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Something must change and that has to be yourself!

2020 was definitely going to be a year that will be in all future history books, you couldn’t make it up if you tried.  I wasn’t sure what to blog about this week so I am just going to waffle on and see where it goes. I’ve just put a post up on the Matt Hudd Martial Arts CIC Facebook page about making your own realities. I would like to expand on that for the time being. 
It was certainly living in crazy times with the virus, riots and everything else that happened. To be honest its all pretty sad and can get even the most strongest of persons down. I just scroll down my news feed on Facebook and the amount of people arguing with each other is unbelievable.  This has got to stop or there is going to be even more riots. 
I personally am finding things really hard to understand, yes I get that everyone has different views and beliefs but what is happening in regards to respecting other peoples views? There is a presupposition in NLP that has really helped me in my communicating and rapport skills when talking to people.  “Everyone has their own unique map of the world” That doesn’t mean the world as such, its talking about your own mind and thinking. In other words, we all think differently depending on our own experiences, beliefs and thoughts. When you really fully take this on board it opens up a whole new world of understanding other people. Have you ever been in an argument with someone your in a relationship with and you could never agree on a solution and you felt like banging your head against the wall, and so did your partner.  Its because both of your maps of the world were totally different, you couldn’t possibly agree as you both were telling the truth, unless one of you was blatantly lying that is. 
Another thing that I worry about is people not fully understanding how the subconscious mind works. Did you know that there is about 7 billion bits of information going into our heads every day? Now obviously if you remembered all this info, your mind would literally explode so what our mind does is filter only things that it thinks we need. The rest is either distorted, generalised or deleted depending on our past experiences. It then filters through to our subconscious mind. This is why hypnosis works, everything that you have ever learnt or experienced is in you, in fact its only 10% of things that we experience that we remember which is what we call our conscious mind. That is a hell of a lot of stuff that is going into your thought process that you are not even aware of! This is how advertising and marketing works, most of the time we are not even aware  how much that “Finger lickin good” tune has actually gone in your head. Big businesses spend millions on finding people that are good at this stuff. There’s a reason why you still get Domino leaflets through your door even thou every man and his dog know that Domino’s are the best pizza’s ever. 
So let me get to my point, everything that you are focusing on is becoming your reality. The more negative shit you are reading, which to be honest, its everywhere at the moment, the more shit your life and mind is going to be. 

There is an answer!

Stop watching and reading shit!  See, easy isn’t it? Obviously I’m half joking there but on a serious note, you do not need to take in half as much as you do. You then replace the half you’re removing out of your life with positive stuff.  I did this with my Facebook a while ago, I got rid of all my friends that wasn’t posting beneficial stuff and stopped my notifications. Just that little thing changed my life loads. I was getting information that I needed and liked and wasn’t being controlled by my phone.  I must confess that I need to have another cull now.  This method sounds easy but you would be surprised how much the ego wants to feel special. Facebook knew this when they invented the likes button. Nearly everyone wants to feel liked and special. I think now is the time we need to take control of our lives. I have been called ignorant because I never watch the news, in fact, we don’t even have normal TV, we just have an amazon firestick and watch movies or box sets.

Start being grateful for the great stuff in your life

Now in my map of the world, this is a lot harder said than done. Its taken me years to learn to be grateful for things. I remember people saying when I was young “you should be grateful for what you’ve got” All this did for me was to make me feel guilty, as I aged into adulthood I just didn’t feel anything when I tried to feel grateful. Now I’m nearly 50 and over half way through this life time, its starting to get easier as I may not be able to have the stuff that I’ve got in my life for that long now. If you are someone who finds it hard, a good exercise is to create a grateful book and once a day, write down everything that you have been grateful for in the last 24 hours. Believe me, this stuff works but what you are actually doing is putting positive things into your head instead of crap. There are numerous exercises and different ways to re-programme your mind to seeing the positives rather than the negatives. I have literally have enough content to write a book on it but for now, read read and read more stuff that’s going to inspire, motivate and make you feel good about yourself and your life. There is plenty of stuff out there that can help. Just be careful not to become a self help junky and not take action to lead to a better and happier life. I will finish there as I’m on my high horse now and I could waffle on all day. 
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post. Please like it if you’ve found it worthwhile. 

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Pain and Pleasure

I first heard the pain and pleasure model being quoted years ago by a coach that was using it on the theory of motivation. To summarize, to be able to motivate yourself,  you are either moving away from pain or moving towards pleasure. I copied and pasted the article and saved it to a word document as it interested me at the time but again, I didn’t really take it all on board until recently. 
Over the last few years I heard people talking more about peoples pain, it is used a lot in the world of NLP and now in the world of sales. It is often talked about as finding your clients pain and giving them a solution. You see it in a lot in marketing material especially when you’re aware of them using it. An example would be on the lines of this:

  • Do you find yourself loosing weight only to put it all back on again?
  • Have you tried loads of different diets and fitness fads only to give them up after a week?
  • Fed up with all the different ads saying we have found that one secret to weight lose? 

