Saturday, September 16, 2017

How to Tie Your Belt

The first thing students say to me after I award them their White Belt is,
"I don't know how to tie this on."

"That's okay," I tell them.  "You don't have to know how to tie it until you are a Black Belt."

Here is a video helping you learn how to tie your belt and fold your uniform.

Flying Tiger Student Portal

Did you know that we have a Student Portal?

It is chalked full or materials to help you develop your martial arts skills, including your Student Warrior Journal and recommended video playlists.

If you are a student of Flying Tiger Self Defense, here is a video explaining how to navigate our student portal.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Stigma that Martial Arts Encourages Fighting?

What is up with the current stigma that teaching Martial Arts to kids will encourage them to fight?

I am consistently hearing parents say they don't want their kids to learn Martial Arts because they don't want them to learn to fight.  And I am constantly hearing from kids, that their parents won't let them do Martial Arts for this same reason.  But these same kids do baseball, football, and soccer.  I am very confused why Martial Arts teaches more aggressive behavior than these other sports.

I though Martial Arts taught you how to defend yourself so that you don't have to fight.

I thought Martial Arts was about finding and developing Self-Control.

I thought Martial Arts helps develop your confidence so you can let bully insults fly by.

I thought Martial Arts teaches you de-escalation techniques so that you can prevent a physical altercation.

I thought Martial Arts develops your strength, balance, coordination, mind skills, life skills, and helps prevent Alzheimer's in Adults.

I know I have had students stand-up to their peers when they have been bullied.

I know I have had students stand-up for a friend that was being picked on physically.

I know I have had students improve their listening and focus in the academic classroom.

In 24 years of teaching Martial Arts, I have never been called by a parent or principal because one of my students got into a fight.

I know I have had students come to me or my coaches and ask tips for dealing with early bullying and teasing.  And I am happy to say these students have come back to class proud that the tips helped and the bullying and teasing diminished.

I know we have strict rules for our students about fighting and using their Martial Arts for anything other than defending themselves.

So, where is this stigma coming from? Why are parents so hesitant to put their kids in martial arts and especially self-defense focused classes?


Would you like to learn more about us and our philosophy?
Please visit, like, follow and share:

My Martial Arts Community Facebook Page - Flying Tiger Self Defense
Facebook – Kid Wisdom
Pinterest – Sunny Jones - Education
My Store: Also, for additional learning resources – lesson plans and curriculum please visit my store on Facebook  @sunny.jones.MEd 

Monday, August 14, 2017

More on Martial Art Styles

There are so many Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools popping up all over the place. And it's hard not to get wrapped up in the my style and my school is the best battle.

If you know or follow us, you know we don't get all caught up in that silliness.

However, our students do talk to their friends at other martial arts schools and sometimes this causes confusion. So let me clear up what we focus on.

What do we teach?

As our name says we are a self defense school. That means we teach self defense skills first and sport or tournament skills second.  Also, we do not require students to compete to promote levels. However, if you do want to compete we will help you prepare and encourage you whether it be for a BJJ tournament or Karate tournament.

What is the difference between sport and self defense martial arts? 

Curriculum design and what you learn in what order.

For example, a self defense school will teach you how to defend yourself from white belt, but a sport school may save self defense skills until you are a black belt or you may never learn self defense skills.
Image result for self defense jiu jitsu
From Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu (a self defense based school)
 A sport martial arts school will teach you the skills you need to win a tournament.
Image result for brazilian jiu jitsu

Most self defense schools will teach you sport martial arts as well, but usually not until you are a higher belt.

Image result for self defense jiu jitsu
Honestly, with good sound self defense skills, you can win tournaments, be it karate or BJJ style tournaments. You just may not win them as a white belt or intermediate belt, since your training focus is on self defense. But as a higher belt, you will start seeing how your skills as just as "good" as the tournament competitor's skills.
Image result for self defense jiu jitsu

However, all quality black belts look, perform, and resemble the same style when you reach the top (aka advanced black belt). As we like to say, the body only moves in so many ways.

Image result for martial arts belt ladder

Our Curriculum is good for:

  • You, if you want a self-defense focused skills whether it be striking martial arts based, grappling martial arts based, or strictly women's self-defense based.
  • You, if you are not too interested in tournaments or just want to occasionally complete.
  • You, if you are not interested in the fighter mentality or MMA training facility.  We are a family Academy where no one gets hurt, and everyone goes to work the next day.  
  • You, if you like a family atmosphere where you can train with your kids.
I hope this helps answer some questions you may have.  If you have additional questions about what we teach and if your system is for you please reach out to us.


Free Martial Arts Instructor Tools & Parent Tools for Educating Your Kids

For other free martial arts instructor tools, please like my professional Facebook page - Sunny Jones - Education, like my martial arts community Facebook page - Flying Tiger Self Defense or follow this blog.  

Thanks for your support!


