Posts Tagged ‘Learning’


Written by Lindsey. Posted in Coaching


‘Yes, but it’s easy for you’ are words I hear frequently when coaching, typically when asking students to challenge themselves with something they cannot yet do. Yes I’m a Kata World champion, European champion, British champion and multiple sports award winner but what you don’t know is what I have had to do to get where I am.

Typically, I don’t reply with anything other than ‘it’s not about me, it’s about you. Keep working on it’. However, next time you think about giving up, or making excuses because you believe that someone else finds it ‘easy’ and you don’t, I want you to think for a moment about this; just because someone makes something look effortless, doesn’t mean it took no effort to attain the skill. ‘It’s easy for you’ is an assumptive, blasé comment which is often said without thinking, to excuse the fact that someone feels embarrassed that they can’t currently do something the way they would like to or because they can’t be bothered to put the required work into developing the skill.

Just think for a second, if you could do something to perfection already why would I be asking you, as a coach, to work on it? Why would I be asking for you to practise and giving you help and advice on how to improve if not because I believe that you can be better, that you want to be better? It is my way of making things ‘easy’ for you. As martial artists we need the things that we practise to come easily to us, if we feel uncoordinated, clumsy and slow in the way we move we will never be able to defend ourselves effectively. It should be our goal to work hard enough to make things appear effortless. As a coach, I do not want to spend my time being impressed by what you can do, I want to be impressed by the effort and attitude you put into what you can’t do.

I’m not perfect, no one is, but don’t ever believe for one moment that just because I can do something and do it well  that it’s easy for me. Everything I have achieved I have done because I have worked continuously hard over an extremely long period of time. Every one of us is different; there are things which I have picked up quickly which someone else will struggle with and vice versa.  I seek out the best instructors and I take the time to listen to what they have to say, and often what they say is critical. I write copious notes on everything which I often refer to and I put in hours and hours of practise, sometimes repeating individual moves hundreds of times over until I succeed in doing something so that it feels right. I ask questions, I research what I’m doing. It’s important to understand not only how to do something correctly but why it is the correct way.  None of this is easy.

Learning is a constantly evolving process. Complacency is dangerous, if you allow yourself to believe that you have mastered something you become complacent and cease to practise with the correct mindset. In this case you are now just going through the motions like a machine; not thinking, not feeling and not intuitively improving.  All training should be done with an open mind, ready to change, adapt and improve. As we grow older physical limitations make it necessary for us to adapt. We lose flexibility, speed and strength but at the same time we should be learning how to adapt our movements so we don’t lose the skills we have worked hard to master. People often become frustrated when they find they can no longer train and move the way they did in their youth. It no longer feels ‘right’ which is why we need to be open-minded when we train. What was right when I was 20 is no longer right for me now I’m in my 40’s. I have had to continue to adapt and continue to work hard.

For those who continue to train, to work and to develop their skills, there can always be improvement. These people find that their movements become softer, more fluid, smaller, wiser and simultaneously more effective.  At this point many of us look back and wish we had known when we started that things could be gentle on the body and yet effective. This is when, to the novice, things look effortless and ‘easy’ for those who have developed these skills.

Whenever you become frustrated that someone else appears to find something easy when you find it difficult consider that they were once where you are now. Looking at someone else wishing they had those skills, wondering why it seemed so easy for someone else. They are possibly still looking at someone else wishing their skills were at that level rather than the level that they are but, in their case, knowing that this will come with time and work and understanding that this hasn’t come easy – it has come through continuous effort and hard work.

Lindsey Anan FinalWhere I am hasn’t come easy for me, it has come as a result of many years of hard work. I have trained in martial arts for over twenty three years. I train, on average, for twenty hours per week with a mixture of personal training, private lessons, coaching and fitness work. I do more when I can. Just one year after I started training in martial arts I was diagnosed with M.E (also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). As a result this has been anything but easy for me but I have never given up. You never know what anyone has struggled with or is currently struggling with and how hard they have worked to attain their goals and reach their current standard but I do know that with my own achievements I have felt an enormous sense of pride, this is not something you feel when something comes easy to you.

