my Instructor. After all that I had to finish the day of with Bassai Dai when I have nothing left after everything I had been put through.

      It was tough but I wouldn't have it any other day
        • 1
        JINXEDFOXY Congrats and happy belated birthday! Now it is only the beginning! Bassai Dai is my favorite kata. One of the two most important belts: your first and your black. Congrats again!
        • 1
        Bill Emmes Congratulations on your birthday and on your Shodan test!! Like your first date, you will never forget this one either.
        • 1
        S.P. Not to pry but your "circumstances behind the scene" may have included more experience than most who are trying for Shodan for the first time?
      • 20 more comments
      • 4
      Blackbelt grading success
      Yesterday I graded successfully for my kyokushin 1st Dan and thought id share what that entailed.
      There were around 40 people in the grading, most going for 1st or second kyu, 6 going for 1st Dan and a couple for 2nd Dan. The day started at 10am with a fairly standard warm up then straight into kihon. All of us going for shodan took it in turns to take the rest of the group through the kihon and kata for one of the kyu grades both to demonstrate our ability to lead a class and also our syllabus knowledge.At one point someone dropped a count so it was 40 push ups 40 situps 130 squats as punishment for the entire class. The kihon session lasted 3 hours with the potential 2nd kyu students getting an hours break, 30 mins for the 1st kyu students and 15 mins for those going for black as each group was sent to rest after their techniques and renraku were covered. After the break it was back into some varied kihon and kata for around half an hour before we were broke out to go through individual kata - one of our choosing and one given by the examiners. Following this it was into the exercises. For 1st Dan 100 push ups, 150 sit ups, 300 squats 200 mae keage on each leg. Just to finish us off we then went through some single punches with each student calling a count of 10 so it should have been 400 punches but the count was dropped twice at around the 20th counter so we had to start again meaning it ended up closer to 800. We then did the same with knee kicks to the face but thankfully the count went well so just dd the 400. A couple more katas and renraku thrown on the end and then it was straight into the fights. For 1st Dan it was 30 one minute full contact continuous rounds with no rest against rested high grade opponents. To say i was relieved when it was over at around 4.15pm is an understatement. A minimum of two years before i can be considered to take 2nd Dan so at least I dont have to go through it again too soon.
      • 4
      training as a WTF black belt at a Karate studio
      Well today was my second day training at a Karate Studio as a TKD black belt. So far the training is similar for most activates and I am picking up there forms. But getting use to punching I am finding quite difficult. My first reaction when the target is swinging to me was not to duck and punch, but to spin kick the target.

      So my question is how do train from go from feet only to hand shots to the head ? Tomorrow is the first sparing class and it will be interesting to see how the blend of TKD with karate will go (Off-Back fist, Def-Back kick).....
        • 4
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Charlie

        I hope you will post tomorrow and tell us how the sparring session went. The other issue that some Taekwondo students face - Hanging their hands (versus protecting their face) as they are only expecting to block kicks.

        Will
        • 3
        Christopher Adamchek i find this interesting as i have seen it before
        TKD students moving to karate and lacking hand work , as modern TKD favors kicks so much
        as a Karate ka i love my kicks but good hands is what saves your butt
        like learning how to write, you just need to spend alot of repetition on hand work and it will start to blend nicely
        • 2
        David Petrie When I referred a poster to a website, I may have been violating rules. I apologize for this. Perhaps the post was deleted.
        In any case, I made the point that one may be in a situation where the legs cannot be used, such as very tight spaces. I would become adept at hand techniques for this reason. Also, some of us older people do not have the flexibility that Tae Kwon Do requires, do to injury or just plain age. I can still get a leg up, but I maintain hand techniques as well.
      • 4 more comments
      • 4
      Hello all and Happy father's day to all of you karatekas dads out there
      This is my first post, just thought I'd say hi ....

      But there is a topic I'd like to bring up... I have started martial arts a little late in my life and it really helps keeping me in good shape. I would be interested in sharing with other 'Late bloomers'. If anyone thinks it's an interesting topic, please don't hesitate to reply to this post. We can maybe tell our stories and exchange on what martial arts is bringing to our already quite fulfilled life... I am a woman of 62 years old and have been practicing Shotokan karate for 8 years and kung fu for one year. I am a brown belt working hard to reach my goal of getting my black belt before I turn 65...
        • 1
        Jerry Fielden 60 here with 4 kids and 2 grand-kids, beginner (white belt with orange kyu in Kyokushin Karate) welcome and thanks for the wishes!
        • 1
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Hi [227672,Francine Descôteaux]

        Thanks for the warm Father's Day wishes & the great late bloomers post!

