Monthly Archives: December 2016

Martial Arts a Graduation requirement in India for Women

I came across an interesting story recently. There has been a history of serious attacks against women in India for a long time. A group of colleges in Kolhan, Jharkhand, India has made it a mandatory requirement for its female students to graduate to take Martial Arts. The colleges are female colleges. They made martial arts training compulsory for graduate and post graduate students in five of its women’s colleges and is all set to introduce a course in January 2017 aimed at training girls in self-defense.

The Vice-Chancellor of Kolhan University is named Singh and said that female students trained in martial arts would be able to defend themselves against attacks and physical harassment that are very prevalent in the area and entire country. Singh obviously sees the benefits of Martial Arts and knows that informed and trained women will be able to better defend themselves. Martial arts teaches us that even though on average men are larger than women it doesn’t have to be a disadvantage. In most real life scenarios women are at a disadvantage due to their physical size and strength in the eyes of a perpetrator. That being said, this is not something that should discourage you from training.

Many Martial arts disciplines are specifically designed to help someone smaller overtake a larger opponent.

For example, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, and Aikido all highlight the power of leverage over strength. Knowing this, a triangle or rear-naked choke doesn’t take a lot of strength to administer or successfully incapacitate a would-be attacker.

There is a lot of camaraderie in Martial Arts as well. As a Martial Artist, you will be joining a club, class, or dojo where strangers will become your teammates. You will build strong relationships because you will see these people almost everyday. Also, there is a certain amount of trust involved in letting someone hit you. Repeatedly. You will be on a journey together and you will learn to depend on each other’s advice, support and encouragement. You will learn to practice with people your size and larger, both men and women, who will push you to your limits because they want to see you succeed. Everyone is there for different reasons, but you will all be working towards similar goals.

The 8,000 students, who are likely to benefit from the training, will not have to pay any additional fees for the program. The course, that would be covered over a period of six months, will also lay emphasis on yoga and theoretical studies. The girls will be given a certificate after the training. Grades obtained in the course, however, will not be added to their degree course examination results. Students would not be permitted to sit for their degree examinations if they fall short of attendance in the martial arts class. The university has taken a major step towards empowering girls to deal with anti-social elements. The overall hope is that it will curb the crimes against women in their society. I think that is a great hope.

Setting Goals

It occurred to me the other day that my son has been in Martial Arts more of his life, than he has been without it. To clarify, he started taking classes at 4 years old, and he is almost 11 now. So the first 4 years of his life, although he watched a lot of Bruce Lee and tagged along with me to coaching events, he didn’t actually participate in anything organized. The 6 years after that, he had actively taken classes and competed as a martial artist. He has done more wrestling tournaments than I can count, he has done at least 20 grappling tournaments, and he has 10 pankration fights. So his wealth of actual experience is already impressive. When I was growing up, there were some karate tournaments, scattered wrestling tournaments, and that was pretty much it as far as martial arts competitions went. The thought just reiterated that martial arts needed to be where they are today.

The ranking systems in traditional martial arts give people a goal. Karate black belts were revered by all who knew of their status. When I was a kid, getting that black belt was all I cared about. I would do whatever tasks the instructor gave me.

I would study my kata harder than I would study for school.

It was important to me. Would I be any better the day I received my black belt than the day before when I was still a brown belt? No, but my status would change to everyone around me and I could brag about my accomplishment at every opportunity. People, especially kids, need to measure their progress by accomplishing goals. How much more clear could it be than a belt ranking system. Your accomplishments are very specific in these terms. Goal setting is the first step toward successful goal achievement. It marks your first point toward success. It is what puts your life into real and measureable action.

The main reasons for setting goals can be obvious to us all. It gives us clarity on our end vision. If we believe it, we can achieve it. Goals drive us forward and keep us from looking back. We have to accomplish tiny mini goals to achieve big goals. That one move of a kata we can’t perfect takes time and effort so we must accomplish that before we can do the entire kata. This gives us laser focus. Laser focus on small tasks is what gives us the accomplished goal endgame. One of the best reasons for setting goals is that it holds us accountable. If we say we are going to do something, and we aren’t working towards it, there are consequences. If we have consequences, we are accountable. In conclusion, we should set goals in anything we do, but in Martial Arts it is almost mandatory.

