Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fight Like A Girl

Do me a favor and read the whole thing before you comment, okay?

If you haven't seen it, Proctor & Gamble came out with a brilliant ad recently:


This ad resonated with me for a variety of reasons, and I hope it resonates with you, too.

It's not uncommon, in the martial arts world, for people to consistently imply that being associated with female qualities is inferior.  Yes, we are in a testosterone-driven, highly physical environment, in which we are learning self defense and fighting skills.  Yes, this tends to be associated with male qualities, and there's nothing wrong with that.

But  it doesn't mean that therefore so-called "female" qualities are automatically bad.  

Let's take the use of the color pink, which in modern times has come to be associated with women (a recent development - read this for the evolution of how colors became associated with gender When Did Girls Start Wearing Pink?) Here's an example of this attitude in this thread at Martial Arts Planet: Pink Belt?

You can buy this belt here.

So, let's force a student to wear a color typically associated with women as punishment.  It's worse than being a white belt - being a pink belt is being the lowest possible thing you can be in a dojo.

What, it's the only color not available in the regular rank color structure?  Really? We don't use GRAY.  Why not a gray belt? Why not some pattern, like the camo belt?  Why not some completely different punishment?

If you have to punish someone in your dojo, associating them with a "girl" color is the worst thing you can think of to do?  Really?

Of course, there's the famous pink gi worn by Gene Lebell.

Gene Lebell can wear anything he wants.   Image found here.
The association of a feminine color with such a highly skilled player can be seen as empowering if you look at it one way, but put another way, it's saying, "I dare you to call Gene Lebell 'girly' or 'weak' to his face because of his pink gi." Nobody is stupid enough to do that, are they?  He's GENE FREAKING LEBELL.  Because in the martial arts, pink - or being associated with a girl - equals weak, and everybody knows that Gene Lebell is the opposite of weak.

Friends, what message does this send to your female students?

Think about it.  Put yourself in the female student's shoes and think about it.

This is particularly sad, as I am hard pressed to name an environment where women are more welcome than the martial arts - from your local karate dojo up to and including shooting ranges(maybe especially shooting ranges).  Indeed, many martial arts schools struggle to find ways to attract and retain female students - they want them in their studios.

In my experience, I have found men to be helpful, supportive, and overall a real pleasure to work with in just about every martial arts training environment I've ever been in.  When the odd tough guy - too tough to be uke for a woman - shows up, men in the class are usually disapproving of the tough guy, not the woman.  Like racism, blatant sexism on the mat is generally frowned upon in our modern martial arts culture.

Indeed, there may be no more empowering place than a martial arts studio for a woman.  As a community, the martial arts world is possibly better than most other subcultures in this regard, and over the past ten or fifteen years, it's been getting even better.

But there is still room for improvement, and it doesn't mean removing the toughness.

Stop associating things that are female with being weak, or lesser, or low rank.  You're telling your female students that they'll never measure up, that being their gender (something outside of their control) makes them automatically lesser and lower rank.  Don't use pink as punishment.  Don't tell people, if they aren't performing up to your standards, that they are girly or womanish to mean "weak".

One group starting to do it right is the Gracie Academy.  Read about their use of the pink belt here.  I've also seen pink gis becoming more acceptable (again, in BJJ). I've heard of others, including those who wear pink belts for charity, which is a step in the right direction.

We can do more, though.  What would happen if you made a pink belt a reward?  What if we started associating pink with being a badass - that you, too, with hard work, could be as tough as Gene Lebell... or Rhonda Rousey?

Tell HER to her face that she's weak or inferior.  Make sure you get it on film.
Image and pink gi found here.
If you believe - truly believe - that women can and should be training in the martial arts, this is one thing you can do to walk the talk.  Don't ask women to train, and then tell them that being associated with their gender is humiliating.  Don't train women to be tough, then imply that since they are missing a "Y" chromosome they can never be tough.  Don't imply that any rank associated with a woman is the lowest thing you can be.

