• Master the Art, Master Yourself

The Forking Paths of Human Evolution: Technological vs. Spiritual and Internal Evolution

Human evolution is at an inflection point. As a species, we stand on a precipice with two paths stretching out before us: one leading to an era defined by technological marvels, and the other delving into the depths of our spiritual and internal selves. These two avenues of evolution represent unique but not mutually exclusive facets of human potential, yet the path we emphasise will indelibly shape our future. This article will analyse these potential evolutionary trajectories and reflect on the unrealised human potential that may be the cost of focusing solely on technological evolution.

Technological Evolution: The Promise and the Peril

Ever since the dawn of civilization, technological innovation has been a driving force in shaping human destiny. From the wheel to the Internet, technology has altered the way we interact with the world around us, broadened our horizons, and solved many of our most pressing problems. Advancements in fields like artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and renewable energy promise a future that could look like a utopia compared to today’s standards. Yet, this headlong rush into technological development comes with its own set of challenges and concerns.

The dark underbelly of our technologically driven world includes ethical dilemmas around data privacy, the environmental toll of relentless industrialization, and the widening economic disparity fueled by automation. More insidiously, our fixation on technological progress diverts attention from other essential aspects of human existence, namely spiritual and internal evolution. As we turn our attention outwardly, more and more, to connect with external forms of distracting technology we succumb to the allure of more instant gratification and immediate engagement.

Spiritual and Internal Evolution:The Forgotten Path

In contrast to the glittering allure of gadgets and algorithms, spiritual and internal growth offers a less flashy but equally profound avenue for human evolution. Practices like meditation, qigong, tai chi, and innovative forms like Nei Dan Tao yoga aim to cultivate the mind, enhance self-awareness, and foster a harmonious relationship between the individual and the universe.

Spiritual evolution pushes us to transcend the limitations of our ego, encouraging altruism, compassion, and a broader perspective of our place in the natural world. Whereas technology often seeks to “conquer” nature or render it subservient to human needs, spiritual practices help us to coexist with it, recognizing the interdependence of all life forms. Moreover, focusing on inner transformation can help address many of the mental health crises that are becoming increasingly prevalent in our modern, high-stress societies.

Missed Opportunities and Unrealized Potential

Focusing predominantly on technological evolution can come at the cost of human potential that might be better realised through spiritual and internal evolution. Notably, the mental and emotional health benefits that come with spiritual practices are often overlooked in our race to build a smarter machine or a more efficient solar panel. While these technological advancements are essential, the question remains: are we building a world filled with incredible technology but devoid of meaning?

The opportunities for a more balanced, compassionate, and self-aware society could be missed if we continue to place technological development on a pedestal at the expense of other forms of human progress. By overlooking the merits of spiritual and internal evolution, we risk creating a society that is materially rich but spiritually impoverished.

In Summary

As we stand at the crossroads of human evolution, it is crucial to engage in a holistic conversation that includes both technological advancements and spiritual growth. Each path offers its own set of opportunities and challenges, but the key to a fulfilling future may lie in our ability to walk both paths simultaneously, without neglecting the unique gifts that each brings to the table.

By making conscious choices now, we have the opportunity to create a future that is not only technologically advanced but also spiritually enriched, capturing the full spectrum of human potential. And in doing so, we may find that the most remarkable aspect of human evolution is not our ability to create external tools, but our capacity for internal transformation, shaping not just the world around us, but the universe within.

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The Problem with MMA

Martial arts schools in Australia are generally at the mercy of trends and popular culture of the time. In the…

The Unexpected Benefits of Boredom: How Doing ‘Nothing’ Can Be a Form of Meditation for Children

In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, children are accustomed to a perpetual cycle of stimulation. Video games, social media, and online classes keep young minds continuously engaged, leaving little room for introspection and quiet. But what if we reframe how we look at boredom? Could doing “nothing” be an essential aspect of emotional and cognitive development in children? Let’s delve into how boredom can act as a form of meditation for kids and why constant external engagement might have its pitfalls.

The Meditation of Boredom

“Meditation? Boredom? Aren’t they opposites?”. On the surface, meditation seems like a disciplined practice requiring focus and mindfulness, while boredom represents a lack of engagement or interest. However, both states share a fundamental feature: the opportunity for introspection.

