Posts Tagged ‘health and fitness basingstoke’

Children’s Exercise

Written by Oliver. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013

Karate Black Belt Grading Essay. by Oliver Andrews

It’s important for children and Teenagers to exercise because otherwise the world would be overly obese and that would be bad, because the people who are obese would consume a lot more food and the world would be on a food shortage. But even more importantly if you’re healthy it would give you more you less of a chance to have heart attacks and diabetes.

If you don’t keep exercising you will gradually become more and more anti-social because you’re probably just going to spend all day looking at a computer screen. The Times newspaper has even quoted that it is extremely important for children to exercise because if they don’t all of them will grow up to be anti-social and they’ll grow less and less popular, even if you want to be a gamer when you’re older it is still very important to exercise.

Usually schools do Two P.E lessons a week for an hour which is good but if you can, try to write a diary and set yourself a goal to keep losing more and more weight until you are below your goal, after you’ve achieved your goal start again and aim higher this time and so on till you think you are fit.

It is also important for children to exercise because otherwise they will not be good team workers and will grow up to do everything on their own. Martial arts offers protection against bullies and other things, it will also give you a better chance if you ever get into a fight to block and other things to defend yourself. It offers the skill of making yourself a good team worker because you have to work with other people in your class and it helps you to learn new sequences of moves such as katas and forms which is good to develop your brain.

Martial arts is very good because(like we discussed earlier) it keeps you very fit unlike some sports like chess(which is recognized as a sport by the international Olympic committee in 1999) Karate and other martial arts keep you fit by making sure your arms and legs are being used a lot to block, attack, lock, throw and hold down. Martial arts use your tummy muscles a lot too because you need to know how to tense if a punch or a kick is thrown at you which karate also trains you for by doing sparring which is essentially safe fighting.   You also become more flexible from the different stretching exercises and stronger from doing certain things like holding a deep stance.


June Timetable changes – Wednesday 5th to Monday 10th June

Written by bryan. Posted in Updates

KE Squad, British Karate team, Karate England, IKU, Karate championsAs recently mentioned we are making some temporary changes to the timetable in June as Lindsey and Bryan are away competing in Slovenia.


Please note the following dates on your calendar:

Fitness Classes

Monday 3rd June: We are changing the Monday morning class (10–11am) to Body Combat instead of Zumba.


Wednesday 5th June: The evening class (7-8pm) will be a Zumba class instead of Body Combat.


Friday 7th June: The morning class (10-11am) will be a Zumba class instead of Body Combat.


Monday 10th June: The evening class (7.30-8.30pm) will be a Zumba class instead of Body Combat.


Children’s Combat Groove Classes

Wednesday 5th June: Combat Groove is cancelled today.


Friday 7th June: Combat Groove is cancelled today.


Squad Training

Thursday 6th June: Squad training is cancelled today.


All other classes remain unchanged with other coaches covering them.

Normal class timetable will resume on Tuesday 11th June.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us on 01256 364104.


What is Natural movement and how can it be developed?

Written by Pete. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013

natural movement in sport, sports movement

What is Natural movement and how can it be developed

by Peter Syckelmoore 


Movement is caused by messages sent from the brain to the muscles via the nervous system these messages tell our muscles to either contract or relax this causes internal movement  when there is no skeletal movement which is difficult to spot with the naked eye, movement becomes more apparent when the muscles work in groups/pairs to move our skeletal structure (arms/legs).


I’ll begin this stage with a few ideas of different ideas about what natural movement is, the first is based on the 3 Stages of Learning motor movements which are

1) Cognitive Movements are slow, inconsistent, and inefficient Large parts of the movement are controlled consciously

2) Associative Movements are more fluid, reliable, and efficient Some parts of the movement are controlled consciously, some automatically

3) Autonomous Movements are accurate, consistent, and efficient Movement is largely controlled automatically


From this I could say possibly say natural movement is the same thing as Autonomous movement when the performer can produce a movement which is accurate, consistent, and efficient without any or little thought needed to produce the movement performed. What we tend to find in martial arts though is that these autonomous movement are not always efficient especially if we haven’t been practicing the right way, this leads to bad habits which are hard to get rid of because to get rid of them we have to go through the learning process all over again consciously thinking about changing the inefficient movement to a more effective one.

