New Year’s Resolutions

zenTwo weeks into 2014 and like every other year, most of us make New Year’s Resolutions at this time: promises to ourselves to better our lives and our health.

I find so much wrong with this way of thinking.

Why do we give so much importance to a single day? What about the other 364 days? Why can’t we approach each of those days with the same determination that we approach our New Year’s Resolutions? It is sadly inevitable that by the end of February most of these resolutions will be forgotten. Gym memberships going unused. Diets abandoned. Procrastination setting in once again.

One of the most important concepts in Zen is to focus on this moment, right now. We don’t worry about the past, because its gone. We can’t worry about the future, because it can not be promised. So we focus on this moment. Its the only one we have.

Also important is the act of following through on everything we do. A Chinese proverb says that “In a 100 mile march, 90 miles is the halfway point”. Having the proper attitude to see things through is important. Setting small goals along the way can keep you marching toward your goal. But remember that these goals are just points along a greater path. Without the proper follow through, a victory on the battlefield can be rendered meaningless by a flaw in the peace agreement. A 300 yard tee shot in golf means little if you miss the 3-foot putt. A meticulously planned workout regiment accomplishes nothing when only done once a week.

I encourage everyone reading this to approach each day with the same determination and enthusiasm you have for today. You will be surprised as to what you can accomplish.

Focus on this step. Right now.

Violent Game Called “Knockout” Spreading

Have you heard about this? I’m rather astonished myself. Knockout is a violent game that involves randomly attacking innocent pedestrians in an effort to knock the victim out with one punch. It has been making the headlines rather often lately and has resulted in serious injury and even death to the victims.

Earlier in September, three teens from New Jersey aged 13 and 14 years of age were charged with murder after killing a man in a game of Knockout.

The internet is ripe with recent videos of this so-called ‘game’.

And it’s not just the game you need to be worried about.

Over the summer a man was punched by an angry motorist. Right in my hometown of Lewes!

And just recently a jogger was assaulted in Wilmington for just saying, ‘hello’ to a passerby.

Though these last two particular incidents had nothing to do with the game, it backs up the point I intend on making with this article.

“Be prepared”

I have a saying in my martial arts school, “Train every day and pray you never have to use”. No one needs to be a Grandmaster in the martial arts, but it pays to have some self defense training. Much like the people mentioned in the stories above, you will never know when you need it and thinking this sort of thing can “never happen to you” is very naive.

It all starts with situational awareness. In most of the cases above the victims were not prepared for the assault even though they were aware of the other person’s presence: they were caught off guard. It pays to pay attention to the people around you. Your body has a way of warning you. Call it a sixth sense. Call it your Spider Sense. We have all been in a situation where our gut tells us, “this is not good, something is wrong…” Listen to those signals. Its these instincts that warn us of danger on a more primal level. Its these signals that helped us survive as a species well before we formed modern civilization.

However, if you are walking down a dark street at night texting on your cell phone, you may not be aware of these signals and you certainly will not be aware of the person stalking just beyond the shadows.

The victims above could have done a few simple things that could have prevented them from being hurt. Keeping more personal space between you and a suspicious passerby, watching body language, and keeping your hands in a position so they can quickly aide in your defense are just a few things.

I don’t want anyone to be walking through life being paranoid of everyone they pass, but being prepared will certainly help. And having martial arts training can help sharpen those instincts and give you the tools you may need, should you ever need them.

Stay alert and stay safe.

 

- Dan Sorber is the owner and instructor at Fight Club Martial Arts in Rehoboth Beach. He is ranked an advanced instructor in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and has studied numerous other styles including Wing Chun, Shaolin Lohan, Tae Kwan Do and Isshinryu Karate. He can be reached at 302-396-7438 or fightclubmartialarts@gmail.com
His school offers martial arts lessons in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and instructs all ages. He is available for seminars and Bully Proofing workshops

Break the Cycle of Bullying Part 5

Back in Part 4 of our Break the Cycle of Bullying series we laid out some general guidelines to how bullies act, a bit behind their mentality, and what forms it can manifest itself in. Previously in the series it was also touched on as to what you and your child can do to help put bullying in its place.

