Positive self talk is so incredibly important. We all have an internal monologue as we go about our day. We think about the things we need to take care of, did you turn off the toaster, worry over your outfit making you look fat, did that cute guy really just flirt with me, and so much more. That internal voice is our constant companion. When it comes to working out, martial arts training, or really doing anything outside of your comfort zone it’s important to not talk yourself out of trying. You can look at a pile of weights and think there is no way you will ever be able to lift them. That line of thinking is crippling. Instead you can’t do a pull up YET but you are working on it. That shift in mindset will open doors for you. You will start to see things as opportunities and adventures waiting to happen. If you can harness the power of positive self talk the world will become a brighter place. You will be surprised at all the amazing things you can accomplish. Working out is hard enough as it is you don’t need the extra burden of your own mind tearing you down. Talk yourself up, be your own best cheerleader, and go out to conquer the world. You are capable of it!
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The comfort zone is that warm and fuzzy place where everything is safe. We don’t grow in the comfort zone. Body positivity is establishing who we are and firmly rooting that image into our comfort zone. In itself, that isn’t a bad thing, but what happens if you want more? Complacency is the death of progress. No matter how much we wish it the world will not stand still for us. If we stop pushing, and the world keeps moving forward, then we fall behind. Fitness, martial arts, nutrition the same rule applies to them. A martial artist who doesn’t practice her skills will start to loose them. A healthy eater who doesn’t adjust their nutrition as she gets older will start to have problems. A fitness buff who does the same thing all the time will plateau. In order to grow we need training that is going to push us outside our comfort zones. For me high intensity is something outside of my comfort zone. No matter what sport I am in I’m always the slow and steady type. That style has served me well, after all I won a world championship undefeated in martial arts. However, complacency is the death of progress. To keep pushing and keep moving forward with my skills I need to train outside of my comfort zone. With both my fitness and martial arts training I’m working on increasing my intensity. After all I wouldn’t be much of a instructor if I can’t practice what I preach. What is your comfort zone and how are you pushing your limits? Give it a try and see how far you can go!
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In many of the eastern martial arts there is this concept of yin and yang, male and female, hard and soft approach to energy. These dual terms represent the energy or mindset of the fighter. The soft or female energy is going to be about the flow of a fight, maintaining a cool head, focusing on redirecting an opponent’s power. The hard or masculine energy is high intensity, often fueled by emotion, focusing on meeting an opponent’s power head on. Both of these approaches are needed to develop a well rounded fighter. The balance between hard and soft energy is a guiding principle behind how we train at Ironside Medieval Combat.
Instructor Janeal Ironside (that’s me) is not only a life long practitioner of martial arts, I’m also a school teacher. I have my master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, meaning I have hundreds of hours of study in how the brain learns. When it comes to training the brain learns best with the soft or female energy. Having a low stress environment where students can focus on learning the new techniques is ideal. The intensity, that hard or masculine energy, comes into the training with drills. Drills are predictable patterns that help develop the pathways in your muscles and brain for fighting. Drills done with proper form at high intensity helps lock in those skill sets.
Most fighters will gravitate toward one energy style or another. Meaning their preference will be to always take things slow or fast. The fighter who always wants to rush through the lesson and get quickly to sparring has the natural disposition of the hard energy level. The fighter who is methodical and will practice slowly until they get it perfect has the natural disposition of the soft energy level. With new students I will teach the person with the natural hard energy to go slower and work soft energy. Students that always want to take things slow are going to be pushed to increase their intensity with their drills. We work the opposite to strengthen our weakness.
It’s important to practice what you preach. Personally, I lean more towards the soft and female energy, which is why it is important for me to train in intensity. That way I can turn my weakness into a strength. Today’s workout was a HIIT routine created by Duncan McCallum and it was incredibly grueling. I pushed as hard as I could and finished it in 29:40. My next step is to clean up my form and get more intensity with this routine. Martial arts is about balance. There is a system or equation that goes into training.
Our training will be reflected in our fighting. The fighter that can master both the yin and yang, hard and soft, male and female energy will have a significant advantage over their opponent. Even if you have zero interest in fighting learning how to harness both energy levels will serve you extremely well in this great journey we call life. Keep training, keep working on turning your weaknesses to strengths, and in the end you will become the best version of yourself that you can be.
You follow the Ironside Medieval Combat page because we caught your attention. Now we would like to win your heart. One of the biggest struggles for people is justifying both the time and expense to train in martial arts. You might ask yourself “Why train in martial arts?” I have people that see the injuries, blood, sweet, and toil I put into my craft and they ask me why I do it. As a martial artist of 30 years may I suggest an answer to that question.
First, you have a responsibility to yourself for your own safety and survival. Much like providing food and shelter, safety is huge for our peace of mind. Martial arts gives you the tools you will need to defend yourself and your loved ones. Sadly, law enforcement can’t be everywhere all the time to provide us with personal protection. Instead, with martial arts you will have the ability to keep yourself safe until help can arrive.
With martial arts training comes the development of your mind. I’m not going to lie, our training is challenging. The training will push you. Through that struggle you will develop mental fortitude. Learn to have better focus, clarity, and stay calm in times of stress. This style of training is for both the mind and the body. They will develop together, and you will be amazed at the things you can accomplish.
The final reason, you will become part of a tribe, a place where you belong. Hardship and dedication bring people together. Have a team there to encourage you, boost you up when you are down; and in turn you will support them when they need it. Never under estimate the power of belonging to something bigger than yourself. Martial arts brings people together of like mind to laugh, train, and compete together.
I train in martial arts for the challenge. I do it for the strength it gives me. I do it for the person I want to be. I do it for the Iron Way. Come join the Ironside MC tribe and become a better version of yourself. The pressure of training will make you physically and mentally stronger. Develop a strong mindset that will improve your life outside of the gym giving you strength, focus, clarity, and since of calm you have never experienced before.