Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Do You Know The Rules?

All new students are sent a copy of the school rules and guidelines upon joining, and naturally this takes time to digest as they engage in learning how the school operates, alongside the various martial art techniques and drills.

A simple example is bowing – a polite greeting and sign of mutual respect between students and instructors. Or the use of the word Pil-Seung – the Choi Kwang-Do motto translating as Certain Victory. This has the multiple purpose of creating a positive mental attitude in our students, a positive atmosphere in our classes, and as a general salutation. How and when to use these is explained and practised in class, but will be completely new to the average student.

When we are unsure of how to act, we often look towards our peers or those we identify as our reference group to see how we should be acting, and conform accordingly. This is often referred to as social proof, and for a new student, the reference group will be other students and instructors.

The reference group’s behaviour is driven by positive beliefs and values (the Children's Promise, Adult Pledge and Principles of Choi Kwang-Do), and with time and nurturing we hope that new students adopt similar positive beliefs and values. In fact, studies in social influence show in many cases, people eventually acknowledge the reference group's beliefs and values as their own.

Why does this happen?

Whether the modification takes place consciously or unconsciously, people adjust their thoughts, beliefs and behaviour under such conditions because their conformity fulfils psychological needs such as belonging and esteem generating feelings of approval from the reference group.

Parents and students: to refresh yourselves, I suggest taking a few minutes to view the excellent video on the Rules for the Dojang by Miss Kirsty Dickson (Reflect CKD) here

Jason Wright is a 6th Degree Black Belt and Master Instructor in the martial art Choi Kwang-Do. For further information on Choi Kwang-Do classes in Ealing, West London visit www.TheMartialArtForLife.com

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Make Your Choi Kwang-Do Practise More Mindful

Grandmaster Choi recently gave a simple piece of advice to School Owners and instructors:

"Remember, it is important to practise slowly, regularly in a relaxed manner and with mindfulness".

Becoming more aware of what you are doing and how you are doing it can assist in creating a more engaging and enriching training experience – even aside the physical benefits. The problem is, this can be challenging for instructors and black belts due to experience; having performed so many blocks, punches, strikes and kicks over the years you can now perform the techniques and sequences automatically, without conscious thought.

Ironically, it takes another conscious action to break that automatic process – to pause and take note of what you are doing and how you are doing it. In the context of a physical activity, we could stop and reflect. This is an important exercise in its own right, eg. asking yourself questions such as, "what do I enjoy most about training CKD?" or "what aspect of my training do I want to focus on improving?" However, in our recent monthly Black Belt Training session at Ealing Choi KwangDo we sought to raise awareness during the activity.

3 Simple Steps

Firstly, before doing anything we agreed to reduce the speed and intensity of all drills throughout the class. Not drastically - just enough to ensure students can work at a consistent and moderately comfortable pace, while enabling them to think about what they were doing, while they are doing it.

Then we enhanced focus on the movements using the Three Ts:

1. Tool – which part of the body should be used for the techniques. Have you prepared this? Eg. For a punch, have you formed the fist correctly? Is your fist and/or arm in the correct position? 

2. Type of movement – consider how the body should prepare for the movement and the trajectory of the arm or leg. Eg. For an Inward Punch, have you extended the arm with the fist and elbow level and the knuckles horizontal? 

3. Target – where is the technique aimed towards or designed to make contact with? Eg. For a punch aimed at the head/face, which surface are you aiming for? 

Exhaling with each technique can also assist with deliberate performance.

I made up the Three Ts in the hope that it would provide students with something concise and catchy while capturing the overall theme in a simple way: to make the experience of Choi Kwang-Do practise more purposeful and keep our minds in the present moment. If you try them, let us know how you get on!

Jason Wright is a 6th Degree Black Belt and Master Instructor in the martial art Choi Kwang-Do. For further information on Choi Kwang-Do classes in Ealing, West London visit www.TheMartialArtForLife.com/free-trial

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Ealing CKD Summer Schedule 2019

Summer is here which means a small amendment to our class schedule as we merge the 6.00pm and 7.00pm children's classes. This year the children's class will take place at 6.30pm. Full details and dates below:

6.30pm – 7.20pm Children’s Class
7.30pm – 8.45pm Teens & Adults

Monday 29th & Wednesday 31st July
Monday 5th & Wednesday 7th August
Monday 12th & Wednesday 14th August

After the class on Wednesday 14th August we have our summer break and return on Monday 2nd September.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

The Middle of the Road

We have a small group of students preparing to take black belt gradings this weekend. This made me think about an article I read recently over at Cartersville Martial Arts on character development and a martial arts student’s journey. 

The piece covers some personal perspectives from School Owner and Master Instructor Michael Wilson too. You can read the full article here

I particularly liked the section titled The Middle of the Road. Master Wilson uses this analogy to describe that point when a student is somewhere after the beginner stages of training, but before the advanced stage or having achieved black belt. 

Unsurprisingly, my instinctive thoughts were of the Choi Kwang-Do intermediate syllabus (orange belt to blue belt senior). It’s here where students generally understand the basics concepts of the techniques, drills and become ‘comfortable’ with the syllabus. Broadly speaking, things are ‘familiar’ (although some may misinterpret this as ‘easy’). It may even feel like there is not much happening, and that achieving black belt seems far away in the distance.

For some students there may have been an occasion when they didn’t feel like going to class, or that classes were boring…

(For this reason, it’s also here were instructors may invite students to be ‘stretched in a different dimension’ through leadership training or undertaking roles of responsibility within the school).

If this is you, it sounds like you’re in the middle of the road!

Try looking at it this way:

  • That feeling of things being ‘easy’ is actually your growth in competence
  • That feeling of things being ‘boring’ is actually your growth in confidence

With the above in mind, rather than thinking about what you do know, what do you not know (yet!) Look at what you do know. Who, what or how can you improve this? What can you do to move yourself to the next level of expertise?

Martial art training is a journey, and yes, at times maintaining your motivation can still be a challenge for some, but hopefully a simple reframing of the situation might help. Being in the middle of the road is great opportunity to work on your perseverance and unbreakable spirit. 

Jason Wright is a 6th Degree Black Belt and Master Instructor in the martial art Choi Kwang-Do. Why not start your martial arts journey with a free trial? Visit www.TheMartialArtForLife.com/free-trial