pma

Tournament Recap - NAGA Atlanta 2018

Our kids had a great weekend in Atlanta! There were so many hard fought battles and great memories made. With each tournament, I am more and more impressed with their effort, skill, and most importantly - character. I couldn’t be more proud as their teacher!

We posted videos and pictures all of last week on our social media pages, so I thought I’d gather them all up here in one place for you in case you missed some!


Connor (in grey rash guard) slaps on a perfect Anaconda choke in his first match of the day in the Advanced Kids division! He went on to use the same choke with the same result in the finals!


Connor gets his second anaconda choke of the day. I haven’t seen a kid go to sleep in a tournament before, so having it happen twice in the same tournament was pretty crazy. For those concerned, both kids were okay!


6 month’s ago, Grace had to face a big challenge when she stepped up to fight in a boy’s division at her very first tournament. She lost her matches at that tournament, but came back with tremendous experience to build off of - today she picked up two submissions and earned first place in her division!

The wins and medals aren’t why we do this. These competitions for kids help them learn so much about themselves and how to find the spirit and confidence to persevere through such difficult challenges. We had many great performances this weekend - in both wins and losses. And Grace was one of our stand outs!


Look out because here she comes.

This was a big tournament for Maggie. She has improved so much in the last few months, but primarily in one area - starting off strong and bringing the fight to her opponent for the full match.

She demonstrates tremendous skill, heart, and effort in this clip (including a textbook guillotine escape), but what you don’t see are the hours of hard practices she put in to get there. She made huge strides in class with her training partners, and decided she was going to fight differently this tournament.

This is Maggie!

ps - she loved training to this song so we had to throw that in the video.


Ty had some of the toughest matches of the day, and was our vote for the MVP this tournament. He won with mental toughness and good position. I’ll share a couple of videos so you can see the intensity that his opponent’s brought, but has one of our parent coaches said - Ty has ice water in his veins.

In this match he has to overcome a tight Kimura submission, fight back to tie it up before time runs out, and then win in overtime. Please excuse the camera being off occasionally, we were a little preoccupied with the match!

His mental fortitude was they key element, and his physical preparation in the months prior to this are what seals the deal. All of those early Saturday morning practices doing their job…


Here’s another quick one! Grace gets her second submission of the day with a back take from the closed guard and a Mata Leao (Rear Naked Choke).


Alex demonstrated excellent top control and continues to showcase more control and confidence with every tournament. Our team is full of kids that are extremely coachable. We’ve built a great relationship between our coaches and kids, and you can see it in how well they receive guidance and make adjustments mid-match.

This relationship is built on respect, openness, and trust.


Aiden worked really hard on his strategy and position over the last few months and executed it so well in this match.

Watching the whole team takes such big leaps forward from tournament to tournament is an amazing process to be a part of.


Here's a longer highlight of PMA's whole team - we have a little bit of each kid in this video. Our team took 21 competitors to this tournament, with 1 teammate that missed out this time (Mack), as he was in Houston competing with his robotics team at the world championship!

There is footage from both wins and losses in this video. Our kids know that the coaches are just as happy with a win or a loss as long as we get two things - they have fun and give us a perfect effort. And in that regard, we were 21 for 21 this trip.

These kids will remember how tired they were for a few weeks, they’ll remember their matches for a few months, but they will keep the memories of their time together with their team forever!

The Competition Team came back and celebrated last week, and they are right back on the mats training! A little tired, a little sore, but ready to go.

And we had them pose for one last picture with their medals and swords from another incredible trip!

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FAQ - What is a Red Belt?

One of the purposes of this blog is to answer some of the frequently asked questions from our students, parents, and others interested in the martial arts, self-defense, or just health and fitness.

In the martial arts world, one of the things that people are often most curious about is the belt system. What do the different colors mean? How long does it take to get them? Why do various arts have different colors?

Today, let’s take a minute to clear up the Red Belt.

In some Korean martial arts, you will see a red belt used as one of the standard colors leading up to the Black Belt. That is not the red belt that we are discussing today. The red belt that everyone is curious about is the one you see the “old guys” sometimes wearing.

Different martial arts use it in different ways, but most commonly, you will see the red belt worn by someone who has reached 10th degree in their particular style. 10th degree is the highest rank achievable.

