Solo Practice in the Martial Arts

Sharing the thoughts of our partners at the RI Budo Academy on training, solo practice, and age.



 

Solo Martial Arts practice?

Spring 2020 is upon us with the fears of a spreading highly contagious virus. Full contact combative arts and MMA gyms are already anticipating the financial pain from less and less attendance for obvious reasons. Nobody wants to touch each other!

Two friends at my day job, practice at an MMA gym. They have both admitted to me they have not trained in a few weeks in fear of getting sick. One of them asked me about how the attendance is with the “Sword Stuff” that I teach are going.

I explained to them that most Traditional martial arts have PLENTY of opportunities to practice solo without physical contact and still get a good training session in. Because of this, my student attendance has not dropped one bit. As there is always time for kata practice. In fact It’s a major portion of what we do. He then asked me what a Kata was….

Pinan Kata

Myself and other teachers have noticed that the current generation of potential students in their 20’s and 30’s have never even heard of Iaido or even Shotokan! When I mention Kempo they’ve responded that they know of past MMA fighters like Chuck Liddell, but that’s all they know. I then Explain about all these wonderful traditional arts, and the many benefits that would actually help them not only in the combative arena, but at work and with their daily life. Not to mention at the age of 50, we start to ratio our training and getting up for work the next day because of how much its going to hurt. (Myself Included)

Ground Defense taining

I have meet plenty Folks in their 40’s, 60’s and above, that certainly regret the injuries that they have received in the competitive arena over the years. Some of them wish they could continue training martial arts, but they “Never learned those old Karate forms” or “It’s to late for me to start over” I tell them It’s not to late, and they should seek out a traditional school immediately. I try to explain It’s not about the destination, it’s the journey that helps us in our lives. However when someone spends their early lifetime chasing a trophy, it can be difficult explaining.

Unfortunately I believe the current view of Martial arts for these younger folks is the aggressive smack talking mma trophy winning fighter. The problem with this is when a sport becomes a profession and you need to win to pay your bills, all of the martial values that these young folks never learned about go right out the window.

Budo never gets a “fighting” chance.

Iaido Practice

I tell these younger folks that when they start to lose fights (and money) to come see us traditional teachers to experience so many other important benefits in martial arts for day to day living. It certainly beats losing a match or prize fight.

I currently have a student in his late 50’s training sword arts with me and it has vastly improved his life. He admits to having some ADD issues and he told me the solo sword art of Iaido has taught him to focus and pay attention to detail. When he takes some time off from the dojo for work, he notices a big difference. Because of his age he often tells me he wishes that “This new art called Iaido was around” back when he was fighting as he feels he has missed out. I keep telling tell him Iaido is about 400-500 hundred years old. Maybe he wasn’t paying attention…

On the other end of the age spectrum, I also have a competitive mma fighter in his 30’s that comes to me from time to time for conceptual Kosho Ryu Kempo training. He told me he loves the Naihanchi Kata Bunkai that I taught him to help with his ground game. The concepts Kempo teaches on how the body responds to tension and movement really help him. So with his half-empty dojo due to the virus, I told him to start practicing his kata laying on the ground! Pretty good idea eh? Not only does the stuff help him but he may decide that traditional arts like Kempo or Karate can offer him more than a piece of plastic and metal on a shelf someday. And he has a head start for when he gets older like me.

Kata practice on the ground

I also had an ex full contact kickboxer come in one time that “used to do forms” at a Tae Kwan Do school. I asked about kata and any Bunkai from the forms.(movement application) I just got a funny look, and was told they would just do forms and then put the gloves on. So I went over a basic kata movement and demonstrated that a down block is not just a down block. We then explored that exact same blocking movement and how it can also be throw, a strike and even a joint lock. She was blown away and has been training with me for over four years now. All because of a down block movement in a Kata.

Traditional Jujutsu Throw

Now please don’t get me wrong, I have no bad feelings against MMA at all, and I feel it’s very effective. After all Kosho Ryu Kempo is certainly a MMA style art. So from a competitive view it’s very satisfying for me. However, If I found myself in the ring with a “Jacked” pro, I would be practicing my Kempo escaping Kata towards the nearest exit. This is because my teacher always tells me “Don’t be stupid”. But that’s Kempo.

So folks I think this Corona hysteria brings opportunities for folks to explore solo martial arts practice and I implore traditional arts instructors to get away from what art is “better” than MMA in their promotions and focus on the roots of teaching all martial arts, Kata. Emphasize that you don’t need to touch anyone to start training. You may get some more students to teach which is important. After all we all learn more about our arts by teaching…

I also ask any potential students considering martial arts to have no fear of the evil viruses out there and to seek out traditional dojos. If you are fearful of contact or a room full of sweating heavy breathing angry bearded men. I’m sure most teachers would be happy to teach you a kata or two in a private lesson. You could then practice at home and be ahead of the game when we all hit each other again.

It beats a treadmill, trust me.

Our organization Sei Kosho Shorei Kai International has locations all over the country and even in Europe. If there isn’t a location near you, contact us and we will find a traditional school for you. As we have many friends across the globe. And we would love to to make some more.

