7 Tips to improve Children’s confidence 

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is seeing the transformation in children, especially those with low confidence and self esteem. That moment when you finally see their confidence click into place and that child starts to transform right in front of your eyes is a priceless experience that I get to see regularly. I have seen shy unconfident children change in one lesson. Others over the case of a few months. It’s always an amazing thing to witness. With that in mind here are some of the things we do at my martial arts classes to build up children’s confidence. 

  • We are always positive, patient and encouraging. We nurture your children’s confidence by looking for little wins initially. Are they standing well and listening. Are they doing a good kick or even just putting in good effort, despite not kicking perfectly. We start off with small wins and as they progress we see their confidence grow. Our students usually work with us for many years so we can afford to by patient.  
  • We correct sparingly. Unless they are doing something dangerous that could hurt or injure themselves or others we only try to make one correction at a time. Before we correct we try and find a positive first to soften the blow and then correct one thing. Once they correct that one thing we praise them for it and have them practice a few more times before making anther correction. That way they begin to form a habit of the correction before moving on to another. 
  • We believe in your children before they even believe in themselves. We know unless there is a serious disability that whatever we ask your child to do, it’s within their ability. All they need to do is try, and practice, and they will be able  to do it. It might not be perfect but we can see its potential and we coach them until they get it. I’ve lost count of the children who have told me in class they can’t do something, only for me to tell them that’s nonsense, and have them doing it a few minutes later. 
  • We teach them that the only person they are competing and comparing themselves to is themselves. Competition has its place for some people and around 25% flourish with it. About 50% have no real benefit from competitions. And 25% find competition with others so stressful that they fold under the pressure. In my class we remind the children that they aren’t competing and shouldn’t compare against others, only look at themselves and work hard to improve so they are better today than they were yesterday. 
  • We let them know that there are things we found difficult initially. I used to hate a variety of kicks and struggled with them. As an instructor children think we are at such a high level and its not something they could ever achieve. So hearing from me that I struggled with xyz but now can do it shows that even their role models have failed at performing xyz. They learn that perseverance is the key to improving. 
  • We teach them that sometimes they can make or break how they perform before they even try. How they think can greatly influence their chance of success. By thinking negatively they are almost certainly guaranteeing they fail and by thinking and imagining themselves performing successfully they are far more likely to succeed. We have many tools to help them realise this. One is by having them break boards. This is by far more a mental challenge than physical. 
  • The class motto. You will hear the words Pil Seung over and over again in EVERY lesson almost like a mantra or affirmation. These two Korean words mean certain victory. We explain to the children (and adults) that this means to always do your best and never give up. That its not failing that counts. We learn from failures and turn them into lessons that help us win. We get knocked down yet get back up. If you look at the biography on any person you think is successful you will almost guarantee that you will see this mindset and attitude. 

These are just seven of the little things we do in my classes to help build children’s confidence. It’s not exhaustive, there are many other things we do, not included in this list . They are all common sense and transferable to other areas and skills, whether they come to my club to learn martial arts, or try a different activity or martial art elsewhere. These are just some of the things you want a good instructor to be doing to help your children. 

I hope you enjoyed these tips. Feel free to pass them on to anyone you think might benefit from reading them. 

If you would like to see some of the great 5* reviews given to us by happy parents and students please look at http://www.ckdbristol.co.uk/index.php/our-reviews

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Stranger Awareness 

Feel free to share this with anyone who has children.. What should your child do if a stranger grabs their hand and tried to take them away. 1. Shout loud to get attention of anyone in the area that may be able to help.  2. Kick and punch the stranger hard in the legs, shins, groin, stomach.  3. Release the hand and then run away somewhere safe that’s well lit and has people to help. #strangerawareness #selfdefense #selfdefense kids #martialartstrowbridge #choikwangdoboa #choikwangdointrowbridge #choikwangdobristol #l4like 

TKD Times article on Choi Kwang Do- Master 80% of your hand techniques with 4 body movements.

 

TKD Times asked me to re write one of my blog posts as an article for them.

It appeared in the July 2016 edition.

 

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I hope you enjoy this article.  If you are interested in Choi Kwang Do classes for your child, family member or yourself and are in the Bristol or Trowbridge area then please go to my web site at http://www.CKDBristol.co.uk for more information on our Choi Kwang Do classes that are great for teaching you self defence, self confidence and also keeping you fit and healthy no matter your age.  We offer 2 FREE lessons to all who sign up via the web site.

If you don’t live in my area and are interested in Choi Kwang Do then please visit http://choikwangdo.com/locations.html where you can find the nearest location to you.  Most of the classes offer some sort of free lessons so please take a look.

