Learning Hacks

Learning martial arts Sydney

Even the greatest achievers had hurdles to overcome. Motivation, enthusiasm and perseverance are all necessary parts of getting ahead. But sometimes it’s about getting some skill or habit right, knowing that we cannot progress till we get this one thing right.

Frustration and failure can go either way, working for or against us. Sometimes this type of thing can really motives us to get things right; or we can take a defeatist attitude and give up. This seems to be a choice we consciously make, and we can always change an earlier defeatist choice latter on.

Some learning points

  • SMART has become a popular acronym in many education courses. It breaks down to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based Goals.

This means set realistic goals that you can achieve and measure. Being able to see legitimate improvement is great for motivation. And there may well be some unmeasurable, less blatant improvements as well. Like just feeling more confident.

  • Learn according to style and subject. Some people learn only by doing. Others learn first by observation, and then by doing, by applying what they observe. A few people learn a lot by books and study, and then rapidly gain skill by applying what they studied. Most of us find that we learn in different ways according to the subject. But participation / doing is always part of the learning process.
  • Use technology. If there’s is an app for monitoring you progress, then use it. Or just video yourself to get some insight into the things you get right and wrong.
  • Individual training is good. Group training is good. There is no reason why we have to choose one over the other. Have both on a weekly basis.

Martial arts training Sydney

A good teacher and regular classes are the best way to develop martial arts skills. All the better when this training help us in other aspect of our lives.

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Mouthguard

Best Martial Arts for Kids Sydney

When we play contact sports we should wear a mouthguard. This includes contacts sports like martial arts.

Mouthguards will not prevent an actual impact to the face, but they can greatly reduce the damage of an impact. It is the difference between a bad bruise and losing a tooth.

Martial arts is about impacts to the body and about avoiding impacts from others. This is more true of Taekwondo and Karate than many other martial arts, and more true of any martial arts over other sports. It makes sense to use a mouthguard to protect against high-head kicks and other potential impacts from your opponent.

Types of Mouthguard

Custom made mouthguards are a more expensive option, but they are almost always the most comfortable. Statistics suggest that there are fewer injuries with custom made mouthguards, but this may be because individuals are more likely to wear a mouthguard that is comfortable.

Dentists make custom mouthguards by taking a mould of the individual’s teeth. Make sure to specify that the mouthguard is for sports purposes, as dentist also make mouthguards for night breathing and as antisnoring devices.

Generic mouthguards are available for under $10.oo. Sometimes these will fit an individual well, but usually they are a compromise solution. It might be a good idea to keep one of these as a backup.

Hot mouldable mouthguards are another option. These moderately priced mouthguards will mould to the shape of your mouth after being inserted in hot water. They can be a fairly good fit.

Breathing

Good breathing is essential for all sports, and for life in general. The correct way to breathe is through the nose. A mouthguard should make this type of breathing easier. Breathing through the mouth will reduce the nitric oxide in the body, which compromises performance. Mouth breathing is also bad for the teeth as it causes a dry mouth.

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Largest Taekwondo Event

Salt Lake City in the USA is hosting the world’s largest Taekwondo Event from the 2nd to the 9th of July 2018. Around 5000 athletes will attend the competition, along with thousands of spectators.

These national championships will include many of the best taekwondo athletes in the USA, including may who have represented the country internationally.

Large events like these are possible with Taekwondo because the sport is popular, widespread and has consistent rules wherever it is practiced.  Interestingly, mixed martial arts is also popular because of the difference between the various martial arts practices.

Competition Taekwondo takes training to another level. An individual can learn a fair amount by Taekwondo practice, but the experience of competition teaches individuals how to deal with the adrenalin and stress of confrontation, while still remaining in a relatively safe situation. These are life lessons that can only be learnt by experience.

Live streaming of some of the events is on the Utah Sports Commission and Taekwondo USA Facebook sites. 