This isn't a huge change, friends, but it's something that might make a big difference in attracting - and retaining - women in the martial arts.

Let's make fighting like a girl to be a good thing - because girls are kicking ass.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Kiaaa-HA! REAL Ultimate Power

YAY, NINJAS!



Are you ready to get PUMPED?!?

(Not safe for work due to language)



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

FIGHT MEETS FLIGHT: Cross Training and the Martial Arts – The Half Marathon (Pt. 1)

From the Stick Chick: Today's guest post is the first in a five part series on cross training and the martial arts that will be appearing on Tuesdays (so mark your calendars).  Enjoy!


My name is Troy. I am a Black Belt and instructor at North Texas Karate Academy, located in Fort Worth, TX. I am 26 years old. My family opened the dojo in 2003, though my mother and I have been studying Tae Kwon Do and various other Martial Arts since 1993. Our school regularly competes, and we place a heavy emphasis on physical fitness.
The author competing at a tournament as a green belt sometime in the mid 90’s.
We focus on American Tae Kwon Do, despite the term "Karate" used in our business name (ed. note: very common in Texas -the Stick Chick), and over the years have implemented many other arts into our program. We have instructors trained in Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, Arnis DeLeon (ed. note: closely related to Modern Arnis- the Stick Chick), Boxing, Kempo and even Yoga offering classes at our school.

If it is one thing we have learned from teaching martial arts professionally, it is that there is no one-right-answer and no "superior" martial art. Though our main program is Tae Kwon Do, we recognize the importance of offering many other classes to supplement our program.

This is where cross training comes in. Aside from our regular strength and fitness programs, we have explored many outside training opportunities that have yielded tremendous benefits to our growth as Tae Kwon Do practitioners.

Many people comment that my mother (our head instructor) stands out from many of the "head instructors" in other schools because she still regularly competes in tournaments - and wins consistently. So consistently, in fact, that there is a Black Belt Men's State Champion trophy sitting in our dojo that belongs to her. You heard that right; she can beat the men too.


Troy's mom can beat up your mom.  And your dad, too.
She often talks about the effects cross training has on her Tae Kwon Do. Her regimen includes our Strength and Conditioning program, Olympic Weight Lifting and short distance running (2-4 miles), usually in sets of sprints. These routines keep her fit and allow her to continue competing. Our Tae Kwon Do classes are very active and involve a lot of endurance based exercises, but we have found that varying the workouts has a much larger impact on our Tae Kwon Do performance.

So it boils down to this. It doesn't matter how good you are, if your body gets tired, your skills go out the window. I do not believe in the one-punch knockout or those fancy pressure point things - yes they happen, but are never something you should count on for your self-defense.

A real attack is raw and not likely to always fit the conditions required for these "techniques" to work. Your best defense is being in shape. If you have to fight - you can. If you have to run - you can.  If your body can't effectively perform the techniques you have spent years learning, they are useless.

I have been on a "break" from full-time Tae Kwon Do for about 6 months now. I am exploring distance running and will be doing a Half-Marathon shortly. It has been very eye opening and I will be recording the effects it has on Tae Kwon Do training once I return to training after the race.

My Father, Brother and I after I tested for 1st DAN Black Belt.
 That test was 4 hours of agony. “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle”.
For many years I have trained for Tae Kwon Do in exercises developing fast-twitch muscle fibers. I am curious to see how a slow-twitch endurance exercise like distance running will affect my Tae Kwon Do performance. Maybe it will allow me to recover between rounds more efficiently, or maybe it will cause me to tire faster during rounds, we will see.

What are your thoughts on how this will affect Tae Kwon Do performance?

In my next post I will cover the transition from martial arts training to distance running and how it felt at the start of the routine.

Part 2 of this series here, Part 3 here, Part 4 here and Part 5 here.


