It’s okay to suck

One of the more valuable lessons you can learn in martial arts is that things are hard. New things are difficult and awkward, and you will feel like a fool as you learn. It’s unavoidable. Sometimes you look like a fool even after learning something. I remember when I finally nailed the jump-spinning inside crescent kick. The kung fu form I was learning at the time required me to execute three of them in a row with no pause. I received zero instruction in how to do it. A senior student demonstrated the movement precisely once, and told me I wouldn’t learn anything else until I could perform it. It took about a week…15hrs training time. I moved from awkward hops and flailing to a sharp spin, jump, and quick kick. Land and repeat. Easy-peasy. Then I got cocky. I started to pick the speed up. I tried for more…

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Letting go: Martial arts mind

A few years ago I was lying on my back, on the cold asphalt ground, screaming, staring at my right leg in utter disbelief. A moment before I was happy…confident. I knew the future precisely. It was unfolding in front of me with a smooth ease. The student was doing the hip throw incorrectly, and I knew why. So I partnered with him and showed him how I could stop him from throwing me by centring my weight down. Showed him what I expected from him, and asked him to try again. He kinda waffled through it, looked a bit hesitant and nervous. I told him to really put some oomph into it. I wasn’t going to let him go until he performed at least the lift part of the throw correctly. I was prepared. I expected a strong sweep and twist of my upper body. I would lift my…

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Wednesday WTF

Well, I’m in a quandary today. I’ve been looking forward to a good rant on this fine Wednesday. I knew the internet would provide some lovely health or fitness related tidbit to get me all riled up. Sadly, I think I went to far. Dr. Oz… I promised my fiancee I wouldn’t fill an entire post with profanity, and now I’m not sure what to write. No one should be required to use so much self control. It’s not healthy. Bust Your Butt Fat! Right there on the front page of his website. I clicked on it. Some average Americans in shirts and underwear, weeping about how their giant asses snuck up on them out of nowhere. Sorry, I stopped watching at that point. I used to watch Oprah during the summers when I was kid, I know how the emotional appeal formula goes. Instead I chose to look at…

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Nutrition for swordplay: training and competition

You wanna fight, you gotta eat. Swordplay is a power sport. You need to generate a ton of speed in very little time, and you need to do it again and again. One to three pounds of steel need to be accelerated to maximum speed…and then rapidly have the brakes put on so you can make a nimble change in direction mid-lunge or mid-cut. This takes some serious muscle, and some serious fuel. Your overall diet should be rich in nutrients. Strongly coloured veggies should be a staple of your diet. Every single meal should include something from kale to blueberries. Dark coloured, leafy. A variety is essential. Next on the list would be multiple sources of fats. Olive oil, fish, avacados, nuts, seeds, whole cream. Again, a variety is important. You want to aim for an equal balance of the three kinds of fats, and that can be tricky…

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Bounce A Little Higher: Moving Past The Squat

Bob Charron teaches some epic weekend workshops. It was at one of his workshops I was first introduced to the “Farmer Burns” workout. I loved it. It opened my eyes up to the value of old-fashioned calisthenics, and also got me into Catch Wrestling, which became a real love. The Farmer Burns workouts became a staple warmup for the classes I taught, and I shared them at workshops. When Devon and I start putting together the workouts for Academie Duello, there was never any question of the good old Burns being the staple. The squat is the key of the workout, and it’s a good exercise. If you’re a Western Martial Arts student, you’ve probably tasted the pain of a series of squats. I’m guessing most AD students can probably still do a minute worth of squats without any real effort. One of the problems of a squat, for students…

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Sunday Morning Reflections

Sunday mornings are lovely. Saturdays are usually a good workout day for me, so Sunday I get that extra restful feeling that comes from being a successful animal. I ate, I ran, I fought. A good Sunday is a time for being a more civilized animal. Reading for a few quiet hours. Watching the small creatures move around outside. Getting together with a friend and some swords, and doing some slow technical work together. Sunday morning can also be a bit of a bugger for me. I wake up, and have only a limited amount of free time before I start working an extended shift. Today it’s motivating me to focus more on my goal of quitting that job by September and moving back into being a full-time Palaestrics coach. I can’t control whether people come and give me money for my services, but I can control my own actions.…

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