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.

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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.

How to turn the tables on your attacker – 3 components of effectively counter attacking

One of the main components that Choi Kwang Do teaches its students to help them defend themselves is to counter attack.  This is officially introduced at gold belt level in our defence drill, 1 attack 5 counters, although if you have experience in another martial art the practices in this article are transferable.  Over the years I have seen countless students make some basic mistakes which can lead to their defence being messy and lead to their chances of effective self defence being reduced.  With some practice these mistakes can be rectified quite quickly and make you far better at counter attacking.  Here are 3 common sense tips to help improve your chances of counter attacking effectively.

Prepare your counter attack:  If you are attacked do you have a plan on how you are going to counter attack?  A lot of students when they first start practising counter attacks, block and then pause for a brief second, before launching into a counter attack.  The whole point of counter attacking is to catch your opponent by surprise especially when out on the street and not matched up in a sporting competition.  They are usually expecting an easy opponent and not someone who knows how to defend themselves, so the element of surprise is an important ally to us and so we need to learn to attack quickly.  We also need to ensure that the counter attack comes from the right place.  Say you are blocking , generally you are going to want to counter off of your opposite hand, which is best set up for a swift and powerful hand strike, or your front leg.  The rear leg has to travel further and therefore takes longer to reach its destination, giving your opponent some extra time to react.  Also, if someone is close enough for you to block, the chances are that they are also too close for your rear kicks to be effective.  Obviously there are exceptions to that rule, depending on your size but I feel your initial counter attack should not be a rear leg kick due to the slower speed.

If you look at the Choi Kwang Do patterns you will see that they follow the principles above.  The majority of them start with a block and either a punch off of the other hand or kick off of the front leg followed up by more techniques. The only real exception to this rule is where you use an inward block or back forearm inward block and counter attack with a strike such as side fist or knife hand.

So how can you plan what counter attacks you are going to use?  If you are by yourself then imagine you have an opponent in front of you and they are punching or kicking to a certain area.  You chose the appropriate block and then chose a rear hand technique, or front leg kick to counter attack.  Start off slow and get a feel for it and then start practising faster until you minimise the time between your block and attack.  This is obviously easier to practice with a real life partner so when you get a chance in class have them start off slow and light and throw a single technique, block it and start to counter with one or two techniques.  Pretty soon you will start to get a good feel for what techniques work best for you and will be blocking and countering quicker.  You will be training your nervous system to pick effective counter attacks when under pressure.  Which leads me on to the second tip.

Learn to counter attack openings:  You can be blindingly fast at counter attacking, however if you throw every single punch and kick at your opponents guard then its not going to be effective.  I have done this myself in classes in the past and I have seen many students do it over the years.  You want to make each one of your attacks count otherwise you are in a world of trouble.  The biggest problem for a lot of us is that we get so excited and enthusiastic about our training that we rush it.  Slow it down, and start off methodically.  Have your partner come in slowly with an attack and block it and then both pause.  Where is your opponents hands now?  Is there anywhere on their body that you can see open to a counter attack.  There is almost always one.  So pick that spot and counter attack with one technique.  Then build it up some more.  Have your partner attack you slowly, pause, look for the opening and use a suitable counter attack.  Have your partner react the way they think they would if the attack had landed with power and venom.  Where would their hands be now?  Coming up? Down?  This is going to create an opening for your second attack so go for it.

When you have started getting a feel for it then start picking up the speed and intensity.  You will now start blocking and counter attacking not only with speed, but your brain will be looking for openings for the counter attacks.  With practice you should easily be able to land 2-4 unanswered counter attacks.  You can also practice this at home by yourself without a partner, just use your imagination, start off slow and imagine the attacker and how they will react and where the openings will be.   Visualising is a powerful tool that can help you improve your performance if used correctly.  There are numerous studies on its effect.  One of the ones that sticks out in my mind is where a basketball coach broke his class into 3 groups.  1 group practised 3 point throws one hour a day for 30 days.  One group would visualise themselves throwing 3 pointers and the third group did nothing.  The group that did nothing didn’t improve at all.  The group that practised an hour a day improved by about 24%.  The group that visualised themselves throwing successful 3 pointers improved around 23% without touching a ball.  I have seen quite a lot of similar research on the effect of visualisation so don’t be afraid to incorporate it into your own personal training.

