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Get A Great Lower Body Stretching Workout In Only 3 Minutes!

No matter what kind of martial art you practice or not, it’s pretty safe to say that appropriate stretching before AND after any workout can offer a number of benefits such as:

  • Increase of range of motion
  • Reduce the risk of injury
  • Prevent sore muscles after your workout

I speak from personal experience. Maybe some of you out there can relate.

Very often we don’t take the time for proper warming up AND cooling down. It is soooo important, especially the older you, I mean, I get. Haha.

Years ago, we did a lot of ballistic stretching which I today would not favor for lower body stretching. I now prefer static stretching, whereas you stretch a muscle to the point of a tolerable discomfort or better warming sensation and then hold for a defined period like 30 seconds. Just don’t overdo it! Work with your body, not against it.

This has worked for me very well and I just wanted to pass it on to you.

To close today’s post, of course I will not leave you without some visuals:

I came across one of the most effective lower body stretching workouts that really takes only 3 minutes to do.

I highly recommend stretching before AND after your actual workout.

In my humble opinion, it doesn’t matter whether you are a martial artist or not, you will benefit from it.  Give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Girl Power Expressed Through Karate Kata Perfection

If you have been following this blog lately you probably have noticed that I like to mix things up between different martial arts styles such as Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu aka BJJ aka Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Western Boxing, Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun Kung Fu, just to name a few.

Today, I’m in the mood for some really impressive Karate moves. The kind of moves you see when true artists are at work or better performing a kata.

For those of you not familiar with kata, here a short description:

Kata is a Japanese word for choreographed patterns of movements that can be performed either solo or in pairs or even groups.

Kata is commonly known in the Japanese martial arts such as Aikido, Judo, Karate, Iaido and others.

You come across patterns of movements in other non-Japanese martial arts such as Tai Chi Chuan and Taekwondo. They just use Chinese and Korean words instead.

To get a better idea of what karate kata perfection looks like, have a look at this video clip of the Japanese Female Kata Team competing in 2008.

Amazing! But I will let you be the judge.

Michael Kuhr, Former Kickboxing Champion, Now Security Professional High In Demand In Berlin

Michael Kuhr from Germany gained fame through his numerous amateur kickboxing championship titles.

He then went pro and became Germany’s first World Champion in Kickboxing.

Years have passed since his bouts in the ring.

Michael Kuhr now runs a successful security company in the German capital of Berlin.

This is a tough business that calls for discipline, integrity and a cool head when things around you heat up.

In certain circles he is simply known as ‘Der Pate’, which translates into English as ‘The Godfather’.

Michael Kuhr has become a celebrity on German TV because of his professionalism and the success he enjoys in Berlin.

To get you acquainted with Michael Kuhr, here is a video clip of him as a worlclass kickboxer.

The first one shows him as a kickboxing champion and the second one displays his de-escalation skills as a bouncer in his current line of business.

“Is This The Holy Grail For Martial Arts Competitors?” Part 2 – Final

This is the conclusion to yesterday’s post/article “How The Mind Determines Athletic Success” by Morty Lefkoe:

It might be possible to “train emotionally,” but ultimately emotions are the result of beliefs and conditionings.

Eliminate the beliefs and conditionings and the emotions change automatically.

Imagine the following: You have the belief that a ball being hit into the net (or into the water, etc., depending on your sport) is a mistake, and mistakes mean there is something wrong with you.

Now imagine that the ball hits the net or goes into the water. What would you have to feel? … Angry at yourself, annoyed, frustrated, hopeless, etc.

Now imagine this scenario: You have the belief that there is no such thing as a mistake, that every result that isn’t what you intended is an opportunity to learn how to improve your game.

Moreover, you believe that not achieving your intended result means nothing about you. Now imagine that the ball hits the net or goes into the water. What would you feel in this situation? … You might find it difficult to imagine right now that there are only outcomes and no mistakes, but just do your best to imagine the scenario I’ve just described. Okay? …

What would you feel? … Challenged, calm, curious, or possibly nothing at all.

What happens physiologically when you think you’ve made a mistake? Too much negative energy, which gets translated into being too excited, too angry, too anxious.

