Don’t be a Victim

Running in the night is an interesting experience. I have committed myself recently to a Kyokushin Karate Grading – my first in 11years – and am pushing myself to get fit. So…..for the first time in months, I put on my runners in between classes to head off for a short but ‘pushing it’ run. It’s not perhaps the ideal time to do this as running in the dark has it’s disadvantages, but with my schedule i struggle to find time and this is where i manage to make it. I joked with the students as I was leaving about the fact that I might be scared enough to make me run faster ! ha ha ha…….funny yes, but also slightly true. A couple of times when running alongside garden areas that were quite dark – the path was illuminated enough for me to just see – but I couldn’t help but think I would advise my friends/ loved ones / students not to run alone , in the dark, in situations like this. Really….for the most part it’s probably perfectly safe….but better extra careful than sorry i guess. Maybe I’ll run along the other side of the road next time. Despite the title of this article however – being safe and not being a victim of an attack on ones person is not the context of this article.

 The other wonderful thing about running in the dark is sensory relaxation. What I mean by that is that it’s quiet bar a few passing cars every now and then. I also don’t play music through headphones when I run in the dark…I think for safety it’s better to keep your senses working in full form. It’s dark…so you are not taking in the whole environment in it’s full visual form – you can see enough to keep you on track and prevent accidents- but you really just focus on what’s directly in front of you with your eyes. Your ears take in the rest of the peripheral. Because sensory input is reduced from the outside environment- you start to notice more things about yourself such as your breathing whilst you run.  You notice your stride and the sound of your feet hitting the ground beneath you. I like to try to run as lightly and quietly as I can. I’m not sure if it’s true… theory is that it’s better on my feet and knees and back and body as a whole if I can tread with least amount of impact. And then the mind. I have mentioned it in a previous blog article i am sure…but running can be meditation for the mind (ie : switching off or zoning out) but it can also be a time for clear thought. So ….on this night…..I got to thinking.

In martial arts we tell people to train a certain way and develop self defence strategies to prevent themselves falling victim to the attack of another. However, we can also be a victim of ourselves and our circumstance. I would also argue that self and current status are directly linked and almost one and the same. Recently I have had some challenges in my personal life. It’s meant that my lifestyle has gone from busy – to stupid I have no time for myself crazy tiring and bordering on self torture kind of busy. Im not going to list down what I do each day….but it’s a lot and I am well aware that at the moment I am in survival mode. Nothing is being progressed or built like it should be. Not my kids, not my personal relationships, not my business (dojo) or my ‘self’. At the moment they are all just being kept afloat , but  I have to remind myself daily that it’s an achievement that they are just that. See…I could of said it’s too hard…and quit on something. But I didn’t. That’s well and good and again I’m proud of myself , but then I found myself making excuses for things to others and internally to myself.

It’s at this point in time I really need to make some changes, but I realised that I was telling myself I was too busy and didn’t have time instead of the truth which is that I am afraid. I found myself saying to me that life was hard and oh this and that…and then I remembered that I chose this. I had the power to stop or add or change anything If I really wanted to. But that’ s the key. It’s turning that switch in your mind which sais I want to – to I HAVE to and then stopping yourself feeling a victim of circumstance. It’s so cliche’ to say that the very next minute which is passes , is the start of your new life if you chose it – but it’s the truth. Whatever decision we make to do next is based on weather or not we will continue to be a victim of our own thoughts, our own limitations (they are not other people’s by the way – they cannot be allowed to affect us unless we allow the to) , or a victim of our present circumstance. Of course – current position does play a part. I cannot just up and buy a new house without the money to do that. But…..I can keep rolling the victim story through my mind about how I ended up here… I will never be able to do this…..and why, or I can say NO.

We can also be a victim of our past. We allow ourselves to act a certain way and justify to ourselves and others with examples from our past such as….’ My last girlfriend cheated on me and that’s why I get angry and fight each time you go out with your friends’ or……’ Last time I fought in a tournament i got hurt, and that’s why I am not competing again’ . In the cheating girlfriend example however, the Victim continues the behavior and most likely get’s the same result. OR…..the warrior sais  hey, each person is different and allows themselves to trust again. Sure….you might get hurt…but you might not. What is worth the risk more ? and….this person also analyses if their behavior contributed to whatever transpired in the previous relationship and works on areas they can improve within themselves.

