Monthly Archives: March 2017

Nate and Nick Diaz

One of my favorite topics is the Diaz brothers. Tony Ferguson recently let Nate know that he isn’t scared, because the Diaz brothers love to say “Don’t be scared homie.” They may sound a little immature at times, but make no mistake, these two are well versed in the disciplines of boxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. As a fan of MMA since its inception, I can say easily that I have never cared for their unprofessional antics, where they lose their cool more often than not and actually engage in “street fights” with other fighters.

These two do have something that we all love though, a warrior spirit. They are true fighters to their core.

With all of that said, and the the fact that Nate just eagerly and aggressively agreed to take the fight with superstar Conor McGregor on just two weeks notice after RDA pulled out due to a broken foot he sustained during a sparring session; Nate Diaz is definitely either not scared homie, or he is really good at hiding his fear. Hence the subject of this blog today.

Oh, in fact, you should be scared. Should you be scared of another man if fighting is your profession? Not necessarily. Fear does drive us to train harder and smarter though. If you are not confident that you have done everything you can to prepare yourself physically and mentally for a fight, fear is exactly what you will feel. Being scared is natural in any competition. You started out in a sport or activity and you began to love it. You may have even gotten good at it. You practiced against the same people day in and day out, or you spent hours perfecting your technique. Whether it is intellectual or physical, you have invested a lot of time, sweat, tears, blood, and/or money in this. What if you get out there and fail miserably? What if you aren’t as good as you thought you were? What if you get injured? What if you injure someone else severely? What if what if what if… These are all things that go through your head if you devote your time and energy into something that turns into a competition setting.

If you are not scared that you have the possibility to fail at something you think you care about so much, then you may not really care at all.

We all know Nate Diaz is telling his opponents that they need to stand in front of him and fight him “like a man”. But is that the best strategy for his opponents? No, not in most cases. There is always a game plan and standing in front of a puncher that peppers and moves forward is not a great idea. I know that Conor is supremely confident in his training so fear of Nate Diaz does not amount to simply thinking Nate will kick is butt. Fear amounts to the fact that you will lose a lot of what you have built up over the course of a lifetime. Every black eye, every bloody lip, every bruise has all brought a fighter to the place you see them at on fight night. Fighting is not a job, it is a lifestyle. It is a daily grind of pushing yourself beyond the limits of what you even thought was possible. It is the amazing movement and rhythm that comes with years of dedication to a craft. If you aren’t scared, you aren’t normal.

In conclusion, I’m not saying that I was or any other fighter is “scared” but fear can be a great motivator. Find out what fear is and you will be able to develop a goal that helps you avoid that fear. If that isn’t the solution you want to hear, then face your fears head-on. If you’re scared of snakes, go hold a snake. Fear does motivate those exceptional athletes to go beyond what normal people feel is possible…

What Do You Call Your Martial Arts Teacher?

The question struck me as odd, but I suppose that you really need to know what you call your martial arts teacher. I have the kids call me coach, but it depends what martial art you are teaching. I don’t think anything is insulting, but here are some common teacher names for some common martial arts.

Japanese martial arts commonly use Sensei meaning “teacher” or literally translated, “born first” or “one who has gone before”.

A Sensei is a person who has knowledge and is willing to teach that knowledge to another.

Grandmaster (or Grand Master) and Master are titles used to describe or address some senior or experienced martial artists. Typically these titles are honorific in nature, meaning that they do not infer rank, but rather distinguish the individual as very highly revered in their school, system, or style. It is a badge of honor and respect that isn’t formal, but is a compliment.

Chinese Martial Arts like kung-fu usually call the teacher Sifu,, although the term and pronunciation are also used in other southern languages. In Mandarin Chinese, it is spelled “shifu”. Many martial arts studios pronounce the word like “she foo”. In Cantonese, it is said as “see foo” (almost like “sea food”, without the “d” on the end). The actual Korean word for a student’s master is suseung-nim. This term is only used by the student when speaking to the instructor. The student is hakseang. Many Korean titles are often mistakenly translated as “grandmaster”. The term is general term for any teacher of any subject as well as a respectful form of the word “you”. Coincidently, martial arts instructors (in Korea 4th Dan and above) are called Sabom-nim.

In the Muay Thai world, instructors are called Kru and Arjan. (also ajaan, ajarn, acharn, and achaan). These words do not by any means mean “Master.” Quite simply, they both mean “teacher.” They do not differ from society to the gym. Your english teacher or math teach would be referred to as Kru or Arjan. Although Ajarn is used for more experienced or respected teacher… it still translates the same as Kru. In the Muay Thai world, it is a tad disrespectful to call yourself a Kru or Arjan if you haven’t fought though. Although the term doesn’t mean that you are a fighter, it is commonly understood that the instructor was an actual fighter at some point.

The term that seems to have the most controversy is the name that BJJ practitioners call their instructor. Most of them just call them coach but others are referred to as Professors. I thought this to be a distinguished honor when I first heard it and it added some regal sense of mastery to anyone who was being called a Professor by their students. When I learned why, it was actually kind of underwhelming. The term is a literal translation from Portuguese (the national language of Brazil), that means simply: Teacher. So now you know what to call your instructors.

Martial Arts in the Real World

I look up stories all the time about practical uses for martial arts. I try to find the best headlines and stories about how Martial Arts is used in the real world and the stories I come upon are plentiful. They are from all over the world and it makes me feel good that Martial Arts help people. I found a story from Florida the other day and it proves once again that you can get your self out of a scary situation when you know Martial Arts, more-so than if you don’t. A person who is involved in martial arts is generally someone who is confident in them self. Working through a martial art and the belt ranking system gives you measurable goals to follow that are realistic to attain. The sense of accomplishment we feel by mastering a new technique or graduating to a new belt follows us everywhere. It can even get us out of situations that non-martial artists would be lost in.

In the story, a Florida homeowner said he used his martial arts training to apprehend an alleged burglar who was stealing from his home. Brian Burch told the local news that he used his Brazilian jiu-jitsu training on a burglar, later identified as Josue Ortiz after he found Ortiz stealing from his garage. Burch said he walked into the garage to see Ortiz holding his jackhammer and airgun cases. Ortiz told him that his boss sent him to pick up tools from Burch’s house. He then tried to flee.

That’s when Burch said he stopped Ortiz with jiu-jitsu, which he studied for over 2 years.

A neighbor who saw the scuffle called police as Burch held Ortiz down. Once police arrived, they said they found several of Burch’s tools inside Ortiz’s car. “They told him he got exactly what he deserved,” Burch told the news. “He had a broken nose.” Ortiz’s broken nose and black eye were on full display in his mugshot after he was arrested and charged with grand theft and burglary.

So let this be a lesson to would-be burglars, you never know whose stuff you’re trying to steal. It is good to see that nobody was seriously injured in this situation.

The ability to defend yourself against an assailant is an empowering feeling.

Most martial arts use self defense as a cornerstone of the entire program. The precise methods will vary from discipline to discipline, but you can be certain that with regular practice, you will learn to defend yourself in a variety of different ways. Many martial arts schools also teach street-smart techniques to help you in real situations. The story about the burglar above reinforces all of that. Happy ending to an otherwise tragic situation.