Category Archives: Self Defence

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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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What Martial Art should I do?

Martial arts are systems or application of different, styles and traditions of combat, defence or methods, that are practiced for a variety of reasons.

There is well in excess of over 200 types of Martial Arts that exist across the world. Some of them are very similar, others are very different.

Many instructors or teachers of martial arts or combat sports will try and tell you that theirs is the best. Errrrr, here is where you smile knowlingly and back away slowly. Because the truth is, that there are very few that can claim their art is the best. You see, all martial arts and combat sports have their benefits and can add so much to your life. But different martial arts suit different people and it is up to the individual to decide what is the best for them. But oh my! How does one work out what is the right one for them without committing to spend the rest of their life to trying each and every one of them? Simple – do your homework.

The a 4 main types of martial arts or combat sports10859387_1000495316632325_528245749_n-300x180

– hand and/or foot combat (e.g. taekwondo, karate, muay thai, aikido or boxing)

– weapons based (e.g. kendo, fencing)

– grappling or wrestling based (e.g. judo, brazilian jiu jitsu, greco-roman wrestling)

– movement, meditative and energy based (e.g. tai chi chih, qi gong)

 

Many are combinations of the different types, incorporating the different techniques or influences into their art. And often with different purposes.  for example taekwondo, karate and kung fu (and their derivations) are hand/foot combat but also incorporate movement and patterns. Hapkido uses hand/foot combat as well as weapons and so forth.

Most originated in countries or regions subject to oppression where weapons or tools were prohibited and so people were forced to develop their own techniques based on their mind and their body to protect themselves. Others have developed in to sports over time and are competitive at very high levels such as Boxing, Taekwondo, Judo and Wrestling with scoring systems and technology assistance.

Quite often the type of martial arts practiced are dependent on origin, region, founder and instructor and have tenets or philosophies that guide the practice of the art. In much of these, there is a belief or practice that the art should never be used on another in anger or attack, only as a form of defence. If you come across an instructor that tells you otherwise, maybe ask a few more question about their own philosophies, how many fights they have been in and maybe how many times they have been arrested. That should help you decide one way or the other whether or not that particular instructor is for you. Martial arts are NOT about beating people up!

Other questions that you may like to ask yourself in your quest to find the perfect martial art for you are:

1. Are you seeking a guiding philosophy or lifestyle to live by?

2. Do you wish to practice a combat martial art or a movement based martial art?

3. Are you specifically seeking a self defence class?

4. Do you wish to compete as a sport? And if so, to what level?

5. Do you wish to focus of mental and spiritual development?

6. Do you like to use your hands, feet, both hands and feet or weapons?

7. Do you like close distance combat or do you prefer to keep you distance from your opponent?

8. Do you prefer to train with protective equipment or without?

Once you have answered these questions you are likely to have a better idea of the type of martial art you are looking for. Make sure when you are seeking a place to train or practice your art, that you find a qualified and/or experienced instructor that takes an interest in their student’s development. A good instructor also has the ability to adapt and move with the times. Notwithstanding things like technology and scoring systems, the changing needs of self defence and the increasing sedentary work and stressful lifestyles people lead, need to be considered. It’s also extremely important these days that Instructors provide reality based training for this very reason. Increasing violence (due to influences such as drugs) mean that people need to be aware of their surroundings and how to manage potentially dangerous situation. As such, it is wise for Instructor’s to be open to other martial arts and the value that they can offer their students.

So get on to it. Work out what you are after and shop around for the right place for you.

Resources to help you in your research include:

http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/martial-arts-styles

http://martialarts.about.com/od/styles/a/styles.htm


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