In the I got hurt last time i fought example…the Victim never competes again. Big loss all round . The warrior get’s themselves to training. Builds on their weaknesses and gears for battle and redemption knowing that losing is not failure….and they may well lose again….but they will get stronger and more determined with each battle. That in itself is victory.

It’s been 11 years since my last grading. In that time I have had 3 children and continued to dedicate my time to teaching students at my dojo. I am going to find it difficult to find the time to get ready for this grading and I am more than a little nervous about not being good enough….but i have decided no more excuses. If you want something badly enough….or have no choice but to do something… will find a way. And I will as I am not a victim ! 









Defenceless Self Defence

My previous post is a photograph of the Back of a DVD cover I saw at a student/friends house recently. It annoyed me. I will say right now that I have not watched this DVD at all, and therefore I will not make any comment about it’s content. However, what i would like to talk about is something that has always bothered me and that is the idea of quick Self Defence courses and even more so…the notion that self defence can be learnt by way of watching a DVD.

In this case I would actually love some feedback, particularly from martial arts instructors, and some other peoples opinions on this topic.

Regularly I receive inquiries from prospective students (mainly women) who are looking at undertaking a ‘self defence workshop or short course’. Each time I take calls like these, a little ball of tension rolls up inside my stomach and I find myself almost frustrated on the phone and for a long time i didn’t know why. I eventually came to the realisation that I have dedicated a good half of my life to learning martial arts  and like to think of myself as being both strong of mind and body and somewhat skilled in terms of my chosen style, however feel like there is sooo much more to learn. When I take a call and someone wants to learn how to confidently defend themselves in 3-6 weeks……or listen to someone tell me they learnt skills from a DVD…I feel like it’s somewhat of an insult to those of us who dedicate so much time to this practise.

Of course, much of what is practised nowdays in Martial Arts schools I would imagine is more aimed towards the sport of martial arts. Fighting sport yes, but not true Budo as I imagine in my head it would have been like years ago when if you lost a fight, you died. I’m not trying to detract from anyone’s training here…please understand me when I say that even some of the toughest fighters out there today whether its MMA, Karate, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, BJJ or Western Boxing etc still train for a fighting sport. The fighting arena has rules.  Because of these rules… probably creates more technical fighters and i beleive fights will go for longer thus the strong emphasis on being fit and having endurance. As the sports arena grows and advances every day…Martial arts practitioners at top level are competing as elithe athletes and so thus the dedication to training and regular practise nutrition, sports science etc.  Your average person looking to learn a basic skill set doesn’t require that i suppose, but having  said that…….. one of the best self defence strategies has to be to “Run Away from Danger if possible”. Now…if that danger chases you……let’s hope you are fit. So….lesson 1 should be that. Go practise running and get fitter and better at it.  Thing about that…..if you don’t run all the time. You don’t stay running fit. You lose your endurance. You lose your stamina. You get slower. And already……here is the first major flaw in a 3 -6 week program.

Lesson 2 ) Effective technique. I am not going to go into specific techniques or styles here, as my whole point here is about a general concept. But whatever style you do…..and lets even go outside the box and talk about Golf….. technique needs to be practised. It needs to be practised so many times and so often that it’s second nature. A pro golfer would stand at a driving range and go through swing after swing after swing. They would try different clubs and different swing speeds and different golf courses and spend hours playing the game trying to better their skills. And once they got good and honed that technique, I would imagine they would continue this training and not stop after an allocated amount of time. Simply put, this can almost be likened to that age old saying….Use it or lose it.  Beyond that too one has to consider the speed at which one responds and with what level of ability. Constanct practise keeps the reflexes sharp and the mind quick.  I could think of no better time than to be able to react with speed than when your safety is threatened.   And that is what i beleive is the 2nd major flaw in short courses. Unless the participant continues practising the course content….what happens to effective technique then ?

Lesson 3)  Tried and Tested.  Skills need to be able to be used with confidence and under stress. A self defence situation is a very real one that would carry a vast amount of stress and adrenaline along with it. Going through the motions in a self defence course with friendly classmates who although put in effort for the benefit of the schooling, probably don’t have the intention to hurt you. So…do you really know if what you are doing is effective ?  What’s more… will you deal with the fear and stress that may come along with a threatening situation ? Althought tournament fighting is a regulated sporting activity, I guess it’s as close as most people are going to get to a situation where someone is actually really trying to hurt them. And even then…within this arena depending on your style , you may be fighting full contact or not. Still…….the stress of winning and losing is still there in a non contact bout…but I don’t beleive the lessons are as great.   DVD learning  ….well how can you do that ? Unless you take that DVD and practise with a friend who cranks it on for you… can you possible try and test out what you are watching ?  And this trial and error is an ongoing process.  We try, we fail, we grow, we learn. We try , we fail, we grow, we learn and so on.