        Will
        Black Belt Wiki
      • 4
      Backpacks as Improvised Shields
      Another self-defense option is to look at improvised shields. The ability to shield off an attacker armed with a knife or club might give you a few extra seconds in order to escape, shout for help, etc.

      This ABC video looks at a program that teaches students to use their backpack as a self-defense shield.

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
      • 4
      "'That's Not Aikido"
      What makes a given technique an "aikido" technique or a "karate" technique? If I use mae geri during aikido randori, am I no longer practicing aikido? Some ardent aikidokas out there believe so. In the 25 years I've studied and practiced aikido, I've heard this phrase time and again and it confuses me. To be clear, aikido has its own philosophy just as any modern budo. But it seems to me that there a lot of budoka who try desperately to preserve the sanctity of their art to such a degree that they refuse to incorporate anything that remotely resembles something outside of their system.
      Aikido's basic philosophy is to "blend" with an attack rather than clash so as to envelope an aggressor's energy, redirect it and control thus neutralizing the attack. This seems to be in direct contrast to the majority of karate styles, for example, whose answer to an attack is to block and counter or strike at the perception of aggression rather than waiting and having to counter. In my opinion, all budo is based in the relatively same esoteric principles of seeking a peaceful resolution to conflict and the techniques of a given system are nothing more than the mechanics of that philosophy. Furthermore, I firmly believe that incorporating tools from other systems not only enhances my ability to defend myself but gives me a deeper meaning and perspective into the art that I teach and practice.
      As an example, all of my aikibudo students learn basic kicks and punches from Shotokan and Matsubashi Karate Kempo, the two systems of karate I've studied and practiced. The principles of grounding needed to properly execute seiken are the same as the those used in basic bokken work or in any entering technique, e.g. irimi nage. And let's face it, some times a kick to the groin or knee makes a lot more sense than trying to blend. If I use empi to strike a man's face in close-quarters because it's the fastest way to end a conflict, does that make it any less of an aikido technique? I don't believe so. It's the philosophy of the art and the opportunity to practice mental and physical discipline that continues to interest me. The "how" I practice that discipline will always be subordinate to "why."

      Dave Magliano
      Jissenkan Aikibudo
        • 1
        Ralph If their 'aikido way' of dealing with a good kick or strike is to train with people who don't know how to do those correctly, that's all they'll be able to handle, at best. How does that fit in to the philosophy? One should not seek perfection of delusion.
        • 1
        Bill Emmes Excellent article! For years, people have either trained as a traditionalist or a realist in just about every form of martial arts known. The history of martial arts have shown me that just about every martial art form is incorporated within each other and is somewhat "hidden" and the practitioner has the opportunity to find it and use it to their advantage.

        My martial arts practice started with Ju-Jitsu that incorporated or revealed a variety of other martial arts techniques so as to better understand them and also the differences between philosophies. In addition, this was more of a realistic approach to self defense as opposed to a traditionalist style of training. The benefits were that I was able to utilize multiple self defense techniques best suited for the particular attack that confronted me. Was any of this less than Ju-Jitsu...I think not. It gave me an advantage to adapt quickly to a particular attach and overcome my opponent.

        The martial arts have been evolving for centuries and most Masters of any style when gathered together, review and evaluate the methods of their art in order to make it more efficient and exact in execution. Having said that, as life time student, I now study Tai Chi and Hung Gar Fung Fu. As I practice, I see a lot of similarities in what I learned in Ju-Jitsu lurking in the forms and individual technique executions. The only real difference is a slight movement that was incorporated to make the technique more efficient in the eyes of the Chinese and the particular "Traditional Art" being taught. Using these techniques do not make it any less "Gung Fu" or "Tai Chi". In fact, the efficiencies allow the student to adapt their physical capabilities to that of their attacker.

        I am 63 years of age and have learned that my techniques need to be adapted in order to allow me to defend myself to a level of proficiency in order to survive against all/any attacks. So the blending of Ju-Jitsu into my Tai Chi or Gung Fu does not diminish the true art, but rather allows me to introduce the necessary changes that will allow me to utilize my fighting skills to fend off new attacks and any changes that my opponent has also adapted to in order to survive.

        Most traditionalist will argue that when changing a technique is a bastardization of the true form. I disagree and would simply add that we need to continuously review and evaluate[our] ability to perform our art and evolve it into the present style of fighting. Utilizing a [Karate] groin kick or knee kick to blend into another particular art is not a change as it is more of an advantage to setup an opponent for the next technique or final execution of the confrontation to one's advantage.

