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Having and Open Mind When Coaching By Drew Thunder Wolf Arthur

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There is a saying “There is nothing new under the sun”. This is true, but in that all trees are not created the same: like some trees which break under pressure some trees which bend under pressure, things can be different. In such a way when different regimes, courses, ways of teaching, instructing, coaching, or adding, and modifying, or combining techniques synergistically can definitely put a new spin on things, and actually become new, or different at a minimum, or even revolutionary at the highest zenith.

Take the titles, and militaristic way I was taught as a kid in Karate classes. The uniform was starched, and I learned to stand at attention (big discipline builder) at a young age before I ever traveled to Parris Island (United States Marine Corps) Boot Camp. This was the way things were done. To be accepted in the martial arts community as an instructor you expected to conform to this way of teaching. I changed over the years, and saw that law enforcement and military schools taught their students in different ways. The University and Churches taught in different ways also. I changed as I was exposed to different methods of instructing, teaching and coaching.


For Instance:

I teach Trinity (Christian) Martial Arts in Tyler, Texas (Green Acres Baptist Church, 1607 Troup Highway, Tyler, Texas, 75701. Phone: (903)-525-1116). I instruct Jiu-Jitsu (Old school and new school) modified without a GI (Uniform). This is submission grappling to, a stop out or choke out. I also teach Muay Thai Kickboxing. I do not teach fighting while wearing a GI because in the street folks do not wear thick Judo or Jiu-Jitsu GIs. If I grab a tee-shirt and attempt to throw a 250 pound man, I might fall forward to the ground with a cloth in my hand and a 250 pound angry man on my back. J. I changed.

I have several different approaches in regards to my method of teaching, in comparison to the traditional school format, and to modern fighting gyms. I still use a moral code of conduct, which is based on the positive parts of the warrior codes of the past and present, from samurai, monks, western knights, US Marines, law enforcement officers, in keeping with Christian based values, etc.

I also utilize, and advocate the teachings of the Christian faith .But the real difference I have incorporated from traditional teaching or from numerous modern fight schools is in teaching along more academic lines. I believe in utilizing combat explicit techniques as warm up exercises. I also believe in doing the loosening up phase, then the warm up phase before the stretching phase. The stretching out phase (also concentrates and incorporates martial arts stretches, and yoga stretches, and stretches from Physical Therapist, different combat sports).

The biggest difference is that even though I hold different black belts, with 6th Dan being the highest level, is that I do not allow the students to call me Master, Sensei, Sifu, Shihan, etc. The students can call me Coach. Because the goal of what I am attempting to do are two parts. I am attempting to infuse Christianity as a pathway (Mental/spiritual growth in the word). I am also attempting to assist each student to absorb, and to possess functional combat skills, and not only to retain these skills, but to be able to execute these skills in at a high level, quickly, and decisively.

Being open minded helps. Like teachers of old, I have a syllabus (list). But, this list is ever changing. I also have a wrestling coach, a Black Belt Instructor from Tae Kwon Do, etc. assisting. I do not restrict the classes to what I know best. I have the students work with the Tae Kwon Do Coach, and Wrestling Coach, and any other coach who joins us. The students do round robins, practicing and accelerating their kicking skills. They then come to my corner of the room, and learn the Fairtex way of Thai Kickboxing (NOTE: Drew a southpaw trained with world champion southpaw Enn Fairtex). On some nights the students scamper to the mats and learn Greco Roman, and Free Style techniques from a coach who understands what a Mixed Martial Arts objective is. These techniques not only tie into what we as a school teach, but, they become part of the curriculum. The students then flow over to me, and I instruct them in no-gi submissions. I learned many of these submissions in real life street arrest situations against resisting, and all out fighting opponents. Other submissions I teach were first learned on mats, and tried successfully during an arrest. All of my training must be backed up by science. This is why I became certified as a Specialist in Martial Arts Conditioning, Specialist in Sports Performance Nutrition, and Cooper Center for Aerobics Research - Physical Fitness Specialist, etc. Having a Black Belt is only part of the equation, you need coaching skills, and scientific based training and conditioning methods.

On occasion when kids get a bit out of hand I have them do pushups. Usually the threat of this stops any loudness. I do not instruct I coach. I work individually with each student to achieve success as any coach would. Often I am asked questions like: “You play Christian Techno Music during your kids, and adult class, and allow kids and adults to call you Coach, with no bowing. Is this disrespectful?” I have to laugh, but coming from a traditional background, I understand this. I explain that music keeps kids as well as older adults pumped up, and they try and train harder. The kids and adults enjoy working out and going further in their training in this manner than when they can only hear their own breathing, grunting, and the sound of my voice. I am proud to be a Coach and do not long for lofty titles. This helps to keep my ego in check. I am a member of the class also. I am downloading all of my knowledge just as fast as the kids and adults can learn, absorb, and retain it. I believe in holding nothing back, nothing at all. If they can uplink, process, and file the info away, we can move on, and keep ACCELERATING.

