Posts Tagged ‘Personal Coach’

SO YOU THINK IT’S EASY FOR ME?

Written by Lindsey. Posted in Coaching

LindseySO YOU THINK IT’S EASY FOR ME?

‘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.

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The differences between Beginners and Advanced practitioners.

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


Beginners Karate Club, Karate club in Basingstoke, Karate in Old Basing, Karate in Hatch Warren, Karate in Brighton Hill, Brighton Hill Karate, Karate in KempshottThe differences between Beginners and Advanced practitioners.

Beginners- White, Orange and Red belts

By Jess Muller

I feel that beginners should spend the majority of their lesson time working on their fundamentals. This should include: the stances, the blocks, kicks and punches. Also, correct positioning of the body should be taught (weight distribution,) as well as how to correctly execute the moves.

So, in a 90 minutes lesson, 60 minutes should be spent on basic training, with the rest spent on warming up and cooling down. This will ensure that good power, skill and precision is learnt early on without overloading the brain with trying to learn a form as well as basic moves.

Once they have gathered some knowledge on the basics, and can complete each move without assistance, fighting can now be introduced. This is because they have now developed good skill, precision, control and concentration, due to the time spent learning the basics. Now the blocks, kicks and punches can be incorporated into the fighting. This is far more effective (I feel,) because it is easier to develop as they can see the moves being put into practice. Also, there is a smaller chance of injury as they have more knowledge on how to execute the techniques carefully and correctly. Therefore, rather than going into a fight blind with no previous experience, they will be prepared with some moves. By having good fighting skills the individual can gain good power, skill, precision, strength, control and timing, which can be incorporated into the basics and then katas/forms.

Once the basics have been further improved and the individual can now fight with relative skill and competency, it is time to introduce kata and/or forms. Heian Shodan is the first kata that is taught in Shotokan Karate. It encompasses the basic head and stomach height punches, as well as the downward block (Gedan Barai.) This is all the kata includes so it requires the very basic moves to be correct otherwise this won’t allow the kata to look good and be good. By having a good kata the individual can gain good balance, precision, strength, skill, control and concentration. Thus making the basics better as these new found skills can now be used to improve their basics and fighting. If the club starts learning forms first instead of katas, then the first form they will learn will be the Kickboxing Form. This includes the basic punches (jab, cross, hook and upper cuts to the head,) and two of the basic kicks, front kick (mae-geri,) and roundhouse kick (mawashi geri.) From this you can then learn the same skills as katas, just in different ways.

Advanced Practitioner- Purple to Brown and two white stripes.

By the time that practitioners have reached this level, they are considered advanced grades.  The time should be split accordingly to their strengths and weaknesses. For example: if there are 30 people in the class, and 18 aren’t very competent at kata, and the remaining 12 need practice on their fighting, then the time should be split in half evenly. This ensures that everyone can improve in their certain weakness, but also improve in another area even more.  By improving your weaknesses, you are making yourself a rounded martial artist as you are good at everything and not just one thing.

In a 90 minute class, the time divide will probably not be equal. More time will be spent or fighting drills or combinations rather than the basic techniques. Or you may start off with the basics quickly (as a warm up for 15 minutes,) and go into kata for 45 minutes and then fighting for 30 minutes. This helps to make sure that everyone is improving in every area, and not just in one.

As advanced grades, they should be learning more advanced fundamentals like multiple kicks on one leg and combinations of moves. There shouldn’t be a long time spent on fundamentals (like there is for beginners,) but the focus should be on the fighting and kata.

In fighting, individuals should now be thinking about: the gaps for the techniques, the speed, precision, guard and the techniques. This is because they can fight at these grades, and know what they are doing, but they need to understand their opponent too. Also, it is about pushing the individuals so that they have to think about where they are going instead of aimlessly throwing techniques. By understanding your opponent, you can read them to see any tell-tale signs of movement, or to see what techniques they do the most.

In their kata/forms work, they should know at least 3-5 forms (kickboxing form, close quarter form, power hands, 16 gates and possibly 13 hands.) This is for purple belts – higher grades should know all of the forms. Or the katas: heian shodan, heian nedan, heian sandan, heian yondan and tekki shodan– if they are taught the katas and not forms. This will increase their memory bank of moves as the different katas/forms contain different moves. In addition, they also begin to show different techniques which advanced practitioners need to work on. For example, in tekki shodan, it begins to teach the action of moving the waist and not the hips to generate more power. Likewise the close quarter form teaches this too.

Differences between the grades

A beginner should spend most of their time repeating: basic moves, katas and sets of moves. This will make the muscles remember the move and also make their brains remember how to correctly do a technique, or kata/form or fighting. However, an advanced practitioner would spend their time on increasing the speed of a technique, or the precision of a move or kata/form. They would spend less time repeating the basic moves, just briefly going over them to make sure that everything is correct.

The attitudes should be different as lower grades should be trying to catch up with the higher grades, and trying to improve as quickly as possible. The advanced grades should be looking at improving everything to get to black belt standard as it is in their reach, and still trying to prove how much of a gap there is between them and the lower grades. This shouldn’t be a negative thing; it is a good way of improvement, when you have a target that you are desperate to reach as it is achievable.

