Friday, 16 February 2018

Don't fight when you are angry and don't be angry when you fight

Yes. I know very well that what I am saying is not making sense to many of you. That does not bother me if it doesn't make sense to someone who does not know any martial arts, because it gives me something to teach and then I can actually show how martial arts can solve the world's problems instead of adding to them.

Image result for karate championships

What does bother me, however, is that there are high ranking martial artists- not only in MMA- but in Karate schools- who don't get it either.

Image result for hulk angry gif
I often imagine how dangerous this guy will be if Goku taught him to control that rage...

I trust however that there are still some old-school Karate teachers around that know the Japanese Okinawan proverb that starts with something like "Njiraa te hiki..." or something like that...
Anyway- it translates to: "If you are angry- withdraw your fists. If your fists are out, withdraw your anger."

A little help here, please Jesse Sensei- if you are out there and reading this...

I think Sensei Iain might also know this.

Oi! Miki-chan! You might also know this saying. Could you please tell me what the proper Japanese sentence is? :) Tasukete Kudasai! :)

These senseis and those teachers who still remember the old teachings might even know the story of the fisherman who got the above advice at a bar and when he came home he looked through his bedroom window and saw his wife in bed with someone else. 

Now- how that story ends I want to leave to someone in Martial Arts Forums, either of the two Karate Senseis Jesse or Iain or anyone in the Karate Nerds Facebook group to tell- if they know the story. Just put it in the comment section. If it lands first on Martial Arts Forums I'll share it in the comments to this post in the Karate Nerds group and if it lands first in the Karate Nerds group- well... you get it, right...? 

Image result for mma fight

Well- I guess it is common sense that anger messes up your performance in a number of ways. It hinders your coordination, your timing. It slows you down and even messes with your accuracy.

I have written in an earlier post that one can use rage to get you out of that state of passive fear just to spur you into action, but that really is only a crutch for beginners and definitely not the mark of an accomplished martial artist.

The thing is- anger messes up your technique as well.

It causes muscles to tense up before they should- especially shoulders. What are supposed to be precise movements become big clumsy movements.

To give you an example. Taijiquan's straight punch seems much weaker than a common haymaker that is delivered with shoulders raised and so forth. To master this type of punch one needs to learn to relax the body and to contract the participating muscles in a lightning fast twitch, the fist clenching only on the moment of impact.

This type of punch is really powerful. Using it in a fight is a bit of a challenge, though. Stress causes muscles to tense up prematurely. Then you have only brief opportunities to strike that do not allow for you to charge up with as much energy as you want to before hitting.

This is not the type of punch to throw angry. Anger just messes up the entire technique.

The world is already filled with destructive messages promoting competitive spirit, aggression and drive. While I myself, a very passionate person at times, can agree that there is nothing wrong with a good old can-do spirit we as martial artists have a duty to show our students that we do not prevail through rage and aggression, but through rather through harmony and balance.

Let's face it. You cannot always impose your will upon the world. When it is time to fight you fight. When it is time to mend relationships you make peace. Switching those two around just because you want to has disastrous consequences. 

There are few skills greater than learning to put aside your own emotions in order to do what your current situation dictates. Anger is that bugger that tells you to punch when you are supposed to block or to rush in so that you can get thrown.

For an example of how anger has led to the mortal defeat of a fighter I am also going to leave it to someone else in either one of my favourite online groups to tell us in the comment section how Musashi Miyamoto ended up killing someone with a bokken (wooden sword) when he was about 13 years old.

Now- if you wonder how on earth we teach that I can elaborate further in another post if you like, but for now I think it is enough of a tip to say that in martial arts we can learn that the emotions follow the body just as the body follows emotions.

