Archive for October, 2010

London Ju Jitsu Martial Arts Tip Of The Week: Does Size Matter?

October 29, 2010

In my chosen art, Ju Jitsu, technique is the important thing regardless of size, strength or gender. Of course strength can mask a lack of technique to some degree, and it’s obviously more difficult to overcome an opponent who is vastly bigger than you are in size and strength. In the end however, superior technique will win the day more often than not. If you can ally superior speed to your technique then your chances increase even more. Often beginners give up or get frustrated when faced with someone bigger, heavier or stronger. That is understandable to some degree at first but it is important to believe that all is possible in martial arts with the correct technique. Take heart from small victories and trust you are on the right road. For example before you start it’s impossible to execute a throw or take down on someone your own size at first but that becomes possible with training. It therefore follows that with better technique, the size of the opponent you can overcome will increase. For those beginners with prodigious size and strength beware! It is far too easy to fall into the trap of compensating for poor technique by using strength. Like driving however, bad habits once learned are very hard to unlearn. The females in a Dojo are often the ones with the best technique. This is because they often don’t have the strength to fall back on and so concentrate on technique from day one. As they get better they close the gap that was there at the beginning when
strength was more of a factor and often surpass their peers. So for those of you who are bigger or stronger make an effort not to use your strength at all and concentrate on technique. If you don’t you will lose as soon as you come across someone who is stronger than you and you’ll often lose against people with better technique no matter how disparate your builds are. If you learn to be as technically good as you can be first and then use your strength when needed you’ll be a much better fighter! So does size matter? Of course it does but it is our challenge as martial artists to master the skills necessary to tip the scales in our favour.

London Ju Jitsu Martial Arts Tip Of The Week: Attend training even when you’re injured.

October 22, 2010

Of course I’m not going to advocate exacerbating an injury by training against medical advice, although any practitioner of a sport or martial art is always carrying an injury of some sort. There are a few good reasons to attend training even when injured however. Firstly it’s amazing how much you can pick up by watching. Often when training you’re so wrapped up in the techniques you’re learning that you can’t see the bigger picture. So whether you’re watching some of the advanced students and picking up tips, or watching other students of a similar grade and seeing their strengths and weaknesses, it’s amazing how many “a-ha!” moments you will have. Secondly your injury may be such that you can’t train but you can help your instructor to teach. Trust me; there is no better way of improving your technique than trying to pass on that knowledge to someone else! Last but not least is the retention of the habit. If you spend too long away from training you’ll get out of the habit of reserving those nights for training. The temptation then to wait another week before going back can become a second week until you are no longer a martial artist but someone who used to be one. I wish I had a pound for every time I heard someone say “I wish I’d kept it up!” By keeping yourself involved you’ll make sure that’s not you!

London Ju Jitsu Martial Arts Tip Of The Week: Practice at home

October 15, 2010

As I’ve said a few times in this blog, training time for most of us is limited. Therefore if you wish to progress at a faster rate it’s good to practice at home, in the gym, or wherever you can. Even techniques that usually require an uke, e.g. throws and wrist locks can be practised at home. Obviously you can’t practice the throw itself, but you can practice the footwork and other movements required to get into the throwing position. The footwork is one of the most important aspects of any technique and often the most overlooked. When practicing these techniques outside the dojo, visualise what you wish to do when you are at training. Visualisation techniques are used by many competitive athletes with great success. There are also many warm up exercises in martial arts that are specifically designed for that art. Practice these outside the dojo to strengthen the necessary muscles and get your body used to the actions necessary for training.
Again visualise how these warm up exercises help your technique and do them properly. It’s better to do a few repetitions properly than many badly. By doing these things at home, you’ll improve at a faster rate and you’ll also be champing at the bit to try the techniques you’ve practiced at home in the Dojo.

London Ju Jitsu Martial Arts Tip Of The Week: Learn what you can from every training partner

October 10, 2010

When practising martial arts you will be paired with many different types of people. There will be males, females, different shapes, sizes and skill levels. It’s important to remember how much you can learn from each one. For example when training with a beginner who is not that confident you can work on your control. It’s often harder to do a technique slowly than with speed as there is no momentum. So if you can practice this with the beginner your technique will improve. Similarly if your training with someone who is bigger and heavier than you your technique must improve in order for it to work. If you’re training with an “awkward” fighter, e.g. one who’s stance or strikes are different from the norm you need to work out how to overcome this. It is easy to look good when training with a partner who knows you and who is a similar size and skill level. That doesn’t prove how good you are as much as training with someone who presents a different challenge does however. So treat each partner as a puzzle to be solved and make the most of it. If you do that you will grow as a martial artist.