Troy Seeling is a 1st degree black belt and instructor in Tae Kwon Do, with 5 years experience in Boxing and a two-year white belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Troy also instructs a strength and fitness class, and helps to manage his families' dojo, North Texas Karate Academy  In his spare time, he enjoys trying different forms of physical fitness, including Olympic weight lifting and distance running. He also enjoys film photography with antique cameras.  You can contact Troy at troyseeling@aol.com.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sinawali: Getting the Most Out of It (Part 2)

Part 1 here.  Continuing on the benefits of training Sinawali.

3) RANGE

Generally speaking, we teach sinawali at a medium range (aka "medio").  This means that if I step forward with a forehand strike to the head, I can hit my opponent's head or body (Modern Arnis/Kombatan are medium to close range arts, generally speaking).
 "WHAM!!"  Eat rattan, varmint!
In order to reach the target, one must be in the proper range.  A high forehand strike to the head does no good if it's too far away.  It's even more obvious on a low strike, as that's even harder to hit than the head in terms of range, depending on the stance the opponent has.

Sinawali gets a student used to being in the proper range for these strikes very quickly.

4) FOOTWORK

Another thing we emphasize with our students learning sinawali is the footwork.

You've seen about a million sinawali videos on YouTube, and one thing you'll notice is that many if not most of them are standing like this:

Now, one reason you see this in video is that the players can't move around too much because they'll move out of frame.  As I'm in this video, I can verify that's it's true in this case.

But another is that for whatever reason, some people just aren't doing the sinawali footwork.  Some people are never taught it.  Some people are focusing in on the strikes and thus not doing the footwork because of what they are emphasizing.  For whatever reason, others start getting the impression that this is how it's done - you stand squared up and strike at each other, similar to what you see in the video above.

This isn't how we teach it, and you shouldn't, either.

We begin by teaching our students to step forward with the same foot as the hand making the initial strike.  Thus, in single sinawali (high-low), the initial strike is with the right hand, step forward with the right foot. When you strike with the left hand, step with the left foot, and back and forth.

Once they are good at that, then they start moving around - they do the footwork.  Over time, they can move in and out,  stepping to the right and left, circling... again, getting all the benefits of high repetition at a good speed.

5) COMFORT WITH WEAPONS

Finally, one reason sinawali is generally taught very early in ones training in Arnis is the need for students to get past their fear of the weapon.  Respect is one thing we should all have, but fear is something else.

You cannot do any weapons based art and be afraid of the weapon.  You just can't.
Little did I know that my lifelong dream
of being a unicorn would be fulfilled.
Look, nobody wants to get hit - or hit someone - with the weapon in a training environment.  Yes, it hurts when you get clocked with the stick, or smashed on the hand, or poked in the face.  The fear of it happening is instinctive and realistic and honest, and it takes time (and trust) to conquer the fear.

Sinawali is one safe way for students to get used to having sticks coming at them, and to gain confidence that they can block them. There are, of course, other drills for this, but sinawali is a simple introduction to getting used to handling and blocking weapons.

One more thing about the fear of weapons - which is really the fear of getting hurt.  Truly, most of the weapons-based injuries I've had (and I've had many) has taught me one thing: the fear of the injury is worse, in many ways, that the injury itself.  That's especially true with strikes to the hand - it hurts, but not as bad as you're afraid it will. 

So - if you've dropped working on sinawali because you didn't see the purpose, I hope you'll give it a second look.  Work on range, work on targeting, work on chambering, work on footwork, and above all, work on getting used to weapons coming at your head.
CHAMBER UP!



WAIT:  I forgot... one more thing! One more important point, one thing I think has value as much as anything else I've mentioned:

IT'S FUN! 

God forbid you have fun, right?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sinawali: Getting The Most Out Of it (Part 1)

Sinawali is a drill that many Filipino Martial Arts do at a basic level.  In Modern Arnis (as well as in Kombatan), sinawali is a core drill that is fundamental to what we teach.

So then I says to Mabel, I says...
Brian Johns has a great post about this topic here: Single Sinawali

I'd like to go a little bit more in depth, as I do believe there are some folks out there who view sinawali as little more than patty-cake with sticks. In fact, I have so much to say about it, I had to break it up into two posts.

