There is a remarkable amount of information available on how to deal with a confrontational situation, both before a fight starts and how to defend oneself during an attack, but the subject of how to deal with the emotional after-effects is also a vital part of dealing with such a dramatic situation.
Even the strongest willed person with a good stable mind can suffer great mental problems after being involved in a fight, more so if the situation was of a prolonged and intension period.
Soldiers in the field of battle, for example, often return home suffering from various mental health issues after being involved in a prolonged conflict due to the fact that they were not only under the constant threat of being killed, but also in most cases, being exposed to the deaths of others within the field of battle.
When it comes to a simple street fight that lasts no more than a few minutes however you would think that such a problem would not apply, and in most cases that is true, but even then the memories, (the true enemy of the situation), will remain in the persons mind for a short time, or forever, in the case of a full on conflict. It is those memories, which often could last a lifetime in some cases, that are the real problem after being involved in such a situation.
The most used form of therapy when dealing with people suffering with trauma is to provide a combination of medical treatment, such as anti-depressants, and an on-going course of counselling that helps them to come to terms with the situation, but this sadly does not always work, and in that event people can become mentally ill permanently or even end up taking their own life as a result.
People of course are all different and they will find their own way to come to terms with their difficulties, with varying degrees of success, but in my own personal case I have found that replaying events back in my mind over and over again works for me.
My own personal method of dealing with trauma I call the 'Old Film Method' which involves simply replaying events in my mind repeatedly over and over again until those events in my mind become so boring that they become a faded, but not of course a fully forgotten, memory.
Most people of course will say that you should not dwell on such bad and painful memories as it will make you feel more ill and they will also further say that you should try to forget such painful events, but by repeating those bad memories constantly, it could have the same effect as watching a film that you hate a lot and being made to watch it for 24 hours a day until it becomes so boring you cannot watch it anymore. By using this method your bad memories would become boring, like an old movie, they would just simply fade away to a degree that they are no longer painful.
Most people will try to hide and forget a bad or traumatic memory but by doing this the memory will come back time and timeagain in a painful way therefore rather than hide from your bad experience keep remembering it until it becomes like an old movie that you can no longer have the time for.
Although this method works for me it may not work for you, each of us therefore must find our own way of coming to terms with our trauma and bad memories and of course seek expert medical advice at all times.
Author: Dave J.Lomas. Original version - 1st of January 2010. © Copyright - all rights reserved.
It is an unwritten rule in all the sporting activities, which require physical effort, to warm the body up first before attempting anything too strenuous. In the case of the martial arts that include high kicking methods the need to warm and stretch the leg ligaments is vital as kicking from a cold start can pull and rip tendons and ligaments very easily. Many clubs will take the students through a set routine of exercises at the very start of a training session so as to help avoid ligament damage and to help perform the various striking and kicking techniques much better than when the body is cold and stiff.
There are those however who say that to perform specific leg stretching exercises at the very start of a training session when the legs are stiff and cold will result in the students finding these leg flexibility routines hard and painful to a degree. There will always be varying degrees of discomfort experienced by the new beginner when attempting these exercises but there is an alternative that some may not have thought about or fully considered.
After warming the body in the general waist, arms and neck areas then move on to soft and slow combat technique training. Limiting kicks to no higher than the waist area and performing all the various basic blocks and strikes without the use of speed or power will warm the body further and through the simple act of moving, walking and performing low kicks will warm the leg ligaments better for when next moving on to attempting any full-on leg stretching exercises rather than attempting to stretch the legs from a totally cold start. Although the new beginner will still experience discomfort when attempting stretching exercises further into the lesson it should be less noticeable than attempting this requirement from cold at the very start of the lesson period.
Some combat styles such as Wing Chun Kung Fu which specialise in close combat and low kicking methods do not require the need to stretch the legs to improve high kicking flexibility but all stretching exercises for both the legs and the general body area should be practised on a regular basis and not neglected.
Stretching the leg and groin ligaments to improve the range of movement in the kicking leg is not a natural function. You can go all through your life and never need to increase the range of movement in the legs, it is only when you need to kick high that this unnatural exercise becomes a vital requirement.
Children normally have very little problem with leg and groin stretching techniques because their bodies are naturally soft and flexible in the joints as they are still developing but for the adult who will lose this elasticity as they get older the need for caution against ligament damage through incorrect stretching procedures is important. If you attend a martial art club that specialises in the striking arts like kung fu, karate and kickboxing and the instructors do not take you through body and leg stretching routines on a regular basis then this is often to do with the fact that the instructors are idle minded and cannot be bothered. If they do take you through these warm-up routines but do not do it themselves and only stand and watch then it would be advisable to seek out a better instructor that will teach and lead by example.
A good and fast way to warm the body, both at the start and at any time during the main part of the training session, is to do squats, sit-ups and press-ups as these muscle developing routines do not involve any form of ligament stretching. Another good way to get a sweat on is the practice of the set forms which is a very good way of building stamina. Any physical workout like jogging or sprinting at a moderate pace will help warm-up the body without the risk of pulling any ligaments if done in a sensible way.
When the training session is drawing to a close, normally the remaining fifteen minutes or so, the instructors should then be thinking about the cooling down period of the lesson. This can be done in a number of ways such as focusing on any technical points or questions that the students have practised during the lesson rather than performing any physically demanding workouts or any high level technique training. Practising simple wrist release or arm locking methods is a good way of cooling down as this does not require high levels of effort if restricted to simple and basic techniques.
The traditional Horse Stance can be used to practice the many and various blocking and striking methods including the basic Corkscrew Punch, in addition, this stance can also be used to practice the internal exercises like 'pushing hands'. This stance is also used when performing the traditional Thrust Punch attack technique or breathing exercises as part of a cooling down
Author: Dave J.Lomas. Original version - 1st of January 2010. © Copyright - all rights reserved.
Imagine what it would be like if you had fingers of steel that could strike or rip through an object or someone attacking you without breaking or even harming your own fingers. Better still imagine what it would be like if your hands were harder thanthe hardest stone and you could punch through anything without fear of pain or your hand falling apart on impact.
Although there are some martial art clubs that do not teach the discipline of fist press-ups it is a requirement within and school of combat that is more aimed at traditional or streetwise self-defence and therefore worth looking into a bit more closely.
When I started as a young lad of just 17 years old after seeing all those spectacular fight scenes at the movies I was shocked to find that instead of just learning some cool kicks and punches our instructors got us down on the floor and made us all do loads of push-ups, as many people call them, and although as a new beginner I hated every minute of it I soon learned the true value of this martial art discipline.
In addition to loads of other keep fit and conditioning workouts like sit-ups, squats and god knows what else during that very first lesson none of us raw new beginners had anything left to give by the time it came to some basic punching, blocking and kicking methods. Of course no one in the room could complain as the instructors then went on to perform and demonstrate a load of fighting techniques with full power and speed even after doing all the workouts with us to the full. Not one of the new beginners, including myself, could do a fraction of the workout routines that our instructors did with ease, not even some of the more advanced students.
Thinking that learning the martial arts was all about jumping around doing kicks and punches, like a lot of new young beginners tend to think, I soon came to realise that conditioning workouts of this nature was a standard part of all training sessions - at least within this school of combat.
Our main head instructor of the class, (we all thought he was a sadist), it turned out was a keep fit fanatic before he had even thought of learning the martial arts himself, and this was very clear to see within all of his training sessions. Although he was superhuman in our new young beginners eyes with regard to all the keep fit workouts that he pushed us into, (push is a mild word for it), his speciality however was fist press-ups, (not the flat of the hand 'palm' press-up), but fist press-ups to the extreme. His logic, sound logic at that, was that although you can strike with various parts of the hand it is the clenched fist that is the primary striking method and therefore that needs to be conditioned to the full.
Learning how to punch within lessons is all very well but without proper conditioning this alone will never be enough he would constantly tell us. To strike with the fist against something solid that offers resistance on impact requires a number of abilities within the persons technique that can never be produced by practising strikes to thin air alone within the training session he would go on to say with a big grin on his face.
Fist press-ups are without question the most effective way of developing good impact strikes with the fist for a number of reasons, not least of which, the vital need to strike with the correct area of the clenched fist.