The benefits your child (and well, even yourself!) can receive from martial arts training are numerous.

They can boost your child’s confidence and this allows them to deal with stressful situations much more gracefully. It makes it easier to deal with bullies and other tough situations in their life. A child with a high self esteem won’t be bothered as much by a bully’s petty attempts to get a negative reaction from them. They will have the focus to see the situation for what it is and the understanding in realizing that it only has a negative effect on them if they LET it.

And should the unthinkable happen and your child is assaulted by another student, they will have the skills they need to protect themselves.

More importantly your child will learn how to deal with these situations using age appropriate techniques, and they will learn when and where its appropriate to use their self defense training.

You can read more about the children’s program at Fight Club Martial Arts here.

When it is all said and done, there are two lessons I’d like you and your child to walk away from this with:

1.) The decisions you make now affect you later in life.

2.) Look for someone who needs a friend.

Here are links to the other four articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

- Dan Sorber is the owner and instructor at Fight Club Martial Arts in Rehoboth Beach. Delaware. He is ranked an advanced instructor in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and has studied numerous other styles including Wing Chun, Shaolin Lohan, Tae Kwan Do and Isshinryu Karate. He can be reached at 302-396-7438 or fightclubmartialarts@gmail.com
His school offers martial arts lessons in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and instructs all ages. He is available for seminars and Bully Proofing workshops

Break The Cycle of Bullying Part 4

Bullying has evolved so much over the years. In previous decades the definition of bully was largely limited to physical assault. Now, it takes on a much wider definition and can include repeated name calling, rude comments, and cyberbullying (bullying through text and online).

If bullying reaches a point where someone is compelled to come up and punch you in the face, it has gone on far too long. It is important to be proactive rather than reactive. Start to address it when a child is being isolated and called names. Do not let it go on for any length of time.

Because of technology these days and the emergence of cyberbullying it can be extremely difficult for a child to escape into a place where they feel safe.

There are usually differences in strategy between how boys bully versus how girls go about it. Female bullies usually choose to attack other girls verbally (making fun of external characteristics) and use tactics such as exclusion and talking behind a girl’s back to make a victim feel unwanted and unaccepted.

Boys can be verbal as well, but tend to be much more physical and aggressive.

A child will start to feel bullied whenever they are made an outcast at school or made to feel unsafe.

A bully is successful as long as they can get the reaction they are looking for. It can be hard for a child to ignore a bully so encourage them to reach out to their support system of friends, family, and school administration.

An important thing to remember is that a child who bullies usually does so because of underdeveloped social and mental skills. He will rely on cruel tactics to interact with his peers because he simply may not know better. Without help, these children can grow up to be bullies in their adult life, a skill they will more than likely teach their own children and thus continuing the cycle. They never really learn how to properly interact with others and this can hinder them in their adult life.

Whether you are the parent of a victim or happen to be the parent of the bully, the common thread throughout all of this is compassion. By teaching your children to show compassion they can break the cycle of bullying on multiple levels.

The next and final installment will be on how martial arts can help your child.

Here are links to the other three articles: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

- Dan Sorber is the owner and instructor at Fight Club Martial Arts in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He is ranked an advanced instructor in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and has studied numerous other styles including Wing Chun, Shaolin Lohan, Tae Kwan Do and Isshinryu Karate. He can be reached at 302-396-7438 or fightclubmartialarts@gmail.com
His school offers martial arts lessons in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and instructs all ages. He is available for seminars and Bully Proofing workshops

 

Break The Cycle of Bullying Part 3

In the first installment I talked about breaking the triangle of bully, victim, and bystander by showing compassion for the victim and disarming the bully’s efforts. In the second installment I gave you some guidelines that can help a student out if they find themselves on the receiving end of bullying.

In this installment I am going to talk about what you as a parent can do to help end bullying.

One of the first things that should be established with your child concerning how to handle a bully is what I like to call “rules of engagement”, which is a set of rules and boundaries that determine how you expect your child to handle a bully.

“Rules of engagement’ will differ from family to family based on your beliefs and how your school system handles such situations. If your school has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy, this needs to be taken into consideration.