Well, I was just like you, I tried everything until I discovered Blah Blah Blah!

Now Blah Blah Blah is not an actual product or service, I made it up if you didn’t notice but I think you get the point, find the pain, and let them know how you struggled and give them the solution. This sort of marketing has worked for years and still does but I’d like to discuss how we all use this pain and Pleasure theory all the time without knowing about it and ways in which you can use it to your advantage. 


If you go back to when you were a toddler and you were learning to walk, you tried so hard to learn, you fell over 1000’s of times, you probably hurt yourself too but you didn’t give up! Why? because the pain of crawling around and not getting what you want before your parent picked it up was so unbearable for you that you worked hard until you had the strength to walk yourself.  The same with learning to talk, you might not of known it but you had a lot of emotional pain involved when you were learning to speak and people couldn’t grasp what you were saying. It motivated you to speak clearly instead of baby talk.

For the most part of my job and to do it well I have to motivate people, if I didn’t, then I’m not going to have many students training. I’ve never really thought of myself as a motivator until the pandemic happened, I do most of it unconsciously. 


So what makes some of us more motivated than others, we’ve all been there, when we have a fuck it day and have lost that go go feeling. We can’t find the motivation!  As I often say, how careless, have you looked under the settee?  You can’t lose motivation, its already in you, you are just having a bad day and your mind has said, Fuck this, I can’t be bothered anymore today. All that has happened is that it is easier to just put on the Tv, or to open a bottle of wine (Pleasure) than to get into the exercise routine or the housework (pain) done.  Now take it from another angle, you’re having another fuck it day again, your house is a mess but you have your mother popping round for tea and worries about you not looking after yourself (Pain) You manage to relocate the motivation from under the settee and you sort the house out, your mother comes round and has a really nice evening and compliments how organised you are (Pleasure) 
Another common one is you may of had too many fuck it moments and you step on the scales one morning and you have put on a stone! (Pain) You get into a fitness regime (also pain),

Now, the reason why most people don’t actually shift that extra weight they have put on is because the pleasure bit is quite a distance. In that instance it would be a picture of you back to your desired weight and feeling good about yourself (Pleasure) Whether that pleasure is a strong enough desire to get to is dependent on how much you don’t want to be in the emotional pain and getting overweight. I have used this method all my life but in a positive way. I don’t enjoy being fat, yes I know that most people would say that, but I link being fat with my depression and being bullied as a young child which is something I don’t want to feel again so as soon as I feel like I am putting on a belly, I will always up my own training. 


Another example, just to make my point better understood and also relates to my own life. I only recently had a conversation with my partner Bryony the other day. She is not an early riser, Bryony does not moan much, but I have often heard her say something when she has work on a Monday morning and has to set her alarm at 6.50 am, she rarely does get up at that time thou, its normally after the final snooze button when she knows if she doesn’t get up now she will over sleep.   Bryony hates letting people down and obviously likes to keep her job so she can get paid every month. So her pain is to get up for work, her pleasure is that she looks good in her bosses eyes and she gets paid. 

If you are struggling to keep motivated in your training, look back at why you started in the first place, there will be a pain or pleasure thing involved. I guarantee it. 


Once you start to understand this happening, you can start to play around with things and change your habits that you no longer desire or are holding you back. 

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Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is something that I first heard from my instructor Steve Rowe, he uses the term a lot in his martial arts school and often states that it is one of the most important skills in a martial artist. You may of heard myself mention it occasionally, more in the adult classes than the children’s. I think my main reason for that is that I am not sure if the kids really understand what I am talking about.  I do, however talk about it in a indirect way. The above statement probably reflects my own thoughts on the fact that I didn’t fully understand it until recently, maybe I am underestimating the children that I teach?  I only teach what I understand, occasionally I bring in new techniques to the class I have picked up from another instructor but I will be honest and say I am experimenting here to see how it goes. As I’m not into causing fights just to see if something works, I have to teach it to see if  I like it and could use it in what I teach. I think I am digressing again. 
Back to emotional intelligence, The last paragraph was suppose to link to the reason why I have only recently been talking about emotional intelligence, basically because I wanted to fully understand what it meant and how it links up to martial arts.
The Oxford English dictionary interpretation of emotional intelligence is “the capacity to be aware of, and control, express ones emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships” that is according to a google search, I haven’t actually looked that up by the way.   
The way I understand it is that we as martial artist have a responsibility, the higher rank you attain the more people look up to you. All the values and the etiquette within the martial arts that attracts so many people and when they see high grades that is what they expect. Sadly, in my experience this isn’t always true. It is not really the fault of the students, its just that a lot of clubs and associations concentrate so much on the punching and kicking or the competition side.  The other side of it, like self discipline, self control, respect etc are just words but not really taken on board and understood.  To me, if you are training people up to be fighters and teaching them techniques that could seriously harm or kill someone, then you have a responsibility to make sure that the students have the right character.  It is in my opinion, irresponsible to train someone up as a black belt that does not have emotional intelligence. 