        If you are a true martial arts student, then you know that your ego will defeat you just as quickly as your choice to ignore the evolution of fighting. So the blending of fighting forms is not diminishing of an art, but rather the adding to the advantages one has learned over time tp give them an advantage that can be used to engage in a host of different environments and does not limit them to a choreographed style of fighting or specific defensive method against any attack. We are all different, tall, short, strong, not-as-strong, faster.....utilizing a blend of fighting techniques is hard to ignore as well as hard to restrain from using when confronted by an angry attacker(s).
        • 1
        Leon Reeder I teach Tae Kwon Do but I also have Black Belts in Aikido and Jujitsu. Therefore I incorporate the basics of the 2 arts in my class. Tae Kwon Do is mostly long range techniques and Aikido and Jujitsu are mostly close range. By this my student has more options to choose from. In class when they spar Aikido and Jujitsu are off limits but on the street , in combat these other 2 are a possible choice. I believe what Mr Bruce Lee said there is no perfect martial art. The best one is a combination of 2 or 3 other different arts.
      • 14 more comments
      • 4
      Garage Dojo
      Hi @dtaylorbrazil. Here's an example of how we use small space.
        • 1
        Bill Emmes Hi Dave,

        Excellent post and a great video! Being able to execute self defensive techniques in such tight quarters is what reality is all about. As a former Ju Jitsu practitioner, our training was tight and up close, quick and combat based. The joke among us was that we trained to fight in a phone booth!

        Truth being that reaction must be as simultaneous as the attack and we practiced with(full) impact. Another practice that gave us an advantage of experiencing what a life like attack would be and not just a slow motion practice drill. Of course this increased as experience/belt level increased. White & yellow belt students were focused more on the mechanics and control was stressed along the way. As they progressed, speed and impact grew and their control increased as well.

        I enjoy seeing practice of a martial art in a most realistic manner. Yes there can be bruises, a fat lip or other minor injuries, but this is where control is fortified in techniques. The learning curve can be a little rough, but instructional skills like what you explain only make your students stronger, faster an better martial artists.

        Great Stuff!!!!!
        • 1
        ChuckD Awesome! Hope to setup a basement dojo in our next house.
        • 1
        Christopher Adamchek i like it
        nice tight moves
        how often do you guys practice full resistance of an opponent?
      • 10 more comments
      • 4
      Welcome to the members who joined in March
      I want to welcome all of the new members who joined in March. They include [242481,Tirang R. Neyestani] , [242462,Anna Guðlaug Jóhannsdóttir] , [242423,Clerity] , [242406,Robert Gill] , [242402,Nathanael Misajlovski] , [242384,syed shahid] , [242373,Godspeed] , [242349,garron abernathy] , [242297,Si Smith] , [242211,Karolyn Browden] , [242200,Jack Fahey] , [242184,Guillaume Chan] , [242164,David Perry] , [242098,Adam] , [242079,Benjamin Kwan] , [241987,Celin Rodriguez] , [241847,Marty Wells] , [241762,Carter Anderson] , [241649,Joe Conroy] , [241532,Darrell Millsaps] , [241486,Roger Ramer] , [241204,Jim Patus] , [241180,Brian Anderson] , [241145,Thorne Williams] , [241085,Chris Ballew] , [241043,Leon Reeder] , [241022,Bill Halcovage] , [240952,Gena Richards Berry] , [240939,David St. John] , [240848,Stephin] , [240731,Trent Zelazny] , [240537,Gary] and many others.

      If you just joined, I will hope you will post a quick note on this thread to introduce yourself.

      Please feel free to comment on any of the other topics (i.e. best martial arts movies, is kata useless, etc.) as they are still open.

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
        • 3
        Maria F Kilburn-Espinosa Hello my name is Marie F. Kilburn... I taekwondo practicioner and I'm trying to brush on my forms...Your website is very resourceful. Thank you very much. Kudos to master Woo for his videos.
        • 3
        Godspeed Hi!

        Short intro about myself. I'm a Krav Maga practitioner. I am interested in martial arts in general, improving my techniques exponentially and learn more techniques from other martial arts. Blackbeltwiki seems like an excellent online resource to gather more knowledge around a lot of these topics.

        -Godspeed
        • 2
        Andy A big welcome to all new members! As [171668,Will - Black Belt Wiki] said, please DO add your voice (or at least text :) to the community! Remember, an opinion shared is an opinion halved, no wait sorry that's problems not
        opinions. :)
      • 10 more comments
      • 4
      Is realistic self-defense training a contradiction in itself?
      There are countless providers that claim to offer realistic self-defense training. Routinely implied in in such claims is that other, more traditional schools/dojos/styles fail to address this. However, I am wondering if realistic self-defense training is possible at all. Here are some thoughts, and as always, any feedback is greatly appreciated:

      Self-defense training can never be realistic because...

      … it takes place in a non-threatening environment. There is (hopefully) no hostility, no name calling, no intimidating etc. You know your training partners, the instructors and the location. The training starts and ends at a specific time. You go there for the purpose of training self-defense and are in a corresponding state of mind, that is, you know that you will, in one way or another, engage in attacking and defending.

      … your training partner will never attack with the same determination as the “bad dude” on the street or in a bar. A training partner doesn’t act in blind rage and is cautious of possible counter attacks. This leads to a rather different dynamic.

      … there are implicit or explicit dos and don’ts in the dojo (e.g. no groin kicks, no eye gouges). You’re neither allowed to apply such “illicit” techniques, nor do you have to worry that your partner might.

      Of course I’m not suggesting that self-defense training is futile, but I think it’s very important to remember that no matter how and where you train, it can only ever be a rough approximation to a real self-defense situation.
        • 2
        Chad There are many drills that can be done to simulate real violence and the stimulation that comes with it. Name calling, hostility and intimidation are a big part of how we prepare people for violence. Groin kicks and eye gouges can be trained by both attacker and defender as long as there is a good safety coach to monitor intensity. We've had many good groin kicks landed in class(cup are recommended) but nobody has been poked in the eye. All though we can't 100% prepare for real violence we can get pretty damn close.
        • 2
        Guillaume Chan Hey @nico, this is a really interesting topic. I just wanted to react to your different points and add some others that could help you with your thinking.

        1 - You're totally right. Fortunately, some schools are getting very creative in order to train you for real situation. Some exercises can be done to put you in a stress state to practice your techniques. For example, sparring against two opponents is a great exercise to work on your self-control and cardio because this is really oppressive. Another could be to close your eyes, turn spin around for a few seconds and when you opened your eyes someone attacks you.

        2 - Unfortunately, I think you're right.

        3 - This depends on which fighting sport you practice. Some, like Krav Maga or Systema, totally encourage to kick your partner in the groin even in the dojos. It just depends on your school methods and of course our partner will have to wear adequate protection. Many traditional martial art schools tend to change toward a more self-defense approach.

        To conclude, I would say that it's true, you will never be able to simulate real life aggressions but you can try to get as close to it as possible and that will already make a huge difference. Secondly, practicing self-defense is not all about techniques. It also teaches self-confidence and attitude. Self-confidence may dissuade more than one assailant. Attitude may teach you to avoid threatening situation or how to react to it.
        • 1
        Krav Maga Genève Lior Zabari Some good points there.
        That being said, there are some techniques/methods to put someone in a allmost real situation
      • 10 more comments
      • 4
      Answering "Does martial arts work?"
      This guy is my new hero. He hits it right on the head.
        • 2
        Andy [218075,Michael], great video and excellent explanation, I mostly agree in the respect that there are some practitioners (and I don't mean this in a derogatory manner it is just a fact of life) that are not physically or mentally cut out for fighting, they only attend class a couple of times a week, don't actively condition or seek out the depth/source of the principles of application for which their respective MA were originally developed. Where I disagree (and it is nitpicking really not a major disagreement) is that I still believe that ANY amount of MA training will (or should) make an individual more able to defend themselves than would have been the case had they had no MA training at all. Even the basic blocks we learn from day one as a shiny new white belt have the potential to stop or redirect a fist from the face and my contention is that just by knowing that basic block you are now better able to defend yourself (even if you are not or ever going to be in a position to take out Mike Tyson).
        • 1
        Andrew Doran Depends what you mean by work. Years ago I was teaching a youth martial arts class. When a woman entered my dojo and said my son was diagnosed with a.d.d.. Do you think this class would help my son. I stated....I didn't know; try the class for two or three weeks an see if there is a change. I won't charge for the class; in two or three weeks if there is an improvement we'll go from there. Time past an in three weeks the mom came in before class started.. She gave me a big hug an said the class had helped her son so much.. She said he's more focused an concentrates more with no problems in school.......She had tears in her eyes an a smile on her face...
        Does martial arts work.......Yes...For all the right reasons
        • 1
        Christopher Adamchek Well said
      • 6 more comments
      • 4
      The Purpose of "Hikite" in Karate
      A good explanation on why the opposite hand is returned to the belt during a punching drill in traditional martial arts training.

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
        • 1
        Will - Black Belt Wiki I am adding the benefits & drawbacks of Hikite to the wiki - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/hikite

        Please post your thoughts & I will move them to the wiki.

        Will
        • 1
        PAUL (paldo) REYNOLDS Splendid explaination ! Also I was impressed with the Mindsets of Traditional Karate. The state of the mind in Zanshin, Mushin, Fodoshin and Shoshin. I often still use them in meditation more by getting to know there meanings thru personal experiences of life. I didn't medicate as a young man, I became involved thru experimentation after counselings with my friend and late Shihan Kousaku Yokota of Shotokan karate.
        • 1
        Christopher Adamchek It also works as a counter weight addin power into a strike (without grabbing the opponent)
        As well as an elbow strike for close quarters against 2 opponents
      • 1 more comment
      • 4
      KICK
      What is the best kick in taekwondo?
        • 2
        Hermit Too many to pick just one. I usually plug the cresent kick (I like the outer cresent kick better than inner) just due to versatility, it makes for good block, can score a nice head or body strike, makes a good kick to use to try and move opponent in a direction you want. All while keeping a good aggressive stance and not requiring you to turn your body too much. Also good for a setup to another kick (ie 360 turning), which is another one I favor, well the jumping turning kick anyway, it's one of the few kicks that has always felt "right" when doing it right from the start. The 360 is a really useful kick when the situation and setup click in just right, but I'm still polishing that one up (and it needs a fair bit "o" polish otherwise it opens you up too much in a match). [239084,Natasha] I'm learning that a good position of your non kicking knee, during the last bit of the spin is really important. Practicing setup of the kick, getting that front foot (kicking foot) in a good sideways position and already on the ball of the foot. progress into the spin and work on bringing that non kicking knee up with good position (45 angle) coming up for the fulcrum at the end of the spin (don't even follow through for the first while of practice) helps the world, that and getting used to quick turn of the head for spotting your target don't launch off with the kicking leg until you have spotted your target, it helps prevent jumping too soon in the spin.
        • 2
        Dan Wilkins I believe the side kick to the ribs is the most effective due to the force with which it is delivered.
        • 1
        Natasha [238427,Dan Wilkins] I agree with what you are saying.
      • 21 more comments
      • 4
      Welcome to all of our recent new members
      I want to welcome the following new members:

      [239660,David Byler] , [239549,Hossein] , [239548,Graeme Reay] , [239422,Nick Santa Anna] , [239394,Marcus Moore] , [239264,Paul Helton] , [239260,Simon Mackenzie] , [239205,Rock Carey Sr.] , [239198,Vicki Sheppard] , [239047,Thenu] , [238987,Rob Wallace] , [238957,Nigel Patrick McCann] , [238712,John Yokley] , [238663,Paul Hankle] , [238500,Theresa A Kanost] , [238428,Jose Gabriel Gonzalez] , [238279,Cathy Walker] , [238276,Cindy Plachinski] , [238201,Michael Reedy] , [238157,Jakki] , [238128,Nigel Kersh] , [237928,Ernie Esajas] , [237813,Michael Johnson] , [237770,steven m ashby] , [237635,Lorenzo Ferrari] , [237449,Robert Reppert] and everyone else that joined recently... as my fingers are getting worn out from typing in all of these names. :)

      Please remember that all of the topics (even the popular top rated topics i.e. best martial arts movie) are still open for your replies, votes, etc. Top rated posts - http://community.blackbeltwiki.com/top

      Since you are new to the community, I hope you will use this post to say hello & get comfortable with the posting system of this community (FYI - It is easy. You just have to start writing something in the "write a comment" box below). Then, of course, I hope you will also reply to some of the other martial arts topics on this community. :)

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
      • 4
      Do any of you who train primarily in Aikido, also train in another martial art?
      Do any of you who train primarily in Aikido, also train in another martial art?

