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Sydney West Martial Arts

Blog

 

Please enjoy our blogs that will mainly revolve around martial arts and life in the academy.

 

For those that enjoy listening to Podcasts, follow this link to our in house podcast The Heat Locker

 

4th January 2017.

BrazilianJiu jitsu & Fortification

When I was younger I used to play a computer game called Age of Empires (AOE), it is a strategy based game that focuses on building towns, gathering resources, creating armies and ultimately conquering opponents by destroying their units and buildings. I draw many comparisons to martial arts and particularly BJJ.

I loved the fact I could strategize and build something from nothing to something and this transfers perfectly across to submission grappling. You start your first day with very little to zero knowledge, your own abilities and the resources around you (whatever academy happens to be in your local town). I remember in AOE you would sometimes start in a crappy area that had no timber, food or mines. This can be the case as far as academies are concerned also. Don’t be afraid to search outside of your area if you want the best resources (I travelled 60 kilometres each direction to my coaches academy). On that note, sometimes you are lucky and get dropped right by a forest, and a gold mine, just ensure you look around before setting up camp.

As you grow on your BJJ journey, so will your skills and knowledge. How you use and acquire this will be the difference to you being the next Roman powerhouse/Marcello Garcia or the lost city of Atlantis that to this day is just a mythical idea that could have been.

Its not easy to start this journey as you actually have to commit enough to Google search your nearest BJJ academies, email your interest, find the address and show up to your first class. As you arrive you will feel anxious and maybe even just wait in your car until the class has started, that way you can say to yourself “Oh well class has started ill just try some other time”. Resist the urge to run from the battle that is going on inside your head, get out of the car and head toward that sign that says “Jiu Jitsu”. There is a room full of awesome people waiting to introduce themselves to you, make you feel like part of the family and maybe even choke you out once or twice.

You have now started the game; the rest is up to you.

I often say to anyone that asks how to get better at BJJ. If you want to improve, assuming you are in the correct location with plentiful resources your own BJJ civilisation can flourish, it’s now up to you to put the hours in. Sometimes making villagers to cut wood and gather food seems boring and nothing like the glory or making an army filled with swordsman and archers, but with no timber for their houses and weapons food for thier bellies or metal for their swords it’s a house of cards waiting to fall.

This brings me to my initial philosophy when I started writing this piece. When I played AOE I would always put my initial emphasis on stockpiling resources and creating a defensive village that could survive long enough to fulfil its goal of advancing and conquering the others.

I apply this same philosophy to my BJJ game, and the game I build for my students. I put a heavy emphasis on a defensive game that includes large walls that slow the attacks of marauding armies. Without this we are just a lamb in the open for slaughter or in a duel that may go either way.

In BJJ what I like to use as walls and towers are strong defensive systems for all of the main positions that lead to failure. Back, Mount and Side control (there is many more but these are a great starting point).

Remember, when you start out your walls may be made of timber instead of stone and you may not have enough recourses or time to surround your camp. Chose carefully where you place them. Ideally from the beginning we would be safely in a stone tower above a heavily garrisoned castle but this takes time and dedication.

As I moved forward in the game and survived a little longer due to my defences I would start to build my army. I would diversify my offence between close and long range offence. Swordsmen were great for close range warfare but could be picked off at distance by archers. Add layers to your BJJ offense also. Don’t get caught up thinking you only need one line of attack.

In BJJ I am known for my leg locking abilities, but I study and practice, all joint locks and chokes. I often tell my students that my favourite submission is not a leg lock at all and if I am being honest, the best general has no favoured offensive force but favours the one that best suits the current situation.

I could go on with this analogy but the main purpose of the whole piece was to explain my mindset on skill acquisition and progression.

Is there a hierarchy of what you must learn or do first? No. It’s your journey and you push forward as you please but just remember. As I am sitting in my fortified castle behind stone walls and towers, I can wait out your marauding army of men waiting to smash the first thing they see. I will make you wait and slowly take your men out as they try to break the barriers. What you have missed is that as I was building this defensive fortress you are trying to smash I have also been acquiring an army of my own and we are ready to finish you at the perfect time.

When that will be you will not know, but you will be pre occupied with my defences while my army waits for the moment.

It might be only one arrow needed through your king’s chest.

Defence first.

Luke Martin
BJJ Black belt under Elvis Sinosic & Anthony Perosh
Head Instructor at Sydney West Martial Arts

 

31st October 2017.

First Fights

Every champion that has ever fought in the UFC, at one stage had to have their “first fight”. Like most things in life you don’t just get to go to the front of the line, you must work your way toward the front and this takes time. Unfortunately nowadays we all want things now!

In fighting, martial arts and life in general there is no shortcut, the only shortcut option is to put in more work and hours than the individual next to you. This is not necessarily a shortcut, as the work still must be invested.

A huge part of this journey is the “first fight”. As a coach I have seen and assisted many fighters to make this beginning. There are a lot of common themes and lessons that can be learnt from these experiences.

There are many “first fights” in life; this does not have to be your MMA debut. We are in a constant struggle from the moment of birth through childhood to becoming a young adult to adulthood. First fights include starting at a new school, giving a speech, sport grand final, job interview, first date, first love, parenthood and many many others.