Just as meditation clears the mental clutter, allowing room for self-awareness and reflection, boredom too gives children the space to connect with their inner selves. When a child is bored, their mind wanders, fostering creativity, problem-solving, and a deeper understanding of their feelings and thoughts. This mental downtime acts as a reset button, enabling them to better regulate their emotions and develop a sense of self-efficacy.

The Hyper-Stimulated Mind: A Breeding Ground for Emotional Turmoil

Contrast this with a mind that’s always ‘on,’ constantly bombarded with external stimuli. Though it may seem like a productive and engaged state, constant activity can be detrimental to emotional well-being. A hyper-stimulated brain is always in reactive mode, never getting the chance to process emotions or thoughts effectively.

Children who grow up with non-stop stimulation often have difficulty handling downtime. The inability to be alone with one’s thoughts is problematic, as it leaves little room for emotional processing. When a child doesn’t learn how to sit with their feelings, it can lead to a lack of self-regulation skills and an increased risk for behavioral disorders like ADHD, anxiety, and depression.

Emotional Incompetence and Behavioral Disorders

When children do not have the space to process their emotions naturally, they’re more likely to act out. Studies have shown that constant external stimulation can lead to impulsivity, trouble with focus, and emotional volatility. These issues, if not addressed, can manifest as more severe behavioral disorders later in life, impacting not only the child but also their family and community.

For instance, emotional dysregulation can manifest as outbursts, social issues, and even academic problems. A child who cannot process feelings of frustration may lash out or have difficulty interacting with peers, leading to social isolation. As they grow older, the consequences escalate, affecting their academic and professional lives.

Striking a Balance

So, what’s the solution? Just as we carve out time for physical activity, we should also schedule periods for mental downtime. Encouraging moments of ‘boredom,’ or unstructured time, can act as a form of passive meditation for children. They need these pauses to step back, reflect, and organically process their internal world, cultivating emotional intelligence and self-regulation.

Parents can help by providing a balanced routine that includes both active engagement and ‘free time.’ Create an environment where doing ‘nothing’ is okay, and even encouraged. Let your children explore the depths of their imagination, process their emotions, and become aware of their inner world.

In Summary

Boredom, often viewed as the enemy of productivity and engagement, may just be an underrated ally in a child’s emotional and cognitive development. By serving as a form of passive meditation, it allows children to cultivate self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and a host of other skills critical for a well-balanced life.

While it’s tempting to keep children perpetually occupied, remember that constant engagement can have its drawbacks. Let’s embrace boredom for what it truly is—an opportunity for children to connect with themselves, fostering a healthier, more emotionally intelligent future generation. The next time you’re in the car and considering turning on the in-car video entertainment for the kids, perhaps gazing out the window is a more enriching alternative.

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The Problem with MMA

Martial arts schools in Australia are generally at the mercy of trends and popular culture of the time. In the…

The Problem with MMA

Martial arts schools in Australia are generally at the mercy of trends and popular culture of the time. In the 80’s, the Karate Kid film was released and it has heavily influenced the minds of all Australians to this day. As a result, the general public now knows that one of the highest ranks you can ever reach is a black belt, whatever the discipline. The trends of today are ever changing though, especially with online platforms such as Tiktok or Instagram delivering content directly to people’s phones.

The appeal of MMA

Nowadays, mixed martial arts (MMA) is on the rise largely in part thanks to UFC popularising their fights. MMA is a huge multimillion dollar industry and you’ll find a plethora of smaller local championships before fighters make it to the biggest earner – UFC. There are many facets to the sport that appeal to different crowds. Some people appreciate the technical aspect of each martial style being utilised in all out combat; some people are more interested in the strategies employed within a fight; a lot of people are drawn to it simply because of the bloody and raw nature of these fights.

What are the real benefits of MMA?