I am also asked “You do not teach any kata at all; how you can you expect your students will know what they are doing, and can do it”. The simple answer is this. Instead of striking air, my students practice striking pads, heavy bag, and each other during sparring. Instead of pretending in open air to throw a person (concentrating on where an imaginary friend’s arm/torso/leg would be during a move) we go over the technique statically with a partner. This is called a Moving Kata (with another person or static exercise) the partner allows us to do this without resisting against us, over and over. Then they resist 20%, 30% 50%, 80%, and 100%. When a student can do this in training against another student who knows what he/she is about to do, and tries not to allow then to do it, then the student is ready for the final level. The final level is in free sparring stand up and ground fighting all out. The student who has excelled in the moving kata phase of training (against a resisting opponent) can now attempt to break another student’s mental pattern. Once a student unbalances another opponent’s thinking (throwing a monkey wrench into it) the other student has to re-orient, and get set again. What is faster action or re-action? Of course the answer is action. If the student upsets the opponent’s mental set pattern, and acts (scrambles faster) he/she can pull of the technique which they had done so many thousands of times. The student has done this technique (learned integrated motor skills) against another opponent during the practice moving kata phase (static training 20% and upward to 100% resisting phase). In fact the student has done this against many different opponents, of all different sizes, and strengths many times on the mats before this competition, or street fight.

In short:

The two things going for a student who trains like this is that the student is not hindered with just training kata (against an imaginary opponent, or doing slow low speed static training against a non-resisting opponent 100 % of the time). The student has successfully pulled this technique off against class room opponents in the past that knew what he/she was attempting to do and resisted it. That is a positive. The next positive is that the opponent they now face (sporting event, or on the street) does not know what technique they are attempting to pull off, and finally if the student acts quickly (action versus the lag time it takes to react to the 1st initiated action) the student can mess up the opponent pattern of thinking. All of this combines, and happens in a synergistic manner.

Being in an open environment, which utilizes scientific training and teaching in a share all, hold nothing back, and advance at your own pace (as quickly , and safely as you can) helps to nurture accelerated learning.

If we can teach the gist, the meat of the matter, the true essence of fighting (concentrating on high percentage striking , grappling, pressure point, throwing, etc. techniques) and instill good loosening up, warm up, and stretching exercises, and combat specific exercises in an open environment of open sharing, and exchange, we can get every from point A to B quicker. In this manner, I do not believe it has to take a person 10 years to reach a BLACK BELT LEVEL (which should mean that this person understands how to (and the whys of training and conditioning – the physics behind the techniques) of fighting and winning, and being able to do this (fight to win-pulling it off successfully) as best we can at what ever level of health or age we are at a given time.

Drew “Thunder Wolf” Arthur currently resides in the great state of Texas. He is of Native American-Scottish Ancestry. He has served as a US Marine Infantryman/Military Police, Municipal Police Officer in South Florida, and as a Deputy US Marshal in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Honolulu, Las Vegas, and Tyler, Texas. He is a lifetime martial artist. He holds a sixth Dan Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu, and black belts in other systems of combat. He is a Martial Arts Coach, and coaches Christian Based Martial Arts. Drew teaches Trinity (Christian) Martial Arts in Tyler, Texas (Green Acres Baptist Church, 1607 Troup Highway, Tyler, Texas, 75701. Phone: (903)-525-1116).

He has a “Leave your Ego At The Door “ manner of Coaching. He instructs Jiu-Jitsu (Old school and new school) modified without a GI (Uniform). This is submission grappling to, a stop out or choke out. He also teaches Muay Thai Kickboxing. Drew is the Editor in Chief for the US Marshals Service Martial Arts Defensive Tactics Club E-Magazine, and a Contributing Journalist for, which is owned by Bob Wall, and Chuck Norris. Drew is also the “United States Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Association” Texas State Representative and the Texas State Representative for “Koreja Do Christian Martial Arts”.

He can be contacted at:

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For two decades Bob Wall was a force on the tournament circuit placing 1st or 2nd in every major karate championship from 1965 to 1972. Mr. Wall was also a member of the legendary quintet of Chuck Norris, Mike Stone, Joe Lewis, and Skipper Mullins sweeping the world professional titles for 1970, 71, & 72.

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