Three Things You Should Be Saying to Your Martial Arts Students

When you’re standing in front of your students you have an opportunity to not only convey martial arts technique but also to positively shape thinking. The psychology with which we approach learning and practice is incredibly influential over our success at that practice and our energy to keep at it long term. Here are some things …

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It’s Not Poor Progress, It’s Just Poor Attitude

Anyone can get caught in a dark place regarding how they view themselves and their progress in a skill. Making demands of ourselves to be our best can be a powerful motivating force; it can also be supremely destructive. In my own growth as both a swordsman and a dancer I have frequently reached a place where I …

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Define Your Own Criteria for Success in Swordplay

Define Your Own Criteria for Swordplay Success A true swordplay bout might be as binary as survivor and vanquished. However, in our modern times no bout is final and all provide an opportunity for practice and growth. Though winning can be thrilling, I recommend setting your sites on different targets for the best long-term success …

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Combat Mindset: Fight All the Way to the End

I have noted a phenomenon in sparring, especially when fencing someone who feels themselves to be less experienced or less skilled than me, of someone giving up before the hit is made. Perhaps my point is winding its way toward home, and two inches before it touches I feel their whole body relax and their …

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How Top Performers Deal with Bad Training Days

Not every training day is a brilliant one. Not every tournament is your best. Not every performance shows all that you’re capable of. Sometimes things are just plain crappy. You can’t get in the zone, you’re in your head, you feel sloppy, flat footed, slow, out of shape, etc, etc. Top performers are not devoid …

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Greater Danger Does Not Mean Greater Glory

You don’t have to free-solo the north face of the Eiger to reap the challenge and reward of climbing the mountain. I love to climb mountains (I really do) but I’ll happily do it with harness. Sometimes overcoming the fear is the reward. You decide “I don’t want to be afraid of this anymore”. The …

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The Difference Between Something and Nothing

Take 5 minutes each day to practice doing something you love. Take one small step toward your goal each morning. Even if that step takes less than a minute. Put on a timer for 15 minutes. Work on the first step of your plan in that time. Repeat everyday, till it’s done. Read an inspiring …

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Let Go of Regretting

I have done many things in my life that didn’t work out. I have found myself on adventures of which I had imagined fantastic and romantic ends that never came to be. Many of these adventures had their fair share of pain and hardship. Yet I don’t regret these adventures, in that I don’t regret …

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Looking Like a Fool in Practice

This is one of our biggest barriers to growth. Who doesn’t fear looking like a failure in front of judging eyes? Who doesn’t see all eyes as potential judges? Even brand new students who have never held a sword before share experiences of feeling like they look stupid during their first class. Many resist ever …

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How Quickly Will I Get Good?

This is a pretty common question. Often when we start into something new, we’re eager to get past that first awkward and potentially embarrassing stage and get onto looking like a badass as quickly as possible. I have two answers to this question: 1. About one year.  This isn’t when you’ll be a complete badass, …

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