So how do we bring in emotional intelligence? 

It starts as soon as the students walk through the door, nearly all our children’s classes will end with a 10 second meditation, the kids love it as they think they are proper martial artists. They may not understand what they are doing but we drip feed them what they should be focusing on. If all it does initially is to teach them to focus on my fingers which I normally use to count down from 10 seconds, it is the first step in the right direction. I often talk about focusing on how you are feeling at this moment compared to when you may be feeling upset. Moving up through the grades, especially the adults, we start to look at the standing meditation postures and the yin and yang and how it all relates to our emotions.

Getting your black belt/sash with us

I have never been one of these clubs that wants loads of black belts to show off how good we are, to me its more about the standards and how the students we have are acting and behaving. Unfortunately for my students, taking a black belt or sash is not an easy task. You can blame a lot of my past instructors for that, having taken 9 black belt grading’s, some of them, pretty easy, most of them, seemed like hell. I believe I have worked out a good formula and a balance to push my students so that they know that they deserve to wear the rank of a 1st degree black sash/belt. I push students to the limit where most people would break and tell me in no unpleasant terms to “F**k off and then walk out but they know if they did, it would be an instant fail. The point being, by this stage of their training they should know how to control their emotions, their fitness should be the best it has ever been. Its like a warriors sword that has to go through the forge and be melted down, tampered and then comes out as a masterpiece. 

The end result

By now, you may be thinking all this sounds a bit harsh, I wouldn’t want my child going through all this. At the end of the day, life is hard, there is so much shit that happens that we can’t get away from, even if you have the perfect lifestyle, job, family etc, there’s still stuff that crops up that is going to test you.  To have the ability to withstand pressure that life throws at you and to know you have it covered and not going to get all wrapped up in it. Now that’s what I call a martial artist

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Rambling’s about the secret ingredient to happiness

I’ve set myself  a challenge to make sure I write a blog every Sunday. That was last month and already it is proving to be a bit more difficult than I planned. I like writing but most if the time when I write something, it comes from within, as soon as I start to think what I want to write about, there comes the trouble.  Today didn’t get off with a to great a start and  I was going to cheat and copy an older blog that I wrote 5 years ago and post it on this new blog. After reading it, I realised that I have moved on slightly since writing it. I find it so interesting that our truths change. I first heard that concept when I was listening to a Bruce Lee interview and at around 14 years of age I didn’t really get what he meant. Now I often look back in my life and it seems that just in 5 years, my life has changed loads. Since writing that blog I have moved on so much with knowledge, business, and my personal life.

Apart from feeling like I was cheating, it wouldn’t have been right to post a 5-year blog up now as it wouldn’t of been me. It was me then but not now.  

So why do I want to write about service again, it’s probably been spurred on by a few things, one in particular is the pandemic and the differences in peoples attitude.  Another reason is that I have been talking to a few people about life and happiness lately.  You see,  I believe I have found the no 1 ingredient for living a happy life.

The no 1 ingredient to be happy is to give or how most mentors, salespeople like to put it now adays is “to serve others”

I wrote in quite length in an old blog about the catch and that is to expect nothing in return for giving so in this one I shall look at things at a different angle.

During this horrible Corona virus and the lockdown I have witnessed a lot of people helping each other out unselfishly, I have also witnessed a big degree of selfish acts. I suppose that is the yin and yang that we will always have.  I do believe thou that to help other people is more in our DNA than to look after ourselves. I could be totally wrong here as I’m not an expert, these blogs are just my own thoughts and perspective.  People can often talk a lot shit in how they don’t care and looking after no 1 is their main aim,  so often it is the ego talking as when an emergency happens and they have to act, they don’t even think about it, they will just respond to another person in need.

You talk to somebody who is depressed, I have got into trouble before for saying this but depression is a very selfish condition, I believe I have the credentials to talk about this subject. When you have depression, there is no denying that you are probably thinking about yourself, even if its something else that has got you depressed, if someone has died, you could say that I’m depressed as she/he has died but its not them that is depressed, their dead, you would be thinking about your own emotions, not thinking about the person who has died or their families, if you were, you would be thinking how can I help them at this time.  I hope I’m making my point clear and don’t come across as harsh.

I heard somebody say once, an incredibly famous and talented martial artist that he is not a natural nice person, he said something along the lines that he is a bad person trying to be good! Now I’m still not sure what his interpretation was that he meant by it, I should have asked him to explain but when he said it, something struck a chord in me.  Doing things for other people does not come natural for me, maybe it’s because I have suffered with depression all my life and I just think about keeping myself mentally strong all the time. This may be a bit contradictory and a waffling blog, but I also think helping other people does keep me mentally strong as well.  Let me explain.

