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Innovative Martial Arts
15-1599 Dugald Rd
Winnipeg, MB
Our Philosophy

Return to Living

It's been a long 2 years, but it is finally coming to an end. Restrictions are being lifted, hopefully for the last time, and we are back to being fully open.

It's been an interesting return... well, three returns so far. Each time the effects of the lock downs on people stands out just a little bit more. We closed our doors in March 2020 before the official orders required it, and we followed all the orders. And we survived, and are now rebuilding, much like everyone else.

The effects on kids is something that often gets overlooked. It can be little things, like having a harder time speaking up, keeping their hands in their pockets, not looking people in the eyes... and it can be the more obvious signs of social anxiety.

It also shows in behaviours. 2 years of living in an online world has brought out some ugly behaviours in some kids who have lived in "internet culture" for much of the past 2 years.

Disconnection is the source of bullying and becoming a victim of bullying. It is a major cause of eating disorders and crippling social anxiety. It is a major cause of addictive behaviours and depression. And it is at an all time high now. This pandemic has left us all with trauma that needs to be dealt with.

We didn't just disconnect from others, we disconnected within ourselves in many cases. We where left uncertain on what to do, what the future held, how to relate to others, etc. It's been a rough time, and we need to be patient and understanding, especially with our children who have even less tools to deal with the situation then the adults.

Trauma is a wound, an internal wound to our mental and emotional state. And like any wound, the actual event that caused it will affect use differently as it is very nuanced. If 100 people slip on the ice, most will get a bruise, some might come out with no injuries, others might get very serious ones. We all went through the same pandemic, and the same restrictions, but it has had different effects on everyone.

As we come out of the pandemic we need to heal, and healing means reconnecting. Building back confidence, building back relationships and doing things with people. For kids this has now been a significant piece of their lives, and it will take time to adapt back to being social beings again.

For us that means being back on the mat, back to training. And the difference after only a few sessions back is obvious to anyone, it's a return to being social, to contact, to struggle, to being humans. For others it will mean other things, but whatever it is, we need it more then ever.

Our Philosophy

Jiu-Jitsu Goes Mainstream

Over the past few years something interesting has happened... Jiu-Jitsu has expanded greatly.

Not too long ago Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was primarliy a martial art practiced by adults. Adults where drawn to it for it's practicallity and function. Unlike many classical martial arts that failed to deliver on the promise of self-defence, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu proved itself. Practitioners cared more about function and usefulness then following tradition. There was no memorizing patterns and punching air in lines well counting in a different language.

Jiu-Jitsu did for adult martial arts what the karate kid movie had done for the kids market 30 years ago.

It was fun, it was functional, it was safe, and it got people in amazing shape. It also had a depth of knowledge far greater then most other "martial arts". You could not get a black belt in 3-5 years... this was something that took a decade or more for most people.

As the art grew the kids followed the adults. Kids where drawn to it because it's fun. Kids are natural grapplers, wrestling and grappling is something they do. Parents where drawn to it as well, for the practicallity and the safe nature of it. We all want our kids to be safe, and to be able to defend themselves if they ever need to as well as have the confidence to stand up for themselves to bullies. Jiu-Jitsu teaches a self-defence that is ideal for kids because it is about control, not inflicting damage.

In a traditional striking based art practioners are taught to hit back, harder, and to more vital spots. In the end both people are getting hit, and probably hurt, but to hurt the other person more and faster. In Jiu-Jitsu the response to someone trying to hit you is not to hit them back harder, but to take control of them and put yourself in a better position where they can't hit you and you can force them to give up.

So now Jiu-Jitsu is probably one of the few arts that is truly for all ages. Boxing and Kickboxing have some kids, but it's full contact blows limits it for kids who should not be taking shots. Classical styles like karate and Tae Kwon Do have a few adults, but most schools are primarily kid based. Wrestling and Judo tend to taper off for older adults as they can be quite rough on the body with all the throws. But Jiu-Jitsu can be trained safely and effectively regardless of whether you are 3 or 63. SOme practioners have even continued way past that age.

Our Philosophy

The Cycle of Success

This image is on the first page of our Instructor Training manual, and it is one of the key pieces of our teaching philosophy.

The basic idea is when people are more confident they apply effort in a more meaningful way, greater applied effort leads to success, and success leads to a increase in confidence.

As coaches & instructors our job is to create and feed that cycle, meaning create opportunities for our members to feel success, which leads to a increase in confidence.

One of the great things about martial arts is that pretty much everyone can achieve success to some level as it is a individual sport, accomplishments are individual.

Success is something every child needs to find, and as the adults our job to make sure that they are able to find that success.

One trouble is often when the child's primary area of success doesn't match with adults.  In those cases the adult can often attempt to push the child towards that particular area, and in some cases pull them away from the area that the child has actually been seeing success in.

Confidence gained through success tends to bleed out into other areas, so when a person achieves a high level of success in something, anything really, it can boast their confidence and therefore increase their applied effort in other things.