If you are already an instructor in another Martial Art and you would be interested in converting to Choi Kwang Do please go to http://choikwangdo.com/school-conversion.html or contact them by email at ckd@choikwangdo.com and let them know you found them through Master Millers blog.

Regards

Dale Miller

Master Instructor of Choi Kwang Do.

How to memorise the Choi Kwang-Do colour belt patterns

 ​The Choi Kwang Do Patterns

One of the major stresses for most students as they approach their black belt test is that the majority of them have forgotten their old patterns, unless they have been practicing them regularly in class.  I have seen plenty of students who have managed to forget their previous pattern 2 to 3 weeks after they have passed their test and learned their new syllabus.  The majority of instructors will have their students re learn the patterns in order and then have them practice the repetitively until they are ingrained.  This method can seem a little daunting to some and seem like a lot to learn.  To get over this I have broken the patterns into 3 sections.
Section 1 – White Belt Senior Pattern
The first section is the White Belt Senior pattern.  This pattern is fairly simple and most students can perform this with little difficulty even if they haven’t thought of it for many years, due to its simplicity.
The White Belt senior pattern is as follows:  
From a right front stance: Outward Block

Rear Hand Inward Punch

Turn the upper body to face the rear (left side) then step the left leg back pivoting the right foot.

Outward Block

Rear Hand Inward Punch

Turn the upper body to face the rear (left side) then step the left leg back pivoting the right foot.

Outward Block

Rear Hand Inward Punch

Turn the upper body to face the rear (left side) then step the left leg back pivoting the right foot.

Outward Block

Rear Hand Inward Punch

Front Hand Inward Punch to finish.
For the left side you simply repeat this pattern reversing left for right and vice versa.

It is at this point where most instructors, and in the past myself included would then teach the patterns in order.  Yellow, Gold, Orange, Green, Blue, Purple, Red and Brown.  While this works it can make it hard for the student to see the patterns and commonalities in the Choi Kwang Do patterns.  Therefore I break down my patterns after white belt into two groups initially, to aid easy learning.  The first group I call the short patterns and the second group long patterns.  After a few training sessions and when the students have really grasped the similarities I then have them perform the patterns in the correct order.
Section 2 – Short Patterns

Short Patterns include Yellow Senior, Orange Senior, Blue Senior and Red Senior.  They have the same amount of moves which come off of the same limb at the same time.  All that changes is the order of the block, punch, strike and kick.
All short patterns can be described in this manner:
Right Side

Front hand block

Front leg kick

Front hand technique

Rear hand technique

Dodge

Repeat rear hand technique

Turn to the rear(left) leg, pivoting on the front (right) foot and step the (left) foot back so you land in a right front stance.

Repeat the above 3 more times

Finish with a front hand technique.
Then do the left side reversing the left and right above.
That’s it.  Memorise that, the order the blocks, kicks, punches and strikes go in and you have all of the above patterns

Section 3 – Long Patterns

Long Patterns include Gold Senior, Green Senior, Purple Senior and Brown Senior.  They have the same amount of moves which come off of the same limb at the same time.  All that changes is the order of the block, punch, strike and kick. I call them the long patterns as they expand on the short patterns with a rear leg kick and more punches after.  Note the long patterns do not have a step back as your stance is switched on kicking off of the leg side. 
All long patterns can be described in this manner:
Right Side

Open Hand Block

Front Leg Kick

Front Hand Technique

Rear Hand Technique

Rear Leg Kick (Keep kicking leg in front after completion, changing the stance to a left stance)

Front Hand Technique (left hand as stance changed due to rear kick)

Rear Hand Technique

Front Hand Technique

Dodge

Front Hand Technique

Turn to the rear side (right) and your feet should automatically be in the right front stance.

Repeat 3 more times 

Finish with a rear hand technique

For the left side simply switch left and right in the above movement pattern.

Once you have learned the patterns in this way and are confident in them then start practicing them in the correct order, white belt, short pattern then long pattern etc.

I hope you enjoy this article.  If you are interested in Choi Kwang Do self defence classes for your child, family member or yourself and are in the Bristol or Trowbridge area then please go to my web site at http://www.CKDBristol.co.uk for more information on our Choi Kwang Do classes that are great for teaching you self defence, self-confidence and also keeping you fit and healthy no matter your age.  We offer 2 FREE lessons to all who sign up via the web site.

If you don’t live in my area and are interested in Choi Kwang Do then please visit http://choikwangdo.com/locations.html where you can find the nearest location to you.  Most of the classes offer some sort of free lessons so please take a look.