Please subscribe, follow, and visit the following:

My Martial Arts Community Facebook Page - Flying Tiger Self Defense
Facebook – Kid Wisdom
Pinterest – Sunny Jones - Education
My Store: Also, for additional learning resources – lesson plans and curriculum please visit my store on Facebook  @sunny.jones.MEd 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

My Warrior Stripe Martial Arts Curriculum Guide

Martial Arts Instructors, I have a tool to help you boost your classes.  It has really helped boost mine. 

Check out this guide to my Warrior Stripe program. 

If you like it, you can find customizable Warrior Challenges in My Store

Also, for other free martial arts instructor tools, please like my professional Facebook page - Sunny Jones - Education, like my martial arts community Facebook page - Flying Tiger Self Defense or follow this blog.  
Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What Martial Art Style is the Best?

Last night I was listening to a BJJ Black Belt. He was trying to convince a potential student that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is so much better than karate. He told the kid to go watch some Royce Gracie fights from the 1990's and this would prove how much better BJJ is than other styles.
Image result for master ken
I too used to have the "my style is best" attitude. I now realize that I was an influential teen being told this over and over again by my instructor, who needed to promote his school and keep students.

In 2007, as a 2nd degree Black Belt in a mostly Kenpo based style, I discovered the Association of Women Martial Arts Instructors (AWMAI) and the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists (PAWMA). Through these organization, I was introduced to the benefits of many martial arts styles and my view started to evolve.

The Current BJJ is Best Trend
BJJ is the current hot martial art.  10 years ago it was Kung Fu.  Before that it was Kenpo and it's siblings (at least in the west U.S.). And somewhere in there was Krav Maga.

BJJ schools are popping up everywhere, and these instructors need to make money, so yes, they are going to sell their art as the best. Most of these instructors are very skilled in their art, but have not explored many other arts.

So, let me tell you a secret.  BJJ steals from other styles! Yes, it is true.  BJJ instructors are okay with their martial art continually evolving, so when they see a technique that works in other styles, they steal it and use it. When it works in a tournament, they name it, and it becomes branded as BJJ. BJJ is full of old school Japanese Judo, current Judo, Karate, Aikido, and many other styles. Where do you think all those joint locks and submissions came from?

The simple fact is the body only moves in so many ways and as you climb the pyramid of martial arts to the top, all the styles start to resemble each other.  At the bottom of the pyramid, they all look very different, but this is only because they value different primary skills. As you continue up the pyramid, the techniques and moves all start to look similar.
Image result for master ken bjj

So what is the best Martial Art?

The best martial art is the one you enjoy, brings you peace, friendship, fitness, and makes you happy.

Image result for master ken

But what is the best Martial Art for Self Defense?

Like I said, eventually all martial arts lead to some self-defense application.  But, if you don't want to spend 20 years to finally have skills you can apply to self-defense, then here is my recommendation.

Find a school that is well-rounded in these areas:

  • Solid Stand-up skills against punches, kicks, and grabs. You need to know how to throw basic self-defense strikes like kicks to the knees and heal palms to the face.  We call these stunning strikes or bonus shots, so that you can stun the person and get away. (Note: Many BJJ schools only teach a few of these skills or none. Look at Roger Gracie. In the past few years, he has really had to go learn "other styles" to approve his stand-up game for MMA. His ground game was, of course, awesome (he is a Gracie), but his stand-up was frankly, horrible. Now, he at least looks like he won't fall over on his feet when he throws a kick.  You need to know more than what most BJJ's schools teach you -not just one or two blocks.
  • Solid Clinching and Trapping from Standing.  Think current JKD trappling, Judo clinching, and set-up takedowns in BJJ. I haven't had these skills for 20 years, and every time I was trapped, I would panic.  You need to know how to "Bridge the Gap" with larger opponents when you can't beat their attack with blocks and you need to do the clinch. 
  • Takedowns - Once you are in the clinch you need to know what to do. You need to know how to get away, how to avoid being taken down, and when and how to do a takedown on the other person. 
  • Solid defense against weapons - standing and on the ground
  • Solid ground game. You need to know how to break an attack from the ground and get back to your feet.  You need to know how to block punches from the ground and control an enraged attacker.   
  • Other - There are a few other areas that a well rounded black belt needs to know, but for beginners, the five above are what I believe to be most important.

Don't be a Blind Follower

Take a look at the list above.  If your school or instructor doesn't value all these areas, then don't jump on the "My style is best" band wagon.  This doesn't mean your instructor is bad or his style is bad.  It just means that if you want to have well-rounded self defense skills, then you need to seek training in a few additional areas.
Image result for master ken

Embrace your style, but don't be an elitist snot!

I love my standup skills.  I am long and tall, and these skills work best for me.  This doesn't mean they are the best for everyone though. And ironically, because of a damaged back (from being an airline pilot, and not from martial arts), I can no longer spar in stand-up. But I can roll in BJJ with soft training partners, so the "best art" for me is slowly changing.  In years, maybe internal arts like Tai Chi will be the arts for me. And when I was pregnant, it was the best art for me.