Two of the primary martial arts taught at Progressive Martial Arts Academy are Kenpo and Jiu Jitsu. Specifically FILKENJUTSU Kenpo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Kenpo has many different groups, and all have decided on different ways of using the ranks and colors. In our method of teaching Kenpo (FILKENJUTSU), we do not currently use the red belt. 

For example, the highest ranking Black Belt in our family, is my father, Bruce Corrigan. He is the only 10th degree Black Belt in FILKENJUTSU and is the founder of our method of teaching. He prefers to just wear the Black Belt with ten stripes (or even just a plain Black Belt!). He also has a Black Belt with a red border which denotes that he is the founder/head of the family.

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, at 7th degree the belt worn is red and black, at 8th degree it is red and white, and at 9th and 10th degree it is red. Check out this trailer for an upcoming documentary done by BJJ Hacks on the Red Belts - 

For more on belt ranks and instructor titles check out these posts:

Ranks and Titles, Part 1 - http://www.pmaoakridge.com/blog/ranks

Ranks and Titles, Part 2 - http://www.pmaoakridge.com/blog/titles

The Importance of the Black Belt - http://www.pmaoakridge.com/blog/blackbelt

The Black Belt Problem - http://www.pmaoakridge.com/blog/theblackbeltproblem

I did a breakdown of our different colors for our YouTube channel a couple of years ago too - 

At the end of the day, your belt is used to keep your gi (uniform) together. We often place a little too much importance on what color it is. And at a time when many martial arts have been watered down, and promotions have been sold rather than earned, what is most important is that you are training with a good teacher who also has legitimate training.

Wait, if you're reading this you are training, right? If not, please call me NOW at (865)481-8901 or email me at dcorrigan@pmaoakridge.com and schedule a FREE private introductory lesson. 

It is free, and there is no obligation to keep training afterward. Come see for yourself why this will be the best decision you've ever made.

That's enough for now, see you on the mat!

What are some of your questions? Comment on Facebook or email them to me at dcorrigan@pmaoakridge.com and I'll try to cover them in future posts!

2017 PMA Year in Review

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is one of my favorites of the entire year. After getting extra time with family for Christmas, we have a week to look back on the past year and plan for the year ahead.

This year was full of many good memories, but I’ll take just a minute to highlight some of my standouts and then the video can do a pretty good job with the rest!

February 2017 - Gary Hall and Linda Davis were promoted to Black Belt in FILKENJUTSU Kenpo!

April 2017 - We took our Youth Competition Team to NAGA Atlanta, and they earned 6th place at their first significant tournament!

May 2017 - Brittany Corrigan and Kristie Fox finished their instructor training program/test, and became official PMA instructors!

May 2017 - Brittany, Charlie, and I had the opportunity to spend 11 days in Brazil, with our close friends Felipe and Ana, and their son Bento. This trip will forever be one of our greatest adventures and favorite memories. We can’t thank Felipe enough for bringing us to his home and showing us his city.

July 2017 - PMA students took a field trip over to my Dad's dojo in Knoxville to surprise him during his class for his birthday!

September 2017 - My brother, Nick, and his wife, Kylie, welcomed their first child, RJ Corrigan, into the world!

October 2017 - PMA’s Youth Competition Team brought home 2nd place at the NAGA Tennessee Grappling Championship out of 38 teams!

November 2017 - Sempai Madelyn Fowler competed in her first tournament and brought home the silver medal at the NAGA North Carolina Grappling Championships in her No-Gi division, and the gold medal in her gi division!

I liked competing when I was a child and young adult, but it never became a love of mine. However, coaching Jiu Jitsu has genuinely become one of my favorite aspects of my life. This year, we have had some incredible performances from our students (in both wins and losses), and I couldn’t be more proud!

December 2017 - Progressive Martial Arts Academy turned 15 years old! And December couldn't have been a better month. Brittany Corrigan and Kristie Fox were promoted to Black Belt in FILKENJUTSU Kenpo! And Austin and Eli Fox were promoted to Junior Black Belt, along with many other students earning their next rank this month. We closed out the year with a wonderful holliday party, and some fun last classes of the year. For the kids class, we had 60 kids out on the mat together! 

