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Thomas Clifford’s Martial Arts

Turning Up The Heat

Turning Up The Heat

Posted: February 26, 2019

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen."

 

                                      -Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Dear Friend,

 

I trust this blog finds you well. 

 

We have a lot of tough training ahead of us. 

We are getting ready for Color Belt testing in a few weeks, and Black Belt testing in a month. 

We have a significant number of Blue Belts and Red Belts, and a few Brown Belts who are training consistently. 

Let's encourage them to get in for Mastery classes as often as possible. 

We are going to push the pace, and make the most of the recent surge in attendance. 

We are going to focus heavily on Kata and Weaponry in all Mastery classes. 

You may be wondering, "What else is new?" 

You are going to find out. 

Be prepared to renew, refine, reprogram, and revolutionize everything you know in the Martial Arts. 

Karate is Kata, Kata is Karate. If you are in this for the long haul, you will appreciate it. 

If you are not planning on sticking around, it does not matter anyway. 

Kata training or formal drilling, is the key to all Martial Arts mastery. 

People use different words to represent the meaning of Kata, but ultimately all Martial Arts systems use repetitive movements, drilled with intention, to effectively program the nervous system. 

Sparring can have tremendous value - particularly in Jiu-Jitsu, where it both safe and effective. 

But without Kata - formal, developmental exercise, with and without a partner, designed to program perfect technique - Randori or sparring has little worth.  

Examples of Kata, whether you realize it or not, are; practicing perfect technique for a single or double leg takedown, drilling a Kickboxing combination on focus mitts, shields, or a heavy bag, and programing weapon disarms with a compliant partner.

All of this is Kata.  

As our Dojo grows and matures, our Mastery Course becomes more valuable. 

Not because of the curriculum. 

It becomes more valuable because of the people who are on the mat. 

Our Mastery Course is packed with highly experienced and highly skilled Martial Artists. 

There is nothing that adds more value to a Dojo. 

In the Mastery Course, you have the opportunity to train side by side with Black Belts from 1st Degree, all the way up to 6th Degree. 

This wealth of experience gives eager students a tremendous advantage. 

It is very exciting to be in the Dojo, with classmates who have as much as 30+ years of training. 

You benefit from their ability to constantly demonstrate the very skills that you are trying to master. 

The truth is, they are still trying to master those same skills. 

The greatest example that our Black Belts set, is their "Kaizen" attitude and approach to training. 

“Kaizen" means constant and never ending improvement. 

It is the antithesis of "complacency."

We have a lot of fantastic and fulfilling training sessions to look forward to. 

Let's keep moving in the right direction.    

Our curriculum is very challenging and rewarding. 

There are many terrific methods of Martial Arts training. 

Our system is designed to help you reach your full potential. 

You cannot make progress if you are destroying your body. 

Martial Arts should be for self-improvement and self-defense, not self-destruction. 

Let's take a closer look at our approach. 

Correct structural alignment is the focus of our preparatory series, which we do at the beginning of every training session. 

We call this routine, White Form. 

The exercises are simple and essential. 

We use White Form as a diagnostic and developmental screening method at the beginning of every training session. 

White Form is an extremely effective way of gaining greater awareness of any; misalignment, imbalance, pre-injury, or mechanical deficiency.   

Within the first few minutes of class, White Form assists you in becoming fully associated with your posture, restrictions, condition of your major joints, and gross-motor coordination. 

We do this series every time you step on the mat. 

Our Belt Curriculum is comprised of the essential strikes, blocks, kicks, and stances that represent the fundamental techniques of our Martial Art. 

The specific mechanics of each move must fulfill three criteria; protection, precision, and power. 

The best way to master the coordination required for each move, is to practice the move exactly, progressively, and continuously. 

Mastery and mediocrity are not mysteries. 

Belt Curriculum is the foundation of the Kata, Weaponry, and Self-Defense components of our system. 

These are the focus of our Black Belt Course and Advanced Course. 

Investing sufficient time and effort developing the Core 4; strikes, blocks, kicks, and stances, prepares us for learning Kata, Weaponry, and Self-Defense. 

Any difficulty in learning these aspects of our system can always be traced back to flaws in White Form.  

Black Form is done at the end of every class. 

This series of stretching exercises is designed to develop full range of motion throughout your entire body. 

Everyone is aware of the importance of cardiovascular exercise. 

We all know how valuable strength training can be. 

If you cannot move your limbs effectively, you cannot exercise effectively. 

Flexibility is a must. 

When you optimize your flexibility, you give your body access to possibilities that are otherwise unavailable. 

We begin and end each class with a clear understanding that alignment and flexibility are the foundations of fitness, health, athleticism, and proficiency in the Martial Arts. 

We are committed to providing you with the most effective training methods available. 

Take a look at your classmates. 

How skilled are they? 

Just watch them do White Form. 

Take a look in the mirror. 

How skilled are you? 

Just do White Form, you will have your answer. 

Remember, every aspect of our system is both diagnostic and developmental. 

This simply means that the exercises we use to evaluate our skills are the same exercises that we use to elevate our skills. 

 

I look forward to seeing you and your family in class at the Dojo. 

 

Respectfully,

Kyoshi Thomas Clifford


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