Self Defence for Kids Sydney

Martial arts like karate and taekwondo get children active in ways that benefits their physical and mental wellbeing. In additional to its health benefits the martial arts teach discipline, self-esteem, responsibility, social respect, co-operation and team work. Of course martial arts are the best option for self-defence, but they also encourage the peaceful resolution of conflict.

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Martial Arts Training and Mental Health

Martial Arts Class

People with mental health issues tend to benefit from exercise and physical training. A martial arts school is especially good for this type of mental health benefit as martial art training also teaches useful life values regarding sincerity, achieving goals, and healthy living.

Improvement in the quality of life tends to noticeably improve an individual’s ability to cope with and manage mental health disorders. It is too easy for the mentally ill to give up and remain socially isolated. This is a habit that gets worse over time and becomes harder and harder to break. Becoming socially active helps give an individual a broader perspective on life; they see that there is more to life than their present experience of mental illness. Social isolation tends to reinforce the false impression that their mental illness is entire world.

Both the physical and the psychological elements of martial arts will help with mental illness. Being physically fit is beneficial if only because the individual does not feel as helpless. It can be of further benefit because being physically fit will alter body chemistry to a certain degree, perhaps enough to reduce the extent of the illness. There is psychological benefits is martial arts in being goal driven, in personal development, is seeing personal improvement, and in interpersonal competition. Being physically and mentally active is always beneficial for mental health.

Best Martial Arts for Kids

Children may be less likely to suffer mental illnesses, or be able to reduce the extent of the illnesses, with martial arts training. Conditions from depression to problems with aggression can be helped with the socialization and competition of Taekwondo or Karate. Kids learn to defend themselves without injuring their opponent. And to overcome obstacles without malice. Personal development is beneficial for all of life’s challenges.

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Taekwondo Grand Master Jhoon Rhee

Taekwondo (tkd) was popularized in the USA by Jhoon Rhee, who started teaching there around 1960. Jhoon Rhee taught martial arts for his entire life, with students that included many prominent congressmen. He founded a network of Martial Arts centres in Washington D.C., promoted by TV adverts in which he and his children appeared. He made only one taekwondo film, but was connected to the film industry through several celebrity friends, including the famous martial artist Bruce Lee. He died, aged 86, in April 2018.

Jhoon Rhee always remained a tireless ambassador for tkd, promoting it to a broad audience. His philosophy of Martial Arts was part of the reason why approached such a large portion of the population. He focused on Taekwondo as a means of fitness and discipline, not as a ‘means of beating people’. He did not emphasis winning; he was more concerned with endurance, perseverance, timing, and knowledge.

Born in Korea in 1932 Jhoon Rhee secretly started studying Taekwondo in 1945, when the practice finally became legal at the end of the Korean War.  He graduated from one of the earliest Taekwondo schools, amid the first of his generation to do so. Eager to re-establish both their cultural heritage and the good reputation of Korean martial arts after the Japanese occupation these early Taekwondo schools emphasised honour and self-improvement.

Jhoon Rhee moved to the USA in the 1950s, founded several Taekwondo schools and made many social connection in the martial art and film scenes. He appreciated how much the USA did for him and his family, and to return the favour he taught Taekwondo to more than 250 members of congress free of charge. He continued Martial Arts teaching until he was almost 80 years of age.

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It is good to understand that the philosophies of martial Arts, the emphasis of honour and discipline, was preached and practiced by such famous founding members as Jhoon Rhee. Even those taking marital arts of self-defence benefit from these ideologies.

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Safety For Karate and Other Martial Arts

All sports, especially a contact sport or martial arts class, carry some risk of injury. This risk and the extend of any injuries can be reduced with some good safety habits.