In Kungfu we learn that sinking the qi, relaxing the shoulders and adopting a rooted stance calms the mind the same way a calm mind helps you relax your shoulders, sink into your stance and to sink your qi. In Karate- doing a proper oi zuki has a similar effect. One can either calm down and then have the results of relaxed shoulders, a crisp explosive punch and a nice firm zenkutsu dachi or- you could keep those heels to the ground, relax those shoulders, keep the arm and fist relaxed until the point of impact (or imaginary impact if it is kata or kihon) and find that your mind has calmed down in the process. 

So- anger does not only hamper your ability to fight effectively. It even messes up your kata and kihon.

This weekend's post gets published a bit earlier than usual because I am going to spend the weekend with some of my Chinese friends in Johannesburg and at Nanhua Temple to celebrate the Chinese New Year!

And since this year is the Year of the Dog- I guess my brother's staffie Hiccup is most qualified to show his furry brothers and sisters his best smile.

To the rest of the Chinese communities of the world- and I mean it in the nicest, non-racist way:

Dogs are friends- not food!


Have a great weekend, everyone!

Saturday, 10 February 2018

A brief change of scenery

This year is the year in which I will turn 40.

Looking back at how I have trained ever since I have joined my first karate class at the age of 14 I am grateful for always having had a way for my training to continue, regardless of moving to another town, another house, changes in work hours or whatever life threw at me.

I have always found a time and a place to train.

And- I always will.

Don't be surprised if I end up starting a martial arts class in the old age home when I am 94!

Getting between me and my training is about the same as getting between a hippo and the water. If you live in South Africa and know the bush you would know that doing so is a very bad idea.

Today my usual training space was occupied. Lots of tree cutting being done and so forth...That did not mean that I was not going to train today, though...

I just took the weapons to another part of the yard and kicked off my training there. The usual exercise with the coffee tins filled with sand got replaced by the brick catching exercise. I found a small space between a shrub and the house (not the space shown in the video) and found that I had enough room to kick, punch and evade as I attacked the shrub. Not touching it, though- There is really no glory in destroying shrubbery. :D

Still- an added challenge was getting my roundhouse and reverse roundhouse kicks to pass over the shrub, which stands about as high as the one in the video.

The staff did not join Patrys and myself today. Still- the jian (Chinese Sword), bokken (Japanese wooden sword, nunchaku (you all know this one), tonfa and sai all got some time.

If you do not remember who Patrys is- she is the bullterrier who has been supervising my training since 2013! Here she is in the background. :)

She was quick to follow me to our new temporary spot and faithfully waited for me to finish.

The shuriken of course also got a turn.

My usual multidirectional attack practice did take place in a smaller space, but it is good to be reminded every once in a while that we can also fight in confined spaces. Still-
as this video shows- I have been used to training on a lot smaller surface before. The space I had today actually felt much bigger.

I don't think training is real training if I cannot throw a couple of high kicks in the process. :D They tire you out quickly, but that is sort of the point. Scary thing is- I am used to kicking like this now. I can comfortably kick my own head's height, but it starts being a strain if I go higher...

This is actually overcooking it a bit and actually slows me down. I have since decided to prefer speed and power when I fight and to practice these high kicks when I am not sparring or practicing fighting.

During the week I take two days of the week to practice martial arts and the other two for weight training. On each of these martial arts training days I do any two of the following Shotokan kata before stretching and meditating:




Kanku Dai

Bassai Dai

Gojushiho Sho




On Saturdays, however, all 5 Heian katas and all 3 Tekki katas get their turn.

The Tekki katas, which move only sideways, were really easy to do on a narrow paved walkway.

The Heian katas, though, needed some adaptation. These kata usually move in that I shape that karate teachers often mention. Now- having only a fairly narrow rectangular space I started near one of the corners of that space to give me enough room to completely make all the strides needed for the part of the kata that moves to the front end of the floor. The sideways part was made slightly diagonal in places to allow for long strides to be taken when performing this portion of the kata. Kata in a high stance does not serve any purpose for me.

Well- before you know it an hour has passed and then it is time for stretching, qigong and meditation!

Now what better way is there to start a Saturday?

