Atlanta Martial Arts Club would like to thank GM Zach Whitson for coming down to Atlanta and sharing his time and knowledge with us. We appreciate you all that you do for us and we look forward to seeing you on the mountain in the fall.
Atlanta Martial Arts Club would like to congratulate everyone who was promoted by Grand Master Zach Whitson & myself last night in Cacoy Doce Pares Escrima!
Wayne Wells, Joe Mazolla, Kate Towers, Matt Weinstein (green Belt) Eric Malone, Sam Chen (brown belt), CR Munhall (2nd Grade Black Belt) & Alex McGuiness (1st Grade Black Belt)
Whenever we take Tiger to the dog park, I like to step back and observe the interactions of the dogs and the owners. On the best days, all are relaxed and a singular, calm and happy energy flows through the park. On other days, the energy is divisive rather than unifying, a sense of unbalance and unease transmitted from creature to creature within the fence. It only takes one anxious and unstable dog (or more often, owner) to create the seeds of chaos.
When an unbalanced dog enters the arena, the other canines are quick to assess. Most of them will seek to avoid the negative energy. While others try to correct or eradicate it through physical means, usually growls and nips. This is when the observations really get interesting. Much of the time I see the owner of the unstable dog step in to rescue his or her dog from the perceived attack followed by a coddling session. This affection given while the dog is anxious only seeks to reinforce the behavior. It is teaching the dog to be a victim. It is also preventing the dog from learning how to solve its own problems as it comes to rely on its owner stepping in and white knighting the situation.
In more successful outcomes, the owners of the involved dogs will watch the interactions, looking carefully for a potentially dangerous situation that requires intervention but remaining hands off as much as possible. When this happens, the unstable dog tends to a minor beating but it also learns. It learns where it stands in the pack, it learns how and when to fight back and stand up for itself and it learns that it can solve its own problems. After a few moments of rough and tumble and vocalizations, all involved usually trot off happily and the energy balance is restored. The instability has been corrected.
Now humans are obviously not dogs. We don’t live in hierarchical packs and we don’t usually teach through teeth and growls. And luckily, our greetings do usually involve butts and/or noses. But we can learn from observing our canine friends, whose lessons come from a much simpler world than ours.
People perceived as victims in our society tend to face one of two reactions – blame or enable, neither of which help to change the energy balance in the interaction.
I’ve written before about the danger of victim blaming. This perspective is used to justify the attack on the victim, shifting all of the responsibility onto the damaged party. Most recognize the fallacy in this thinking and reject the idea.
But we are much more willing to accept imbalance in the other direction. When the victim is enabled, it nurtures unstable behavior. It shifts all of the responsibility to the other party. It tells the victim that he/she does not have learn how to solve his/her own problems; someone will step in for the rescue. In essence, we are like the dog owner swooping in to pick up the anxious dog before the lesson is learned.
Whatever you nurture, grows.
When we enable victims, we cultivate victims.
So, then, what do we do? How can we support victims while encouraging them to no longer be victims?
Watch Before Intervention
Just like the informed owners at the dog park, watch the interaction before donning your Superman costume. Be ready to intervene if the situation becomes dangerous but give the participants a chance to work it out for themselves first.
Support Rather Than Nurture
When interacting with the victim, especially if he/she is anxious or unstable, provide support and reassurance but do not nurture the anxiety. When someone is anxious, it is better to be clinically kind (think good bedside manner) than motherly.
Encourage Growth and Stability
When the victim is not in crisis, help him/her address the underlying issues. Teach them how to remain calm. Show them how to be centered and in control of themselves. Encourage them to take responsibility for their choices and reactions.
Empower the Person, Not the Behavior
When working with someone who has been victimized, be careful not to permit the behaviors that accompany the victim state as that serves to sanction that behavior. Rather, seek to empower the person behind the behavior so that they can learn to emancipate themselves from victimhood.
Blaming and enabling only serve to create more victims as the power is held unevenly and instability is rewarded. Whereas, if we can learn to cultivate anti-victims through support and encouragement, the great dog park of our lives can be filled with more wagging tails and fewer growls.