Some typical signs of over‑arousal include:

Legs feel weak and rubbery. Difficulty in concentrating and focusing. Everything seems to be going faster than it really is. Inability to think clearly and accurately. Attention gets focused on one thing and refocusing is difficult. Become fatigued very quickly. Changing your belief about mistakes would minimize these conditions.

Stress Is an Interpretation

“The greatness of a Gretzky, a Connors, a Palmer, or an Evert is not that they perform well under pressure,” Loehr contends. “No one performs well under pressure. Their greatness is in their learned ability to take the pressure off. … In the face of great external pressure, these [top] performers felt almost no anxiety. To the contrary, they felt calm and peaceful inside but also highly energized, positive, and enthusiastic…

“It is this skill that separates the superstars from the troops—they have the ability to take pressure off, transforming crisis into opportunity and threat into challenge. All that stands between you and that ability is your own head! … Pressure is something you put on yourself.”

Nothing is inherently stressful. In other words, stress does not exist “out there” and nothing “out there” causes stress. Stress originates in the mind and exists only in the mind; it’s the result of an interpretation. Change the interpretation by changing beliefs and the stress will disappear.

For example, assume you had a project to complete and had a number of limiting beliefs, including I’m not capable and Nothing I do is good enough. What would you feel as you began the project? … Some level of stress. And it would feel as if the project was causing the stress, wouldn’t it?

Now let’s assume you had the same project but had the opposite beliefs, including I am capable and whatever I do is good enough. If your beliefs made you feel confident that you would do a good job, do you still think the project would make you feel stress? … Unlikely. Same project, but different beliefs would result in different levels of stress.

By changing your beliefs, something that had been experienced as stressful can be experienced as fun or challenging.

Control your mind, improve your game. It really is possible.

Source: http://www.recreateyourlife.com

“Is This The Holy Grail For Martial Arts Competitors?” Part 1

I came across an article that I would like to share with you and I sincerely hope that it benefits you, whether you are a martial artist or not.

I firmly believe that some of my own personal experience in point karate competition would have presented itself differently had I had the access to some of the information that Morty Lefkoe shares.

“How the Mind Determines Athletic Success”
By Morty Lefkoe

In order to make this blog post personally valuable to you, I’d like to start by asking you a couple of questions.

First, whatever sport you play, how often do you play up to your potential, in other words, if you rate your best performance a 10, how often do you play at a 10? …

The next question I’d like you to answer is: If you can play at a 10 sometimes, why can’t you do it more frequently? You obviously have the physical skills and ability or you wouldn’t have been able to do it that one time. …

I’d like to suggest that the reason your game isn’t consistent and you don’t play up to your potential most of the time is strictly mental—specifically, your beliefs, attitudes, and feelings—all of which are within your power to change.

Obviously you need the appropriate skills for your sport but, as Jim Loehr (a sports psychologist who has worked with a number of successful professional athletes) points out, “the distinguishing trademark of great players in any sport is not so much their exceptional talent, but rather their exceptional ability to consistently play at the peak of their talent.”

Many others agree. For example, a story in USA Today pointed out: “For years, golf’s top players have agreed: little separates the physical capabilities of the world’s 100 or so best players. The difference between success and failure, they agree, largely depends on their approach, their handling of crisis situations on the course, their response to pressure, the ability to handle their emotions and fears and doubts. In short, it’s the mental side of the game.”

If you’re like most serious amateur competitors, you don’t complain very much about your physical limitations.
Here is a list of some of the most common complaints. Which sound familiar to you?

“It’s not that I don’t know what to do, it’s that I don’t do what I know.”
“The harder I try, the worse I seem to perform.”
“I know exactly what I’m doing wrong on my forehand (or my putting, or my footwork, or my swimming stroke, etc.), but I just can’t seem to break the habit.”
“When I concentrate on one thing I’m supposed to be doing, I flub something else.”
“I’m my own worst enemy.”

Notice that every one of these complaints is a mental one. Moreover, all of them are the result of pressure you put on yourself.

In fact, Loehr contends, “If you can take the pressure off yourself, then winning will take care of itself.”

Why? What’s the connection between pressure and your ability to perform?

