Monday, March 3, 2014

Ego Prevents Growth and Development

In class today, I was surprised to watch and see how some of my advanced students were performing in class. It isn't an easy process to continue to grow and improve for students, after they have developed skills and tactics/training in other systems, but it is possible to grow and evolve, change and improve in all aspects of ones' studies. The key is letting go of preconceived notions, and following the instruction that is happening in class.

Today, one student was dominating another student. The student clearly became frustrated and reverted to a lesser and poorer level of response, that clearly wasn't helping him contend with the attacks of his senior. The senior FAILED to react and track his partner's frustration, continuing his onslaught of his helpless victim. THAT didn't help the situation. As a result, the one student FAILED to see what he was doing wrong, and the other student was unable to improve, because now their training became fragmented and they were no longer able to work effectively together.

I'd invested some money in purchasing different weapons for class, and was hoping to take our training to a higher level. A level that can only be achieved by safe and effective partner practice. However, in observing what took place in recent weeks, I realize, that while they guys have gotten better, their egos get in the way of continued growth. It is understandable to want to hold onto skills and training derived elsewhere. But, when attending class HERE, sometimes it is a good thing to remember they are here to learn. Hopefully to continue to improve, not with repeated processing they already know, but to apply their learning to new variables and continued challenges.

Students sometimes forget that, even though I have over 40 years of training in different arts, that I continue to learn and attend OTHER arts/classes, and I grow and learn, and assimilate and participate effectively in other environments with an open and fresh perspective.

Let go of ego when training. Learning is an interactive process. Try to share, be willing to invest in loss, don't always just be thinking of what is going on inside of your own head, but be aware of the others around you as well. We create our environment within an environment. Learning to improve isn't that difficult if we are willing to go beyond our ego's immediate needs.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Wall Hangers...

I was chatting with a long time friend last night, and he asked why I didn't walk around with sticks all the time. I told him that I was "supremely confident that I could protect myself with my empty hand skills." So he disdainfully stated, "oh, then all your weapons are merely wall hangers!"

I thought that was funny on his part, but certainly understandable. I explained to him that different weapons, as goes the same for different people, have different attributes and require different types of handling. While true that most of the time my weapons remain on the wall, all of them come OFF the wall on a regular basis. Only by handling weapons regularly can we become comfortable in their use. They often have different densities, center of masses, length, weight, construction variables, etc, etc. Each weapon is often unique in its own way.

But if you never have the tool to hang on the wall in the first place, you wouldn't be aware of the subtle differences that exist. Weapons training is quite tactile in experience. If you don't have it, you can't feel it, if you can't feel it, then it is all merely mental masturbation. When people tell me I have so many knives, I just nod and accept that as part of my skill sets, I need to have many blades on hand, so I KNOW why the differences exist, and where I begin to develop my own preferences. In our classes with live blade training, we learn to apply the different attributes and characteristics of different knives on mediums, such as meat, wood, paper, bone, etc.

The key thing in learning is always practice. Having the tools available enhances the training. If you only have one or two available, that is fine and perfectly acceptable; however, understand where there may be a gap in one's ability to grow with limited resources available to you.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Perishable Skills

Life keeps us busy and occupied.There are many things in life that pull us in different directions and cause us to stray away from training.Schoolwork/studying, wives and girlfriends, participating in other athletic endeavors all hamper and discourage us from regular training in the things we once enjoyed and invested a great deal of time and effort in learning how to do.Work and family obligations also tug at our heartstrings and limit the time we have to do different things.

For myself, as a professional martial artist, I have to train regularly. And yes, despite regular training, I still have to worry about things like my weight, my energy levels and attribute training. Sure sucks as we get older, hahaha. I put different things on my training schedule to maintain and develop my skill levels. I keep my brain and my thoughts sharp by trying to learn "new things." It is important to find out different methods to keep our skill levels meaningful and relevant, if that is important to you.

Remembering technique, timing and endurance are the first things to disappear without regular training. Next footwork and agility will go. I always encourage my long time students to come and train at least two times a year. By devoting 1-2 hours every 4-6 months, it keeps the former training levels available to us in our conscious memory and familiar to our desired needs.It never hurts to renew old friendships and smile and laugh for a bit with old training partners either. Here at Neo Tribe Kali, unless you've been disgraced, or banned, individuals are always welcome to swing by and participate in training. We sure hope you all take us up on that!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Who Are You Training to Fight? Why Is That An Important Consideration?

Who Are You Training to Fight? Why Is That An Important Consideration?

