Archive for July, 2009


I’m so proud of the fact that I have no ego. It truly makes me the most humble person I’ve ever met. Regardless of whether we admit it or not, we all have an ego. It’s what we do with that ego and how we demonstrate it among our martial arts peers and students which determine how good and what type of instructor we are….

With over 36 years of martial arts experience I’ve seen a lot of different types of martial arts and self-defense instructors. They all, including myself, have their weaknesses and strengths….

In Here I Am God

Granted some ego, i.e. self-confidence, is needed in order to teach, but there are those who teach for themselves and those who teach for their students. In the few cases I’ve seen the god complex in a martial arts or self-defense instructor, it’s generally been for the instructor. Even one very good combat veteran martial arts instructor whom I personally knew, seemed to teach for himself. Let’s not confuse this with a military manner of teaching martial arts. The word martial after all means war and many of the martial arts taught have or had a military basis at some point in history. His students had a lot of self-confidence, but they also, I unfortunately noted when I asked a newly ranked advanced student his name, had his ego and pride as well. This, in my opinion is unfortunate since a martial arts instructor can, by example, offer so many positive traits to his/her students. If you’re looking for a martial arts school or self-defense school, watch some classes and remember the above comments I made. Talk to the instructor, but talk to the students as well. Go with your gut as well as your cognitive processes.

I Cannot Be Hit!

I’ve personally witnessed this in a lot of instructors. The instructor gets gets hit, possibly slightly hurt, and is embarrassed by the fact that his/her student was able to hit him/her.

I really need to respond to this in this article.

WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO TEACH THEM?! Don’t you think you should be proud of your student for being able to hit you?! So what if you just got a little boo boo on your nose and maybe on your ego if you think of it in a negative manner. One of your students lessons HAS JUST SUNK IN AS A LEARNED REFLEX! Isn’t that what you wanted to happen?

NOW, you have two choices, you can make yourself feel better by treating this in a negative manner. Demean your student for his/her control. Tell your student that wasn’t part of the drill or why that technique wouldn’t actually work blah blah blah OR you can help your student to feel great about his/her accomplishment. Here’s what I’ve done and no I’m not perfect and yes I’m sure I have an ego otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write this martial arts article,….

“DID EVERYONE SEE THAT! That’s what happens when you train hard GREAT job John! I even felt that a little you’re REALLY starting to develop some power. Now do that combination again so I can practice blocking that since I made a mistake and you can practice that effective combination.”

Is that a perfect way to handle it? I’d need a big ego indeed to say it was, but at least my student feels good about his/her accomplishment.

It’s The Right Way Because I Say It Is

This could be more of a teaching style. Traditionally, not a lot of questions were asked in old school martial arts training, but I tend to believe, in this modern teaching era, not wanting questions asked is a matter of ego or a matter of lack of knowledge. Even large classes should be able to have question and answer periods. Naturally I’ll listen to any opinions on this anyone may have.

Feel Free to Tell Me How to Teach During My Class

I presently recall two people who went through this phase. A new instructor a friend of mine and I tried to help and me.

There was a martial arts instructor who used to come to visit my class when I was teaching self-defense in college. As I was teaching I’d look to him for approval, he’d shake his head no, then begin teaching my class. WITH that attitude and that lack of ego, i.e. self-confidence, I should not have been teaching in the first place!

It was thanks to a professor in the Physical Education department, whom I was interning under, who helped me to think and act like a professional physical educator. In a letter of recommendation to the director of the Physical Education department I remember stating

“Whenever I want to act in a professional manner, I find myself asking, What would blank do?”

Later on, thanks to Methods of Teaching classes and education training itself along with more martial arts experience, when this same instructor came to watch my class and he began shaking his head no I ignored this. When he began realizing I wasn’t responding he stated, “You’re teaching it wrong”

I looked directly at him and replied, “That’s something we can discuss after class.”

I believe a good mentor would have been proud of me for stating that. Instead he seemed surprised and a bit insulted. This was many years ago but I recall after class telling him that this was my class and we can discuss teaching techniques after the students have left. He never came to my class again after that.

The other instructor my friend and I helped was in a similar situation. When I would go by myself to watch his class I found him looking for my approval. When I would inadvertently shake my head no he’d ask me what was wrong. I’d reply nothing at all sorry to disturb your class. I gave him some pointers after his classes, but it would have been very easy for me to step in a teach his class, thus questioning his knowledge and authority in front of his students. Thanks to my previous experience I didn’t do this. My friend told me he did teach a few of his classes.


