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Innovative Martial Arts
15-1599 Dugald Rd
Winnipeg, MB
204-505-2787
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Fitness

Don't forget to train your posterior chain!

One of the key things that often prevents people from developing functional strength vs mirror muscles / beach muscles is neglecting the posterior chain.

Basically these are all the muscles on the back side of you, the ones you don't see in a mirror.  Part of it is likely just a out of sight, out of mind issue.

But the other part is those muscles are a little harder to train, especially without at least some equipment.  As a result a lot of home workout programs manage to do a decent job working the anterior chain (muscles on the front of you) but neglect the posterior chain.

The reason they are harder to train is in general these muscles work the "pulling" side of things, where as the other side of them is the push.  Using your weight and the floor gravity can help give you resistance for pushing exercises, but it is a little harder for pulling.

So what's the problem?

The problem is strength training is all about balance.  Each muscle has an opposing muscle, your quads to your hamstrings, your biceps to your triceps, etc.  One pushes, the other pulls.

When your workout stresses one side and neglects the other you risk injuries doing ordinary things.  In the "real world" most things involve rotation.  If you throw a ball one side of your body pulls, the other pushes creating a rotation.  Same for shovelling, racking, pretty much anything.

When those muscles are unbalanced you have a strong muscle attempting to work with a weaker one, and it can't keep up.  This can lead to pulled muscles in your back, hamstring, it can cause knee injuries, etc.

We already live a fairly anterior chain dominated lifestyle.  A lot of people spend pretty much their whole day using their glutes and hamstrings as something to sit on and little more.

So don't neglect the posterior chain, it is vital for athletic performance as well as injury prevention.  It might not be as easy to train, and the aesthetics of it might not be as important if you are just looking to look good, but it's a vital part of proper training and getting the best results you can.

Our Philosophy

Martial Arts Culture pt 6 - Language

Language in martial arts gyms is a funny thing. For us, we speak English, and we train in English, and there is a reason.

Over the years I've seen and been guilty of some terrible misuses of language during my training. Coming originally from a Karate background my decision to teach in English came, oddly enough, after taking a Japanese language course.

So let's start with some examples:

First, a obvious one, and one that I mentioned in a previous post on titles. "Sensei", in western schools this is treated as a title meaning martial arts instructor. But it's not a title, it's a honorific term. It is used to refer to teachers, as well as anyone in a position of authority. So if you're talking to your lawyer, it would be appropriate. If you are a 20 year old karate instructor teaching a lawyer, you'd probably be using it towards them, not the other way around. A person would also never introduce themselves as "Sensei Andrew", or put it on a business card (which gets done over here all the time), it's something others use towards you. There are teaching titles in Japan... "Sensei" is not one of them.

And now a funny one: In Japanese "Mae Geri" roughly means front kick, "Yoko Geri" side kick, "Mawashi geri" is a young kick and so on. So "Geri" means kick, pretty obvious. Except it's not. "Geri" means diarrhea. "Keri" means kick, unless it comes after another word, then it becomes "geri".

I'm not sure why in the west we like to try and use... and end up misusing foreign language as a part of training. I imagine some feel it gives their training some sense of authenticity. But without context it is so incredibly easy to misuse language in a way which I think is disrespectful to native speakers, especially when we teach it as part of classes.

The other thing to keep in mind is this didn't really happen with the countries of origin for those systems.  Karate used Japanese, not Chinese when the Okinawans imported things.  When Koreans learnt karate during the occupation they went back to Korea and taught using Korean and renamed everything.  (Granted Korea was pretty anti-Japanese in general at that time.)

Some things have names in a language that don't really have a direct translation or a name in English.  In those cases it makes sense to import the word, and thats what is generally done outside of martial arts.  "Sushi" is still "Sushi", we don't really have a English word for it.  It makes sense to use "Sushi" instead of inventing a new one.  But even when we go to a Japanese restaurant most of us still call "rice", "rice" because we do.

Anyways, one more, "Osu" and I'll leave this one to a link: http://www.karatebyjesse.com/meaning-oss-osu-japanese/ the amount of "Osu-ing" that goes on in some places is almost silly, using it as a general word for everything possible and thinking it is respectful. It's a "low class" word, and IMO has little place in a educational environment.

Anyways, we speak English.  Hopefully we are able to get that language right.  :)

Our Philosophy

Martial Arts Culture pt 5: Effort and Achievement

Participation trophies get a bad rep, and perhaps rightly so. Participation in itself shouldn't really be cause for reward. But, it does have one idea right in concept, and that is that winning is not everything, especially with kids.

Even if the ultimate goal is to be the best, winning isn't everything.  It's something we can't control, all we can control is ourself and our own effort.

The thing is, in the long run effort, attitude and persistence will always win over talent when those things aren't there.