To develop natural movement in martial arts  and reach the top of the Autonomous stage we have to practice and repeat the given exercises over and over and get the moves ingrained into our muscles this will often take thousands if not hundreds of thousands   repetitions before the moves are truly natural even then they won’t be perfect not to mention about time without practicing a movement which will pull you back down the stages of learning, many people’s mistake is that they don’t do enough repetitions they do enough to get to the Associative  stage where they are more fluid and consistent with the moves on the day of training but then come back the next week by which time they have slipped back to the Cognitive stage feeling inconsistent and unsure of the movement again.   

In training we will sometimes be told  to imagine doing natural everyday type movements to help us understand how to quickly learn martial art movements

For example:

  • passing a football when sweeping the legs
  • imagine opening a book in 13 hands, 
  • Imagine touching a hot stove after landing a punch so that the retract is as fast as the punch itself
  • throw a ball to the ground (power hands downward hammer fist or 
  • a pins just pricked your back side to help you spring forward, these learning aids can be an effective way into making us learn the correct type of movement needed for the task at hand.

This concept helps us speed up the learning process of the movements by turning what would have been a Cognitive Movement into a Associative or Autonomous Movement making the movement feel a lot easier and natural to us.


Natural reactions

I’ll start with what I believe to be the most Autonomous type of Movements we perform which is our natural reactions (most of which are designed to stop or reduce damage caused to our body)

I will look closely at these movements and try and incorporate these practicing and analye them in the dojo

1) How I use them to help develop the effectiveness of my martial art skills and

2) Use different scenarios where I will analyse if these movements are beneficial or not


Pulling back of hand when pain is felt: When I perform kumite I know I need to use this type of response a lot more often as I often find im quick  to make an attack but too slow at retracting and often find after a kick my leg being caught/swept or not being able to respond and block counter attacks due to not retracting my arm and move my body to a safe distance in time.                                                                                              Action plan: telling myself this isn’t enough to make a difference, I need to continually practice applying this when practicing kumite towards making this a Autonomous (natural) movement for myself.

Flinching: shutting eyes and shielding oneself in response to a stimulus   This movement can be a effective way at putting up a quick guard especially against projectiles, shutting eyes could help if liquids are involved however during my training I have tried to get rid of this natural response to speed up my response time at accessing the situation and acting accordingly.

Protecting a limb which is damaged: If we have a injury we will naturally limp or hold a injured arm close to our body’s to protect it from further harm. In most self defence situations I’d would say you’d want to try and hide the fact you have an injury so your opponent can not take advantage of this (only let it show when danger has passed. In training we must be very careful when we have injuries and stop if an injury is hurting as this is our brain telling us we are doing our body further harm.

Curling up in foetal position if on ground getting pummelled by thugs (protecting major organs): When doing our self defence seminar we were in formed that mimicking this position standing up when under threat of a knife attack was an effective position as it covered many of the vital spots (neck, wrist arteries, major internal organs in torso).


My third category of natural movements involves looking back in time to when we were cave men were we would have possibly had to use these daily to kill prey in our hunt for food or to escape harm in wild conditions (making the following movements much more natural to them). Many of these methods would be used as a last resort and should only be used in self defence in today’s society

Strangling wringing neck, which came under Gripping onto stationery objects in my briefing. A very effective way at ending life as cutting off the air supply to the lungs or blood supply to the brain.

Lashing out kicking and thumping: this aggressive fast pace attack strategies is often seen in animals and even untrained children they don’t have a great concept on how to perform good effective strikes but use their aggression and speed to there advantage to try and overcome the opposition. The aggression combined with many attacks with speed is what I’d like to take out of this, as people can often defend/resist one attack but not lots in a short space of time leading to becoming quickly overwhelmed

Scratching and biting face/neck: Not one that we practice in martial arts although it is an effective tactic in a desperate situation. In martial arts we would try and become familiar with the soft spots on the body so we would know where to aim our scratch’s/ bites.

Stamping:  A very effective and simple movement, when opponents standing up we can stamp on a foot, angle the stamp to aim for the knee once the prey is down on the ground stamp to the head and neck.

Sprinting for your life: Very important whether running from a superior opponent to reach safety or chasing prey down to make sure you get the food required to keep your body going and avoid starvation.


The next way I will look at natural movement is by looking at the joints of the body and see what movement these allow as natural movements and movements the joints restrict as unnatural ones

For example the elbow is a hinge joint allowing flexion and extension as its natural movements, hyperextension of this joint is a unnatural movement thus pain is felt

Pivot joints allow Rotation of one bone around another as in our neck allowing turning of the head. Its natural to turn the head but as soon as resistance is felt any more movement would be classed as unnatural (no one turns there head 360 degrees)

Ball and Socket allow many movements seen in the shoulder/hip including Flexion/Extension/Adduction/Abduction/Internal & External Rotation

The muscles and tendons around these joints play a roll in determining what is natural or not tight muscles round a joint restrict its range of natural movement, this is seen in many weight lifters were there range of movement is greatly reduced.