This is the basic idea behind how students often start in martial arts, or other activities, see some level of success and recognition and the result is a increase in grades and focus in school or other areas of life.

On the flip side one thing that we see that doesn't work that is all to common is taking something away from a child that they are good at in order to try and redirect their focus to something that they aren't seeing as much success in.

The truth is not all people will be good at all subjects, however most students can find success in something.  If a student is lacking in school, taking the things that they are good at outside of school away will not help their school, it will only cause the cycle of success to break and can end up hurting their confidence and their level of success.

As a martial arts school we also believe we have a distinct advantage over many other extra-curricular activities.  Our program is set up with the idea of progressing through ranks in a mixed rank environment.

After a few months in the program just about any kid will be able to demonstrate a level of competence over any beginner.  After a year or two they will be able to start assisting beginners in learning basic techniques. A few years in and they will be well on their way to being leaders within the class.

Contrast this to a team sport where the team progresses along as a unit, and in most cases the top players remain the top players and the weaker ones remain the weaker ones.

There is also something very real about the martial arts when done right.  The confidence that comes from knowing that you can effectively pin / control / submit another person is a very real confidence.  It's unfortunate that so many martial arts schools have drifted away from reality to choreographed routines and "self-defence" where an attacker throws a punch or does a grab then freezes while the defence does 8 return hits against a opponent standing still...

Anyways, whatever your child is good at, encourage them to that and recognize their success in it.  Success in one thing and recognition for that success will bleed into all other areas of their life, even if the thing that they are seeing success in isn't what should be the top of the priority list.

Our Philosophy

It’s not about the person at the top, its about the people at the bottom.

One thing I’ve noticed with a lot of people in my profession is a dislike of teaching beginners. I suppose I get it, it can be a little repetitive teaching the same basic concepts everyday. It doesn’t really challenge your technical knowledge or force you to improve your own technical knowledge in the same way as teaching adult students.

I’ve also noticed a correlation between those people, and the schools that have the top person of the school or the organization plastered everywhere, right down to the school name. The website is all about them, everyone bows to them and addresses them as “sir”, or “master”, and treats them as something special.

The unfortunate thing is that while martial arts schools claim to teach humility, the culture of many schools seems to do the opposite.

Beginners are in many ways the most rewarding to teach. Someone going from 0 to 6 months training makes a huge and noticeable improvement. Someone going from 10 years to 10.5 is a much less noticeable change.

As instructors / coaches our job is to serve our students, not the other way around.

One of the most dangerous things in any activity is when the instructor begins to think the students serve him / her rather then the other way around. Whether is in the martial arts, team sports, academic or anywhere else, as soon as that switch gets backwards it is a open door for disaster.

Our school culture is very intentional, there are elements of “traditional” martial arts that we will never allow in our school. No one here will ever be called master. Instructors will never be on a pedestal, but always expected to speak to everyone, from the 3 year old beginner to the 20 year veteran with respect and to serve their needs, not the other way around.

We believe that one of the most important lessons you can teach a child is that leaders serve others.

Our Philosophy

Let's Talk Discipline...

The word Discipline comes from the latin word "Disciplina" meaning teaching or instruction.  In modern culture it is often used as a synonym for punishment though, and that is far less of a useful skill.

This draws a line between to meanings of the word.  Internal discipline and externally imposed discipline.

An example of externally imposed discipline would be military boot camp.  Discipline in that context is doing what you are told, when you are told and not asking questions.

This is different from internal discipline which can't be learnt through having someone direct your actions and behaviours and using punishment to ensure compliance.

Internal discipline is learning to teach yourself, controlling your own behaviour and making the most of your own abilities.  It is a skill that is gained through freedom and making your own choices.

External discipline is, in my opinion, far more superficial.  Using punishment and strict direction can certainly give a strong impression of discipline, but in our current culture is that enough to set a person up for success?

Much of todays educational practices where designed with factory workers in mind during the industrial revolution.  In that context external discipline was desired to keep people doing repetitive work grinding through the week.

In the martial arts much of the current practices have roots in military training.  Japanese arts where used to prepare boys for service, most of the eastern styles where brought to the west by military personal.

If you want external discipline for your child, and kids in straight lines punching and kicking in sync... we aren't where you should go.  That's not what we do or value.

Our flavour of martial arts by its very nature requires thinking and creativity under pressure.  It requires adaptability and staying calm under pressure.

Confidence and self-discipline can only come from believing in yourself and your own ability to make choices and take action.  Those things require freedom and with too much external discipline freedom to make choices disappears and confidence and self-discipline are never learned.

Now I am not saying external discipline should be completely removed.  It definitely needs to be there at times, but the bigger lesson is choice.  A child should learn that they can't run around screaming and making a mess in the store, but the lesson should be in empathy not fear of punishment.

Nor does punishment need to go entirely, missing out on something for being disruptive is a lesson as well.  But the lesson can be you missed out because your choices caused other people to miss out when you where being disruptive.

So for us "discipline" is not about command and control alone.  It is a teaching empathy, thinking under pressure and other behaviours that lead a person to be successful in life.