Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Results from the 2013 Power Nationals

Congratulations goes out to Vince and Jennifer Brock of Seabrook Martial Arts Academy on their tournament success at the 2013 Power Nationals in London, Ontario. Vince Brock won 1st place in fighting, 1st place in kata (forms) and 2nd place in weapons; Jennifer won 2nd place in fighting and 2nd place in kata.

Both Vince and Jenn have been taking weekly private lessons with me to enhance their skills, so their success speaks to their continual hard work and commitment.

July 2013 American Kenpo Belt Promotions

Congratulations to the following students of Seabrook Martial Arts Academy on their promotions this month:

Peter Z: Advanced Yellow
Anya F: Orange
Maria Z: Orange
Noah B: Advanced Orange
Scott B: Advanced Orange
Jenn B: Green

Awesome job all of you!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sport Martial Arts vs. Street Self-Defense

Before discussing the standards set at Seabrook Martial Arts Academy, let me begin by expressing my thoughts on the direction of the majority of martial arts schools today. Unlike the past, when martial arts were taught for street self-defense, and students learned how to effectively and efficiently hurt or maim an opponent if necessary, most schools today have become so commercialized that belts are awarded almost entirely on the memorization of kata (forms) or performance in sport tournament competition. As a result, many instructors award young children black belts because these children can outperform other children in their same age category, whether it is in kata competition, weaponry or point-fighting. The idea that a black belt should be able to defend oneself and defeat a much larger and stronger opponent is for the most part gone, with many instructors insisting instead that their children are "national" or "world champions" based on their victories in sport competition. The fact is that a "national champion' and "world champion" is crowned pretty much every month, simply by tournament promoters giving their competition a flashy name that implies high importance.

When thinking about what martial arts are truly supposed to represent, however, one needs only to look up the word "martial"; the terms refers to "warlike", "military", or being "appropriate for war". Clearly, this runs in complete contrast to schools that advance students quickly in rank based on sport competition. With respect to skill, much of what is now performed in tournaments is nothing more than baton twirling, gymnastics, and a game of tag similar to the one kids play during recess. The grim reality is that many of these regular tournament competitors could not win a street confrontation if attacked.

Similarly, when I hear about an instructor claiming that he/she had "graduated" hundreds and hundreds of students to black belt, that is not really something to brag about in my view. Isn't getting a black belt supposed to be reserved for a select few who have put in countless years of dedication and sacrifice to their training? Should effort and perseverance not so much be awarded, but rather expected?

At Seabrook Martial Arts Academy, we put street self-defense first. To obtain a 1st Degree Black Belt in American Kenpo, students learn 154 street self-defense techniques, and must be able to do them effectively on resistant training partners of all sizes. Moreover, all stand-up fighting is continuous, with no stops based on who gets the first "point". Could you imagine a UFC fighter stopping every time someone lands one strike for a point? Of course not, because that's silly and says nothing about one's fighting ability. When a fighter steps into the cage, he/she is there to fight, and leave no doubt about whom the winner is going to be.

Just as worse as focusing on tournament point-fighting and calling this effective self-defense, is that most commercial schools teach their students nothing about what to do if they are taken to the ground by a much larger and potentially stronger opponent. Should this occur, most students would learn quickly that much of their training has been in vain, and that their punching and kicking techniques have been rendered ineffective once they are on the bottom of a larger opponent. At Seabrook Martial Arts Academy, we devote time to teaching students how to effectively escape and submit an opponent who has taken us to the ground by using techniques based on timing and leverage. This is important because the distance in a real fight is different than that which is allowed in a point-fighting tournament setting. In a street fight, an opponent might grab you and take you to the ground, which of course is completely illegal in today's karate tournaments.

Keeping with the street self-defense perspective, pretty much every potential student who has ever inquired about training at my school has done so wanting to learn effective street self-defense skills. Yes, they may have wanted to get in better shape, improve mental health, and/or participate in an activity with another family member; but these factors have always been by-products of wanting to learn how to save their life if necessary.

At Seabrook Martial Arts Academy, I am 100% committed to helping you achieve that endeavor. Are you ready?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

June 2013 American Kenpo Belt Promotions

Congratulations to the following 3 students who were promoted this month at Seabrook Martial Arts Academy:

Harrison F: Purple
MacKenzie F: Purple
Brennan W: 3rd Degree Brown

Awesome work!