      If so, what are your reasons for doing so? And why did you pick the specific martial arts (other than Aikido) you picked?
        • 3
        Mark Winter I studied many martial arts before Aikido _ Ishinryu Karate - Military hand to hand - Judo and Jujitsu - plus being a wrestler through high school and college. I now primarily practice Aikido but I do study other martial arts and self defense techniques and incorporate many of them into my Aikido practice and teachings. I chose Aikdo as my primary art because I like that way that you take the balance of the opponent and move in such a way that is contrary to "normal" defense - keeping a good distance from the attacker and moving in off line which catches an opponent off balance.
        • 2
        Al W I do karate but would love to take up Aikido once again
        • 2
        Joe Bramblett For me, non competitive jiujitsu was a way to expand on aikido. The instructors have been open to bringing aikido principles and techniques into the system when they achieve an objective more reliably or with less effort, but without a decades-long learning curve like some aspects of timing and subtle kuzushi can have.
        Plus grappling seemed like a good idea, since I'm a few decades away from being confident that nobody will get me on the ground.
      • 14 more comments
      • 4
      Hi there
      I've been on hiatus from Taekwondo for the last year for health-related issues(I need to get more cardio in & try to lose some weight as well in the process). In the meantime, I'm reviewing a few Taegeuk Forms. I'm able to retain a lot of the skills & such to resume, but it might be awhile.
        • 2
        Michael Welcome back
        • 2
        Andy Hi [197922,Steve Marshall] good to have you back :) both in MA training and here on the community.
        • 2
        ChuckD Hi Steve You can use forms to work your way back in to TKD. You can use forms to work on cardio, just start going through them at a low enough intensity to make sure everything is ok health/body wise and then you can start doing them with more intensity as you feel better. Good luck!
      • 8 more comments
      • 4
      Mindful Martial Arts (or Senior Martial Artists As They Age)
      Some say writing a book of martial arts is egotestic and others revere the knowledge. However,the subconscious wonders how long does it take to be satisfied with your M.A. training. There maybe points in your martial arts time that challenges your pace etc. What would you do after your ACTIVE competitive martial arts is completed ?
        • 1
        Martin Alcala For me my training as gone full circle in learning the arts and trained in full contact in the mid 70's. There was a time span of over ten years I traveled in the US, Canada and Europe in film and tv production where I was not at one place to have an effective training experience. In 1998 I met up with my original Instructor and I started training again. That was the catalyst for me to start understanding why I was training, it wasn't to learn how to beat the other guy like we did in the 70's, but to fully experience the training in techniques and forms and weapons. To learn about myself and enjoy the process, so for me it is the constant learning about myself and I transfer this knowledge to younger black belts. I am never satisfied, but the enjoyment, is in the training experience.
        • 1
        James When I can no longer sensibly compete full contact, which realistically won't be too many years from now, I find enough intrinsic value in the training to keep me actively involved. I will continue to push myself to whatever my new limits are as I age and focus on kata and teaching others. Ill continue to spar in the dojo long after my desire and abilty to compete is eroded by the years. There is always something you can do.to keep your mind focused even when the body ismt as spritely as it once was!
        • 1
        Richie All martial artists have a way of looking at things. Even if you do a very traditional style and hold tight to a curriculum. Spread your thoughts, write them down and share for younger or even older students. There is nothing egotistical with writing your philosophy and story.

        The people that would talk crap about it are the people that don't know how or not have enough to make into a book.
      • 28 more comments
      • 4
      New School Blues
      So as it stands I am currently running a class on a Thursday night, on my instructors advice, but at present all I have is at most 5/6 students.

      It's two classes back-to-back and only 2/3 students do both lessons. I've advertised on Social Media, and leaflet drop in the local area for more students, but at present I am struggling to keep the focus of what students I do have, who also train at our main club on other days of the week.

      Any help?
        • 2
        Andy @Al W, you need to be creative with the name/description of your class, you need to advertise something that will get people's attention, I don't know, maybe something like Big AL's MMA KRAV-BJJ Martial Arts and fitness accademy. Join NOW and receive a 10% discount towards my 'Realistic Chain Saw defence' seminar this coming December, dont forget, Free entry on Thursday to ALL female students (provided they are between the ages of 20
        -40 and pass the 'Fitness' test (if the bouncers think your fit they'll let you in) :)
        • 1
        Jean We're about to embark on this path within the next year. I interested to see the ideas that will come out in this thread.
        • 1
        Ray Try being a karate school at an mma gym. We have a all included program. Many pay for it. Only 6 kids participate in the karate program full time. Of course we get dozens to filter thru. I have 12 at my sparring class. Of course waivers are signed.