Most people I ask this question to are surprised, and most of them are not sure of how to answer that question, and state very vague responses. There are bullies, thugs, idiots out there in the world around us. Potentially, we may need to deal with them on a physical level, and hopefully not, because often the consequences of engaging in physical conflict may not be worth the ultimate hassles and potential legal/social issues. Then, there are the potential trained fighters. Many people have different definitions of a trained fighter. To my way of thinking, a trained fighter is someone who has skills, and an attitude or willingness to hurt someone very badly, either for profit or because they are following orders to do so, or someone who has motive and drive to bring actual harm and danger to us, because of prejudice or hatred, whether or not there is emotional content behind the force he/she is willing to apply towards someone.

When we examine the potential real threat of attackers, we can easily see that a bar room fight is often stupid, dumb and could easily have been avoided. Often trouble can be avoided with a presence of mind to stay away from isolated areas, or locations of known troublespots. However, when someone is coming directly at us, or is clearly motivated to locate, and direct themselves at us with express purpose to do harm, then that is a very obvious difference and threat of actual harm and physical violence is much greater.

Often prospective students will ask me what I think of this system, or that system, and why I believe in Kali, as taught in Neo Tribe Kali, as being different or superior to another system of martial arts. In Neo Tribe Kali, we train to fight the trained fighter. A professional soldier, or a real predator out to cause harm to you, will often use a weapon to gain an advantage over an individual. In Neo Tribe Kali, we are taught how to deal with a wide array and variety of different weapons.

In situations of conflict, predators will often attack in a group. Having a superior force against a smaller party, or an individual will often force a person or lone victim to have to yield against an obviously larger force. Most martial arts teach and train students to fight one vs one. In Neo Tribe Kali, on day 1, students are taught to understand, if you see one potential attacker, they must expect 3 attackers. In this manner, students are less likely to develop and accept tunnel vision, they are more likely to move, and they are more likely to be ready against more than one attacker, as they seek out potential attackers, where none may actually be present.

Training in Neo Tribe Kali, all students learn to deal with incoming weapons of all shapes and sizes, and potential lethal effect. When students are used to seeing and contending with and against weapons, empty handed fighters pose significantly less threat and danger in a potential encounter. Understanding that regular training involves practice in footwork, mobility, developing power and conditioning of the body for strength and effectiveness in combat, makes it clear that beating up on a guy mouthing off is truly silly and meaningless. Anyone who trains regularly should be able to overcome a bully or an idiot. There is nothing to be gained from that, there is no prize for such an encounter. Hence, training should make it clear that avoidance of such silliness is the best alternative in such circumstances. Only when our lives or ideals are truly threatened or in danger, should we have to resort to physical violence. At those times, a survivor and a smart student, would be grateful for the chance to train in a martial art like Neo Tribe Kali, that trains their students to deal with the possibility of engagement with a trained fighter. When comparing potential martial arts systems, really looking at how some of these considerations are taught and presented is the only way to make an educated choice.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bowie Practice Clip

This clip just shows a combination of different blade flows. Interested in learning more? Come and participate with the NYC Research Club of Arms!! email or contact Guro Jeff for information.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Angry Knife Training

I've been noticing a trend lately in knife training videos where it seems an angry and super aggressive attitude with a blade is the norm. I do believe that attacks during training should be strong and done with intention, but what I do not necessarily agree with is that it is necessary to have an "angry attitude" in countering or training in bladework. Above all else, I feel it is necessary that in knife training we learn to adopt an attitude of "control" and being able to respond and initiate while being ready for sudden changes or unexpected movements or lines of attack.

An angry or aggressive attitude can readily be taken advantage of by multiple attackers playing upon target fixation. Frustration can be elicited by not "playing" into the expected lines of attack a drill based method promotes, if it is limited in its scope of practice. Being unprepared for sudden or "different" attacks can be a fatal mistake. Angry attitudinal training can cause a very predictable methodology that can be readily overcome by someone who is taught to be open in attitude and respond to what is given to them.

A forceful presentation of technique can appear to be very strong and daunting to an unprepared individual.One of the problems with a forceful feed is that it may limit the options available at a given moment of impact and contact with an opponent. When trying to spar or practice while sustaining an angry attitude, it is difficult to control breathing and have a prolonged encounter. It is difficult to cultivate self-awareness and sensitivity to enable better body control and progression when we are fighting not only an opponent, but ourselves as well. My students are always taught that if they are emotionally upset, or angry NOT to pick up any weapon. Learning to recognize, and learning how to defeat and overcome an angry attitude is a better position in which to be in.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Neo Tribe Kali training in NYC Chinatown...