Everyone knows that the impact area of the fist is the first two fingers/knuckles section, (which is lucky because that's also the contact area of the fist on the floor), but placing the fists on the groundwithout keeping that in mind will cause problems and damage if the fists are not positioned just right. If the wrists are not perfectly straight then they will give way and you will collapse on the floor and if your other smaller two fingers touch the floor and pressure is put on that area then those fingers will get damaged.
Getting the fist in the correct position will also in turn make the student more aware of the correct impact area when striking but some new beginners in an effort to reduce the pressure on their unconditioned fists will stick their thumb out. Doing this of course is an illusion and does not reduce the pressure but it will damage the thumb.
My own first attempt at fist press-ups resultein me putting more weight on my third and small fingers which in turn damaged the nerves in those finger for a short time. This damage could be seen by everyone in the class when the instructors told us to put our guard up with hands open, ready to begin basic technique training. Unable to control my one little finger from shaking due to this temporary damage the one instructor asked me why I was waving my little finger at him before bursting out laughing.
To ensure that the fists are in the correct position before attempting your first fist press-up you need to ensure that your fists are shoulder width apart and fully positioned directly under your shoulders when in the 'up' ready to go position. This will help to prevent putting weight on the small fingers and help with balance each time you push up. With the fists correctly positioned and the legs tight together you are now ready to perform one of the various fist press-ups that are available, each of which have their own specific benefit.
The standard, (and more faster), fist press-up simply involves going down most of the way and then pushing up again in one smooth action. Repeating this action without stopping between press-ups the standard amount of repartitions, for a new beginner, should be 10 or more at a time but maybe more than that for the higher graded students.
One standard training routine that tends to get results within the class is called the 'rotation' method. This simply involves getting everyone to do a fast 5, (or more), fist press-ups in turn and then resting until it comes around to your turn again. Normally starting with the instructor this exercise is then repeated all over again when it comes full circle back to the instructor. For the more advanced graded students the standard number of 5 or 10 press-ups taken in turn would normally be repeated around 20 times. Based on doing 10 press-ups in turn this would come to 200 press-ups within that training period and should be made part of most, if not all, class sessions.
Performing this exercise over a period of time you will build not only strength and muscles in the fists, arms, shoulders and chest but also a degree of punching stamina which is vital for anyone learning the striking arts. Performing an alternating 10 fist press-up followed by 10 full speed, full force rapid punches then repeating again many times will develop a very fast and powerful striking technique.
It should be noted at this stage that placing the thumb inside the fingers when punching or performing press-ups will damage or even break the thumb. This is also the case if the thumb is protruding out as the thumb will hit the target before the correct impact area of the fist. Although nearly everyone from student to instructor is fully aware of this situation it is truly remarkable how many times a beginner will make this mistake before being advised of the situation.
A slower form of press-up that is specifically aimed at developing muscles in the arms, shoulders and chest area in a more focused way is what we call the 'Fully Extended Fist Press-up'. This is performed in the same way as the standard method but in the 'up' ready to begin position the arms are fully straight, (locked), for a slow count of 10 then you lower yourself, in the down position, with the tip of your nose touching the floor to prove your have lowered yourself fully and hold in that position again for a slow count of 10.
Both the standard rapid press-up and the more focused extended press-up can also be performed by placing both feet on a chair and performing these press-ups in the same way. In the case of the fully extended press-up this method can be further advanced by not only having the feet on one chair but also by having your fists place on two chairs directly to the right and left of your shoulders and lowering the body, and holding for a count of 10, as far down as possible.
Without the need of any special training equipment and just using a couple of wooden or kitchen chairs these press-up exercises will over a period of time give you stone like strong punching fists that are further enhanced by strong arms, shoulders and chest muscles. To further enhance the striking hands, doing press-ups on the wrists will ensure that the wrist is strong when striking something solid and finger tip press-ups will over a period of time give you steel like fingers that can be used as an alternative to striking with the fist.
For the more advanced student and assistant instructors of the class 'Jumping Fists' is a vital must do thing. Punching a solid object repeatedly will condition the fist and toughen the skin but the power of the impact is limited to the effort and speed of each strike, however, in the case of the Jumping Fist exercise the fists will have the full body weight of the person behind each impact with the floor.
