Author Archives: Caz

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TITANS MOVES ONLINE

Category : Fitness

We hope you are all safe and well. It has been a challenging start to 2020, but as taekwondo practitioners, one the Five Tenets of Taekwondo is ‘Indomitable Spirit’ and that means we don’t give in.

In order to comply with the directives of the State and Federal Governments, we are not able to teach boxing or taekwondo and practice from our gym, but we will however continue to teach our classes online.

Our fitness and boxing classes are already underway online. Visit our facebook page for more information on how to join in, or email us at carolyn@titanstkd.com.au.

Our taekwondo classes will resume in Term 2 online.

This is a challenging time and we need your support. We want to be able to continue providing a service to all of you and therefore continuity is important. If you are facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 please contact us directly.

We also welcome new members in Term 2. Now is a great time to pick up a new hobby and keep yourself active if you are stuck in self-isolation.

Enrol now at https://online.titanstkd.com.au/ or feel free to contact us with any questions at carolyn@titanstkd.com.au


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International Women’s Day

Ironically International Women’s Day is not just about women. It’s also about boys and men. And helping everyone understand why we have a day dedicated to celebrating women all over the world. Let me emphasise that by celebrating women we are not denigrating men. No, it’s not about that. But for a long time, women were seen as the lesser species, the weaker gender, the soft ones.  However that couldn’t be further from reality and society has been evolving and recognising the truth. That women – our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, daughters, girlfriends – are whatever the hell they want to be.

I was pretty lucky. I was one of three girls. Both my mum and my dad were my heroes. They gave me the space and encouragement to pursue whatever made me happy in life. They never made me feel like I couldn’t achieve something if I set my mind to it. Athlete, Engineer, Business Owner, Mother; the list will keep growing. I had the support I needed growing up and I have the support I need in my own family now.

I stand alongside my husband and business partner Nick as we run our taekwondo, boxing and fitness gym, Club Titans together.  I kick, I box, I run and I teach. I teach boys and girls, I teach men and women. My gender isn’t important because I don’t let it be. This is as it should be for all people. Don’t choose not to participate because you are female, choose to participate because you want to and to hell with anyone that doesn’t agree.

Raising strong girls is important. Raising girls who believe they can do anything they put their mind to, is essential. But I’m raising boys. And raising boys to respect girls and females and support them is equally important. That means educating them on those small harmful things like those little sayings of ‘you throw like a girl’ or ‘cry like a girl’ or ‘harden up princess’,  or encouraging them to watch female sport.

I know society is changing. I see it everyday at Titans. We hold training camps at Titans for both male Football Teams and female Football Teams, we have male boxers and female boxers – and it’s the same training and treatment for everybody – regardless of gender. An athlete is an athlete. Full stop. Approximately 40% of our taekwondo students (children and adults) are female. Some classes are majority female, in particular my Adult Beginners taekwondo class. This is a class dominated by women all over 30 years old, with kids and careers. They have started a martial art for themselves, no longer held back by gender norms, age barriers or ability concerns. It’s empowering, it’s exciting and it’s the best kind of role modelling there is. For their children, for other adults out there that have sat on the sidelines all their life and for women who want to feel free to be strong, empowered and happy.

And that’s what we need to keep evolving as a society where women and men are considered equal. Role models. Role models don’t have to be elite sportswomen. They don’t have to be leaders in society. They just need to be women or girls leading by example. Inspiring and showing others how to live, how to push the barriers, how to stand up for themselves, create the same opportunities and stand beside or in front of men. Because that is what equality is. It’s standing beside each other, not behind. So today on International Women’s Day – Women of the world – Please step forward.


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The awesomeness of Suspension Training

Category : Fitness

Ever seen those straps hanging from the ceiling in the gym with handles and wondered what they are for and how they could possibly give you a good workout. Whilst they may look innocuous, they are perhaps one of the best and most challenging pieces of gym equipment.

Standard weight machines at the gym can help you lift massive amounts – in isolation. Weight machines are fixed stable equipment that typically move unilaterally (in one direction). Up. Down. Back. Forwards. This means that when one is using the machine that it works the muscle (s) it has been specifically designed for (e.g. quads or triceps), but more often than not, they do not properly engage the stabiliser and support muscles around the joints that are essential to strong and stable movement. By incorporating suspension training into your gym routine, you can start to strengthen those critical stabilisers.

One of my favourite suspension trainer exercises is the hamstring curl. To do this exercise on a machine, one must lay face down on a bench, with one’s ankles tucked underneath a padded weight lever and bend your knees contracting your hamstrings. The benefits on a machine are very much limited to the hamstrings.