Here are our Top 10 songs played from 2017 at PMA (dominated by Imagine Dragons this year!):

1. Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man
2. Believer by Imagine Dragons    
3. Whatever It Takes by Imagine Dragons
4. Thunder by Imagine Dragons    
5. Shape of You by Ed Sheeran
6. Rise Up by Imagine Dragons
7. Stay by Zedd & Alessia Cara
8. Something Just Like This by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
9. Hard Times by Paramore
10. Shine on Me by Dan Auerbach

You can listen to the playlist while working out this week and getting ready for the new year here: 

 https://itunes.apple.com/us/playlist/pmas-top-10-songs-of-2017/pl.u-LRyv4IBkmEE

We had a crew of senior students and instructors in over the holiday break helping us update the dojo a little bit, so get excited about a new look when you come in next week! Thank you so, so much to the people that helped us out with that - you know who you are! :-)

We expect incredible things out of 2018, and can’t wait to share it on the mat with all of you.

Now, enjoy this video to wrap up 2017.

Happy New Year!

David Corrigan
Owner/Chief Instructor
Progressive Martial Arts Academy

The Dynamics of Our Kenpo

Many years ago, long before the term “Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)” was ever coined, this logo was designed.

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 I chose the triangle to represent strength and improvement.  A triangle represents structural strength, but it is also the mathematical symbol (delta) for incremental change.  This change is what a good martial artist must continuously seek as necessary to remain effective.  However, change doesn’t mean that you abandon your art for another – through the process of refinement and change, you make your art stronger and better.  In my case; Kenpo.

The three characters on the triangle represent the base concepts that develop the dynamics of my Kenpo. 

The kickboxer represents the use of constant and energetic movement along with the inclusion of aspects from every possible philosophy of kickboxing/boxing, i.e. western boxing, Pananjakman, Panantuken, Savate, American rules, European, Thai – and whatever else the future brings.

The Kali warrior represents the dynamics of weapons; not in the form of just memorizing a weapons kata, but complete integration.  This integration means – if I can do it empty hands, I can do it with weapons and vice versa.  Weapons training will also significantly develop the awareness of range and entry into combat.

The ground-fighters not only represent the full integration of ground and throwing arts, but also represent the study and mastery of the points of transition from vertical combat to horizontal combat and horizontal back to vertical.

The center of the triangle contains the symbol “taijitu.”  The color of this particular version of the symbol represents Jeet Kune Do (JKD).  JKD is the root of the inspiration that “started it all,” and opened my path to acceptance, redesign, and change while still maintaining the art of Kenpo.  This symbol also represents “integration to create one.”   That means we don’t practice each art as a separate way but practice one art (Kenpo) that incorporates aspects of arts with other origins and primary focus.

However, and probably more importantly, the taijitu (Yin & Yang) represents the natural balance of traditional with modern.  If you only accept the modern and discard the proven methods of traditional arts or the way Kenpo develops a way of life which includes ethics, benevolence, warrior tradition, and health – you lose balance and meaning.

Martial arts and combat sports. Which is better?

At our academy in Oak Ridge, we teach a few martial arts. These arts, when combined, prepare a student for every empty-handed scenario (no weapons) that they could find themselves in if in a self-defense situation, and most attacks involving weapons too. Specifically, we teach FILKENJUTSU Kenpo, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), Filipino Kali, Jeet Kune Do, and Kickboxing. Or as we like to call it a "Full House!" There are 3 K’s or Kings (Kenpo, Kali, and Kickboxing) and 2 J’s or Jacks (Jiu Jitsu and Jeet Kune Do), a "full house" in poker. 

This weekend I will be taking our Youth Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Competition Team (that's some of them in the picture above after our last tournament) to their next grappling tournament - a combat sport. So I thought I'd spend this post discussing the difference between a martial art and a combat sport. What are the pros and cons of each? By the end, I hope you can tell the differences between them and distinguish whether you’d prefer to be training in one over the other, or both!

We often talk about there being five steps to learning a martial art:

  1. Learn
  2. Practice
  3. Master
  4. Functionalize
  5. Maintain

Here’s a quick video briefly explaining each step if you want to learn more:

At the “functionalize” phase, sparring becomes a crucial part of training. This is when two martial artists engage in a "live" training exercise where they are both attempting to use their techniques on the other, simulating some element of a real fight. 