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Learning a Martial Art- some basic guidelines

I think we have by now come across a couple of people who are studying some martial art or the other on their own.

Back when I tried doing it at the age of 10 I used a book and later more books followed.

Well- even after I did join an actual dojo more books followed even then...

People are quick to say that you can't learn a martial art from a book.

That is understandable. I for one know that you can't work as a lawyer if you have only gotten your law degree. In fact- few people feel as incompetent as a bright graduate starting out as a candidate at a law firm.

Image result for kung fu scrolls

The main reason why martial arts can't be learnt by reading alone is that experience plays a large part in developing the skills that any martial art has to offer. Knowledge is not enough.

Nonetheless- self study is possible. We may argue about to which extent, but the history of Chinese and Japanese martial arts feature instances where people studied a scroll or a form passed down to them and attained a measure of proficiency.

It also has to be mentioned that past knowledge, which is passed on, is only part of the learning process. One's own experience makes up a major part of what you learn and how good you actually get at your chosen style.

Now- from my experience- here are some guidelines to learning a martial art, whether you are studying by yourself, or at a school.

1. Suppress the urge to show off

With this I can also say- stay out of fights!

Really- it may be tempting, but showing off is a bad idea. Last time I have read about WTF Taekwondo it was said that competitions in this sport were reserved for only black belt students. I will not be surprised if it has changed since the 80's, but the reason behind this policy is understandable. Many martial artists will tell you that you are not combat ready in that stage of learning the basics of an art.

During the learning process circumstances are controlled and the unpredictability of the world outside of training cannot mess up your performance. Real life, however, has a nasty habit of messing things up when you least want it.

If you planned to just show how high you can kick or something like that- well... You have to bear in mind that most non-martial artists are non-martial artists because they simply don't care about stuff like that. Fortunately, in this day and age we have martial arts groups in social media, though...   

2. Don't just look at the pictures

Who has seen Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon? 

It was funny to see that this mistake could be made even in the Jianghu days of China. It gets made a lot these days as well. The same could actually be said about copying from movies or Youtube videos. Whether martial arts teachers tell you this or not, martial arts techniques have external aspects, which can be observed by just looking at the person performing a technique, and internal aspects, which are those things that can't be seen from the outside, but which are felt by the exponent performing a technique.

I have to mention, however, that in many, and I mean MANY cases, the text of a book or the explanation in a tutorial video does not even touch on the internal aspects of a technique. 

Fortunately- internal aspects of a technique can sometimes be gleaned from regular practice and pressure testing. Still- having a good teacher is the best way. Next best would be really good source material.

3. Start with the basics

  Every martial art has basics for a reason. Karate, for instance, has enough basics to fill 9 Kyu grades- those grades of which the belt is not black. Learning to do a certain punch or kick properly, for instance, is one thing. Then it is necessary to learn to combine the technique with others. Later on- in a sparring situation- one has to learn to do these techniques as a fight requires.

4. Having mastered the basics does not yet make you combat ready

A basic guideline is that as long as you still have to think before you deliver a technique you cannot fight. Whether you practice a martial art for enlightenment or to defend yourself- free sparring is the test of your level of accomplishment. People who still have to think before they punch and kick in a fight lose. Those are also people who have not yet attained the Zen state of Mushin in their attacks and defense. Whether you are learning a Russian martial art or a Japanese one- you need this level of accomplishment to at least master the fundamentals of any martial art.

5. Physical training is a must

I remember that Tom and Jerry cartoon where the baby mouse (not Jerry) learns "Bat-Itsu" from a video by his hero Batmouse and then immediately goes and flips Tom around. 

Reality, however, is that fighting takes strength and in many instances stamina. Then things such as flexibility and agility also play a big part.

You may have been blessed with some of these things, but physical training is an integral part of martial arts study that cannot be avoided.

Well... I have said as much as I can on the subject. Anyone who has something to add is welcome to comment.