Summary of differences

  • Lower grades should spend more time on their fundamentals than any other area to get a good basis for katas/forms and fighting. Advanced grades should split the time between the three areas, especially the area that they aren’t so good at.
  • More repetition of fundamentals is required for lower grades compared to advanced grades.
  • Advanced grades should be improving the speed and precision of the fundamentals whereas the lower grades should be focusing on doing the moves correctly.
  • Advanced grades should try to learn harder techniques (multiple kicks, or hard combinations,) compared to lower grades who should get the very basic moves correct first.
  • In Katas/Forms, lower grades should know one or two, and make sure that they can remember them and demonstrate them independently. Advanced grades should know multiple katas/forms all at a good standard.
  • Advanced grades should think about their body positioning, weight distribution and waist movement to generate power and make every move as strong as possible. Lower grades should think about where the target is for every move and think about what the moves could be used for (Bunkai– analyzing the moves within in a kata/form to see what they could be used for.)
  • In Fighting, lower grades should try and use a few basic moves that they know (blocks, punches, front kick and roundhouse kicks,) to the best of their ability. Advanced grades know more techniques, so they should put them into practice to see if they work well for them as an individual.
  • Advanced grades should think about the openings of the opponent, and throw suitable techniques for that gap. Lower grades should think about where they are aiming their technique – head, stomach or leg.
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Does experience matter?

Written by bryan. Posted in Coaching, Martial Arts skills

Karate Instructor, GKR Basingstoke, GKR Region 38, Fort Hill, Everest, Go Kan Ryu, Go-Kan-Ryu, Shotokan, Wado, Shito, Goju, Karate in Basingstoke

Does experience matter?

From time to time that old chestnut pops up on the internet about people who are n’t Black belts teaching Martial Arts and whether this is an acceptable approach or not. The main thrust of the two arguments are:-
 

You don’t need to be a Black Belt to teach! 

The argument is that anyone can be a teacher of Martial Arts because its far more important that you can communicate well with people. Some systems proactively recruit junior students, in some cases with mere months of training experience to teach Karate or Taekwondo for them to an unsuspecting audience and this help them to grow their business or franchise.
 
Part of this argument is valid, in that in order to be a good teacher, you need to be a good communicator at many levels and in many different ways. In the past, I’ve seen people as high as 7th Dan, who technically were good at Karate, but were awful at teaching it and developing their students.

  You need to be a Black Belt to teach! 

The argument here is that in order to teach, one needs a certain level of technical knowledge and expertise, otherwise it becomes ‘monkey see – monkey do’ without any detailed technical depth of knowledge to back it up. As one progresses in Martial Arts practice, it becomes more demanding. Mentally with more things to learn, understand and develop and each year the person trains, they should develop new skills and enhance or even change existing ones. If they aren’t then they are simply doing White belt level Karate, even if they have been training for 15 years. I remember Vince Morris a well known Shotokan Karate 8th Dan asking us on a course about 28 years ago. “Have you trained for 15 years? Or have you trained for three years five times?” It took me a little while to understand the significance of his question, but after over 30 years of training, I find there is still so much more to learn.
 
People below black belt are unlikely to have the requisite depth of knowledge to be a competent and effective teacher, even if the syllabus that they teach is simplistic in the extreme.
 Part of this argument is correct, that you need to have a long term exposure to Martial Arts and be a senior grade before you can hope to teach it, perhaps I should caveat that and say teach it with any degree of depth or knowledge.

  What’s the reality?

In truth not only do you need to be an excellent communicator able to adapt to different learning styles, you also need to have a depth of technical knowledge and competence to back this up.
Martial Arts by virtue of what they are capable of doing can be dangerous for both the practitioner and also for their fellow practitioners if they are not taught correctly. This is due to the risk of poorly taught techniques causing severe long term chronic injuries to the practitioner or due to them injuring another student through inappropriate techniques. The other aspect to consider from a students perspective, particularly at the higher grade levels, is that in order to progress, its important to train with someone who is much better than you.
 I had a conversation with a friend of mine, who was ranked in Karate at Shodan (1st Dan) level, he told me about a conversation, he had with his instructor. He asked what more would he need to learn to achieve his Nidan (2nd Dan) and the reply was that the only difference was to learn a new Kata (A Kata is a sequence of moves, like a fighting dance.) Clearly something was amiss there, as the requirement was only to learn a new sequence of moves that he could already perform. Those clubs that encourage non black belts to teach are the ones that are typically part of a large business or a franchise model and are more interested in ££££ than developing good, competent students with a wealth of knowledge.
 So always ask what grade and experience the coach has with their Martial Arts. Don’t be fobbed of, by someone saying “my grade is Instructor.” If they say that, they are almost certainly not a Black Belt.
The other thing to consider is whether the teacher holds any recognised teaching/coaching qualification. As a minimum a good teacher must have a current First Aid qualification, hold an enhanced CRB form, have instructors insurance to teach you (don’t forget that the student should also have their own personal insurance too) and also hold a formally recognised external Martial Arts Coaching qualification. See the Martial Arts Standards Agency’s website for clear guidelines on what is and isn’t acceptable for an instructor. 
 Sport England’s Clubmark
 (Sport’s Quality Kitemark) say this about coaches:-

