Smart Minds

Timo Shihan

"A Student is the Reflection of the Qualities of his Teacher." Timo Herzberg

(here with Shihan Geert Lemmens)

Sensei Benny Urquidez ("Benny the Jet")


Martial Musings: Sensei Harry Zegel
Sensei Benny recently discussed self-defense techniques with me.  In Ukidokan Karate, as in most other Martial Arts, you learn set combinations of techniques used in response to an attack - be it a punch, a kick, or a grab.
The question often arises - "Do I need to do all of the moves in the sequence? What happens if I can't utilize a component of the technique in the real world - will it still work?"
The learned combinations of self defense techniques are both a proven practical response as well as a drill to help you become aware of your opponents attack, and to teach you a "see-respond" reaction to his likely actions.  It is the initial 2-3 actions you take, however, that are most important!
Imagine you are a machine gun, as the attack begins.  Your first, second, and third techniques are bullets fired as the attack occurs - BAM BAM BAM - delivered very rapidly - and now your opponent is reeling. Your initial techniques need to be performed very speedily and accurately!  Once your initial response has occurred, you can then "finish him off" with a variety of techniques - not necessarily the ones memorized in your 5-6 part self defense sequence.  In real life, or as often is said "On the street", things change -so after your initial salvo, if your opponent has moved unexpectedly forward, or fallen aside, or doesn't respond to your strike you may need to modify - which is why your initial response needs to be rapid and precise to incapacitate him!
The initial 2-3 techniques are most vital - a trained Martial Artist may perform 4, possibly 5 - Sensei Benny himself has said he would be fortunate to perform the entire sequence! The point is, it is the beginning actions you take that are crucial.
While learning self-defense sequences are important, remember that Sensei Benny advises us to perform the first 2-3 techniques very rapidly and accurately - since "SPEED KILLS".


George St. Pierre



Sensei Benny Urquidez ("Benny the Jet")

Martial Musings: Sensei Harry Zegel

Sensei Benny Urquidez recently discussed “working out” with me. As with so much of life and martial arts – it’s largely mental. While “working out” is what we do – often as routine as brushing your teeth – there are times when you “just don’t feel up to it”.

First – don’t say, “I’m not up to working out today”. Don’t make decisions for the entire day in advance – you only know how you feel at this moment, and later on you may feel very different. We all have periods when we’re tired, or feel too stressed from work or life events, so remember that Asian philosophy states that “the best cure for mental fatigue is physical fatigue.”

Second – Since exercise is, as is so much of life – mental – a technique to consider is the “10 minute rule”. When you “don’t feel up to it today” consider working out for just 10 minutes! Start with light cardio, stretching, a warm up, Kata, etc. It doesn’t have to be strenuous nor even your normal routine. 90% of the time you’ll find that after just 10 minutes your blood will be flowing, endorphins will have been released, and you’ll continue with your exercise routine and be glad that you did. If after 10 minutes you “still don’t feel able” then stop – but don’t feel guilt since you did show up and try.

One caveat from the medical world – in general, if you have NO FEVER and a cold from the neck up you can proceed with cautious exercise (consult your physician for any question/concern). If you have a FEVER or a cold below the neck (chest, abdomen etc.) then don’t exercise until you’ve improved. If you are interacting in a gym/Dojo be careful to use hand sanitizer and appropriate precautions to NOT spread any illness.

So as Sensei Benny states – DON’T prejudge how you’ll feel for the day based on how you feel now. Try the “10 minute rule” as a technique when you are “too tired or too stressed to work out”. Remember – the Mind Controls the Body!

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