Etiquette

One of my students asked me about respect and whether he should refer to me as sir. I am not particularly touchy how a student addresses me. I have been called sabonim, sir, instructor, Dave; to me it makes no difference. As a martial arts instructor I know that etiquette and respect cannot be taught. The way I carry myself and conduct my teaching is how I show etiquette and respect. Over time I can endower respect but it is not something that can be enforced in my opinion. Respect is something that comes from the heart.

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Lies

I was away working on a New Zealand Ministry of Health project. I had checked into World Wide Backpackers hostel on the Terrace, in the heart of Wellington, for 2 weeks. On the weekend of the rugby 7’s tournament the landlord, by the name of Andrew Manson, told me that I had to leave the accommodation. He told me that if I do not leave the accommodation immediately he would call the police. The landlord did not give me a reason why I had to leave or a reasonable amount of time to pack all my belongings and did not refund me.

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Meaning

I am very fortunate to have an acute perception of people and cultures having lived and worked in several different countries. I have taught martial arts to white, African American, Latino, Asian and Polynesian people. I have had kids with special needs; I have had people with brain injuries train under me. Whatever difficulties anybody had I was able to develop their potential and help them achieve their goals in martial arts. To develop the character and sensitivity to be able to work and adapt to different individuals is not an intrinsic skill, it is something that can only be developed through experience.

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Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

This week I have had students ask me to explain the blood choke or sleeper hold. The sleeper hold is something that we use in Krav Maga and it is a technique that has been used by many militaries and police departments. I remember as a teenager going to a Billy Bragg concert and a  support band, I think they were The Beatniks, talk about an African American graffiti artist who was choked to death by the NYPD. They performed a song about it; I think it was called “Blind Eyes of Justice”. In retrospect I personally think that the incident was probably a result of incompetence rather than racism or police brutality.

Many suspects would go limp when the officers would apply the hold only to escape as soon as the hold was released; it was a trick which was common knowledge on the streets. I think the cops held the sleeper hold too long to make sure that the suspect was not faking which resulted in his death. This is the reason why police departments in the US no longer use the sleeper hold. However I still think the sleeper hold is one of the most effective ways of stopping someone particularly if the individual is on drugs and immune to pain and other locks.

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