So please share this post and help traditional dojos like yours get some future teachers.

Tom Duffy

Tom Duffy is the chief instructor at the Rhode Island Budo Academy located at the New England Martial Arts Dojo in Seekonk Massachusetts.

He has had multiple years training in both competitive and traditional martial arts. He currently teaches Japanese sword arts and Japanese Kempo/Jujutsu. For more info please visit our site

http://www.ribudo.bog

Thanks for taking the time…

New Year’s Day Open Training

They say that how you spend your day on January 1st sets the tone for the year ahead.  Why not start the year off with a focus on your growth by tending to your mind, body & spirit?  NEMAD is hosting an opening training from 10am-noon on January 1st, all dojo members are welcome, regardless of which art they study.

We’ll start with the body: stretching, cardio, basics.  Then we’ll move on to the mind: open floor time, sharing skills and practicing our techniques.  Finally, we’ll spend some time on our spirit, wrapping up with some cool down stretches and a few minutes of meditation.

We’d love to help you start your year off focused and strong!  See you at the dojo!

Holiday Schedule

In order to give our black belts time with their families, regular classes have been canceled for the following days:

December 24th

December 25th

December 31st

January 1st

Keep an eye out for a special New Year’s Day announcement coming soon!!!

We wish all of our students and friends a warm and wonderful holiday season!

 

Third Annual Brush Fist Steel Semiar

Space is still available!

Brush:
Shodo/Sumi-e, the beautiful art of Japanese Calligraphy with Sensei Cindy Jutras.

In Japan, the art of calligraphy was influenced by Zen philosophy.
A work of shodo is considered a work of art, like for example a painting, is an outer representation of the interior of the calligrapher who realized it. Since it is written with a brush, there is no possibility to delete or fix what the ink has traced, each sign can be more or less determined, slower or faster, more or less thin, and represents the mood of the calligrapher in the moment in which it has been drawn.

Whether you’re interested in learning a little bit about Japanese cultural traditions or you’re looking for a challenging creative outlet, our seminar’s beginner class in shodo will intrigue and engage you. You will learn about each integral part of the artistic process, from picking out the best materials, to exploring the expressive Japanese characters. Along the way, you will also pick up skills that can not only be translated into other areas of your life, but will contribute to your overall mental well being.

Fist:

Concepts and Principals of Kosho Ryu Kempo including striking, throwing and controlling arts.
With Sensei Jeff Driscoll.

Kyoshi Jeff Driscoll, owner and instructor of the Driscoll Institute since 1986 and author of best-selling “Ultimate Kempo: The Spirit and Technique of Kosho Ryu”, has been a student of the martial arts for 36 years. He and his staff are dedicated to teaching adults and children the internal qualities of confidence, discipline, respect, and positive self esteem as well as the physical skills of the martial arts. Both the arts of Kosho Ryu Kempo and Iaijutsu focus on the process of study rather than the end destination, and view the martial arts as a vehicle to learn more about ourselves and our surroundings.

No matter what age, Kempo can enhance your life in the physicalmental, and philosophical sense. This seminar is a unique blend of physical workout and mental challenge. Students develop relaxation, co-ordination, confidence, and naturally effective self defense skills. We focus on your capabilities, not your disabilities. 

Physical workouts are balanced out by subtle, refined techniques. You will learn to defend yourself while getting into better physical shape. Students will learn practical self defense that will allow you to escape or engage an opponent depending on the situation. At this seminar, you will learn how to create weakness in an opponent’s balance and structure, enabling you to defeat a larger opponent.

Steel:
Eishin Ryu Iaijustu and Kenjutsu sword arts with Sensei Jeff Driscoll

The sword and the skills to employ it effectively provide the practitioner with valuable lessons in martial strategy for the use of weaponry and the use of the empty hand arts, as well as a wonderful vehicle for physical conditioning and personal development. The study of sword arts is also rich with philosophical concepts that can help us see things from a different perspective. In this seminar you will learn and train in the 400+ year old arts of Eishin Ryu Iaido and Kenjutsu. Please visit our sword arts page for more info about these wonderful arts.

 

Women’s Self Defense 4/13/19

WSD 4-13-19

Statistics on violence against women inundate news media and awareness literature – 1 in 4 women will be the victim of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime; every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. Numbers fail to portray the faces of the lives they impact. The stats depersonalize and desensitize us to the physical and psychological enormities and long-term consequences of a violent encounter.

Gather your friends and family and come learn self defense with REAL concepts and principals in the escaping arts and self protection. Concepts covered will be; Escaping Skills, Awareness Strategies, Striking, Controlling arts and ground defense, April 13th!!

This will be a 3-4 hour seminar with refreshments provided Tuition is $40.00 contact us at 401-301-3251 or email at Iaikempo@gmail.com

Holiday Schedule

In order to allow everyone time to celebrate the holidays, the dojo will be closed on the following days:

Monday, December 24th

Tuesday, December 25th

Monday, December 31st

Tuesday, January 1st

Enjoy your holidays and Shinnen ga yoi toshi de arimasu you ni (best wishes for the new year)!