There is a problem now though – we have a generation of young adults and teenagers who are exposed to these brutal sports but are completely missing the point of the martial arts entirely. Violence for the sake of violence leaves out all the other lessons you glean from training in a martial discipline: mental fortitude, control, empathy, kindness and courage. Luckily, kids in the inner west still have many options to learn self defence in more traditional martial arts like kung fu, tae kwon do, karate, jiu jitsu, etc. The benefits of training martial arts are myriad – parents who want their children to learn confidence, coordination, and self defence – people who want to learn how to move their body effectively, safely and efficiently – people who want more mobility and flexibility – people who want to achieve a level of fitness that will last them a lifetime in a practice that they can continue into old age – people who wish to find peace in a meditative practice and learn how to de-stress from their busy lives – the list goes on. MMA training does help with fitness and confidence but without a holistic approach you may end up creating an arrogant and aggressive brute as opposed to the well adjusted martial practitioner. 

Turning martial arts into a sport suddenly restricts you

As with any competitive sport, there are rules and regulations to ensure longevity of the sport itself and its athletes. Granted that many MMA competitions are very loose with their rules to allow the fighters as much freedom with the tactics they can employ against their opponent, however many of the banned techniques are things that would mean the difference between life and death in a self defence scenario. Here are a few examples of the banned techniques in UFC:-

1. Pile-driving

2. Fish Hooking

3. Headbutts

4. 12-6 Elbows (downward elbow strikes)

5. Groin Strikes

6. Throat Strikes

7. Kicks and Knees to the Opponent on Ground

8. Strikes on the Back of the Head

9. Eye Poking

10. Hair Pulling

11. Biting

12. Small Joint Manipulation (fingers and toes)

13. Fence Holding

14. Holding Opponent’s Shorts or Gloves

15. Soccer Kicks

These techniques don’t fall into the vein of sportsman-like behaviour and can cause grievous bodily harm and long lasting damage to the other fighter. Many of them require malice on the part of the user to do some real damage in the octagon. Now flip the scenario from a one-on-one duel to any self-defence situation. A mugging, assault, rape, kidnapping, multiple aggressors, etc. The mindset changes and you would use anything at your disposal to escape the dangerous situation you find yourself in. Jow Gar Kung fu teaches you how to properly utilise techniques like finger strikes to the eyes; various attacks to the throat and groin; grab, scratch, and claw at soft targets; all to buy yourself enough time to get to safety. If you train yourself to avoid using these techniques as you do in MMA, the likelihood of them successfully escaping dangerous situations gets slimmer and slimmer. 

Broadening the scope of your training in MMA does not a master create

The name mixed martial arts suggests that more than one style is required, and generally in order to become a well rounded fighter you must become proficient at mainly 3 disciplines that cover striking, grappling/wrestling and ground game. Most people don’t have time enough to master a single discipline, let alone three. You may be thinking, “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.” In this instance, it would be erroneous to think this to be true. A true master of a martial art, such as jow gar kung fu, is able to learn how to fight at different ranges and play to their strengths which is primarily to be on your feet using your strikes and kicks without falling into the trap of rolling on the ground with a jiu jitsu master or grappling with a wrestler. This doesn’t mean we are incapable in those situations though, mastery of an art means adapting it to what the situation requires! 

We can still find the same benefits of training at an MMA gym for teenagers if they were to pursue any other martial art without heaping on issues such as wracking up injuries after fighting bout after bout, or pushing aside other responsibilities to pursue a professional career in fighting, or mismanaging their ego and aggressive tendencies. The philosophy behind training kung fu is to find balance within ourselves, leading to better training outcomes like emotional regulation and physical and mental resilience – when these things become the primary focus of training you tend to create kinder and more understanding human beings who are capable of defending themselves or others when the need arises.

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Martial Arts Black Belts

So how do you get a Black Belt?

Receiving a Black belt in martial arts can come about in many ways. But, first you need to choose a martial art that actually has a graded system that includes belt ranks.

Judo, Kung Fu, Jiu Jitsu, Karate and Taekwondo are just a few of the martial arts that have a belt system. Different martial arts require different requirements to be awarded a black belt.

Some schools allow students to progress through their ranks merely based upon attending a certain amount of classes or a minimum time. This method is generally used to maintain student enrolment, and move students through a system in a timely manner, ensuring a high retention rate.