Which leaves me with the third tip to counter attacking

Angle Off:  Angling off is a very simple technique which when practiced correctly leaves your opponent exposed to your counter attacks and takes you out of danger.  Rather than staying square on to your attacking opponent try and move across away from them and block so that after throwing their attack you are now no longer in front of them and you have their side and back to hit.  This also means they have to re adjust and turn around to face you before they can use their full range of attacks, limiting them to only a few possible techniques to attack you with.

Again the key is to start slow, with or without a partner.  Have your partner come forward attacking you with one technique and for them to put their body weight behind it or imagine an attacker doing so.  It is important if you are partnered up with someone that they don’t suddenly develop heat seeking hands or feet that veer off to where they know you will be moving while you practice.  They should be aiming for where you are before you move not where you will be. As they step into you with a punch or a kick sidestep and block.  You should now find that they are side on to you or even turned around with their back to you depending on how you deflected them and the momentum that carried them.  Look to counter with one or two appropriate attacks and then reset.  When countering to the back, bear in mind not to train yourself to punch to the back of the head as you are likely to injure your hand in a fighting situation.  I tend to aim my counters for the ribs, kidneys or use low side kicks or swing kicks to the knees and back of the legs to take my opponent out.  Never underestimate the effectiveness of a powerful low kick the the legs.  It can take your opponent down with one shot.  Even if they are in full Redman body armour.

One little thing to bear in mind with angling off though is to make sure that your movement isn’t too large.  You don’t want to take such a big sidestep that you are out of range for counter attacking your opponent.  This gives them time to recover and lets them know that you know how to block and move and therefore you lose your element of surprise for the next time they come at you.

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.

 

 

 

 

Are you training self defence or voluntarily suffering?

I was listening to a podcast where the speaker said games and sports are voluntary suffering. She said that we put ourselves through a form of suffering for each sport. The example she gave was golf. If the aim is to get the ball in the hole then our most efficient way of doing so is to pick up the ball and drop it in the hole. Instead we make it harder by standing hundreds of yards away and use a weird shaped stick to try and guide it in the hole.

That description hit a chord with me as it perfectly describes what some martial arts teach, sometimes inadvertently when they are trying to teach you a form of self defence. This can apply to karate, tkd, mma, Kickboxing and many more. And this voluntarily suffering can lead to dangerous situations should you ever be confronted in a real life situation. By placing certain rules and tactics that work for the sport side of the art, you put people at risk as we will likely do what we are trained to do when under pressure of a real self defence situation. At this point anything goes. There is no referee, weapons can be brought into a fight and you can suddenly find yourself going from winning the fight to being beaten badly as others join in.

A few examples of what i mean. I have had the pleasure of trying a tae kwon do class where the instructor taught during sparring to turn my back on an opponent as according to the rules you couldn’t get hit in the back. A sneaky tactic in a tournament, but a death wish in real life situations. I had a discussion with another martial artist who went to a tkd tournament and the rule was you couldn’t attack a person on the ground. So one competitor kept jump kicking and falling to the ground. He would get a point and be safe from counter attack.

The author Tim Ferriss, whose podcast I heard the term on, tells a story in his book the four hour work week (which i highly recommended along with his book the four hour body) about how he used the rules to become a world champion in Chinese kickboxing in China. The rule was that you win by tko if you knock your opponent off of the mats three times. Tim Ferris is known for hacking the body and managed to lose significant amounts of weight by dehydration before the weigh in and super hydrated and put all the weight back on for his fight. All of a sudden he was significantly bigger and stronger, and much heavier than his opponents and won simply by knocking others out of the ring 3 times.

Mma and Brazilian ju jitsu can also fall foul of this form of voluntary suffering. Taking an opponent to the ground, going for locks is fine in a cage or ring. Doing it in reality can be fatal if your opponent had friends nearby to kick you on the ground.  I have a student who trains in gracie ju jitsu and I’ve been lucky enough to train with Royce Gracie myself, so I’m not purposely trying to knock the art. It’s a great martial art but if you are training for competition there are rules you must adhere to that limit your effectiveness in self defence.

