Archive for July 2010

Bullyproof as initiation

I have now completed lesson three wit the girls and I have watched much more of the Bullyproof DVD collection to stay ahead.

One thing that strikes me right away is what an awesome system to raise young cowboys and warriors. This system is designed first of all to create a bond between parent and child. With the “expect nothing, praise everything” approach you truly build up confidence and validate your child throughout the session. The transfer teaching technique gives you the awesome possibility to model everything and allow your child to learn through your modelling and feeling great about themselves the whole time.  To learn more of the Gracie Bullyproof teaching methodologies, sign up on Graciekids and access the parent preparation course.

Over and over again in the DVD series I hear Rener and Ryron Gracie say to the boys, “let’s see if he’s got what it takes” and then because of their teaching methodology goes on to prove just that, this kid has what it takes. Now imagine hearing that over and over again several days a week for years between the age of four and sixteen. And on top of that, you are also learning a martial art and how to become a Warrior!

Starting Bullyproof

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So last week I started training Gracie Jiu-jitsu with my girls. Anja is four and Angelina is six years old (Angelina has been cheating by doing a term of Judo first).

I signed the girls up at Graciekids and started with the first free sample lesson from the gracie games (crazy horse) and the girls loved it. And after listening to the parent preparation course I am sold on this system.

The gracie brothers contend that if you play the gracie games with your kids, and if you expect nothing but praise everything, then your kids will fall in love with jiu-jitsu. So after having done just two sessions, one with crazy horse and then introducing them to spider kid, they are completely hooked. The girls are asking now every day. Dad…. can we play jiu-jitsu? So they are loving it! Me, oh, I am loving it too! First of all I love Jiu-Jitsu, second of all, I love that the girls wanna play a game that I like. But it doesn’t end there…

Here comes my secret, I am learning so much about jiu-jitsu playing these games. That’s right I am LEARNING Gracie Jiu-Jitsu by playing games with my kids. It doesn’t get better than this.

The greatest honour

First I read it on facebook, then I read it on twitter, and then a whole blog post describing how I got beaten in the Schola at my own game (ground fighting). I get a bit bewildered at this, what’s the big deal?

But I realise that I have been there to, when you are no longer a beginner in martial arts and you can roll with the best and suddenly you score a few wins against a trainer, a black belt, and it is a big deal. I remember my first win against Gabriel ..

Truth to be told, it should be a big deal! For me to. Understand me correctly here, I get beaten by my students all the time, in fact I have never had a serious student that has not beaten me! This either means that I am that lousy at fighting or that I am a really good instructor, and I will let my students be the judge of which is true. I fight my students all the time, I put no prestige in winning or loosing, as long as I win or loose well. It is important to always fight to your ability, to never perform badly. I do fight at the level of my students (this does not mean letting them win), I pace myself according to their investment in the fight. I match strength and speed when I can (I have many students who are stronger than me) And I may allow a student to gain an advantage (like a mount or a guard) to allow them to practice their skills. But I never let them win, if they win it is because they executed the right technique at the right time and I could not have stopped it at the time.

Why do I say all this? To make Mackans win less important? No! But to try to get a cross our philosophy: winning or loosing matters little, it is how well you fight.

I am not ashamed when I am beaten by my students. It is the greatest honour I know. It is a testament to all the time and effort I have put in training and coaching them. If I where afraid they would beat me one day I would have to keep a secret bag of tricks (black belt techniques) that I don’t teach in fear that they might win over me. No, I teach every trick I know regardless of the level of the student, I give away all my secrets, hoping that one day they will get all the little bits together and beat me at my own game.

So Mackan, to your victory VIVAT! May there be many more!

Sir Colin "Gabriel" Hatcher recognised as Magistro of Schola Saint George

At the latest symposium in Atlanta, Schola Saint George instructor, and my mentor was finally recognized as Magistro (the highest rank available in SSG).  Here is an excerpt from the SSG website.

