What positive effects have martial arts had on your life?

What positive effects have martial arts had on your life?

Confidence. The most positive effect martial arts have had on my life is confidence. The confidence I have in myself has helped me to achieve and be successful in many aspects of my life. I started martial arts training at a young age and have had the opportunity to do many things in my life.

I was a black belt at 14 years old, joined the Canadian Forces Reserve at 17, student council president in my graduation year, joined the RCMP at 20 years old and move across the country at 21. Started my own jiu-jitsu school at 24 years old and a provincial jiu-jitsu association in my late 20’s. I was also the first person in BC to host a multi discipline training camp and sport jiu-jitsu tournament. I have traveled across BC demonstrating and teaching jiu-jitsu and have traveled to the US, England and Japan.

In my policing career I have been a general duty officer, traffic officer, drug investigator, property crimes investigator, training officer, media liaison officer, and volunteer coordinator. When transferred to the provincial training academy I assisted in developing and implementing the first mandatory recertification course in the country. I was also a member of the national core-working group that redesigned use of force training and articulation for all RCMP members in Canada. Most recently I was given the task of rolling out carbine training for front line officers in BC. I have been in acting Sgt and S/Sgt position in charge of up to 30 people. I have had a great 26-year career.

Kids who grow up with self-confidence are not bullied, have an easier time making friend and are not afraid to try new things. Confidence, this is positive effect martial arts training has had on my life.

What positive effects have martial arts had on your life?

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Give and take credit where credit is due

During my career in the martial arts, which has spanned about 37 years, I have had the privilege of training and learning from some very great instructors.  Unfortunately one of the pitfalls of the martial arts are the politics involved in them at a certain point in your progression.

When I was about 21, I left home for a career in policing, this meant I moved clear across the country.  A few years after I left home my father and I ended up leaving the school we had belonged to for over 20 years.  The reasons we left are not important for this article, and frankly it is all behind us now.  The theme of this article is about credit given and taken.  I would like to believe that in my last 21 years I have accomplished many things in the martial arts, founding an organization, creating my own dojo which has been successfully operating for over 20 years, creating a network of dojos under my umbrella that work well together and improving my own skills and knowledge.

All of these things would not have been possible without the influence of my teachers in my formative years.  Although we may not be aligned anymore I do give them total credit for many of the things I have learned, be professional, work hard, promote professional events, make people feel welcome… I have no problem giving credit where credit is due.

What I wonder is do these people take credit for I have accomplished?  I would have no problem if my early mentors were to say, hey, that Steve Hiscoe guy on the westcoast, he used to train here, he was my student, I taught him xyz…

I have had students leave my school and want to pursue their own paths also.  Some of theses students have gone on to great careers and have used the skills I have taught them.  I have no problem endorsing them and even saying, they were my students at one time.

Give credit where credit is due

What is your role as a self-defense instructor?

In the twenty years that I have been teaching self-defense I have literally come into contact with thousands of students. From children, teenagers, young adults, middle aged adults and older adults, men and women. I have had students who have been blessed with natural athletic abilities and some who have had to work really hard to move forward.

When I first started my dojo back in 1992 I was only 24 years old and was used to the crash and bang style I had grown up doing. After operating for a few years I quickly realized that the blow throw blow attitude I had about training was not going to be conducive for all students. I still remember one female student who was in her late 40s, had 2 bad knees and other aches and pain on a daily basis. She was already a black belt in karate and had devoted the past 4 years to her learning. Remember when I said some people had to work hard to learn, she worked hard. There were a couple of areas in which she excelled and hardly matched, that was her enthusiasm, dedication and heart. When I promoted her to black belt a few of the other newly promoted black belts questioned her exam. You see she had not perform to the exact same standard as they had. It should be noted that those commenting were in their mid 20s, with natural ability and limited martial arts experience.

I explained to them that indeed they had performed an above average test but that each person must also be judged on their own performance. Did she match their test, no, but did she perform to her highest abilities, indeed she did.

I currently have a potential student who has come to class and expressed that he really enjoyed what he learned and say. I received an email from him advising he wants to come back but that he doesn’t want to drag the class down. He is a little older then most students but appears to have the desire to learn.

If you want to learn, I want to teach.

You see my role as a self-defense (jiu-jitsu) instructor is to teach people to protect themselves, this means whoever walks into my dojo and expresses the right reasons for wanting to take lessons. It is not to judge them as they walk into the school and predict that this person will never be a star black belt. My job is to teach them in order for them be the best they can be. Their job is to give me all they have, enthusiasm, attention, sweat, blood, tears….what ever it takes to learn. If we tell them not to bother because they will not achieve black belt then I think we are doing a dis-service.

That being said I do have to take into account the individual’s safety in relation to the type of training we do. If the potential student is physically not able to participate and I need to modify my lessons beyond the norm then I would have to discuss with the individual other options.

If they give me what I ask for then a black belt in not out of reach, it just might take a little longer. Will it be pretty maybe not but it doesn’t need to be pretty, it needs to be effective.

How do you see your role as a self-defense instructor?