        After we swept a local sparring tournament last year my karate class grew to almost 20..... and now I am back to the original 4 plus 2.
      • 9 more comments
      • 4
      Taekwondo KO's in MMA
      Taekwondo In Action
        • 1
        Will - Black Belt Wiki I know that the video is supposed to show KOs but I am amazed that the "victims" of these tornado kicks just stand there and watch the spin vs. moving in and jamming the kick.
        • 1
        Ray The axe kick was fierce. A favorite kick to watch. Sadly I can not throw it effectively.
        • 1
        Christopher Adamchek Good tornado kicks
      • 8 more comments
      • 4
      Non-traditional martial arts strength training
      Jesse Encamp posted the below video for a strength training program he has which is designed around Karate.

      https://youtu.be/fO0XIENrCfs

      Not trying to undercut his product, do you have any non-traditional exercises/workouts designed with your MA in mind?
        • 2
        Richie Make a slosh bar. I used the black pipe because it is thicker and the glue is cheaper. You can also get the screw on caps to remove or add water or other things. I put rocks in mine sometimes.

        Great for balance work, forearms, and sticky hands training (moving with the water)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bA8ATctYX90
        • 2
        Ray When I was in the military we would pull duses around a field, one time we moved several thousand sand bags for p.t. I imagine Imy self doing something similar in the near future.
        • 0 2 votes
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        • 2
        James I tend to go through phases of doing "odd stuff" (description courtesy of my wife). At the moment i'm doing a lot of "odd stuff" to strengthen the core like abdominal planks with 110 - 130lb of weight on my back held for 3 reps of between 1 min - 1 min 30 The reason for the weight differences is mainly which one of my son or daughter to sit on my back :) I spend a fair bit of time in head stand doing upside down splits and leg raises and for cardio i'm doing 100 full burpees within a five minute time frame every couple of days. I also do lots of press up variations, elevated, vertical, weighted ( again courtesy of the kids!), one armed, diamond, etc, etc.
      • 13 more comments
      • 4
      Sesame Street: Cookie's Crumby Pictures- The Biscotti Kid (Karate Kid Parod...
      Fun Karate Kid Parody
        • 1
        Rachel DS Snacks on, snacks off..an oldie but a goodie.....anyone who follows my blog will know just why I love this so much.
        • 1
        Andy I must say though, I am slightly concerned with the limited grading syllabus of Biscotti Ryu karate! :)
        • 1
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Pretty funny. "Fly Kwon Do" looked pretty tough. :)

        They did a good job of muppet-ifying Mr. Miyagi.

        Will
      • 4 more comments
      • 4
      The Definition of Martial Arts
      How would you define a martial arts in 50 words or less? Try to make your definition cover all aspects so no martial arts style is forgotten (i.e. weapon-based martial arts). Don't look at a dictionary because the answer can be incomplete as there are so many types of martial arts. Please try to state the definition in your own words versus just copying Wikipedia, etc. Moreover, the definition should help to show how martial arts is different from just plain brawling.

      Members - Please vote up the best definition (as it will be tough to cover all aspects of what is a martial arts - physical fitness, self-defense, philosophy, historic traditions, training, etc. - in 50 words or less). Reward them with a thumbs up! :)

      Also if a response is missing an important factor, please point it out. Help us to come up with a perfect definition!

      Will
      Black Belt Wiki
        • 2
        Kathryn Carson Any training that treats the mind/body connection of a human being as a skill to be honed, thereby strengthening an individual's ability to project precisely controlled force in a considered way.

        Or, if you want to be funny, "breath fu." ;-)
        • 0 2 votes
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        • 2
        James Marital arts- acts of intimacy carried out with growing infrequency between husband and wife with or without weapons. Hang on.......did I misread the question?
        • 0 2 votes
        • Reply
        • 2
        PAUL (paldo) REYNOLDS Martial Arts is universally revered as self-protection in offensive / defensive systems of either non-contact or combative contact with or without weapons systems. There are non-codified / codified systems that have developmental levels that are taught in groups with individual testing in proficiency levels (belt/grade) certifications!
        • 0 2 votes
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      • 33 more comments
      • 4
      7 MARTIAL ARTS YOU PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF
      Some Less Well Known Martial Arts
        • 1
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Just put up a quick wiki page on Lerdrit - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/lerdrit

        If there are any Thai martial arts experts, please feel to add some additional info on Lerdrit on this thread and I will transfer it to the main wiki.

        Will
        • 1
        Will - Black Belt Wiki Interesting video

        I didn't have Lerdrit. A military version of Muay Thai/Muay Boran... sounds cool (and extremely effective). I will definitely add that one to the wiki!

