Monday, February 26, 2007
A HUGE congratulations to the five competitors from our organization who took out Gold in the Abu Dhabi Trials held in Melbourne on the weekend.
That tremendous result means that more than half of the Asia/Pacific team is made up from our organization. Congratulations all - I am sure you will have a fantastic time at the upcoming World Championships in the USA. For those who don't know - the 1st place wins earned each a free trip to the 8th ADCC World Champs to be held in New Jersey this May.
All five winners are not only great athletes, but passionate and positive ambassadors of the art we all love. Each has a unique perspective and something unique to offer all those fortunate enough to come into contact with them. So once again - congratulations to each of you - I hope your impending trip stateside proves to be a valuable and fun experience. Best wishes,
Trai Smart - Train Safe!
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Back home after a week away in Florida. Although an exciting and fun trip, it is great to be back with my family once again - and I am really looking forward to seeing my students at my school in Geelong later this week.
I spent most of my time away at Mr Steve Lavallee's school in Fort Lauderdale in Florida. What a great school, great culture and great team. I had a load of fun teaching for the four days I was there. Mr Lavallee's students are serious martial artists, who gulped down the training as fast as I could deliver it to them. I look forward to re-visiting again for more of the same.
I must say I was pleasantly surprised on my visit. Lavallee's Karate organization is one of the largest in the USA - but stands apart from most in that despite huge student numbers, the quality and standards remain high. Sadly, it seems that usually, student numbers are inversely proportionate to student quality - but not in Mr Lavallee's case. He is committed to continually raising the standards of his students and instructors - he never rests! I remain very impressed. We are in the process of developing a cutting-edge, reality-based MMA curriculum for his Organization - this will ensure that Lavellee's USA Champions will pave the way in training trends for the next decade. An exciting project. I feel both honored and excited that they have asked me to facilitate this process for them. It is going to be a busy and productive year, on many fronts.
Great training with good friends is a fantastic way to spend the day. As Steve Lavellee says " We like it - we love it - we want more of it!" Have to agree with that!
Thanks Florida friends -
Train Safe - Train Smart!
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Off to the airport to board my flight to Ft lauderdale, Floride, via Los Angeles. I have a few days of teaching at USA Martial Arts legend, Steve Lavellee's school there - where I have the pleasure of getting on the floor with his Black Belt Team.
Whilst in Florida I will be conducting a few seminars at some of the local schools in the area, before heading back to Los Angeles on Tuesday to visit friends for a day or so. Then it will be back home for the weekend with my family, before the year really gets underway. I am really looking forward to being at mr Lavallee's school - it is one of the very best in the States - this will be a great experience.
Better go - need to get to the mat, do a class or two, pack my bags and get to the airport.
I will try to get on with a few thoughts whilst I am stateside.
Train Smart - tran safe!
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Think of the Military, the Police Force, the Spartans, the Kshatriya, the Medieval Knights, the Samurai - these were all facets of what I would call the Protector Class; that segment of the population that stood between the wolves and the sheep.
Centuries ago, people had much more clearly defined roles within society; today this is not the way. In today's world, the roles are less clear - the choices infinitely more numerous, the responsibilities that much more shared.
The martial arts phenomenon is to some degree, a reflection of people's need to take self responsibility for their own protection. The martial arts offer a means by which an individual can become a member of a growing new protector class - the self protector. The world is too large, society too complex for the average person to be able to rely fully on the professional protector classes (military, police, etc) to look aftre their safety and security. With most of the sheepdogs over the hill at war with the wolves, more and more sheep are growing fangs and gearing up for battle. The martial arts are an integral part of this phenomenon - and are not only here to stay - but show all the signs of becoming increasingly popular with the mainstream of society.
Friday, February 09, 2007
I have had a huge response to my last blog. The sheepdog vs wolves metaphor seemed to resonate with a lot of people. I am often surprised about what sorts of things pique people's interest. This has certainly been one of them!
I am big on respect and discipline in my school - as I believe that it is largely these two things that make the real difference - the difference that determines whether we are creating more wolves or more sheepdogs.
It is noteworthy that in these times, we are exposed to about seven times more violence than those who lived back in the 1950's. Interpersonal violent crime is on the increase - in other words, the 'wolves' are increasing in numbers. This is due to a number of factors, not the least of which is an increase in the lower socio-economic strata of our population.
Does it seem that we are hearing more and more about crimes of violence nowadays - if we do - it's because violent crime is on the increase. In fact, if it were not for huge advancements in medical technology, we would have far more 'actual' murders and deaths by violence than what the statistics give us. If we only had the level of medical technology of the 1950's - we would have (conservatively) seven times as many murders today, than we had just 60 years ago.
As the saying goes - FORTUNE FAVORS THE PREPARED MIND. If we are to live in this world, we need to adapt in ways that increase our chances of survival This means many things - financial survival, emotional survival and PHYSICAL survival. This means 'self defence' capability.
So as far as the ethics of martial arts goes - I think it is imperative that more sheep learn to become more like sheepdogs. Taking self responsibility for our own safety is just part and parcel of living in todays society.
Train Smart - Train Safe!
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
The warrior mindset is an interesting topic.
It has been said, by ancient Greek Philosopher, Hermaclitus, that in every battle, out of each 100 men, 10 shouldn't be there, 80 are basically targets, 9 are ready to fight but only 1 has a true warrior mindset; and it is he, that will bring the survivors home.
How can you tell the warrior mind, from the rest of the population? Well, when the bullets are flying, or the violence kicks off, most people will leave the scene as fast as their turbo-charged, adrenal driven bodies can carry them, leaving unwanted body mass behind in their wake. But every now and then, up crops an individual that behaves differently - he still experiences fear and anxiety but instead, he runs twoard the danger. This is the action of a person with the warrior mindset.
Most of the world is populated by people who are like sheep. And I mean no disrespect to those people - in fact, that is what makes the world basically a good place to be. They bump into each other now and then, but for the most part, they would not and do not wish to inflict any harm on anyone.
But for every flock of 100 sheep there exists a wolf! This wolf thinks and acts differently. It will prey on sheep without a second thought - and do so with no hesitation and no mercy. So who keeps the balance - why arn't those sheep eventually all eaten. Well, I beleive that for every 100 sheep, there is also 1 sheepdog. This is someone who does not tolerate the wolf. He would never hurt a sheep - but he will do everything in his power to stop the wolf. He is the bane of the wolf. He has something that the 100 sheep do not have - he has the warrior mindset.
Without such people - the world would be a paradise for the wolves and a hell for the sheep.
The warrior keeps the balance.
As a trainer/coach/instructor/teacher, I am faced with somewhat of a dilemna. In training people to fight and do it well, am I just creating more wolves? I do not think I am - I train highly competent sheepdogs - but what differentiates them from the wolves? Discipline, respect and honor. These are things that I instill in all my students - if I neglect this part of my job, I am just producing more wolves. The world needs no more of those - it needs more sheepdogs.
Train Smart - Train Safe.