All posts by Chris Manzo

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.

What move was that?

Nowadays, most people recognize the finishing moves used in MMA as well as the basic techniques. There isn’t a lot of mystery left in what move actually finished a fight or did a lot of damage. Not everybody knows all of the technical terms for moves so I wanted to review some of the main moves used in MMA. I have blogged about this in the past, but I feel that we all need a refresher course from time to time. After all, a jab in boxing can also be called a front punch in other martial arts so maybe we will learn something in the process.

There are a lot of fights finished with punches, whether they be standing or during a ground-and-pound. Contrary to natural instinct, when a fighter is right-handed (also known as orthodox), most of the time they stand with their left foot in front. This is to be able to utilize their power hand and leg most effectively. A left-handed fighter stands the opposite way (again, for the most part) and is also known as a “southpaw”. For the purpose of this discussion, I will use the terminology that applies to an orthodox fighter. So keep in mind it is the opposite for a southpaw.

The fight ending punch is usually the right cross.

A cross is a punch that is thrown straight down the middle with the power hand. Fights can also end in close quarters with a left hook, which is a turning punch executed with the lead hand at while the arm is at a ninety degree angle and is thrown horizontally. These are the two main punch fight finishers in MMA. When a fight ends in MMA due to a kick, more often than not, it is ended with a head kick. This is when the fighter throws a roundhouse (not spinning) kick aimed at the opponent’s head. This kick can finish whether the fighter lands with the foot or the shin, but the shin is compared to a baseball bat’s force when it lands. MMA has hammerfists, spinning backfists, superman punches, and several other exclusive techniques but these hardly ever finish fights.

Wrestling may be the next most understood part of MMA. Being an Olympic Sport doesn’t hurt its popularity. Finishing moves in wrestling are non existent since wrestling is a sport about total control over an opponent, not submitting or knocking them out. When a fight ends from wrestling, it is from a “slam” nine times out of ten. Since slamming an opponent with intention to injure is illegal in wrestling, it isn’t practiced much. There have been cases of fight-ending slams in high profile fights. The most famous is probably the slam executed by Quinton Rampage Jackson against Ricardo Arona in Pride. Arona put a submission hold on Jackson, but Jackson elevated Arona’s body over his head and brought all of his force straight down and knocked Arona out cold. The topic of wrestling being a fight finisher is debatable, but doesn’t hold much merit.

Besides boring decisions, fights are ended with submissions executed by good grapplers. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, catch wrestlers, and submission grapplers are all dangerous opponents. There are two main types of submissions: choke and pressure. An arm bar is a good example of a pressure submission. Since opponents in MMA have a lot of pride, some boast that they will let their arm break before they tap to a pressure submission. An arm bar is the most used pressure submission for fight stoppage. Arm bars are normally executed by the grappler taking an opponents arm, bringing the hand near their own face, forcing the opponent’s arm between their own legs, pulling back on the hand, then elevating their hips. It creates a hyperextension in the opponent’s elbow. Now, there are a lot of ways to defend before and during this submission, but some people like Giva “the arm collector” Santana and “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey have made this the most effective pressure lock in MMA. As for the main finishers in grappling, you are going to have to learn the difference in three chokes. The Rear Naked Choke or RNC, the Triangle Choke, and the Guillotine. The RNC is when an opponent gets behind another opponent, wraps one arm around the neck of the other, and then grabs the inside of their opposite elbow to add squeezing power. The oxygen to the brain is cut off and the opponent must either tap or go to sleep. The Triangle Choke is when a grappler traps an opponents head and arm between their legs, applies a figure four lock with their legs, then squeezes until an opponent taps or goes to sleep. A Guillotine is a front choke executed by wrapping an arm around an opponents neck when the opponent attempts to take them down. They are normally standing up with the opponent bent over facing the ground. Pressure is applied to the choke and the victim has to either pass out or tap.

Now, in conclusion, there are a lot of techniques that were not covered in this blog, but when you see finishes in MMA, it is usually by the means mentioned above. Knowing these terms and what they look like will definitely help your knowledge in MMA. Watch some videos now and search for the names of the moves. You’ll see some exciting stuff.

