Friday, 4 April 2014

Guinness World Record for Breaking Tiles

Congratulations to Lisa Dennis's Guinness record on tile-breaking! She smashed 1000 roof tiles in 83.98 seconds. Although I respect this woman I don't feel that breaking is particularly useful and is something I've never really enjoyed doing. Does any martial artist really look forward to breaking tests? I've broken tiles, bricks and wooden boards but I don't think it's necessary for testing *martial arts* prowess.

She's got guts, that's for sure and a fighting spirit which are both needed for martial arts development but you can do this without smashing tiles. Equally you can prove you have these qualities in other ways more related to martial arts practice.

The line we were fed when told to break masonry was that we had to prove the 'destructive' power of our technique and to do this we had to smash through a variety of building materials in a kind of frenzied demolition exercise. I'm sure I've destroyed the equivalent of a garden outhouse in my time but for what purpose?

It hurts, it damages your bones and gives you calluses on your hands. We train our bodies so that when we need it in a self defence situation we are ready but actually I aim to never get into a situation where I need to use it. It would have to be a case where I was pushed into a corner and I was physically threatened. As I said though my aim is to avoid this and up to now, it has worked.

I'm sure the work I put into training my body in technique and body movement would compensate for slightly softer knuckles.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Karate is not about beating up the other guy

I didn't say this, Geoff Thompson did…
Check out this interview / lecture. Fascinating insights into one man's journey in the martial arts and how it can help you to master your fears.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Exercise reduces dementia

BBC article here.

"Exercise 'significant role' in reducing risk of dementia, long-term study finds"

…so keep on doing that thing folks! It'll not only help fight the flab but also protect your brain. It's just one more reason to keep on exercising (as if we needed one!).

Over my many years of training I've found martial artists to be particularly driven in what they do and very often they don't need a 'reason' to go to training; it just happens. It's cold outside, it's raining, you're bored with your training schedule at the moment but still…you go.

And now you can rest assured that it's doing you good in lots of other ways you never thought about before.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Tae Kwon Do Nun!

Yeah you read that right. It's a nun who kicks ass in the name of the Lord! No I'm not blaspheming, it really is the story of a black belt nun who gives tae kwon do lessons in Singapore to kids recovering from cancer.

Linda Sim sounds a redoubtable woman and a caring person who has dedicated her life to helping others first, as a nun, and now through martial arts.

A touching story and an illustration of how martial arts gets under your skin and stays with you. Regardless of how long you spend away from any given martial art that you once dedicated yourself to,  something still remains.

Picture reference: BBC

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Be grounded like the….robot!


Check out this military, humanoid robot and its abilities to not only walk across uneven ground but can also balance and resist attempts to push it over.

It's interesting to see it make tiny adjustments to balance its centre of gravity just like a human would. As martial artists we do this all the time: thinking about being grounded, centred and having the flexibility to change our position in different environments.

From the videos I've seen it isn't able to do a mawashi geri


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Yoga for prisoners, and commuters

"We're really responding to a need the prisoners are expressing for something to help them with the tremendous amount of mental strain and mental pressure that they're under," says Sam Settle, the charity's director.

Well if it cuts the strain and mental pressure of prison life then yoga has something to say to the millions of people who are put under stress and strain by their daily commute! Yoga is time to empty out the stress and just sense your body. Time away from all that other crap. It's great to stretch and to feel your sinews, your bones, your blood flowing.

Plus it can have added benefits as ex-con 'Nick', says:
"Nick, who spent six years in Villa Devoto, has no scientific evidence to offer. But he's convinced that yoga saved his life."

If a scumbag drugs-baron can turn his life around with yoga, there's hope for us all!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

German 'Mensur' fencing profile: a student's tale.

I first read about 'Mensur' as a sport in a book about sword fencing: By the Sword buy Richard Cohen. I found it a strange practice in that there was no footwork, no body displacement, no closing distances and strategy. To me it seemed just like a whacking match! Two opponents stand almost toe to toe and whack each other with live swords. Nils Hempel explains in the BBC article that it is much more about self-discipline and honour. Here he talks intelligently and openly about why he studies Mensur, although he doesn't mention anything about unprotected sword fighting and the pride of a Mensur scar...

An older video showing a Mensur duel