Wishing you all a great week ahead!

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Defending the Hikite

Remember last week's post?

I am really happy with the response I got.

In that post I have mentioned that the Universe does not have any respect for the Hikite. This, I admit is not entirely true and mostly applies to real fights or continuous sparring situations like the Dojo Kumite about which I wrote in that post.

The truth is- using the hikite simply out of habit in a fight, without knowing its purpose- makes Karate look more ridiculous than the style of a completely untrained brawler and has in many instances led to untrained persons beating up karateka in confrontations throughout that unrecorded history of unfortunate karateka having had to fight outside the dojo (or who did not have to fight, but chose to and got unpleasantly surprised- we all know of such incidents).

Now- If you practice Karate you know very well what the hikite is. For those of you who do not know, probably because you do not practice Karate at all, the hikite is that hand that withdraws during the performance of a Karate basic technique.    

It is usually associated with punching and has led the untrained public to believe that that is how karate people punch and it has led many karate people to believe that it is the best way on earth to punch. 

Looking at kata and lessons learnt from the Universe during free sparring sessions, however, we know that Karate people do not punch like this all the time...

The non-punching hand usually has a job to do in a fight like what is going on in the photo below.

A lot of old Karate students will tell you that the sharp pulling back of the other fist adds power to the punch. To be frank- I have learnt punching from other systems than Karate with punches that dent oil drums that work well enough without this emphasised pulling back of a hand.

The hikite also features in Karate with blocks. The most common explanation, which is not wrong by the way, is that the withdrawing hand is preparation for the counterattack that one wants to follow directly after the block. We know of course that we cannot always attack directly after the first block in a real fight, but it is something to try for.

In many instances the Universe shows us that unlike in your prearranged Ippon Kumite situations, blocking your opponent's first attack was just him keeping you occupied so that he can try his luck with the second attack that was lined up, so the non blocking hand often ends up being where this guy's is...
Image result for karate kumite

Well- not only Karate people have noticed this kind of thing.

MMA enthusiasts and full contact fighters- which include boxers- are quick to tell you to "guard up" with your non-attacking hand.

Boxers know this very well...

Image result for boxing punch

A certain Tang Soo Do instructor once remarked that the application of putting one's fist at one's hip during kata actually denotes you catching your teeth as they get knocked out.

Now... it may seem that this has led to people finding a use for the hikite, but I am sure that the application of the withdrawing fist being grabbing of a limb and pulling it towards you have actually existed for a long time.

I did not have to search long to find a video like this one-

These applications completely transform the blocks we know so well into grappling techniques.

So- Karate people can rest easy knowing that the Hikite is not useless. 

But hey- some of you may ask-

If this technique is no useful- why do other martial arts not use it?

Short answer is- they actually do:

Shaolin Kung Fu's advanced fighting stances actually resemble Karate techniques to a great extent with the fist tucked in at the hip. A common explanation for a fighting stance like this is that the primary weapon is kept hidden from view. 

In my experience, however, I do not really find that to give one such a big advantage.

Kung fu forms have many techniques that involve grabbing a limb and pulling it towards you. The big difference, however, is that the pulling hand often either passes the body and ends up away from it or pulls the limb to the side, away from you, instead of towards you as is the case with Karate. 

Special mention has to be made of Wing Chun Quan! :)

Nobody messes with Wing Chun, right? Wing Chun people are smart enough to use one hand to trap an opponent's arm while they attack with the other, right?
They will never dream of pulling a fist back to the hip, will they?

Master Mazza Wing Chun


Well- take a look at their basic forms:
Thing is- Kung Fu in all its forms- which include Wing Chun- has this fist pulling back to the hip. You may not see done in Taijiquan exactly as it is done with Karate, but a Taiji punch also comes from the hip and a Taiji technique like "Parting Wild Horse Mane" contains one hand pulling back pressing downwards.  

