Martial Arts and the age of the Keyboard Warrior

Martial Art forums and Facebook groups are a great way to share knowledge between fellow practitioners and discuss various Martial Art topics but the behaviour of a lot of the users on these online groups often fall short of the ideals of Budo and what it means to be a Martial Artist.

Constructive criticism is essential in how we progress as Martial Artists, we must be open to learning from others who are better than ourselves, BUT i’ve seen so many negative comments online on Martial Art groups that are from people who provide ZERO constructive criticism and proceed to only bash on the person in the video, even personal remarks….this is not the way of a Martial Artist.

A lot of the negative comments clearly come from people who are jealous and sad individuals. If you’re one of those people who bait users into responding by posting negative messages about people etc then you would be classified as a classic TROLL. Degrading others and trolling is not the way of being a Martial Artist.

Many people online are so quick to judge in a negative manner.
If you want to give constructive criticism, which is absolutely acceptable, then make a video of yourself detailing why and what you think the person is doing wrong and how they can proceed to fix their techniques etc, and if you can’t do the technique better than the person you’re criticising then don’t say anything!!

You MUST CLEARLY be able to demonstrate the technique you’re criticising in a much more advanced way than the Martial Artist you are criticising (perform the move with more technique,speed,accuracy,agility,strength etc)

I’v experienced quite a lot of hate on quite a few of my videos, the hate i receive usually comes in some in-depth post about how much better they are and how they would beat me up…. every negative comment i’ve ever received are from people who never post what they can do and NEVER show their techniques…. I wonder why? hmmmm 😉

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How to achieve your goals in Martial Arts and how setting goals relates to improved performance!

If you have no idea where you are going with your training and the outcomes then you are bound to get lost along the way and stop progressing.
There are very specific guidelines that people should follow to make sure that your goals are going to positively impact your performance. Create a goal map, focus on the process and WRITE IT DOWN!
The majority of Martial Artists, professional and recreational have goals that indicate what they want to achieve, for example to punch faster, be able to kick higher, generate more power etc . These types of goals are longterm goals. What is more important though is understanding how you will achieve these outcomes. By having short term goals, you will then help yourself achieve the longterm goals that you desire and are striving for.

Outcome goals only relate to the “end result” you desire. Many Martial Artists only set outcome goals, but it is very valuable to also set these process goals. Goals that relate to the process of your training and performance in your Martial Art.
Process goals are very important, they help you stay very focused on the process of your training and performance. Process goals tend to be more under a persons control rather than outcome goals (for example, focusing on correct technique as opposed to how powerful the technique should be). By setting these process goals you can then place yourself on an easier path to achieving your outcome goals!

Don’t just think about your goals , write them down!!!! By writing your long-term goals it helps keep you focused on where and what you are striving to be. Write down your immediate short-term goals as well, these short term goals will tell you the steps that you will need to take to get you to your desired outcome. Also try and evaluate your progress towards your goal as much as possible. Once you have achieved your short term goal, then progress and move on to the next step, this is absolutely critical in achieving your long- term goals.

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It is so very easy to get side- tracked and get stuck along the process of achieving your goals and lose sight of where you want to be.

The benefits of filming yourself and how much of a POWERFUL training tool it is for a Martial Artist

We all know watching videos of the best people is a lot of fun and is super motivating! We as humans like to fantasise being like the people we look up to, but if we watch too much of them too often and not enough of ourselves then it will cause us to perform similar to them rather than the way we perform the techniques the way our body works (as our bodies are all different the way they move even though similar). There’s literally zero chance of emulating someone who’s physically different. A person who’s 5’7 cannot move like someone who’s 6’7 and vice versa.

Filming yourself is a very powerful and wonderful tool for self analysis! When it’s combined with mental imagery it helps improve your techniques and tactics. It also benefits you greatly by watching footage of ourselves as it helps to clearly understand and see what you need to work on. We can learn a great deal by watching high level Martial Artists. Video is an excellent form of mental imagery that can help you generate the visual image and feeling of you performing at your best!!! It can also help keep you mentally sharp which allows you to develop your Martial Art skills when you’re not training every day, are busy or have an injury etc

There can be a downside to filming that we must be aware of though. It is very easy to ONLY focus on the mistakes that we make. If you watch your mistakes, you can learn from and correct them which is excellent, but if we are only watching our mistakes all the time then it ingrains a negative image and feeling into your mind that you’re technique i s bad, it is exactly the same way the body ingrains bad technique when you’re physically training and this will establish bad technique into your mind and body. It would be best to watch around 70% or so of footage you think is good and the 30% to analyse what’s wrong etc, this allows your body to soak up positive images and feelings of how our body works. It’s so easy to obsess over every little detail though like our body position or movement etc We can easily lose sight of what is really important if we film too much, the feeling of just purely practicing.

