Self Defense

Confidence Developed Through Training

I’d like to share with everyone a message I received from one of our female students this week. Afterward, be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for an important announcement!

Random fun story:

Last night I was the designated driver for a part bachelor party and part everyone get together for dinner and drinks. We parked in a random, not particularly well-lit garage. At the end of the night, the guys decided to continue the festivities and catch an uber back home.

So I was going to drive myself and another girl home. Her husband was not keen on us going home by ourselves. Honestly, I got annoyed and was trying to insist that we were fine.

Long story short, after thinking about it later, I realized that while of course, bad things could have happened, I felt capable of defending myself. I mean had the guy walked us to the car, I was more equipped to fight back than he was!

I’m not a fearful person, AT ALL! Mostly, I am just stubborn.

But last night was the first time I felt confident because of my skill set.

It was even hard to catch that I felt that way. I had to think about it for awhile because my actions were not any different than normal. I always would have resisted help because I’m just stubbornly independent and just would’ve believed that nothing was likely to happen.

In the deep parts of me, however, there is something slightly different now about how I feel about it.

These kinds of messages are some of the most fun for me to receive. I have also talked with female students after something physical actually happened, and while of course, I am incredibly proud of them for capably defending themselves, I would have much-preferred nothing ever happened.

We were talking last week about one of the differences between men and women training martial arts. Both will receive the confidence like in the story above in feeling capable of defending themselves, but it is a much more important skill set to develop for women.

Why?

For men, the majority of situations that we could find ourselves in could be avoided by not getting drunk, and keeping our egos in check. For example, I know that chances are much smaller that I’ll ever be in a street fight because I feel totally secure in walking away from some angry person that’s had a bad day (or life) and is taking it out on me.

We know that walking away from a fight is the best answer, for many reasons, but one of the most obvious is that you never know what could happen. The opponent could pull out a knife or gun for example and change the whole scenario!

For women, however, they are preyed on much more frequently than men. They can feel just as strongly about walking away from a fight and still be much more likely to be attacked than their male counterparts.

Therefore, we view empowering women with awareness, self-defense skills, strength, and confidence as one of our most important jobs.

 Female Black Belts at PMA!

Female Black Belts at PMA!


With that said, I’d like to announce our next free women’s self defense seminar on Saturday, April 28th from 3-5 PM!

As a treat for our blog readers, this is the first place we’ve announced the seminar because these fill up really quickly. You can reserve your spot now at the link below (it’s free, but a $20 deposit is required to hold the spot).

This edition of our popular women’s self-defense courses is going to focus on worst-case rape scenarios. We will spend the majority of the seminar on the ground learning how to survive and ultimately get away from the attacker.

It is open to ages 13 & up as always, but parents should keep in mind the mature content of the seminar when registering their children and we will require that a mom or female legal guardian participate in the seminar also.

Due to the content of this seminar, we will need to limit it to just 20 participants. Tell your friends, and don’t wait to sign up! Once we email this out to our database, it can sometimes fill up within a few minutes.

More info and register online:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/evade-escape-now-to-gain-safety-a-womens-self-defense-seminar-tickets-44235078310

Get Worse to Get Better

I want you to think back to the time in your life just before you began training martial arts and visualize a scenario in which you may have been attacked at that point in your life. 

Maybe you started training when you were a teenager, and a realistic scenario might be someone giving you a hard time in high school. 

Or maybe you started training martial arts during your twenties, and a realistic scenario might be someone that’s had a little too much to drink at the bar you’re at with some friends. 

Or maybe you began training in your forties, and a realistic scenario is that someone having a bad day has a case of road rage and gets out of the car to teach you a lesson!

Now, let’s imagine how that scenario goes down and how you might have responded to the attack, assuming that you can’t get away and the attack was physical. You haven’t learned how to throw a proper punch yet or how to parry a strike. You haven’t learned how to take down an aggressive opponent or escape from the mount. You haven’t learned how to prevent being killed by a knife-wielding attacker.

I am proposing that it’s possible you would have done better defending yourself in that scenario than you would have after taking a few martial arts classes.

“WHAT!?” “THAT’S OUTRAGEOUS!” “WHY AM I TRAINING THEN?”

Stay with me for a minute. The ultimate level of mastery in the martial arts is when we are performing the techniques taught to us without thought. In the Chinese arts, this is called “mushin.” 

It is highly unlikely that you will have achieved mastery with your martial arts abilities within a few months of training. Therefore if you are in the same scenarios we thought of above, but with a little bit of martial arts training, it is highly possible that you will hesitate and think about what you should do. What techniques are you going to use? 

In that moment of hesitation and thought, we could be overrun and beat up.