So... why train sinawali?  There's more to it than you might think.

We slow things down when we're first teaching sinawali, in order to emphasize certain points with our students.

1) TARGETING

This is the number one correction we make with students doing sinawali - poor targeting.  Take the single sinawali that Brian mentions in his post - the high forehand/low backhand pattern.

That high forehand is what we'd call a #1 strike - an angled strike to the side of the head, neck or shoulder.  The low backhand is what we'd call a #8 strike - an angled strike to the knee.

When doing sinawali, targeting should be on the opponents body - the goal is NOT to strike the other person's stick (what we'd call "chasing the stick").  So in the single sinawali, you deliver a #1 strike to the head and then a #8 strike to the head, targeted properly. Your partner does the same - and you meet in the middle.

Let me reiterate: your goal in sinawali is not to hit each other's sticks, it's to hit each other.  Since your partner is doing the same thing (mirrored) - you meet in the middle.

Knowing more than one sinawali pattern allows for the same benefit for practice of a lot of different strikes.

Another point on targeting - training this properly helps big-time with the problem of students aiming too high.

Most students do not want to accidentally hit their partners (even though we teach this at a medium-to-longer range for safety's sake, initially) so they aim ABOVE their heads.  They will end up doing the same thing when feeding strikes for blocking drills (which makes it doubly hard to learn basic blocking when fed this way).

My head is down here.
Feeding too high makes it much more likely for the feeder to get hit on the hand in sinawali on the high strike and for the other person to get hit on the low backhand strike.  I get hit a by a lot of newbies in exactly this way.

Now, while all of us will join the Purple Knuckles Club eventually, this is a fast and easy track to early membership.

So, done properly, sinawali is an excellent drill to work on targeting.

2) CHAMBERING

I probably emphasize chambering more than most. In our school, our class awarded me a Sheriff's Badge over the matter.

Chamber up, Podnah.
I often compare an open chamber (on the shoulder) with two sticks as being identical to the basic "fighting stance" of empty hand fighters - your hands are up, protecting the head, and you are ready to strike or defend.

However, that's not the major reason why I like to chamber (and I do chamber pretty deeply).  You see, in order to hit very hard, I have to strike using large muscle groups, as I am a short, middle aged, somewhat dumpy woman.  In order to do that, I have to chamber my strikes to engage not only my arms and shoulders, but my back (and hips as well, when done properly).

While I am not hitting as hard as I can in sinawali - I'm practicing the mechanic it takes to do so when the time comes.

Another benefit of chambering properly in sinawali is that you practice placing your hand where it needs to be for the next strike.

If the stick is in your right hand, and you know your next strike in this pattern is to be a low backhand strike, you chamber your hand and stick on the left side of the body for the strike.  Over time, you learn if you are chambered (x) way, then strikes (x1) (x2) and so on are available, and strikes (y1) (y2) and so on are less optimal (or impossible) to deliver.

This leads to you putting your hands where you want them to be in order to deliver specific strikes, vs. just doing the sinawali pattern.

Finally, chambering closes open gaps to the midsection and it makes disarming/traps a little more difficult, as your hands are not just out in space for your opponent to take advantage.

As you speed up in sinawali (and other) drills, what happens naturally is that the chambering gets more shallow, in order to speed things up. When you chamber very shallowly, the chambering disappears completely when you get to full speed, and your hands end up hanging out in front of them or to the side.

I'll cover range, footwork, and comfort with weapons in Part 2.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Self Defense: Weapons are the Great Equalizer

If you didn't already know, I'm a middle-aged woman.  A short, somewhat dumpy middle aged woman.
Me. 165 pounds of badass.
For my age, I'm in okay shape - and I'm working on being better - but still, in a self defense situation versus a male, I am at a distinct disadvantage.  In matters of strength and reach, it's highly likely I will be outmatched, and the odds suggest that someone offering me harm may be younger than I am.  This is not sexism or ageism - it's just a fact.

