Category Archives: General Martial Arts

Hapkido in Action

I didn’t want my previous post to seem overbearing so here are some videos of hapkido in action. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S7g3xb44q4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiAbwNwHL6w

And my personal favourite, which features Grand Master Hwang In-Sik fighting (more like humiliating actually) Jackie Chan in this scene from the 1980 martial arts film Young Master.

My Continuing Journey as a Martial Artist

Since discovering Jeet Kune Do in 2010, I have come to appreciate Bruce Lee’s philosophy on fighting which is, simply put, get rid of any and all filler and develop a system which works best for you. One of the more fundamental aspects of JKD is, what appears to me, to be is its eclecticism in that it doesn’t hold strict to any rigid forms and is always evolving

That is why I have decided to leave the gym where I currently train, Kombat Arts Training Academy, and move myself to East-West Hapkido which is located in a more remote part of Toronto near the run-down area of Dupont and Dufferin. For those of you who aren’t familar with hapkido, it is an eclectic martial art which is closer to an extreme self-defense system than anything else as it is definitely not sport-friendly due to the techniques it employs.

Hapkido in action

For more information, I recommend reading the following (I don’t want to risk giving wrong information):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hapkido

http://www.worldhapkido.com/index.html

Bullying and the martial arts


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My friend over at momentmatters posted the below entry on April 28. I found it quite intriguing for different reasons.

I was bullied as a kid, specifically when I was in elementary school. I was taunted mainly because I had an interest in dinosaurs and for whatever reason, that was seen by my classmates as revolting. The only thing that got me through it was having only one friend in my entire world at the time. His name is Ian, he was my neighbour at the time, we’ve known each other since we were toddlers, and we’re still friends to this day. I left this school after Grade 4, and slowly but surely, my social circle started to form as I made new friends at a new school and started to meet people that I could get along with. Did the bullying stop? Well, yes and no. See, I made friends with people but of course, those same people I was friends with still acted like idiots every now and then but whenever I had a problem, I reported it to the appropriate authority figures and it was dealt with.

In the entry linked, the author makes the claim that bullying is a necessary evil because it toughens children and helps prepare them for the real world. As much as I hate to say it, there’s truth to that in principle. Yes, the real world can be harsh and cruel.

BUT.

Only at times, is it like that. Everyday is not a bad one, filled with insurmountable odds which involve dealing with scumbags that tear you down. There are good people in this world, who can help build you up and make you feel like a better person and make you feel like life is worth living for. When I got to high school, I grew pretty tall. By the time I was 14, I think I reached roughly 5’11”. Today I’m 6’2″ but I didn’t get to that height until I was 18, I think. Being so tall meant bullies more or less left me alone. When you’re in a private school too like I was, most of the “bullies” are just a bunch of idiots who hurl insults but do no physical harm because they’re all talk. I learned to ignore them, save for one baboon who was dealt with by the school.

The author again, feels that bullying is necessary because children learn to overcome adversity and it toughens them up. Maybe that’s true for a few specific individuals, like myself to an extent. I learned to recognize who is a fool and put them out of my life. But the fact of the matter is that very few children are able to do that. That’s why we hear stories of kids in the States committing suicide because they can’t take it anymore. They reach a point where they feel life isn’t worth living because everyone picks on them and very few people seem to care about it.

What does this have to do with my blog, you ask? Well, that’s where the martial arts come in. The martial arts, along with discipline and respect, teach us to defend ourselves from attacks of all kinds. More important than physically defending oneself though, is building the mental toughness required to control emotions and not lash out violently against a bully, whether it is in the school yard, workplace, or what have you. I’ve been in a position where I was dealing with a co-worker and we got into an argument over something that was so utterly pointless and stupid, yet he insisted on making an issue of it because he had nothing better to do (that’s my guess anyway).

It grew to the point where I was literally raging internally and could really feel my heart pound against my chest. I wouldn’t have had a second guess about clocking the guy across the jaw and smashing his face, but then I remembered my training and what I’ve been taught: restraint and control. What would attacking him accomplished? Nothing, except being arrested and spending the night in a holding cell, along with termination from my job and a potential civil suit. But having that mental restraint was extremely handy. I would encourage anyone who is bullied at any age, to seek out the martial arts and start to build up that mental toughness so that you may learn to dismiss the idiots in your life and, should you find yourself in a position where you need to fight, as unfortunate as it may be, you can successfully defend yourself and (ideally) teach the bully a lesson he/she won’t soon forget.

