Fear Control

As rookie bouncer learning the ropes I used to observe how quickly and explosively the head doorman would grab and eject someone as I helped or watched his back. Rapid response and most importantly team work were the principles I learned in becoming a bouncer. The venue where I started work was used for student nights during the weekdays but on the weekends was the watering hole of all those turned down by the more upmarket establishments of the city. Working the weekends I would often get the butterflies of the slow adrenaline dump when starting my shift knowing I will almost certainly be dealing with a fight before closure.

When it did kick off often my reaction was almost Pavlovian with the only thought on my mind being the fact that drunken violence had taken place which needed to be curtailed quickly before it got out of control. Often I never really felt the effects of the adrenaline until after the incident has been resolved. The main objective in this type of response was to close the distance, trap and immobilize the arms and remove the aggressor as quickly as possible. Combative skills never came into play working the doors although they had a psychological value by creating an aura of intimidation and deterrent. The only martial art type skills of use in the profession in my opinion would be arm-bars, shoulder locks, choke holds and maybe wrist locks.

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Knowledge - The Best Defense

Knowledge - The Best Defense

Last weekend I was rather surprised to have a couple of people from Rotorua contacting me to ask about my self-defence classes. One lady was particularly interested in the Women’s Self Defence course that I ran back in 2010; she wanted to allay her fear of violence by learning some practical self-defence skills. I was a bit tickled to hear that people of Rotorua were still talking about my martial arts and self-defence classes and seminars from two years back.

I advised the lady seeing that Indomitable Mind Body Combat Academy no longer operates in Rotorua I would be more than happy to organize some private training if she travelled to Auckland. From the phone conversation I got the feeling that fear of violence was affecting the quality of her life. In my career as an IT consultant I generally do not give much advice over the phone unless I am financially compensated for my valuable time and expertise. However as a martial arts instructor I am always open for a chat and ready to give my time to offer advice. It’s the human element to working with people rather than business enterprises.

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Hard Targets

As my students as make a commitment to regularly train twice a week the onus is for me to provide training regimens that would increase their aerobic work rate and fitness. In the past a student once told me that he would rather just go over self defence moves than practice combatives and aggression drills. Not only is the combative training a good way to warm up for the self defence training but it also provides a good aerobic workout. The aggression drills foster the mindset to react correctly when attacked unexpectedly and build confidence. If I ran my classes any other way I would be detracting from the true benefits of Krav Maga. As I write this blog I am aware of the issue in this country with obesity. As many as one in three New Zealanders is classed as clinically obese. This means that their body fat makes up at least 30% of their body mass. The last twenty years we have seen a decline of sporting pursuits in favour of video games and the overuse of cars. As a result one in four children is now also overweight. It does not help that we have a generally benign acceptance of being too large for one’s size. By providing a fun and challenging martial arts activity I am doing my part to combat this obesity epidemic. My role as an instructor puts me in the position of a fitness trainer, a self defence expert, a motivational speaker and a life coach. It is interesting that for the first time females outnumber males in my school. At first when the female students observe the military style aggression drills often I would get asked whether they could just watch and sit out. I practically force them to take part; however once they experience the fun and gain confidence they would often ask to go again. Seeing females instinctively defend from a violent grabs and chokes makes me realize the benefit of this type of training in protecting lives. I am a firm believer in rough military style training as opposed to practicing graceful techniques and striking the air. There is a bottleneck on how many techniques can be used in the split second of an attack and knowing too many moves can actually be a hindrance in self defence. Not many things are as satisfying to an instructor as having a student tell me that her confidence in being able to defend herself has increased tremendously after just a few sessions with me. Just the mindset alone could prevent an attack. Sun Tzu said that to fight and conquer is not supreme excellence but rather supreme excellence is in breaking the enemy’s resistance without having to fight. The point I am making is that awareness of the environment and projected confidence and vitality in the body language will probably prevent an attack. Attackers and bullies are predators, which mean they seek easy targets.
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Right to Defend

People used to tell me before I came over to the country that reality martial arts would never make a big impact over here; that New Zealand is safe and is cut-off from the troubles of the world. What confuses and agitates me are the statistics of crime that I see and read about daily in the news. I feel overwhelmed and my sentiments are unable to keep up with the abomination of all the things happening lately in the news. I simply no longer see the idealic picture that was portrayed to me at the Work New Zealand Expo in London 6 years ago.

The dark side ofNew Zealand society in the back of my mind gives me a sense of dread. Dread about the future of my children and leaves me with anxieties about molestation by adults and the terror of a drug-addicted and criminal future. This emotional inadequacy or impotence against a boundless sea of troubles at times makes me doubt my own humanity.

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Warrior Reborn

Modern martial arts are something for people to show off their athletic prowess in sport fighting, board breaking and dramatic self defence demonstrations. It keeps the parents happy by providing a challenging activity for the kids; it fosters discipline and builds self-esteem. When the world witnessed spectacular terrorism of a few men armed with box cutters who managed to subdue planeloads of passengers; the reality of the types of issues normally faced by the Israelis began to manifest themselves globally. Many started to ponder exactly how they would cope with a weapon threat, and how they themselves could use simple tactics to facilitate escape and to use weapons of opportunity in their environment. Even before I got involved in Krav Maga my driving force has come from original expression and seeking the higher truth in martial arts. My bookcase is filled with books that I read and reread and DVDs which I have studied thoroughly. I have works by Geoff Thompson and Peyton Quinn providing anecdotal accounts of street and bar violence which also focus on tactics, training methodologies, and psychology of using martial arts in real-life situations. My library now also has lots of Krav Maga material, books and DVD’s that deal with pure military hand to hand skills as well as defence against armed assault. My aim is never to impress, frighten or antagonize but to share my own insight with like-minded people. When I started up in Rotorua rather than seeing a tourist resort famed for its mineral springs and natural beauty what I found was a small city with pockets of immigrant and Maori communities. I had ideas on how I wanted to promote and run my school; I had a heart full of passion and something to express or transmit. Starting my school was a bit like hurling myself at indomitable chaos and trying to yank and haul as much of it as possible into order and beauty using the only way I knew, through my skills and knowledge of the martial arts. Using the light of my own judgement I made contact with key people, arranged seminars, demonstrations and distributed advertising material.Rotorua’s historic Maori tours and exhibits bear witness to the fact that even amongst the most refined people there still is a fascination with ancient warrior culture that predates civilization. There is still an admiration for the elemental man; men capable of exceptional violence. We all recognize this as coming directly from human nature. Exercise and fitness fads come and go, but fighting arts communicate directly from the soul. The martial art skills bring to life the ghosts of those driven to fight to defend themselves from oppression or totalitarian injustice. The internet age is a very exciting time to be a martial artist we can all exchange thoughts and nurture ideas; those with a passion to learn have the eyes of mental experience spanning centuries of history thrust upon them at the push of a button.
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