Since each art tends to focus on specific areas of the fight (punching, kicking, grappling, weapons, etc.), rules are put on these sparring drills to make them more focused on the techniques taught in that particular martial art. These rules can be both good and bad. 

The good is that the techniques themselves get much more refined and efficient for that specific ruleset, often leading to a more effective way of performing the technique. That is the core reason Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the most effective martial arts on the planet - the heavy amounts of live sparring, or "rolling" as BJJ practitioners like to call it, has led to the techniques being refined and perfected generation after generation to an extremely high level of effectiveness. 

The bad is that sometimes the student becomes too comfortable with the specific ruleset for the particular sparring drills of his art.

In most cases tournaments start to pop up as a way for students of these arts to test their abilities against other martial artists that train in other places around the world. This provides a unique opportunity to not only test your skill set against other martial artists but, more importantly, to learn about yourself and how you handle stress and adrenaline. These tournaments have rules, and often the academies that participate slowly but inevitably adapt their curriculum and techniques to this specific ruleset to have more success at these championships.

This process has happened multiple times with multiple martial arts, and ultimately led to many “martial arts” being taught purely as “combat sports.” Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are all perfect examples of this process.

 Interestingly, what sometimes leads to more success in the tournaments can bring an art’s “street effectiveness” down. How can this be? Wouldn’t it make sense that if the original goal of sparring was to be able to perfect or functionalize their techniques that it could only serve to make them more effective in a fight?

Unfortunately, no.

What happens instead is that over time the techniques themselves are adapted to fit the specific ruleset for the tournament they are fighting in.

For example in basic Tae Kwon Do sparring competitions the rules are:

“Kicks are allowed to the torso and head. Punches are allowed to the torso. Kicks below the belt and strikes with any part of the hand other than the knuckles are not allowed. Points are awarded for solid kicks and punches to valid target areas as long as the attacker stays on their feel (i.e., no falling down).”

This specific ruleset made the stance, movement, and strikes of Tae Kwon Do stylists adapt to being good for this format but extremely vulnerable to other techniques that wouldn’t be allowed in this form of competition such as leg kicks.

In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, no striking is allowed - only grappling. And therefore, students that only train for this specific ruleset are often not prepared for the realities of a real confrontation when their opponent would be throwing strikes.

One of the most recent examples in the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) community was a rule that fighters could not be kneed or kicked in the head if at least one hand was on the ground. This led to fighters intentionally putting themselves in positions that would completely expose them to a knee or kick to the head in a real fight, but their opponent couldn’t take advantage of them because of the rule.

Obviously, the rules are put in place to protect the athletes, but in doing so, they are also changing the way that participants will prepare for these competitions. That is neither good or bad, just fact.

Here is what’s outlined in the “Martial Arts Catalogue” on the difference between art and sport:

“Art, as the word applies to martial arts, is the specific application of skill in perfect traditional form. Sport, which has come to be considered the antithesis of art, is the specific application of skill to obtain effective results.”

So, what do you do about it? Is one better than the other? Should you train a martial art or a combat sport?

The key is to ask yourself first why are you training? 

For most individuals, a martial art is at least where they should start. They are often interested in learning to defend themselves, getting in shape, relieving some stress, maybe meeting some new people, and having fun. A martial art can be perfect for this.

Unfortunately, they have to be careful as many schools that claim to teach an art such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu even, really focus the majority (or all) of their time on the combat sport side of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Therefore a new student that is interested in learning to defend himself will be spending the majority of his time preparing for a ruleset that he doesn’t have any interest in trying to become a competitor in and not preparing for the realities of self-defense.

As an academy, we try to be very clear about what we teach so that the students are receiving exactly what they are looking for. 

This weekend, I’ll be taking our competition team to a grappling tournament (combat sport) that they have been training for separately from their regularly scheduled group classes in the martial arts that they are learning. Here's one of our kids at their last tournament in April. He's the one in the PMA gold shirt and is only 8 years old. Watch the determination and skill presented and imagine how talented he will be as an adult if he spends the next 10 years of his childhood perfecting these skills!