Parents may decide that it is only okay for a student to defend himself physically if the other person throws the first punch. For others, it may never be okay to fight at school and may only permit their child to be verbal toward a bully. Whatever your beliefs may be, make sure you are clear to your child how you expect them to conduct themselves during a bullying situation.

Practice scenarios at home with your child. Go over the rules of engagement and discuss how your child can handle different situations when a bully approaches. I suggest practicing phrases like, “I don’t want to fight you, but I’m not afraid of you!” and even taking a step toward the bully to emphasize the gravity of the situation. I also like teaching my students to be nauseatingly kind. If a bully yells out, “Hey Four Eyes!”, your child can be respond by saying something like, “Hi! I can see much better, thank you!”. These type of phrases can take the wind out of a would-be bully’s sails because they completely deprive the bully of the reaction they were looking for.

I can’t stress enough how important it is for a parent to have open communication with their child. Listen to their concerns, and take notice of unusual behavior and shifts in their normal habits. Be a support system for your child, as many can have difficulty admitting they are being bullied.

Depression and becoming withdrawn can be signs of rough social situations at school. Take the time to talk to them and give them the opportunity to open up.

Next installment, I will go over what makes up a bully and the different forms of bullying.

- Dan Sorber is the owner and instructor at Fight Club Martial Arts in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He is ranked an advanced instructor in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and has studied numerous other styles including Wing Chun, Shaolin Lohan, Tae Kwan Do and Isshinryu Karate. He can be reached at 302-396-7438 or fightclubmartialarts@gmail.com
His school offers martial arts lessons in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and instructs all ages. He is available for seminars and Bully Proofing workshops

Break The Cycle of Bullying Part 2

In the first part of this series I talked how one of the best ways to stop bullying is to break the triangle of bully, victim and bystander. When a child sees one student bullying another, the triangle forms.

Laughing along with the bully is by far the easiest thing to do. Walking away is harder. And it is even more difficult for a child to step up and show the victim compassion. By showing the bully that you support your classmate, you deprive him or her of the reaction they are looking for and that can completely disarm them.

Here are some tips for your child if they find themselves on the receiving end of a bully:

Your child needs to know that if they are being picked on, it doesn’t actually have anything to do with him or her. The process of bullying goes much deeper than that and can usually be traced back to a rough life at home for the bully or even poorly developed social skills. Lashing out is just a desperate attempt to have control over something. Your child can end up being the unfortunate target for no other reason than it was convenient.

After helping your child to understand that it is not their fault, they need to know that it is okay to just walk away. Bullies are usually trying to illicit a particular response. Deprive them of that response enough times and they will more than likely move on. This can take the response of just flat out ignoring the bully, seeking out a group of friends who will show compassion (safety in numbers), and even confronting the bully with age appropriate phrases that you can practice with your child at home.

Last but not least is let your child understand that it is okay to seek out teachers and school administration to help with the situation. Make them aware of the situation every time the bully says or does something. It is never a good idea to be silent. The abuse will continue as long as a bully gets the reaction they want and they keep getting away with it. Nip the problem in the bud.

Next installment I will lay out some guidelines that parents can use to get more involved.

- Dan Sorber is the owner and instructor at Fight Club Martial Arts in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He is ranked an advanced instructor in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and has studied numerous other styles including Wing Chun, Shaolin Lohan, Tae Kwan Do and Isshinryu Karate. He can be reached at 302-396-7438 or fightclubmartialarts@gmail.com
His school offers martial arts lessons in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and instructs all ages. He is available for seminars and Bully Proofing workshops

Break The Cycle of Bullying Part 1

Bullying has become a widespread EPIDEMIC that can be emotionally and socially devastating to a child.

When many of us hear the term ‘bullying’ we might thing of a larger child pushing a smaller one down on the playground. In reality it takes on many forms ranging from emotional, to mental and now, even cyber-bullying, where kids bully other kids through social networking sites like Facebook. Bullying can have far reaching effects on a child, causing them to become socially nervous and even depressed. Sadly, we have all saw the news stories about someone being pushed much further than they can emotionally handle…

What can we do as a community to stop the cycle of bullying?

Understand that bullying is made up of a triangle involving not just the bully and his/her victim, but the bystanders as well.