This post is Tiger approved.
1) Eliminate fear:
Fear is a natural human reaction in risky situations, but how do we eliminate its negative influence on our performance? It is almost impossible to stop feeling fear but we can learn to use this emotion to our advantage. Remember that your opponent is not a rocket scientist; in fact he’s in the same struggle as you. You have similar physical attributes and just like him, you also fought hard to deserve being here.
2) Loosen your game:
Get out of your comfort zone and try evolving your style. Sticking to the same routine in training makes you risk other techniques. If you experience difficulties address them with your teacher, because at the time of training you have a chance to go back and correct your mistakes. As Master Carlos Gracie Jr. says: “Amateurs choose to work out. Champions do the opposite. Search for the toughest opponent and pursue the challenge of facing him. Will power is stronger than fear and vanity.”
3) Avoid comparing yourself to others:
Jiu-jitsu is constantly evolving. Do not get frustrated if you fail to achieve the same results as your training buddy. Whatever the pace you are moving at it’s important to never stop.
4) Focus on the journey, not the outcome:
“Some aspects of your game may be better than others, but always work towards being a versatile fighter. You will only win when you leave your comfort zone. Remember: learning is more important than winning. Victory is a consequence. “( Mario ” Busy ” Correa )
5) Remember that perfection is unattainable:
Not even the master of masters is considered perfect. Despite having trained grand fighters, he was always learning himself. This is the way the gentle art is always re-inventing itself.
6) Be confident in your abilities:
Trust is built upon preparation and ongoing training. As you are able to perform a task, technique; acquire a skill or ability, your confidence grows. As your expertise and competence grow, so does your confidence.
Remember, becoming tougher doesn’t occur overnight on the mats; it takes discipline, patience, focus, willpower, facing the challenges and believe in yourself day in and day out
Please check out this month’s issue of FMA Informative which features my good friend and teacher Mataas Na Guro Zach Whitson with my fellow charter member of the Counterpoint Tactical System Guro Russ Haas who is the owner/chief instructor at Haastyle Martial Arts Academy in Boca Raton FL.
This is a very brutal video of a home invasion caught on tape. Please contact us so you can learn how to defend yourself from punks like this.
Atlanta Martial Arts Club
Check out this video on YouTube:
Lessons From The Master On Learning
One of the challenges that I see in martial arts today, regardless of style or discipline, is that the student does not know or understand all of the different ways to learn and practice properly. Furthermore, they can get very confused on what they should be doing during their classes. This can often give the wrong impression to the teacher or get the student injured all because the student was not training properly. I recently had this discussion with my teacher, Mataas Na Guro and CTS founder Zach Whitson and he explained it in a very logical and thoughtful way that was easy to understand. I would like to share with you.
First, we will need to define a few basic terms so that we are all on the same page and then I will go over a few of the common issues that I have seen and personally experienced throughout my 20+ years of martial arts training.
Mode = a method of operation
This is the time that the student (regardless of his or her level) should be LISTENING and NOT TALKING. It is the time for the teacher explain to the student the hows and whys of the particular technique or attribute.
This is the time when the student should be trying to work the technique, drill or attribute that his teacher was trying to teach.
This is the time the student should be actively working on his craft against a resisting opponent. This should NOT be done at full speed, fulll power and 100% intensity!!!
This is the time when you are sharing information to help your student learn a particular concept, principle technique or attribute required for your current required material.
The preverbal shit has hit the fan and it is time to kick ass, take names and pile up the body count.
Now the trouble comes in when a student is in one mode when they should be in another mode. Here are a few common examples that happen fairly often.
The student is in teaching mode when they should be in learning mode
The student is in fighting mode when they should be in sparring or practice mode (I see this a lot in BJJ when it come time to roll there is always a few guys that think that every roll is the world championship title fight.).
Student should be in practice mode when they are in teaching mode. This happens to martial artists that spend a great deal of time teaching.
All this being said, the next time you are on the mat be sure to be in the correct mode of training so you can get the most out of your training. I personally make sure that I take a few moments shortly before my training session to be sure that I am mentally prepared.
Atlanta Martial Arts Club