I never started martial arts to be a leader, I’ve have always been into personal development but I started that because I wanted to become rich, I now know that being rich in life is better than in material terms.  As I was saying about being a leader, I got into martial arts because I had low self-confidence, I was bullied and I loved the low budget martial arts films, oh yeah and Bruce Lee but that’s one for another time. As I got a few black belts and started helping out in classes I then had the opportunity to take on my first  martial art class, once that happened, it wasn’t long before my eyes were open to all the politics with martial art associations and something inside of me wanted to run things my way. Having a full time martial arts center was just a dream back then but one thing led to another and before I knew it, I was pursuing it, I just missed out all the hard work and persistency there by the way.

Being a martial arts teacher is a weird vacation for a job.  To me it’s just a job, or so I thought it was. That until II really took on board, how many people were starting to look up to me and how I was changing lives.  Because my job was my passion, it was not really until people started giving me feedback on how much I did for people, that wasn’t really in the job description. You see in most job descriptions, there is normally a bit at the bottom, saying something along the lines of, “and any other tasks that you may be called upon to do” or something similar. I don’t even have a job description but if I did, it would be just 2 items, No 1: Teach class, No 2:  Everything else that needs doing including anything that you haven’t been taught or are not qualified to do!

Over the last 14 years that I have been teaching and running classes, I have learnt loads, I knew nothing about business and have read nearly every worthwhile business book out there and like I said in my 5 year old blog, there is always something in one about giving service, often freely.  Yes I do get that from a business point of view, that people remember kindness and especially if you have done them a favour, they normally remember and will come back to you and will often refer people to you. Its good business sense.

Take this into your personal life and boom, what a difference it will make. Now I’ve found this out by accident because my life is also my work, so it is all a bit mixed up. But what really gets my goat, especially at this challenging time we are all experiencing, people are still bored!!! Especially teenagers, if only they would put all this extra time into researching how they can help an organisation, charity, or family member.  I remember the conversations I had with my son when he was younger and looking for work, I told him to do some volunteering, you would learn new skills, meet new friends, create more opportunities, stop the long days and boredom, the list is pretty endless. I leave you to imagine the look of horror he gave me when I suggested it. Everything that we do in this life, has a knock-on effect, the more people you help and serve the more opportunities will come your way. The more shit you do, the more crap that will come into your life. Its not rocket science.

I’ve struggled writing this today with trying to be all philosophical and at the same time, having a rant and a moan at just how easy life could be if we really let go of the ego and pull together as a community.

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Would you let a friend talk to you the way you do!

My inner dialogue that speaks to me constantly is something that I have worked with a lot over the years.  We all have that inner voice that talks to us, there has been many books written about it, one of the most well known one’s is The Chimp paradox by Steve Peters. Well worth a read if you haven;t read it.   The inner dialogue is also at the heart of most meditations, its also what stops most people from meditating, in fact its what stops people doing a lot the life in general. I would suggest that it evens goes as far as stops people from being happy or not.

I remember when I was growing up and I was about 16, I always thought I was different to anybody else, I didn’t realise that everyone else had this chatter going on in their heads. Because of my low self worth and confidence, my chatter was always pretty derogatory. And like most people, I believed my own thoughts. Fast forward 30 odd years, I’m only just really learning now that they are not real and I don’t have to believe them! How screwed up is that, I’m nearly 50 and I’m just learning now why I’ve behaved the way I have in the past and why it has taken me so long to start creating the life I want. All those times when I was going out getting pissed  trying to chat up a girl because I was too scared to talk to someone when I was sober. The chatting up a girl is just an example but all those times I listened to my thoughts and have stopped myself from doing things and growing as a human. If I listen to my thoughts right now, they are saying that that is really sad so now I’m having a conversation in my head about how sad things are! That is how the mind works, you get a thought and before you know it, your having a conversation or an auguement in your head that goes off on a spiral and nobody really wins!  Plus its normally a pointless conversation.  I do believe that if they concentrated more at school on the mind and meditation then society would be so much better.

I am doing my normal waffling again. The point of this post is if you are like me as I can’t assume everybody has this sort of mind then I have a good exercise for you.
I want you to spend a day, not doing much, so you can just become aware of any thoughts, conversations and daydreaming you become aware of and just observe, If  you can remember them, write them down.
Now imagine, the next day you have a companion, could be a intimate partner, a friend or just somebody you are stuck with for the day. This person thou, only speaks the same way that your thoughts do. Apparently we have about 7 billion thoughts a day.  Just sit in your thoughts for a while and think how long would it be before you’ve either smacked them in the face or kicked them out your house. I don’t believe anyone, no matter how tolerant you are would be able to stick it for too long. Now that is what is happening in your own head every single day! and we just accept it.

I hope you get what I am saying, I have been studying the mind and the unconscious since I was about 16 and I’m still working at things constantly Its not easy to be the master of your mind, it takes practice which I will go into in another blog, I would recommend meditation to start with thou.

Thanks

Matt

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The F**k it Switch!