If we look at the movement of Karate's hikite to determine whether it is most suitable for pulling we will find that it utilises the arm optimally for this purpose. The bicep muscle is employed and with the help from rotating hips and a well-grounded stance this is actually an efficient way to pull someone. 

Well- we are almost at the end of this post... A post like this is not complete without a practical example now, is it?

Well- you are in luck because I have remembered this excellent video of Heian Sandan bunkai by a Youtuber called Wetblanket3 (I have no idea why he calls himself that! Sensei Ando also seems to like his videos, though..).

You all (who practice Karate) know this part in Heian/ Pinan Sandan, right?

I bet that many of you were told that it was punching someone who has grabbed you from behind, right? I can safely assumed that this is what all the Karateka in South Africa got taught anyway. If you guys in other parts of the country got taught something else- good for you.

If your Sensei happens to be Iain Abernethy you are not allowed to give input now and we don't want to see that all-knowing smirk on your faces! :P

-Just joking: Sensei Iain is the most awesome person in the Karate World. I know- however- that his students get taught proper bunkai and that they probably laugh in secret at many of us that got taught in the way that I have known for so long.

Okay- back to this- the movement consists of two roundhouse punches. Each punch has its own hikite. Now- if you are thinking of the face-punching application the hikite's job is not that important, but when you look at this the Hikite takes center stage!  

That first "punch" is actually grabbing hold of the opponent's neck. Where is that punch's hikite?- you may ask. It is around the opponent's waist or could even be hooking around his leg.

Second punch- We know what happens is one hand goes back and the other now comes forward, right?

The result is just beautiful! Judo people may claim this for themselves- and they won't be wrong.

Video is here:

It just doesn't seem right to leave this post without a video from Sensei Iain. So- here it is:

That's it for today! :)

Hope you all have an awesome week! 

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Dojo Kumite- Some survival tips

Hello, everyone

This post is dedicated to a very special friend who is soon going to take her 2nd Dan exam in JKF Shotokan Karate.

Now we might not all know this, but Dan gradings involve free sparring as well and the type of free fighting used in these gradings is much more intense than the competition fighting which the public sees.

Yes- everybody knows that Kyokushin kumite is full contact and does not stop when a point is scored, but how many people that do NOT study Karate know about the Dojo Kumite of Shotokan which is used at black belt gradings and black belt initiations?

The videos below show some mild examples of what did manage to come out on the internet.

With Kyokushin this is no big secret and lots of videos can be found of their full-contact fights. I don't think you will find many examples of this type of kumite from Shotokan as black belt gradings are often held behind closed doors and the public, even friends or relatives, is not allowed to watch the grading.

Now- kickboxers and MMA fighters would feel right at home in this type of environment as the bouts are much shorter than their fights and they are no strangers to hard blows and continuous fighting.

Karateka used to training in only a Karate environment, however, might feel a bit out of their depth. That is natural as for one reason- suddenly the fight does not get stopped when you score a point. Also- you can receive a series of blows if you do not fight back hard enough yourself. Then lastly- and this is probably the most important reason- this is when all your knowledge and training make way for lessons from a new teacher- the Universe.

The Universe knows no kihon or kata. The Universe holds no affiliation with any of the Shotokan factions or any school or registered and recognised organisation.

The Universe does also not care if what it throws at you causes your techniques to fail.

Well- at least enough people have done it before us to have gained some experience so, while I cannot guarantee a way to never get hit while sparring- we can at least give you some tips on lasting as long as possible... Trust me- that is as good as it gets in many schools, because after you have survived the grading the initiation waits the next week and that usually involves fighting all the black belts in the dojo while your back is against a wall.

Now that we all understand what we are talking about- let's see what universal truths there are for us to use.