Who is Your Favorite Fighter?

It certainly isn’t exclusive to MMA, but if you are a fan of a football team, like the Cowboys for example, you are less likely to drop them as your favorite team just because they lost, or even if they have a losing season. I guess in MMA it is a really easy thing to do, change your entire opinion of a fighter once they have lost a fight. In Mixed Martial Arts it is very clear that people on the bandwagon will quickly abandon you if you lose. People love to say “I told you so” when it comes to a fighter losing. Conor losing to Nate, Ronda losing to Holm. How quickly people will share meme when a great fighter suffers a loss.

I am a fan of McGregor so when he lost to Nate Diaz, it wasn’t much for me to see the probable reasons why. Nate is way better on the ground, he is physically bigger, he is way more experienced, and he is tough as can be. Conor fought him hard and was murdering him until the round of his demise. I certainly didn’t drop McGregor as one of my favorite fighters because he suffered a loss to Nate. I know that is part of the fight game. They say styles make fights and they are right. Just because fighter A can beat fighter B nine out of ten times and fighter C has beat fighter A, does not mean fighter C automatically beats fighter B. I don’t want to be confusing but you should get the point. The main thing about this blog is you should appreciate the skill and enjoy the show when rooting for your favorite fighter, don’t let your own ego get in the way just because you were in support of the “loser” in a bout.

Taking into consideration the Rousey vs. Holm fight, the fight had to be seen to be appreciated. Now, the aftermath is the most interesting thing about this fight. There were a lot of “quiet” Ronda haters out there. Well, it could be that these Ronda haters were actually fans that didn’t want to be wrong. You can know MMA news, Martial Arts styles, MMA training techniques, and anything about Martial Arts that you want to, but something that had been obvious before Ronda changed the game was that Judo was not in itself a great base for MMA. Ronda changed all of that. Here aggressive approach included big take-downs and the arm-bars heard around the world. Like I say about most fighters that are confident (borderline arrogant), I may not like them, but they are enjoyable to watch. If it means watching Cael Sonnen take a beating because of all of the things he called an opponent, or Conor McGregor predicting his own dominant victories, it draws curiosity from the fans. Whether you are paying to watch someone win or lose, you are still paying.

To draw the conclusion best suited for this blog, I would say that when a fighter loses, it is easy for our egos to say “I knew it.” But keep in mind that the loyalty you show to a fighter if you truly enjoy their style, should be the same that you show to any other sports team you support. You don’t stop liking the Los Angeles Dodgers because they lose an embarrassing game if you’re a true fan. I have personally always been a BJ Penn fan even though he didn’t end his career on many high notes. So to all of the “fair weather” fans, you were never a fan in the first place. I hope humble Holly reigns as the champion for a long time and I hope Ronda does whatever is necessary to regain the confidence of her true fans.

Trash Talk In MMA

In the spirit of sportsmanship, I want to say that I am not for trash talk. But some of the characters in the UFC have made it a science. Trash talk goes against the humble nature that is supposed to be instilled in martial artists, but MMA fighters are more athlete than martial artist in regards to fighting in professional shows. Yes, martial arts is the basis for their training when they begin but when they become professionals, they become part of what entertains us all. Professional sports is prevalent with trash talk in every sport. Roberto Duran was famous, after him was Mike Tyson… combat sports have always had their colorful monologues aimed at demoralizing an opponent.

The reason I bring this up isn’t to talk about one of my favorite fighters, Conor McGregor who in my opinion is one of the wittiest trash talkers in the fight game, but Yoel Romero. Not known for being the type of fighter who talks badly about his opponents is what makes this interesting as well. Although Yoel Romero hasn’t been known for his trash talk, but he’s upping his game for a fight with the current middleweight champion Michael Bisping later this year. The Cuban-born Olympic silver medalist in wrestling was confirmed as Bisping’s next opponent, but he’s currently waiting for the champion to heal from a minor knee surgery he recently had. In anticipation of their championship showdown, Romero really did go and make a GoFundMe page to help pay for the medical expenses that Bisping will incur as a result of their fight. I thought it was pretty funny.

