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.Continue reading
Running Krav Maga got me working mostly with adults however the launch of the Taekwondo classes has once again got me working with kids. The last couple of weeks I have been working with the school kids of Rotorua Intermediate School promoting my school, and teaching basic Taekwondo and self defence moves. The energy and enthusiasm of the youngsters was tangible and to nurture and cultivate ability in people of an apt age to start martial arts training is one of the most rewarding experiences for any instructor in my opinion.
This has been a very rough start to the year for my hitching adventures. The plan was to go to places around New Zealand teaching and learning Martial arts as I go but this new found freedom ran into a few problems along the way. Timing, no one wanting to appear on camera, troubles with my laptop and mobile internet. However like most problems I have in my life all it takes is a little bit of training to relax the mind and find the solution.
Working with school kids has presented new opportunities for me as well as challenges. There is the organization and business savvy from running a martial arts school specializing in two distinct styles. There is the challenge of teaching kids survival skills from my favourite sport, teaching a new discipline as well as lecturing about being good citizens and never using the skills taught to them in the wrong way.
I have often wondered why some people seem to be natural-born victims. I think a lot of it comes down to denial. Denial is based on the trait of self-delusion. Many refuse to believe in the imminence of approaching injury or the possibility of their own death at the hands of some perpetrator. Often we look at others through our own eyes and often we cannot accept the fact that others may not see and feel the same way as ourselves. It is naïve not to realize that there are different people who think differently. Before the world was exposed to the horrors of the Holocaust there were those would refuse to believe in a network of murder factories killing Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, communists and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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.
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.
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.
It has been a dynamic year for Indomitable Mind Body Combat Academy with seminars, gradings, media exposure, blogging, organizing course and seminar content and the general running of the school has presented plenty of challenges and growth for me as an instructor. I have had some students make good progress and advancement. Consistency is the key as mentioned previously. The mental aspects of combat need to be practiced as well as the techniques to ingrain the indomitable spirit in the subconscious.