The first step to breaking the cycle is getting involved and intervening on the child’s behalf. If they don’t have the strength to stand up for themselves, someone else needs to show that bully that the child is not alone and what he/she is doing is NOT acceptable.

Parents, teach your kids to be compassionate toward another child who is getting picked on. It can be as simple as sitting next to the kid who sits alone at lunch. Its a matter of being brave enough to do it, but that simple gesture can show a bully that that child is not alone.

That kid could very well become the best friend your child has ever had.

The worst thing a child can do is stay quiet while they watch someone getting bullied. If they are too nervous about stepping in, go tell a teacher or school administrator instead.

Don’t be silent. Let your voice be louder than the bully’s.

-Dan Sorber is the owner and instructor at Fight Club Martial Arts in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He is available to teach ‘bully proof workshops’ and help children and adults learn how to break the cycle of bullying.

Martial Arts lessons are available for both kids and adults. Check out http://fightclubmartialarts.com for more details or call (302) 396 7438

Jeet Kune Do Principals

Before you hack away at the unessential or master what you have learned, it would be nice to know that you had a worldly selection of techniques to choose from. In truth, a good Jeet Kune Do practitioner will not reject adding techniques from other forms of combat.

“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.” ~Bruce Lee

Diversity is important. There are always people that have a hard time understanding this, so I will keep it simple. In Jeet Kune Do we should be adding techniques from other forms of combat if they fit in with the structure and the principles that we find within Jeet Kune Do. It is important to tailor your Jeet Kune Do to fit. There is no other person that knows you better than you know yourself.

This topic has started many arguments in the past. Many people will claim what you are doing is not Jeet Kune Do. It is Jeet Kune Do though if it follows the principles and structure as explained by Bruce Lee. It is not Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, but in truth there is no Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do without Bruce Lee, there is only Jeet Kune Do.

Jeet Kune Do is very much like a boat that can help one arrive at the other shore as Bruce Lee has pointed out. This boat is built like no other. It is simplistic in design and provides economy of motion. It takes the fastest route between shores and it has a realistic relationship with the water that flows beneath it. Although it is a fine boat we must not carry it on our back after reaching the other shore.

Any two individuals that have the same Jeet Kune Do actually have no Jeet Kune Do. Any two individuals that have no Jeet Kune Do have the same Jeet Kune Do. It is without form, emptiness. The moment you claim Jeet Kune Do is this or Jeet Kune Do is that it takes on a form. The cup is filled. At this point there is no room for personal growth.

The philosophy is very simple. You can find it in Zen, Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, and others. Many of the quotes in Jeet Kune Do are borrowed from other sources. If you know the source and have a mind to understand it, the emptiness of Jeet Kune Do will make sense to you. If you are caught up in a routine and have a poor understanding, you will often point fingers at others and claim what they are doing is wrong. This is because you have failed not only to understand Jeet Kune Do but something far more important. You have failed to understand yourself.

- Rain Burgess is an instructor at Fight Club Martial Arts in Rehoboth Beach where he teaches Muay Thai and Muay Boran as well as instructs in MMA. He has studied numerous other styles including Wushu, Aikido, and Jeet Kune Do. He can be reached at 302-396-7438 or fightclubmartialarts@gmail.com

Jeet Kune Do Concepts Vs. Original

A little Jeet Kune Do lesson for you today:

There is a misunderstanding in the Jeet Kune Do community that in my short time as an instructor, I have been approached about it by every student so far. It is a rift in the collective thinking of the community that is bound to show up if you do a little research into JKD.

Basically its the argument posed by two separate camps within the Jeet Kune Do community: Original and Concepts.

Those from the Original camp believe that Jeet Kune Do should be taught as Bruce Lee left it at the time of his death, with no personal modifications made to the system from instructor to instructor.

Concept believes that practitioners should embrace Bruce Lee’s original philosophy of, “taking what works, discarding what doesn’t, and adding in what is uniquely your own”, creating an ever evolving fighting system from instructor to instructor.

In my opinion, the misunderstanding is in the thinking that these are two separate things… when in fact, they are two sides to the same coin.