I hope this helps someone navigate the sometimes tricky path of finding a martial art (or combat sport!) to take up learning, and the right academy to do it at. I hate that martial artists feel such a need to put down one or the other, as there is a space and niche audience for both. Traditional martial artists like to point out the flaws in the sportive side for not being “street” enough, and sport practitioners often point out that traditional arts aren’t “live” enough. When in reality, there is a place for both.

We can all learn to be a little more understanding, compassionate, and open-minded towards others. Especially in this crazy world we seem to be living in right now. Let’s leave our egos behind, try to keep making the best decisions for our personal journey, and let others have the freedom to do what they think is best without your criticism.

There is nothing wrong with a healthy discussion or even argument, but this pick a side and be closed minded to anything that might potentially mean that we've been even a little wrong about something has got to stop. After all, do any of us really have all of the answers?

The Underlying Reason We Never Change

We want to eat healthily…but we love good food.

We want to exercise…but we like to be lazy.

We want to quit smoking…but will probably just pick up another cigarette.

We want to quit drinking too much…but enjoy drinking.

We want to save money…but enjoy our lifestyle.

We want to eat more veggies…but chips taste better.

We want to read a book…but we love watching TV.

We want to take care of our planet…but still waste because it’s easy.

We want to live in the moment…but are always looking at our screens.

We want to be happy…but we are satisfied with just okay.

We want to make a change…but are ambivalent to do so.

Think about your own life and all of the things within it that you’d like to change. Do you see both reasons to change and reasons not to? If yes, you are not alone. This ambivalence is widespread for us humans, but the good news is that if you are at this stage, you are at least heading in the right direction.

You can view the steps to making a change as:

1. Someone needs to make a change, but they don’t see why.

2. Someone needs to make a change, and they see why, but also see reasons why things should stay the same.

3. Someone needs to make a change, chooses a path to move in that direction, and follows it (no matter what).

Today we are talking about step 2 - the ambivalence stage. This stage is where people get stuck for a long time trying to make a change. It seems with every step you take in the right direction, you are pulled back towards the other side by seemingly good reasons and arguments on why things should stay the same. We like them that way, and they are comfortable, easy, and enjoyable.

I’m here to tell you that is completely normal. Inside you though, you know that a change needs to happen. You know the lifestyle that you want to curate for yourself and long for it frequently.

When you’re ready to move from step 2 to step 3, you will finally make that change. When you are fed up with being ambivalent, you will pick a path out of your old ways and follow it. You won’t let the talk inside your head bring you back to sustaining the old habits. Until then, expect to remain stuck at the ambivalent stage.

When you are ready, willing, and able to move on, you will go for it. When you go for it, you will slip and fall and take steps backward. That is okay. You need to have an unlimited re-do button that you just hit over and over again (we call this the clean slate policy). You have to! Because if you are actually struggling with ambivalence, even when you finally decide to make a change, you will double back and fail. 

But what am saying you know this already, right? How many times have you tried to ________________? We often make statements like, “I’m not going to eat any more junk food.” But of course, we inevitably eat junk food (sometimes embarrassingly close to when we just swore it off). Without the clean slate policy, we just give up. We assume we aren’t capable of making the change and just quit…until we get fed up with ourselves enough to try again.

So, what have you been longing to change? Are you ready? Are you willing? Are you able? Are you fed up enough to finally say “I’ve had enough” and do something about it? This time, it’s not going to be a start and stop. This time when you decide to make that change, stick with it for life. Go down that path away from the old habit and no matter how many times you fall, get back up and try again.

“To Fall Seven Times. To Rise Eight Times. Life Begins Now.” - Daruma


Towards the end of this year, we will begin accepting both male and females into our nutrition and lifestyle coaching program again. Our next group will start on Monday, January 1, 2018.

Input your name and email address below to be one of the first to receive notification when we begin accepting this next group.

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Meet the Candidates

In May of 2016, two of PMA's Filkenjutsu students, Gary Hall and Linda Davis, were selected as Black Belt candidates and have since been preparing for their Black Belt Test. The date is set for Friday, February 17 - Sunday, February 19, 2017.