This is a subject that a lot of people suffer from, I have a lot of experience in this and have always thought that it stems from my depression and my self hate but the more I’ve read and coached people, the more I see a lot of people that seem to have a self destruct button which I call having a “F**k it moment”, especially when things start to go well in my life. 

Quick disclaimer first, I am not a doctor or a psychologist. I speak from my own personal and life experiences in a hope that other people can benefit so that they don’t think that they are alone. 
Now back to the blog, I truly believe if it wasn’t for my own self destruct button, I would have had the perfect life that I wanted to live a long time ago. When I say perfect, I don’t really mean perfect as living a perfect life doesn’t exist as there is always going to be things that we want or to improve on but the gist is,  I would of been a lot further on my journey if I hadn’t had these F**k it moments in my life. However as much as I beat myself up from having these moments, they are what makes me who I am and helps me in my path to understanding human nature and help other people. To me, its accepting yourself with warts and all but at the same time working on eradicating bad habits and trying to become a better human being. 
I have always said that I am not a natural nice person, that may sound a bit of an abstract thing to say but I like to think of it as that I am trying to be a nice a person. This probably stems from my self hatred that I clung to for so many years, I try not to analyse myself too much now a days as I think you can spend too much energy trying to figure out why things are the way the are. I think its a better use of time to look at solutions to improvement, saying that, sometimes it may help to know why you do things the way you do so you can work on the solutions. 


This blog post will be my normal ramblings because as usual I have started it with no agenda and am just seeing where it goes. What has initiated it, is the fact that I had a bit of a blow out on Friday as it was my 49th birthday.  Anybody that has known me for a long time will know that I used to like a drink and letting my hair down, what really calmed me down is the martial arts business side of things. Now a days I know that I can not go to bed in the early hours of the morning and give my best to students that are expecting me to be on top form. Before that I used to wear a proud badge that told everyone that I can party all night, feel like crap in the morning but still manage to train hardcore the next day. . I’ve always said its the best hangover cure you can do! I’m not selling myself very well as a martial art teacher am I?  My reason for being so honest is to show people that anyone can get to where they want in life, I have achieved so much and yet, if I was more disciplined and focused, just think where I could be now! 

So why do certain people have this self destruct button while other people seem to be so grounded and focused?  You don’t actually expect me to answer that question do you? Okay then, my own belief is that it is all to do with upbringing, your closest friends and the environment you live in. All these factors can make a huge difference to our reality we experiences in our everyday lives. In my experience of teaching thousands of individuals and families in the Tao (The way) of martial arts, the people that are successful and get on with life without the fuck it switch are the ones that have a loving family background, have mixed with good friends and don’t have many “issues”. Now this may not sound too PC and I’m well aware that I’m not the most PC person in the world but this is just in my own experience.  Having a fuck it switch is not necessarily a bad thing . People like me may have a lot more to give because I’ve done things the hard way however the individual that hasn’t struggled may also has a lot to teach as they may save you a lot of heartache and pain. We are all different, have trodden different paths and all have something to offer. My general thoughts are that it is only wrong or harmful if your heart is in the wrong place and you are hurting other people! 

So can we improve ourselves and control our fuck it switches?

Yes of course and as usual it boils down to awareness and the willingness to change. One statement that I hate, which I have been guilty of saying myself is “Well this is just the way I am” No its not! can you imagine a 10 year old saying that and not wanting to change!!  We can all change, okay if I was 89 years old, you have to be realistic, you may not be bothered to want to change by then but for the majority of us, we can change and very quickly too.  There is always a trigger that happens before we say “fuck it” and quite often, it depends if its getting in the way of what you want. I must admit, that most of my fuck it switches involved alcohol. I am quite happy to let off steam and have a bit more to drink than I should but it is when it affects the next 2 or 3 days then the problem arises. Its probably an age thing so at some point in your life you have to think about growing up. 

Fear of Success!

This is another one of my theories, over the years I looked at when I have had my fuck it moments which don’t always involve alcohol, it can be over-spending, drugs, procrastination or anything that is going to direct you a way from where you know you want to go. I believe that a lot of my own Fuck its have come from fear of success. That term has only been around my own vocabulary in the last years as I have had a lot of coaching on myself. Its a hard concept to take in, why would anybody who works so hard have an underlying fear of being successful. The reason is quite simple when you look into it but the answers could be many. How many times have you said, heard or judged somebody with money? If someone drives down your street in a Lamborghini or a convertible brand new BMW, what are your first thoughts? Is it “fair play that person must work well hard”? or is something a long the lines of “rich bastard”?  okay, you may not have thoughts quite like that because you are a nice person but be honest with yourself what would your initial thoughts be? The media is brain washing us all the time, you see the rich and successful as dick heads if I’m honest so your subconsciousness is going to say I don’t want to be like that! My truth is different now, I have mixed with pretty successful people, the ones I have met are fantastic people that are always putting others first and are so generous with their time and money.  Before anyone says, success shouldn’t be measured with money. I’m well aware of that, it was just an example. What I am saying is, if you are not where you want to be in life, it is your subconscious holding you back because of deep underlying beliefs. 