This disadvantage is somewhat negated if I have trained in a useful martial art for self-defense.  It's even more negated if I have a weapon available.  I do have a weapon available, generally - as I stated in a prior post, my training includes thinking about and using environmental weapons.  I also usually have my car keys on me.

My car keys
They used to say, "God created men, but Sam Colt made them equal", referring to firearms giving those of us who are less physically strong a chance in self-defense against bigger, stronger people who would hurt or kill us.  You may live in a place where you can't carry a firearm, or you may have decided that a firearm is not something you care to carry or use - for whatever reason, let's assume that guns are out of the picture for the moment.

For the purposes of this post, I'm also going to assume the classic "women's self defense" scenario where an attacker unknown to me is approaching me to do me harm intentionally (versus, some drunk guy in a bar out of control or other scenarios where it's not the intent to do me harm).

Why only train to defend yourself unarmed?

Training unarmed - and only unarmed - seems to me to be training to play on the attacker's turf.  In sports terms, to try to play and win at his game.

He's set up the game against me thusly:
  • He intends to inflict harm upon me, so he has a mental advantage
  • He knows what is going to happen because he initiates the confrontation, and thus he has the first mover advantage
  • He is bigger and stronger than I am, so he has physical advantage
I can't do much about the first and second points (other than situational awareness and avoiding spots that make me an easy target), but I can do something about the third, and that's to use a weapon to negate the physical advantage.  Another point in my favor is that I'm training in self-defense, so I'm not the easy target he assumes I am.

There's another saying, "You fight the way you train".  I have a teacher I respect highly who used to joke that because he'd trained unarmed for so long, in a violent confrontation where he actually has a weapon in-hand, his instinct was to drop the weapon!  He has since trained Arnis (he's the one who introduced me to it, actually) and has a different perspective now, but the point holds true.

And there is one more saying, "the weapon is the extension of the hand".  If you don't train with a weapon, you don't really know how that works.  I have personally witnessed high-dan, very skilled martial artists flail about with the simplest of techniques with a weapon.  You have to practice these things in order to use them when there is no time for any thought.

I support training unarmed (and with firearms, if you want to). But you must, you simply must, train with weapons.  Especially if you are female, or small, or old, or very young. Because weapons are the great equalizer.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Injury: Just Train

Recently, one of our adult students sustained a serious injury to his left hand.

Basically.

Besides being incredibly painful, he was thinking that there was no way he could train while he was injured.  After all, we do stuff like this:

Showoff.
When he came by to tell us what had happened (it was completely un-martial-arts related) and tell us he wouldn't be able to train, not only was he in pain, but I could tell he was pretty upset to think that he'd be out of training for months.  Given that he's also facing the prospect that his injured hand may never be the same again, he's just not in a good place right now.

So, I grabbed a soft stick (we use Action Flex) and got him - slowly - to use his right hand, and learn how to hold his left out of the way as to minimize the risk of getting hit - and we started training.

We're working on classical strikes of Arnis - ocho-ocho, banda y banda, abanico, and the like - and I had him hit the bag.  Not hard and fast, but slowly, focusing on technique, footwork, and targeting.
Bruce Chiu doing the abanico strike.
 Learn more here.
Now, this student tends to be very concerned about power, sometimes to the detriment of his technique, and is always trying to force himself to make the optimum strike (versus taking what presents itself).  He comes from a martial arts background that is more in the "one and done" school of thought.  When you are working with a lighter weapon, no matter how sharp, you can't depend on that strategy.  It has to be more like  "Hit them until they quit wiggling".

I'm hoping that as we get him into a routine again, that he'll see that he can absolutely keep training, even with his seriously injured left hand, and he will make progress.  Not only that, the nature of his injury is presenting him with an opportunity to grow by leaps and bounds than he might have otherwise, as it's very difficult to do power striking with the injury he has.

For example, he can't make what might be the "optimal strike" much of the time, as he doesn't have an alive hand to make many of them work. So now he just has to see what is there, and take those strikes instead.

I have a lot of sympathy for this student, as I once was also in the same situation (it was a torn calf muscle and I couldn't walk) pretty early in my martial arts life.