And they are the three main things I don’t like about the concept of Self defence courses. I will say one thing positive though and that is that I think most of self defence is about common sense and strategies for staying out of trouble. if the course covers these areas…..then that would be something worth doing ! 

And by this i mean the simple stuff like : don’t walk around alone at night in a busy city street with your heaphones in your ears blaring loud music. You don’t have all your situational awareness about you and don’t have the potential to see/hear a threat sneaking up on you from behind.  Those kinds of lessons. it may sound silly…..but information like that is probably more likely to stop you from being a potential victim than some A/B/C crappy yell, punch here and kick here technique that you practised x 10 ten times over a 3 week period. Anyone agree ?

I guess too that if a 3 week course or an instructional boxfit DVD with self defence tacked on the end of it….changes your mindset to that of someone who is prepared to fight and not submit to being a victim….then I guess that’s a positive too.  However, just think that if confidence comes with knowledge and practise…how much more confident and strong could you be if you did more than just a DVD or 3 week course  ?!!!

My opinion is that if you are really concerned about looking after yourself or your loved ones, make training a priority. if the aforementioned golfer misses his shot he probably loses a lot of money. How much value do you place on your life ?  Dedicate time to learn the skills you desire and put aside time for their practise. Learn about strategies for staying safe and teach them to your kids. Keep yourself healthy (these days you probably should be more concerned about the food you are eating and the drugs you are taking than someone bashing you in the street) but that’s another blog article right there !  If you are serious about self defence then get serious about learning it . Find a style that you like, enjoy and suits you ; Sign up and train and practise the *&%$ out of it as often as possible.

So, sorry no. I won’t be offering any short self defence courses at the dojo any time soon. We do have classes though, almost every day. Which night would you like to train  ?

Again, I really would like feedback on this so If you have the time, and an opinion I would like to hear it.

Osu & Regards,














Pain and Gain

It’s funny how you can ‘know’ something for so long, perhaps almost a whole life, but then one day you ‘live’ that thing and all of a sudden it all makes sense. The penny drops,cha-ching.
We have all heard the saying ” What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”. I like the sentiment and have been known to throw that one around at various times, but in reality, the saying has flaws.
You see…..every day things happen that don’t kill us….but neither do they change us.

The thing’s which DO change us, that really do make us stronger are those thing’s that push us beyond our normal limits,which force us to struggle. We must undergo difficulty in order to grow.

In nature, I guess this could be compared to the process of natural selection.Those of the species which best adapt to the environment, that overcome stresses and challenges survive. The strong which survive then breed and so hence the growth of a stronger and more resillient population, herd, tribe, community, ecosystem, whatever term best describes.

In the gym, referring to resistance based training, weight lifting, hypertrophy, Power Lifting, etc then perhaps this is the basis for the SAID principal. Specific Adaptation to Increased Demands. Our bodies are smart and they have a memory and we are programed to survive. Our very nature is to prevail. So…when our bodies undergo stress…certain processes occur to ensure that the next time this happens….we are better prepared. I guess another way to explain is that very simply put, when we lift weights and apply stress to the muscle, damage occurs. It is through the process of re-buliding this muscle that strength and size is gained.

As a person, Emotionally, when we go through hardships we tend to learn. We learn about how our mind reacts and we learn about our mental programming. We also learn that we can endure, and that all things pass eventually, and through this we understand that we are durable and changeable and can weather a storm or two. Next time, as we have been there before…..we understand that the pain of losing someone, having an argument, being betrayed, being misunderstood or perhaps being weak and hurting another person……that no matter how bad it is, we can make it like we did last time. We recognise a pattern, and being stronger 2nd time around, can make better choices this time.

The thing I love about Martial Arts is that it covers all the bases.
In one hard class alone we could touch on all areas. We can challenge our self beleifs (I can’t do another push up and then you do, or I’m awesome….only to get beaten that night) , our own inner deamons. We can challenge our fears (oh….i don’t want to sparr this person , they are better than me, or i’ll never be able to last that grading..then we do). We can push ourselves so hard physically that we are in pain. We can demand of our body thing’s we never thought we could do (like an 8 hour grading with 40 rounds of contact sparring) and when we make it out the other side our strength is resolved. Our mind is determined and our body is built that little bit better and is that little bit more prepared to fight.