1. The one who is getting hit the least is having the best time on the floor. Obvious, isn't it? So- whatever you do, you do not want to be exposed to too many potential attacks. This also means that toe-to-toe is not the way to go. The angle at which you have to face your opponent most of the time is one from which you can see only one arm and one leg. The other limbs must be obscured by the limbs that you can actually see. This means you have only one leg and one arm to control. From here your opponent will of course adjust to improve his situation. This time he takes to adjust is the time you are not getting hit. It is also the time during which you hit him...

2. Running away is not smart. Sure- it comes naturally and seems the best idea, but bear in mind- going out of bounds is not allowed and you will in any event get told to start again. You also do not want to retreat in a straight line from somebody who can punch and kick. Kicks deliver a lot more force than punches when they connect and you retreating make enough space for your opponent to kick. So- if you have always been used to retreating far out of the way and rushing back to score your point, you better change that.


The time it takes you to get back to attacking from that far away can be used to forestall you.

Rather work on your tai sabaki...

Your main goal with tai sabaki is not so much to get out of harms, way. Sure- an advantageous position means less blows landing on you, but the goal is rather to punt you in an advantageous position from which to attack. So, that move to the side should just be enough to make your opponent miss, but is should be close enough to allow you to counterattack in an instant, be it with a punch or a kick.

3. The fight is not going to end in one move. 

Yep- Karate is said to be based on the principle of Ikken Hissatsu- death in one blow. Well- you will soon find that nobody is getting hissatsu-ed at the grading and that landing one blow is not going to save your arse. So- get used to firing combinations- even when the first punch/ kick hits. The Sensei will stop the fight if he feel he has seen enough. A compassionate way to deal with an opponent whoi freezes under your barrage is a throw or takedown followed up by a controlled punch and then stepping back, but keeping the eye on the opponent as he gets up. This gives you a nice break until the trading of blows resumes. I know in MMA they will keep on pounding even when the opponent is on the ground, but this is still not part of Karate.

4. You will get hit sooner or later. This is a fact. When it happens, however, don't stop or give up. If your parry is too late, for instance, don't stop- knock that still extended limb to the side hard enough to unbalance your opponent and return his lucky shot to him with interest. For every one blow you receive- give three back! :D

5. Your opponent cannot hit you while he is busy retreating or blocking. Yeah yeah! Sure sure! Simultaneous attack and defense exists but is not used all the time. The first one to hit when within striking range should be you. As long as you have nothing to block you should be attacking. As long as you are attacking you are not getting hit. This requires a lot of stamina, I know, but there is no other way.

6. You will not always be able to attack all the time. Yes- attack a lot, but attacking where there is no opening or attacking as your opponent attacks is just silly. Sure- there is a thing such as ai-uchi, but thankfully fights do not consist mainly of that. It should not be encouraged anyway. You will have to develop a quick intuitive defense.

One of my favourite ways to do that when I train alone is with this rubber ball. I have not edited out the mistakes I have made as these surprises are what makes for the actual training in this exercise. 

Then- something else about blocking. If you know how to block you can momentarily break a chain of attacks so that you can get back on the offensive.

When an attacking arm is blocked towards the opponent's center line you can usually start attacking immediately as his other arm is out of the picture for a moment long enough for you to do just that. Blocking an arm away from your opponent's center line, however, gives you another hand to deal with.

Whichever way you use to block kicks, know this- best time to hit a kicking opponent is while he is on one leg. So- no jumping back or running away!

7. There is no such thing as an idle hand. The Universe has no respect for the hikite. If your hand is not attacking it is either guarding, blocking or trapping. I know the hikite serves a purpose and I will deal with that in next week's post which I think I shall call "Defending the Hikite", but for now- accept that putting a vacant hand at your side when it can be better utilised for protecting you is a bad idea during dojo kumite.

I am afraid that this is as much as I can write on the subject for now. Fighting with a head that is heavy from too much information is not a good idea anyway. So- learn, then practice and when your Dan grading comes around you may hopefully then have gotten at the stage of forgetting.

Good luck to everyone who is taking their Shodan and Nidan tests this year! :) 


Saturday, 13 January 2018

Same input does not necessarily mean same result...