I didn't miss a single class - in fact, I got hurt on a Wednesday, and I attended a seminar on Saturday (my first one).  I watched the other students, I did what I could sitting in a chair, and I read through Professor Remy Presas' "Pink Book" and "Yellow Book", doing sinawali and such in the air without weapons.  It took about two months before I could actually fully participate in class.

I know these books WELL.
I didn't progress as fast as my classmates, but I did not STOP progressing.  I actually learned a few things that my husband, who started in the art the same time I did, still doesn't quite get the way I do.

My student can do the same thing, if he sticks with coming to class.  I think we've found a solution for him, and it's a big opportunity if he chooses to see it as such.

You can do the same thing in your art, when faced with injury.

You see an injured guy on crutches, I see a guy with two blunt
 weapons and a great place to stash a knife.

If you do a striking art, and you hurt your hand(s) - why not work on footwork?  Ever do a kata footwork only?  How about footwork only and backwards (last movement first, and so on).

If you do an art that really requires you to stand up and you can't - why not sit down and work on your hands?  You can practice some of the motion of striking - slowly, you don't have to do it with power, pay attention to mechanics.

If you injure your strong hand, train with your weak hand (and of course, vice-versa).  Practice your kicks, even if yours is not a big-time kicking art.

At  the very least, attend class and pay attention to what is being taught, even if you can't physically do it. You won't lose too much ground mentally, and you'll still feel like part of the community that is your training group.


Short of being laid up in a fully body cast, there's just no reason to avoid martial arts class.

Just train

Do you have advice on how to work around injuries in training?  Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

KIAAA-HA! Dustin's Dojo

Are you concerned about becoming a good martial artist?  Do you want to learn kicks, punches and combos, so you can fight off attackers?  Check out this amazing guy right here:



Check out Dustin's Dojo.

This is Dustin, and his friend (and training partner), Terry.


While they have been around for at least a year-ish now, they came to our attention via their appearance on the television show "America's Got Talent".


Dustin earned his rank and his sweet martial arts skills by attending Roger Baker's Taekwondo and Pizza  ("10 FREE PIZZAS WITH A ONE YEAR LESSON PACKAGE!!!!!")

Like many martial artists of his skill level, Dustin offers lessons online (lucky for us, his lessons are free!).  Here's a sample:



Now, Dustin offers some excellent advice for dealing with attackers.  What happens when there's a blizzard? Neither Master Ken nor Grand Master Pete offers any advice, but Dustin has your back.


One of Dustin's favorite techniques is the double elbow.


I have a problem with this, as it's almost identical to Master Ken's Thrust of Freedom:



But, given that Dustin interprets it as a strike to attackers from behind, but Master Ken is interpreting it as a grab and groin-to-groin strike, perhaps it's not that big of a deal...?

Incidentally, I can't be the only one hoping that Master Ken and his purple belt Todd meet Dustin and Terry sometime, right?

You can watch all of Dustin's awesome videos on his YouTube channel (the board breaking and salt in the eyes training is priceess),  you can like his Facebook page, you can follow him on Twitter (as well as his friend Terry)  .  I'm looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

For some reason, I really want some pizza now.



(If you want the story behind the genius of the t-shirt Dustin wears in most of his videos, check this out: Santno Marella T-Shirt and Dustin's Dojo)

Monday, June 9, 2014

SHENANIGANS: Miss USA, Feminism and Rape Culture

Ranting time.

There's a knot of so-called "feminists" out there - and yes, I put the quotation marks around that phrase because these women are very poor example of what real feminism is supposed to be about - criticizing new Miss USA, Nia Sanchez, for advocating women's self defense training as one solution to the problem of rape in our culture.  Now, this was a 30 second answer, and it's hard to go into much depth on a complex topic like this.

Image links to the Daily Mail

These fake feminists - and yes, I'm calling you out as a bunch of fakes - say, "How about teaching men not to rape instead?"