In the past 10 years, I have really had to work hard to become a more a well-rounded black belt. I have had to also work hard on my school's curriculum to embrace all areas of self-defense and make sure my beginning to advanced students are all learning well-rounded self-defense. This is a continually evolving process.  As my dad says, "if you get old and stinky, you die." In martial arts terms, this means you need to keep you self defense skills current with the times. Most places in the world don't fight with swords anymore.  This is cool to learn, but it doesn't make you awesome at current world self-defense.  

So when your instructor starts the "My Martial Art is the Best" business.  Don't be a snot.  Keep your mouth shut, but don't jump on that band wagon. 


Here are some recommendation of materials from "well-rounded" martial artists instructors. These contain affiliate links.  By clicking on the links and purchasing from these links, I get commission on your purchase.  This is one way, I support my family and can provide you with free materials on this blog. Please support me by subscribing to this blog and sharing this blog.

DAVE-KOVAR-A-Dad-039-s-Toolbox-for-Better-Parenting-Like-New-Mint Dave Kovar (aff link) 
Master-Fariborz-Azhakhs-Hapkido-Series-Title-DVDsFariborz Azhakh (aff link)

No-Pouting-in-the-Dojo-by-Cathy-Chapaty-Hardcover-Book-English Cathy Chapaty (aff link)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Can Kid's Really Learn to Defend Themselves?

Image result for kids defending themselvesI was listening to a YouTube video last night discussing the reason why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu doesn't award black belts to youth (under 18 yrs old).  There were several comments I agreed with in the discussion, such as not awarding a black belt to an 8 year old. But there were a few point I didn't agree with, and one that worried me immensely. It was the belief this instructor had that kids are incapable of defending themselves against larger opponents or attackers.

The instructor in the video commented that kids can't be black belts in Brazillian Jiu-jitsu because they aren't big and strong enough to defend themselves until they are a minimum of 18-21 yrs old. Say what??? I am okay saying they can't be black belts until that age because they are not mature enough or because their bodies are not physically developed to complete all the techniques, but to say they can't defend themselves until this age is crazy! (Now, I know not every BJJ instructor or program has this belief.  For example we don't, and the school I came up with didn't have this belief).

First, let me set my standard on defending an attack.  I believe it is the ability to break the grab attack, block the strike or weapon attack, and then get away! Isn't getting away the real goal? And I don't believe you need to be a black belt to do this. I start out day one with all students teaching them how to defend themselves. Realistically, it take about a year of training to have enough knowledge to defend most attacks, but I believe students who only take one month of classes from me are better prepared to defend and attack then someone who hasn't taken any self defense. Of course, a black belt is going to be more prepared to defend themselves, but that doesn't mean white belts can't defend themselves.
Image result for kids defending themselves
Second, let me tell you my standard for awarding a black belt (adult or junior black belt), so that you know I stand for my belief that kids can defend themselves. In my opinion a truly skilled black belt must have "the ability to defend oneself against any attack thrown – grab, weapon, ground attack, etc.  Defense skills used must be effective [and one must demonstrate the] ability to defend oneself, escape, and never give up." There are additional requirements such as time in training, good moral character, fitness etc., but I hope this cuts to my point that I believe kids and adults have the ability to defend themselves against an attacker.

FYI - In our school, it takes about 8-10 years for an average kid to achieve Junior Black Belt and 1-5 years more to earn full Black Belt. That means a kid who starts at 6 year old (our minimum age to start teaching actual self defense skills) won't be qualified to earn a junior black belt until a minimum age of 14 yrs.  And yes, I know my 14 year old students can defend themselves. That doesn't mean I am going to throw them into a group of gangbangers and say, "defend yourself."  It means that if they use all of their abilities to avoid an attack, then if one does unfortunately arise, I know they will do everything possible to survive that situation. For full Black Belt I do not have a minimum age, but 16 years old is about the youngest most youth are prepared for the responsibility of being a Black Belt and have the maturity to complete all the requirements for full Black Belt. This is my standard and those who don't agree or like this standard can seek training from a different school, but I believe this sets a high standard for Black Belt that is reasonable and obtainable. But I am getting off point....

Back to why I believe kids can learn to defend themselves.

My Reasoning behind my Belief

  1. I have seen it first hand over 24 years of teaching youth. It only takes one good strike, kick, or putting up a strong fight to distract an attacker long enough to get away. Remember, getting away is the goal! 
  2. Watch the news. About once per year, I see a kid who defends a kidnapper, attacker, etc. If this isn't enough proof than nothing I can say will change your mind, and we will just have to agree to disagree on this point.
Bad things happen. You can do everything possible to avoid them, but they may still happen.  I teach kids to defend themselves in case something bad does happen.  And I believe 100% that a child under the age of 18 can defend themselves.


How to Tie Your Belt

The first thing students say to me after I award them their White Belt is, "I don't know how to tie this on." "That&#...