Find Your Martial Arts in the Park This Summer

Martial Arts:  Training Tips


By Njoli Brown

WHY TRAIN OUTDOORS? Because our parks, plazas, yards, forest areas provide all the tools. For many practitioners it can hearken back to another era when master instructors looked at their classes more as very personal mentorships, creating a family vibe and inspiring creativity in the methodology.

10157375528673902In urban and rural settings alike, footwork happens on hillsides, mulch, pavement, grass, up and down curbs and benches. Drills go on in the rain (and sometimes snow) and on the warmest of days. The sessions staying engaging as folks figure out how to make their practice relevant in all the terrains in which they spend their day-to-day. 

There’s nothing here saying we don’t appreciate our indoor space for all the convenience it allows.  But take another look before you write off a group that trains in the park. Often these groups are cost saving, student focused and have the flexibility to maintain small classes because they don’t have to concern themselves with matching the overhead it takes to rent an ongoing location.  Are you looking for artifice or art? Take your training outdoors this summer.

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The Flexible Mind: Sarong Fighting

Marial Arts:  Sarong


By Njoli Brown

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As a common accessory in the lives of many Indonesians and people of Southeast Asia, the sarong is a true “everyday carry” and in addition to all its utilitarian purposes, with training, lends itself to inclusion in the tools of self defense.

The use of flexible weapons (ie sarong, belt, messenger bag) is a true exercise of the “timbangan” (scales) concept wherein the hands work in opposition to each other in o

rder to create tension and power.  It requires a coordination of the two hands, an understanding of the tool and a practice in both softening and sharpening power. 

In the headline image my mentor, Tuhon Kit Acenas (of Kali Mundo), instructs me in the use of the sarong countering the knife. I’m continually amazed at the creativity and ingenuity that deep comprehension of a practice can bring.

Engaging Your Training

Martial Arts:  Training


Sometimes keeping the training engaging is as simple as changing the landscape.

#msmb #kalimundo #ptta #ptkwf #webelieveinlife #traineveryway #traineveryday #ptk #silat #grappling #capoeiraangola #boxing #mma #wellness #fitness #health #outdoors #community #martialarts #selfdefense

Combat Geometry

Martial Arts:  Methodology


By Njoli Brown

Combat Geometry:  I’d heard that language used quite a bit but it always seemed somewhat abstract to me. When I arrived at my first Semangat Baru silat class with my roll of blue painter’s tape it was very clear that geometry was the law in that space. We measured out strides 2.5 foot lengths, worked tirelessly off the langka (tiga, sliwa, etc.), and methodically investigated balance, angle, body position and timing. I’ve enjoyed this style of penjak silat because of its emphasis on close quarter fighting. I’ve continued in this practice because of this both practical and academic attention to detail and the way it has informed much of my teaching pedagogy.

 

#msmb #semangatbaru#kunomartialarts #webelieveinlife#traineveryway #traineveryday #health#wellness #fitness #science #itsnotmagic#martialarts #selfdefense #community#poc #indonesia #penjaksilat

The Practicality of the Classical

I hear a lot of commentary that some of the classical elements of PTK don’t have the same amount of relevance as the more contemporary iterations. I look at elements like “seguidas” as vocabulary which enhance my “Tri-V” practice. The difference between “I want water” and ” I want a glass of cold water.” The more familiar I am the greater capacity I have (with practice) to integrate it into my applications, both sparring and otherwise. The 3rd set of “seguidas” focuses primarily on stick grappling. Not as a work unto itself, but to familiarize us with positions and opportunities so they are more recognizable when they arise or when we are able to tactically maneuver ourselves into that range. #msmb #kalimundo #ptta #ptkwf #webelieveinlife #ptk #kali #fma #grappling #silat #capoeiraangola #health #wellness #fitness #mixedmartialarts #selfdefense #martialarts #fighttraining #sparring

Opinion: A Duty to Self Defend

Black, Brown, Colored:  Martial Arts / Opinion


By Clarence Jackson

There have always been threats to Black life. There have always been threats to human life. In America those threats became one of the most dominating factors of life. With all of the White Supremacist actions we should remember the KKK never left, the hate groups and the hate, the politicians that support them, their institutional support systems are all part of American tradition. I invite you to consider that you are being irresponsible if you are an African American and are not devoting a considerable amount of time to the study of self defense by the many trained professionals that offer it.

I have spoken with numerous police officers about their difficult jobs and been told time and again that you should arm yourself. If you call them they try, but it takes time to get to you. Officers and military have been offering training for years. Good, solid working people trying to raise families and thrive in this world need to not only be able to protect themselves and ensure the lives of their children, they need to be networked to ensure the safety of communities. Decent hardworking people should not be victimized by anyone. Including people inside of their communities, but we certainly can’t continue to be surprised by the underbelly of American society. Love each other, grow food, participate in society and live well, but safeguard your life in the American way. And always remember self defense is always paired with legal study, knowing the laws, I would even argue knowing lawyers, officers and possibly politicians to ensure that you are not only properly following the laws, but connected enough to it to create the best options for safely navigating any aftermath in the horror of having to defend yourself.

Top Reasons to Make Massage Part of Your Martial Arts Practice

Martial Arts:  Massage


By Njoli Brown

About 3.6 million people actively participate in the martial arts industry in the United States each year.   Some of those people, over some short period of time.  But many others determine to make their martial practice part of their lifestyle. The fatal mistake can often be an incomplete understanding of the physical benefits of the practice along with the necessary responsibilities we have to take on in order to maintain our bodies and perhaps to grow forward.  This is where self care and, perhaps more specifically, massage comes in.