Performed in much the same way as a standard fist press-up the idea is to jump your fists off the ground and clap hands, (as fast as possible or it will not work), and then land back on the ground with your fists - simple. On condition that you perform the clap of hands very fast and that you have conditioned the fists to take the impact with the ground beforehand through the standard and extended exercise routines then this is an ideal way of truly conditioning the fists for combat.
Author: Dave J.Lomas. Original version - 1st of January 2010. © Copyright - all rights reserved.
Thousands of people every year will take up one of the fighting arts and become part of the many hundreds of thousands of students and instructors that have been studying the combat arts for years all over the world.
It would be fair to say that some take up the fighting arts simply to boost their ego or to seize power over others in someway while for others the study and practice of the martial arts is a form of selfdiscovery and a self imposed personal challenge. In some cases learning the martial arts is a practical way of developing a healthy body and mind with the added bonus of learning the combat skills needed to protect oneself from physical harm. Many would say that to maintain a healthy body you would also need to protect it from external harm such as being hit or attacked in someway.
There are many reasons why people take up one of the combat arts that can vary from simply wishing to learn the fighting arts out of interest or as a part time hobby, to those who would like to enter th competition side of the martial arts as a sporting and competitive interest. Insome cases there will be those who think of it as a career move with the intention of becoming a qualified instructor and making a professional livingout of teaching it but not everyone will take up the martial arts for reasonsof health and fitness or for self-defence and sport they will also be those who will use these fighting skills for personal and criminal gain. In some cases however the need for such fighting skills is a vital necessity for those in the armed or security services and for those who live in parts of the world where violence is a major problem.
Just like in the animal kingdom the urge or need to fight is a built-in instinct that is a vital survival skill against various predators'. Fighting, just like any physical activity, is also a form of mentalrelease and any activity that helps to relieve tension in the body and mind isa healthy and positive thing. Today however, unlike in the animal kingdom,humans are restricted by rules and laws of conduct but this built-in instinctof survival cannot be suppressed by any man-made rules or conditions for longtherefore the practice of the martial arts is a much needed thing to help relieve tension and in maintaining a healthy outlook.
In the wild, animals regardless of type, size or abilities contain within themselves in-built defence capabilities for surviving against other animals that will often prey on them as a source of food or in some cases against other animals that are trying to gain control over the area that they live in. Their in-built instinct to survive is referred to as the fight or flight syndrome which in very basic terms simply means do they run away to survive an attack or do they stay and fight. The human body in just the same way as in the animal kingdom contains various in-built reaction mechanisms that are designed to respond to a number of situations.
The fight or flight condition is a very powerful reaction that combines both body and mind chemical reactions that click into action automatically when faced with danger. For the human animal these on the spot choices are however further complicated by their state of mind and social situations that have to be considered at that moment in time but in the animal kingdom the selection available to them is not further confused by moral, ethical or social considerations or legal problems that they may face, like we humans, for their actions.
Various chemicals including adrenaline start to activate when faced with the possibility of physical attack but for some the chemical reactions triggered by a potential threat can freeze a person into a state of negative reaction, while others will go into a fight mode without thinking.
Faced with several options has to how to respond to a given situation the persons mind can be overloaded with too many choices to follow which can render some of them unable to select a course of action but unfortunately for those that automatically respond to danger or threats in this instinctive manner they will often go through life avoiding confrontational situations thinking that they are afraid or cowardly and will over a period of time lack confidence or self-esteem to one degree or another and they may also run the risk of being bullied or targeted as a victim by those who can sense this situation.
For some the instinctive, and in some cases, overpowering urge to respond comes in the form of heightened anger and aggression. In this highly reactive state the person will select to fight without thinking about the after effects of their actions. They will not consider the possibility of being badly injured in the fight or the risk of being taken to court for inflicting bodily harm to someone. If unchecked, a person with a fast reactive temper could findthemselves in all sorts of needless trouble throughout their lives.
For those who study the fighting arts, be it for sporting reasons like a competition boxer in the ring or as a general interest or for keep fit reasons, simply talking about it to someone who you do not know very well could lead to problems. In the same way that a woman who has blonde hair will have comments made about her being not very bright and being called a dumb blonde or a body builder will have people say to them that they would not take them on in a fight because of their physical strength, even though havingblonde hair is nothing to do with intellect or the body builder may not know the first thing about fighting, so this is the case when people who admit to practising the fighting arts end up having to face the regular question regarding if they are violent by nature.