It is all very comparable in relation to the feelings and emotions we experience. Anything in life that we want to do that means something to you will present these mind games. It is a pressure we place on ourselves but is the reason humans achieve great things.

The “first fight” in todays focus is in the hardest sport both mentally and physically that can be undertaken by an individual.

Mixed Martial Arts.

It starts with “Coach I want to fight, when am I ready?”

To this question I respond with “everyone is different and I will let you know when you are ready, you just keep showing me why you think you’re ready”

There is more to being “ready” than being a tough guy that has had street fights. At my academy I will only consider an individual for a fight after many checks have been made from a list, such as, commitment, skill progression, mental preparedness, physical condition, ability to listen to information and a total need to fight.

I often tell any student that shows an interest in competing in mixed martial arts that of this list the last point is a must! This does not mean you had to be a kid that fought everyone at school or was always a “tough guy”, but you must, inside you somewhere have a desire and burn to test yourself one on one in physical combat against another individual that is prepared for the same exact thing. You must be very honest with yourself at this juncture.
If your number one motivation is anything else, preparing for your “first fight” will be a nightmare experience. It will be the hardest endeavour you make anyway but if your motivating factor is not, that inside you there is a desire for combat do not proceed. There is no shame in this feeling and makes you no less of a man. I actually have much more respect for the individual that can be honest with themselves in this moment.

Not everyone is a fighter and this does not mean you can not be a brilliant martial artist or enjoy all the parts of fighting in the gym without the actual competition. I have many guys inside the academy that would perform very well wether it be in a self defence situation or against individuals that have made the step into the cage. The only difference is that when they asked themselves “do I have a burn & desire to fight” they answered no.

Once you have decided to totally commit yourself to the task of your “first fight“ the hardest decision is made. Now it is time to be at the correct academy with the correct coaches that have your wellbeing as their main focus (which is odd as they will be searching for an opponent that wants to punch your face and choke you out).

Luke Martin
Head Instructor Sydney West Martial Arts
BJJ Blackbelt

 

3rd January 2019

#everywomanshouldknowhowtothrowapunch

#everywomanshouldknowhowtothrowapunch or how my boxing journey began.

A couple of years ago my girlfriends and I decided to go on a trip together. One of their husbands had been a kickboxing trainer about 15 years ago and said that he would feel better about it if he taught us some moves before our vacation. He took it more seriously than we did, and was infinitely patient while we laughed and had fun with it. He made sure to point out Rule Number One - Don’t go looking for trouble but, if it finds you, always run away. We asked what happens if we couldn’t run away.

“That’s why I’m teaching you this,” was his sage reply.

So we learned some very basic moves and took off on our holiday. Thankfully, other than a lot of fun, it was uneventful and we managed to avoid the kind of trouble that would have meant needing to use our newfound knowledge.

We didn’t resume training when we got back. To be fair, all of us together were a bit of a handful and, in any case, we’d accomplished what our training had been for; a safe, and fun, vacation.

Fast forward a few months and I was missing it. I missed the routine, the workout, and the sense of accomplishment getting through a class like that gives me. It was also around that time that I noticed a friend, Ricky, posting about Sydney West Martial Arts (SWMA) and wondered if they had any kickboxing classes that I could attend. They didn’t, but they did have a boxing class and the first lesson was free. I had nothing to lose, if I didn’t like it, I’d never have to go back. So I went.

Although I knew that Ricky had previously been a boxer, I was surprised and delighted to find out that he is the boxing Coach at SWMA. I’ve been training with Ricky and the SWMA family for over a year now, and I’ve noticed the difference in myself. Not only has my fitness improved, but so has my confidence. Those that know me know that I don’t have self-esteem issues. The confidence that I speak of is the confidence that, as a woman going around in this world, I am now far more capable of defending against anything that comes at me.

Yes, Rule Number One still applies, and it always will. But I looked up some statistics when I sat down to write this (you can find them here if you are interested: https://www.ourwatch.org.au/understanding-violence/facts-and-figures). I had know, in a kind of vague sort of way, that the numbers were not good. This one, in particular, “1 in 3 Australian women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15.” keeps me convinced that Every woman should know how to throw a punch!

Boxing isn’t what I originally thought it was - a boring excuse for a couple of guys to beat each other up. When you hear people talking about the science of Boxing, they’re right. It’s math, and physics, without you even thinking about it. It’s avoiding being hit, defending against it and, when absolutely necessary, and you have an opening, throwing a punch that will count.

Does it make you aggressive? No, at least not if you have the right Coach (thanks for being awesome Ricky!).

One in three women. That means I can pretty much guarantee that a woman that you know has experienced physical violence. Could be your Mum. Could be your daughter. Could be your sister. Could be your wife. Could be your girlfriend, friend, significant other, defacto partner, or that woman you’ve just passed in the street. If it is you, consider doing yourself a huge and wonderful favour, go find somewhere that will teach you how to throw a punch. And if it is someone you know, maybe suggest that they read this, and then they could do something for themselves, something that might help their fitness and their confidence in their own physical ability.

Vanessa

Sydney West Martial Arts Boxing Student