Dealing with Pushy Parents

Pushy parents ruin sport for young people as well as coaches, competition officials and basically everyone who has to spend time around them. They can be intimidating, bullying and bring the reputation of the player, club and sport down with them.

Because most martial arts are weight catagorised, comments from parents towards children regarding their weight, especially in a high pressured competetive environment have been known to cause eating disorders. This isn’t localised to martial arts either, this type of thing happens in sports like gymnastics and athletics, especially amongst female competetors.

So what can be done when parents are taking it way too far when it comes to pressure to do well, abusive levels of support in competition and in training? We’ll look at it from the child’s perspective and the coach’s perspective


If you are a child with parents who are pushing you too hard in your sport. By that I mean they get angry if you don’t want to train, they might be telling you how to train or what training you should be doing. They might be restricting your diet or shouting angrily at referees in competition or other parents or coaches. You’ve probably got a problem on your hands and it can really bring you down with it.

If you’ve got a good relationship with your parents, talk to them, tell them either to calm down or make sure they know what you want from them and the sport. If you want them to push you and monitor your diet, then ask for it. If you don’t then make sure they know that. But quite often you might feel embarassed to talk to them or even frightened. If there are issues when it comes to training or competition, one way out can be going with friends families rather than your own. But if it is at this point, you might want to talk to someone. You can always approach your coach, they’ve done training in how to deal with problems like this, or you can go to your club’s welfare officier (if your martial art is an olympic sport, it should have a welfare officer) and they can help a lot more.


Frist thing is to prevent there being a problem in the first place. Make sure your club has a policy about parents behaviour. For instance, my old judo club has a rules board which says that parents should be quiet on the side of the mat. If there is a particular problem, make sure your club has a policy such as reserving the right to ban parents but not players from the club and make sure that it’s visible.

Communicating these policies to parents can often make the difference. If a parent is being particularly loud while training is on or in a competition, talk to them first so they know what the score is. This may stop the issue straight away.

Having some sort of policy set up in advance makes taking action a lot easier. However it can be difficult because you may well lose the player as well as the parents but having a visible policy can be a deterrant for misbehaviour. If you do end up losing the player and parents, at least that negative influence is no longer bringing the club down with it and make sure that the player knows they are still welcome.

If a player approaches you regarding their parents or anyone else’s parents, follow your safeguarding training and think about taking steps to report it.

The takeaway from this is not to tolerate parents acting agressively, pushing their child too hard or disrupting training or competition. They bring down the rest of the club with them and firm action may prevent future problems for anyone involved.

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5 reasons you should take a break (why I did too)

Sometimes in sport, the best thing for you to do is to take a break, be it for a few days, weeks, months or in my case, years. This article focuses on some things which suggest you should be thinking about having a break for a while if they apply to you.

1. Not having fun

Ok yeah, training isn’t always fun, sometimes its a hard graft you have to go through to earn your place on the podium or to be the guy with your hands in the air after the final bell. But if the entire process is no longer outweighed by the feeling of winning, or if winning doesn’t give you kicks any more, then it might be time to thing about having some time out. If you’re in MMA perhaps try a new martial art and focus on that for a while or even stop fighting completely and try something new like track or weightlifting. Coming back afterwards might give you a new perspective on your sport and make the whole thing more rewarding.

2. Stress

There are factors we can’t control throughout all of our lives. Stress can reduce your performance and a heavy training schedule can prevent you from dealing with the problem. However, depending on your relationship with your sport, you might want to only reduce your training load rather than take a break as exercise is a great way of reducing stress. This is one just to bear in mind and it is down to you how you deal with it.

3. Loss of motivation

If you’re just turning up to training because that is what you do and you have a bit of a “Same Shit DIfferent Day” attitude, your motivation and drive is low and your performance will probably follow. You probably won’t be having fun and you’re probably looking for excuses not to train. If this is you, Take some time off until you feel motivated to get back into the gym/dojo. Make sure you communicate with your coaches, just upping and leaving can alienate people who have your best interests at heart. If you do build up the urge to train again, you’ll find yourself much more driven and focussed on a goal than you were before and you’ll fall in love with the sport all over again.

