Posts Tagged ‘self confidence’

Learning a martial art is said to be character building

Written by bryan. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013

JUDO, martial arts, bja, Judo club,The project I have to do for my Black Belt grading is “Learning a martial art is said to be character building” and I have three questions that I will have to answer. They are:

1 – How would martial arts help someone who is-
2 – Shy
3 – Aggressive
4 – Unconfident
5 – Over confident
6 – Bullied
7 – Bully
8 – Quiet
9 – Noisy
10 – What changes have you seen in you friends their time training in martial arts
11 – What do you think the biggest changes that martial arts have brought to me


To be able to answer this question I will find what character building means. To do this I will look through the internet and when I find an answer I will then cross reference it with other pages that explain what it means.


I have found that character building means that you have to build yourself with your own self beliefs, as well finding a role model that is the character you want to be like. For example; someone who pays attention, knows better ways of completing goals, finding a role model with the certain types of aspects you want can change you as a person either in a good way or a bad way.

In my opinion I think martial arts can be character building, but only to some extent. One way someone could change their character through martial arts, for an example they could become more fit and as a consequence of that they could feel more confident about themselves because they can play other sports in a better way because they are more fit. A person can also make friend by doing a martial art and this can make them less shy and unconfident because they know someone will stick up for them, especially if that person is at their school. I further think that if someone is too noisy then doing a martial art can make them more disciplined and teaching them to control themselves by not being so noisy, I think this because a martial art can be dangerous and if someone keeps calling out then firstly it will interrupt the lessen and therefore slow it down , secondly it is important that everyone can hear what the instructor is saying so no one gets hurt. They will learn this overtime because hopefully the instructor will talk to them about it and tell them what is bad about being as noisy as they are. These are only some examples of ways people can change and of course there are more. However I don’t think that it will help someone who is a bully, because although they will learn things that can keep them from being a bully like, being a bit more disciplined with themselves. They can also learn things that will make them a worse bully and person, because instead of calling someone names they may actually physically damage them as well, this is because of some of the moves they learn from a martial art.


I am going to research this topic in more then one way. One of the ways I am going to research this topic is by having a look on the internet and seeing what people have to say about character building through martial arts. Next I will have a look at people myself and how they have changed trough martial arts. This is by having a look at people who have joined very recently and also having a look at people who have been doing martial arts for a period either the same length as me or an even a longer period. This may take me a while as I will have to see the newer people change throughout a few weeks/months because people don’t change instantly.


What I hope to get out of this work is finding out how people have changed and what has affected people to change. Through this I can also see how I have changed throughout my time doing martial arts. I hope to see what states people are in when they join a martial arts club and by seeing how they change I can hopefully learn how to make someone’s life a bit more pleasant, by maybe influencing them in small ways to become more confident or even become less over confident. I would like to persuade people to join a martial arts club because it is a great way to try something  new and also another great way to learn helpful new skills, like listening intently and cooperating with other people even if you usually wouldn’t. Martial arts gives you the opportunity to learn how to be able to teach people new things that you have learnt, which can help you throughout your life. Those are the biggest things I would like to get out of this topic.


One of the things I would like other children to learn from my work on this topic is that the people reading my essay are maybe overconfident or a bully and that they should change that so that people can have a better experience of life, instead of one that the bullies and overconfident people are maybe ruining. I would also like the unconfident, shy, bullied and quiet people to realise that they are some of those people and that they should try and do things so that they might not be so quiet or shy. For the people who are bullied I don’t want them to get out of this topic that they have to do something themselves about the problem like physically harming the bully back. You/they could try to do something themselves by  talking to their bully about how he/she is making them feel. Or if they don’t want to do it themselves or the bullies don’t listen then they should go and tell an adult about the problem so that they can sort it out.


So to sum up what I would really like out of this essay and for anyone reading it, is to realise they are maybe to noisy or quiet or any other of the examples I have put in my essay and more things that they are and I would like them to change it and become a better or more improved person.






Philosophy & Martial Arts – Report # 1

Written by Sue. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013

Combat Karate, Karate in BasingstokePhilosophy & Martial Arts

Susan Pogmore

FIRST REPORT – March 2013

In the Beginning: A brief history of karate and an introduction to Funakoshi

Where to start?! At the beginning seems the most logical place. The beginning of karate; or at least, what is known of its beginnings….

The history of karate is long and uncertain, and undocumented for long periods. Although the island of Okinawa, situated between Japan and Taiwan, is regarded as the birthplace of karate, its origins can be traced back further to China.

Around 6th Century, the legendary Indian monk, Bodhidharma, is said to have travelled to China to spread the doctrine of Zen Buddhism. He settled in the Shaolin monastery where his teachings began. Many of the monks were very weak and found such physical exercise too exhausting. Bodhidharma devised a training method that would assist the monks both physically and mentally so that they could continue their Zen practice.