You may have fared better had you been attacked before you began your martial arts training because you would not have thought about what to do. When the attacker threw a punch, you would not have thought about how to block it because no one would have ever taught you how to block it. Therefore you would have just reacted with some flinch response. And whatever that response is, would have been better than hesitating while you were trying to come up with the perfect response.

Now, of course, there is still a high percentage chance you would not have handled the situation well without any training and be beat up or worse. All I'm saying is that it's possible that you could do worse with just a little training than had you done none at all.

good-plan.jpg

Over time, we will train your automatic responses to be effective and efficient responses of a martial arts master. These will eventually become your reflexes. How long?

Somewhere between 20 to 10,000 hours. 😉 More on that here - 

http://www.pmaoakridge.com/blog/hours

Bruce Lee used to explain this by saying that before you begin training, a punch is just a punch. Then, you start training and realize a punch is much more than you thought! You now are thinking about how you stand when you punch, how your body moves, which part of your fist to make contact with, what to do after you punch, and more! At some point, you train long enough that a punch goes back to just being a punch. Those other details are still there, of course, but they’ve reached the point of mushin which means you aren’t thinking about them anymore - you are just throwing a punch.

This level of skill is IMPOSSIBLE in the beginning stages of training as the techniques have not been repeated enough for this to be possible. It is for this reason that at our academy students do not spar with each other until later in their training when they have had an opportunity to develop a solid foundation of proper technique, control, and reflexes - which will then be enhanced by sparring, not hampered by it.

If caught in a scenario like the ones listed above, remember that all 3 of these were scenarios involving ego and can often easily be avoided. If you are caught in a scenario that cannot be avoided, try your best not to hesitate.

The key will be to just fight. 

What Style Do You Teach?

This is probably the second most popular question from prospective students walking into a dojo, second only to "How much do you charge?". At Progressive Martial Arts Academy, the easy answer to "What style do you teach?" is simple - Kenpo. At the heart of our method of teaching (FILKENJUTSU) is Kenpo. The thing is with Kenpo though, when you trace our lineage back to where our family of Kenpo (KAJUKENBO) got started, you find that even then they recognized one "style" didn't cut it. Hence the name KAJUKENBO, which is an acronym for many styles integrated into their method of teaching - KArate, JUdo and JUjitsu, KENpo, and Chinese BOxing.

While KAJUKENBO got started before Bruce Lee's heyday, Bruce Lee was a major contributor, if not the main contributor, to this idea of not being confined by your "style." Around his personal emblem or logo that he used for his method of teaching (Jeet Kune Do) were the words "using no way as way, having no limitation as limitation." He was one of the first to forget about trying to decide which "style" was better and just train to be the best martial artist you can be. This was the founding belief my father had behind both our method of teaching, FILKENJUTSU, and the name of our academy, Progressive Martial Arts.

So the next time you are talking to a friend, coworker, or family member and they ask what style of martial arts that you train in, you have to make a choice: "Should I give them the easy answer or the real answer?" Either one is okay! Decide which one they want to hear, and go with that. If you have the time to explain the above and tell them about all of the "styles" involved in our method of teaching, that's great. If not, just go with the easy answer and tell them Kenpo, Karate, Jiu Jitsu or something along those lines.

And if they have 30 minutes to spare, you can send them to the PMAOakRidge YouTube channel to watch my family's presentation on our method of teaching. Here it is if you haven't seen it yet:

Remember the Environment!

Don’t let the title fool you, this is not a post about going green or saving the planet; this post is about self-defense. Many people are aware of the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, more commonly referred to as MMA. This form of martial arts competition is a sport. A fun sport to watch no doubt, but it is just that – a sport.

It incorporates techniques from various martial arts, but it is not the total martial arts package. With that said, what I want to address today is the importance of the environment in martial arts.

Why do you train martial arts? Many of you are in it to learn self defense. While the techniques presented in MMA and the UFC are some of the same techniques we teach at our academy (Progressive Martial Arts Academy in Oak Ridge, TN), we will also teach you how to defend yourself with and against weapons, with and against grabs and strikes not legal in competition, and with consideration of other various factors that separate competition and reality.

For example, in a real life-threatening situation, you will not be on a soft mat or canvas floor. You will be faced with the reality of concrete surfaces that may be littered with broken glass, rocks, nails or even covered with rain. This is not a very forgiving surface to land on. Your opponent will be wearing more than spandex shorts and gloves. It’s possible that you will be shoved against a wall or grabbed from behind by a surprise attacker. Your environment may present objects that both you and your opponent could use as weapons. There may be a curb stone right behind you that, after successfully holding off your attacker, you trip over, giving them time to recover and attack again!

These kind of things make training how to safely fall, roll and stand back up some of the most important self defense techniques you will ever learn. Maybe even more importantly is training to make sure that you don’t end up on the ground at all, where in competition that might have been your strong suit.