If you are already an instructor in another Martial Art and you would be interested in converting to Choi Kwang Do please go to http://choikwangdo.com/school-conversion.html or contact them by email at ckd@choikwangdo.com and let them know you found them through Master Millers blog.

Regards

Dale Miller

Master Instructor of Choi Kwang Do.

How you can ruin someone’s self defense skills in 6 easy steps.

Believe it or not, you can have a huge impact on your fellow students ability to defend themselves, depending on their experience level. How you perform in Choi Kwang Do defence drills can be either very beneficial or very detrimental. With that in mind I’m going to teach you a few ways you can really go to town and damage your partners ability to defend themselves.

1. First of all, bring your ego into it and when you are the attacker make it all about how well you can kick and punch. How often you can catch your partner out and punch and kick far faster than any real assailant would just to overwhelm you’re partner. You will feel great in yourself in that you have shown your partner how awesome your abilities are, how much quicker you are and who really is the best in the dojang. Don’t worry about building their self confidence, just build yours.

2. Don’t use any variety in your attacks. Repeat your favourite combinations over and over again, punch punch punch kick, left hand, right hand, left hand, right hand. Make it really repetitive and an easy to learn pattern so your partner can block it with their eyes closed if need be. And yes, I HAVE actually closed my eyes and blocked with some students to make this point and they still didn’t hit me.

3. Let them get away with droping their guard. If you see your partner with their hands down by their hips don’t in any way let them know and carry on attacking and watch as they flounder. You can ruin this trick by stopping attacking when you see their guard drop and telling them to bring their guard up before resuming or by quickly hitting them very gently on the head and reminding them about their guard. Either way seems to make them bring their hands up again and make YOUR life more difficult.

4. When you are attacking, why bother looking for openings. Aim all of your punches close to where their arms are and end up hitting their gloves. When it comes to kicking just aim for their hip and stomach area where it is easiest to block. Don’t bother using the occasional low kicks to the knee or thigh . Your partner will find it super easy to block everything and they will thank you for it

5. Be super uncompliant. When learning certain drills such as close range grabs and holds, knife drills or other weapon drills you start off really compliant so your partner cab learn what to do. As soon as they get the hang of it it’s time to be psychically uncompliant. Sure a stranger attacking you isn’t going to go easy on you so when you are the attacker don’t react at all to the strikes thrown your way. Keep powering on. And then show your psychic abilities. As you have been practicing the drill together you know where and how your partner is meant to go. So react to that before he does so. Make that knife miraculously change direction so that you stab your partner repeatedly. Struggle and block against their counter techniques that you know are coming. After all a stranger attacking your partner might be surprised and not expect these attacks but you know what’s coming right? Use it to your advantage.

6. Don’t let your intensity increase with their experience.  As your partner gets through the ranks keep treating them like a beginner. Don’t increase the speed, power or intensity of your attacks in any way shape or form. Make it easy enough for your partner and that way you can have a great chat about how their week has been.  Defence drills are the perfect time to be sociable. Don’t ruin it by tiring either of you out. You can’t talk when your gasping for air.

With close range type of drills keep grabbing your partner lightly even if they are black belts. God forbid that we actually grab a senior level person with some realism so that they are actually prepared for an attack in real life.

Now those are my top 6 ways of ruining your partners self defence skills. There are more. Feel free to add your favourites to the comments section.

For those of you spoilsport who are actually interested in improving your self defence skills and the skills of your fellow students then please do the opposite of what I’ve said in this article. While I’m writing this with my tongue firmly in cheek these are all things I’ve seen happen occasionally in the dojang over the last 24 years I’ve been training. It’s important to realise how to be a good training partner and to help support and develop each other as your train.

I hope you enjoy this article.  If you are interested in Choi Kwang Do self defence classes for your child, family member or yourself and are in the Bristol or Trowbridge area then please go to my web site at http://www.CKDBristol.co.uk for more information on our Choi Kwang Do classes that are great for teaching you self defence, self-confidence and also keeping you fit and healthy no matter your age.  We offer 2 FREE lessons to all who sign up via the web site.

If you don’t live in my area and are interested in Choi Kwang Do then please visit http://choikwangdo.com/locations.html where you can find the nearest location to you.  Most of the classes offer some sort of free lessons so please take a look.

If you are already an instructor in another Martial Art and you would be interested in converting to Choi Kwang Do please go to http://choikwangdo.com/school-conversion.html or contact them by email at ckd@choikwangdo.com and let them know you found them through Master Millers blog.

Regards

Dale Miller

Master Instructor of Choi Kwang Do.

Want to get better at martial arts? Use your imagination.

