We've had a number of promotions happen in our adult Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program this summer! Brennan Strimple was promoted to purple belt, Chris Smith was promoted to 4th stripe Blue Belt, and Leigh Strimple was promoted to Blue Belt. Many of our newer students also earned their first or second stripes on their white belts.
We are planning on going to a couple of tournaments in the next few months. Here's some info for them:
NYS Grappling Championship - Fredonia, NY
Saturday April 22, 2017
Fredonia High School
425 East Main Street
Fredonia NY 14063
Event Day Registration & Weigh Ins
Kids and teens 8:30AM-10:00AM
Kids and Teens start at 10:30AM after they go over the rules. Adults are scheduled to start at 1:00PM. Gi is going first, no gi will start after.
Their website has more information: NYS Grappling Championship
Buffalo Classic International Jiu-Jitsu Tournament - Buffalo NY
There isn't updated information for this tournament yet. I'll post more details when they release the info for it.
The date is Saturday, May 27th
A few notes on tournaments, since we are a new school and for many competitors these will be their first tourney experiences.
-Parents need to accompany their kids, or send a guardian.
-Tournaments are all day events! They almost always run late, so be prepared.
-They have vendors for food and drink there, but I also recommend bringing your own.
-There are different divisions based on weight, experience, and gender (for adults.) This means competitors will need to weigh in before their matches.
If you have any questions, ask Sensei Brennan or Leigh. We'll help you out.
Check out Sempai B at the Buffalo Tournament last year!
Do you need to be in shape before you start to train? This seems to be an issue with ex-martial artists. By that, I mean people who trained at one point, but then for one reason or another had to quit. But before coming back, they feel that they need to get in shape first. I guess the idea is to come back at the same level they had left.
I usually picture Dragon Ball Z style training at this point and smile a little. I suppose you can get in shape by running, beating up a heavy bag, and sweating it out in a sauna. Or you could just start training in class again.
Don't let ego or pride get in the way of entering the dojo/gym. If you took six months, a year, or even longer off, there is no way you're coming back the same level you were at your prime. The same is true with any sport. But the best way to get back in shape and to start dusting off the cobwebs of your knowledge base is to start training in classes.
You don't have anything to prove. You don't need to submit your partners, execute a technique perfectly, or run someone off the mat with your head kicks. Accept that people who were once at the same level as you or lower are probably better or out ranking you now. Accept that you may have to sit out and catch your breath at times. Accept that you may not remember how to do that technique you were once super good at.
However, you have just done the difficult part. You took that first step, and now all it takes is time. Believe me, your skills and fitness will come back. I'm talking from experience. I had to take off while pregnant with Asher. Once I was finally back, I got a shoulder injury and was out again. Overall, I couldn't train normally for close to a year. But I can confidently say that my fitness and skills are finally back and getting better with every training session.
My advice for ex-martial artists looking to get back to training is to come to class! Put the ego aside and just start training again.
Terms like "Karate" and "Ju-Jitsu" may seem standard, but they are not! There are soooooo many different styles of martial arts out there. That can be a good thing! It means that just because you tried training once and didn't enjoy it, you don't need to cross off martial arts for good. You may have just not found the right kind.
Part of finding the right school also means finding a style of martial art you enjoy.
Striking or Grappling?
There are arts that teach striking, which is punching, kicking, etc. And there are arts that teach grappling, which involves throws, ground-fighting, etc. In my experience, people tend to gravitate towards one or the other. However, that is changing with the popularity of MMA. Does punching a bag sound like fun? Or would you rather learn how to throw someone to the ground? Figuring out if you're a striker or a grappler is the first step.
How Competitive are You?
Some people thrive on competition. They want to get their moves to work on a fully resisting opponent. Others are looking for personal growth and development, and don't really care about besting someone on the mat. Different arts will have varying views on competition. For example, Aikido is non-competitive. Techniques are practiced and perfected, but generally the art is more about personal development. Judo, which is also a grappling art, is extremely competitive and has matches worked into almost every class. Other arts like Jiu-Jitsu and Karate have a little bit of both. Deciding what your goals are with the art will also guide you to the right program.
How Much Punishment is Acceptable?
Martial arts are a contact sport. Other humans will be trying to punch you, choke you, and/or put you in various contorted positions. You'll get pinched and bruised. Your muscles will be sore the next day. However, the amount of physical punishment varies greatly.
Keep in mind, much of this also depends on the instructors. There are also people who opt out of the combative part of class. Even in full contact karate, you can participate in everything except fighting. You'll work up a sweat, perfect your kata, but pass on the actual combat. People also do this in BJJ and Judo. As long as the instructors are fine with it, you shouldn't have a problem.
Take some time to try out different arts and programs. This is one of the reasons why we have so many at our school! Different people will gravitate towards different kinds of styles and training. Never feel rushed to settle on one style. You'll be happier long term if you find a martial art that fits with your personality and preferences.
In honor of Valentines Day, I'm going to rant about a topic plaguing the martial arts community: LOVE.
Maybe some of you are lucky and have a supportive partner. Some of you are not lucky. I know many of you need to fight, argue, and negotiate in order to train. I've also known many martial artists who quit because their partner wouldn't let them continue training. Despite being a martial artist myself... I get it!
Classes almost always take place during the evening, which is prime date/dinner/after work time. Unlike other sports that have a season, martial arts are ongoing. For those of you training in BJJ, I can only imagine how explaining THAT must go down. Plus the martial arts are far more time consuming than an average trip to the gym. Start throwing in seminars, tournaments, extra training sessions, and even the most easy-going of partners might start getting jealous for your time.