4. After a big fight

These next 2 are more practical reasons. If you are competing at a high level, you might want to think about taking a few days off at least after a big fight. If you’re training properly, you ought to have come to a peak not long before your fight and you’ll need a deload period of lighter training. This reduces stress on your nervous system as well as giving you a psychological break. It also allows your hormone levels to return to normal immediately after the fight as your testosterone is probably jacked. Once you’ve had few days break and a lighter week of training, you can then work off of that baseline to work up to a peak before your next fight.

5. Injury

This normally applies much more to the younger fighters. Unfortunately I’ve known a number of friends and family (myself included) who have decided that they are recovered enough to train despite doctors or physio’s orders and they end up with worse injuries. If you love your sport and you want to have a professional attitude, stop training and do your rehab properly (like the pros do) or you may well end up having to stop much earlier than you’d like. Going through the recovery process properly will increase your longevity and reduce the damage you take over time. This is especially true for concussions which can lead to very serious complications if not delt with properly.

My story

I took 2 years away from Judo after having practiced more or less every week for 12 years. I wasn’t finding the sport that much fun, I had not drive or purpose and because of that, I wasn’t going anywhere. I just quietly slipped out of training and stopped communicating with everyone (why I reccommend communication in point 3). However after a couple of years of focussing on other aspects of my life, I learnt how to motivate myself again and came back to train. I’d set myself a goal of getting my black belt and trained hard with determination for it and when it came to my grading, I won the line up in just under a minute and a half. The takeaway message here is if you need to: let it go and you may even come back better later on.

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What supplements should I use in martial arts?

If you’re looking for advice on what supplements to use in martial arts, first figure out whether you should be using them at all. You should be able to get everything you need, especially if you’re young from a good diet plan. However, there are a few reasons people, myself included take supplements regularly as a part of their diet.

1. Meal replacement

I’m pretty busy day to day so it’s easier for me to throw some instant oats and some whey into a blender with a banana for breakfast than make an omeltte or porridge. This means they replace the meal with a quick and easy alternative and I get some good carbs, protein and micronutrients in early on.

2. Convenience

If you’re living with your parents, you might not be able to buy all the food you want every day so making up for it with supplements is a possiblity. Same goes for if the shops close to you don’t sell food which fits your diet plan that well, the gap in macronutrients can be made up using supplements.


If you’re living in the U.K or northwards or in New Zealand, over winter you may want to look at taking vitamin D3 as you probably aren’t getting enough from sunlight because you’ll probably be more covered up, be inside longer and obviously, the sun goes down earlier. Lower vitamin D can lower your testosterone levels so keeping a good intake up can be beneficial.

Supplements which you should use (if you need to)

Main message here is keep it simple, supplement companies love to bombard you with ads and promises of better performance, but what they tend to do is mix a few simple things together and mark the price up.


If you’re eating brown rice, chicken and oats every day, liklihood is you’re not getting enough micronutrients (vitamines and minerals) in. Finding a good multi-vitamin can help a lot with loads of health aspects from sleep cycles to digestion. Be careful however, taking too much of certain vitamines like vitamin C it can lead to health risks (C particularly as some companies sell vit C pills with around 200% RDA).


Creatine works. It’s not a steroid and it’s not illegal to take for competition. It takes about 3 weeks to accumulate in your body to make a difference so don’t expect to be the hulk overnight. Again, the message with creatine is to keep it simple, companies sell all sorts of creatine, most of which haven’t been shown to be any better than regular creatine monohydrate.

Instant oats

As I mentioned before, I take these as a breakfast replacement. They’re a good source of carbs and can be quickly made in a shaker or a blender and mixed with other things too. Don’t try to cook them though, trust me, it doesn’t work.

Whey protein

This is a good quality source of protien. Ideally you should be consuming 1g of protein per lb of lean muscle mass (you’d need to calculate your body fat % to find this figure) so if you need more protein, it’s a good place to start. If you do get enough protein, no matter what the supplement companies say, more whey protein won’t really do anything. Check what you buy as well as some brands pack their whey protein with sugar in the flavourings. So if you need it, it’s good to take, if you don’t need it, don’t bother.

Vitamin D3

This is a great way to raise your vitamin D level back up to where they should be during winter months. As I said before, if your vitamin D levels drop, your testosterone can too so it’s worth taking duirng the darker, colder months.


There are a lot of supplements out there and a lot of rubbish too. Ideally, you’ll have enough of all your nutrition in your regular diet but the world isn’t ideal so supplementing can be necessary. If you do choose to buy, keep it simple and buy individual ingredients over big expensive stacks which have loads of stuff you don’t need.

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What supplements do you use? Comment below and like our facebook page for more posts on martial arts. Also check out these videos by Omar Isuf, an intelligent power-lifter, on this topic 3 good health supplements 3 overrated supplements some good info on whey protein some good info on creatine

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Judo techniques to avoid in MMA

If you’re thinking of either adding judo to your arsenal, or using your judo base to get into MMA, here are some things you should think about avoiding to make your training more useful, and to prevent giving your opponant an easy advantage. When reading, bear in mind the difference in rules between the sports which will inform how you adapt judo to your MMA game.


This is being thorough in judo. Overthrowing ensures ippon (a win in judo). This is where you commit yourself so much to the throw that you follow over onto your back as well. For mixed martial arts you need to think about being strong in your throw, with enough control that you land on your opponant in a good position. If you overthrow, you give up your back, you might have gotten a highlight reel ippon, but they’ve just won the fight with a rear naked choke. Check out the videos below, one of a good judo throw, and one of Ronda Rousey’s fight agains Alexis Davis. The difference being the overthrow in judo vs the controlled throw in MMA. – Judo – MMA

Landing on your front

Great for judo but gives a mixed martial artist a good position to attack you. If you feel like you’re going to be thrown in an MMA fight, go with it and try your best to pull guard, landing on your front will likely land you in all sorts of trouble.

Throws to guard

While you can attack from in someone’s guard, judo helps bypass this which can be potentially vulnerable. These are throws like Ouchi gari, kouchi gari and all the varients therin as well as morote gari (double leg takedown). Most mixed martial artists are at least adept at jiujitsu and open guard can be a strong point for them. Your advantage with judo is that you can skip all the guard passes by using a throw to land you in a good position from the off so while these techniques can be used and do have their utility in MMA, there are better alternatives.

Techniques that need a gi

These are throws like Morote seoi-nage and tomoi nage as well as most strangles and several hold downs. This is pretty obvious as you don’t fight in a gi in MMA but if you’re training at a judo club but MMA is your focus sport, it’s probably best to find some alternatives which are more specific to no-gi grappling.

If you’re starting to train judo, bear these points in mind as you train so it’s best optimised for your MMA game. If you’re already a judo fighter, make sure you start to get out of the habbit of using some of these techniques if you’re doing MMA so you stand the best possible chance.

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7 tips for handling yourself on training camps.

Session 1

A post shared by Carl Finney (@judoc2) on

Before you start reading, this article is mostly focussed towards judoka as it seems to be the only sport where these big technical and randori (sparring) camps occur. So if you don’t practice judo you don’t need to read this, it doesn’t really apply to what you do (even though I believe sports like mixed martial arts or BJJ should have similar setups). You may find it interesting or even useful and I’ll write without any judo specific jargon so its easy to read, but you aren’t specifically who I’m directing this towards so don’t feel you need to read it.

1. Kit

You arrive at the camp with a suitcase, maybe a holdall as well and this is what you are surviving off for the next few days. Keep it in order. Make a mental list of what you’ve brought so you don’t lose stuff. Make sure it’s packed away, the dirty clothes separate from the clean and your gi is out to dry for the next session. Keep on top of this admin and it’s another stress off your mind while you’re training and keeps the neat freaks sleeping in your vacinity happy.

2. Moral

Keep good group moral. A good positive mental attitude on camp improves your training and makes the whole thing more enjoyable. Make sure you’re looking after your group keeping their moral high and avoiding conflict. Health issues and injuries can come from conflict and bullying issues in the group and can even result in victims faking injury to sit out sessions (I’ve seen this occur). There are several factors to managing your personal moral: nutrition, sleep, injury management and your practice habits which I’ll discuss as other points.

3. Have good practice habits.

Spend your time in an effective way. This doesn’t include stuff like warming up and cooling down but I’m talking about who you train with. Try to spend 1/3 of your practices with people worse than you. This allows you to successfully try new techniques, gives you some room for error and allows you to hone your best techniques, all the while giving you a small moral boost from victory. Next spend 1/3 of your practices with someone on your level. This ups the difficulty and forces you to be more precise with your techniques as well as givning you some challenging defensive work. Then spend the last 1/3 of your time with people markedly better than you. This gives you something to aspire to, to analyse their game as well as improve your defensive game as well as seeing if anything you can do will work on them. This is a business idea by a guy called Tai Lopez and it works well in martial arts too. This is his full talk about the idea if you’re interested.

4. Have good injury management

Good habits around training can stave off unneccesary injuries. This means warming up and cooling down properly and using a foam roller to help your body recover. Knowing or learning a bit about taping joints can help if you pick up a minor strain which you can train on with a bit of added suppot. Taping fingers early on rather than waiting for them to get all bashed up also helps as well as bringing a good stock of tape (climbing tape is best) ibuprofen tablets and gel as well as a good number of those poping ice packs. Recognising when you’re injured beyond basic recovery is important too as training on that injury could seriously impact on your future training.

5. Eat lots

You’ll be training more than usual so it’s going to be a good idea to eat more than usual too. Most camps provide 3 meals per day which usually isn’t enough. For those of you who don’t have a dieticion or know how to manage your diet properly (and aren’t going straight from camp to competition). I would recomend eating as much as possible at meal times as well as having another meal in the day too. This prevents you from losing weight and muscle which you will need to put back on before you fight and any fat you gain (you probably won’t make much by way of muscle gains) you can cut down properly under a structured regime when you’re home again. If you’re not eating enough your body won’t recover as well and you won’t be making the most of the training camp.

6. Stay hydrated

You’ll be sweating out a lot so a good habit I used was to keep one water bottle filled with electrolyte drink and one with water. Ideally you’ll be hitting 2-3L per day and more if you’re in a hot country. This is so important as you can get some serious health complications if you’re not hydrated properly or your electrolyte balance is out which can take you out of training as well as improving your cognative function and keeping you more alert when working.

7. Sleep

For proper body recovery, you need sleep. You’ll need more than usual as you’re working much harder than usual. People often end up going out when away in a foreign country for a drink or even out clubbing. Its a mistake and reduces your performance and practice quality. Think to yourself – why am I on this camp? You’re there to get new practices and learn new techniques. With less sleep you don’t learn as well and you can’t concentrate as hard so your learning will be reduced, and your practice will suffer as your attention and physical recovery are impacted. You’ve travelled and paid for a training camp, you can go out and party when you’re at home. On that note don’t sleep during the day either, rest and recover but stay awake, otherwise you’ll just feel more tired come the afternoon/evening session.

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What’s the best training camp you’ve been on? Comment below and like our facebook page. If you’re interested in a big international judo camp with people of all competetive abilities, check out C2 international camp, Tonbridge here

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How to win more fights by tap out.

A lot of clubs I’ve visited regardless of if they’re Mixed martial arts, bjj or judo, tend to separate standing and groundwork. This is an odd way of training from my point of view and is probably a sort of coaching tradition because one of the best times to submit or takedown/throw an opponant is in a transition period, a brief moment of confusion when your opponant has to mentally shift their focus from one aspect of the game to another. I’m going to first talk about my success using transitions then some drills you can use in your sport be it Judo, BJJ or MMA.

So going back a few years I was on the national circuit and I gained a couple of national medals but never made the podium at the national championships. That summer we worked day in day out on our submission drills from checking a throw (mostly drop seoi-nage which at the time was very common in judo). Come the national championships, after a defeat in the first round I won every single fight bar 1 with the same strangle that I’d been drilling over summer from the transition. It’s a great time to attack.

The same can be seen in the top levels of the UFC, Jon Jones submitted Vitor Belfort, a much more qualified grappler, by taking him down and quickly moving to side control, then landing a couple of strikes and catching the arm for an americana. Ronda Rousey almost always tries to hit her throws such that she lands in a good position on the ground but her quickest win ever against Cat Zingano was in that brief moment of confusion between standing and groundwork where an arm was free.


So what can we do to work on these transitions? Basically identify when one distinct part of the game moves to another and practice that change so that you have a better position in the new part of the fight. This can even be as simple as passing a guard. Here are some examples:

  • Takedown to submission (Hip throw (ogoshi) to armbar (juji-gatame) for instance)
  • checked or sprawled takedown to submission
  • strikes to takedown
  • strikes to clinch
  • clinch to takedown

These are just a few MMA related examples but you can apply the same framework to any submission grappling, judo, BJJ or any others. The old saying “strike to pass, pass to strike” is essentially capitalising on that brief moment between striking and grappling which are so often kept separate which makes this a niche you can exploit.

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How to optimise your cardio training for martial arts.

The traditional view of cardio is practice which is quite detatched from the martial art. Classic boxing training involves a lot of running sometimes even up to 10km runs aside from the sports practice. This was very much the case in my own competetive days I would be running 3-4 times per week along side 4 one-and-a-half to two hour sessions of judo per week and a circuit training session. This cardio heavy approach to training is somewhat outdated and we need a new look into what cardio we do as well as when and how we do it.

Make it sports specific

How often do you run in a relatily straight line or up a hill in martial arts? Imagine how much better your technique would be if you replaced a 20-40 minute run with sports practice like focus mits, throwing practice (nage or uchi-komi) or rolling drills. At the very least a skipping rope should be used in place of running as its somewhat more accurate to the sport than running. Mike Israetel has a good video on the negative effects of slamming people with extra running.

Change the workout structure (HIIT)

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the new big thing at the moment amongst cardio shy gym rats as well as in the sporting world. It has tonnes of fitness benefits which you can find here:

Best of all it makes sense, you won’t normally be working for any period longer than 5 minutes in a martial art and probably not all at the same pace. It would make sense to make the intervals you train for the same length as the round you fight in competition as well as making the rest periods somewhat similar. For mixed martial arts for instance, if you had 3×3 minute rounds with 1 minute rests, do 3×3 minute intervals with 1 minute rests. Again don’t do this at a constant pace either, up the tempo or sprint for periods of time, even up to 15 seconds at a time. This specialises your body to your sport and uses your time optimally.

MMA workout exercises

So here are some examples of some movements you can do to work cardio, while practicing your sport.

  • Skipping rope
  • Focus pads
  • clinch fighting
  • throwing/takedown practice
  • wrestling
  • rolling
  • bag work
  • bjj drills

The forms of sparring I’ve included are the grappling centred as they carry the least injury risk in comparason to striking sparring. Obviously you shouldn’t neglect standup striking but if its purely for cardio training then why take the risk?

Judo exercises

I’m including these as its my first sport and they also carry great utility to mixed martial arts as well as another way to change up your training.

  • Skipping rope
  • uchi komi on bunjees (check out Neil Adams’ product)
  • uchi komi with an uki
  • nage komi
  • grip fighting
  • no-gi randori
  • randori
  • bag work
  • kuzushi

If you’re interested in more content on cardio for judo, check out this article on


Remeber, practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent. Training time and recovery times are limited so make the optimum use of both. Running will make you better at running and maybe a little better at fighting but practicing martial arts specific cardio will give you the most benefit for your time investment.

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Why Ronda Rousey became UFC champ.

Besides the hard work and dedication she’s showed to sport (which should never be understated), Ronda Rousey had one simple reason she was so dominant in women’s MMA on the way to the top. This isn’t meant to detract from her ability as a fighter but more to explain why she’s so successful and if anything, to praise her use of this system. It can be explained through game theory. This is the same way economists study people’s behaviour and how ecologists study animal behaviour. It can be applied to martial arts as well.

For those of you who understand game theory, she essentially played the defector in a slightly modified game of prisoner’s dilemma in being a specialised judo style grappler (and a good one at that) in a group full of mostly stand up strikers with some jiujitsu experience, allowing her to reap the rewards. Hopefully someone educated in game theory can stop reading here.

For those of you who aren’t versed in game theory, here’s how it works. In a group where most people are specialised strikers with a bit of jiujitsu, most people do quite well, no one is particularly standout and success is dependent on how good you are at striking (more or less, this is somewhat of a simplification). If you introduce one strong grappler, none of the strikers have experience in dealing with the grappler so they rise quickly and dominate the group. Introduce too many grapplers however and it becomes the same as before, everyone is good at fighting grapplers and introducing a strong striker will have the same effect.

Ronda Rousey’s continued success (aside from the qualities she possesses which are required of a champion) is because she has been able to consolidate her position and become a good striker as well, making challenging her a very difficult proposition. This however isn’t the takeaway message of this article.

What you should takeaway is that it is important to specialise somewhat in your sport but not too much. For instance, running isn’t the best cardio to do to build a strong mixed martial artist, however Nick Diaz is a frequent triathlon competitor and a good fighter. His niche is his good cardio and high volume boxing. He’s not the perfect fighter but he has occupied a niche which gives him a competitive edge. If he specialised too much in cardio he would lose all his power and make no impact with his punches whatsoever as well as take up valuable skills training time in cardio training, reducing his technical ability.

Perhaps the most obvious example of this bit of game theory at work was Royce Gracie in UFC 1. Examples for the strikers out there could be Machida with his karate influenced striking or Conor Mcgregor with his unconventional striking making them very difficult to prepare for.

The advice here is to find what you’re naturally good at and capitalise on it. If you’re strong, make that your competitive edge rather than becoming the same as anyone else.

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Photo credits to USA Today

How to build success habits.

Building good habits can make the difference in what level your game is at. if you are habitually training multiple times per day, you have a good diet and you’re sleeping and recovering right, it’s obvious to think your game will improve. The trouble for many is getting to this point. I’m going to break down an easy way of forming good habits you need to improve your game. This can be applied not only to martial arts, but sport and life as a general.

Start small

Ok so you want to start making things go better for you. The biggest mistake most people hit is doing too much too early. My Dad for instance might decide he wants to lose weight and will change his current diet which doesn’t really have any consistency to it, to an all salad and low calorie diet, it will last for a couple of weeks max and then he gives it up. The message is baby steps.

Take one aspect of your life and do something proactive. Keep doing it over and over again until it becomes natural. An example put forward by Elliot Hulse of Strength Camp is taking a walk every morning to lose weight. This has a couple of effects: your calorie usage for the day goes up, meaning you will start losing weight if all else stays the same but you also start to build momentum. Elliots video on the subject is just below.

Building momentum

So yeah great you can get up and go for a walk every morning or whatever it is you’ve changed as a small start. From here you can start building momentum.

This happens in two ways. The first, particularly if you’re a martial artist or a sports person as we tend to be pretty kinesthetic people is that movement gets you going, gets blood pumping around your body, most ideas I have for new posts, lessons, buisness plans all tend to come during my walk.

The ultimate momentum builder is the habit of building habits. You’ve just started to build positive habits throughout your day with that one simple start.

You can progress from here. For instance the next step might be cleaning up your diet so the next step is to record everything you eat WITHOUT changing what you eat, again don’t do too much too soon. You can then build on it and start cleaning up your diet, sorting out a healthy macronutrient intake and so on riding on the back of the momentum you’ve build from the small initial steps.

You might want to start indroduing more exercise. If you’re a martial artist you probably already go to training a few nights per week, you might want to form a new habit of hitting the gym for strength and conditioning twice per week as well.

The point is once you start building habits successfully, use the momentum to build more positive habits at a good pace, never too much too soon.

Goal Setting

So here comes the science part. What we’ve discussed is the most powerful form of goal setting in sports psychology: the process goals. It’s been found that people react to these goals the best. I find it’s helpful to write down performance goals associated with the process goals (I.E, I want to increase the speed I can run 1.5 miles or the number of times I tap people out per session, I want to lose so much weight etc.) so that I keep the mid-term goal envisioned, but the most important part is the process goals. These are “I’m going to turn up to training 3 times per week”, “I’m going to walk every morning” “I’m going to record all the food I eat” type goals, focus on these but keep the longer term plan in mind.

Jugganought’s article on Goal setting:

Hard Work Becomes Effortless, the power of 21.

What might have been hard in the past will soon feel effortless. It will become a part of your life. Doing the odd healthy things in an unthealthy lifestyle won’t make you healthy as much as the odd unhealthy things in a healthy lifestyle will make you unhealthy.

Some people talk about the power of 21, the idea that if you force yourself to do that thing for 21 days, maybe it’s get up an hour earlier. After 21 days it will feel natural, it won’t be a chore to do it. Eric Thomas does a great video about this and I reccomend all readers watch his stuff, he’s great for getting you motivated.

The takeaway is that you don’t need to change your whole lifestyle at once. In fact, doing this can really screw you up and you can end up worse than before. Start small, build momentum using the power of 21 and set your goals properly.

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4 signs you should change club.

In the career of a young, developing martial artist, or any sports person for that matter, eventually the decision of whether you should stay at your home-ground or move to pasteurs new. Here, from my experience and from the experiences of some of my friends, are some indicators that you should start looking for somewhere new to train.

1. Run out of training patners

Everyone develops at different weights when they’re growing up. I was always the heaviest at my club but not by more than a weight category. If however, you dwarf the other players you train with, it might be time to look for some other people your own size. Similarly if you’re finding your competetive success isn’t being mirrored by others and no one can touch you in sparring, it’s probably time to find someone who can beat you, otherwise you’ll learn nothing. Even if neither of these two apply to you, you might want to start training some nights elsewhere if you and all your friends have been training together for years, you know all each-others moves and every session ends in a stalemate. If this is you I’d suggest not necessarily moving, but at least finding some other sparring patners to train with who can change things up a bit.

2. Your objectives change

This happens at various develpmental stages. As a young national squad fighter judo was my life, I didn’t have particularly strong motivation to train but there was no reason for me not to train, I’d been training 3 times per week for the previous 8 years. After a break however my new objective was a black belt, I trained hard in a new environment with a goal in mind which I achieved. When I came to uni my new objective was to develop my coaching and it just so happened the club I joined had amazing technical classes and the head coach – Dave Horton-Jones was the gradings manager for the BJA so I had come to the right place to learn about coaching. My point is different clubs have different emphases. Some clubs train to create winning fighters, some to create technical experts and some just for hobbiests who enjoy the sport in their own time. If you always wanted to try MMA but the club you go to has you being beaten up every night, it’s not MMA’s fault, there are other club around which take a more light hearted approach. On the other hand if all you want to do is get your hands dirty and go home bruised up and your club never allows headshots, go find a new club.

3. Development

This really applies to competetive fighters. If you are winning fights in your league and you want to step it up, you will probably have to look at taking your training up a level. You might have been lucky and started off in a club with a great development plan and you can stay there, but otherwise you may well need to find a full time centre or a professional club. These can afford opportunities a weeknight club can’t like strength and conditioning coaches, access to nutritionists and managers if you’re really taking it seriously.

4. Bullying

This is a tricky one. If you’re being bullied where you train, the first thing is to tell someone, a coach or a member of staff who can take care of the situation. Judo coaches have to have learnt about safeguarding and protecting so the coach can be a good start. The trouble can come when its the coach that’s bullying you. When you’re depressed logic can be clouded somewhat, that’s just a symptom of depression. If you’re not willing to face up to the bully or tell someone who can deal with it for you, a good route out is to find a new club. THIS IS NOT A SHAMEFUL ACT you are not running away, you are simply removing yourself from a destructive situation. Psychology is key to success in sport and if you are being bullied, chances are your mental state is sub-optimal. Moving club is taking progressive steps to improving your development. It also gives you a chance to make new friends in a place which you can make sure has a better ethos than your previous home.

Often coaches will tell you when you need to move clubs. This is the sign of a great coach, who understands when it is time for his players to move on. Sadly, not all coaches are this honourable and some try to hang on to their star players. Don’t listen to rubbish about you being disloyal. Loyalty is a key trait for a warrior but not unquestioning loyalty. If your coach is trying to hold on to you because you will make you and his club look better, you ought to find somewhere new to place your loyalties. A coach’s job is to raise othe people up, not to use other people to raise themselves up. If your coach has told you to go or understood your reasons for making your decision to move, that is an act of courage on their part and in the future make sure you repay them with an act of loyalty: come back and coach at their club, hold master classes, promote them, whatever but recognise what they did for you in the past and how it got you to where you are today.

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