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A culture of excellence

‘Sacred Spaces – The place where one practises the way’ by Anna Glover  – Chang’s Hapkido Academy UK, 2nd dan As the Head of Safety in a theatre, one of my favourite aspects of my job is to attend a meeting in which a director will talk about their aspirations for a production they are […]

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Giving time to listening

During skills practice, traditional martial arts etiquette dictates that a junior belt not correct a more senior belt. Is this because they know more? Sometimes they do … actually, a lot of the time their additional years of practice will mean they see things that the junior doesn’t… but truth of the matter is that […]

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Perseverance, self-efficacy and Hapkido training

Everyone experiences obstacles and adversity throughout their lifetime. Over the years, I’ve noticed that as a student progresses up the belts, their ‘Hapkido confidence’ develops, as well an ability to persevere through difficulties and withstand negative circumstances. In many sports, the winner is not always the strongest or the fastest, but rather the one who maintains a belief […]

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Making progress

Sometimes there are sessions when nothing seems to be working right. Kicks feel heavy. Throws don’t work. Patterns are corrected, and then corrected again. The novice expects to feel a certain amount of incompetence, but for the senior belt this can feel like you’re regressing while everyone around you keeps climbing higher and higher, leaving […]

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Nurturing possibilities

Developments in neuroscience have shown us that connections within our brain are continually forming and reforming. What that would suggest is that we are in a “constant state of becoming” throughout our lifespan. How we develop is linked to how we approach life and how we challenge ourselves. Emotionally and psychologically we learn much of […]

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Can how you define success stop you from feeling successful?

What we consider an achievement and how we define success affects us at every level.  It affects confidence, self-esteem and psychological well-being.  It affects motivation and how satisfied we feel with life.  It influences the choices we make and the pressure we put ourselves under. Our own definitions, therefore, mould who we become. For some, […]

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Out with the old, in with the new

Last weekend I was presented with my 5th degree black belt. Many of my students have asked how it feels – I’m not sure I totally know yet, but here are some initial thoughts… As with every new level one gets a new belt. My 4th degree belt had been worn for almost nine years. […]

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Being the best

Another old story for you… A young man turned up at the school of a famous martial arts instructor. Upon arriving, he told the Master that he wanted to become his student and be the best martial artist in Japan. He asked the master, “How long should I train under you?” “Ten Years,” replied the […]

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Posture, power and performance (part two)

In part one I looked at how poor posture and body mechanics decrease the effectiveness of our Hapkido techniques and expose us to potential injury and pain.  This understanding is key to our physical wellbeing, but posture also has a significant effect on our mental wellbeing. A study conducted in 1988, for instance, showed that […]

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Skills, skills, and more skills (part three)

After spending the past few months arguing for (part one) and against (part two) the importance of learning more skills, I’d like to question the relevance of either argument. So why does focusing on more or less skills actually miss the point? I’ve noticed that those students who are becoming expert performers no longer come […]

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