  • Do warm up exercises. This increases circulation, gets oxygen into your system, loosens muscles and tendons.
  • Do stretching exercises every day, not just in the Taekwondo or martial arts class. This is especially important for adults who have to work to retain their flexibility.
  • Drink water to keep hydrated. Dehydration will cause poor thinking, low blood pressure and rapid heart rate.
  • Mouthguards are highly recommended.
  • Let your instructor know if you have any condition like asthma.
  • Avoid horseplay or ‘mucking about’.  More injuries are caused by this that anything done while training.
  • Seek medical advice if there is any injury, even if it seem mild.
  • Do not practice if you suffer any injury

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Self Defence emphasises techniques to avoid injury. This mostly means avoiding injury from the attacker, but also how to disarm an opponent without causing serious damage.

Self Defence for Kids Sydney

Martial arts classes should limit the techniques practices by children, and only match sparing partners of similar ability. The attaching individual should only use martial arts techniques that the defending individual has been taught to parry. Instruct children not to step outside of these parameters. Explain that the other person is not ready for the advance moves, and neither are they. 

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Karate in the East and West

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The Karate that exists today is the most recent development in a long history of martial arts. There are really multiple versions of karate. Every Japanese school has its own slightly different take on the methods and training. In some ways there is an even bigger difference between Karate in the Western countries and the Karate taught in the East. Comparisons on these differences can be interesting.

  1. Orientation to Process or Goal.

There is the old question- it is about the journey or the goal?

In the West we are more concerned with the goal. Or we are concerned with reaching the goal and overcoming the obstacle. This does have some relevancy in all cultures. But in the Eastern countries it is more about the journey. Martial arts are about the path. The suffix ‘-do’ that is affixed to so many martial art practices (Judo, Aikido …etc.) means ‘path’ or ‘way’. This refers to a spiritual journey, and that is the point of a lot of martial arts practice.

  1. Questions vs. Practice

Our culture in the west likes to ask questions. And this is usually a good thing. But the East is more focused on simply doing something because they trust that the teacher. They expect the practice of martial arts exercises to lead to good technique, and don’t ask how or why first. This is the path to self-discovery. We discover the answer by doing.

As the Ancient Greeks said – there is no royal path to learning. This means that actually doing something is necessary to gain an understanding. Personal insight is very valuable, and questions have a place. But progress requires participation.

  1. Culture vs. company

Martial arts is part of the culture in the east, and is learnt as one might learn manners, language and other aspects of culture. Hiring a professional teacher is rather like us hiring a professional mentor. It is a little odd. The martial arts are certainly taught, but the schools do not have a ‘pay for the qualification’ mentality as known here.

Karate for Kids Sydney

Children who practice karate can acquire the respect for authority, hierarchy and dedication that is behind the martial arts practice. This is less something that it directly enforced than it is a mental or spiritual attitude acquired through participation in a group.

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The self-discovery and progress made while on the martial arts path are good spiritual practices that can be applied to all parts of our lives.

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Consider Taekwondo (TKD) or Karate as a means of self-improvement.

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Left Handed Sports and Martial Arts

TKD and Martial Arts

About 10% of the population is left-handed. Being left-handed affects daily life in some way that are not obvious, with many devices being designed for right-handed people. It can also affect participation in some sports, sometimes being an advantage and sometimes causing an disadvantage.

An advantage for left-handers in martial arts, and some confrontational sports like boxing, is that most competitors are used to fighting right handers. A left handed opponent will often move in the mirror reverse way to what is expected, leading with a different foot or hand. This can be unexpected and slightly awkward to fight against. Even other left-handed fighters find a left-handed opponent takes some getting used to. Occasionally a right-handed individual will train to box left handed because they believe there is an advantage to be had. In martial arts this advantage does not appear to be pronounced as it is with boxing.

Really, to be effective fighters we should learn to use either side of our bodies, blocking and striking with either hand as the situation requires. The advantage of using the opposite approach to what our opponent expects will not hinder us if we are used to fighting equally well with either hand and foot.