Struggle is what makes us if it doesn’t break us.
But consider this – even if we are broken (just like our muscles after a heavy gym session) with the right amount of love, medicine (let your food be thy medicine and thy medicine your food),rest and recovery (meditation, sleep, time alone or with friends) and a small amount of Will and drive – we can and will be restored to something better than we were before.

Not that movies have anything to do with this…but every Movie Hero had a hardship.
It’s always the fall then the rise and we love those stories ! The loss made the win SO much more gratifying. We don’t respect people who had it handed to them and often they don’t respect themselves. So :-

Knowing all this, In the midst of your hardest training session,
when you find yourself being beaten in the ring,
when the odds are stacked against you,
When you feel like you have been left with nothing,
When you feel you can’t go on, or get up after being knocked down
smile….and remind yourself that it’s moments like these (no…you don’t need minties)
But you can and will survive and grow.


You Have to Want it Bad Enough

It’s interesting sometimes to stop and think about conversations you have had through the day and reflect on them. I notice (and am guilty of posting ) many motivational posters on Facebook and popular clothing brands etc these days, and for the most part – I think we read them – like them – and then forget them. It’s a shame really as a majority of them should be our ‘bible’ or our guide and for those that practice Kyokushin….many of these could be added to our Dojo Kun and recited each day.

One that sticks in my head at present though is this and I mentioned it to my Junior class this week during training :

” Before you can achieve , First you must believe’.

So Important. At a seminar i went to once, the speaker (Paul Blackburn) said that if you couldn’t actually visualize yourself having made this achievement or having won – you must try to believe in the possibility.  And if we really consider it – the possibilities are endless.

One of the conversations I had recently was with some work colleagues in the office lunchroom. We were discussing the damaging effects of Aspartame in Coke Zero. And…..despite hearing all the negative side effects, and the fact that this person really wanted to lose weight- they said they would love to give up drinking soft drink , but that they couldn’t fit it into their lifestyle ! WTF !!!!!   I guess this reminds me of some scary truths – most of the general population are uneducated or don’t care about real health. And….the scarier fact is that in essence – true health is actually very simple to obtain. But……you have to want it – and believe you can have it.

It also reminded me that in terms of our own goals…..we have to want it bad enough.

We have to want that thing, that outcome, that body, that house, that car, that partner, that job, that family, that holiday that anything… bad…..that the pain of change, the pain of work, the pain of sacrifice, the fear of failure is far outweighed by the desire to have it. That desire too is fueled by our level of belief that we can and deserve to have it !

In relation to our martial arts, wanting that black belt is a goal many have. But not everyone wants it enough to sacrifice the time, dedicate themselves to the training and go through the pain of grading’s and the 40 rounds of kumite to get it.

Maybe the student wants to fight – but aren’t willing to risk the fear of losing, or aren’t willing to put aside other social activities etc to put enough time into training and preparation.

I saw a post on Facebook recently which was a picture and a quote by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson which read :

” The fist step in achieving your goal, is to take a moment to respect your goal. know what it means to you to achieve it “.

So ….with that in mind….set pen to paper ……and get goal setting. Believe in the possibility ……and remind yourself as often as possible why this particular goal is important to you. Eyes forward……….focus on your dreams……and take one step at a time till you are running for the finish line. Remember too there will be tests along the way. The universe wants to know that you are serious. That you really want this ‘thing’.
There will be hurdles to jump, waves to ride and holes to fall in and stuff to trip over. However, know that each and every time that you get back up, your will is strengthened, your mind more resolute and your goal is ever closer.



Remember Me

I think we can all agree that having a party – and nobody turning up would be fairly shattering. Well , that’s kind of what it felt like when i had no students turn up for my junior kickboxing class tonight. It is a small class anyway….and yes it’s been cold, and yesterday was a public holiday, and yes lots of people are sick at the moment, but that all just sounds like excuses.

So….then I start to wonder as an instructor if perhaps my classes aren’t exciting enough. Why aren’t people here. How can I market this class better as it’s a great class?  Then as a person the self doubt sets in. And all the questions that go through your mind when you start to doubt yourself and your abilities . Then…i thought- okay well their loss. I’m going to train. Perfect opportunity for me right now to get an extra session in.