Other schools have a prescribed attainment of skill that must be met through dedicated training before being able to progress through the belt system. It is important to note here that, no one student is the same. Students have different co ordination levels, movement capabilities, flexibility and a host of other personal differences that effect their own individual abilities. Martial arts training is an individual pursuit, great schools, and instructors, know how to get the best out of each individual in their journey towards their black belt.

Martial arts requires continual dedicated training and when a student starts as a white belt, it can be the beginning of a very rewarding and life changing journey. Skill is attained by minutes on the mat, engaged in conscious focused practice. Skill is not measured in the number of years you have been enrolled in a Martial Arts school. Each training session you attend helps you refine skills that are inching you toward becoming a better Martial Artist.

Your goal may be to attain a Black Belt. But, Black Belts come in many different levels with various levels of skill acquisition. Different styles have different requirements for their black belt gradings. Although a Black Belt may not be your main reason for starting a martial art, you may wish to consider a schools requirements for a black belt before beginning training with them. You may feel that the requirements for a black sash are not aligned with what you imagine a black sash should be. Or, you may find that the martial art requires more dedication than you thought. If you do wish to wrap a black belt around your waist, you may want to feel like you can defend yourself and show the martial spirit expected of a Black Belt.

The Belt System

Coloured belts, or sashes, are merely a way to track your progress through a martial art. They do not necessarily mean you are better or worse than somebody else. Your journey is your own, and it should be focused on continual personal development in your martial art. A student should always be focused on their skill, ability and what they want to achieve. They should never be comparing themselves to others as a way to test or measure their skill. There will always be someone better, or worse than you. Measuring your success against others is a path of the lesser artist and of the Ego.

A belt, or a belt colour, is only valued by the effort that was applied to earn it. If you achieve a belt level based upon your focus, discipline and hard work you will be rewarded with the knowledge of what you did to earn it. The colour represents your journey in a system.

From your first belt all the way to your coveted black belt, your dedication over many years will be the true reward when you wrap that belt around your waist. You want to feel like you earn a Black Belt, it should not feel like it is given for just turning up.

Your Black Belt

If you were to train 3 to 5 times a week you may earn a black sash in three to six years. If you trained 1-2 classes per week it could take eight years or more. The formula is fairly simple. I you wish top get a Black Belt faster train more and harder. Mastery is the goal of traditional martial arts. Mastery takes discipline and commitment in any of the popular martial arts. The refinement of your techniques and skill should be the goal of your training. The reward for your effort will be the Black Belt.

Martial arts instructors

It may sound obvious but… find a martial arts school with instructors who have a good track record of getting people to their Black Belt. You certainly won’t be able to do it on your own. Having passionate, helpful and talented instructors to help you on your journey will go a long way to assisting you with your hard work and practice.

Fellow Students

Your fellow students can play a big role in helping you reach your goal of becoming a Black Belt. After all, it is them you will be training with, partnering with, and asking for help around the instruction you receive. True Martial artists will always be willing to help you out in class, in fact most senior students usually give up part of their own training time to help if required.

The Journey to becoming a Black Belt

From the day students start, they begin on a journey that will be challenging and rewarding. It is important to remember why you go to class, the benefits you get from the classes, and the skill you are acquiring as you learn. Sometimes, if your focus is only on reaching the Black Belt Level, it takes over your training mentality. You can forget about the improvements you have made, and the things you have already learned. Remember to enjoy the journey and give yourself credit for the work you have already a achieved since becoming a white belt.

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The Problem with MMA

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How To Choose The Right Martial Art For You Part 4

Once you have started to refine your search for the perfect martial arts school. You may start thinking about some of the other things that you might like to achieve through your martial arts training, either for yourself or your child.

And as you discover the different offerings between some of the schools, you may find that you’re interested in some of the other offerings that they have, or some of the other aspects of the training which they include.

For instance, at our schools we have Meditation, Yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi. In the kids’ classes we also focus on our Protect Programs, conflict avoidance, and anti-bullying systems. Plus a whole host of other things which we include in our programs, and in our class offerings. These may be something that you are attracted to after you’ve had or dipped your toe in the water, as it were.

