Tag Archives: training

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

Get ripped abs for the fighter in you – Men’s Fitness

Get ripped abs for the fighter in you – Men’s Fitness.

I’d like to take a break from all the UFC 148 hype for a moment and share these wonderful ab exercises with everyone. They are all quite simple to do but still very effective. I’ve done them myself and believe me, after only doing them three times over the course of three days, I was feeling it pretty heavily. In MMA, core strength is extremely important. It does wonders for your balance which is very important when it comes to things such as stuffing a takedown or standing straight whilst throwing that knockout head-kick.

Enjoy, and remember: Face the Pain!!!!! 😉

Endless injuries in MMA a result of fans’ demands?

If you’ve been following the latest UFC fight cards, along with the fighters who were supposed to be fighting on each one, you would have noticed that each and every card is suffering from fighters backing out due to injuries sustained in training camp. First it was Dominick Cruz, then it was Brian Stann, then it was Michael Bisping, then it was Jose Aldo, then it was Vitor Belfort…the list is seemingly endless at this point.

Dana White has also chimed in on the issue.

I wonder though. No doubt the injuries are a result of training too hard, but are fighters training harder because that’s what fans expect?

I’m sure most of you have seen this image floating around the web:

Just Bleed guy aka James Ladner

While the UFC has done a pretty good job of shedding the barbarian image away from contemporary mixed martial arts, there are fans who are still very impatient and to some extent, uneducated viewers who prefer to see aggressive stand-up strike fests as opposed to calculated, thought out chess games. What I am suggesting is that in some small way, because the MMA hype train is moving so quickly and the UFC is offering so much so fast, fighters are now under pressure to perform even harder than usual and as a result, are being injured more often in training. Why are they under pressure? Because fans love it when fighters go all out (see Sanchez/Guida or Henderson/Rua for confirmation) and the UFC knows that such fights will sell more tickets rather than seeing GSP wrestle his way into a decision and play it safe.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on the matter.

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!