Many, if not all, people will always instinctively think that anyone learning the martial arts must be violent or at the very least aggressive by nature. If you are a student or instructor of the combat arts and you are questioned over your potential aggressive or violent nature, or they show concern regarding your ability to inflict physical damage to others if unintentionally provoked, then simply just tell them that you do not need to practice the martial arts to punch someone in the face andthat you cannot help it if people lack confidence in their safety around you. This may be by itself less than sufficient but the one thing that you can do however is to think twice and choose wisely before revealing your involvement in the martial arts to others who may react in such a negative way.
For these reasons in the main it is always wise to resist the urge to brag or promote your interest in the martial arts to others unless you know them well. In some cases your somewhat innocent references to the martial arts and your interest and involvement in such an activity could be viewed or mistakenly perceived by some as an act of verbal aggression or maybe even a physical challenge that could inadvertently start a fight, therefore, it is always wise to think before speaking about your martial art interests to those who do not know you well themselves.
In the martial arts the key words used are 'self-defence' against physical attack; however there is a more or at least an equal problem faced which is that of verbal abuse or the threat of violence without a follow-through action by the potential assailant. When faced with constant verbal abuse that can come in many forms the target or potential victim will suffer stress, tension and anxiety that will in time lead to inner anger and frustration. Under such conditions the victim of such verbal or physical abuse may well turn their inner anger onto someone else. The result of responding in this manner will not only turn them in turn into a potential bully but will also over a period of time affect their health and well-being to the point of becoming emotionally unbalanced and subject to additional problems.
Practising the martial arts has often been described as a form of discipline but in the vast majority of clubs and schools teaching the martial arts the discipline side of training only covers the fighting skills and endurance aspects while the emotional discipline of the mind is neglected. Learning the various martial arts can be great fun and a good way of meeting other people but many make the mistake of taking what they do for granted and simply treat attending a training session as just a normal routine in their daily lives. Although attending a training session should be treated in a light hearted manner at times, always keep in mind why you are learning the combat arts and never take it for granted.
Attending a martial arts class every week is something that many take for granted and in addition would never think that going to a training session could result in being beaten, arrested or evenkilled but in other parts of the world the practice of the fighting arts could, and often does, result in being arrested or even killed without legal trial by not only rival gangs but also by 'government hired thugs' and their very own corrupt police force.
The practice of the martial arts in certain parts of the world is regarded as a threat to those in power for a number of reasons. Some would regard the practice of the martial arts as a form of rebellion against authority or a secret way of practising subversive ideologies, in any event, there are those who fear any group or group activity in the belief that they may attempt to alter their beliefs, rules and cultural values. There are many people who are ruled under a dictatorship that does not allow them the freedom to speak openly or the freedom to express themselves in the form of literature, physical expression or belief.
Such activities and the individuals involved are often seen as a threat to those who will do anything to hold on to their power, (and money), even to the point of imprisoning or killing someone who dares to defy them to ensure their continued control over others. Political activist's who seek change and those who practice religious beliefs are often the main targets of the oppressor's but those who practice the combat arts are also seen as a real threat.
Those who practice the combat arts are often seen by the oppressor's as having a secret agenda and think that they are not just learning the fighting arts for sport or personal self-defence but also for the specific purpose of developing the physical skills needed to overthrow those in power by force, if need be.
Often the rulers of the country will pay specific attention to these group activities and in many cases will arrest and imprison such group members to deter them from further organizing their efforts into a real threat. If a group is practising the martial arts that further involves political, social, cultural or religious values then this type of group will suffer not only arrests and beatings but also the risk of death.
Keeping in mind that the ruling oppressor's themselves may have used such methods to gain control over others in the past there are two groups of combat trained fighters that should be kept in mind. There are those who practice the combat arts to terrorise others and there are those who practice how to fight to free their homes and country from invading oppressors. The old saying that one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter is something to think about. It is therefore well worth remembering that taking for granted the right to attend a martial art training session is a luxury that not everyone can
There are those who would say "why do people climb mountains, practice martial arts or type a letter on an old manual typewriter instead of typing a letter on a computer"? The reason why people do such things is simply to do with having a goal to aim for, or for the simple pleasure and experience that can be gained from such an activity.
