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The Coronavirus Is Pummeling Our Community, But We Can Take a Punch — and We're Rallying for a Comeback!
As the world reels in response to COVID-19 and scrambles to take action to curb further spread of the coronavirus, it's never been more apparent that we live in dangerous times. Interestingly, if we look to ancient warrior wisdom, we can find some of the answers we need to battle the hidden enemy of today. One such key comes from a well-known Chinese principle that was famously repeated by Sun Tzu: "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the results of 100 battles."
Teaching Without Contact<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://blackbeltmag.com/media-library/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQyNzkzMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNjk0NjgwNn0.7sQZMIb76dB1ryIan5wcGIj67wE0GoiILr6p1gpMMhY/image.jpg?width=980" id="c2682" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4200d44768b565e03b95001ae9aa4499" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" /><p>For those instructors whose schools are temporarily closed — which is likely most of you — 10th-degree black-belt Floyd Burk offers the following teaching tips:</p><ul><li>Talk to your online students like they are right there with you. Try to make them laugh so they enjoy your virtual classes.</li><li>Think about the space in which they might be training. Remind them to be careful of siblings, pets, lamps and so on.</li><li>Be creative in helping online students find training props like pillows to use as kicking pads, pool noodles to use as bokken and so on.</li><li>Know that kata practice is perfect for training during the quarantine because there's no need for a partner. Have your online students drill their kata at least twice a week. Mix it up. In one class, have them go through all their kata multiple times. In the next class, break down one or two sections of a kata. They will enjoy hearing you explain the finer points of the moves.</li><li>Don't just wing it. Take time to make a lesson plan and then run through your online class with a timer. Include a bit of supplemental content in case you stampede through the material — which can happen when students aren't there in person — and you need to fill out the allotted time. This urge to hurry can be exacerbated by the adrenaline rush that often accompanies teaching live on Facebook, Zoom or whatever.</li><li>Make sure there's a way for online students to ask questions, make comments and generally feel like they're part of the class.</li><li>When social distancing is eased, consider weapons training. Long weapons like the naginata, bo and katana are great for noncontact partner practice.</li><li>Pay attention to how your assistants communicate to your students while your school is closed. Encourage them to avoid sounding hopeless.</li><li>Finally, send an email to all your students, explaining that your dojo's solvency depends on them continuing to pay their tuition even if they don't attend class physically. Tell them you're counting on them supporting the school through this national crisis.</li></ul>
Making Masks<p>With the coronavirus ravaging communities and shutting down martial arts–related businesses all over the planet, some are fighting back against the outbreak the best way they know how.</p><p>Century Martial Arts, one of the world's largest manufacturers of martial arts equipment and uniforms, has turned a portion of its production facility in Oklahoma City over to making medical masks.</p><p>"We actually saw this coming a little earlier than others because we have partners over in China," said Michael Dillard, Century's vice president of special projects. "So we knew from them how serious the situation was and how it completely shut down their infrastructure."</p><p>The company began testing whether its employees could manufacture surgical masks in early February. The process required a certain type of sewing machine, and fortunately, they still had a few of the older models in storage. Although it was a costly process, the company's managers learned that they could do it — just in case there turned out to be a need.</p><p>By the middle of March, the worst had obviously come to pass, and medical personnel around the United States were facing shortages. The need for all sorts of protective equipment became dire.</p><p>When Century discovered local hospitals were about to run out of masks, it ramped up its efforts working with OU Medical Center to improve the quality of the masks they had manufactured while bringing down the cost. The company was able to supply 1,000 mask covers — outer masks that keep clean the high-quality N95 masks that medical professionals employ, thus allowing for longer use — just in time.</p><p>The company anticipates that it will continue to manufacture 1,000 medical-related masks per week as long as there's a need for them. Besides the mask covers, Century also has begun producing standard surgical masks, and it's working on a version of the high-end N95 mask that includes a filter.</p><p>While limited by the number of sewing machines that can make these items, Century has turned 20 percent of its workforce over to mask manufacture. Although it's prohibited from selling its masks to the public, the company has received 10,000 disposable masks from overseas, which it's donating to first responders and key members of the local martial arts community.</p><p>Perhaps surprisingly, the company hasn't seen a downturn in the overall sales of its standard martial arts products. Instead, management is seeing a shift in emphasis. Whereas orders for things like uniforms and belts have decreased, the purchase of training equipment has increased as martial artists, confined to their homes, look for new ways to continue practicing.</p><p>"We've seen our sales completely flip-flop like that," Dillard said. "But martial artists are inherently adaptable to the situation."</p><p>Fortunately for medical personnel in Oklahoma, martial arts equipment companies are adaptable, as well. <em>— Mark Jacobs</em></p>
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By tactical defense and combatives expert Tony Blauer
For 43 years I have been studying violence, fear, and aggression.
My main business is training law enforcement, military, first-responders, combat athletes, and more. Over the course of 40 years, I've interviewed hundreds of victims of violence.
The Focusmaster Single Station Training System is honestly revolutionary. It's hard for me to find a good pad holder, and this solves that problem. Also, I love the way the pad bounces when you hit it - it's very fun and cathartic at the same time.
The Focusmaster comes with three targets (two paddle-shaped Spring Targets and one round Straight-On Target), which can be adjusted and rotated any way on the Focusmaster's 20 attachment points. Century Martial Arts also sells additional targets like the Torso Pad and Clapper Target. The training options are endless.
I highly recommend this product if you are looking for an in-home boxing workout. The installation may look daunting, but it's honestly simple. We did it in less than 30 minutes (and if you don't like the wall-mounted system, there is a floor stand available to make it freestanding and more movable). This is my favorite product on the market right now.
Coach Tony Blauer has been in the martial arts, self-defense, defensive tactics, and combatives industry for over four decades.
He founded Blauer Tactical Systems (BTS) in 1985 and it has grown into one of the world's leading consulting companies specializing in the research and development of performance psychology, personal safety, and close quarter tactics & scenario-based training for law enforcement, military, and professional self-defense instructors.
- His research on the neuroscience of fear and the startle-flinch lead to the development of the SPEAR System, a modern personal defense system based on physiology, physics, and psychology. It has been used by defensive tactics and combative trainers all over the world for over 30 years.
- He developed the world's first impact-reduction scenario-based training equipment, called High Gear, which revolutionized force-on-force training for police, SWAT, and military organizations.
- After decades of interviewing victims of violent encounters and studying violence, he created the KNOW FEAR program which focuses on managing fear through self-awareness, resiliency, and a 'movement' mindset. This program has also been integrated by psychologists helping veterans deal with PTSD.
Blauer's programs have influenced over three decades of trainers and coaches as well as most contemporary reality-based martial artists. He resides in California with his wife, kids, and dogs, but still travels extensively working with individuals, corporations, and government organizations around the world providing solutions for training, performance assessment and credentialing. His company is dedicated to enhancing the mental and physical safety of everyone they help train.