So as you go around and check out the different schools, then your awareness of other possibilities may also open up. So this is something that you really need to take into consideration as you move into your martial arts training. There may be some other aspects of the school that you’re interested in which may also appeal to you in the future, or even right now.

As you go into analyzing all of the schools, the styles, and the things that you’re going to receive through the training, you wish to add in some of these other things that you’ve also experienced through your research.

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The Problem with MMA

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How To Choose The Right Martial Art For You Part 3

So now it comes down to choosing the right Martial art school that teaches the style, or styles, you would like to trial. Probably the second biggest mistake people make is choosing a school purely based upon convenience of location, or cheapest price. Personally, I wouldn’t be doing my fruit and veg shopping at a place which was purely just convenient and cheap.I’d be looking to get the very best quality that I could for the most reasonable price. So of course, location and cost is always a consideration. But, you should be looking at something that fulfills the goals that you have, within a reasonable price that you can afford, that is within a reasonable distance; and you can see yourself traveling back and forward to attend classes. Don’t just choose the one straight down the road because it is the most convenient or the cheapest.

Within the different types of styles and schools, there can be very big differences between schools who are teaching the same style. For instance, you may have two boxing gyms. One trains professional athletes and that’s their focus. Then another boxing gym may focus on the general public, teaching boxing for fitness and for striking ability. Those two schools will give you a very different experience if your goals aren’t aligned with what those two different schools offer.

In Kung Fu, there are schools which train forms and movement. Those forms and movement are really just done for demonstration purposes, for fitness and flexibility, and all of the physical health benefits that you get from the training. They may not be as focused on the self defense side of the traditional Kung Fu arts. Whereas in our Kung Fu School, we train movements and these patterns of movement for pure self defense, we get those other benefits that go with it as well. But our focus would be on the techniques that are in those movements actually being applicable for self defense.

So remember that even within the different styles, going to a different school will give you a different outcome, or different training style, based upon the philosophy and the mission statement of the school. Checking out a variety of schools is super important to align the philosophy and the teaching style of the school with the outcomes and the goals that you would like to see.

Now, within the schools, there may be other things that you need to take into consideration when trialing a Martial art. You should look at the relationship between the instructors and the students, look at the relationship between the instructors and the head instructor. Also check out the atmosphere that’s being created in the school and whether it’s a conducive atmosphere to provide the kinds of outcomes, and the things that you would like to see for your child or for your martial arts experience.

Training in martial arts can be quite difficult, and you have to really apply yourself to show up. So anything that helps bring you back every day to your training and keeps you motivated is a huge plus. It needs to be fun, it needs to be engaging. There needs to be that great atmosphere created so that the students can apply themselves to that hard work and that hard training.

So while you’re selecting that school for yourself, really try and look at the environment that’s being created by the instructors, and by the head instructor. What is the mission statement, and what is the goal of the class that you’re attending in each school… and are they delivering it?
It’s very easy for me to sit here on video and talk about the kinds of things that we want to deliver and tell you what we will deliver, but it’s very different if it doesn’t get delivered in each and every class, every day.

When we have a physical location, it’s different to the Internet. We have to show up everyday and prove ourselves to our students in each and every class. So when you’re choosing a martial arts school, you really want to look at the people who show up with that positive attitude, create a great environment for their students,and allow you or your child to really blossom and grow into their martial arts experience. Look at the ego of the instructors, what’s their reasons for doing martial arts. Really, all of this ties into the martial arts experience that you’re going to receive.

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The Problem with MMA

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How To Choose The Right Martial Art For You Part 2

I’ve heard of many people being turned off martial arts because they went to the wrong school, they did the wrong style, and they just didn’t enjoy the experience and therefore have been turned off martial arts forever. If you’re one of those people, I would implore you to not be jaded, not base your martial arts experience on one bad school or a bad experience. More than likely, it probably wasn’t the right martial arts style for you.

What Are The Different Martial Arts Styles?

Kung Fu is one of the most popular styles of martial arts.  There are hundreds of styles under the banner of Kung Fu. You would have heard of Wing Chun, the one that was made most famous by Bruce Lee, a very simplified, direct and straight line system.