When we have a talented white belt that is great, but, the unfortunate thing is a lot of talented white belts do not follow through to becoming talented black belts.  And a lot of untalented white belts turn out to be very talented black belts.

Attitude, effort and determination decides who gets to reach  high level of skill, because even the most talented white belt is still a white belt.

Martial arts training is not a sprint, but a marathon and who is ahead at the 1 mile mark doesn't matter as much as who actually finishes the race.  Same as everything in life, effort and persistence will win over the person that got a early lead.

While we will give awards for winning, the awards for attitude  and effort are equally important.  Those are the things that determine long term success.

We can't control our natural talent, we can't control our opponents talents, the only thing we can control is the effort we put in, that's what we should encourage and recognize in kids.

Fitness

The trouble with machines for strength training...

Pretty much anyone that is serious about fitness will tell you free weights are better then machines, yet machines still take up a huge chunk of gym space.

In one sense they are easier and safer to use, they keep the weight on the track it needs to be on for you, allowing you to safely do the push or the pull without worrying about it slipping, tipping, falling on you or anything else that could injure you if you lose control of it.

The trouble is you train the "big" muscles, but not the stabilization of them, which is very important in injury prevention.

Think of it like upgrading a car, if you hook the car up to a track and increase the engine power all is good and the car flies down the track. But as soon as you take it off that track you are going to be in for a crash as the steering, stabilization and breaks aren't able to cope with a much more powerful engine.

Machines can have their place, but just because a exercise is safer to do does not mean it is safer for you in the long run. Properly developing stabilization is just as important as developing strength when it comes to safe training.

Kids

Martial Arts vs Seasonal Sports

As a martial arts school it might not come as a surprise that we prefer martial arts and other similar pursuits over team sports as a primary pursuit, but perhaps what is not as clear is the reasons.

Year Round

Martial Arts is a year round activity, just as health and fitness should be. Fitness needs to be part of day-to-day life, not a seasonal thing but part of your routine.

The other aspect of this is that in order to reach a high level of skill in anything you need consistency. It can't be something that you do for 3-4 months of the year, especially as kids. In that time their bodies change so much that by the time the next season starts they will have taken a step backwards from where they should be.

And finally with a big lay off it is very easy to decide not to go back. Seasonal sports participation drops off pretty severely as kids get older and tends to retain mostly only the top tier of players. This makes sense, after not playing a sport for 8 months going back to a team is going mohave some anxiety that comes with it. Not to mention it is no longer part of their routine.

Individual Accomplishment

Martial Arts is a team effort, you can't train on your own.  You can't be selfish in training and expect to get far.  You can only get better through the help of your "team".

But the accomplishments are individual.  When a student earns a belt it is because of their hard work, because of their knowledge and because of their skill.  It is not because they have a couple star players that carried them.  It's not because the other team choked.  It's because they did it, on their own.

When the goal of any sport is not really the sport itself, but the fitness, confidence, and other character traits that come from participation this is a big deal.   Every accomplishment they reach is because they did it by themselves.

Clear Goal Setting

There is a path from white to yellow belt and on.  It is very clearly laid out so that they know exactly what they need to do to reach their goals.  The only one in control of their actions to those goals is them.  It doesn't matter it the team skips practice, or if their goalie quits the team mid season.

Every student is in charge of reaching their own goals, yes, they need their "team" to do it.  But the control over reaching those goals goes to them.

They earn their belts, they are not given to them.  They don't choose to sign up for "orange belt", they earn that belt.

Scheduling Freedom

I know from talking to parents one of the hardest things about team sports can be the schedules.  Missing a practice or a game means letting the team down.  You can't go a different day to "make up" a missed game.

And if it's not you, it's someone else on the team missing that causes problems.

In martial arts if you have to miss a class it's ok, we train 6-days a week and it can be made up if you like.  You don't let the team down because they are then short their goalie because you where on holidays or had a cold.

Leadership & Starting Skill

One of the other interesting things about martial arts over team sports is you can start at any age and be fine.  Differing skill levels is part of the culture in most classes.  They more experienced students help out the newer ones, which in turn develops their leadership and understanding of the techniques and concepts to a higher level.

Starting a lot of team sports at a later age can be a tricky thing, if everyone else on the team has been playing for 5 years already joining the team as a beginner is a hard thing to do.

Part of what makes a martial arts class work is that the experienced members help the newer ones.  Leadership is a built in feature of the higher level belts.

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In the end every kid is different, and every parent needs to make the decisions that they feel best suit their kid.

Sports aren't their to teach the child to just play the sport.  They are their to teach them confidence, to teach them to keep going when they are tired, to teach them to push themselves, to teach them to work together, to teach them not to give up, etc.