So how do we maintain healthy relationships while still being able to train?
My first suggestion is to get your partner involved. Now this can be easier said then done. I'll have another post on just that. But there are many ways to help your partner feel involved besides getting them training with you. Invite her or him to come watch. Tell them how happy it would make you to have them there. That's a good start, and who knows? They may actually want to try it themselves.
Try merging a date into training. Invite your significant other to watch or try the class, then take them out for dinner, a movie, coffee, etc. Perhaps offer to leave early if you need to.
Look at ways to coordinate with your partner. This might look like scheduling your classes on the same nights he/she has an activity. Then you can always plan to meet before or after.
Communicate with your partner. Sometimes there might be something minor and stupid that makes your partner not want you to train. I remember one person who was a pacifist and had issues with her partner participating in something so violent. Issues like this can be cleared up with some communication and education on the martial arts.
I'm not a relationship expert or a psychologist. But in my own humble opinion, I don't think someone who truly cares about you would pressure you to quit something you love. That being said, it might take some compromise to work out your training time and relationship time. I'm very lucky to have found someone who shares my passion for martial arts, but even Brennan and I have had disagreements on training.
Happy Valentines day! <3
Are you confused in Jiu-Jitsu? Or Aikido? Or Karate?
That's okay, we all are. Or at one point we all were. These aren't easy things to understand. It takes time, and lots of practice. Here are some tips:
1. Record Classes
Ask permission first, but most instructors won't have a problem with it. Recording the explanation of the techniques for reference later can help a lot. It can also help to watch yourself. You may pick up on things you didn't realize you were doing.
2. Keep a Notebook
Writing and reflecting after classes also helps you retain and process things. Again, this gives you a reference to look back on.
3. Ask for Help
Don't be afraid to ask for help. This can be done before, during, or after classes. Instructors are always happy to help explain things to you, and it helps us refine our teaching skills.
Super Class is a games and fitness class we put together for Friday evenings for kids. It's important for kids to let loose and have fun with their fellow students. So Super Class helps our younger students bond and make friends. I think as adults we sometimes don't value playtime as much as we should. This is how kids exercise, build their social skills, and practice problem solving. So even if Fridays seem like a free-for-all, I know the kids are still developing valuable skills.
We're sorry about all the dust!
Our front area is currently under construction. Right when you first walk into our building there is a shared storage space. We are currently working on fixing that up to make it more inviting and to add to your overall experience at the dojo.
We're adding a wall, cleaning it up, and are going to be painting very soon.
We're sorry for the mess, but very soon that area will be much more pleasant for everyone!
Parents in particular have a hard time making class sometimes. As a new parent, I understand now why making it to class can be difficult when you have little ones. I own a dojo and I've had to miss training because Asher needed me! But, I think I've got some strategies for making it to class when you've got kiddos.
We are very kid friendly. There are things at the dojo that most kids can't resist, like foam swords, punching bags, a pull up bar, and kick shields. I've seen kids entertain themselves for an entire adult class - and still not want to leave - by playing with those objects alone. Our dojo is one big open space, so you can keep an eye on them while training. Water breaks, class breaks, and partner rotations all give you a chance to check in as well. We also have a desk where kids can work on homework or read while you're training.
Get them Involved
We have a family class that is free for members to attend every Saturday. Kids can practice with their parents and get an idea of what martial arts are all about. We have later kids classes that happen right before adult classes start up. One of our instructors brings his son to the kids class and then stays for the adult one while he watches. It's a great way for the whole family to get involved.
Timing is Everything
There's only so much you can do to time out naps and other activities for little ones. If Asher happens to tire himself out around five thirty, I know I'll make the Basic Jiu-Jitsu class. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn't. But I do everything I can to get the timing. It isn't a science, but getting him to sleep, or planning other kid activities to allow yourself time to train is possible. We have another student who drops his daughter off at her guitar lessons while he trains.
Managing kiddos and training isn't always easy. We've tried to make it easier with our scheduling and relaxed, kid friendly environment!
Turn on UFC and what do you see? People in all out Beast Mode cracking open faces and breaking bones. Whoa. No thanks. To quote many of my friends and family over the years: "Why pay someone to beat you up every week?" Well, because martial arts aren't all like that!
Okay, full contact karate and BJJ can have their moments. But if you're interested in martial arts without all the GRRRR, there are options!
Allow me to introduce: AIKIDO
Aikido is known as "the gentle art." The class has more of a Yoga feel than a competitive one. Aikido focuses on joint manipulation and off balancing. In training, you learn how to feel the momentum of your attacker and then use it against him/her. Students practice on training partners, but in a non-competitive way.
Instead of competitions or tournaments, Aikido has seminars. Sometimes guest instructors will come in and give lessons. Other times the class will travel to another school. Joint training sessions with other area schools are also common.
When people are nervous about taking a martial art and fear injury, I usually guide them to Aikido.
That being said, you often get out of training what you put in. BJJ and Full Contact Karate (Ashihara) can be done gently and without injury. Just like it is possible to get injure someone if you land an Aikido technique full force. But if you're looking for a martial art that is gentle, non-competitive, but still can be used for self defense and personal development, Aikido might be a perfect fit. We have Aikido for Kids and Adults.
Black belts online
When Sensei Leigh and Sensei Brennan aren't training, we're keeping you updated on the happenings here at Rochester Phoenix Martial Arts!