Regardless of the humble martial arts and self-defense instructors you see on television who take out 20 bad guys without breaking sweat and agree to train one student after six months of begging, ego, otherwise known as self-confidence, is a good trait. As with all of our personality traits and interpersonal skills, it’s what we do with that ego, that counts.

J. Richard Kirkham is a dual certified teacher specializing in alternative teaching methods and a martial arts instructor. He currently resides in Honolulu with his wife Jan and son Rylan.

He’s the author of Step by Step Learning Martial Arts Internal Energy Strikes Ebook and NOW FREE Bonus Full Version Video by Kirkham Solo Martial Arts Drills for Training in Martial Arts by Yourself by Sensei J. Richard Kirkham B.Sc. and How to Exercise Throughout Your Day Printable Ebook by Kirkham

Be sure to subscribe to Rick’s newsletter for self-defense and fitness tips and articles and receive his FREE Speed Drills ebook Don’t forget to approve the double check email by Yahoo

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Category : Martial Arts - General | Blog

Your baby just came home from school all excited and begging you for the chance to take martial arts classes for kids. Your innocent little baby has a new hero: B.J. Penn. All of the sudden bloody images come flooding into your mind. Broken bones, ambulance rides, choke holds, and didn’t you once see some guy break his neck? Every ounce of your being is screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!” But your baby is looking at you with those big hopeful eyes and you say, “I will look into it.”

Is it Safe?

The first thing you need to look into is the safety of the school. The school should have small classes, or if larger classes, more instructors. There also should me safety equipment. The equipment should be in good shape and well cared for.

Martial arts is a sport, and like any sport kids can get hurt. However, with proper precaution injuries can be prevented or at least reduced. Protective equipment should not be optional. The instructors need to make this mandatory when sparring. If the instructors allow sparring without protective gear, take your child elsewhere.

Can Parents Watch?

As a teacher, I understand there are annoying and overprotective parents. However, any instructor who doesn’t allow me to watch makes me nervous. You need to be comfortable with your child’s instructor and your child’s safety before you miss any classes.

Benefits of Martial Arts

The most obvious benefit of martial arts for kids is friendship but martial arts classes for kids go beyond friendship. Let’s face it. We are all guilty of letting our children watch too much TV. Our kids need more exercise and martial arts gives them that added exercise, especially since physical activity is being cut out of schools. Plus, it provides your child with self-confidence, and everyone could use a self-confidence boost.

Basically, martial arts is great for kids. It is no more dangerous than any other contact sport. It will boost your child’s self-esteem and provide your child with much needed exercise. So, before you say no, look into some classes in your area. You just might find a class you are comfortable sending your child to and be happy you did.

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Category : Martial Arts - General | Blog

There are several different kinds of cardio workouts that we have the ability to do in order to get the strongest exercise. These cardio workouts are necessary when seeking to lose any amount of weight and to tone up the muscles in the body. One of the best kinds of cardio exercise is kickboxing.

This is a form of martial arts that is able to be learned at home – but is easier used in a class with a proper instructor. In order to study it the right way you must use the required gear that will supply you with the strongest workout. It will also assist to better your ability to do each of the techniques and to decrease the chance you have of injuring yourself.

In order to buy the right gear you first need to know which kind of kickboxing you wish to learn. Almost all of these types will instruct you how to defend yourself – which means that you will discover how to spar or fight with other students. Before you can spar you have to have the essential padding and protective gear.

During each class you need to make sure to wear garments that are not too tight or too loose. When they are too tight they can limit your movement and might cause you too injure yourself. Also you don’t want them to be too loose or you will be tripping all over them and will take a chance of losing them. Most schools demand that you wear a martial art uniform best-known as the gi.

When practicing kickboxing at the house you might want to think about buying punching bags and focus mitts. This will aid you to hone your skills and learn the techniques and to give you the practice you need. Also don’t forget to buy gloves, helmets and extra protection for those days in which you practice lots of sparring.

Learn about the Best Brands that you can use when looking to purchase the best in Kickboxing Protection.