Should you be trying to delete your fuck it switch? 

This all depends on they are affecting your life, I was talking to one of my coaches a few months back we came to the conclusion that I have had a lot of Aha moments when I have fuck it moments. I even have a Fuck it Friday video blog on one of facebook pages. The reason being is that a fuck it moment, might just be me throwing my toys out the pram and going for a long walk because of a technical issue with the computer. it doesn’t have to involve drinking yourself to oblivion. So we need to program ourselves to have a fuck it switch that is going to serve us positively, after all too much focusing on goals and dreams can end up pretty tiring in itself. Basically if you have the type of personality that you can relate to this blog, we need to take healthy breaks. 

Conclusion

I’ve always thought I’ve got an addicted personality, now adays I’m not really sure if that is the correct wording but I do throw myself into everything I do. To me its about getting addicted to the things that empower me, like my businesss, fitness etc but also realising that I need to give myself breaks and not beat myself up when I do relaspe into old habits. They say that a habit takes just 21 consecrute days before its embeedded into you, I’ve also heard 28 days too so it must be something around that. A lot of our bad habits we have been doing for years. Awareness is key, if yor not aware of your weakeness, then you can’t work on them. 

Final thought

Being a martial arts teacher, people look up to me and want to follow in my foot steps. Its not an easy task being a leader for an introvert like myself that has had many set  backs along the way. I have to think long and hard about what I put out there because people do read my stuff. Even the tittle of this blog post I am worried about but to me it is important to be honest and in the real world, people do swear and make mistakes. I’ve spent a lot of time feeling like Jekyll and Hyde because I’ve studied martial arts nearly all my life and then not lived the perfect disciplined lifestyle; yep I have screwed up from time to time and that makes me human. As I’ve said before and what I’m always saying in my classes, we are allowed to make mistakes, its how we learn. 

 

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What makes the way we teach different to other clubs

Blowing your own trumpet is an expression that basically means to boast. In the UK boasting does seem to have a negative concoction attached to it. Yes I agree that nobody wants to sit and listen to somebody go on and on talking about how great they are at this and that but I do feel that because of this, individuals have a tendency of not thinking they are that good at anything. I believe that this is one reason why a lot of us English people aren’t that good with receiving compliments because we don’t allow themselves to compliment ourselves either.  So if you don’t mind, I am going to blow my own trumpets into why our club is great at teaching martial arts. 

In any sports there are many different standards and leagues, meaning there are professionals, amateurs, Sunday league players, spectators etc.  I am using football as an example as it is probably the most watched and played sport in this country. While many people watch and admire professional football players.  Seeing how skillful and fluid the players are on the pitch doesn’t seem to stop many of our youth kick a football around or play in matches and leagues. However in martial arts, there is a struggle to get people to stick at it and enjoy it for what it is and yet I believe there are tons more benefits in martial arts than football, especially with adults (there is also a lot less injuries too).  In other words, seeing great professionals do their thing on social media or magazines does not put people off having a go but with martial arts, it does, even thou, a lot of people would love to be like them! 

One common thing is that the public assume that you have to kick head height and be really good at fighting. Yes all this is possible with the right mindset and training but it is not all about that.  Take self defence for example, it has almost nothing to do with bullying or getting yourself out of sticky situations. It has loads to do with how you hold yourself, your communication, rapport building etc.  Your self self defence techniques are all last resorts but I would put my money on the person that is confident and believes in himself than a black belt that looks great in the training hall but doesn’t have confidence anywhere else in their life which does happen unfortunately.  I want our Black belts to be great fighters but even more, I want them to be great communicators and leaders. 

The reason I am so passionate about this is that I was that black belt who didn’t believe in myself.  This is not uncommon at all among new black belts. A lot of people, like myself, start martial arts for confidence and to learn how to protect themselves which is all good and that is one thing you would expect a black belt to be able to do. The one thing that a lot of styles and clubs don’t do is is give you the mindset that you would need in a confrontation. I trained in many clubs, organisations and different styles before finally getting my first blackbelt at 30 years of age. When you achieve that black belt, up until then you assume that it’l be like a magic wand and you will instantly think you get magic powers of confidence and invincibility. The fact is, I spent the next couple of year feeling like I didn’t deserve to wear a black belt. I have always had a feeling of I’m not good enough or that I don’t deserve this award etc. Over the years I have broken that false belief but looking back it I had no reason to feel like that, I had worked hard to get that black belt, I nearly failed it for lack of control as I floored someone with a spinning kick but luckily some of the grading panel agreed it was a good shot and my partner walked straight onto it. 
There’s a reason I don’t often post pictures of high kicking students on our social media pages, when people see all that, they think they that is what martial arts is all about. Of course I encourage students to work on flexibility and if they can kick high, then great but its not the be and end all. Not everyone will be able to kick like Jean Claude Van Dam.   
Its about bring the best out of your students, our slogan is “Reach Your Full Potential” and I think this sums our club up well.  I truly believe my NLP skills which I am passing down to our coaches really does help with our teaching style. NLP teaches you that everyone is different and you have to fully listen to someone to find out how they view the world and to teach them from their map of the world, as it could be totally different to the way the coach learns things. 
I also believe that because I was not a natural martial artist and have really struggled to learn. I truly believe that determination, self belief and consistency is so much more important than any athletic ability. Muhammad Ali puts it so it so much than me: 