 

There are the Hung Gar, Choi Gar and Shaolin styles, and our particular style is derived from the styles that were taught in the Shaolin temple.

We also have Karate, which is Japanese.  Taekwondo, Korean, and Jujitsu, which is Japanese. Then you have Krav Maga, which is Israeli.

We have Silat from South East Asia. There is also a style called Escrima from the Philippines.  We have all of these different arts, and they all offer different ways to approach the mastery of Martial Arts. The first place to start is to think about what your outcomes are and then look at the different styles, you will start to narrow down the kind of experience that you’re going to get.

So let’s start with something like Muay Thai, a style which is focused on striking with the fists, elbows, head, knees, feet. It has a great range of striking techniques. Kicking techniques predominantly these days are focused on sport fighting, but is also taught as a method of self defense in some of the schools that teach Muay Thai.

Now, everyone might say that punching and striking is self defense, but again, realistically, is your six year old going to be punching, elbowing and kneeing someone at school as a form of self defense? Probably not. So is your teenage daughter going to elbow, strike, or punch someone that’s 100 kilos and much stronger than them and having it work? Maybe not. So the idea here is to really go deep into what it is that you want to get out of your training.

Karate
Karate from Japan originated in Okinawa and was said to be transferred from Chinese White Crane Kung Fu into the Japanese arts of karate. Now, karate, I like to think of some styles that mimic the personality of the people and the nations that they come from. The culture that goes into the background of the arts is super important, and that’s where we’ll get into the spiritual, mental, and emotional side of things as well a little later on. So karate is, generally, its expression  is a little bit more tense and a little bit more hard. The blocks are direct and really forceful and heavy.

So if you’re a bigger person with lots of power and you want to focus on really solid, not very fast flowing movements, but more strong, stable based movements that are really good for self defense as well as sportfighting, then Karate might be the style for you.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an ideal style, if you’re a wrestling type, you want to get down on the ground and wrestle. I have heaps of friends who enjoy their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you find the style that gives you the outcomes that you want, then it’s all good.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is obviously Brazilian and it is based on the Japanese art of Jiu Jitsu and it’s basically mostly taught as a ground art these days,whereas some Jiu Jitsu schools would have striking and stand up work as well.

So again, I’m over generalizing here, so don’t get too wound up about it all. But in your own research you’ll be able to go through and find the different styles and find their definitions, then find what works for you.

Krav Maga
Krav Maga is its marketing tagline. Is it used by the Israeli military?

Krav Maga is a striking and nasty art which is purely focused on self defense, encouraging their students to train under duress under high pressure situations as well, which is helpful. But most of the Krav Maga schools that I’ve seen don’t actually do real live sparring where it’s free sparring. So if that’s something you’re looking for, then you may want to consider something else as well because in my personal opinion, free sparring is essential for actual self defense.

Judo
And the next kind of styles that you’d be looking at are Judo, which is a standing grappling and throwing art which is super fun. I really enjoyed doing judo as a child. I enjoyed a little bit of competition in Judo. But Judo these days is practiced as an adjunct for MMA as well as Jiu Jitsu, as well as a standalone sport all of its own.

Tai Chi
So what else do we have? Tai Chi. We could go as far as going to the Chinese art of Tai Chi, which is a really slow, particular art where the idea of learning Tai Chi is to focus in really fine detail on your movement skills. Every move is practiced over and over and over and over in a really slow flowing way. And that is done to refine your movement skills in as quick a way as possible by focusing in on a few movements at a time and working them over and over and over and over and over again.

Also, it’s done slowly so that we can embody the internal energy work as well within the tai chi.

So if you’re kicking around a few ideas, and you’re looking at two or three different arts and you know, the outcomes, the physical outcomes and that sort of thing that you want to get from your martial arts training, well, you’ve probably got three or four, as I said, written down that you want to do some research on.

Read the first part here.

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The Problem with MMA

Martial arts schools in Australia are generally at the mercy of trends and popular culture of the time. In the…

How to Choose the Right Martial Arts for You

In this next blog series, we’re going to be taking a look at how to choose the martial art that’s right for you. People are often confused when it comes to choosing a martial art. There are so many options, so many martial art schools, so many different styles of martial art.