A way of increasing natural range of movement is to stretch and lengthen specific muscles tendons and ligaments around effecting a joints movement, however doing this we are having to perform unnatural movement.

From this I can say natural movement is what ever the joints and muscles of the body physically allows us to do without pain being felt or excessive force being applied, I can also state that care needs to be applied involving the amount  muscle workout to stretching ratio to ensure a healthy balance is maintained.

Finally I look at these last two as muscles are what control all movement and the only two things they can do is relax and contract, pretty amazing when you consider the hundreds of thousands of different types of movements which are possible to make.

Positives for Tensing muscles

making oneself feel heavy especially for others to lift up

Helpful to lock our joints and stop or reduce movement through a certain joint of the body: tensing bicep pulling it towards the body if an opponent is attempting a arm bar.

Tensing abdominal muscles helpful in forming a barrier shielding internal organs


Tensing all or many muscles groups dramatically slows your movement capabilities as to truly make best use of the muscles to help make fast effective moves the muscles need to go from a state of full relaxation to contraction and visa versa. When the muscles are already contracted and you attempt a movement you are pretty much immobilising the muscle and stopping it aid the movement you are attempting, other muscles help make the movement happen instead.

Drains energy very quickly wearing the person out

Allows opponent’s to have greater control of the body as they can move the tense person as one much easier. (this can be tested by getting into pairs one person lies on the floor the other attempts to move this person when they are in a state of complete tension and again with complete relaxation)         Positives for Relaxing muscles

Allows muscles to be ready act quickly and effectively

Conserves energy

Proved fact that if you are hit by a car you are likely to suffer slightly less bodily damage if your relaxed rather than tense.

Relaxed muscles are longer so allow you to stretch into positions a contracted muscle cannot


Arms or legs can be pulled into locks more easily

Injuries to hand and wrist if fist is relaxed on punching impacts


After completing my own theory on the subject I looked up some other example’s in someone else’s words on natural movements, there was a massive amount to choose from so I have picked out a few different opinions on the matter.

The training creates the natural movement

To me, natural movement is that movement that can happen without thinking about it, once it has become learned and ingrained. Walking is not natural to a toddler but it is natural movement a couple of years later, after much practice.

By extension, natural movement in MA would be that movement you have learned over time that is now ingrained in muscle memory and does not have to be thought about for it to happen. Anybody have problems getting the feet in the right spot when you first started doing fighting stances? How about a couple of years later? My guess is that you don’t really need to think about foot placement anymore, it just happens. Would you now consider that to be natural movement, or not?

In short, natural motions can be anything your body uses for everyday “getting around,” such as walking, running, body twisting, crossing your arms, etc. Everyone understands (beginners) how to move around from their everyday life and they are introduced on how to apply this for martial arts movements.

Examples: Walking motion (in place, raising the knees) is simple, and is the basic foundation of knee strike in front and front kick. Arm-running motion is the foundation for various strikes in front and elbows behind the body. Body twisting, where you raise the opposite heel of the direction you are turning can be used for elbow striking, blocking, striking to the rear of your body and throwing (such as hip throw).

It seems to me that there is a measure of subjectivity to what individuals would “naturally” move like in various situations. Some people are graceful and coordinated, others are not. Different body shapes will yield different levels of effort for different responses and movements. I think natural is pretty hard to define.


I think of natural movement differently…. Visualize a toddler who is just beginning to walk. They are not necessarily picking up their feet and putting them down. They are falling at the hips and catching themselves with their feet. To me that is natural movement. Watch people walk, they bounce on their toes, their movement is started by their heads, or their feet, not their hips. That is not balanced.  Natural is balanced. Unnatural is the learned behaviour we have incorporated as we grew. Watch a child just learning how to walk, when they fall, the don’t stiffen up and SMACK the ground, they fall on their bum or sometimes fall forward, but they are relaxed.  



Some very interesting ideas here all valid, At the end of this part of the project I have decided that using the everyday natural movement in martial arts defiantly has its benefits and provides positive aids to our training whether for helping us focus and imagine a situation which would provoke a effective response for the situation, or helping get the right movement through a certain joint to help get a technique working more effectively, I think though as you get more experienced the movements you do have to become so definite and effective in a given situation that you’d need to look deeper into the Feet, Posture, Mind, Breath, internal Power, Wedge, Spiral principles to make sure the movements work bio mechanically and are as effective as possible.