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Social media and happiness

I imagine I am not alone when I say I have mixed views on Social media. I have often said if it wasn’t for the business I would quite happily close my Social media accounts down.  I am not sure if I would thou but I certainly believe I would have a lot more control of my life. Just recently I have been working being without my mobile phone for longer periods during the day as I’m noticing  that it seems to be more attached to me than ever before. 
The mobile seems to of taken over from the TV,  even when we seem to watch TV, people still seem to have their heads in their phones. Before mobiles, the TV was the only way that daily information would go into your subconscious, apart from reading material that is. Myself and my partner don’t watch an awful lot of TV, I don’t watch the news, I have not brought a paper since Lady Diana passed away in the late 90’s, that was the first time I really knew anything of the paparazzi and how bad the media was, so social media is the only way that I know what is going on this world.  As I’m writing this, I am realizing how bad that seems but isn’t it the same for most people? 

Our subconscious is taking in everything that we experience, everything that we read and watch. As I have often said, this is why everything that you take in becomes your reality. It is really scary when you think about it.  Your unconscious doesn’t know what is true and what isn’t, your logical mind, the conscious bit thinks that it has control and that it is intelligent enough to filter out the bullshit but that isn’t the part of you that drives you to do what you do with your life! .  There is a saying that your life is influenced by your circle of your 5 closest friends or acquaintances. I can see now why I made the decision to move away from my family and friends at 26 years of age was one of the best things I did. I was accused of running away from my problems and that you can’t run as you always take your problems with you. The fact is I was too much stuck in a world that didn’t match my values and I had to get out to start my healing process. 

I’m going off on a tangent again, getting back to social media, and my love/hate relationship I have with it. I do have quite a few social media accounts on different platforms but Facebook is the one that likes to control us and is still is the most popular. If it wasn’t for Facebook I would not of met and trained with a fraction of the people I have, before Social media hit us people used to  advertise in magazines and by the time you read it, the seminar or course they were advertising in, the event had already been and gone. Then there’s all the friends that I have rekindled a digital friendship with and old school mates. I’ve also got friends that I wouldn’t want to be 10 miles near on my list too! When you really think about it, its a weird and quite frightening life that we live in. It sometimes seems to be like a constant replay of the Jeremy Kyle show! 
Then there’s the business side of things, okay, it is getting a bit more expensive and Facebook do like to keep the goal posts moving so that your advertisement reach may work one day and then its crap the next but going back to the days of advertising in the weekly local times, you would spend £100 and may get one inquiry if you were lucky. The paper was used for one day before going in the trash.; Now I can reach thousands of people for £30 and if you really know what you are doing, it can be free. I can put videos out so people can get to know who I am before turning up to class. In that way its brilliant. 

Are we all being Controlled?

I am not into conspiracy theories, nor am I into scare mongering people which does seem to be the theme recently, however as far back as humans began to trade, there has been a degree of higher power trying to control others. In fact, I would go as far as humans probably do need to have someone controlling things, as now a days, a lot of humans would just run havoc without being controlled.  I’m not going to go into detail with politics and religion, all I ask if you haven’t done so, look into why Christianity came into this country. A really good book is Sapiens written by Yuval Noah Harari.   

Of course it is in there best interest for us all to get addicted to these things,   I believe that we all need to start realizing how much this digital world is consuming us and start taking control back into our lives. It really is the younger generation that worries me as they can’t remember a time without it so it is the norm for then. 

Take the red notification button or the like button on Facebook foe example, they knew very well how humans work and the need that people want to be liked. They played on our vulnerabilities to make a multi million company. I am only giving you a tip of the ice berg to use as an example and I really don’t know how much Facebook is worth. As usual, these are just my own thoughts and I am not saying its fact. I’m just throwing it up there for you to do your own research. 

Taking back some control!