Author: Dave J.Lomas. Original version - 1st of January 2010. © Copyright - all rights reserved.
The following articles are courtesy of Dave J. Lomas, of Dragonwriter ( UK). The link to Daves site can be found here http://dave-lomas.weebly.com/ which you can also help his Aftershock Project.
GLOVE OR NO GLOVE
Say the word 'bareknuckle' and most, if not all, will know what you are on about without hesitation. Bareknuckle Boxing is one of the most well known of all the 'old style' boxing matches with a history that goes back at least a couple of hundred years. Sadly however it also has a reputation for being not only illegal and bloody but also a high risk factor of damage to both, not only the body, but also the mind in the form of brain damage.
Today we have a multitude of martial art styles, self-defence courses and of course mixed martial arts, (or cage fighting as some of us call it), to choose from including of course the vastly popular boxing that is promoted through not only various venues but also via the television media. In the case of bareknuckle boxing however the problem of 'image' is very much a problem due to its past history and how it was, and still is, portrayed over its long and in-depth history.
So what is involved in modern day bareknuckle boxing and how does in compare to the regular boxing that we have all come to know and support over the years?
Being invited to a bareknuckle boxing event in Nottingham, (UK), in March 2014 that also included regular boxing, I was keen to see just exactly what was involved and how it compared to regular boxing events with regard to safety and the general format.
My image of what to expect in my mind exactly matched what I saw on the day with a well organised set up and medical people on standby ready to give aid in the event of an injury.
In fact the entire set up was very much like a regular boxing match venue complete with a boxing ring, music for the fighters as they came into the ring and of course a bit of glamour in the form of a couple of 'ring girls'. In fact the entire event was nothing like the photos of yesteryear that showed bareknuckle boxers fighting in fields or a smoke filled backstreet club with blood spurting everywhere.
The event, promoted as the first regulated event of its kind in many years, complete with all the fighting divisions and the such like, just like any regular official boxing match, was a well thought out meeting with a friendly atmosphere throughout, and just as you would expect, people meeting up with old friends and making new one's during the 5 hour event.
So what was the difference between the bareknuckle fighters and the regular boxers on the day? The only true difference when it came to the boxing itself was the fact that bareknuckle boxers don't wear boxing gloves.
There are only so many ways two people can punch each other with or without wearing boxing gloves apart from the fact that a bare-handed fighter is not restricted by gloves when it comes to grabbing the other person of course but with all the rules and safety measures in place both forms of boxing are very much the same at the end of the day.
Take away the image and the brutal and illegal reputation that people have of bareknuckle boxing and all it comes down to the fact that the bareknuckle boxer, as the name states, are boxers who simply fight without wearing boxing gloves.
A debate that often comes up is the subject to safety. People will readily except that body damage is all part and parcel of the job and that being bruised and the such like is unavoidable, as with any contact sport, but the problem people have these days is directly in regard to the condition that is commonly called 'punch drunk'.
Any hit to the head will shake the brain within the skull even if the person is wearing padded protective head gear or even if they are hit by someone wearing padded boxing gloves. This situation if not carefully monitored will result in brain damage, hence the term punch drunk, and can and will result in various medical conditions in years to come. Therefore regardless as to the subject to wearing padded head gear or padded boxing gloves or not the problem of head safety will always be a problem.
Fighting without wearing padded boxing gloves is not a new thing in fact. Back in the early days of karate and kung fu I attended many a martial art competition event, back in the 1970's, that were full contact events done without any protective padded gear at all. If fact, just like the bareknuckle fighter, some martial art tournaments were done bare-fisted in just the same way.
Glove or no glove - both regular boxing and bareknuckle boxing are the same when it comes to safety,on condition, that it is regulated and monitored and the fighters are educated and fully informed of the risks, more so, if they are young, and new to this kind of thing.
WRITTEN BY DAVE J LOMAS, DRAGONWRITER( UK) 23RD MARCH 2014, COPYRIGHT RESERVED.