Check out these videos from earlier in their training to meet the candidates and learn a little more about their stories.

Gary Hall - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-nuDqrrH3fU

These Black Belt Candidates hope to have their friends and family on Sunday, February 19th witness their ceremony and take part in a luau to celebrate this tremendous achievement.

The final day of the test is a public demonstration of their acquired skills, and all of those in attendance will serve as witnesses to the promotion. Students are encouraged to attend with their friends and family members (adults and children) to observe the final day of this incredible journey.

Details and Reserve Your Seats - https://goo.gl/eeabvN

Purpose

In everything we do in life, having a sense of purpose is one of the most important and rewarding aspects of any activity. The presence or lack of purpose can make or break your success. Stay with me, and I will tie this together with martial arts, New Year's resolutions and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Let’s start with the latter. In January of 2015, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier came into their fight with a significant amount of “bad blood,” and the feud between the two of them was frequently marketed to sell the program. Jon Jones was the reigning champion of the Light Heavyweight division and was ranked as the number 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Daniel Cormier was undefeated coming into the fight and posed a significant threat to Jon’s belt because of a great wrestling background and intense style.

Jones dominated most aspects of the bout - including the clinch and takedown portion that DC, as a wrestler, should have capitalized on. The champion won the fight via unanimous decision and continued to show us that he is one of the best fighters, if not the best fighter, we have ever seen. What I want to discuss is that immediately following the final bell, Jones made a tasteless gesture towards Daniel Cormier. Jones himself described the act as "classless" in the post-fight interview.

The reason I bring this up is to discuss the purpose of the gesture (which is probably pretty clear - to insult his opponent and show his dislike for Daniel Cormier) and also his purpose for fighting in the UFC. If his purpose is solely for selfish gain (money, fame, pride, testing his abilities, etc.), then I guess the “classless” gestures don’t matter much. If he is fighting for a purpose bigger than himself (being a role model/inspiration, providing for his family, etc.), than I think his victory would be sweeter without the negatives gestures. The same goes for Ronda Rousey, who flipped off an opponent after defeating her, and the countless other fighters we’ve seen make unsportsmanlike gestures or remarks after the fight.

Before I go any further, this is not a judgment of Jon Jones, Ronda Rousey, or any other fighters. I have never fought in a Mixed Martial Arts fight, so I wouldn't understand how high the emotions are running. Maybe these gestures are adrenaline-fueled reactions that just come with the territory. I understand the trash-talk leading up to the fights to build excitement and sell tickets, and I know that sometimes they honestly don’t like each other (which seems to be the case this time). I also get that some fighters might have to build up this dislike to go in the cage and fight with enough tenacity to pull off the win as some people would find it difficult to hurt another person intentionally.

You can see that Jones has at least thought about the impact he can have outside of the octagon if you listen to or read some of his interviews and statements. In one such instance, Jones discussed another great fighter who returns next month, Anderson Silva, and the effects of his two devastating back-to-back losses to Chris Weidman:

“It was just sad. I know how long Anderson Silva’s been working to be who he is…It’s not supposed to end that way. What I’m hoping is that people remember Anderson for all of the magnificent things he’s done, all the lives he’s touched, all the people he’s inspired, and I’m hoping that Anderson just stays away from the sport and continues to be an inspiration outside of the octagon. Not fight again. Anderson can do seminars, he can do motivational speaking, he can help all the kids in Brazil. I mean, he’s such an idol. His greatness has just begun.” (http://mmajunkie.com/2014/02/jon-jones-hopes-anderson-silva-just-stays-away-from-the-sport)

So if Jones has the same ambitions for his career, is giving the “suck it” symbol to his opponent after the fight the way he wants to be viewed? What about Ronda flipping the bird? In both of these instances, there was a lot of bad blood leading up to the event, and the gestures came after an intense fight, filled with emotion and adrenaline. So my question is, would you enjoy these matches more without the “classless” remarks and gestures? Or do you think they are just part of the game? If the purpose is to inspire others and improve lives, I think doing so with the respect and discipline of a real martial artist would make a bigger impact than petty retaliation.