        FYI - Others are on the wiki :)

        Jailhouse Rock - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/jailhouse-rock
        Dambe - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/dambe
        Kalaripayattu (Kalari Payat) - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/kalaripayattu
        Silat - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/silat
        Okichitaw - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/okichitaw
        Systema - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/systema

        Will
        • 1
        Andy Here are a couple more videos focusing on 'Jailhouse Rock' (the Prison derived martial art system, not the Elvis movie :)
        https://youtu.be/38uVH9-DCdk
        https://youtu.be/uu0VREWleck
      • 18 more comments
      • 4
      Own Dojo
      From all of you experienced martial art peeps, when do you think someone can start a dojo?

      My Sensei is giving me his Community Center dojo when I become a black belt sometime next year. He is letting me create the curriculum and run it how I want. I will still be under him to promote brown and black belts, but in essence it is my dojo. He even wants me to have it under a different name.

      My question to you is will you look at my dojo with respect at first glance?

      I have great things planned. I know I will be ready and will give quality instruction. I am not in it for the money so it won't be a McDojo, but I am just worried about what other people in my small Karate community will say or think.

      Any advice or opinion is greatly appreciated!!!!
        • 3
        S.P. If you are gonna make changes, I suggest small ones and not all at once. People get used to a given routine and tho it mayn't be (or, may be) great, changing that should be gradual.
        • 2
        Richie Our founder:
        We should open Karate to the public and receive criticism, opinions and studies from other prominent fighting artists.” – Chojun Miyagi (founder of Goju-ryu Karate)

        Goju-Ryu was founded from a merge of other styles. This is why I love my style so much. The best comparison is a Japanese version of Jeet Kun Do.
        • 2
        Andy [220601,Richie], first off I think it is great that you are going to be running a dojo. No doubt there will be people (other martial artists) who will be negative and disparaging without having the vaguest clue as to what your club is all about (you could have the best dojo in the world and teach excellent, genuine no BS MA and there will still be some who will bad mouth and slate you!). The thing is to not give a hoot what others say or think and to go into it with a positive mindset and do the best that you can do, at least you are (or will be) a genuine, conscientious black belt and as long as you yourself are still learning and are willing and able to pass on what you have learned so far (and what you will learn in the future) then all should be good.
      • 35 more comments
      • 4
      Resisting and non-resisting training partners: The dojo effect
      Lately I've been thinking about two different kinds of training partners a lot: the resisting and the non-resisting one (arguably, there's a large gray area in between).

      If you foremost train martial arts for self-defense reasons (of course, there are other perfectly valid reasons), I'd argue that training with a resisting partner is crucial. However, I've seen many places promoting self-defense where this does not happen. Attacks are often just announced one-step attacks and little or no attempts are made by the training partner to block or evade counter attacks, locks and throws. This is sometimes also called the dojo effect.

      While scaffolding is certainly important to learn how to block, launch a counter attack, apply a lock or take down an opponent, the ultimate goal, in my opinion, should be to learn how to face a resisting opponent since in a self-defense situation you're very unlikely to deal with a non-resisting one.

      Admittedly, it is difficult to create a good and safe training environment that allows training with a resisting partner. After all, we don't want to hurt each other.

      What are your thoughts on this? How do you make sure you don't fall into the traps of the dojo effect?
        • 2
        Mark Winter I practice Aikido and we teach that the attacker should not resist but don't give. Make the defender move you before "going along" with the technique. But of course there are techniques (such as arm breaking and choking out a person) that can only be simulated.
        • 2
        Mary Cayte Reiland In our dojang, we make it a point to tell our students that one-step self defense training or one-step sparring are not effective in real life situations. During class, I will say that the dojo effect applies greatly to us, however, there are times when after class certain people (sometimes me) will mix it up with fighting, grappling, throws, and joint locks. It's not a perfect system, but I think we cover a lot of training with a resisting partner during these exercises.
        • 1
        Llewena Carrero What I do is initially I teach the kids/adults the technique we are focusing on in a non resistant manner. Then I ask the lower grade of the pair to do the attack, how to aim and how quick or hard they are to go. The higher grade is then to do the defence technique with (hopefully) the right level of force since they have trained for longer and 'know' the ropes so to speak.
        I also comment they should be good partners giving some resistance and some force BUT to remember its their turn next. It's funny to see kids faces go from evil smiles (you can picture what they are planning) to oh I'd better be nice and not rough looks. I walk around the class and randomly test the resistance levels and force levels and let them know they need to increase or decrease for the particular technique.
      • 17 more comments





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