Documents, Martial Arts

Emptying your cup

Hello Everyone,

I follow a lot of different blogs about BJJ, Judo and Krav Maga which are the three things I practice mainly.  This was a great blog post by another Kravist – kravmagajourney.com

I cut out some parts and edited it to get the message across but it’s pretty good! Take a look…

“You cannot learn anything if you already feel that you know.”
-Anonymous-

You might have heard it before that you should empty your cup before learning anything new, particularly when it comes to something like martial arts. This means, of course, that you rid yourself of preconceptions (how you think things should be) and start from the beginning, keeping yourself open and receptive to new ideas and teachings. This is such an important concept, I think. Everyone comes into the dojo or system (particularly guys) with their ideas of how to punch, kick, etc. and can easily fall into the trap of learning these techniques by reshaping or refining their existing notions rather than tearing those ideas down completely and starting from scratch learning these techniques in a different way or properly. That is, emptying their cups. To truly develop you need to let go of these old, crude notions and be willing to be a clean slate, be that empty cup that’s willing to be filled.

I think there’s a danger when someone goes too far with the idea of emptying their cup. These are people who have either emptied their cup willingly or been sort of beaten down into that state of mind. They are now docile students looking to be shown and told everything — step by step — that needs to be performed for a given move or counter attack. They become almost like robots in a way, awaiting the next command to spring into action. I see this pretty often, and not only with junior belts like myself. This is something that just about anyone from beginner to intermediate can fall victim to. I was doing it myself for a while until I realized that it wasn’t doing me any good.  That can also be based on experience too.

I think it’s essential for students to always keep their perspective and thinking caps on. As a result of this belief I always try to maintain perspective and relate the class to the real world. I try to see how this would apply and, although I hope to never have to use this stuff for real, I imagine situations as I’m training to provide some context to the lesson. You can never let your body take over completely in class, you have to always keep your head in the game too — keep thinking. This is sometimes easier said than done as we stumble to the finish line of class, exhausted and drenched in sweat. It’s as my instructors frequently say, “You aren’t trying to defeat your opponent’s moves, you’re trying to defeat their mind.”

Do I still fall into this trap? Go on autopilot and just go through the motions? Sure. I have such a long way to go and so many things yet to learn and also unlearn. But I firmly believe that this awareness has helped me progress and made it possible to function more smoothly in class when I need to “get creative”. It’s worth pointing out that sparring also helps in this regard in that it forces you to keep thinking, keeps the head engaged. And keeping your head engaged is what it’s all about.

So empty that cup. Lose all your preconceptions of what it is you are “supposed” to be doing. But never shut down that noggin. That thing between your ears is being trained just as much, if not more, than your body.

Documents, Martial Arts, Website Feedback

Question – Krav Maga vs. Other Martial Arts

Hello Everyone,

 

I am trying to shed some light on recent conversations about Krav Maga vs. other Martial Arts.

Everyone knows the benefits and advantages of traditional martial arts like Karate-do, Boxing, Muay Thai, Shaolin Kung Fu, Jeet Kune Do, Kalarippayattu, Taekwondo, Judo, Aikido, Jiu Jitsu, etc.

 

In the discussion, the question is: “Is Krav Maga different and/or better than another martial art systems”.  For us kravists, it isn’t a matter of who is better because I do believe that we are in different situations entirely.  I also believe that it is based on the level of the individual.  I would like to better myself taking multiple disciplines.  Therefore, I don’t want to relate or question the “versus or better” but rather align my thoughts to the goals and needs of the individuals taking Krav Maga.

If someone asked me, “how is Krav Maga different from other martial arts” that would be a great question to ask and one with a relevant answer.  This is a system for self-preservation and survival! We don’t necessarily compete in a sporting ring, have weight classes, or even have the same sexes fighting together.  You could go as far as saying 1 on 1 doesn’t necessarily apply!  In a sports ring, any expert who has invested years of experience in such martial arts will beat anyone who has less experience then them or is a novice.

However, a common criticism of some traditional martial arts is the lack of real-life applicability – will all those fancy moves hold up against thugs with weapons on the street or in a crowded bus is a different story coming back to our original point.

After a while in any system, most people seem to realize if it is for them or not but I am prepare to say that if you stick with it and become proficient at it, you can be deadly in your own way.  I can also say that Krav Maga is to defend yourself to get away fast and efficient! That can be difficult to say for some Martial Arts in their traditional form;  not realistic self-defence systems – and were never meant to be but a sport: involving rules to prevent illegal moves and foul play.

