Friday, January 18, 2013

Simple Formula for Success

By Jim Sautel, 7th dan

"One More Time" Equals Success

If you've been on one of our CTI demo teams or have prepared for a tournament under your instructor’s watchful eye, you've probably heard the sentence before, “One more time.”  In fact I’m sure you recognize it as our official, oft-repeated, practice battle cry.

This is what usually happens, just when you've finished going through your part in the demo fifty times or more, that sentence inevitably comes from your instructor - after they complement you on the fantastic job of almost getting it just about right that time.  You'
ve probably also experienced that feeling (that just one more time feeling) when you practice your breaking technique.  The distancing sure felt good.  The speed felt nice, but deep down in your gut you felt like your target was a just hair to the left.  So, you do it—just one more time.  And you do it probably one more time, and then one more time, and then, just one more time.

Why do we do things “one more time”?  Why can’t we just be satisfied with our efforts to this point?  Why do it again when we know how to do it?  In fact, we could probably do it backwards and forwards!

The reason why we do it “one more time” is because we are human.  Because we are human, we need the extra repetitions.  More repetitions mean better muscle memory.  We turn our practiced movements into reflexes that will snap into place when we have to perform our demo.  Doing that demo part “one more time” continuously allows us to develop and refine our technique.  We may even add moves or take ones out through the constant “one more time” philosophy when doing the demo one more time.

In Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts, working on everything from demos to sparring with our just “one more time” attitude reveals something very important to us.  Reavealed to us is self-discipline, self-control, and expertise in our art.  That good ol’ “one more time” philosophy acts as a conduit to a place where we can be ultimately successful —we find out what works best through never ending repetitions.

Thomas Edison was probably big on the “one more time” idea.  Think of the Wright Brothers, Christopher Columbus, Marconi, Farnsworth, George Washington and your MSK instructor and you can see the benefits and effects of what happens when someone takes hold of that “one more time” mind-set.  So when your instructor pats you on the back and complements you—be ready to also hear, “One more time” - and be glad that you did.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Consistency Makes a Difference

By Marcy Feagans, brown belt

Whether it is a holiday, vacation or just a sick day, consistency and practicing at home with your CTI training really makes a big difference and is a key to your martial arts training success!  Recently, I realized what a difference that 1 week can make.

It is nice to enjoy the time with family and friends. but when away from training I found that it is even more important to practice at home.  Try to take a few minutes each day to reinforce training and keep skills top of your mind when you're on vacation.  Even 20 minutes each day to practice a poomse, review your one-steps or just do some sit-ups or stretches would go a long way towards remembering your skills, keeping in shape and flexible.

That daily practice will keep you limber and on top of your training, rather than having to refresh everything when you returned to class.  When missing regular classes and not practicing at home it will likely take double or triple the time to catch back up rather than stepping right back in where you left off and refining your skills.

What does your training look like when you are preparing for a promotion test or tournament competition?   I know that many of us attend the extra class, practice at home, even think through the steps and write notes in a journal…so why does this drive not last when we’re away from class?  Some of that is accountability of being around your peers and the pride and drive from your instructor.

We are CTI students, practicing Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts, and strive to go above and beyond the average or meeting a requirement.  We want to go beyond the average and exceed the expectation and need to have this type of consistency each and every week, each and every day.

So remember, consistency with your training is key to your success.  We all know that hitting class at least 2 - 3 times a week is a minimum, but it's the practice at home that is going the "extra mile" and that striving towards your goal will bring success!  The moral of this story is to be responsible and drive yourself to your goals, starting with consistent training.  Consistent training will really show to you personally and also be evident to your instructor in class.  It makes a noticeable difference!  Make sure you are consistent in your training, keep pushing and reach your goals.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The First Month as a CTI Student

By Justin Gesso

Colorado Taekwondo Institute—a superhero factory in disguise.

If you are considering learning a martial art or are actively shopping martial arts schools, read on.  I have been sampling martial arts for years and have bounced from school-to-school.  Each school has its own advantages: some specialize in survival-situation response, some build skills for specific tournaments, and others focus on meditative aspects.  So what is the CTI differentiator?  It’s a superhero factory.  Let me explain.

I have enjoyed martial arts for a large portion of my life.  After college, however, I moved and made the mistake of not immediately signing up for a new school.  In the blink of an eye, 10 years zipped by.  I now have a wife, a three year old son, and a challenging job.  In the back of my head, I've always known I wanted to get back into martial arts, and have imagined doing so with a son.  As I took a breather to reflect on my life, I realized the time was now.

A few roadblocks were in front of me.  We all know families and jobs make for a serious lack of time.  Further, my son loves nothing more than staying at home playing, and somehow already has a packed schedule of his own.  Ignoring the roadblocks, I focused on creating motivation for my son.  Fortunately, he is very into superheroes, which I leveraged.  I talked to him about the skills a superhero needs to learn, both mental and physical.  I bridged this to what martial arts can offer.  He cut to the chase: “So if I go to this class, I can be a superhero?”  First mission accomplished.