East Providence Night Out

Would you like to see what we do first hand?  On Tuesday, August 7th we will be participating in the 9th Annual East Providence Night Out.  The event runs from 5-8pm and the NEMAD demonstrations are scheduled to start at 6pm and we will be showcasing Shotokan Karate, Eishin Ryu Sword Arts and Kosho Ryu Kempo.

The event is held at here:

Soccer Field/Senior Center
610 Waterman Avenue
East Providence, RI, 02914

“National Night Out is an opportunity for communities nationwide to promote police/community partnerships, crime prevention, and neighborhood camaraderie,” said East Providence Police Department Sergeant Mark Norton. “The National Association of Town Watch (“NATW”) has been sponsoring National Night Out events nationwide for 30 years.”

National Night Out is a family-friendly evening of fun and socializing for the entire Greater East Providence Community.

Come see what we’re all about!

Second Annual Brush Fist And Steel Weekend

brush2018

Brush fist and steel is back for another incredible weekend at The New England Martial Arts Dojo in Seekonk Massachusetts! Each time we host an event, it just grows and grows! This event is geared towards both beginner and advanced practitioners alike in all arts. Even if you have no experience in any martial arts, this seminar is a fantastic way to give it a try with our beginners prep classes free with payment. These classes give you basic instruction in all the arts taught at this years Brush, Fist and Steel! Here is the list of whats going on!

Saturday Sept. 15th: Upstairs dojo 10-AM to 4PM Kosho Ryu Kempo

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10 am to 4pm Kosho Ryu Kempo with Sensei Jeff Driscoll.  The art of Kosho Ryu Kempo is a very unique form of self defense. It is based on Concepts and Principals not just techniques. The student not only learns techniques in which they practice to defend oneself…they also learn the concepts and principles which make those techniques work properly. What’s addicting about Kosho Ryu is once you learn beginner concepts the doors open up for more concepts and principals which relate with the ones you previously learned! It’s a lifetime of study and can be started at any age and and level.  Several arts of Kosho Ryu Kempo will be taught including, Striking, Throwing , Joint locks and of course Kosho’s primary art, escaping for self defense! Beginners are highly encoraged to come train in this incredible day of training! For more info on Kosho Ryu Kempo please check out our Kempo arts page here.

Sensei Driscoll’s Bio can be viewed HERE

Sunday Sept. 16th: 2nd floor dojo  10AM to 4PM   Japanese Sword Arts

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Japanese Swordsmanship with Sensei Jeff Driscoll.  The ancient Samurai arts of the sword are still alive and practiced in today’s dojos. Come train with us in the Samurai arts of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Iaijutsu and Kenjutsu. Sword arts are a fantastic way to start out in martial arts, most folks think that experience is needed to practice these arts, however this is not true. One also does not need to be in optimal shape to practice these arts and it’s great way for individuals to start their journey in budo if they feel they are not in the best of shape physically and mentally. The Modern day applications of these arts involve controlled, precise movements in which practitioners develop oneself and personal fulfillment. Sword arts can train one to be mindful constantly through learning, which is an essential part of life. It is easy to use these skills in the rest of our daily activities. Not to mention it’s a lot of fun! Iaijutsu is the art of drawing the sword while Kenjutsu is the art of the sword once the sword has been drawn. NO equipment is necessary, our dojo has practice swords for lend and will have some for purchase if requested. All metal blades owned by club members are practice blades and are not sharpened. NO live blades with be allowed on the dojo floor for safety considerations. For more info of these arts please check out our sword arts page here. 

Sunday Sept. 16th 1st floor dojo 10am to 4pm Japanese Calligraphy

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10am to 4pm Japanese calligraphy: Shodo and Sumi-e with Sensei Cindy Jutras.  In the Japanese art of Shodo the practitioner learns to create Kanji, which are pictorial ideographs representing ideas of the Japanese (and Chinese) mind. This system of written language differs from the largely phonetically written languages in the rest of the world.  The study includes the discipline of proper stroke orders, proper formation of strokes and spatial relationships between strokes.

In addition, due to the pictorial nature of kanji, there are other benefits. Students will learn to be visually skilled and to develop imaginative insights into their work.  A one-kanji work can be hung on the wall and pondered forever. When a Kosho Ryu student studies and understands kanji, he becomes a visionary. A picture truly is worth a thousand words. The student learns to go beyond what is taught. To study. To seek. Kempo, the philosophy of study, and the art of the brush are one and the same.  The art of Sumi-e will also be introduced It’s one of the art forms in which subjects are painted with black ink in all possible gradations ranging pure black to the lightest shades achievable by dissolving ink in water. Simple and elegant landscapes and images are taught with ancient brush techniques and strokes. For more info on this beautiful art please see our page here. 

Tuition:  Pre-register Training!! Register now to receive free seminar prep classes!! The sooner you register the more training you can get in! Beginners as well practitioners of other arts are all welcome!

 

To register, please click here to visit the RI Budo Academy Website