I trained hard too. Pushed myself so hard I had the shakes a little bit and felt like I might pass out. Felt good. Felt Alive in that feeling dead and empty kind of way that you have to have experienced to know what I am talking about. I had no workout plan tonight….as I wasn’t planning on training I just winged it.
Started my workout with a set of 2 x sets Chin ups on the bar and then one on the Rings to warm up. Then a set of TRX Rows. Then I saw the record board….spied the max plank and thought…I’m gonna beat that. So I did. On hands (not elbows) plank for 3mins 30 secs. My arms gave out before my core. I was happy with that.
What next. My leg was injured from last night so I couldn’t squat….decided I could manage deadlifts. Started with my normal weight of 50kg.
Did a set of x 12. Next set of x 12 @ 55kg. Third set of x 10 @ 60kg. Fourth Set of x 10 at 65kg then only managed x  5 @ 70 kg. I lost form then and figured I’d maxed out and stopped.  Did another set of Chin ups on the bar , another set of TRX Rows.
Then the bag rounds.  2 min rounds. 1 min break – but 15 seconds rest then situps till then next round . 6 rounds in total.

It was during the situps that I had time to think.

Someone asked me to today what I was training for ? Why had I stepped it up ?  And to be honest – There are a couple of things I’d like to work towards, but they are maybe’s.

Why do I train ? I have never really needed a reason – Training itself has always been the reason. I love it. I realised that I am training….for life. I know that sounds stupid and almost corny…but that’s it.  Sure…..incentives along the way help you step it up a notch when you need to – but training hard has never been an option – it’s always been a necessity. Kind of like an obligation for me.

And then I moved on to thinking about if I was training for something….like to fight again….what if I don’t get there. What if i fail ? what will people think. How will I cope with failure ? Then it hit me  – so what. People in the short term – and I in the short term will know of the failure. But – I do now truly believe that in the long run, the thing that people and the thing I will remember most will be my successes.

We are not remembered for the times we fell short of victory no matter how large our loss.

But – we will be remembered for our successes. The times we were great – no matter how small the win .

So Aim high and train hard. There are always little wins along the way to failure. And so long as we are failing we are learning and growing- in reality- the very fact we had a go means we Win anyway.

So….as the saying goes……Shoot for the Moon. If you miss….you’ll still be among the stars !


Nuff said.


I don’t like running !

I have to admit it – I don’t like running. I do however like what running provides in terms of training both on a physical and mental platform. So ….I decided to run to the dojo this Saturday morning. I haven’t being doing a heap of running lately, and this particular run I have only undertaken twice previously. Both times, this run had taken me approx 20 mins. However, this time, I was behind schedule (I was going to say running late…but the pun was too corny) and now I only had x 15 mins to get to the dojo to open up for first class of the day. Yay !

Not making excuses, but no warm up, no breakfast apart from a piece of toast and a glass of coffee was not a good way to set up. Normally I would take my time in the morning knowing I had three and a half hours of teaching coming up to have a good meal and proper fluid intake. But not this day. No time. So off I set. I began the run on a bit of a downhill so the pace was quick at the get go. I would say about 2 mins in …my lungs hadn’t caught up with my legs and I felt like i wanted to gasp a bit for air. But….reminding myself this is a normal response….I pushed on. Next call out was from my legs still sore from the squats and lunges the day before. Again, reminding myself that once they warmed up and got into the swing of things, they would feel better I pushed on.

Knowing I was going to struggle to make it on time, before I left I had sent a student a text message who I knew would drive past me on the way to class, and told him to pick me up on the way if he saw me. My pace was fast and i think in my mind I thought I could push it pretty hard as I would soon be collected by car . It’s funny what goes on in our minds if we listen.

I would imagine about 7 mins in (not sure of exact times) I really wanted to stop and walk. So I did. Then I thought….what if (student) drives past and sees me walking !  That would look so bad….so with that thought In mind I picked up my feet and began running again. I would say that scenario took about 30 secs to unfold. And there in lies a motivational tool……imagining what others will think and say, and how I feel about that.

Now I’m still setting a pace which is fast for me. It’s hurting and I’m digging deep and then I’m starting to wonder if and when (student) is going to come past and put me out of my misery. My mind is wandering and now I think……am I going to make it on time. I think about my students waiting at the door….wondering where i am ….and convince myself to keep going. Now that I have decided to keep on pushing…..and with time my motivation I start to get into a bit of a groove. Breathing has settled and I have a bit of a rhythm going. Feeling more comfortable now……………And then comes the hill.