Tony Schwartz points out in a New York Magazine article that “Thoughts about losing or playing poorly may lead to fear and anxiety, which prompt an array of physiological reactions such as increased heart rate, muscle tightness, shortness of breath, reduced blood flow to the hands and feet, and even narrowing of vision. All of these reactions make it impossible to play up to one’s potential. ”

Mistakes

“The emotional downfall for most players is mistakes,” according to Loehr. “Mistakes can trigger strong emotional responses (disappointment, embarrassment, anger, temper, low intensity) that can cause inconsistent or poor play. For some players, nearly every mistake represents an emotional crisis. But it’s interesting to note that everyone manages mistakes the same way when they’re playing well. They simply turn and walk away confidently, as if nothing happened. Ideally, the best emotional response to mistakes is to get challenged. A mistake is simply feedback to the mental computer that the shot wasn’t perfect, that some adjustment is necessary. And the simple fact is that without mistakes, the learning process would be permanently blocked. No mistakes, no progress. But negative emotion also blocks the progress and is a natural response to mistakes. So what’s the answer? The answer is that players must train emotionally so that mistakes produce the right emotional response.”

It might be possible to “train emotionally,” but ultimately emotions are the result of beliefs and conditionings.

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of this intriguing article with very useful insights at TheMartialArtsReporter.com

Source: http://www.recreateyourlife.com

Krav Maga – Martial Art Or Not?

Is Krav Maga a martial art or not?

As far as Krav Maga practitioners are concerned it’s more about martial than art.

Now what does that mean? Good question.

For some, traditional martial arts appear to be too rigid and simply too tradition-bound.

Krav Maga strives to be a ‘defensive tactics system’ which means it has to constantly adapt to situation and circumstances.

It is NOT a sport. It is about self-defense that will get you home safely.

Krav Maga incorporates elements of many martial arts themselves.

Krav Maga has been the prime fighting system of the Israeli Defense Forces since the State of Israel was founded in 1948.

Imi Lichtenfeld, who created Krav Maga (Hebrew for contact combat), was the Israeli military school’s chief instructor for physical training and Krav Maga.

He already developed the concepts of an effective self-defense system while still living as a Jew in Eastern Europe and fighting fascist thugs in the 1930s.

Years later in Israel, Mr. Lichtenfeld continued to refine the system to base it on the body’s natural instincts under stress and making it a very aggressive, “never quit” combat system.

Check out this video clip and as always viewer discretion is advised.
Do not attempt without a certified instructor and not before consulting your physician!

Who’s The World’s Most Famous Martial Artist Ever?

Who do you think is the world’s most famous martial artist ever?

Are we talking about a martial artist becoming a famous household name?

Or are we talking about a famous household name who happens to be
a martial artist?

Hmmm.

Let’s see who comes to mind:

1. Bruce Lee was at first a martial artist and then became a household name.

2. Jackie Chan pretty much the same, right?

3. Chuck Norris, same way, I guess.

4. Steven Seagal, dto.

5. Oh, wait, how about “The King” aka Elvis Presley?
Everybody, young and old, martial artist or not, knows about the singer, entertainer,
songwriter Elvis Presley.

But most people don’t know that Elvis Presley was a dedicated martial artist in the style
of American Kenpo for many years until his untimely passing in 1977.

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So, again, who would you consider the world’s most famous martial artist ever?

Tell me who comes to your mind!

A Tribute To The Godfather Of Grappling, “Judo” Gene Lebell

It’s about time for a tribute to The Godfather Of Grappling, “Judo” Gene Lebell!

In case of an emergency, people normally call ‘911′.  Right?!

Well, when seasoned martial arts and wrestling greats such as Bruce Lee, Ed Parker, Chuck Norris, Bob Wall, Ken Shamrock, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, The Rock, Gokor “Armenian Assassin” Chivichyan and many many more needed grappling advice and training, guess who they called?

You guessed right, “Judo” Gene Lebell.

In 1954, as a twenty-two year old judoka, Master Gene accomplished something at the National Judo Championships in Japan nobody had done before:

He won the Heavyweight Title as the first non-Japanese weighing only 165 lbs.!

Master Gene repeated this extraordinary acomplishment the next year.

All while competing in a pink judo gi. So what’s with funky colored gi?
I’m glad you asked.

