Our #1 Martial Arts Goal

One question martial artists hear all the time is: "Do you think you can beat them up?" followed by the asker pointing to the biggest, baddest-looking person in the room.

There's also, "Could you break that tree/board/desk/etc. with a chop?"

And of course, there's the question that commonly follows the demonstration of a self-defense technique: "But what if…. (insert some random occurrence that's less likely to happen than winning the lottery while being struck by lightning) happens?"

(The answers usually are, in order, "Why would I," "Why would I," and, "Well, then, I guess you're toast – but I think the odds of you being attacked by a rollerblading BJJ master who's wielding double shotguns are comfortable low.")


Despite all these zany common questions, we're rarely asked the question that matters most: "What is the #1 thing martial arts instructors instill in their students?"

I won't keep you in suspense. In our school, the número uno virtue is POLITNESS. Yep, you read that right. From the "Yes sirs" and "Yes ma'ams" to silence when the instructor is speaking, the character education lessons to the helping hand you offer your sparring partner after you knock them down, the removal of shoes before stepping on the mat to the presentation of a well-tied belt and clean uniform, our school is all about politeness. To paraphrase my Sensei, the goal is to create students who are role models of politeness both in and out of class.

Now, if the student is a polite person, is there any point in teaching them how to defend themselves? Punching someone in the face or kicking them in the groin is not very polite, after all. But, it is also true that most fights begin as verbal altercations before they turn physical. Being polite – knowing when to hold your tongue or back down, instead of returning insult for insult – can stop fights before punches are needed. That skill is much tougher than learning how to punch hard or kick high. We only teach violence as a last resort.

Why is politeness so important? As martial arts instructors, we need to change the public's perception of martial artists from the two extremes people usually think of: 1) bare-knuckle brawlers who spend hours whacking each other, who boast brute strength and brain damage in equal measure, and, 2) $3,000-per-month Super Ninja Club members who got a black belt after one month and couldn't fight their way out of a wet paper bag.

Instead of either of these, we need to be perceived as well-rounded individuals who can defend themselves and their loved ones if needed.

Times have changed since we started teaching martial arts. Equipment and automation has improved, and we work on life skills in addition to kicking. Dojos are expected to be cleaner and nicer, and classes are not just for "macho" dudes anymore. The end product should be the same, though: polite individuals who can handle all that life throws at them!

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The UFC returned to American network television for the first time in more than two years Saturday on ABC while former featherweight champion Max Holloway returned to his winning ways following two straight losses, earning a unanimous decision over Calvin Kattar in Abu Dhabi. Holloway showed he still has plenty left as a fighter dominating Kattar from the opening bell of the main event with a mix of punches and low kicks.

It appeared as if the former champion might stop his opponent in the fourth round landing a series of vicious body blows followed by hard elbows to the head as a bloodied Kattar sagged against the fence. But Kattar somehow survived managing to keep himself upright through the fifth stanza as well, only to lose a lopsided decision. After dropping his title to Alexander Volkanovski and then losing a controversial rematch, Holloway may have put himself in position for one more crack at the championship following Saturday's impressive performance.

The Legendary Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame has never before been documented in a single location. Now, you can learn about all the icons that have achieved one of the greatest honors in all of martial arts.

Black Belt Magazine is proud to announce the NEW Member Profiles feature for the Hall of Fame. At the time of this article, the online records account for every inductee from the inaugural year of 1968 all the way through 1990 (upwards of 200 martial artists). The page will be updated continuously and will include every inductee through 2020 in the near future. For now, you can enjoy images and facts about the legendary members for each induction they received before 1991. Take advantage of this never-before-seen opportunity to learn about many of the martial artists who contributed to the lifestyle, culture, and community that every martial artist experiences today.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE BLACK BELT HALL OF FAME

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When it comes to grappling arts most people have heard of Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo, and Sumo. The dynamic art of Shuaijiao, though it is not as well known as the others, should be.

What is Shuaijiao?

Shuaijiao (also spelled Shuai-Chiao) is a Chinese martial art that is approximately four thousand years old. Shuaijiao was born in a time of warfare long ago when to fall on the battlefield meant likely to never get up, and in that spirit, the curriculum of Shuaijiao focuses on throwing in a variety of ways. It is a standup grappling style, meaning that although there are hip throws, leg sweeps, and hand techniques, like many other arts, there is no ground grappling. The goal of Shuaijiao is to end up in a dominant position standing.

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ONE Championship's first event of 2021 is on the horizon as the company returns to the Singapore Indoor Stadium for ONE: Unbreakable on January 22.

In the main event, bantamweight kickboxer Capitan Petchyindee Academy challenges ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Alaverdi "Babyface Killer" Ramazanov for his crown.

The Thai challenger has a chip on his shoulder for this contest. Capitan mentioned that he wants to prove all of his doubters wrong with a title-winning performance on Friday in a video detailing the matchup.

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