Coincidence or not just as the hill starts, the Eminem song ‘Till I Collapse’ comes on my playlist and the words in that drive me to really work up that hill. I stop thinking about walking this part of the run, and find something which I had in reserve. And now my mind really starts going. See that’s what I do love about running. Once you get going……there is really nothing to think of in terms of technique. Sure….if you are trying to correct posture or stride etc you could concentrate on that, but otherwise you can just really find the zone and go. In this place…your mind is free to wander. To sort out the events of the day…to completely drift off and just be…..or like me, to play mental challenge games with yourself because you suck at running. It’s during one of those mental moments when my mind ticks over to this :

If you are training hard enough, there will always come a time when you will reach a point where it will be so tough and demanding that the thought of quitting enters your mind. It’s at this time that the real training begins. The type that changes and grows you. It’s always at this point where success lies. Out of your comfort zone. And it’s amazing….at that point when you make the choice to not quit, to persevere and win, it gets easier. You get your second wind and things start to work and your energy returns. You run not on adrenaline…but something else. Something in your spirit urges you on and success breeds more success. Winning makes you want to win more and you go until you reach that quitting point again. This time though…..because you’ve been there before and tasted success….it’s easier to push past that point. Not easy…..but easi-er.

It’s also worth noting that I do believe that with all training (martial arts, weight lifting, and all other sports that push us) these lessons and attitudes transfer over to our everyday lives. Sometimes life can get really tough. We might struggle financially, lose our job, get sick or injured, have issues with our children, we might be lied to or cheated on, we might lose a loved one or see our dreams seemingly get further and further away from us. But here is that point again. Here is our choice to dig down deep… get out of our comfort zone….trust in our self and push to the point of victory. And then…..hopefully….we just keep on winning.

And all that…..from one run !     Maybe I do like running after all !

And for those that want to know…Yes :- I made it in time. Shaved 5 mins off my previous run time.

Osu. KB

My theory about Nothing !

So today at the end of the Junior Karate class we had extended sparring time for those students getting ready to partake in the next Victorian Kyokushin Championships. After class, I noticed a few of the kids very tired, and some of them had worn kicks to the head and complained about being hit etc. Albeit they were all fine, they were obviously not happy about these things. Before bowing off, I had a bit of a chat to the kids and I thought I would put those thoughts down here as it it worth remembering the following points. For all students : Juniors and Adults alike !

There are three types of people you get to sparr in the dojo.

The first is the one you can push around. Perhaps you are stronger or maybe you are better technically (not necessarily higher ranked) and they generally don’t give you too much of a challenge. After sparring, you feel quite happy with yourself and perhaps a little bit superior. However, apart from you perhaps exercising control – you don’t really learn much sparring this person. It may be that in this case, it is you teaching them.

The Second one is the person who is just like you. You are both fairly evenly matched in terms of weight, strength and or skill, and sparring is good. You can both apply pressure to each other. Some nights they win, some nights you.  You most probably enjoy sparring with this person, and afterwards you feel good. However, depending on the night you may or may not have learnt much from that encounter. Of course, if we are paying attention, there is always something to learn – but that becomes a choice and you probably were enjoying sparring too much to stop and think 🙂

The third person is the one who you don’t like sparring. They always seem to beat you to the punch (excuse the pun) , they block all your efforts to score, and sometimes you get hurt and I don’t meant injured – just a little hurt.  However – This is the person who teaches you the most !!!!  If you have to work so hard to score or defend, and dig into the bottom of your training barrel….then this is where you learn ! Pressure is the way diamonds are made. Pressure and time under pressure.  Don’t shy away from this person. Jump at the chance to sparr them and know that in the end you will only end up better.

In other words – if it feels like Nothing – then it’s probably doing nothing for you !

There is a great quote which sais, if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. How true in terms of Martial Arts training.

The other thing we need to be aware of during Kumite is the meaning of hurt.  We need to separate our ego and emotions from the physicality of pain. I believe it’s a great life skill for both kids and Adults and definitely anyone wanting to compete full contact- to be able to understand when the body is hurt – or when it is our ego/heart/ mind that is suffering from a blow. Next time you are sparring , take note of if and when you get hit. How does it really feel ?  is it pain stopping you from continuing or are you just upset that someone else is gaining control ?
Do you feel like you are losing and so want to quit?  or do you brush it off and say Osu – good one to your training partner and continue on ?

