Archive for April, 2011

London Ju Jitsu Martial Arts Tip Of The Week: Strategy for defending yourself against multiple attackers.

April 15, 2011

Post grading we at London Ju Jitsu spend a few weeks defending random attacks from one or more attackers. The aim is to ensure we can develop Zanshin and our ability to defend ourselves rather than only practising in a choreographed way. When faced with more than one attacker the odds of winning the fight obviously decrease. If you can avoid the fight by reason or flight obviously that’s a sensible option. If you can’t then good strategy is as important as good self defence techniques.

Firstly you should try to get your opponents in front of you. If you can, try and get your back to a wall. This way you can’t be hit or grabbed from behind. If this isn’t possible you just have to accept that an attack from behind may occur and react when you’re either hit or grabbed. There is no point in trying to constantly look in front of you and then behind you. If you’re constantly swivelling you’re head you can’t focus and you won’t see those in front let alone those behind. You’ll also be off balance both mentally and physically. If you’re facing three or more opponents you should try to break out of the circle if they surround you. Again this is to try and get them all in front of you. Whether you attack first or wait for their attack and then break out the objective must be the same.

Secondly you must use your peripheral vision. Don’t focus on any one person or object. Stare ahead into the middle distance.

Thirdly under no circumstances should you go to ground if you can help it. In the UK more people are kicked to death than are killed by either guns or knives so the ground is absolutely the last place you want to be. If you do end up on the ground get up as quickly as possible. Even if you are taking a beating try and stay on your feet. Don’t think they’ll take pity on you and leave you alone once you’re down as they probably will not.

Lastly and perhaps controversially, I believe you have to really hurt at least one of your assailants. In some ways it’s better to hurt them than to render them unconscious. If one of the group is screaming in pain, it may make the rest of the group hesitant to be next. Hopefully this will give you a chance to escape.

London Ju Jitsu Martial Arts Tip Of The Week: You can learn more from failure than success

April 5, 2011

Today one of our students, Sam Owens, passed his blue belt. At London Ju Jitsu that is 3rd kyu, the 5th belt of our 8 kyu grade system. That is a decent achievement in itself of course but it is made even more special by the fact that he failed this grading the last time he attempted it.

I believe it takes a tremendous amount of courage and determination to come back from a failed grading and pass that same grading with flying colours the next time around. I have known students who stop attending class after a failed grading, or even after being told they’re not ready for a grading! To be at a grading watching everyone else receive their new rank when you didn’t pass is a lonely place. With focus and heart from the individual, plus the support of the rest of the club, this can be turned into a positive however.

At London Ju Jitsu we always do mock gradings in class to ensure that students are ready for their grading before they’re entered. Sam did such a mock grading before his failed one and was certainly good enough to pass. On the day it didn’t happen for him but today he was excellent! While it’s obviously not good for the individual to fail, I do believe it’s important for the club as a whole to see people fail. If everyone passes no matter how average their performance then the achievement of a new grade is worthless. We at London Ju Jitsu don’t like failing people of course, hence the mock gradings. All at the club do understand the need to be as close to their best as possible however in order to pass.

So what can be learned from a failed grading? Well in martial arts as in all walks of life success is easy to deal with and is not a test of ones character. To show the will to succeed after failing a grading, losing a fight or another setback is the mark of a true martial artist. The ability to look inward at what you could have done better rather than blaming the examiners, the tatami, the conditions (too hot or too cold) or some other excuse is really important in the road to becoming a better martial artist and human being. The ability to look your peers in the eye in the class immediately after the grading and show the will to not only continue on your journey but to have the resolve to exceed all of your previous efforts will stand you in good stead for the tests to come. In short the ability to overcome adversity is a pre-requisite to success.

Congratulations to Sam and all who have failed before only to become better and to those who will do in the future. It is up to you what happens next.