What do you all think? What advice do you have for dealing with bullies?

What Defines A Martial Artist

I’ve been watching The Ultimate Fighter since season 10. Some may call me late to the party but truth be told, it was the much-hyped up fight between Kimbo Slice and Roy Nelson that drew me in. I had seen the original Bonnar/Griffin fight from 2005 re-aired on Spike in 2008 but it was only the one fight that I watched and thoroughly enjoyed as did anyone else who saw it.

However I do have a big problem with the show or rather, the fighters featured on the program. Every week we see the contestants getting involved in some form of shenanigans either just to get a rise out of the opposing team or because there is genuine bad blood in the air. I take issue with this because to me, this sort of behaviour is not a reflection of how a martial artist conducts himself or herself.

The martial arts involve respect and discipline, like I touched on in my vlog which I posted earlier on. I don’t see how pouring Cheerios into someone’s gear or urinating in someone’s bed is either respectful or a sign of discipline. That’s why I sometimes feel the need to draw a distinction between a “martial artist” and a “fighter”. I would argue at least 95% of the people I see compete in the UFC are simply fighters because they have egos they can’t let go of and believe they’re owed something, i.e. Frank Mir, Nick Diaz, Quinton Jackson. The other 5% are true martial artists because they don’t waste time trash talking and simply focus on evolving and staying on top of their game, i.e. GSP, Anderson Silva, Junior dos Santos, Frankie Edgar.

I welcome your thoughts on the matter.

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Vlog #1

Hey everyone, how’s it going? I would like to share with you my first ever video podcast which I put together just last week for my Social Media Tech and Design class. It’s about respect and discipline in the martial arts and it features me sparring with my JKD instructor and training partner, Martin at our gym, Kombat Arts Training Academy. Obviously it’s hard to capture the essence of what the martial arts are built on in a two-minute video so I do admit this is very much lacking in material but hopefully you get the gist of it anyway. Realistically though this topic could likely be turned into a full-length documentary. You’ll have to forgive the grainy video resolution. I filmed it with my iPhone.

I want to take a moment to thank:

  1. Kombat Arts Training Academy for their lovely facility where this was filmed
  2. Martin “Slam” Duncan for his time with me sparring
  3. Justin for filming the video
  4. EA and DICE for the Battlefield 3 theme which I do NOT own or hold the copyrights for but makes for a kickass theme

Enjoy!

Is MMA hurting martial arts in general?

MMA is becoming more and more popular every single day, as new jurisdictions legalise and sanction the sport all over North America and as the UFC continues to put on shows for its fans all over the world. Not a day goes by where something new is happening the world of mixed martial arts, whether it’s news of a rising star, a new #1 contender for a title, or another steroid allegation (or drug use, if your name is Nick Diaz).

In terms of MMA-geared martial arts, we most often hear about muay thai, boxing, freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, and finally Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Once in a while there are fighters who break the mould like Lyoto Machida who is a Shotokan Karate black belt or Karo Paryisian who is a judo black belt. I’m not going to argue that the four martial arts mentioned above are no good because that’s far from the case. What I want to ask is whether or not the rise of MMA in society today has led to a “doing away with” of more traditional martial arts such as Japanese jiu-jitsu, aikido, hapkido, and even the aforementioned karate and judo as examples.

Whenever I step into my own local MMA gym and I train, I don’t often train in muay thai or boxing for the simple reason that I find them boring. I do enjoy freestyle wrestling as well as no-gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because they’re excellent for cardio work, but at the end of the day, I find these martial arts to be overrated.

Please note, I’m not saying these systems are bad. But I believe that because MMA has become so popular, people talk about those systems (muay thai and BJJ in particular) as if they are the be-all, end-all, supreme martial arts that define the concept of martial arts itself. The martial arts are so varied and complex that there is no one supreme form out there. All of them work in different ways and the best option for anyone who claims to be a martial artist is to explore as many arts as they can and develop a system that works best for them.

I feel MMA’s popularity has discouraged the practice of developing one’s own system and path. It’s important to stay open to new forms of training and always explore new ways of fighting. Don’t get stuck with what is considered popular and exciting because it could hinder your growth as a martial artist.