An incredibly effective tool to use to improve your martial arts skills is visualising. It will focus your techniques and abilities, allow you to internalise skills and movements and allow you to extend your practice to outside of the dojang. It can also increase your reaction speed during sparring, defense drills or during fights. Used correctly it can also give you psychological advantages and improve your confidence in your abilities.

My first exposure to visualisation was as a young student. I was practicing some techniques or a pattern in the air without any real thought of aiming my techniques. If you are an instructor you will have inevitable have seen at least one child whose punches and kicks are all over the place and on this day I was that child. If my punches and kicks were compared to target practice they would have been landing everywhere but the target.

I was told to focus where I was throwing my attacks. To pick a spot on the wall to aim for to place my attacks. From picking a spot on the wall I then evolved to imagining my opponent in front of me. Every block I used was in response to my imaginary friends attack. Every punch or kick was aimed at them. This greatly improved my focus but also, I believe that it started to help me with my sparring drills  (defense drills in Choi Kwang Do).  By imagining an opponent when I practiced I was also unconsciously programing my nervous system on how to deal with attacks and where to place my counter attacks.

The next leap for me in my self defense skills during sparring was a direct result of using visualisation. I was practicing counter attacking drills where your partner would throw an attack and I had to block and then counter attack as soon as possible. I had learned what were the best kicks and punches to use after a block dependant on where I was to my opponent and could counter fairly quickly but I felt that I wasn’t working optimally. My reactions were honed well but something was amiss. I would have a slight stress while trying to anticipate what my opponent was going to attack me with and was prone to reacting too soon and blocking at the slightest twitch of my opponents movement. It was visualising that helped me reach the next level.

My practice of visualising during patterns and practicing techniques in the air allowed me to imagine and visualise my opponents potential attacks from each limb and also imagine where they would be open to counter attacks and what technique I would initially use to hit them back with. This give me the ability to not only block more efficiently and take the stress away but also give me a speed advantage with my counter attacks as my body already knew what it was going to do and so was pre programmed to respond. This gives me a great advantage whenever I use it in my drills.

Visualisation can also be useful in practicing and internalising the movement patterns of techniques and also larger combination of movements while outside of the dojang. Visualise yourself doing the movements and imagine the feeling your body would have as if you were actually performing the movements. You may even find yourself doing micro movements as you do so. The benefit of this type of training is you almost trick your nervous system that it is actually performing the movements. You will be firing off impulses to the correct muscles used in the movement and training your nervous system making it more efficient at doing the movement. The only downside is it doesn’t utilise the muscles much and so you aren’t strengthening them. It is a great way to keep practicing should you be ill or injured or physically performing them isn’t possible.

You can also obtain a psychological advantage from using visualisation which can build your confidence and improve your performance, be it in martial arts or in life. By taking the time to visualise in your mind a positive performance before the event you can ease your anxiety of performing badly, run through various scenarios and how to deal with them and effectively pre program your response so that you pre empt an action and deal with it well rather than stutter and fail. A good example of an elite performer who used this method of visualising is Mohammed Ali, who used to visualise his fights before each bout, how he was going to fight and win,practicing his tactics for the match so that the opponent was already beaten before he entered the ring. 

I hope you enjoy this article.  If you are interested in Choi Kwang Do self defence classes for your child, family member or yourself and are in the Bristol or Trowbridge area then please go to my web site at http://www.CKDBristol.co.uk for more information on our Choi Kwang Do classes that are great for teaching you self defence, self-confidence and also keeping you fit and healthy no matter your age.  We offer 2 FREE lessons to all who sign up via the web site.

If you don’t live in my area and are interested in Choi Kwang Do then please visit http://choikwangdo.com/locations.html where you can find the nearest location to you.  Most of the classes offer some sort of free lessons so please take a look.

If you are already an instructor in another Martial Art and you would be interested in converting to Choi Kwang Do please go to http://choikwangdo.com/school-conversion.html or contact them by email at ckd@choikwangdo.com and let them know you found them through Master Millers blog.

Regards

Dale Miller

Master Instructor of Choi Kwang Do.

Speed Kills – How slowing down can help improve your martial arts skills

I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times.

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee was a legend in the martial arts and is widely respected and regarded for his knowledge.  I am however going to say that with this particular quote he is only partly right. A kick practised 10,000 times poorly is still going to be a bad kick. So what does this have to do with slowing down and improving your martial arts skills?