First off - is this a binary choice?  An either/or situation?  If we teach women to defend themselves, therefore, we have no resources or time or ability to also advocate that hey, maybe people (women can and do commit rape) shouldn't rape other people (men get raped too) under any circumstances?

Seriously?  You think this?  If we do one, we can't possibly do the other?

So, you are saying that we should not advocate that women empower themselves physically, emotionally, and mentally for potentially violent situations.  Women should be helpless victims so that they have some moral authority to play the Victim card when some aberrant - and they are aberrations - male or female decides to commit rape?

Seriously?

HAVE YOU WOMEN BEEN HIT IN THE HEAD REPEATEDLY? 

That's the only explanation I can come up with if you seriously believe this bullshit.

You can't shame aberrant criminal minds into your worldview.  Rapists KNOW it is wrong.  Just as murders do, and thieves do, and vandals do.  They are criminals.  They don't care about your indignation, your victim status, or your over-privileged ivory tower worldview.

They do it because they can, and they will.  They are bad guys.  They are wolves, hungry wolves, looking to pick off the weakest member of the flock.

You do not protect the flock by trying to shame and badger the wolves into being something they aren't.  They will not listen.  They do not hear, nor do they care, about your words and your attempts at shaming.

You protect the flock by arming them with the means, tools, and wherewithal to fight back against the wolves.

It is wise for women to learn these things - to protect themselves against the small minority of bad guys that are out there.

You so-called fake feminists should be advocating women's self defense training. You should be sponsoring it our schools, on our campuses, and in our workplaces and communities.

Because there are people out there who mean to do women harm.  And no amount wishing and whiny complaining on the Internet will change that.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

MMAM: Musings of a Martial Arts Mom - Enter the Little Dragon

If you've been reading the blog, you know that I'm the parent of a martial artist as well as being one myself.  In fact, Elder Daughter (E.D.), a teenager, is scheduled to take her black belt test in Tae Kwon Do at Hidden Sword Martial Arts in July.  I also have a Younger Daughter (Y.D.) who will turn five in the fall.
E.D., with her cute little foam nunchaku.
Before I continue, here's a little story:

Some time ago, my husband had a dream.

In this dream, we were attending a belt testing at E.D.'s school.  But it was not E.D. testing.  It was Y.D., and at that point, E.D. was sitting on the board as a black belt.  The test ended, and the master of the school allowed E.D. to present Y.D. with her yellow belt.

When he told me about the dream, both of us got all misty eyed and choked up, because that is the most awesome situation ever.  The image of Black Belt E.D., smiling, and presenting Y.D., also smiling, with her yellow belt is just about the biggest "SQUEE" situation a parent could possibly experience.

Now we are on the cusp of his dream literally coming true.

Come the fall, Younger Daughter (Y.D.) will be starting formal classes (we are training her on the weekends to get ready for full class), at just about the same age that E.D. was when she began her martial arts journey.

E.D. was concerned that we'd force Y.D. into the martial arts, but there's definitely no coercion going on from us.  Y.D. has been running up to the bag to kick and punch it pretty much as soon as she began walking.  She will try to move along with us when we do forms, and right now, she likes to join me when I'm working in the home dojo and show me her made-up kata, which she calls her "missions".

We like to get an early start, is what I'm saying.
So, starting this Sunday, we are going to start working with Y.D. at home.  We got her a pair of very lightweight shaved rattan sticks (we will only let her hit a bag right now) and we'll start working on the very basics of her martial arts education with basic TKD stuff with a little Arnis stuff thrown in.

Some time in the fall, Y.D. will enter the same school E.D. attends as a white belt in Tae Kwon Do.  By then, E.D. will, of course, be a Black Belt (and she plans to stick around).  Thus, probably within the year, my husband's dream will come true.

It doesn't get much better than that, folks.

Soon: all-gi version

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

KIAAA-HA! Extra Special Blog Post: Martial Arts Birthday Parties

My boss came into work today with some delicious pound cake that his wife had made.

So I just had to make this pun husky meme:


Zing!