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' by Richard Cohen. I found it a strange practice in that there was no footwork, no body displacement, no closing distances or 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

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Mindfulness: taking time out for you

A great TED talk here from a guy called Andy Puddicombe about how we can bring meditation into out lives. It just takes 10 minutes a day! For me I often feel I don't have time for meditation. This video tells of Andy Puddicombe's story and gives a few tips about how to appreciate life, the present moment and how to make time for those ten minutes a day.

Mindfulness and being in the present moment is essential for the martial arts practitioner. Martial arts training can be really good at bringing us into the moment. Thinking of nothing else. There is nothing else, just the technique. Just the breath. Just the movement. No thought or at least a clear and alert mind. No thought I suppose is brain death! In this video Puddicombe highlights that mindfulness is about stepping back, with a "relaxed, focus mind". Nothingness can be a void…next step: sleep!

This constant training in the martial arts helps to relax and focus.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

New Year, new resolutions...

Exercise more this year…But is it worth it?

This BBC article claims that not everyone appreciates what level of activity or how often they should be doing exercise in order to see health benefits.

It also touches on Jamie Timmons' research into high intensity 3 minute weekly workouts. (Can three minutes of exercise a week make you fit?).

Whatever the health benefit I know I'll be back to a regular workout regime this year...because I like it.