Yoel is quoted as saying “This is Mike, he will be needing money to survive after me and him meet in the Octagon approximately May of 2017, he is happy in this picture after defending his title against another fighter and the devastation he went through has caused him to have surgery on his knee where all the visible damage was on his face.” This is from his gofundme page. “This surgery has prevented him from competing in a timely manner. After his fight with me, I am convinced he will need this money to rebuild his life, he has a family and I am deeply concerned for him. Please help any way that you can as all funds will be used for medical expenses and his retirement party. Thank you for your time and #ynuevo.”

Romero’s post is after Bisping started an attack where he put Yoel’s business out there for cheating after he tested positive for a banned substance last year. Ultimately, Romero was found to be a victim of a tainted supplement and USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) suspended him six months as opposed to a potential two-year sanction if he was found at fault. Either way, Bisping has been aiming at Romero’s drug testing history while the number one challenger is saying that the champ may never fight again after he’s done with him. I want to see this one. Bisping has found ways to beat big, fast, strong opponents in the past. He has proven his toughness and to sit at the top of any division in the UFC is an amazing feat in itself.

Reasons for Kids to Practice Martial Arts Continued

To catch up on the blog I started, I haven’t really discussed reasons for kids to practice martial arts lately and I feel that we need a reminder. I happened upon an article that was talking about this subject so I named the reasons they gave and am giving my opinion of those reasons.

Their fifth reason was that kids will be able to connect their mind and body. Once again, I have to agree with this notion overall. I believe they are talking about a more spiritual sense here as opposed to a more coordinated physical body. When reading their reasoning, it is apparent that they are talking about the spirituality of Martial Arts. By there reasoning, it would always depend on the individual. If your child wants to participate in Martial Arts because they want to win medals or not fear bullies (which are perfectly acceptable reasons), they will most likely not tune into the spiritual side, especially if they are in boxing or wrestling. Now, connecting your thoughts to how you perform physically is how I would say they gain an advantage. I would say this is true for sports in general.

It boosts agility, speed, power, and response when you participate in physical activities.

Hand-eye coordination is also a great benefit to connecting your mind with your body.

A great one, is learning conflict resolution is another reason according to the article. I would say that problem solving is probably a more accurate answer. I know many a child that gets into several conflicts weekly and needs an adult to intervene. These same children probably have the behavior reinforced at school and home, so Martial Arts, in my opinion wouldn’t be any more advantageous to conflict resolution than any other aspect of their life. Problem solving is also learned at home and school, so my opinion of this reason isn’t that it is wrong, just not any more beneficial than other areas.

Reason seven is that they will learn to breathe (properly at the right time). I concur fully, but again, it must be taught correctly. I have seen many instructors that don’t emphasize breathing properly. For people who don’t know what I’m talking about, the article and I are talking about proper breathing technique. Proper breathing technique would be exhaling while exerting force such as a fast twitch movement to throw someone in Judo, or deliver a knee in Muay Thai. This technique extends to inhaling correctly for recovery between techniques. This is a great reason for kids to join Martial Arts because it can prevent injuries and help them achieve optimal training for whatever sport they choose to participate in.

If you are still skeptical about making the long term commitment to a Martial Art for your child, visit a few schools but chances are you have a friend, or friend of a friend who is already enjoying the benefits and will be happy to guide you on your first steps. Many schools offer trial options, especially for younger kids, so you don’t need to make a huge financial commitment up front if you feel that it isn’t for your child. It really can’t hurt, as I discussed, there are a lot of great reasons to start and not any good reasons to keep putting it off.

Reasons for Kids to Practice Martial Arts

I have been a youth Martial Arts coach for well over 14 years. I have my B.A. in Psychology and I consider myself to be an expert in Martial Arts, even more so when it comes to kids in Martial Arts. I just read an article about kids in Martial arts. Others share my consideration because I have been around kids when interviewed about participating in Martial Arts by very well known media groups as well as producers. I could go into way more detail, but that isn’t the purpose of this blog. The purpose of my previous statements was to simply let readers know that I am qualified to express my professional and personal opinions about this subject.