While rolling on the matt with this student after class he couldn’t pin me down and I managed to get him off despite him being heavier, stronger and better at grappling than I am. How? I’m by no means an expert at grappling, but I’m flexible in awkward places, and naturally wiggly which helps, but one large advantage I had was that in my self defence training, my instructor ALWAYS emphasised that there are no rules when defending yourself. You bite, gouge, rip, pull, strike to the groin and eyes and no area is off limits. My art Choi Kwang Do teaches headbutts, knees, elbows, eye strikes and to hit whatever you can when you see an opening. So I’ve trained all my life for self defence and NOT to voluntarily suffer in my training by constraining what i can and cannot do when i defend myself. And that was my advantage when I was grappling. As my opponent went for a lock my fist would be tapping his groin making him realise a vulnerability.  As he went for another thing I would bite just enough for him to realise he would be in quite a bit of pain if I choose to go harder, his eyes and even lips were fair game for me, but not a thing he was even considering as vulnerable as up until that point the rules in his classes didn’t deem them as fair places to attack.

So if you train in any kind of self defence take a good look at the rules and restrictions it may be imposing on you and consider that how you train is very likely how you will react under pressure. And it might also limit you from using tactics like biting, headbutting or poking your fingers in the eyes which could be the difference, literally in some cases between life and death and you successfully defending yourself or your loved ones. Is it worth carrying on with those limitations or do you need to change how you 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.

 

 

I got stabbed 7-8 times tonight….

It’s true.  Over the course of about 5 minutes I got stabbed that many times.(just a quick disclaimer. Knife defences aren’t part of the official CKD syllabus it is something i teach that I’ve learned from my CKD instructors and other non ckd people)

Now I have to admit.  It was with a rubber knife.  I was pretty tired after a reasonably hard training session and my partner knew what I was going to do and was anticipating a little and was resisting a bit too much in places where he wouldn’t be resisting after a few of the strikes I hit him with.  The end result is the same.  I got stabbed a few times.

I have almost 24 years of martial arts experience.  I have been doing knife defenses for over 20 years.  I would have to say on the scheme of things i’m usually very good at them.  I have had many a class where I would have walked away from 5 minutes of knife attacks with a strong resisting opponent without a scratch.  Yet tonight’s class where I got stabbed a few times was important.

Knife drills aren’t easy, they aren’t meant to be.  When we do defend against a knife in a controlled environment without your partner trying to resist you when appropriate it is very easy to get overconfident about knife defenses.  Overconfidence in a real life situation can have devastating results if we make a mistake.  No matter how hard we train in class, there is nothing that will prepare you for the adrenaline dump that will go through your body if someone pulls a knife on you in real life.  Your brain will go foggy, your thinking will slow as the blood runs from your brain to your limbs preparing you to fight, flight or freeze.  This is where hopefully our training kicks in and we will to the best of our abilities defend ourselves and survive as muscle memory and instinct kick in.

The chances are though if you make a few mistakes in the controlled environment of class you will make more under pressure with a real knife.  My instructor always taught me that if you have to defend against a knife you should anticipate that you WILL get cut.  Your job is to minimize the damage and survive.

So it’s an important lesson for ALL of us martial artists to learn.  No matter how good we are at knife defenses ALL it takes is 1 mistake and it can have potentially deadly consequences.  We need to bear that in mind when we judge a real life situation.  If someone is asking for your wallet, sure you might well be excellent and can defend yourself, but one slip, one mistake and your dead.  Better to give up the wallet no matter how good you are.  If someone is threatening you with a knife for something it needs to be something worth more than your life for you to take that risk.  For me it would be my family, friends and students.  They are the only ones I would consider putting myself in between them and a knife attacker.  There isn’t really a possession in the world I would be willing to risk that for.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I think knife defenses are crucial to learn.  I think more so in this day and age and they wil become more and more important in the future.  At the same time, we need to teach our students to evaluate the situation well and NOT to let the get overconfident with them.  After all, if someone with 20 years of experience can get stabbed 7-8 times on an off night it could just as easily happen to them.

As for some of the knife defenses i have learned over the years I plan to video some of them and put them on the blog very soon.  So please keep an eye out for new articles.

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.