Karate Classes for Kids Sydney

The gap between left and right handed use may partially close in modern society. Typing on a computer is becoming more common than writing with a pen, and typing requires the use of both hands. Over time we tend to develop some proficiency with the previously weaker hand. Musical instruments and some video games further this trend. Martial arts training may both benefit from and contribute to the development of using our left and right sides.

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Avoid Confrontation

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  • Avoid dangerous situations. We rarely need to be in a high risk neighbourhood unless we actually live there. And there is usually no need to go down a dark alley. We may not be able to avoid all risks, but we can avoid most risky situations.
  • Keep away from intoxicated, drug affected or emotionally unstable individuals. Standing to close to anybody will violate their personal space, and that personal space might be line of sight if the person is not in their right mind.
  • Occasionally an upset person that threatens you can be reasoned with; this is worth trying before fighting. Try to show them you are not a threat. But sometimes the threatening person cannot be deterred because they want to start a fight.
  • Ignore insults. Your opponent probably doesn’t believe what they are saying any more than you do. Sometimes words are just ugly sounds that mean nothing if ignored.
  • Walk away if you can, but do not turn your back on them. You don’t want to risk being hit from behind.
  • If you are being mugged it is better to surrender money and possessions than to risk injury in a fight.
  • Stress, anxiety and the effect of adrenaline will affect behaviour in a crisis. This applies to both the attacker and the intended victim. Different individuals will react in different ways in these circumstances – some withdraw, some grow violent and find it hard to withdraw. Individuals use to competitive fighting, like martial arts, have some advantage in these situations as they are used to the anxiety and adrenaline.
  • Having a clear head is an advantage in a fight. This is not easy, but if we are used to adrenaline we have some indication of how we might react in a crisis.
  • Reflex reactions are another advantage. If we are used to blocking a strike as a knee jerk reaction we have a better chance of avoiding injury.
  • Legal situations tend to look at perceived threat and justify self-defence on that basis. This mean if an assailant threatens you with a gun you are justified in presuming the gun is loaded and reacting to this. Even if it turns out that the gun was not loaded your earlier reaction is still justified.
  • Warn others of potential danger whenever necessary.

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Martial Arts training can help us deal with the adrenaline of a crisis and act in a manner than reduces the chance of injury.

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Taekwondo Sydney

Ethics Sydney Martial Arts

Ethics is about a high level of social consciousness. About concepts of the idea character and duties to all others. Put another way, is it about behaving rightly in both word and action.

The origin of ethics in martial arts stem from early tradition and cultural background. At the same time modern martial arts and ethics recognizes modern society and its laws. It is important to understand that a social convention is not enough for understanding ethics. If convention or law defined ethics then slavery would be justified if the law allowed it. But many people objected to slavery (say in 18th century USA) despite the fact it was legal at the time. Tradition and convention can be mistaken. Sometimes ethics requires a radical change form convention.

Taekwondo Sydney

New student undertaking Taekwondo training may well take their instructors as role models. Hopefully they have other role models too, including their family. These role models need to be aware of their social responsibilities. Students often mirror the instructor’s behaviour and attitudes, perhaps even unconsciously. This can be beneficial if the instructor or role model is advanced and commendable, but a disaster if the role model is seriously flawed or clashing with another influence.

Humility

This is never a popular notion except for those already humble. But understanding what humility means, understanding that we are all one individual in a large community in an infinite Cosmos, allows some to embrace and feel release with their acquisition of humility. Humility is essential for any learning, else we feel we know everything already. Recognizing how little one knew in the recent past, and how much they could still learn, is a good sign of humility. Learning and watching others practice martial art class can be very beneficial here.

Best Martial Arts for Kids Sydney

Taekwondo (tkd) or Karate can benefit c person in many ways, far beyond the defensive skills, levels of fitness and ability to respond in a crisis. Social skills, ethics and knowing the best way to conduct yourself are all part of martial arts training. It about the best way to approach life, realized at many levels.

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