The influence of different kinds of Soft Martial Arts and what we can learn and apply from them

Written by Wayne. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013, Martial Arts

Tai Chi, Chinese Martial Arts, Soft Martial Arts, Basingstoke, Ba Qua, Hsing, Wayne Roberts

Black Belt Grading Project Briefing


The influence of different kinds of Soft Martial Arts and what we can learn and apply from them


Research Topic:


a)    The influence of different kinds of Soft Martial Arts and what we can learn and apply from them

b)    Identify and demonstrate some different types of Pushing Hands and how we can use them training in a ‘hard style’

c)    Chin Na and its importance and relevance to training

d)    The relevance of pushing hands for self-defence purposes

e)    The holistic nature of Martial Arts, its health benefits and how to undertake training to promote these benefits whilst minimising risk.


So I have to admit I was kind of expecting something like this as my black belt project. I had some feedback from my last grading that sometimes I tended to use too much strength or hard karate style and since then it has been something I have been very conscious of….but it can be challenging to do something about. Sometimes it’s very easy to get lost in a sparring duel with a partner and before you know it you are both whacking bits out of each other! I’ve also experienced picking up injuries as a result of the odd close encounter here or there, so another good incentive to listen to what you’re told and try to apply it. I also play the guitar which is sometimes difficult to do without the use of a finger or two…….


To be frank, the soft Karate styles we have so far learnt in class have also proved vexing for me to say the least (e.g. forms such as tai-kii, pushing hands etc). Sometimes you feel just when you are starting to make some progress and get the ‘feeling’ of how these techniques should be practiced they can suddenly seem completely out of reach, awkward and as if you are doing everything wrong. It’s almost as if getting this style right is a much a state of mind as anything physical, and can be very frustrating.


So lots of questions too……


–       Are soft martial arts really of any use in a fighting situation?

–       Is hard or soft style right either way or is it just matter of using each in the right time and place?

–       Is hard style really the path to the dark side? (to almost quote a famous short green Jedi Master)


When you try Googling ‘soft’ karate you’ll also end up with a lot of results….. Goju Ryu, Aikido, Wing Chun, Wadu Ryu, Kung Fu and Tai Chi to name but a few. So how do you know what is right to practice? From the sea of information, opinions and styles what is the correct thing to focus on? The answer probably is that there isn’t a ‘right answer’, just a matter of what is good fit for me, my own style, size, strength and personality. So that I think in part is the journey I need to go on for the next 8 months to find out exactly that!


For the purposes of this project I plan to investigate the core principles, techniques and forms of a number of ‘soft’ Japanese and Chinese martial arts including but not limited to those listed above. Although this will very clearly result in a lot of information being unearthed, which one could spend a decade analysing in detail, I hope to be able to synthesis this research into 4 or 5 key principles or techniques that are common across some or all disciplines.


Specifically this will also cover;

–       Key forms and their applications

–       Pushing hands in both offensive and defensive applications

–       Chin Na (which are techniques used to control/immobilise an opponent with locks)


Ultimately I hope to show how these soft karate techniques can help to improve speed, power generation, the ability to overcome opponents and finally the long term mental and physical health benefits vs hard style karate


Key for me personally will to be able to learn not just theory from books and people but to be able to demonstrate and importantly teach relevant techniques – I think this will be the best approach in terms of proving some of the theory. As a secondary objective, I’d really like to be able to teach members of the club something new and different that they may not have seen before and so improve everyone else’s understanding and skill in this area.


In terms of undertaking the research, demonstrating and proving key conclusions therefore my approach will be as follows;

–       Discussions face to face with senior practitioners from those disciplines identified (where time allows, potentially lessons)

–       On-line and published literature review/reading

–       Practice and proving these techniques through testing and application with fellow members of the club (where there are willing victims!)


Over the course of the next 8 months I plan to provide a regular update on my research and conclusions in written/blog form (6 updates between March and November), plus a number short demonstrations during or at end of normal lessons. This will culminate in a 60 minute class which I will run during November/December.


The approximate timetable for this project will be as follows;

–       March to June – core principles & techniques review (researching 1-2 martial arts disciplines per month)

–       July to September– consolidate key focus areas based on research, focus on learning & practicing pushing hands & Chin-Na techniques and applications

–       October to December – consolidate learnings, preparation for final write up & class

Martial Arts Standards Agency British Judo British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – National Governing Body The World Union of Karate Federations Shi Kon Martial Arts British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – National Governing Body

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Telephone (01256) 364104.


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