Zen approximately translated as “absorption” or “meditative state”.

Zen emphasizes the attainment of “enlightenment” and the personal expression of direct insight on the Buddhist teachings.

It is suggested that he invented a method of self defence using his hands, (his religion prohibited him using or carrying weapons) which he employed to defend himself against wild life and hostile natives on his journey to China through the Himalayas.

Eventually and there may have been influence from political and military leaders who frequented the monastery, the exercises developed into a fighting system known as kung fu.

Okinawa is a stepping stone between China and Japan and holds a position of historical importance where a blending of cultural, political and military exchanges took place. As a result of this position a number of successive weapons bans were imposed by domestic and invading rulers between 15th and 17th centuries.  It is believed that the unarmed fighting art, kung fu was adapted and further developed by the Okinawans and came to be known as te (meaning “hand”) or to-de (written to mean “Chinese hand” and pronounced kara-te in Japanese).
Over time different styles of te developed to suit practitioners with physical attributes. The Naha-te style focused on strong, heavy techniques, while the Shuri-te style specialised in light, fast techniques. Naha and Shuri are two towns in Okinawa where the different styles were popular. Two experts of note were Ankoh Azato (1827-1906) and Ankoh Itosu (1832-1915) who practiced Naha-te and Shuri-te respectively. These two experts had a student in common named Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) who would become known as the ‘father of modern karate’. He combined the principles from both styles in an attempt to create a well balanced style that could be easily learned by all.


Gichin Funakoshi was born 1868, in Shuri, Okinawa, to a low-rank Okinawan samurai. He was a sickly baby and a frail child and was encouraged to learn karate at any early age to overcome these handicaps. “Soon I found it had cast a spell over me.” Later he passed the entrance examination for medical school but was unable to pursue this goal because his family were stiffly opposed to the abolition of the Japanese topknot. Being trained in both classical Chinese and Japanese philosophies and teachings, he became an assistant teacher in Okinawa; losing his topknot in the process, much to the disgust of his father.

During this time he began nightly travels to the home of Anko Azato. Here he trained in Naha-te and Shuri-te under the tutelage of Azato’s good friend, Ankoh Itosu. Their styles were different as were some of their philosophies. Azato believed in thinking of his arms and legs as swords, Isotu trained his body to withstand any impact.

It was around 1901 and as a result of a visit from Ogawa, the commissioner of schools for Kagoshima Prefecture that karate had won the approval of the Ministry of Education. Once the decision had been made to include karate in school curriculums, it began to exert its inevitable appeal on all sorts of people, and after securing permission from Azato and Itosu, Funakoshi began teaching karate on a formal basis.

Funakoshi was, in addition to karate, deeply involved in calligraphy and the writing of poetry. He would sign his work using his pen name, Shoto. It is from that pen name that the creation of the word ‘Shotokan’ arose. Shoto, meaning waving pines (his verse was often inspired by the gently waving pines on the hills near his home) and the word ‘kan’ meaning house or school. His first school of karate, based at his home, therefore became known as Shoto’s kan, which was eventually shortened to Shotokan.

By the late 1910s, Funakoshi had many students, of which a few were deemed capable of passing on their master’s teachings. Funakoshi ventured to mainland Japan in 1922 in an effort to spread the interest of Okinawan karate. In 1939 he built the first Shotokan dojo in Tokyo. It was around this time and for political reasons, that the meaning of karate was changed from “Chinese hand” to “Empty hand”.  In 1949 Funakoshi’s students created the Japan Karate Association (JKA), with Funakoshi as the honorary head of the organisation.
Funakoshi published several books on karate including his autobiography, Karate-do: My Way of Life. His legacy, however, rests in a document containing his philosophies of karate training now referred to as the niju kun, or “twenty principles.” These rules/precepts are the premise of training for all Shotokan practitioners and are published in a work titled The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate. Within this book, Funakoshi lays out 20 rules by which students of karate are urged to abide in an effort to “become better human beings”.

Funakoshi died of colorectal cancer in 1957 at the age of 90. A memorial was erected by the Shotokai at Engaku-ji, a temple in Kamakura. Designed by Kenji Ogata the monument features calligraphy by Funakoshi which reads Karate ni sente nashi (There is no first attack in karate), the second of Funakoshi’s Twenty Precepts, and one of his poems.


So, a history filled with monks, teachers, poets and artists, ordinary family men, fathers and farmers, wishing no more than to improve their health and be able to defend themselves, their families and their masters.

Anko Itosu wrote a letter is 1908, “Ten Precepts of Karate,” to draw the attention of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of War in Japan. The first precept:

“Karate is not merely practiced for your own benefits; it can be used to protect one’s family or master. It is not intended to be used against a single assailant, but instead as a way of avoiding a fight should one be confronted by a villain or ruffian.”


Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Karate

In Funakoshi’s autobiography there are many tales illustrating the peaceful nature of karate. In one episode Funakoshi, his master and half a dozen other karateka were returning home late at night along a dark road, from a moon-viewing, when they were addressed by a party of ‘ruffians’ whose intent was to flex some muscle. Funakoshi, quite young at the time, was pleased with an opportunity to test his skills, however, Master Itosu instructed him to talk with them, do not fight.  The men taunted Funakoshi, but then another group of drunken men arrived at that place in the road and they recognised Master Itosu and turned to the first gang of men saying that they were crazy if they intended to fight with Master Itosu and his karateka. There was no apology but the band of men slunk off into the night and Itosu shepherded his own group home by another, longer road. Later Funakoshi learned that the members of the gang had indeed come rather shamefacedly to Itosu’s house to apologise.

Another episode Funakoshi, married with children at this time, found himself confronted by two men on a dark road. Their intent evident by the fact they had covered their faces with towels. They taunted Funakoshi and the angrier they got the calmer he felt. Funakoshi quietly addressed them “Haven’t you mistaken me for someone else? Surely there has been some misunderstanding. I think if we talk it over…” The two men moved in closer, one raising a club. Funakoshi did not feel intimidated in the least “It seems I am going to have to fight you after all, but frankly my advice to you is not to insist. I don’t think it’s going to do you very much good because if I wasn’t sure of winning, I wouldn’t fight. I know I’m bound to lose. So why fight? Doesn’t that make sense?”

The two men seemed to calm down a bit “Well” said one of them, “you certainly don’t put up much of a fight. Let us have your money then.” Funakoshi parted with the only thing he had, manju, cakes he was taking to offer at the altar in the house of his wife’s father.

A few days later in retelling the events to Azato and Itosu they both praised him. Itosu said that Funakoshi had behaved with the utmost propriety and that he now considered the hours he had spent teaching Funakoshi karate had been well-spent.


It is undisputed that an adept karateka has the ability to do another person serious injury, but in the study of karate we learn control and understanding and discipline, respect, honour, courtesy, justice, spirit, diligence, observance, imagination. I refer you to Funakoshi’s 20 Precepts, which I will concentrate on in my next report.

                                                                                                                                                          27th March 2013


The Twenty Precepts of

 Gichin Funakoshi

  1. Karate begins with courtesy and ends with courtesy.
  2. There is no first attack in Karate.
  3. Karate is an aid to justice.
  4. First control yourself before attempting to control others.
  5. Spirit first, technique second.
  6. Always be ready to release your mind.
  7. Accidents arise from negligence.
  8. Do not think the Karate training is only in the dojo.
  9. It will take your entire life to learn Karate; there is no limit.
  10. Put your everyday living into Karate and you will find Myo.
  11. Karate is like boiling water; if you do not heat it constantly, it will cool down.
  12. Do not think that you have to win; think rather that you do not have to lose.
  13. Victory depends on your ability to distinguish vulnerable points from invulnerable ones.
  14. The battle is according to how you move: guarded or unguarded.
  15. Think of your hands and feet as swords.
  16. When you leave home, think that you have numerous opponents waiting for you.
  17. Beginners must master low stance and posture; natural body positions are for the advanced.
  18. Practicing kata is one thing; engaging in a real fight is another.
  19. Do not forget correctly to apply: strength and weakness of power, stretching and contraction of the body, and slowness and speed of techniques.
  20. Always think and devise ways to live the precepts every day.



Fear, Stress, Nerves, Anxiety, Adrenalin, Self-Consciousness and Choking are all part of Martial Arts training

Written by Bob. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013, Self Defence

old basing karate, gkr, shotokan, wado, go-kan-ryu, gokanryu, matt fiddess, defence labs, krav maga, basingstoke
Black Belt Grading Project 2013

Bob Wilson

My grading project comprises the challenging issues of Fear, Anxiety, Adrenalin, Self Consciousness and Choking which are all part of Martial Arts training. In order to bring the topic to life and to ensure that what I write is entertaining I will base my topic around two characters who find themselves in a scenario anyone could be subject to and we’ll look at what is going on both physically, mentally and how one of the characters’ Martial Arts training helps them both in the situation.

I intend to look in depth at how the body naturally reacts to Fear, Stress and Anxiety and valium also what Adrenaline would do in a self defence scenario. I’m going to try and present full facts and not dress up the reality – for this I make no apology. As we go through the reports more information will come to light that will hopefully change views on how this initial scenario is seen.


To set the scene I thought I would look at a scenario and then later on we can break down certain parts further. 