In terms of kids- this is a valuable skill for the school yard. If ever placed in a situation where they are being physically bullied – often it is the emotion that loses them the battle. To empower them to know if it is ego or emotion making them feel pain – we give them the skills to stand up and stay stronger and fight back only if necessary. It’s important to teach kids that fighting is not the answer- but strength of mind and resolve – and to not show fear to a bully is very important.

And just to finish- all this reminded me of Sosai Oyama’s 10th Motto :-  ” The true essence of the Martial Way can only be realized through experience. Knowing this, learn never to fear it’s demands “.

And so….here endeth another training day. Osu. Kiley

2010 EMAA Formal Awards Night Speech

A few students approached me after our Formal Awards Night last year, and said you were affected/ motivated in some way by this speech.  I thought perhaps those people might appreciate being able to read it here. Osu. Sempai Kiley

Firstly Let me thank Daniel for his speech, the introduction and his kind words. Thank you really isn’t a good enough word to express my and my family’s gratitude for Daniel and his help and kindness that heshows us on a repeated basis. I hope however from the bottom of my heart that you know you are loved and appreciated. That’s all for now on that matter….Grazie Daniel.

So, welcome to the second annual Eltham Martial Arts Academy Formal Awards Night.

I thank you all for coming along tonight to be a part of this special event ; students, partners, family and friends.Special thanks to those that traveled, especially Shihan Cameron Quinn for coming all the way from the Sunshine Coast.  Thanks for your support, and for investing your time and money into something that you believe is special and worthwhile.

As a person, the investments we make on a daily basis are those things that make us who we are.  I am sure we are all aware of the big picture……Investment of our money gives us many things we have, the clothes we wear and thus our outward image…..the things we own…..the cars we drive…..the house we live in……the list goes on.

Investment however, is not limited to things of monetary value. The way we spend our time too is also an investment. Each choice we make on a daily basis affects our life in small and sometimes major ways. Our health by every thing we put into and onto our bodies and whether we exercise or live a sedentary life. Do we spend too much time at work and invest our time, energy, skills and intelligence for others and their profit…or do we devote most of ourselves to our family and contribute to it’s growth and wellbeing. Yes….we need money to provide for our families…..but how much really?

These things are not foreign concepts. You all know them. Sometimes we blatantly ignore them, other times we get caught up in the rat race and forget but my partner Bernard recently went to a seminar and came back with a great quote. “There are the things we know we don’t know, and then there are those we don’t know we don’t know “  . I think this is an important quote as it reminds us of our need to keep our eyes, ears and minds open on our journey.

For a while now (perhaps even all my life) I have been moving closer and closer to what I feel is the right path for me. It’s not always been a direct route….but a general direction that leads to a destination. Not sure where the final point is, but it definitely has to do with health and wellbeing and about getting back to basics. About the world becoming a better place for my family and generations to come.

I am sure many of you have the same goals. In part that is why you are here tonight.  It’s a reflection of your choice to invest your time and energy in training at the dojo, and also in your health and fitness, or just to support your friends and loved ones in their efforts.

I believe with all my heart that we the human race are a pivotal point of existence.

I am not sure I believe in global warming but I do believe we are not looking after the world like we should.

I do believe that we need to live more sustainable and more in tune with nature.

I think a lot of our problems can be traced back to our absence of contact with mother earth. Did you ever wonder why it’s called that?

I don’t have much faith in our current health systems. No…I am not talking about our hospitals and ambo’s and surgeons and all the fantastic work these people do. I am talking about a general lack of real knowledge about how to maintain health and vitality and an ever increasing incidence of “new” diseases and conditions and the array of “drugs’ to go along with them.

I don’t believe that the media cares about me or you nor should they be our source of knowledge. To simply “hear’ something is not to know it. Neither is a picture these days the truth. Camera’s and the technology surrounding them can …and do lie.

I don’t believe we live in a ‘real’ democracy but I am aware of how lucky we are in Australia in many ways. However, if you don’t believe me….try to have a different opinion than the government about how to raise your child.

I don’t believe that money is the root of all evil. The people that control it are.

I don’t consider myself a conspiracy theorist….but I do think we should always remember there are two sides to every story. Which one are you getting and what vested interest is behind that version?

