|10 Week Adult Self Defense Academy
In the 10 Week C.O.B.R.A. Self Defense Academy, you will develop the ultimate mindset for real self defense and the skills you need to defend in any situation.
YOU WILL LEARN:
C.O.B.R.A Training Manual Included. You’ll earn your academy t-shirt during the Academy.
Next Academy starts:
C.O.B.R.A Kids Manual & Graduation Certificate included!
It’s testing week, so this is just a note about how I test for belts.
Jimmy Johnson once said: “I’m totally consistent; I treat everybody differently.”
My testing procedure is the same. Every student is different. Every student is having a different experience. The goal is to have each student do the material well enough to pass to the next belt, but how each student gets there might be different. There are physical, mental, and emotional elements that go into it as well, and it’s important to remember that it’s an art, not a science.
If I have a student lacking in confidence, I might make them stay up in front and hit them six different ways with forms and techniques. Or I might push them as far as I think I can, and then pass them to the next level. Or make them wait, and come back, and do it again. It’s an individual decision based on may factors, some of which I might not have even quantified myself.
And then the next student might do each thing once, and pass in what appears to be an easy test. But the second person didn’t need the work, and the first person did. If someone needs physical conditioning, they should expect the test to be physically demanding, while another student might face a more technical test. If someone is pushing ahead of the curve, either by age or by time on the mat, they should expect a more challenging test – because they need to prove to me that they are ready to move up when he or she is already ahead of the curve. The hardest Brown Belt test I ever did was for a student who was so far ahead of the curve that I would have felt comfortable promoting her with no test at all; but she had something to prove.
You might see someone walk up in front and pass, and not understand why it was so easy, and not know what happened yesterday, or over the past month. Without the big picture, you don’t know what’s going on. And I will admit that I am less than willing to spend a lot of time explaining the decision making process, in part because it’s not easily tied down to scores on a page. We don’t have a clock or a scoreboard here, and a win for one student might not be enough to let another move forward.
You might see someone fail a test while apparently doing everything well, and then another person miss some kicks on kicking set or forget some techniques and still pass. Those cases come down to whether or not the total body of work was good enough to justify passing them up, and sometimes the overall level is enough to overlook one big miss. And sometimes there was no big miss, but the overall level didn’t sing to me. I know when someone is good enough to pass, and when they are not, and I go with what I feel.
And sometimes it’s about taking someone who’s been working hard, understanding that it’s a step, not an end, and moving them into position to move ahead with some positive energy.
It may seem arbitrary, uneven, and sometimes even unfair. That’s why, even though there are some aspects of science in what we do – it’s still an art.
Like Jimmy Johnson, I am very consistent in that I treat everyone differently. This isn’t about banging a square peg into a round hole.
It’s easier to understand when you are on the mat then when you are sitting in the bleachers.
This should be a good week of testing! I’ll see you on the mat.
The best way to develop self defense skills is to join a martial arts program and train on a continuing basis.
We CAN help you develop some useable, practical self defense skills in a short period of time, though. While not as good as ongoing training, two hours of training is a lot better than no training. We’ll be basing what we do on American Kenpo Karate, Kali Escrima, and Combat Systema, three very powerful systems of self defense.
Friday, July 9, 7PM to 9PM, we’re doing a Self Defense Seminar at the Carrollton studio. This seminar is open to all adults; if you’d like to bring your teenage child, email or call and we’ll make sure he or she will be a good fit.
Click to download regristration form. Space is limited – reserve early!
Kevin Secours was here in January for a great seminar - 3 days of Systema. While here, he quoted Konstantin Komarov: ”If I have a choice in any situation between surviving and living, choose living. Take your least favorite thing and learn to find joy in it. Find the sweet smell in the most horrible odor. Find some beauty in the ugliest sight. Feel some goodness in the worst pain. Don’t allow yourself to refrain from it and to convince yourself that this is horrible, I hate this, and I’m going to avoid it. Tell yourself, I’m doing this to make my health better, to make my combative capacity better, to control my emotions, to control my brain. Everything is good about it, except focusing on how painful it can be. As soon as you focus on the good things, you suddenly start to laugh, you start to chuckle, you collapse, you make fun, it doesn’t matter, and it’s not that bad. It really is not that bad.”
Reading this today got me out of the chair and out on the road for 7.1 miles.
Watch the video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGa_SCfkaHw&feature=player_embedded
Sparring has become more realistic lately - we’ve been starting off with working together, striking and moving, then doing techniques, then continuous sparring, and then point sparring. Point sparring gets a bad rap sometimes, because it’s considered to be staged; it does, however, require a good defense, fast reaction times, and an aggressive offense. Putting them together gives us a well-balanced program.