So, in the coming videos, we’re going to discuss the various things that we think are important in choosing a martial art. So that you get the most out of your martial arts training for yourself, or for your child…and that you end up getting the results that you’re after.

So with that in mind, the number one thing that you need to be focused on when choosing a martial art is what your goals are.

What outcomes do you want to receive from your training? This is probably the most obvious, but yet the most overlooked part of choosing a martial art. Why? Because most people choose a martial art based upon preconceived ideas, videos they’ve watched on YouTube like this, what’s popular or trendy, what they see on TV, what their friends do, et cetera, et cetera.

Having an idea of what you want from your training, or for your child’s training, is really important. This is the one factor that will determine if you get the results that you are looking for. I’ll give you an example. I have three children, my youngest is a boy and my girls are in their young teens and late teens.

As a parent, I’m looking for physical skills in a martial art which are going to give them really effective self defence. Now, effective self defence is not something that will work for a 100 kilo guy in MMA or something like that, as opposed to something that might work for my ten year old son.

So, when I’m thinking about martial arts for my children, and the physical outcomes. I’m looking for self defence as one of those outcomes. There’s many others and we’ll talk about those as well. But first is self defence, and appropriate self defence for their size, for their age. Then being real realistic about the outcomes that each martial art will give.

For instance, I don’t want my teenage daughters learning wrestling or jiu jitsu as their first line of self defence. As a father, I can’t imagine my daughter using jiu jitsu, brazilian jiu jitsu or judo. I did judo myself and I love judo. But I can’t imagine my small teenage daughter being able to use any of those styles effectively against someone who is much bigger and stronger than her in a self defence situation.

And then again. She may need self defence against someone at school who is around her size or age as well. And in that situation, I don’t want her using something that’s going to really hurt the person that she’s defending herself against.

So, obviously, I’m a little bit biased because we teach kung fu in the way we teach it and we want to have a range of techniques that go from passive and defensive all the way through to the most serious techniques, which would only be used in really serious self defence situations.

For instance, striking your eyes, throat or groin. Now, you as a parent may be looking for something quite different for that.

You may be looking for coordination, and maybe the sport side of it, the competitive side of it. So you might like a taekwondo school or a karate sports school, even MMA, or a boxing gym that focuses on competing. So if you’re looking for that style of training for your child, then you need to find a school which will give you those benefits, and outline a way in which you can progress towards competing and the different rules and techniques that can be used in that competitive environment.

So the physical benefits, concepts, and outcomes don’t only stop with self defence. Of course, in any style there’s different ways of moving there’s flexibility, coordination, balance, agility. Everything that goes into creating really good movement patterning is also an essential in my opinion, as an outcome for physical skills. So you have to really think about what you want to achieve out of your training on the physical skill side. And of course there will be other benfits such as mental and emotional skills as well.

There’s spirituality that goes into some martial styles and training as well. So have a think about the outcomes that you want for yourself, what training style you would like to see and how you would like to develop as a student, or for your child as a student, and what are the true physical outcomes that you want for your child.

And then go about finding a martial art style and then a martial art school which delivers those outcomes.

So firstly, have a think, write down the physical outcomes that you’re looking for, and then we’ll go into the next video and talk about the different styles and schools.

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Personal Mastery

Personal mastery  is defined by most as a process of continually improving your Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual self. This definition is a little flawed in my view, as some may take it to mean that they do not already have the capacity to achieve self mastery and that something is inherently “wrong” with them in one of those 4 areas.

After 20 years of practicing Meditation, Qigong and Kung Fu I would define personal Mastery as developing maturity in these 4 areas and aligning your journey in self mastery with the kind of things you would like to change, and feel better about. For me the first step in this process was getting in touch with my own internal world. The Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual parts of myself, that were not what I felt in my conscious mind, but those things stored deep in the body and the subconscious.