As mentioned in the first paragraph,  I have been trying hard to leave my phone behind to enjoy the moment rather than being glued to it.  My excuse or justification for being so attached to it is its my work and I am on call for most part of the day, I like to be reachable, within reason to all my students but come 10 pm at night, I like to switch off and ignore it.  I have tried having a work phone and a personal one but it just got confusing. Something that I may try again sometime now that I do have other people working in the business with me. Only last night, I left my phone in the kitchen to charge up while I was in the garden, it was another pleasant evening, I could hear other people talking and having a laugh in some neighboring gardens. For some reason, I have always enjoyed the sound of people having fun, I’ve been with other people and they have had a moan because the children are too loud!  People are allowed to have fun, yes nobody likes loud screaming kids but get over it. Move somewhere else if its that bad. I have moved a round a lot over my life and I never really thought about this like I did last night. It might seem such a small thing but when I thought about it, its what we are all about, we feed off other peoples happiness. Its so obvious really, if somebody is miserable or unhappy in a room, everyone feeds off that emotion, the old saying “you could cut the tension with a knife” is one classic example. I wrote about service before and it all goes back to that. The more you can help other people be happy, the more content and inner happiness you will feel. This is one quote that I try to remember when ever I teach. 

This has been a long rounded blog to make my point (nothing new there then) but linking it all up with Social media, the fact how much we are being caught up in false shit, lies and negativity in not healthy unless you can take back control and learn not to get caught up in it. The problem is when it starts to become your life and reality, like so many people that do not know any different. However there is a lot of amazing content that you can filter out from it, just don’t let it take over your world,  as Bruce Lee said you will miss all that heavenly glory. 

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Life needs to be difficult!

Having a past history of low self esteem, depression and self loathe has given me a lot of battles in life, mainly with myself. This is why I’d rather use the term self protection rather than self defence as I believe the biggest enemy to defeat is within ourselves and our own minds. However the more battles we face in life the stronger it makes us and puts you in a better position to help other people.

As we get older, we have so many skills and knowledge to pass down to people and it is only now that I feel so lucky to of had so many ups and downs and through martial arts I have had the ability to pass on words of wisdom to our younger students. I really do feel grateful to be able to do this and in the last year I have had a lot more compliments from parents than normal.

Last week, one of my younger students who is just 7 year old student came up to me after his class and said that I was a great instructor. To be honest I was very taken back by this and felt bad because I had to ask him to say it again as I thought I had misheard him. Its not hard to be great, we all have it in us but if your like me, it doesn’t feel right to call yourself great but what are we waiting for?

We all have the ability to be great and to change peoples lives, yesterday when I got home I felt tired and pretty exhausted after a long week but when I reflected on the past week and the amount of compliments and feedback I have had, it felt better than any amount of money or material items I have ever had.

If you want to live a happy life, put making other people happy on the top of your to do list 🙂

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Simple is never easy!

“Simple is not easy” is a term that is used in Martial Arts frequently but what does it really mean. I often describe mediation as the same. How hard can it be just to sit still for 20 mins and let thoughts come and go. It really is that simple but many people struggle with it. In Martial Arts, instructors often state “keep it simple”, something I often say to my students but then I notice the vague confused look in their eyes. People learn in so many different ways but I often find that the students that think a lot and really want to get things right are the ones that find things harder to grasp. I am one of those students but after 40 years of studying Martial Arts I have learnt to just go with things and eventually with practice things will sink in. 

Our system of Kung Fu I must admit on the surface is pretty complex which is one of the reasons I find it so fascinating but once you understand the principles, it really is simple. In today’s world people have lost the art of moving in a natural way with computers, sofa’s to lounge on, cars to drive. There is a reason why Kung Fu is taken from animals, animals don’t think, they act on instinct and move in a natural way. 

In my classes, I often teach the advance syllabus to the junior students so they can see the reasons why they are learning what they need for the earlier grades. It is like a big jigsaw that you’ve just opened. As you start to put it together, you slowly see the picture. There are thousands of different quotes or metaphors within the Martial Arts, some of my favourites are “Confusion is good, it’s what you should be in every class” the reason being, when you are confused it’s when you are learning, confusion happens before a “aha” moment. Another one is that “every black belt should be made to feel like a white belt at least once a month”. As I’m often saying, “to grow you need to get out your comfort zone”. 

The reason for this random blog was from today’s Kung Fu lesson. It was good lesson and we covered a few joint locks, syllabus work, a bit of self-defence and concrentrated on one of our basic walks. This may of seemed a lot in an hours lesson but it all linked up to the same underlying principles of our Kung Fu system. It really is not that hard once you understand our 8 principles, which are Posture, Feet, Relaxation, The breath, Mindset, The wedge , Power and Spiralling. It really is that simple. 

The Kung Fu that we teach is a hybrid system mainly consisting of Southern Chinese styles. Matt has studied and trained in Lau Gar Kung Fu for a good duration of his martial art journey and has also had a love for Wing Chun Kung Fu. Both styles utilises close quarter fighting and low kicks which are more realistic in a street fighting scenario. Matt doesn’t like the thought of styles being restricted to a particular way and believes all have weak and strong points, all depending on what the student wants to achieve. Our Kung Fu system combines hard and soft style techniques to create a comprehensive martial art. Our aim is to develop the whole martial artist, by training the body, the mind and the spirit, In addition to physical body conditioning and the teaching of forms and applications, meditation is an integral part of the training.