I could expound on this more, but I’ll say this simply:
1. Stick to the nucleus
2. Liberate from the nucleus
3. Return to original freedom

- Dan Sorber is the owner and instructor at Fight Club Martial Arts in Rehoboth Beach. He is ranked an advanced instructor in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and has studied numerous other styles including Wing Chun, Shaolin Lohan, Tae Kwan Do and Isshinryu Karate. He can be reached at 302-396-7438 or fightclubmartialarts@gmail.com
His school offers martial arts lessons in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and instructs all ages

Down, But Not Out

Above is a well known Zen quote, “fall down seven times, get up eight”… and did I take a major fall this summer.

I am more determined than ever in my journey in the martial arts, and that led to a rather intense training regiment that I followed for five days a week. I started to feel what I can only describe as a tightness in my left calf muscle, but I shrugged it off as a minor annoyance and increased the intensity of my training.

Lesson 1: Listen to your body!
I paid the price for not listening and at least going easy on the kicking drills. During a training session I pivoted to kick with my right leg and felt an unnerving “pop” in my left calf. At first there was no pain, but it was more than obvious I could no longer put any weight on it (the pain came about 5 minutes later). A trip to the ER two hours later proved I tore the muscle and would have to stay off my feet for a minimum of a week. This was frustrating to say the least. I was unable to walk without assistance and it took nearly five days before I could support my own weight on the bad leg. I still can’t pivot on the foot and certain movements stand as a constant reminder of my mistake. It will probably be another week or two before I can include kicking in my training regiment.

Seven times down, eight times up
“Include?”, you may say. Correct. I never stopped training. I went stir crazy after less than 24 hours of not being able to walk to the bathroom without it being an ordeal. I found I was able to travel around my house on my hands and knees way faster than I could on crutches… so that became my new mode of travel. I’m sure it was hysterical to watch.

With my new mode of travel I realized I could pretty much do whatever I wanted so long as it didn’t involve engaging that particular calf muscle. I sat down to come up with a list of what I could do to continue training on some level. Kicks were certainly out… but that doesn’t stop me from pulling up a chair to my heavy bag and working on some punching drills.

trainingPictured here on the left is the workout regiment that I came up with. Every drill and exercise here allows me to work around the fact that I can’t stand up under my own support. I’ve included situps, half kettlebell getups, pushups while being braced on my knees (the regular way would aggravate my injury), as well as various hand drills including basic block and counters and using a jook wan ring to refine my form.

“If I fall I will get back up. If I am beaten I will return”

The whole point of my experience here is to hopefully teach you to carry on in the face of adversity: whether its an injury or something more personal in your life. With a little thought, less whining, and more action you will see more progress than you ever thought imaginable. So many of Bruce Lee’s teachings come back to this very point and I can think of a number of quotes to support it:

“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”
Stop talking, stop thinking and just do. I like to say, “Ready, FIRE, Aim… then FIRE again!” If you keep talking about a thing, you will never get it done.

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
This is a classic Bruce Lee quote, with the last sentence probably being his most famous line. He is essentially saying that sometimes, a head on approach is not going to work for a particular obstacle in life. You need to think outside the box to overcome it. Be like water.

When it’s path is blocked, water will build up and pool behind the object blocking it. This is akin to resting: taking a step back and assessing the situation. Think about it. What can you do to get past this roadblock? Now eventually one of two things will happen. The first is that enough water will build up behind this object that the pressure against it will cause the object to give way; allowing it to continue on unobstructed. This could mean that you merely need to gather your strength. I could have taken this approach. Simply waiting out my injury and allowing myself to heal. Or maybe the second thing will happen…

The water will continue to build behind this object until it finds another way around it and flows down this new path. I decided on a training regiment that allowed me to work around my injury, rather than waiting it out.

Be like the river making its way down from the mountains to the ocean. Let nothing stand in your way.

Be like water, my friends.

- Dan Sorber is the owner and instructor at Fight Club Martial Arts in Rehoboth Beach. He is ranked an advanced instructor in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and has studied numerous other styles including Wing Chun, Shaolin Lohan, Tae Kwan Do and Isshinryu Karate. He can be reached at 302-396-7438 or fightclubmartialarts@gmail.com
His school offers martial arts lessons in both Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai and instructs all ages