Tony and Rachel are a couple in their late 20’s/early 30’s who have known each other for many years but recent started seeing each other. Tony is a Fudge Packer in a local Confectionary Warehouse and Rachel works in the Leisure and Tourism industry. Over text messages they decide that on Saturday night they will hop on a train and go to a nearby town. Whilst there they go for a few drinks and around 1 am decide to catch the last train home. On walking to the train station they encounter 3 men who stop Tony and ask if he has any spare change, he politely declines at which point the lead youth says ‘I’ll take your phones then…’.


So Let’s pause the scenario there and see what’s happened so far. Tony’s been studying Karate for almost 4 years and knows that self-protection begins when you leave the house not when you encounter a potential problem, his martial arts training has also opened his eyes to the possibility of dangers so as he is out of his own area and taking a lady out he is aware this type of situation was possible and to give himself the best chance he deliberately hasn’t had a lot to drink. He is also acutely aware that the last comment, ‘I’ll take your phone then…’ has changed the situation from one of three lads simply asking for some change etc to one of a potential street robbery where both he and Rachel are now potentially in danger. He has no idea if anyone is carrying a weapon.

Back to the scenario and Tony replies ‘No, mate – You’re not having our phones, we’ve had a good night and I need to get onto the platform, excuse me’. As he goes to walk past, the 1st male starts to become agitated and aggressive. He pushes Tony back shouts at him ‘Give me your phone!!’ all whilst still flanked by two other males.

So again lets look at what’s going on. Tony’s body now enters a state of emergency (also known as the ‘Fight or Flight response’). The stress of the situation has now caused Tony’s heart rate to increase from around 40/50 beats per minute to nearly 100 (bpm). Adrenaline is rapidly being released by his body which also stimulates Dopamine (a natural pain killer). His breathing becomes shallower and more rapid to keep up with the body’s increased demand to provide blood and oxygen to the major organs.

In this situation people respond differently depending on their psychological state, their confidence, whether they are prepared to engage an assailant etc etc. It’s easy for a person to go into a state of panic and fall to pieces. This often happens to people who are simply not prepared.

At this point it is very much up to the individual as to how they deal with the situation. Tim Larkin a US Martial Arts expert (a hand to hand combat trainer for the US Navy Seals) who hold’s extremely violent and controversial views on self protection (so much so that he was banned from the United Kingdom by the Home Secretary Theresa May in August 2012 because “his presence here was not conducive to the public good”) believes that in this sort of situation you should allow the adrenalin to empower you in order to maim, severely injure or even kill the individual concerned. We’ll look at these views later in the project.

So Tony, still being confronted by the attacker now allows his martial arts training to take over. He knows he has to relax and regain control of his emotions. He looks for an avenue out of the situation without resorting to violence. Unfortunately there’s nobody around at that time that could help, and the distance to the platform is around 25 meters of polished floor with around 20 stairs at the end and Rachel, helpfully, has worn high heels. Again Tony communicates with his attacker but there is no option and things quickly escalate.


In this case study I’ve outlined most areas in my project and to move this on I will be looking at the following in more depth…


* What specifically causes these stimuli are there other areas that I haven’t yet looked at?

We’ll look more at the physical, psychological and emotional areas of these stimuli. The lasting impact of being a victim and the benefits of having the right training. We’ll also look at high profile victims of crime and try to gain an understanding of how their


* How do these emotions manifest themselves in others?

In this section I’m going to look at the Attacker as well as the ‘Victim’. What is their mindset and how do they deal with it and are there other tactics to deal with an aggressor that don’t involve fighting. Also in this section I want to look at the emotions behind whether the attacker being armed changes their state of mind and the state of mind of the defender.


* How can Martial Arts training help with controlling these points?

Here I’ll look at how Martial Arts turns potential Victims into prepared defenders. Also the ability no not ‘look like a victim’ and  I’ll look more in depth at how Martial Arts begins when you leave the house (not when you’re confronted with a problem). We’ll also touch on whether there’s a danger with over confidence and finish with looking at the ‘Fight or Flight response’.


* The merits or not of Sports Psychology dealing with the emotions.

Does the murky world of Sports Psychology help with these emotions or is it all an expensive placebo? Also we’ll look at not only the ‘Sports Psychology’ but also the psychology of high profile teachers around the World and ask, how extreme is ‘extreme’?


* Finally, I’ll be looking at are there parallels between working life and Martial Arts in this context?

Can Martial Arts training spill over into an everyday working life with positive benefits? Working in a high pressure job myself I’ll base this on my day to day life as well as other high profile people I am able to research.


That’s a rough outline, I’m sure my research will take me off on different tangents but that’s all part of learning.  All that matters is that at the end of this I/we are able to better understand the FEAR concept. Finally in November I will end with a coaching a session on this topic where I will be inviting others to contribute their thoughts, feelings and possible previous experiences.