Just something to keep in mind – be prepared for reality.

I am a woman. I am empowered.

I am many things.  Rash.  Romantic.  Sarcastic.  Compassionate.  Impatient.  Funny.  Short tempered.  And I’m a woman.  But my gender doesn’t define me; it isn’t all that I am.  So when a gentleman holds the door for me, I appreciate it.  When he offers to carry my groceries, I say thank you.  When he compliments me, I smile.

Because I know I can walk through a door without help, I know I am strong enough to carry my own groceries, and I know that if he becomes too forward, I can destroy him.  A gentleman may treat me a certain way because I am a woman, but I choose to react the way I do because I am more than that.  I am an empowered woman.

Some people might look at me, see a woman, and think weak.  But when I look in the mirror, I see a woman and think capable.  Because I can style my curls like a professional and I can work a dress like a runway model, but I can also grapple like a division one wrestler, throw an opponent like an Olympian throws a javelin, and choke out a man twice my size like…well, like a capable 24 year old woman who is also rash, romantic, sarcastic, compassionate, inpatient, funny, and short tempered. I am sarcastic because I appreciate dry humor and wit.  I am compassionate because I have feeling and heart.  I am emboldened because I train in self-defense.

I am a woman.  I am empowered.  And I am not afraid.  What about you, ladies?

The Art of Fighting without Fighting

This is one of my favorite martial arts movie scenes of all time. If you haven’t seen the movie “Enter the Dragon” starring Bruce Lee, please stop reading this post and come back when you have. In this scene Lee demonstrates the art of fighting without fighting.

This idea of avoiding conflict even when provoked and prepared to defend yourself is demonstrated by Bruce Lee in this scene. If Bruce Lee, the man considered by many to be the greatest martial artist of all time, is avoiding conflict, shouldn’t we also strive to do so?

“To win the fight without fighting, that is the true goal of a martial artist.” – Professor Nick Cerio

This concept seems to be lost in the martial arts world, and the rise in popularity of the UFC and MMA is only spreading the problem. Martial arts should teach real self defense that can be used in real confrontations. Martial arts should also teach a student to avoid conflict whenever possible, and definitely not to encourage it! My father posted a video earlier today, and discussed this exact topic on his Facebook page.

WARNING: the content of this video is mature as it contains strong violence. Click here to watch. Be sure to read his commentary to understand the scenario because the video is not in English.

5 Steps to Handling a Bully

CounterBully by Progressive Martial Arts Academy

School has started back here in Oak Ridge, and, unfortunately, that means many children are waking up each morning fearful of coming face to face with a bully in their school. We hope your child is not one who has to confront this fear each and every day, but the sad reality is that many do!

Here are 5 strategic steps to follow if your child is experiencing bullying:

  1. Stand Up for Themselves - Right away establish that the behavior being demonstrated by the bully is not acceptable. Your child needs to make eye contact with the bully and tell them firmly to stop. Unfortunately, most children will not do this out of fear of injury if things escalate physically. This is where martial arts training comes in!
  2. Tell a Teacher - Make sure your child knows to report any bullying incidents to a teacher. Here, they also must practice making eye contact and speaking like an adult. We need clear, concise statements to bring the problem to the teacher's awareness. Whining will not get the job done - confident and respectful communication is key.
  3. Talk to You - If bullying continues after standing up for themselves and telling a teacher (which it often will), your child needs to know that they can and should have a strong line of communication with their parents. Ask them about their day, what's troubling them, and make sure you listen when they bring you their concerns.
  4. Bring It to the Principal - Depending on the severity, sometimes it will now fall into your hands to bring the issue to the principal's attention. Keep in mind that their plates are full of many issues going on at school, so a calm but concerned approach is necessary here to make sure they are aware of what is going on with your child.
  5. Back to Rule #1 - When all else fails, your child needs to be prepared to stand up for themselves. Unfortunately, even after parents, teachers and principals have been involved, bullies may still continue to harass your child (they'll just wait until they're alone)! Ultimately your child is the only one that will always be present when the bullying occurs. Giving them the physical and mental tools they need to stand up for themselves can do miracles for their confidence, peace, and happiness at school. This will lead to better grades and an overall happier, healthier, and more confident child. 

There is one more HUGE tactic that we can bring into our school systems to combat bullying and that is reaching as many kids as we can with our CounterBully program. This program teaches children the steps outlined above, but most importantly dives deeper into the root cause of bullying, why it exists and what we can do when we see it happening. We offer this seminar as a free service to our community.

Click the link below to sign you and your child up for our upcoming FREE CounterBully seminar or contact us at (865)481-8901 to host a CounterBully seminar at your school.


Upcoming Seminar - https://www.eventbrite.com/e/counterbully-seminar-tickets-27185958935