When Master Gene was in Japan the first time, the laundry service cleaning his gi messed up big time by somehow throwing in red clothing and so turning his white gi into the now infamous pink.

Master Gene had no choice but to compete in pink. The Japanese were outraged, because they considered it disrespectful. Traditions can be very strong.

Master Gene prevailed and the pink gi has been his trademark ever since.

So, when looking around a dojo you knew that dangerous guy was always the one wearing pink.

For years he continued to successfully compete in the Judo and Pro-Wrestling.

His proven skills have helped him in stunt-work in literally hundreds of movies along side with celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.

Master Gene continues to share his vast knowledge in Los Angeles and at seminars around the country such as the Paradise Warrior Retreat with other martial arts legends.

Master Gene is certainly not your typical 77-year old.
He’s as sharp as a tack and as witty as they come. And he owns the mat.

And what’s absolutely amazing: His sleeper choke keeps on putting people to sleep within seconds.
Nobody does it better!

Or as the famous saying goes, “When in doubt, choke him out.”

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Let me know if any of you have met “Judo” Gene Lebell in person.

You Want This Former UFC Champ In Your Corner During A Bar Fight

You want this former UFC Champ in your corner during a bar fight.

And he even speaks Dutch just in case (oranje boven!).

Deep down, we all want to speak Dutch. Just admit it! I’m just kidding.

His name is ….. drumroll, please …. the amazing Bas “El Guapo” Rutten.

Years ago he started his martial arts career over in The Netherlands with Tae Kwon Do, Oyama Karate and Muay Thai.

He can kick like a mule, so stay out of his way.

Later on he got involved in Pancrase and Ultimate Fighting. I guess you could consider Bas Rutten one of the pioneers of UFC.

After an extremely successful UFC career, this illlustrious Mixed Martial Artist moved on to become an IFL coach and a highly sought-after fight commentator.

El Guapo is always up to some sort of crank and just loves to joke around.
Heck, he even cracked me up as a bouncer on the successful TV sitcom “The King of Queens” with Kevin James. His real life experience as a bouncer came in pretty handy.

Now, I am not entirely sure but I thought I just recently saw him in the movie “Mall Cop” again with Kevin James (who has been known to train with Randy “The Natural” Couture). I believe he plays the drill sergeant at the beginning of the movie.

It’s safe to say: You want this former UFC Champ in your corner during a bar fight.

Why? Just check out this clip (short version) and you’ll know why!

Viewer discretion is advised. This video is for informational purpose only.
Do not try any of this at home or your next bar visit!

Tell me what you think!

Some Great Martial Arts Quotes

I found some quotes that begin with  Bruce Lee and end with Bruce Lee. Enjoy!

To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.
- Bruce Lee

You may train for a long time, but if you merely move your hands and feet and jump up and down like a puppet, learning Karate is not very different from learning a dance. You will never have reached the heart of the matter; you will have failed to grasp the quintessence of karate-do.
- Gichin Funakoshi

Aikido is not a defensive martial art. Being defensive is a terrible way to go through life.This means be proactive. It does not mean hit first.
- Dojo wall

The ultimate aim of karate-do lies not in victory or defeat,
but in the perfection of the character of its participants.”
- Gichin Funakoshi

A black belt is nothing more than a belt that goes around your waist. Being a black belt is a state of mind and attitude.”
- Rick English

The art of the sword consists of never being concerned with victory or defeat, with strength or weakness, of not moving one step forward, nor one step backward, or the enemy not seeing me and my not seeing the enemy. Penetrating to that which is fundamental before the separation of heaven and earth where even yin and yang cannot reach, one instantly attains proficiency in the art.
- Takuan

He who knows not and knows not he knows not, He is a fool- Shun him. He who knows not and knows he knows not, He is simple- Teach him. He who knows and knows not he knows, He is asleep- Awaken him. He who knows and knows that he knows, He is wise- follow him.
- Bruce Lee

Truth has no path. Truth is living and, therefore, changing. Awareness is without choice, without demand, without anxiety; in that state of mind, there is perception. To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person. Awareness has no frontier; it is giving of your whole being, without exclusion.
- Bruce Lee