Here are some key aspects of personal mastery:

  1. Self-Awareness: Personal mastery begins with self-awareness, which involves being conscious of one’s thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior. It involves understanding one’s values, strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. Self-awareness allows individuals to identify and challenge limiting beliefs and behaviors that may hinder personal growth.
  2. Continuous practice: Personal mastery emphasizes the importance of lifelong practice and growth. It involves a commitment to acquiring just the right amount of  knowledge to allow you to practice new skills that eventually lead to permanent change.
  3. Emotional Intelligence: Personal mastery involves developing emotional intelligence, which is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence enables individuals to build better relationships, communicate effectively, and navigate conflicts and challenges with empathy and resilience.
  4. Goal Setting and Purpose: Personal mastery includes setting meaningful goals and working towards them with clarity and intention. It involves aligning personal goals with one’s values and purpose in life. Having a clear sense of purpose and direction provides motivation, focus, and a sense of fulfillment.
  5. Self-Discipline and being centered: Personal mastery requires self-discipline and the ability to cultivate a regular practice. Self-discipline involves the practice of making conscious choices, managing time effectively, and staying committed to personal goals. Being centered involves being present in the moment, removing yourself from the chatter of the monkey mind, observing one’s thoughts and emotions without judgment, and cultivating a sense of inner calm and clarity.

Personal mastery is a journey that we are all on, whether you realise it or not, and it is unique to each individual. It requires a commitment to self-improvement, self-discovery, and the development of new skills, and mindsets, through the practice of techniques.

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Top 5 Reasons to Learn Martial Arts

As you go through life, it becomes more and more challenging to find interests and activities that really call to you. We seem to have lots of passing interests, things we dabble in for a while and then relatively quickly leave behind.

Many of our choices, it seems, are one-dimensional and don’t have the depth to truly captivate us and keep us engaged over time.

With martial arts training in Sydney from a first-class academy, you’ll quickly find a wide range of programs that will challenge you and keep you intrigued. You’ll be able to work with top instructors and learn the lineage, values and methods of this ancient art form. The workouts can be intense, but you’ll find that you are making regular progress and enjoying the workouts and learning with fellow students.

Become Skilled in Self Defence

Life can throw unexpected challenges at you when you least expect them. It’s important to know that you are prepared for anything and can respond in a way that can keep you safe. Martial arts classes and training can give you the skills to handle yourself when trouble arises and help assure the personal safety of you and your family.

If you find yourself in a threatening situation, such as a mugging or home break-in during the middle of the night, you’ll need to act quickly. When you are able to rely on your extensive workouts and have the training you need, you’ll be better equipped to handle the challenge.

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Relieve Tension & Stress

Stress is a serious issue that affects so many in our troubled and hectic society. Long hours at work, endless emails and task lists and too many demands raise stress levels to unsafe heights. To maintain your health, you need to come up with a way to relieve tension and reset your system.

Martial arts training provides a high-intensity workout that works your whole body and your central nervous system too. You’ll find that you zone into the routines, and soon all your work and life cares are forgotten.

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Get in Shape & Lose Excess Weight

Instead of running on a treadmill endlessly or riding an exercise bike that goes nowhere, you can sign up for martial arts training. You’ll have a training program that keeps you interested and will find that you set goals to learn the new routines and movements.

Once you do that, you’ll be improving your skills and getting in shape at the same time. The workouts can be intense but your focus on your goals will keep you zoned in. Over the course of the months, you’ll find that you are in increasingly great shape.

Thrive as Part of a Community

In our increasingly isolated world, it’s rare that we can find a community of kindred spirits who care enough to truly get to know us. When you are part of a martial arts academy, you’ll get to know the instructors and your fellow students too.

Everyone is there to learn with you and to support your training and your martial arts journey. Unlike a gym, where everyone is typically doing their own thing, a martial arts studio is also a social place. You’ll find you make friends and can have a connection with them for years to come.

Learning Honour & Respect

There is an element of surrendering to the way and the path in martial arts training. You have to set aside your ego and respect the lineage and the instructor and leaders too. As you learn the martial arts, you’ll be expected to follow the rules and code of honour of the practice.

When you are a student of the martial arts way, you’ll be expected to walk in honour in the world. Through your training, you will have newfound power but will be expected to only use it in the right way.

If you are looking for a practice that will change your life for the better, consider enrolling in a martial arts program at our kung fu academy in Sydney. You’ll enjoy the training and the social connections, and the benefits to your body too.

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