Many people watch other Martial Artists online and never film and analyse themselves, why is this? I find a lot of Martial Artists dislike filming themselves and i’m not sure why? is it fear of judging  themselves too harshly and others judging them? I highly recommend videoing  oneself to become a better technical Martial Artist.

Filming is an excellent tool and should not be dismissed!

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The strive for perfectionism in Martial Arts – The unattainable goal and the paradox of perfectionism!

Is it ever really possible to be 100% ‘perfect’? 

There is no perfect definition to what perfection truly is, especially when it comes to Martial Arts, we are constantly trying to perfect our techniques

Many people think of perfectionism as something that is very positive and it is often seen as the pursuit of excellence, setting high standards, working hard and challenging one’s self. Many people have good reasons for being perfectionists and they may even say that perfectionism allows them to be more efficient and more organised, or prepared for anything! and by setting goals and having high standards may help us achieve what we want  in life but sometimes these standards all too often get in the way of our happiness and can actually impair our performance.

The very extreme drive to achieve more advanced and exceptional levels of performance is self-defeating as it leaves us with very little chance of meeting our goals and feeling good about oneself. This kind of pressure is more likely to cause ourselves to feel constantly on edge, tense, and stressed out all the time!

Perfectionism can also make our self worth more notably bare as not reaching the (possibly unachievable) standards we set for oneself may result in making us feel like a complete failure and loser and feel like we are persistently failing. Pursuing these personal demanding standards can have a significant impact on our wellbeing, and can lead to a lot of frustration, worry, social isolation, depression.

What is State anxiety and Trait anxiety?

State Anxiety = Right now! – Varies depending on your perceptions of threats in a situation

Trait Anxiety = How you usually feel – Part of someone’s personality

State Anxiety: State anxiety describes the experience of unpleasant feelings when confronted with specific situations, demands or a particular object or event. State anxiety arises when the person makes a mental assessment of some type of threat. When the object or situation that is perceived as threatening goes away, the person no longer experiences anxiety. Thus, state anxiety refers to a temporary condition in response to some perceived threat.

Trait Anxiety: Like state anxiety, trait anxiety arises in response to a perceived threat, but it differs in its intensity, duration and the range of situations in which it occurs. Trait anxiety refers to the differences between people in terms of their tendency to experience state anxiety in response to the anticipation of a threat. People with a high level of trait anxiety experience more intense degrees of state anxiety to specific situations than most people do and experience anxiety toward a broader range of situations or objects than most people. Thus, trait anxiety describes a personality characteristic rather than a temporary feeling.

Self-analysis to progress as a Martial Artist

“You’re only as strong as your weakest link”

Practicing your favourite techniques and feeling the snap of your kick, the accuracy and power from them is an amazing feeling! BUT we can get so caught up in focusing on our strong points that we become blind to other areas of skill that can be improved. As Martial Artists we must have a diverse set of skills,

It’s definitely tempting to focus on all the progress we make in the areas that come easiest and ignore those that are hard. As Martial Artists we must face and develop our weaknesses to become our strengths rather than trying to cover them up with our strengths.

We should definitely not neglect our strengths though as it will often be that our favourite punch,kick,submission etc that we have trained so hard on will usually give us the win yet if fighting in a sport environment then our favourite technique/s could be our downfall as the opponent would have prepared for those certain techniques.

Also practicing our strengths so often can make them weaker by injuring ourselves due to repeating the movements over and over and causing imbalances in the body because our weaknesses are undeveloped.

Art by Mariusz Szmerdt

 

What is relaxation?

Relaxation in essence is a byproduct of a state of mind, relaxation is rarely experienced simply because the individuals involved are prisoners of their own mind.
A skill such as relaxation eludes anyone who dares cheapen it to the superficial association of the body.

Relaxation training is also a form of very powerful health promotion and disease prevention especially since there’s so many stress related illnesses, of which the list of associated conditions is constantly growing.  By learning to bring deep relaxation to your mind and body is one of the best investments you can do for yourself.

Relaxing the body’s muscles, soft tissue and organs feels beyond amazing.  There are a number of benefits associated with this, from increased sleep quality; to the whole cascade of rejuvenating processes associated the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system branch of the autonomic nervous system to other neural and neuromuscular benefits!!!

Relaxation is a skill and one of the most underrated yet hardest one to master.