As I shopped for schools, I went to the Littleton school of the Colorado Taekwondo Institute stood out as very kid friendly.  After talking to several of the teachers and taking the tour, it was clear they had a very balanced approach—developing students far beyond just the physical.  Regardless of the talk and marketing information, what I saw was an incredibly rich set of people.  There were kids and teenagers who welcomed us, took interest in my son, and immediately made us feel like an important part of their community.

I can now flash forward to just over a month of classes.  What have I learned in this time?  First, I’m delightfully confused and lost.  And that’s a wonderful place to be.  If I’m out of my comfort zone, it means I’m learning and improving.  My past martial arts experience is helping me slightly with the body mechanics, but there is so much to learn at CTI, inclusive of a rich culture, new language, and new customs—I’m definitely in a whole new world, and that is exactly what keeps us all young, both mentally and physically.  Further, my stress is down and I magically seem to have more time (which was previously a hurdle to joining).

And how about my son?  In this short time, he can already count in Korean.  He has learned what it means to do homework, be respectful, try his best, and earn something he can be proud of.  These earnings are manifested on his belt as two yellow stripes and one blue, symbolizing his accomplishments.  He knows exactly what it took to earn each stripe, and he shows that belt to everyone.  I’m not fully certain what his definition of a superhero is, but he is convinced he is becoming one, and I am too.

What have I learned about CTI at my time at the Littleton school?  It is creating many more superheroes than just my son.  I have never been surrounded by such an exceptional group of citizens.  People older than me are running circles around me in terms of jumping jacks, push-ups, and sit-ups (and that’s just the warm up).  Young children and adults are showing leadership skills rivaled by business leaders I work with every day (and these children have yet to appreciate how valuable these skills really are).  As a group, the members of CTI constantly display exceptional degrees of respect, responsibility, humility, leadership, courage, community, and extraordinary physical capabilities.  I actively manage with whom I surround myself, in hopes I can absorb the greatness of others and find new ways to improve.  This greatness is displayed in CTI members of all ages.  I am beyond pleased I have found CTI; I am in the midst of superheroes that are truly raising the bar out in the real world.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

In Good Company: Celebrities Practicing Martial Arts

If you want to join the ranks of celebrities, football stars, and world leaders, consider taking on a martial arts program; this many successful people can’t be wrong.

When it comes to the practice of taekwondo and other martial arts forms, the hard work and dedication to meet your goals should be a personal journey, a reward in and of itself. While the goal is to advance with humility and modesty, it is also to share your accomplishments with others within your training community. Because of this, it is fun to take some time to get to know what famous people are part of the martial arts community.

First on the list is Jessica Alba. You may know her from such movies as Fantastic Four and Good Luck Chuck. Famous for her fit physic, Alba turns to taekwondo training to stay in shape and get her mind and body movie-ready. The quickness of body movements taekwondo teaches is also essential to her superhero role in Fantastic Four, where she battles the bad guys in fist-to-fist combat.

Pal Jessica Biel, movie starlet and recent bride of Justin Timberlake, also uses martial arts to stay in shape. Martial arts, she says, is “the most amazing workout ever!” Her work with a partner teaches her skills in self defense and, in the true spirit of taekwondo and other martial arts forms, “how to redirect someone’s energy. It gives me a real sense of empowerment.” By adhering to a regular martial arts program, Biel learns skills that prom
ote non-violence while simultaneously developing a positive, healthy sense of self.

Two movie heavy-weights that turn to forms of martial arts are Christian Bale, who used his training to get mind and body-ready for his roles as Batman, and Robert Downey Jr. of Iron Man. Both train with Master Instructor Eric Oram in the Kung Fu style of Wing Chun. They find the physical demands and dedication requirements a perfect regiment to keep their heads and their bodies in the movie-making game.

Movie stars aren’t the only ones who turn to martial arts to keep on top of things. D'Bickashaw Ferguson, the New York Jets’ offensive tackle, trains in taekwondo and has earned a black belt in karate. Not all football stars choose to integrate martial arts training into their workouts but Ferguson, probably because his father is a karate instructor, got started at an early age. Lucky for him, it has appeared to pay off; he is considered to be highly dexterous, with quick footwork and great dedication and discipline, all characterizes that can be traced to the teachings of a martial arts program.

Martial arts training transcends all boundaries and can be practiced by people of all walks of life. Even President Barack Obama, when he isn't running the country, trains in taekwondo, and has earned his green belt. So if you want to join the ranks of celebrities, football stars, and world leaders, consider taking on a martial arts program; this many successful people can’t be wrong.