ZenQuest on The John Krol Show
Coaches Connie and Mark dropped in on the John Krol Show on Thursday, October 5th. The visit was the week's "A-List" segment of the Berkshire focused Facebook Live show. The veteran martial arts instructors talked about self-defense, and showed a couple of easy to learn escape strategies. Check out the video!
Many martial arts have a structure set up identifying the amount of experience the people there have. This is usually accompanied by a rank system, which makes it easy to identify the relative amount of time, and therefore knowledge each person has. Most martial artists only think of using the rank system as a way to set goals and measure their progress. However, these ‘hierarchies’ serve another important purpose in the gym, and here are some tips for optimizing these to your advantage.
First, it’s a good idea to know what the rank system is for your art. The systems at ZenQuest have a series of colored belts (arm-bands for Muay Thai), and stripes. These start with white and change to progressively darker colors as the student gains experience and moves up the ranks. Each belt or armband will also have a series of stripes on them to indicate the student’s progress towards their next level. Advanced levels are considered significant accomplishments, but also represent responsibilities for the practitioner in teaching and promoting their art.
Newer students benefit by knowing who the highest level students and instructors in the room are for questions. It just makes sense for less experienced students to ask the most experienced people in the room any questions about the things they’re learning. The most advanced people in the room will know the correct way to perform a move, what it’s purpose is, common mistakes to avoid, and even how to explain it all best.
Even more experienced students can fall into unhealthy patterns regarding the ranks in the Dojo. Sometimes when a student begins to enter into higher ranks in their art they will begin to feel that they are above the rules of etiquette. They may start to feel entitled to start doing things their own way, or be selective about their participation in the art. They may feel like they’re in a position to disagree with their seniors, or even challenge them verbally or physically in front of the other students. This is really inappropriate regardless of what level the student is, and a sure fire way to shorten their participation at the gym.
Sometimes students make the mistake of trying to “negotiate” with the instructors on how to perform a move, do a drill, or even the rules of an activity in class. Although questions and suggestions are welcome, the way that strategies and techniques are taught is based on years, decades or even centuries of trial and error. Top instructors are also in the best position to judge whether an adjustment to established standards are beneficial. Even the games and activities for kids are run in a certain way to insure that the students develop basic skills, cultivate a sense of sportsmanship, and are SAFE.
All students should try to avoid coming up with reasons why they can’t or won’t follow instruction from a senior student or instructor. Saying things like “I can’t”, or “I have trouble with this”, or “I’m trying” are just excuses to continue doing something incorrectly. Progress in any martial art is based on what the Okinawan’s call “Kaizen” or gradual improvement. Every time we walk into training, we should do everything we can to be better than the last time we were there. Sometimes our improvements are more noticeable, and other times very small...but, it’s all about constantly moving toward being better.
So, all students should respect the rank system in their art, and trust their instructors to help them progress. They should appreciate the assistance that they’re given. Senior students and instructors should hold up their end of things and do their best to politely help newer students, and build their spirit and enthusiasm in the process. When everyone does their part in respecting the rank system, everyone benefits!
Maia & Font in Fight Night
Demian Maia is jumping right back into the Octagon after his recent disappointing loss to Tyron Woodley. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizard will take on rising prospect Colby Covington in his hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in the UFC’s Fight Night 119 on October 28.
Maia, now 25-7, was defeated by unanimous decision when he challenged for Tyron Woodley’s title in his last outing. The loss snapped a seven-fight winning streak with wins over notable names such as Jorge Masvidal, Carlos Condit, Gunnar Nelson and Neil Magny. Covington, 12-1, comes into the fight on a four-fight winning streak, most recently defeating Dong Hyun Kim in June. His only loss came via guillotine choke to Warlley Alves, in December 2015.
Sityodtong Boston’s Rob Font will also fight on this card in the Bantamweight division at 135 pounds. Rob will face submission specialist Pedro Munoz of Brazil, who matches Rob’s record of 14-2.
The event is headlined by a middleweight bout between Lyoto Machida and Derek Brunson. Good luck to Professor Demian and Rob as they continue there MMA journeys!