My brother, Nick Corrigan, once fought a professional Mixed Martial Arts fight, and he gets more amped by adrenaline than anyone I have ever seen (as you will see if you watch this video). At the end of the fight, however, you will not see any “classless” gestures. Instead, you will see him help his opponent up, shake his hand, and go back after the fight one more time to make sure he is ok. That image inspires me ten times more than watching an athlete getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars flip the bird or give the “suck it” gesture after winning their fight.

In case you haven't seen it, here’s my brother’s fight - it’s an old video I uploaded on MySpace many years ago so I can only get it to play in the FireFox browser -

https://myspace.com/pmaoakridge/video/instructor-nick-nicki-spandex-corrigan/8963284

So for your resolutions, have you considered how purpose could help you stay motivated? I think it’s been well documented how much we fail when it comes to our resolutions. Most Americans have good intentions, even if they aren’t “resolutions,” for the New Year, but studies say we will have lost that vision by Valentine’s Day! Maybe knowing your purpose can help this year.

For example, hitting a weight loss goal can be tough when all you are looking at is the number on a scale. If you stay focused on the reasons for being healthier and getting in better shape, you might find it easier to stay on track. That is why we put so much emphasis on the Martial Arts Way of Life in the Corrigan family and at Progressive Martial Arts. Remembering that it is a way of life helps to keep us motivated to get back on the mat every single week!

Black Belt might be one short-term goal, but martial arts training is SO much bigger than that. If you miss class one day, get back on the mat the next. If something disastrous happens in your life that causes you to stop training for an extended period, get back on the mat as soon as possible. Make exercise part of your lifestyle, and you will reap the benefits over and over in every aspect of your life - living healthier, happier, being more confident and content in everything that you do. In the big picture, whatever your ultimate purpose is for your life, health, happiness and confidence should help you be even more successful.

Happy New Year!

Look Up

We believe part of what makes our Academy so unique is the people that train here on a day-to-day basis. PMA is one place that, for at least a couple of hours per week, we have a real human connection and are building strong relationships that will last a lifetime.

It starts with the instructor/student relationship. From the first time you walk into PMA, you are greeted by an instructor that is genuinely happy to see you. We firmly believe that the martial arts way of life is for everyone. Therefore, when a new face walks into the academy, we can’t wait to get them on the mat and help them start their journey.

Then, you also have the student/student relationship. You grow very close to the students that are on the martial arts journey with you, but you also develop relationships with the advanced students that guide you and give you tips along the way. Training with like-minded individuals is an experience unlike any other.

With technology creeping deeper and deeper into our lives, relationships are falling to the wayside. When we are on the mat, we are not on our phones, so we establish relationships here built on a phone-free foundation. Are there any other areas in your life that you can make “phone free?”

We love technology and use it a ton! We just think that there should be times of our lives that we “look up.” Check out this video, and let us know what you think!

Goals: When to Use Them and When to Lose Them

We all set goals. We set S.M.A.R.T. goals (more on that acronym later). We set STUPID goals (that one isn’t an acronym, just emphasized). Some goals we achieve, and some we don’t. The problem is, between the goals that we never achieve and the ones we achieve at first but lose afterwards, we end up with a net growth of close to zero! Let’s take a look at how to set the right goals, know when to use them, and know when to lose them.

SMART Goals

Learning how to set SMART goals was really helpful for me. For those that haven’t heard of this before, SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. This is a method of setting goals that is taught in many different branches of study because goal setting is useful in almost any activity, career, or lifestyle.

A specific goal means taking the time to think about the details, rather than setting a general goal. For example, instead of saying, “I’m going to get back in shape,” you could say, “I’m going to join Progressive Martial Arts Academy and train 2-3 times per week.” :-) We want to lay out a plan for our goals to help achieve them.

A measurable goal is just what it sounds like. Make your goals things you can measure. This enables you to actually track your progress, which will keep you motivated. For example, numbers on a scale, waist size, money in savings, and time spent with loved ones can all be measured to give yourself some numbers to check.

Setting an attainable goal means setting goals that are possible to achieve. For me, it means setting smaller goals along the way that help me see that I am growing closer to my ultimate goal. This will increase your confidence and determination to reach that final goal. The obvious martial arts connection here is the colored belts we use to measure progress. Imagine how much more difficult it would be to get from white belt to black belt if there weren’t any belts in between (it used to be that way)! The other colors are extremely useful for tracking our progress, seeing our progress, and feeling like we’ve made progress at each level. All of these smaller progress indicators will help you reach your BIG goal.