The Congress and MMA

Kind of big news that may seriously change MMA as we know it. It is almost like The UFC knew big changes were coming. A Congressional subcommittee held a hearing Thursday on a range of issues related to mixed martial arts, including brain trauma, inconsistent anti-doping measures and athlete compensation. The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, which is part of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, reviewed testimony from several witnesses. Among them were former UFC champion Randy Couture and Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance. States have shown interest in banning or regulating MMA so it would not have been important if a single state was reviewing it.

It was a significant hearing in the sport’s history because, historically, the federal government has taken very little interest in MMA.

A range of issues was discussed and they are issues that have been brought up in the past. The fighters union was created to help with these issues. The current lack of comprehensive health insurance for professional fighters was one of the key ideas discussed. Although the focus of the hearing was not to specifically address a live bill to expand the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act of 2000 to MMA, that topic certainly loomed over the entire hearing. That bill was introduced to Congress in May by Rep. Markwayne Mullin from Oklahoma and aims to expand the federal law’s coverage to all combat sports, and specifically calls for the Association of Boxing Commissions to create guidelines for minimum fighter/promoter contractual provisions and establish criteria for an independent fighter rankings system.

Drug testing and fighter safety were the main focus of the discussion for now, but it is apparent that changes are coming. How soon is not known. The subcommittee will not meet again until early 2017, at which point there will be a hearing scheduled to specifically address the bill to expand the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, Rep. Mullin told Should the bill pass through both the subcommittee and the House, it would move on to the Senate. Ultimately, the bill would also require the signature of President-elect Donald Trump, who has a known relationship with UFC president Dana White. Mullin said he does not see that relationship as a threat to the bill, which the UFC doesn’t support.

The Most Popular Martial Arts

I was pleasantly surprised to see what the most popular Martial Arts in the world were, it was way off what I thought though. The number one Martial Art in the world, to my surprise is: Muay Thai from Thailand. Obviously this martial art is rich in history and is very effective for self defense. It can also be trained for and practiced as a sport. That makes this a very functional and liked martial art. Since I have experience in Muay Thai competition and training, as well as teaching it to kids, I find this to be a great number one to the list.

I would have guessed it was Tai Chi or Kung Fu.

Number two was another good surprise for me, rounding out the number two spot is Brazilian Jiu-jitsu from Brazil. This is obviously a great form of Martial Arts in terms of self defense as well and is also, like Muay Thai, practiced as a sport. The popularity was mainly gained from the UFC, but was rich in the underground history of fighting. The Gracies basically invented the Brazilian form of it and are the most famous family to teach it. As a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, I can state that it is very effective and is hugely popular because sparring can be done at full power with a low risk of injury. This is certainly not true of Muay Thai.

Karate from Japan takes the number three spot and is probably the oldest form of Martial Arts along with Kung fu from China, which hits the number four spot. Taekwondo from Korea gets the number five spot. Karate and Taekwondo are widely practiced for self defense but are also sports that have millions of participants across the globe. Taekwondo is an Olympic sport and has a reputation for sporting the deadliest and most skillful kicks.

Ninjutsu and Jujutsu from Japan take the number six and seven spots on the list. Ninjutsu was made world famous in the eighties by a slew of movies about it. Ninjas were a very mysterious and intriguing group of assassins that little boys aspired to be. Moving stealthily through the night was what they were known for along with their no-nonsense approach to fighting. Quick kills and the use of several interesting weapons added to the spectacle of the art. Jujutsu is the art that spawned Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and was an incorporation of Judo and submission fighting. This is perhaps one of the oldest, most traditional martial arts in history.

Number eight and last on today’s list is Krav Maga from Israel. This was specifically designed for the Israeli military and is especially brutal in its true form. It is taught around the world obviously and has developed a ranking system. There isn’t much sport in this art although competitions are around. This art is often said to be the best of all martial arts in terms of self-defense because it goes over multiple attacker scenarios and teaches weapons use as well as disarming of attackers. The jury is out on whether it is the best but it is certainly a valid martial art, it is effective, and if it made the list, it’s popular.