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: