Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Another Year Ends - time for new year resolutions

With the last few days of the year we all set out to introspect. Did we achieve our targets? Keep up with our last years resolutions? What should we look to in the new year? What resolutions to decide on for the new year? and lots more......

Many times we end up realizing that a few months in to the new year the resolution goes for a toss and we may make the same resolution the next year to repeat the cycle again and again every year. I feel we should be very simple and realistic in setting our resolutions. A resolution should be what you as a person wish to do or achieve and not what others wish you to or what everyone considers to be cool. After all it is our life and not theirs. Be honest with yourself, sit and think of the year gone by and the areas or traits that you would like to change. For example - many decide to stop smoking or drinking and they do keep to it for a few days or few months and then get back to their vice again. Do not decide to stop smoking because all say it is bad or because every time you open your cigarette box you read that it causes cancer. Decide to stop smoking because your lungs need air to breathe and not smoke. Stop smoking because you wish to be fit and not dependent on a tobacco filled paper roll. Irrespective of what we decide to resolve for the new year understand why you wish to resolve so. If the reasons are right the chances of you sticking to your resolution are higher. 

For me the resolution is usually very simple - To constantly make an effort to improve from where I was yesterday in all aspects of life. 

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas. 

Will be off to camp for 5 days and shall post again when am back.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Train like a house cat or train to be a Tiger - the choice is yours.

I have great respect for all martial arts and martial artists. I do not mean to run down anyone or hurt anyone's sentiments. This post is about my logical view point of how martial arts should be. If for any reason you do not agree with this view point and still feel the way you train is right then I suggest that you never try to defend your self in a real life situation, as you may get severely injured. 

Any Martial Art (especially the old traditional ones) if looked back to the days of its formation has been formed to either train warriors, armies or to train a group of people to fight against those who are suppressing them. From this it is very evident that martial arts are training for realistic combat and not to play around. The traditional martial art training procedures of any martial art has always focused on strengthening the body, mind and spirit. It is believed that it is the martial art training procedures that have in many ways influenced the training programs for specialist defense forces of most countries. 

Nowadays martial arts seems to have become like the academic schools. They have fixed dates for examination and the students have a certain syllabus to complete. Even if the student is not physically and mentally ready for that grade but if he performs the kata properly he gets the grade. Is this Martial Arts? 

There are so many academies and even associations that train in only sports martial art. Am not against that however training like this does over time remove the concept of body conditioning and full contact sparring. How can you defend yourself in a real life situation when you have never trained for a real fight or even taken a number of full power kicks or punches on your body. Do you expect the robber to agree to a 3 or 5 point sport sparring contest with body protection gear and if he gets the points first you will hand over your wallet ? If you train to collect points just by touching then in a real life situation too that is what you would end up doing. Is this Martial Arts?

There are others who with very little knowledge go about calling themselves masters and impart classes and workshops. These people seem to have some knowledge of self defense techniques but their training areas are well stacked with all sorts of body protection gear from abdomen guards to forearm guards and so on. I agree one should avoid injury in training and that is why you could use the gum guard, groin guard and may be some head gear if you are going to attack with full power to the head. Can you take a fall properly on the road? Well they may have never trained outside their mats. An attack on the road can sway in any direction the fight may end up on the ground too. Preparing the body for this brings the need for conditioning and full contact training. If you do not train to get hit or you do not do conditioning then what good is your technique on the street. Even a single punch could end up putting you down on the ground what good is your technique then? Is this Martial Arts? 

If you do not simulate a realistic combat situation with real aggression and power then am sorry to say you are never going to be ready for a real life scenario. 

If you train gently and softly then you are a house cat with some tricks up your sleeves, however if you train traditionally the way martial arts are meant to be well then you are getting trained to be a Tiger.   

Do not waste your time being a house cat with some tricks. I feel very sorry for the students of people who teach a misguided version of martial arts. In my opinion if one has never trained full contact and tries to defend them self from an attacker on the road there is a very good possibility that they will get beaten up more severely than if they would have not tried to show their sport martial art knowledge. 

It is my humble request to all those who are teaching martial arts to think logically and teach the martial arts the traditional way.  You can still compete in sports sparring competitions but at least you are trained the authentic way too. Do not get fooled by classes or teachers who show off flashy moves or big certificates instead go to train from someone who will show you how to take a full powered punch. It is this training that will save you in a realistic situation. It is this kind of traditional training which is MARTIAL ARTS.

Today's Workout - 

A good jog at a decent pace followed up with some shadow boxing and bag work with Prateek. No workout sessions in the evening as am letting the body recover completely for the camp. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Team Jukaado at the Rockathon

A 5 member team from Jukaado took part at the Rockathon organized by GHAC. It was a fun filled way to start the Sunday morning. The Rockathon included trail running, bouldering, rappelling, slack line and lots more. All activity that is fun for an adrenaline addict like me. GHAC is doing a good job in creating awareness of various forms of adventure sports. Moreover they also provide a venue for people who like to take part in adventure sports. 

I am punctual by nature and prefer to be early always than being late. We reached the venue for the Rockathon almost 40 minutes before time. Having nothing to do we started walking through the trails and climbed all over the rock hill formations there. It is the Jukaado way of doing a warm up. We  walked back just in time to join the group leaving for the trail run.

                                           Siddharth, Rohel and Ishaan relaxing before the run. 

                                                        The Spartan with his Vibram's. 

The trial run was fun though a bit short but enjoyable. After the trail run we did a bit of scrambling on some of the rock slopes and some jumping from one rock to another. 

                                         Ishaan, Rohel and Siddharth climbing up the Rock hill.

We would have loved to spend more time running around and climbing rocks but we had to leave early so after Ishaan finished his rappelling we jogged back to the registration area and bid adieu to the wonderful activity organized by GHAC.  

                                           Ishaan rappelling down the rock.      

                                                                    Team Jukaado.

Building ones fitness and improving on the fitness levels is the best way to spend some quality time. You do not only get healthier and fit but also burn up all the collected stress and frustrations ( if you have any ). It is a simple way to re- energize the body, mind and soul while having loads of fun. The rush of adrenaline makes you feel good and confident. Many think that one can only resolve problems or manage teams at work by studying for them. However they are wrong for those who train and are open to trying new avenues of fitness training and adventure sports develop in to people who are determined, witty, bubbling with team spirit and always ready to look at any situation calmly and finding an apt solution to it too.  

There is no better teacher and classroom than nature itself. 

Do study and work but do not neglect the wisdom you could acquire by going out and training.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Am I Really Crazy???

Today evening I happened to meet up with some martial artists and sports coaches. Some I have known for quite a few years others were introduced to me today. We were just going about with some normal conversation and some how a sports coach mentioned about the hard and intensive training that he has witnessed in Jukaado training. This as usual lead the martial artists who met me for the first time to object. They started of as to how powerful and superior their art is. I do not like such conversations and feel sorry that such egoistic people are actually out there imparting training in martial arts to students. I honestly do not believe any martial art is superior or inferior and moreover I strongly believe that there is lots for me to learn still. Jukaado being my dream child also is constantly evolving and adapting new techniques or improvements in execution of already existing techniques.  I did not object and just accepted that I agree with them with regards to the superiority of their art. Was hoping they will end the conversation when I accept their superiority but I was wrong. Some how people like to test themselves on others when in reality one just needs to test if they have improved from where they were yesterday. Having said that one of the martial artists just suddenly lunged forward to grab my collar. May be to boast about his strong grip or to make an effort to further show the superiority of his art. My body just responded really fast and from the sitting position in the very comfortable chair I ended up locking his arm in an arm bar before he could even touch my collar. The martial artist who tried this practices sports martial art ( in my opinion martial arts can never be a sport ) and has never trained in any conditioning, grappling or locking techniques.  The moment I applied the arm bar that person yelled out in pain. It happened so fast that may be because of it being my bodies response to a sudden attack there was a fair amount of power in the movement too. Seeing what just happened a few others started saying that I am crazy and only a mad person would do such an act. While those who know me from years blamed the poor fellow who tried to show off by attacking me suddenly for no reason.

I do not think I am crazy. Yes I may be passionate to improve and train as realistic as one can but am surely not crazy. Crazy are those who like to go about boasting or proving their superiority. It is sad that martial artists behave like this.

 When the seed itself is not mature how will it grow in to a plant that bears fruit. 

It is such people who go about spoiling the image of martial arts and even what a martial artist stands for. Am happy to say that our videos online have got me in touch with quite a few genuine, passionate and true martial artists. Knowing them I am reassured that still there are good and authentic martial artists out there. 

Today's Workout - 

Started the day with a jog at a decent pace followed up with some shadow boxing and bag work with Prateek. 

After the episode in the evening I was in no mood to train for my evening session of workout. Such behavior really puts me off as it is totally against my belief system. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Preparing for Camp

This is a topic which will have all sorts of view points and beliefs. I have been preparing for the very intensive 5 day martial art camps (which is held every 6 months) for about 27 plus years. I have my own system that I follow. Have looked up the topic of preparing for endurance races or boot camps online. Everyone has a different set of suggestions. I feel we are all different and so we should try out the different ways to prepare for such endurance events and then choose the one that we feel suits us the best. 

An intensive martial art camp or a boot camp far surpasses the requirements of some of the toughest ultra endurance events and races. The reason being the multi dimensional workout and use of all the muscles at a martial art or boot camp. One needs to run, crawl, pull, push, lift, fight and lots more thereby using the body and its muscles in totality. So I guess preparing for such events will surely improve complete body fitness levels. While in normal ultra marathons or triathlons the emphasis is on usually the leg and arm muscles. 

I usually push my training a few notches higher a month before the camp. Getting the body used to recovering from strain. This I feel improves and sharpens the recovery process which is very much needed when one is to train for 10 plus hours daily. About 15 days before the camp I begin to start a gradual decline in the intensity of my workout. Allowing the body to heal and recover completely yet not giving it complete rest. A week before the camp I train at a very high intensity on the 7th and 6th day before camp. Then give 4 days of complete rest from any cardio based workout before the camp. This is how I have been preparing for camps from many years. It is a system that works for me. I do not suggest that it will work for all as we are all different. However try it out if you feel it works for you then stick with it. 

 Today's Workout - 

2 hour jog with a 10kg sand bag in the morning. 
The evening workout consisted of 8 sets where 1 set consisted of  - 30 burpees, 30 sit ups, 30 leg raises, 3 minute plank, 30 mawashi geri (round house kicks) and 30 weighted shoulder presses. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jukaado Demo by students at Hillside School Sports Meet 2012.

The last week was a week filled with commotion and lots of practice for the students and teachers of Hillside School. It was exhaustive for all the students to keep rehearsing their drills for the sports meet. The teachers on the other hand had their hands full with the work of arranging for the colourful costumes, fine tunning their respective drills, preparing the various races and so on. I guess all the effort they had all put in showed on the Sports Meet. It was wonderful filled with lots of energy, precision, planning and vibrant colours. The Chief guest for the Sports Meet retired cricketer Mr. Venkatpathy Raju mentioned that it was the best Sports Meet he had ever witnessed. That was a real confidence booster and made all who were part of the Sports Meet feel good to be appreciated. Even the staff who look after the government indoor stadium where we had the Sports Meet mentioned that they have seen many Sports Meets of numerous schools but they felt that the Sports Meet of Hillside School was excellent. Since I was busy running around arranging and helping out during the Sports Meet I could not take the pictures and videos of all the drills, races etc that took place. However each and every aspect of the Sports Meet was just perfect and awesome.

                                            Eagle the mascot for the Sports Meet with me.

It is easy to raise the bar what is difficult is to maintain the level or raise it higher. 