Indeed there are some similarities between Krav Maga and martial arts. However, Krav Maga was developed in an environment where the Israeli military could not devote many hours to prolonged hand to hand combat training for their personnel.  Therefore, the Krav Maga system was created with great importance placed on bringing students to a level of skill in a relatively short period of time that enables them to do their military duties. There are no katas (forms) or rules in our system.

A great Krav Maga instructor once said, why should we follow rules when the attacker doesn’t!! Anything goes when you are fighting for your life!  We don’t have the choice to let go and stop the fight, that is unacceptable because if we do, you can potentially die!

Krav Maga is more of a survival system dealing with personal safety issues in the context of defending against both armed and unarmed attackers. It is considered to be a modern, highly refined, street fighting system, designed to be utilized against muggings, street attacks, and sexual assaults etc.

We also believe no one martial art is better than any other. You still cannot attend a couple of classes of anything and take on a weapon-ed opponent!!  That is stupid and un-realistic!! They are like peanut butter and jelly-they blend well with the right person(s). You have to see what’s available in your city and go from there. Once again…the best art is the one you like to do because more practice the better. So if you don’t like something, you will not stick with it and get good at it…so stick with one or three like some of us if you can’t decide….that you like! The most important fact is that you are …training.

Documents, Martial Arts

Push ups and Faster Punching Mechanics

Hey Everyone,

I had a great discussion with a friend and student about this. We had a difference of opinion but you are more then welcome to read up on this subject by different authors out there.  This is my take on the matter…

My question from friends and students was “what is the correct punching arm/hand position for me and what body motion is better to generate power?”

It is seen in so many martial arts and explained in so many ways like concentration of muscular tension just before impact, or concentration of spiritual energy through a direction and limb etc.  This is all correct in my opinion but explained in different ways.  If you focus your energy through your arm into your punch, one could say your “tensing your muscles” upon impact.  But the position of your hand is different in so many arts including Krav Maga. Some Krav Maga systems say one thing and others say another.

It’s simple, follow body mechanics and muscle reaction.  Why change the angle of your fist to “palm down” for example? Your body doesn’t necessarily align correctly through the wrist/shoulder if you do it.  It also gives your brain one more additional thing to think about.

Mechanically, your ulna and radius must align with both styloid processes.  This usually only happens when your wrist stays thumb up.  Another reason is force generation with a closed hand must involve your humerus link to your scapula as quickly as possible which happens quickest through a pushing motion forward.  Have you noticed why it is easier to do a push up on your knuckles when your hand is vertical and not horizontal.   It’s because everything aligns properly that way…

To put into perspective, an example is the mechanics of Bruce Lee’s punch or one-inch punch.  This is probably one of the fastest punching individuals known in the world.  Everything aligns with your palm facing in and shoulder/body leaning forward at finish.

Yet another example is a proper push up for force generation and mechanics.  Here is an article that explains how to do a push up which also leads to having your fist parallel to the floor palms in on your knuckles.  Push up Mechanics.

Just a thought? What are yours…

 

Breakfast, Documents

Breakfast Bar for a Change – Jan 24 – 30 2016

Quinoa Cereal Protein Bars

Ingredients
  • 1½ cups quinoa flakes
  • 2 cups gluten free flour mix or white whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum (ONLY if using gluten free flour w/o xanthan gum)
  • ½ cup flax seed meal (or ground flax seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 ¼ cups apple sauce
  • ½ cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces organic jam, any flavor
  • ¼ cup water.
  • 6 dried apricots
  • ¼ c. cocoa powder
  • ½ c. vegan chocolate protein powder
  • 1½ tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1½ tbsp. hulled hemp seeds
  • 1 flax egg [1 tbsp. ground flax + 3 tbsp water, mixed together in a small bowl]
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x9 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine quinoa flakes, flour, flax seed meal, baking powder, sea salt and coconut palm sugar.
  3. In a large bowl, combine ingredients for the next layer. Use a fork to mix well. Combine melted coconut oil, apple sauce, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract and protein powder – I prefer unflavored but it’s also good with chocolate flavored.  Whisk until well combined and add to the quinoa flake mixture with chia seeds.
  1. In a small bowl whisk together jam and water or flax egg – your choice!. Using a spatula, spread half of the batter on the bottom of the baking dish. Top with the jam and remaining batter. If you are having difficulty spreading the batter add in a little more applesauce with clean hands.
  2. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then carefully lift the parchment paper out and allow to cool on a rack, add hemp seeds on top for chocolate chips if you want some extra sweet taste.
Notes
Calories 216, Fat 6.4g, Carbohydrates 36.9g, Protein 4.3g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 126mg, Fiber 4g, Sugar 15.4g