 I have started my Saturday morning training sessions with a bit of shuriken throwing, just because it is fun. I have found that it is also a nice warm-up for the mind to get energy focused before one goes on to the punching and kicking of the day.

As these photos show, the grouping that I got with the shaken (not shaken, but shah-ken, don't make me want to make you shine...:D) looks really cool. These hits got made with the same motions of the hand and wrist.

Theory would have it that if I stand in exactly the same posture and flick my hand and wrist exactly the same way with each throw the projectile would hit exactly the same spot, right?

Well... that is not how things normally work out, isn't it?

Does anyone remember Ian Malcolm in the first Jurassic Park movie? He had the perfect explanation for this phenomenon. I am no mathematician, but we can accept the gist of the explanation that the posture and movements we use are not the only factors to take into consideration.

People like following rather than leading. We see one kind of investment scheme doing well and then jump into it to find out that it does not work as well for us. We see our neighbour doing very well with one kind of business and start the same kind of business ourselves only to find that we are not striking it as rich as he did.

You get the idea, right...?

Well- you would understand if I say that you can train exactly the way Bruce Lee did and emulate all his moves and still you won't end up with the same skills and abilities of Bruce Lee. It is also easy to think that a class of students who all go to the same dojo and study under the same syllabus does not mean that we should end up with a group of students whose techniques all look the same too, right?

Of course not!

A large part of the unhappiness we have in this world comes from ourselves comparing our lives to that of others. In light of what I have just said above, though, doing that seems really silly now, doesn't it?

If you are training you can accept that you will never be like any of your senior classmates or your instructor. You will be you and you will get to find out what exactly all of that entails. Stop training and you never get to find out. :)

I hope everyone has a great weekend and an awesome week ahead. Train hard! :)

Btw- Nick Nick! Have you ever thought of making a coffee creamer flame thrower?! I have just learnt about it. It looks as Ninja as thing can get in this modern age! :D

Saturday, 6 January 2018

The most important task of the day.

Hello to everyone here for the first time in 2018.

My annual break has been quite well and an exciting year is lying ahead.

I actually chose to ignore my Fitbit tracker during the holidays and as punishment for that I have to train twice as hard this month to catch up.

Still- it has been nice and restful.

Well... I have not completely abandoned training during the holidays.

As a lot of you would know- meditation is part of every training session for me. This is what today's post is about. 

I realise that there are a lot of us who can happily get through the day without meditating. I was surprised to see however how much value MMA fighters place on it. Really- you think the traditional martial arts schools with their white gi's and bowing etc. are preserving the classical ways and then you wake up one day and find that many of the traditional schools do not even bother to teach meditation while the guys in the big bad MMA gyms incorporate Yoga and Zen meditation into their training regimens.

Now if you haven't meditated before you would probably not get what this post is about, but some of you who do might nod in agreement and maybe even admit that this kind of thing did happen to you as well.

You see- regular meditation does wonders for your technique and not only sharpens your reflexes, but makes your responses in a fight that much purer.

Other benefits like increased energy levels, emotional well-being and emotional control are also part of the package.

Then... one day- in spite of regular meditation- you find that you are not feeling 100%. Your reflexes are sluggish. You find yourself too distracted to see problems arising in time and you end up wondering: What went wrong.

I think many of you have heard the saying that familiarity breeds contempt. Well- I have realised during one morning's meditation during last month that this is what happens to the meditation that you get used to doing the same time of every day in the same spot. It gets neglected. Rrandom thoughts are allowed to barge in and party that precious little time away and the rest of the day you feel less than the person you like to be.

The funny thing about it all is- many people might say that it is because they know they have more important things to do later on. I know I have caught myself saying the same thing.

What you should rather tell yourself when meditating is:

"Right now I am busy with the most important task of the day."

It's great to be back and see everyone's posts on Martial Arts Forums again. Hope everyone has an awesome 2018!