Muscles undoubtedly receive huge benefits from massage.  But did you know, an array of research supports the understanding that massage:

  • Reduces heart rate.
  • Reduces recovery time.
  • Lowers anxiety.
  • Increases blood flow throughout the body, bringing vital oxygen and nutrients all over
  • Improves connective tissue healing, which promotes muscle elasticity.
  • Stabilizes cortisol levels (a stress hormone, similar to adrenaline).
  • Improves muscle flexibility, which reduces and prevents injury.

The rewards end up being both physical and psychological, increasing our capacity to think clearly, maintain psychological balance, recover quickly and utilize our muscles to their maximum potential.  Screen Shot 2019-03-03 at 6.59.20 PM
Massage is also a tremendous support of tendon health.  We cannot isolate tendons from the rest of the physical structure.  Tendons are fairly resilient if we’ve managed to bank some muscle health. Because of the limited capacity of tendons to contract or relax, they rely on the pliability of muscle. Imagining the burden we place on them by allowing that muscle tightness to present constant tension, we can imagine how tendons under this level of stress are more prone to rip or tear.


ALL tendon problems are due to problems with the muscle. If the muscle is unhealthy or not working optimally, it’s the tendon that’s going to take the damage.  So while it’s important to keep tendons happy, it’s as important or even more important to keep the muscle and interwoven connective tissue structures happy.

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The martial artist is the human animal in need of the optimal access to his/her tools.  Vertebrate animals exploit the elastic properties of their tendons, saving metabolic energy as tendons stretch and then recoil.  Whether in the arena of sports or in a self defense practice we are constantly working to manage or energy in order to have it to draw on when most vital.  Tendons store and return elastic strain energy while losing and regaining kinetic energy. They also, recoil elastically much faster than muscles can shorten, enabling us to jump further to strike and retract with more rapidity and to change direction more quickly. This elasticity affects the control of muscles, enhancing force control.

Mental health, muscle health, tendon health.  Along with the over all sense of internal wellness, we can see there are very pragmatic reasons to make massage an essential part of our martial practice.

 

We’re back! BLACK BOX FS spring session

We’re back! BLACK BOX FS spring session is coming! This quarter our focus is GRAPPLING: Take downs & maintaining top position. BLACK BOX is the MSMB lab for developing well-rounded cqc skills and testing them in application. Beginning March 21st… Get in touch for more info contact@msmbnyc.com *As always, free for our MSMB comprehensive members.
#msmb #traineveryway #traineveryday #webelieveinlife #blackboxfs #kali #silat #capoeira #boxing #wrestling #grappling #cqc #fightscience #health #wellness #martialarts #selfdefense #womeninpower

Grading Up: Ranks Without Ranking

By Njoli Brown

This present continuous practice is nothing other than just that, just committing oneself to continuous practice for no other reason than to practice continuously.”

Dogen in “Continuous Practice” –
(Translation by Francis Dojun Cook in the book “How To Raise an Ox”)

Most recently MSMB had the opportunity to promote students through the Pekiti Tirsia Kali ranking curriculum in association with PTK Elite.  It has been a pleasure to see their growth as students and to see them undertake and overcome increasing challenges both in training and in life.  Through this process, it had me truly reflecting on the value of rank testing and the importance of doing it well, justly and academically.

24313066_1815938585083611_5796395572561629866_oNow, truth be told, I do hold a lot of more seemingly abstruse elements to be equally as important in the progression of studentship — empathy, mindfulness, dedication, compassion, fortitude, humility, etc.  But here, I’d like to talk about the importance of the skills element of the pedagogy.

This year there was a decision among Elite Family instructors to really drill down and go layer by layer through the rank requirements, specific skills, language, historical knowledge, deemed essential both by our teachers and by us, collectively.  In making these determinations we were looking to do a better job of making sure that , not only were we developing skilled practitioners or doing our part to protect the legacy of our predecessors but that we were giving our students access to mater24302166_10155929671212520_5244908863842982036_oial which, perhaps, none of us have fully deciphered.  Material which could then truly be theirs to explore and investigate.  In the martial practice everyone brings their own personhood and thus unlocks elements only accessible to them, elements revealed through work and diligence.  These are all the spaces between wherein students often teach their instructors.

By utilizing a clear platform for ranking, it also calls on me to continually develop myself and work on my own weaknesses.  It requires me to regularly test myself and delve deeper.  In part because of my own curiosity but, as well, because It would be my greatest fault to leave a student short-changed because of my own incapacity to reconcile with challenges I face in my own study.

Ranking is a funny thing.  It is both objective and subjective simultaneously.  The more esoteric aspects of a teacher’s pedagogy, I’ve put aside for the sake of this exploration but they are easily as essential, particularly if your institution is also concerned with developing teachers, leaders, comrades.  People age, the body becomes ravaged, illness, injuries, we know them all.  But, in this world of martial craft, nothing sabotages the weight of a leader’s presence in the field more then demonstrative ignorance of his/her craft, and nothing empowers a student more than to have strong foundations from which to build investigative inquiry into self and the world.

Questions:

  • How can I judge someone else’s journey?
  • As an instructor, what is the honest status of my “student mind?” 
  • Am I clear about my expectations as an instructor and/or as a student?
  • Do I ask discerning questions for the sake of learning or for proving?
  • How do I evaluate the connection between my internal and external practice?