With this in mind, next time that you are faced with a challenge and someone else is making it look easy, ask yourself how much you want to achieve, how hard you are willing to work and how important it is to you to get there. Just because it looks easy for someone else doesn’t mean it came easily to them. Consider and appreciate the effort they have put in and then match that effort with your own.

Be the best that you can be.


Non Verbal Communication

Written by Harry. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013

Kids Karate, Teens, Youth, Karate. Hatch Warren, Brighton HillBlack Belt Grading 2013

Harry van Meerkerk


I have been given the topic of Non-verbal communication as my research project for my black belt grading –

a)      Why are non-verbal communications important to a martial artist

b)      What non-verbal communications might someone use when they are fighting you

c)      How do you learn to control your own body language

d)      What are ways of reading someone else’s body language


To me, non-verbal communication makes me think of body language.  You can work out from people’s body language how they are feeling (happy, sad, angry, aggressive) and what they might do.  You can also let people know how you are feeling by controlling your own body language – I am going to try and learn how to do this J


This year I will research this topic in lots of ways.  I will use the internet to find information from Wikipedia.  Another way I can research this topic is by watching other children in my karate lessons, at school and can learn from my friends and family.  I will learn from my Sensei’s too.


While I am researching this topic I hope to learn different ways to communicate without talking and to learn how to understand how people feel in different situations.


I hope that my project will help other members of my class at karate to understand about non-verbal communication.


The Arts of Communication

Written by Aaron. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013, Coaching

Karate kids, Martial Arts and fitness, martial arts for self defence, martial arts for fun, family martial artsThe Arts of Communication

Grading Project 2013

Aaron Potter

My project for my black belt grading is split up into four main areas:

a)    As a Martial Artist what methods of communication do we use to learn Martial Arts?

b)    As a Martial Arts teacher what methods of communication do we use to coach?

c)    How are these skills transferable between sports, work and education and socially?

d)    What do you think are some of the most important points made by Dale Carnegie in his work on ‘Effective Communications and Human Relations.’


Before I can answer the questions in the topic I have to know the different definitions of ‘Communication’. The Oxford dictionaries definition of communication is: “the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium such as television.” This means that there must be at least two people in order for communication to take place, a sender and receiver. Therefore communication must be something used to inform people and as well to educate.

The word communication itself comes from the Latin word “communis” meaning to share. The topic of communication is in itself made up of different elements such as verbal and non verbal communication. Communication is part of our everyday lives and some believe that without methods of communication humans and other species would not be what they are today.

I have been doing martial arts for around four years now, so I have seen how different methods of communication are used to teach martial arts. I see this area of the topic as not just the methods used today in modern western karate, but also in eastern training methods modern and ancient too. This way I am able to see how the methods vary across time.

In order to fully understand the sections on the topic I will have to put myself in the shoes of coaches, senseis and the everyday person in the attempt to try to fully understand the ways communication is used. As a student, I know well how teachers in schools teach their students so they can get lots of information into them. However people teach different things in certain ways.

Why do they teach this way? How does it measure up to other techniques of communication?

The topic involves me thinking and researching from the martial arts perspective as well as non martial arts perspective too. My research will be done online with using Google with the use of other people’s blog sites for the views of teachers and sensei’s, and also sites like Wikipedia that will give a balanced view but however seem to be less useful than the blogs. I will also use my own personal view and experience to support and give views. I will have to look up certain sources to answer specific elements of the project. I will use the internet as I am unable to interview or go see different sports in action. As a sports leader I will be able to give a perspective of how communication is used in non martial art sports.

As usual, I find proving projects like this tricky (for example proving the different ways coaches teach martial arts), but I will be able to quote who I have got my ideas and research from and try to argue my points in a way that would support and back up my answers or points on communication.

I will present my findings in update from March till December with new findings and thoughts on previous ones. I hope to take each section of the topic one at a time and give updates for each in my report at the end of March, April, June, July, August, September, and October. If I find anything interesting after this time is will publish it in concise updates. The at the end of the project I will give a lesson in communication but I will decide what to put in this once the project is complete.

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 Safeguarding

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