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Category : Martial Arts - General | Blog

Reasons for fear

  • you dread facing your opponent – a bigger, tougher, stronger. and more accomplished opponent
  • you are afraid of getting hurt – a past injury. the pain associated with it, and the difficult recovery period that you had to go through can create the fear that you may get hurt again
  • you fear failure – the thought of losing the game can create a fear in you even before you begin the match

Its expression

  • Diffidence – no confidence in yourself
  • Panic – You lose your sense of calmness
  • Frozen thought processes – unable to recall and use your game plan

Impact of fear on you

  • Concentration gets affected even in the case of fear
  • But there is also another problem when you have fears – The trepidation caused by fear creates a foreboding within you, and your mind begins to focus on the outcome rather than the game itself. Your focus shifts to thoughts of a fresh injury or thoughts of losing. or the shame of putting up an effectual performance against a formidable opponent
  • Fear can sap you of energy
  • Fear can make your mind go blank

Fear Management Techniques

  • Confront the fear – Analyze the fear. What aspects of the game or the opponent have contributed to the fear?
  • Demystify the fear – Once you identify the source of fear. you can find ways to dismiss the fear
  • If you fear failure, ask yourself: how unpleasant can it be? It’s not a matter of life and death. So what if you lose one match, you can’t win them all. Isn’t it long-term goals that really matter?
  • If you fear repeat injury, use therapies like yoga and meditation to confront the fear and move ahead. If you fear injury, try not to think about it. It may not happen to you. Many players go through a long career spell without ever getting a major injury. Decide in your mind that you will face injury if and when it happens, no point worrying about it in advance. Injuries can occur in any game.
  • If you fear shame of a poor performance, remind yourself that every game is a stepping stone and a learning experience. Also train harder and more often until you fell confident of your performance. This can take care of the fear.
  • If you fear tough opponents, face the fear of a tough opponent by focusing on your opponent’s strategy totally during the game. Fear can work in your favor. Fear need not be the enemy. On the contrary, fear gives you the power of the adrenaline rush. The object of your fear-your opponent-has to be the focus of your undivided attention. Your armor becomes your concentration and effective use of game techniques. Nothing brings on the instinct to defend yourself and vanquish the other more than fear can. Face the fear and avoid going blank by focusing your thoughts on your opponent. and you can successfully tackle the most adverse situations in the ring.
  • Visualize a real-life threat and talk yourself into action: Alertness is probably one of the few things that you still retain when you have fear. Action becomes difficult because of the blank frozen state that you can go into sometimes. But you will be alert and wary, much like when you are being attacked by a wild animal. You are wide awake to what is happening, but too frozen to do the right thing. The adrenaline caused by fear has to be converted into action to transform you from your frozen state into a state of aggression, just like you would behave in a dangerous situation in a jungle. Say to yourself: “If I don’t move now. I’m going to get hurt,” or “Move. If I wait any longer, he will get the upper hand.”
  • Dealing with the adrenaline rush through simulation: A lot of grapplers and combat athletes swear by a technique called “adrenaline training.” It is a simulation exercise in which you recreate a fight scene where your practice partner shouts and behaves in an aggressive manner, much like the real opponent that you fear might do. This stimulus can get your adrenaline pumping. It is a method used to stimulate a response when you have the fear of losing to your opponent or when you freeze and go blank. If you can train your mental processes to defend yourself more effectively under fear or if the adrenaline can turn on your offense to tackle your opponent head on, then fear can actually work in your favor.
  • Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese system of arranging the living environment in a harmonious way, has some tips for dealing with challenges. Placing certain symbols or pictures in your home, such as a huge picture of a mountain range, a Chinese dragon, or subliminal way to create a feeling of strength and build courage to face challenges. The dragon is considered one of the most powerful and revered symbols dragon symbol (usually a small brass. bronze. or wooden model) is supposed to have the power to create positive energy and can inspire you to face challenges.

Lloyd Irvin is a martial arts coach. He holds the rank of 7th degree black belt in Thai Jitsu, 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, 1st degree black belt in judo. In 2002 he was named The United States Judo Federation International Coach of the year. Lloyd’s coaching experience includes having taught Secret Service, FBI & SWAT. Read more on:

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Category : Martial Arts - General | Blog

If your emotions are not in sync with the rest of your mental preparation, then you may not be as successful in effectively applying your game plan. In this chapter, we are going to study two critical emotions-anger and fear­-that often negatively impact a grappler’s or combats athlete’s performance, and we’ll look for ways to deal with these emotions.

