Learn to Love the Bomb, Or At Least Stop the Hate

Two interesting articles popped up in my news feed towards the end of last week, and kind of stuck in my head. The first was a study on obese people, comparing some brain imaging with that of non-obese people. It was a small study, and therefor of only limited value, but pointing in good directions for further research. I liked it because it echoed things that I believed anyway. Weight is a non-issue for me. Combat sports allow for success at a range of body types. It is an issue for me that some people are inactive. I liked this study because it gave a simple reason for this. Some people only see exercise as punishment. They don’t feel any reward. They don’t connect the thought of joyful physical activity with the image they hold of themselves. Worse, when they think of performing an athletic activity, they can only feel…

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New Year, New Blood

Fresh crop of new students showing up tonight. I’m curious as to how the typical New Year Resolution crowd will show up for us this year. Martial arts in general don’t get the same influx that gyms and the bookstore weight loss sections get. People don’t think of martial arts as a solution the way they do of a treadmill. What we do get is people who use the start of a new cycle as an excuse to do something they’ve wanted to do fora  while, but have put off for reasons. It takes effort to do something new, and it’s okay to use the impetus of the season for a kickstart. New students starting tonight are going to have a different experience than everyone did a year ago, when we were still a fledgling school. Beginners got tossed in at the deep end, with just a few words of…

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Hot in the Cold: Late Season Workouts

The Saturday class is a special one for us. We don’t do any martial arts training. It’s pure conditioning. It’s a bonus class for students who want to get an edge over everyone else, by having just a little bit more strength and speed. In the hot days of summer, the workout is primarily sprints and ring work. Martial artists, especially those who specialize in weapons work, need speed. Speed comes from the right kind of strength. The kind of strength we want is the kind that involves more fully activating a muscle than normal. You develop this kind of strength by making the muscle work as hard as possible in the shortest amount of time, and having a nice long recovery between exercises. We sprint on a short soccer field, and only use part of it. Twenty metres. Not really enough time to build up top speed for a…

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Integration and the Silly Dance

Sipping my coffee in our chilly library this morning, bleary eyed and reading facebook while I slowly came awake, I read a post by Ido Portal talking about his day’s training in Thailand. He talked about it being an integration day. What he meant by this is that it was a day to start letting the body know what it had learned. Drills and exercises are maximal effort things. We put everything we have into doing something correctly. We push ourselves to our limits. What’s the point of working out, otherwise? We push hard to establish a new upper limit for our abilities. Those new upper limits don’t immediately show up in our training. And if they do, they can sometimes be counter-productive. At Valkyrie, we work very hard on our strength training. For someone who’s an experienced fighter, a rapid boost in strength can trip you up. Strength makes…

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Power To The Stars

In the midst of a few hefty bits of writing at the moment, including writing a short article with my wife. That’s the only bit that might soon see the light of day. Otherwise it’s more plugging away at the hard stuff. Big writing for big projects. Still not enough time to catch up on the writing I want to do, but there is a real pleasure sometimes in doing the writing that needs to be done. Especially when the need comes only from within me. Currently paraphrasing what I know about nutrition, which has me thinking about it a lot. Food is something we still struggle with. I mean, it has to be a mystery, right? Everyone seems to have a solution, a magical formula, for the right way to eat. If we a have a solution, we must have a problem that needs solving. It seems a bit…

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Daily Workouts

One of the more scary moments as a teacher is the one where you realize your students will more frequently imitate you, than perform the way you teach them to. I’m full of bad habits, quirks from injuries and a malformed body that result in me doing odd things that shouldn’t work but sometimes do. Mostly the athletes at Valkyrie WMAA have their own styles, and perform the skills they are supposed to perform, but part of being a school is the subtle formation of a school style. A school style transcends technique and is a thing that is formed organically from the athletes competing amongst themselves. I see hints of my bad habits showing up in the school style and it bothers me. I have to clean my style up. If I admit…confess…that I am an influence on the athletes, then I have to be the best role model…

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