Realistic goals come back to being attainable. This doesn’t mean you should only set small goals. In fact, the big goals are sometimes the easier goals to achieve because you want them so badly! Have you ever completed a big task and felt so good afterwards that you said, “That was a lot easier than I thought!” Chances are the task wasn’t easy, you were just highly motivated to do it.

Timely means to put some timeframes on your goals. Sooner than someday, though! Don’t use the “someday” word, although this one has to tie into the rest of the points. For example, saying you want to achieve your Black Belt in 2 years could be very unrealistic. This is both something that is ultimately not your decision, and highly unlikely depending on the martial art that you are training in. On that note, I don’t recommend using belts as your goals to try to achieve a belt by a certain time. For weight loss, timely also means in a “reasonable” time. It’s best to shoot for between a 1/2 pound to 2 pounds per week. Any more than this is not encouraged.

When to Use Them and When to Lose Them

Goals are great to use in the beginning of a journey. The first few weeks of working towards a goal are usually the most difficult to get through. During this period you are breaking bad habits or building new ones (usually both) and this can be both very challenging and very frustrating. This time is where many people lose motivation. During this period, if you have set some SMART goals, they might just be the motivation you need to keep going.

Have you ever reached a goal only to lose the progress you made shortly afterwards? Of the thousands of people that have tried the famous BeachBody workouts (such as P90X or Insanity), most people don’t make it through (because they are challenging!). But of the few people that do, all of them that I have met have fallen back to where they were before the program within a year of completing it! The problem is that most short term programs usually aren’t maintainable. If you can’t maintain what you did to reach your goal after the program finishes, you will likely fall back to where you started.

Try this for analyzing a program before you start:

What if we lay out not only intermediate goals and plans for the timeframe we think it will take to reach our ultimate goal, but also a maintenance plan for after we do? With fitness I think this is a lot easier than we make it. Find some exercise that you enjoy doing, and then follow a healthy but maintainable and enjoyable diet and you are all set (just kidding, I know it’s not always that easy). If we have to do a workout plan to achieve our goal that we won’t be able to maintain afterwards, let’s NOT do it! Wouldn’t it be better to lose that 20 pounds over the course of a year if it meant it stayed off for the rest of our lives?

The same applies to martial arts. If you set your sights on Black Belt as your goal, and follow a training plan to get there that you aren’t going to maintain once you achieve it, will it really be worth it? If your goal was just to scratch it off a bucket list, then that answer may be yes. But if your reasons for achieving your Black Belt include growing as a person, learning to defend yourself, being more confident, and getting in the best shape of your life, then you won’t be happy to learn that those benefits will all disappear within the first year of quitting your training.

The Answer

What if we learn to set SMART goals for the items I just listed (growing, defending yourself, confidence, fitness, etc.) at the beginning of our journey? Then, as we grow closer to reaching the goal that we originally set out to achieve, we wean ourselves off of using goals and learn to just enjoy what we’ve achieved. We become motivated to maintain what we have because of the value it adds to our lives. If you learn to set smart goals, enjoy the journey, enjoy the training, and then enjoy the benefits of reaching your goal, you will continue to reap the rewards for the rest of your life. Remember the name of this blog - The Martial Arts Way of Life.

In a sense we could call these lifestyle goals. We set small goals towards making something part of our lifestyle - healthy eating, fun exercise, spending time with loved ones, relieving stress, getting (and staying) out of debt, and the list goes on! Then once we have made them a part of our lifestyle, the goals disappear. You are now motivated by the joy that you get from living a positive, healthy life with the people you love. This phenomenon is what occurs on the mat. It may take you many years to make it to Black Belt, but once you get there you realize that it was only the beginning of the journey, because now the rest of your life is in front of you. You used the goals in the beginning (white to brown) but then ditched them and just enjoyed the lifestyle once you got there (black).

On a final note, we should never stop growing. So once you have achieved a goal and integrated it into your life, remember to move on to another area that needs growth (or reduction!).

"In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it." - Robert A Heinlein