Undertaking the same exercise using a suspension trainer is performed lying on one’s back, with your heel’s placed comfortably in the handle of the trainer. Placing your hands on either side of your body (at approximately 45 degrees) and push your pelvis up so that your body is stiff like a plank and your glutes are tightened and engaged. Keep your glutes engaged, tighten your core and drag your heels toward your body, bending your knees.

TRX Hamstring1This simple movement engages multiple different muscle groups providing an even greater workout for your body in just one move. Imagine how much more awesome your workout becomes when you add in 5-6 suspension trainer exercises.

Many of you will have undertaken the Moby ‘Flower’ challenge with Nick, Jesse or Ryan. You know the one – ‘Bring Sally Up….and down. Performing that challenge with pushup is a real killer #amiright? But if you reaaaallllly want to push it to the next level, do it on a suspension trainer. May I suggest either the TABLE-TOP ROW (I think my Friday morning Fighting Fit class just cringed) or the ATOMIC PUSHUP (feet in the suspension trainer combining a pushup with a pike lift #killer).

TRX Tabletop1

The beauty of this piece of equipment is that a) you can use it in the comfort of your own home as well as at the gym and b) you can take in away with you on holiday. These things pack up and take up the same amount of space as a pair of shoes.

If you are in the gym and you want to know what hype is – come and see me and I will be only too happy to help you out. In fact – if you are in the gym this week, I have a challenge for you. If you get through it – let me know and  eternal glory shall be yours.

SUSPENSION CHALLENGE #1 (see video for demo)

Three continuous sets of the following without a break:

  • 10 Reverse Crunches
  • 20 Mountain Climbs
  • 20 Side Crunches
  • 10 Pike lifts
  • 10 Pendulums

 


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Do you have a competitive streak?

Category : Fitness

Do you consider yourself a competitive person? Do you see it as a good thing or a bad thing?

I was having another of my in-depth discussions with one of my friends after a spot of boxing in the ring (it happens a lot after a good spar) and we got on to the topic of competitiveness. Now not to state the bleeding obvious, but I can be a competitive person. And my friend? Perhaps not so much. But this is where the conversation became philosophical very quickly.

I grew up in a competitive environment. I did Little Athletics every weekend or cross country. I tried numerous other sports and competed in almost every possible sport I could in high school. But it didn’t stop there. I suppose you could say I was competitive in the classroom too. I still remember having ‘times tables’ races in Grade 6, determined to be the last one standing. Later on in life, I took up taekwondo and was completely enamoured with the competitiveness of it.

But at what point does competitiveness become a negative attribute in a person? And can it be managed? Or is it a case of a leopard can’t change its spots? i.e. once a negative competitive always negative competitive.

To answer that question, we need to take a step back and really consider what ‘competitiveness’ means? Is it the same for everybody?

The simple definition of competitive is: Having a strong desire to compete or succeed. Or to be as good as or better than others.

But I would like to beg to differ, or perhaps add to this definition. Competitive is also having a desire to BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE. A desire to IMPROVE ON YOUR PREVIOUS BEST.

I say this, because I struggle to see how one can set goals for themselves, aim high in life and want to be the best version of themself, without an inner drive and inner competitiveness. It isn’t necessarily and shouldn’t be about being better than everyone or anyone else and winning. It’s about your own success.

Maybe there are two types of competitive:

Extrinsic Competitiveness: Display’s their competitiveness externally and derives their success from external competition

Intrinsic Competitiveness: Keeps their competitiveness to themselves and continually tries to better themselves.

Even when we consider these two types of competitiveness, does that mean that one type is better than the other?

I can’t answer that question for everyone. But I can offer my opinion. I think there is nothing wrong with either of those types. But maybe when you let one dominate the other, it becomes an issue.

Being overly Extrinsically Competitive can be exhausting. For both you and the people around you. We see examples every day of this type of competitiveness. Football, cricket and almost every kind of kids sport requires an element of this type of competitiveness. But it becomes a negative thing when it starts to affect yourself and others. Trying to keep up with the Jones’s or be better than them sees life become a never-ending competition. There will always be people who are better than you at something. Not one singular person can be the best at everything. So stop trying. You’ll drive yourself insane. And those around you. Whether you are verbalising your competitiveness or not, the people around you can see exactly what’s going on. They see you constantly striving to be better than everyone else. They see you trying again and again to win. And your friends get tired of never being able to one up you. (Note: Friends build each other up not determine to beat your pants off every time).