Back to the business of this article I read. First I will go over all of the reasons they gave. Reason number one was that they (and you) will get more active. With this being true, it doesn’t necessarily differentiate Martial Arts from other sports or activities. Playing football, baseball, basketball, or any sport would obviously make them more active. To me, Martial Arts does encourage more activity than if your child would have otherwise been watching TV or playing video games. Is this a good reason to get your child in Martial Arts? Certainly it is if your child is not normally active.

Reason number two was that they will find focus and stillness. I can say that this may be true for most Martial Arts but I do object a little to this statement. Stillness AND focus? Focus certainly will have to be utilized if a child wants to excel at anything. Having a child focus on technique or remembering movements is a positive for sure. Stillness is the word I have a little trouble with. If you are speaking about Karate forms, you will deal with stillness, however when we are talking about martial arts like Jiu-Jitsu or Judo, stillness isn’t what your child is being taught. I guess there is context to this statement, but stillness is probably taught better in school than a Martial Arts studio. Teaching focus is a great reason, but stillness is limited to a very few Martial Arts.

Reason number three
was an interesting one to me, and I quote “They’ll learn to take hits.” When considering Martial Arts, I always include wrestling and boxing. Your child will most certainly learn to take hits in most Martial Arts, but there are several that do not concentrate on striking an opponent. There are no strikes in Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Wrestling, or Submission Grappling. Maybe a better reason would have been that it would toughen them up in ways. Learning to take a hit or deal with pain (that isn’t an actual injury) can certainly add character as well as teach kids that not everything that happens to us will mean the end of the world. I agree with the philosophy behind the notion, but not with the practicality.

I agree fully with reason number four although it does put two concepts in the same reason. The article says that they will gain self confidence and self respect. These are two terms that are separate virtues.

Confidence and respect are not the same.

With that point aside, I agree that all Martial Arts, when taught correctly, help kids gain confidence in themselves. A child that has skills to defend themselves fears less. They fear social interaction with other kids less, they fear the potential of being bullied less, they fear authority less, and they fear impending failure less. Martial Arts is full of success and failure, so that is a lesson they learn. Self respect is a more difficult notion to sell but if you have respect for yourself, you will have more respect for the people and objects around you. Picking up after yourself, good hygiene, leadership, and sociability are taught in Martial Arts and all can help build self-respect.

This blog is getting long, so, to be continued next week…

Martial Arts as Fitness

I have gone over a lot of reasons for Martial Arts, but one I often overlook is the pure fitness aspect of it. Some people simply get into Martial Arts as a non-conventional way of getting into better shape. If fitness is your main reason for getting into Martial Arts, these are the styles that offer the most fitness benefit, although some of them are pretty difficult, but fitness should be a lifelong goal.

Capoeira is one such difficult Martial Art. This style comes from Brazil and is as much a form of dance as a style of fighting. We all know dancing can get you in shape, we also know gymnastics can get you in shape, this art combines the kicking and punching with the dancing and gymnastics. It was developed in Brazil mainly by Africans, at the beginning in the 16th century. It is known for quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for a wide variety of kicks, spins, and highly mobile techniques. There is a whole lifestyle associated including beliefs and (of course) music. Great for fitness but somewhat difficult to find a good Capoeira school. If you’re a beginner, this probably isn’t the Martial Art for you, just wanted to make sure it is an option because it offers a lot of fitness benefits.

Ever seen an obese MMA fighter? Well you probably have but chances are they used to be a lot more obese before they started training. I guess the easiest way to describe the fitness benefits of MMA would be to let you know that Boxing, Wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu, and Kickboxing on their own are great workouts on their own. Imagine an art that combines all of these things together, well that’s MMA. We all know by now what MMA is, and can easily imagine why it is listed as a great way to get your fitness on. Gyms that offer MMA are pretty easy to find nowadays so getting into this one will be a lot easier. The challenge with this one will be getting into a class that fits your current level of experience as well as your current fitness level. It may be best to try one of the single arts listed first.