On May 30, the SSG was proud to make a long-overdue recognition. Colin Hatcher, who was present in the first SSG class in San Jose, California (2001), has in the years that followed contributed significantly to the Schola Saint George, not only as a renowned combatant, but as a researcher and teacher as well. As such, it was an honor to recognize the first non-founding Magistro within the SSG. 

This award is long overdue as Colin’s prowess and renown speak for themselves. Colin has long been contesting that he is the most skilled yellow belt in SSG (I slightly spoiled it by awarding him the blue belt in London 2008 :P, as if I could ver presume to grade Colin) and now finally his ranking matches his skill.

It is an honour to have fought along side such a great man and indeed to be mentored by such a skilled warrior and humble Knight.

The Father Wound

It’s always there isn’t it! Today my father was in town and there was talk of them coming by our Sunday service. I spent all the extra energy to make it a spectacular service, after all my dad has never seen me lead a service nor preach, and I was so happy that he would come and se as we are doing Epic (A cinematic experiential church service with loads of story telling).

And there we are, I am arriving at the church three hours before the service, exhausted (haven’t slept well), but hey we are doing Epic act 2, a whole service on the war in heaven and the enemy. And then I find out that our tech person isn’t going to show up to do the presentation and sound (Very bad with a service relying heavily on video, sound and lights). But again we are doing a whole service on the enemy some opposition is to be expected.

Then comes the news. My dad has decided to go watch my brothers girlfriend in a rowing race rather than coming to the service and I am down, K.O’d. out of action. Suddenly I am again the 11 year old kid who’s father has told him he is going to send him away. The 12 year old who has to go alone to the train station because his fathers new family needs him more, the 13 year old … well you get the picture. All the old wounds are so fresh and hurting. And here comes the lies, my old friends, you are unimportant, you are a nobody, you are not worth anybodies time.

And I make the same resolutions all over again, fine, I don’t need anyone, I am all alone on my own and I will just prove them all that I don’t need them!

I walk through the rest of the day in a daze and, I cant really meet my fathers eyes or engage in the conversation at dinner. I don’t want it all out now not with all the family (his and mine) around.

Does it ever end, must this destructive pattern repeat ad infinitum. I sure hope not, I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

Shrek forever after, A fairy tale that echoes into real life

On Friday I took the girls to see Shrek – Forever after. The girls where excited about going to the movies and even more so how the glasses they where wearing would make Fiona come right into the movie theatre (3D is a marvellous thing)

The movie starts with this beautiful family day and Fiona sighing at the end of the day “I wish every day could be like this” and it is roughly. Shrek finds himself in the treadmill of parenthood and everyday life and before the kids first birthday he finds himself longing for the good old days, when he was feared and had time alone.

Pause: Isn’t this just how we see most marriages around us crumble, during this crucial time. The first year of a child, husband and wife dynamics are disrupted and this little thing, wonderful as it is, is demanding 100% time and attention. The woman withdraws her attention from the man and focusses solely on the baby. The man feels he has no place in the family any longer except as a bread winner and retreats into work (If he has taken his question to her earlier, am I a man? Then whatever the answer was before, now more than ever the answer is a resounding no! You can’t do anything right).

In desperation Shrek makes an agreement with Rumplestiltskin. He trades one day of his childhood for a day of pure mean lean green ogreness! As always with agreements the prize is higher than he expected. Rumple takes the day Shrek was born and so, Fiona was never rescued and his children where never born but worst of all Rumplestiltskin is now the king of Far Far Away due to an agreement made by Fionas parents with Rumple to end fionas curse.

Here is where the movie shows its brilliance. In making an agreement with “the enemy” Shrek, not only checks out, but actually goes of to relive the glory days, loosing his wife and children in the process.

Fiona, never rescued out of the tower becomes a strong but guarded (controlling, cynical) woman who does not believe in love anymore.