With this in mind we will hopefully work harder next year to present an even more spectacular Sports Meet.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Kumite with 4 wild monkeys.

This complete episode or experience that I had today surely is hilarious now that it is over but at the moment it was taking place it was really scary and was like an attempted ambush. I was scared of being bitten or scratched by the monkeys as that would need me to rush for a complete rabies vaccination schedule. 

Since the cantonment area is very close by to my house and there being lots of open land with lots of trees wild monkeys do occasionally stray in to the houses. At around 10 am, was relaxing and watching a movie on the tv when I saw a monkey walking by. Got up  and tried to shoo it out of the house and was shocked to see 3 more of them. When I shooed them they all ran in to different rooms. One started eating bread and littering the floor, 2 of them nicely sat in front of the tv and were watching the movie, 3rd one was hiding below the tables and chairs and would suddenly charge for my legs when I passed by and the 4th one was just running around. Armed with only a small stick I decided to secure and close one room at a time and push them out of the house. Well it was easier said then done. Whenever I would try to remove one of the monkeys from a room the others would try to attack me from behind. That was really scary keeping me on my toes running, jumping and shouting to take control of the ambush I was in. At Jukaado we have a training routine that we call Bull Fight where 1 person is attacked by 3 people running and charging at him together. They have to push, throw and wrestle their way out while the 3 of them have to pin the person down. Well today I was in a similar situation only difference was my attackers were 4 monkey's. It was a really exhausting workout especially because of this 1 monkey who kept hiding bellow tables and chairs and would suddenly charge trying to attack my legs. He made me run, jump, kick and even lift furniture to scare him. A complete cross fit workout it was. Tried throwing some food outside the house but they did not move even tried shouting to scare them they returned it back with a unified growl from all of them. Some how when I was jumping to evade a monkey another monkey got kicked by mistake and he fell down giving out cries. Taking advantage of this I started shouting and banging the stick to the ground to make noise. They finally decided to give up and ran out. It took a full 20 minutes for the full experience and have not stood still even for a moment for the 20 minutes. It required me to be very alert and respond instantly to any movement around me. One wrong move would have got me trapped in a corner making it easy for them to bite or scratch me. Moreover I had to always keep a track of where all the 4 monkey's were to anticipate their movements and prevent being attacked by surprise. I am very lucky to have escaped without any injury especially since the monkey's were really very aggressive.

Though the situation was a scary one but it gave me a new idea for training. We could use 4 domesticated, trained, friendly and vaccinated dogs instead of the monkeys. Today after my experience I have realized that the reflexes of animals are very very fast and if one can train with them then am sure their reflexes and speed will also improve many folds. Just yesterday I was talking of divine intervention giving me ideas for training in camp and today I end up fighting with 4 wild monkeys.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ideas for Camp - Surprise awaits that will be remembered for life.

The clock is ticking and another year is about to come to an end. Time surely flies in our fast paced world. At Jukaado we usually end the year with a big bang which at times makes it difficult for few to dance on new years. We have our training camp in the last 5 days of the year.

As the days to the camp edge closer I get all sorts of crazy ideas which sometimes even scare me. It is not that I go about searching for them but some how by some divine intervention the ideas just come to me. I may be walking down the road and suddenly may see something that could be used in our training. It is these ideas that really keeps even the regulars at our camps guessing as to what could suddenly turn out to be a workout the next session. Well I would love to discuss some of the crazy ideas I have thought of but I believe - INSANITY IS A DISH BEST SERVED HOT. The brave ones who will put themselves at my mercy for 5 days are sure in for a surprise that they could never imagine.  I am sure they will be talking about this experience to even their grand children. Depending on their experience they will describe it as a horror story or as an adventure. 

Though I put my students through some really intense training my first priority is always the well being of my students, their safety and to make sure they do get enough time to recoup. 

Today's Workout - 

Started my day with a wonderful 1.5 hour jog followed by some wonderful body conditioning. Today was a busy day with classes and preparing for the sports day demonstration due this Saturday. Could not spare time for a workout in the evening.