If you are reading this blog you, like me, love your martial arts practice.  You throw yourself into your training with gusto and give it everything you have.  In our enthusiasm however, many of us, and I have been VERY guilty of this in the past, try to punch and kick too hard, too fast and too soon.  We can be like a bull having a red rag waved in front of it when learning a new technique or new drill, especially in Choi Kwang Do where it is VERY easy to get a technique partly correct and still get a lot of power out of it.  We throw ourselves into the technique and in doing so can miss out significantly.  And that’s where slowing down and being methodical and controlled can bring us major benefits in all aspects of our martial arts training.

Why should you slow down?. There are two very good benefits to slowing down how you practice a new technique or drill.  The first is that your nervous system has more time to learn the move correctly.  It learns the right sequence of movements and when to fire each muscle group effectively.  The better you learn the sequential movement of your techniques in Choi Kwang Do the more effective and effortless the technique will be.  By practicing your techniques slowly and methodically, at what I like to call 0.5x speed that you can get when watching a film in slow motion, you are effectively giving your brain a far better chance of learning where each part of the sequence of your movement goes.  Not only does this improve your technique, improves your power but it also means that you will learn to self correct more.  You become more aware of your body and how it feels performing a technique so that know what mistakes you have made in your technique and are able to correct it easily.

It also enhances control and precision. With techniques, by performing slowly and deliberately you are building up the muscles that have atrophied from disuse over the years or building up ones you have never had to use until you took up martial arts. This allows you to control the limb and be more precise and accurate when you come to use the technique. It also helps your balance and improves your overall strength in your body which also benefits the power with which you can throw a technique.  A great example, especially in Choi Kwang Do of where we can benefit from slowing our techniques down as much as possible is in the kicks.  Grandmaster Choi has in many training sessions with instructors pulled up different individuals in one line and have them perform the same kick.  The difference in the kicks can be huge.  I have always struggled with my kicks until fairly recently and the reason for that is that I wasn’t practicing them slowly enough.  The majority of us when it comes to kicks use momentum to get our legs up into position.  By doing so we are sacrificing a lot of control of our limbs.  Slowing the technique down while performing it in the air is one of the best ways to improve your kicks. At first you will find it difficult, more so with kicks and punches as kicks are a far greater challenge to our balance than punches.  Having to move a kicking leg slowly in a controlled manner, while pivoting and using plantar flexion in the balancing leg is VERY difficult.  Its also difficult as it is a far greater challenge for your muscles to move through the technique slowly and deliberately, but as with all things difficult it gets easier with practice and the more you work your muscles the more they adapt and grow stronger.

Slowing down also improves your ability to learn drills, and self defence concepts. Perform counter attack drills slower with your partner, look where the openings are and target them. Give yourself time to think about what counters you can use with the blocks and movements you are using and openings your partner is leaving. If you practice close range drills or knife and bat drills in your schools then practice them slowly at first, over and over until they are embedded, then after a while up the speed and intensity.  You will find you learn them far better by doing so and less likely to make a mistake while performing them under pressure later.

The best instructors know the benefits of slowing things down. The first time I had the privilege to train one on one with Grandmaster Choi, the founder of Choi Kwang Do I explained to him that I had trouble with my kicks and some patterns. He told me to slow them right down when I performed them. When I did that I visited another instructors class a few weeks later and he commented on how much better my technical ability had become.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to get the chance to train in a Gracie Ju Jitsu seminar under UFC legend Royce Gracie.  While I have no interest in changing my martial arts I thought it a great opportunity to learn something more about the art of BJJ under one of its best proponents.  While running through various drills he stopped us and told the entire class to take the intensity down a notch.  That we were trying to practice things too quickly and were making simple basic errors that we need not have been making.

When I teach new techniques, combinations on pads and new drills I almost always do 5 counts slow and deliberate first for my students to get a feel for the technique or combination before having them dial up the intensity and use full power and speed. It has been one of the best things for improving not only my students abilities, but also my own as I practice what I preach.

I hope you enjoy this article.  If you are interested in Choi Kwang Do self defence classes for your child, family member or yourself and are in the Bristol or Trowbridge area then please go to my web site at http://www.CKDBristol.co.uk for more information on our Choi Kwang Do classes that are great for teaching you self defence, self-confidence and also keeping you fit and healthy no matter your age.  We offer 2 FREE lessons to all who sign up via the web site.

If you don’t live in my area and are interested in Choi Kwang Do then please visit http://choikwangdo.com/locations.html where you can find the nearest location to you.  Most of the classes offer some sort of free lessons so please take a look.

If you are already an instructor in another Martial Art and you would be interested in converting to Choi Kwang Do please go to http://choikwangdo.com/school-conversion.html or contact them by email at ckd@choikwangdo.com and let them know you found them through Master Millers blog.

Regards

Dale Miller

Master Instructor of Choi Kwang Do.