It is such an apt description of what we see over and over again in men and women around us. Not all men check out completely, not all marriages fail and not all women become controlling and guarded. But the brokenness is there.

Shrek really nails it when he says: “It wasn’t just that I wasn’t there for you to rescue you out of the tower, I wasn’t there for you every day after that either.”

So many men think that once you have gotten her past the dragon out of the tower, that the battle for their bride is over. Truth is it’s a battle we must fight everyday.

Shrek finally realises that he already had all he needed, that the glory days weren’t that glorious and that he now must step up and fight for his bride, his marriage and his family.

Shrek again strikes gold when right at the end he says: “Do you know what the best of it was? I got to fall in love with you all over again”

It is in the battle for our families we learn to love and appreciate what we have.

Shrek forever after is a brilliant movie! It is a fairy tale that echoes with truth and insight into life as it really is. Don’t miss it!

Faith, Trust and Pixie dust

Do you need faith in god to be a knight? The question was asked on my youtube channel. The simple answer is yes and no!

You must have faith to be a knight! Faith is one of the Knightly virtues and there can be no Knighthood without faith. How will you be able to believe in a greater good without faith, how can you choose love and the high road when all you see is selfishness hatred and the low road. It takes faith!

Now having said that I also must point out that for me faith is not simply answering the question: “is there a god?” No for me god is a reality I live in, it is to real to require any faith on my part. It’s an irrefutable fact in my life. Faith for me is to trust god in the little things, to trust that he loves me when I can’t love myself. To trust that he will forgive me when I don’t feel I can forgive myself. To trust that he listens when I cannot feel his presence and to trust that he speaks when I cannot discern his voice.

It requires faith to trust god, to trust other people and to trust that the world can be better than it currently is. It requires faith to believe that the world IS more than meets the eye. Not everything is as it seems. There is magic in the world, and wonder it requires faith to believe that and to see it.

Yes you must have faith to be a Knight. Maybe you do not need faith in god, maybe all you need is faith in love (God is love) or faith in truth (I am the truth) or faith in life (I am the life) or faith that you are walking the right way (I am the way) even though everyone is walking in the other direction. Aslan says in C.S. Lewis, the last battle, You cannot serve virtue and not serve me!

So you cannot e a good Christian without walking the path of knighthood and if Lewis is right, then you cannot walk the path of true knighthood without becoming a good Christian.

Initiation and the importance of ritual

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I have long tried to envision the day when I finally arrive at the starting blocks. When I can finally say that I have come to the first step of my journey onwards.

When you begin with the Martial arts it is a common misconception that the black-belt is the goal of any given art. Contrary to this belief the black-belt is really the starting point at which you can begin to truly practice the art. Likewise in my MMORPG (Anarchy online) the highest level is where the endgame starts, the real game where you get to see if all the time and effort you put into the character will finally pay of.

Not saying that the journey there wasn’t important it certainly is the path where you learn the vital skills that you later must have to make it in the endgame.

So in my quest for knighthood it is equally important to realise that becoming a knight is actually not realising a goal but stepping up onto the starting blocks of the real race. Right now I play in little league hoping to qualify for the big game, the real arena, the place where the real battle is fought.

And it is therefore so important that arriving at the starting blocks, the endgame, the real battle must not happen unnoticed, without the proper initiation. It must be together with the people that have been there for the duration of the Journey. It must be a somber moment of initiation, knowing that now, at last comes the real battle. It must be with all the ritual and liturgy that it takes to embed this milestone into the very core of the new knight. so that he or she will never forget this moment.

It is the initiation, the official: “You have what it takes” that every boy longs for before entering manhood and very man wished he had gotten.

It is of course nigh impossible to arrive at this point in time without first being chosen as a squire of a knighted knight. It is the knight mentoring the young squire that gets the squire ready for knighthood. Laying all that aside, when the day comes I want the all night vigil, the slap with the gauntlet, the chain, the belt , the stirrups and I want to be knighted with this sword!

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