Being overly Intrinsically Competitive is that internalised competitiveness that sees you aiming to beat yourself every single time. It’s wonderful that you focus on being the best you possible, but ease up on yourself. Your desire to constantly get a PB or achieve impossibly high targets, can have just a detrimental effect on your self esteem as being around someone who is extrinsically competitive. There may be a tendency to beat yourself up if you don’t achieve those goals.

Now those examples are both extremes. And when anything is on the far end of scale, there are often negatives that go with it. So here’s the thing. It’s all about balance. Like anything in life.

A little bit of externalised competition is a good thing because it inspires people to aim higher and set goals that they never though possible. It also provides an important feedback loop on how we go about achieving our goals and teach us how to accept failure or ‘not winning’ in a gracious and positive manner without damaging long term self esteem (this is particularly important for kids). What is also important however that external competition is not forced on others and promoted as a ‘win at all costs’ – then it becomes negative.

And this is where a good dose of internalised competition is important. It teaches people to focus more on their own personal achievement and gains than beating others, particularly when it comes to setting goals, motivation, drive and achievement in life.

There is a time and a place of extrinsic and intrinsic competitiveness. Everbody has a a little bit of both in them, usually one in more dose than the other. As long as you don’t let the pendulum swing to far one way, then it can only help you be the best you can be.

What do you think? I know that I can sometimes be too extrinsically competitive and like to win (particularly arguments). I can also be too intrinsically competitive as.well. Which means that I am hard on myself when I don’t achieve my expectations of myself. I consider myself a work in progress on both fronts.

Do you see yourself as competitive? Is it possible to not be competitive?

And is there such a thing as too competitive? I’m really interested in everyone’s thoughts.

 

 


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Why ‘The Karate Kid’ has mislead a generation of parents!

The image of The Karate Kid (a.k.a. Ralph Macchio) is typically one of the first mages that comes to parents minds these days when one hears about of considers a martial art for children. And it’s not always the image of Daniel-son pulling his winning ‘Crane’ kick move in the final match of his ultimate ‘do or die’ karate match that parents remember. Unfortunately it is often the attitude and bullying behaviour of Johnny Lawrence and his goons that sticks in peoples mind.

As much as I, and many of my generation, loved Karate Kid, Johnny Lawrence didn’t do martial arts any favours (Sorry Johnny!). Where are martial art is meant to be about the practice of combat, defence and physical movements and the management of the mind, it is often portrayed as a violent tool that bullies use on defenceless and innocent victims.

The reality is that a true martial art will teach your kids discipline and respect. One of the principle rules or values of any martial art is that it is to be used in self defence only. And that is after you have tried to Avoid, Resolve or Manage any conflict. At no point, does a martial art encourage violence…or practicing on your sibling! So rest assured, your child will not become a violent delinquent because of a martial art.

A few weeks ago, we outlined a number of different types of martial arts and why they differ. At Titans, we teach taekwondo. This is a Korean martial art. It literally means Tae ‘Foot’, Kwon ‘Fist’ and Do ‘Way’. So loosely translated it mean ‘way of the foot and fists’.

DSC07239 compressThis martial art is no different to others in that it teaches discipline and respect and resolve conflict through passive means first if possible before using your self defence techniques. And these are techniques that a child only starts to learn once they have started to master the core values or tenets required in taekwondo.

The Five Tenets of Taekwondo

  1. Courtesy
  2. Integrity
  3. Perseverance
  4. Discipline
  5. Invincibility of Spirit

The Titans taekwondo program for kids is aimed at introducing some of the core values and basic gross motor skills of martial arts to preschool and primary school children at a young age through to the more mature values such as discipline and respect along with more refined coordination and technical skills. Taekwondo as a sport teaches coordination, balance, flexibility and speed amongst other skills through hand and foot techniques on our pads, bags and other equipment.

DSC06455 compressTaught in a safe and appropriate environment, but using reality and scenario based training techniques, taekwondo can build confidence and self-esteem through the improvement and achievement of new skills. It is important that children learn to value themselves and seek satisfaction through their own achievements, personal goal and successes rather than external validation of their worth. We have seen many amazing and wonderful transformations in the confidence of children, the formation of new friendships and the emergence of happy, healthy little people. And nothing compares to the smile on a child’s face when they complete their first grading for a new stripe on their belt. Yes, we have belts and grading’s. It’s another awesome way that children can measure their commitment and discipline along with their skills and celebrate their success. It’s also really good practice for the many other tests they will face in their futures.

So, forget Karate Kid and forget Johnny Lawrence. A martial art can be wonderful for you child. That is, if you want them to be confidence, happy, healthy and strong little people.

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