Traditional Karate And Tae Kwon Do are great ways to get your foot in the door for Fitness through Martial Arts. These arts start you at a beginner level and throwing kicks, punches, and holding stance along with a pretty standard warm-up and stretching routine are great for someone who needs to ease back into the world of fitness. A great benefit to these are that there is a measured ranking system and you can usually fit the classes into your schedule. Another great benefit is that these arts are family friendly and everyone in your household can most likely get some good benefits from beginning the training. Finding a school to train you in Karate or Tae Kwon Do is usually as easy as visiting a local donut shop. There are tons of these around every city.

Tai Chi is probably the highest used Martial Art strictly for Fitness benefits. Its name literally means “Supreme Ultimate Boxing” and it is described as an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training as much as its health benefits. A lot of different training forms exist, both traditional and modern, which correspond to personal goals with differing emphasis. Some training forms are especially known for being practiced with relatively slow movements. There are local parks and schools that offer Tai Chi. If you go online, it is actually easier than you think to find a way to practice this popular art.

Getting into Martial Arts for fitness is a great idea and can be done in a variety of ways. What fits you best is something you’ll have to find out. Visiting a gym that offers multiple disciplines is probably the best plan. Most gyms let you try out classes for free, so I suggest either going and actually trying them or you can simply go and observe to see which one strikes your interest. However you make a go at it, remember that it is a great benefit.

How Many People Know How to Defend Themselves?

It’s painfully obvious that most people are afraid of confrontation. There are a lot of people who have never been involved in a mutual physical altercation. Some people choose to avoid confrontation, others look forward to showing off their fighting skills. How many people do you think actually know how to defend themselves? Most martial arts teach you to NOT fight even though they show you how to do it skillfully. I would say that a very large part of the population has “dabbled” in some type of martial art in their lifetime. Whether it was their parents trying to get them involved in a sport, a bully situation, or they were simply fascinated by it, they have been exposed. How many people really know how to defend themselves though? One thing real Martial Arts teaches you is that life is not a movie.

The danger is real and there are people out there who really want to hurt you. Sad but true.

The first step to learning personal safety is accepting the fact that we live in a dangerous and violent world. To think otherwise is both naive and irresponsible on your part. In the violent world we live in today, you actually have only two choices. Fight or flight when the option is available. Only you can take on the responsibility of defending yourself against the possible harm someone is waiting to inflict on you or someone you love. As an instructor, I’ve watched introductory students struggle with the difficulty of crossing that bridge, from fearful potential victims to confident citizens capable of defending themselves if necessary. The ones who have no problems with the transition are the ones who, unfortunately, have already suffered criminal victimization. But no one has to wait until it’s too late.

In a study, people were asked what the main reasons for not learning self defense were. Fear of the unknown was one, this fear is legitimate, but that attitude will hinder you in all aspects of your life. Life is an adventure and we can’t avoid things simply because we are unfamiliar with them. Defeatist attitude was one as well but as I teach in my classes “I can’t do it!” is not within the scope of things you’re allowed to say in my class. Thinking the police will protect them was an actual answer. This one is crazy to me, police usually show up after the crime has happened. There is no doubt that a police officer would protect you if they were there when the crime was actually being committed, but that is hardly ever the case.

These weren’t the only reasons. Lazy personality was an answer, but I call it an inexcusable reason given in my opinion. Being lazy goes along with the other excuses that have no merit. Not having enough time, now see, this one is actually legitimate. If people only knew that a solid three hours per week would actually move them along at a good pace for learning a Martial Art. You can’t tell me that most people don’t spend more time watching T.V. for more than 3 hours a week on average. Spending time with family can be done in Martial Arts so it shouldn’t take family time away.

My vote is to take the time to learn to at least defend yourself. Being aware and intelligent about the possibility of assault is a great motivator…