Coaching staff have a key role in establishing an appropriate coaching environment and creating a successful playing programme. All sports have to demonstrate that coaches are trained to appropriate levels and that the activity undertaken in the club reflects best practice in the development of young people. For example. coaches are required to ensure that young people do not train excessively or in conditions that may cause injury or discomfort. The emphasis within Clubmark is that coaches are supported in their professional development, so when new ideas or updates (e.g., LTAD) become available the NGB supports its coaches to understand and implement them.

Both coaches and students need to aware and mindful of what they are doing and who they are doing it with. Good training.

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New Year’s Resolution – Get Fit. (Self Defence 101)

Written by bryan. Posted in Health and Fitness, Self Defence

Basingstoke, fitness training, how to get fit, PT, Group Exercise, How to lose weight, 4 Health, Group Exercise, Exercise to Music, Bootcamp, Return to exercise, Return to Sport, Moderate exercise, budget gym, Curves, Ladies only gym, Get fit and tone up, diet, get fit,Here we go again. It’s time for people to start their annual fitness regime with all the best intentions in the world.

You can just hear it can’t you……”Well it’s a new Year and I’m going to get fit and lose weight.”

 

So what will it be this year? Gyms, Bootcamps, Personal Trainers, Swimming, Jogging, Dancing or Martial Arts? The Government are doing a good job of telling us that a sedentary life style will kill you. So maybe you’ve decided to listen, at last.

 

Oh and lets not forget after the excesses of Christmas it’s time to lose some weight as well. If you go out and pick up any of the women’s health or men’s fitness magazines at this time of the year. You’ll find the typical headlines “Loose 7lb in a week,” “Lose weight fast” and the list goes on and on. It must be an important topic, Government Ministers are getting into the act now and suggesting to the magazines what they should be saying

Anyway enough about all that fitness mullarky and losing weight. Let’s get back into the Martial Arts and give you the biggest most important Self Defence tips of all time.

 

Are you ready to slay your demons? Well let’s start then at Self Defence 101.

  1. Eat moderately and sensibly
  2. Exercise
  3. Don’t eat more calories than you expend during the day

Surprised, Yes? Well Martial Arts is about self defence and self protection and practiced well is meant to be holistic as well. (Your know holistic derived from the Greek word holos, meaning that the bodies natural systems should be considered a whole entity rather than a collection of separate parts – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holism)

 

Eat Moderately and Sensibly

eat well, diet, food, healthy diet, good food, calories, calorie control, Do you know that as a rule of thumb, the guidelines indicate that following intake of calories is necessary to maintain a healthy body weight.  A man needs around 2,500 calories a day a  woman needs around 2,000 calories a day.

Any idea what you actually consume? There are plenty of Android and Apple phone applications that will help you to keep track of what you are eating.

Bottle of Cola and bar of Chocolate for breakfast? At 139 calories for a tin or 210 calories for a 500ml bottle and a bar of Chocolate being upto 255 calories, you really won’t do yourself any favours, if you carry on like that all day.

The NHS offer some good tips for healthy eating. If you really want to scare yourself, look at the calorie lables on the foods you buy, yes even the so called ‘low fat’ options

 

Exercise

Do you know what the NHS’s guidelines are for adults aged 19-64?

To stay healthy, adults aged 19-64 should try to be active daily and should do:

At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, and

             muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a
week that work all major muscle groups (legs,
hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity such as running or a game of singles tennis every week, and

             muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a
week that work all major muscle groups (legs,
hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

An equivalent mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity every week (for example 2 30-minute runs plus 30 minutes of fast walking), and

muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

 

weight loss, gyms, bootcamp, get fit, PT, trainer, new years resolution, weight watchers, fitness, diet, exercise to music, zumbaDon’t eat more calories than you expend in exercise

The ‘magic numbers’ seem to be that to lose 1lb of fat, you need to burn 3500 calories. The recommended guideline is to aim to lose 2lb of fat per week, so you need to make sure that you are burning another 7000 calories in a week. You could eat 500 less calories a day and that will lose you 1lb. You can also add more exercise.  What does that equate to, have a look at the table to the left and work out how the figures impact you.

We often use a calories counting watch, one of our members holds the current record with 1046 calories burned off during one 1 hour class.  That kind of consistent result will see some good things happen, but it’s down to you to make it happen.

 

 

So the first and golden rule of Self Defence has to be to look after your health.

 

The second golden rule is to learn a Martial Art 😉 Details of our classes are here https://www.basingstokekarate.com/basingstoke-adult-martial-arts-classes

 

 

 

 

 

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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

Contact Us

Telephone (01256) 364104.

Email: info@basingstokekarate.com.

Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy,
The Annex @ ITT Industries,
Jays Close,
Basingstoke,
RG22 4BA