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Coach’s Corner

The Company We Keep

Surround yourself by people you truly trust and are assured their motive are in line with yours. Far too often friends are the fair weather kind but their true nature does not surface until some form self sacrifice or jealously is eminent. Friends true to heart will keep their word, sacrifice immediate pleasure for long term loyalty and rather share good fortune than hoard it. Take stock in who is around you…who do you call friend?

Lou Holtz once said that Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.

We all have ability to one degree or another, the beauty of the journey of martial arts is the limitless paths to explore and develop different aspects of ourselves. When we begin to believe there is no more to learn or become a master of our own domain then that journey has stopped tragically short. Our attitude will let us continue the journey or stop it. -A

How Good Are You

By nature I always root for an underdog, maybe some repressed or harbored issues from childhood…who knows. As a coach I watch closely during practice, especially sparring, at how people train together. Nothing is more disappointing than watching someone who is significantly more experienced take advantage of the partner. I equate it to an adult playing dodge-ball against a bunch of grade schoolers…yeah, no kidding you’re bigger and stronger did you need to take their heads off?! Taking privileges with a partner you are obviously better than is almost cowardly in my opinion. You don’t get any better, your partner doesn’t get any better If you are that good then use one hand or let them work and practice your defense. Someone who is legitimately good can train productively with anyone! -A

Me Me Me

John Ruskin was quoted as saying “When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package.” A person who’s biggest loyalty is to him/herself is really missing the boat in the grand scheme of life and isn’t even close when it comes to the spirit of martial arts or the way of the warrior. Anyone who has ever served in the armed forces or similar service-oriented organization understands the need to be selfless and the needs of the many often outweigh those of the few. Those who have never experienced this are easy to spot by their actions and words as everything they say and do is geared toward their own self interest and often with disregard to anyone else. I am often puzzled by those who participate in the martial arts but don’t subscribe to one of it’s most sacred foundations, that of being a selfless warrior. Troops have been documented countless times as saying they don’t fight for their country or political causes but for their fellow soldier next to them because at any moment either one may pay the ultimate sacrifice willingly or not to save the other.

What kind of martial artist are you? One who is dedicated to mastering the craft and makes everyone around you better in the process or one who is focused solely inward without paying a second thought to how it affects anyone else? A self-absorbed martial artist is an oxymoron. People always tire of a self-promoting person. A true martial artist, a true warrior, trains and fights not for himself but to be able to affect everyone around him in a positive way. A person who takes and never gives back always ends up with less in the end. -A


Respect is a term often associated with the martial arts yet ironically often misunderstood. We generally equate respect to that of a student respecting the instructor and the dojo or training facility; showing up on time, paying attention, and not abusing the facility or equipment. Where we often lag is respect for our fellow students and teammates. Have you ever let your personal goals and desires interfere with helping a team member? How about letting your pride or ego get in the way of being a good training partner? When you show up to training show up with a singular purpose to focus for that single hour. Paying attention in class is more than just being respectful to the instructor, it shows your classmates you are there to learn and respect their desire to learn. The class clown may get the chuckle but nobody really wants that person as a partner.

Immanuel Kant once said “Always treat people as ends in themselves, never as means to an end.” Martial arts is as much about the people in class around you as it is about yourself. -A


As we begin a new year and take stock of where we have been and where we want to go with our lives and goals, consider not only focusing on yourself but those around you too. What can you do to make those around you better? Are you a positive source for somebody in your life or are you only concerned with yourself? As MAMA students and teammates go out of your way to motivate and support someone each training session in the gym, at work or at school….you will be suprised how contagious it can be! -A

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