I don’t think we should always take authority for gospel. By who’s authority are these people in a position of authority anyway? (of course this comment excludes mum’s and dads as we are and they were…..pretty much always right. Right? )

If you agree with anything I have just said then great. If not…that’s cool. Lucky for you that life has ‘choices’.

With the state of the world at the moment I think it is imperative that we are all conscious of our “investments”. Sometimes we see the world and think that the problems are too many and too great and we are too insignificant to change them. Wrong. It’s not even complicated. Just make an investment in your future and decide how you want it to be.

A simple example is food.  Every dollar you spend on your food is an investment. An investment in your health and your family’s health. Are you eating whole foods grown from mother earth?

If you are healthy…you will go to the doctor less which puts less strain on our medical system. Plus….you won’t have to spend money on medications and lotions and potions and thus support big pharma and their legal drug pushers. Eating whole foods means less production. Less energy went into processing and packaging and producing and transporting that thing you are eating.

Eating organic?  Health benefits plus sustainable farming practices. Again support the industry you want to survive.  Are you buying locally grown where possible? Support local farmers, and you not only support that industry but you support the environment by saving on fuel to transport goods interstate or overseas.

Ask yourself what happens when the large supermarkets and conglomerates kill all the small local grocery shops, deli’s and fruit and veg markets?  Perhaps you choose them for price now….but support that industry and you shall have no cause for complain when they eventually have control and monopoly over the market and watch what happens to prices then.

Could you grow your own food? Pass on some knowledge to your kids. Eat seasonally like nature intended and reap the health benefits. Save some money?  Savour your food as you appreciate what it takes to grow it.

( At this point I read a quote from a wonderful book that if you have the inclination i recommend you read. It is titled ” The Conscious Cook ” by Giselle Wilkinson. More than a cook book, this has loads of information regarding better food choices for you, your family and the earth ) 

“ Be the change that you want to see in the world “ Ghandi.

So that’s my short version of what I wanted to say to you tonight. You might be sitting there wondering how it’s all relevant to a martial arts awards night?

In reality it’s not. Or is it?

I feel very privileged to be standing before you tonight. To see so many vibrant, healthy and motivated people and think that in a way, the investment of my time throughout the year and intensely over the last few weeks and months that goes into organizing tonight is worth it.

It also makes me believe that my being able to stand here…and pass on to you a message that I think is valuable is possible through the passage of the dojo and martial arts. I have no doubt this wouldn’t be the case if it weren’t for my stumbling into a karate class back in Oct 1994.

( Now, a Summary of the achievements of the dojo thus far in 2010 including tournaments, Gradings, Thailand trip, addition of new classes inlcuding the Judo and upcoming changes for the upcoming year 2011 )

So;  now to the real reason why we are here.

Tonight is a celebration of the achievements of everyone who has trained with us during 2010.

Just turning up to class is a major part of the battle. If you can get yourself there….you’ve already won!

It’s difficult each year to look at all of you and have to pick out exceptions; however there are those students throughout the year which perhaps go the extra mile, or show a quality that we value. It is those students who we shall award tonight.


Kiley Baker.

The Images placed within this article are photo’s of awards that I personally hand made painted and presented on the night. I hope you like them. [slideshow]

Let’s think Martial Arts

Hello and welcome to ‘Think Martial Arts’  an extension of

The aim of this site is to create a space for thoughts on Martial Arts training both in general and also as it specifically relates to that which we do in our dojo day in and day out.

At present our dojo holds classes in mixed martial arts  namely Kyokushin Karate, ‘Elements Muay Thai Kickboxing’, Fusion, Grappling and Judo.  Periodically we also run seminars in other styles to try and ensure that students get a holistic view of the martial arts and to expose ourselves to other training methods and concepts.  In the past we have had Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Aikido, Arnis and Yoga classes and are always on the lookout for what else can be incorporated into our timetable.

What’s to read here ?

There may be discussions here relating to dojo events,  general health and fitness, training advice, specific martial arts and perhaps even left wing topics that somehow make there way into our mental arena.

When you visit this site and read the articles enclosed please do so with an open heart and mind for it is always in this state in which the articles were written and subsequently published.  Our title is thinkmartialarts  so opinions expressed here are only thoughts and not ones claiming to be facts.  As one should always do in life, take first hand experience, read, learn, listen to other peoples thoughts and ideas, and with only the best intentions in your heart , decide for yourself.


Kiley Baker