How do these emotions become stumbling blocks?

  • Anger or fear can affect your concentration, since these emotions fill your mind, and you will be unable to maintain the high involvement necessary to play your game.
  • Anger can alter your attitude from being positive and assertive to being hostile and intimidating. If your emotion is fear, your approach may become distinctly diffident and hesitant.
  • Your judgment gets affected: You may not think clearly enough to use the right moves. Your game is now directed by your emotions instead of by your true motivators.

Triggers for anger

Anger is actually a form of stress and can result from any of the following in a grappler or combat athlete:

  • frustration with your performance
  • failure to win in recent matches
  • animosity built up in a previous encounter with the opponent-you believe that someone did not behave properly toward you.

Its expression

  • A negatively activated state-of-mind: aggravation, annoyance
  • Retaliation against opponent

Anger is an emotion that fills the mind with feelings of fury and rage. This fury translates into extreme antagonism toward the opponent. When a grappler or combat athlete feels angry, the power of the emotion can break concentration and cloud the mind with thoughts that hamper the effective use of game plan and strategy. Anger causes a shift in focus in the mind. Instead of concentrating on techniques and tactics, the mind is now filled with revenge and rage.

Impact of anger on you

Anger is something you can do without on the mat. Anger is an emotion that is completely counterproductive. Anger leads to:

  • loss of control
  • loss of concentration
  • inability to pay attention
  • inability to recall your strategies

Anger management

The break in concentration is one of the most significant harmful fallouts of anger during a game. The other unfortunate fallout is bad behavior. Grapplers and combat athletes, who make a conscious effort to overcome anger minimize this effect and instead play the game as the situation demands. To stay focused during a match, there are several anger-management techniques that can be applied by a grappler or combat athlete.

  • Refocus thoughts when concentration breaks: Regain concentration levels by replacing angry thoughts, with thoughts of giving a good performance
  • Use the cue technique: This is something you can do during the match to gain control and weed out anger from your mind. You can also use “word cues” to manage your anger. This method is based on the premise that you are aware of your uncontrolled anger that surfaces from time to time on the mat. When you begin to notice your anger growing during a match, give yourself the following cue word: “Replace:’ As soon as the cue “Replace” enters your mind, you have to actively intercept the angry thoughts and replace them with tactics that you can use in the moment. In other words, you refocus yourself on an immediate task and slowly move away from the anger. You are actually restoring and reinstating relevant thoughts and cutting off angry thoughts before they overwhelm you. Granted that there are times when your anger has been genuinely spurred by an injustice or unfair behavior toward you. But the time to show this anger is not on the mat, where you need to apply your judgment and use your strategies. Once you replace the unwelcome thoughts, you will again find yourself working at full potential.
  • Anger management through yoga – you can have control over yourself if you want to. And that’s an absolute fact! You can gain control of your emotions if you try, but there is help in the form of yoga techniques. Pursue specific yoga techniques with the help of an instructor in the days before a tournament. Specific yoga exercises can assist you in keeping your temper cool. It will help you control your thought processes and manage your anger.
  • Enlist the intervention of friend and well-wisher to talk about the anger that often builds up in you. When you have it out in the open, you begin to think about the basis or cause of your anger and can reason yourself out of it through discussion.
  • Don’t fret over failure: Losses and wins are part and parcel of being a grappler or combat athlete. Fretting or worrying over a lost game increases your disappointment and aggravates the senses to a state of frustration and annoyance. It is like letting a wound fester. The ultimately leads to anger building up. A better approach is to introspect about the match and look for reasons for failure. Here’s what NHB Champion Mike Easton had to say after he lost in the semifinal round of the Muay Thai Championships: I will think back a little bit about this match, but I’ve learned so much from it. I have to get back to the basics and not try things that aren’t a part of my game plan.”
  • Question the anger: When you find yourself getting angry, ask yourself why. This can momentarily arrest the angry thoughts and replace them with a more rational thought process of understanding your anger.

Lloyd Irvin is a martial arts coach. He holds the rank of 7th degree black belt in Thai Jitsu, 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, 1st degree black belt in judo. In 2002 he was named The United States Judo Federation International Coach of the year. Lloyd’s coaching experience includes having taught Secret Service, FBI & SWAT. Read more on:

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Category : Martial Arts - General | Blog