One mother talked to me because her son was being matched up with bigger kids, and was losing, and taking it badly. I explained that her son was being matched up that way because he needed to start thinking, to develop more control, and to stop charging in furiously. It works with some kids, but not with bigger stronger kids.
Another mom called because her daughter, while sparring, received a hit to the face. Her daughter was the more advanced student in the pair, has been sparring for a while, and continued to spar and did well even after the event. We strongly discourage face contact, giving out big piles of pushups when it happens, but incidental contact does happen - and any program that eliminates it completely leaves a huge gaping hole in the student’s ability to defend. Many schools bar students from striking to the head, or hitting the back - and they accept the loss of defensive skills that comes with that safety.
My goal - to make the program effective and realistic, while avoiding injuries. We’ve never had a serious injury in the 8 years we’ve been opened - nothing beyond a twisted ankle or jammed finger. And everyone needs to remember that the journey here is what’s important - the important part of sparring is THE SPARRING - not the point count at the end. Or, as I sent back to one parent:
I’ll go more into that with everyone. He (and maybe other kids) needs to understand that winning and losing the match doesn’t really matter. If I put him up against kids who beat him here, every single time, for the next 5 years, and he never won a match, but saw his skills improve, then he’d be successful. In our controlled environment, winning and losing is, to a certain extent, decided by the instructor who matches you with your opponent. There should be no pride in beating someone less skilled than you, or no shame in losing to someone more skilled – it’s all about what you got out of it. Did you learn something? Can you apply it? Did you get stronger?
We’ve had a lot of students moving up over the past few weeks. That’s good – because forward progress makes it easier to stay with it. In any activity, plateaus are dangerous. You can get stuck, and when that happens, you get frustrated. When people get frustrated, there are two options – get through it or do something else.
There are lots of plateaus – lots of sticking points – where progress stalls. Jumping from Green to Brown, and from 3rd to 2nd to 1st Brown – it takes longer and the gains are smaller, because more is expected and because you’re already pretty good. Think about how much better you could get at tennis in the next month with some private classes and a few hours of week on the court – and then think about how much better Serena Williams could get with the same effort. You’d get a lot better – but she’d see little or no gain. She needs a lot more to make that small incremental gain, while you, at a lower level, would improve rapidly.
Or, as you push that rock up the hill, it gets steeper near the top. And stopping is easy.
The Black Stripe helps. Once you add the Black Stripe to your belt, you’ve made the decision to stay for a year. You know that you’re paying for a year, whether you come or not, so you’re committed. You might get stuck, but you’re going to get through it. If you’re a White Belt and you take the Black Stripe at Yellow, you’re really saying that you are going to make it to Blue Belt over the next year. Maybe even Green. Even with slower progress near the top, taking the Black Stripe (or, more likely, keeping it) guarantees you to more promotions.
Before you know it, Black is the next belt, and suddenly it gets easy.
Great class last night from 7PM to 7:30. It’s an Adult/Junior/Family class, open to all ranks and ages, and we cover forms and techniques and basics from some different angles. Last night, we worked Long Form One and Kicking Set, and a mixture of techniques from Yellow through Purple. It’s an interesting class to lead, because we are presenting material that can be very advanced for some people, review for others, but it has to be done in a way that is good for everyone.
It’s becoming one of my favorite classes of the week. If you can make it in the next few weeks, you should try it with us.
March was a busy month – classes have been going well. Lots of students have been moving up, and the energy level at the studio has been great. We had 23 new students in March, including 10 adults, and our retention rate has been great!
This week – we will have a special Junior Sparring class on Thursday from 7PM to 7:30PM.
Saturday – no change to classes in Carrollton, but we do have a schedule change at Stonebriar. The new schedule at Stonebriar is: 3PM – Juniors / 4PM – Little Dragons / 4:45PM – Adults
April 13 will be the last Tuesday class at Stonebriar until after summer. We’re thinking about adding another Junior and Little Dragon class during the day – suggestions about times would be appreciated.
Testing this week at the studio! Tonight, we promoted: Renee to Junior Purple, Amanda to Junior Purple, Giani to Junior Yellow, Marquelle to Blue and Jim to Purple. We also started the testing process on William for Junior Brown. The promotion to Brown has become more intense – rather than a single class, it’s a process that can last two weeks, or two months. It involves the student taking a leading role in classes, helping to lead and teach, going to sparring classes, working the techniques and forms for all the belts. It’s the point where he or she makes the jump from intermediate to advanced rank, and although there are three classes of brown, brown is still the last color before black. It’s a big step, and we take it seriously. William lost his place, recovered, completed coordination set, and we’ll be working with him to move him up in the coming weeks.
High School and College Self Defense – we have a special program this summer for high school and college students. It’s two months of group and private classes with some extra material included, intended to develop specific self defense skills in a short amount of time. More information can be found at http://powerkenpo.com/handouts/studentSelfDefense.pdf.