Warrior Lifestyles: Why Starting Martial Arts At A Young Age Is A Good Idea

I was asked what I would be enrolling my 5-year old daughter in for a summer activity. I replied that I was enrolling her in a karate class. There was quite a bit of shock and I was asked if I was sure I wanted to enroll her that young, wouldn’t a dance class be better instead, etc. I replied that starting martial arts training young is actually better for them. Here’s why:

It Builds Discipline

Martial arts training involves a lot of discipline. In fact, all martial arts, whether western or eastern, involves building discipline in addition to the physical regimen. Discipline is an important trait that everyone should develop. It can be argued that a lot of the trouble you see kids getting into is because of a lack of discipline. By training discipline early, you also set the foundations for the next benefit:

It Builds a Culture of Respect

One of the core aspects of martial arts training is respect. This is the aspect that focuses on teaching the student to not abuse their strengths, and to respect everyone. As with a lack of discipline, I feel it’s evident that a lot of children aren’t being taught the value of respect, but are instead being taught to embrace entitlement. Parents seem to think it’s cute in kids then realize too late that they can’t reverse it.

By teaching aspiring martial artists the value of respecting others, they are also taught to respect themselves. A lot of emotional abuse that even adults go through is because of the lack of self-respect; they believe they deserve to be in the bad situations they’re in. By teaching self-respect, kids can learn to not accept abuse from others and that their value lies within; it is not defined by others.

It’s a Practical Form of Exercise

One of the biggest hurdles in teaching kids the value of physical exercise for health reasons is they’re usually too young to see the point. After all, most kids feel invincible and a lot are fit from all the playing they do. The problem comes later in life when exercise becomes a must in order to stay fit. Given that martial arts are a practical form of exercise, it won’t be hard to get kids to get into it.

It Never Hurts To Know Self-Defense

In today’s world, with all the violence that seems to occur on a weekly basis, knowing self-defense is a must, especially for young women. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. Given that even children aren’t safe from attacks or bullying, having kids learn martial arts at a young age can help them stay safe. In best-case scenarios, they’ll even be able to deter conflict, keeping themselves and others safe.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that other activities such as sports or dancing don’t have their merits or teach similar values. But as a martial arts student myself, I know firsthand what benefits it can offer children. In fact, I wish I had started learning martial arts at a younger age as I’m sure it would have helped me through a lot of the problems I had growing up.

What activities would you want your kids to learn from a young age? If you’d like them to try martial arts, is there a particular martial art you’d want them to learn?

Ratings Versus Reach: Is The WWE’s PG Era Bad For Business?

When you ask a lot of WWE fans about the PG era that the WWE is in right now, they’ll tell you that it lacks the energy and magic of the Attitude Era which elevated the WWE to the levels it has reached today. They aren’t wrong; fights are tamer, bloodshed is mostly avoided, and anti-heroes like Stone Cold Steve Austin have been replaced with tamer rebels like Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.

But is this bad for business? One can argue that moving away from what made them popular is a bad move, but there are elements that aren’t considered by most viewers. Here’s why we feel that the PG Era is actually good for the WWE:

Less Hardcore, Less Wellness Violations

One of the things that people absolutely loved about the Attitude era were the hardcore matches. Unguarded chair shots, people thrown through windows and off cages, brass tacks on the mat. People were nuts for it. But it also led to a lot of injuries, both minor and major. Injuries were dangerous because being gone from the spotlight too long meant that momentum they built was lost.

In order to avoid having to take time off, a lot of superstars turned to painkillers and alcohol which has led to some of wrestling’s most infamous matches, like the match where Jeff Hardy showed up too drunk to fight.  Other wrestlers, such as Paige have been suspended or released due to wellness violations. The safer PG era makes these matches less intense, and thus less injury.

Less Focus On Kayfabe

Kayfabe is the conceit that pro wrestling cultivates that everything in wrestling is real. The gimmicks are real, the feuds and personas are real, the Undertaker is really a supernatural force of evil, etc. this was strictly enforced during the Attitude era which mean that superstars had to be practically invisible to the public eye when not in character. This understandably created a lot of stress for the performers.

In the PG era, kayfabe still exists to a degree, but now it isn’t uncommon to see rivals in the ring hanging out and playing videogames together. This makes it a much more relaxed environment, which is better for the mental well being of the superstars. After all, a happier working environment makes for happier, more productive employees!

Longer, Healthier Careers

The Attitude Era was about hitting extremes, making fights look as dangerous and real as possible. The thing is, in order to make a match look dangerous and serious, you do have to expose yourself to real danger. This is very evident in the amount of injuries that professional wrestlers endure over the course of their careers. Some injuries have even ended careers of wrestlers in their prime.

Stone Cold Steve Austin, Edge, and Kurt Angle are all wrestlers who have been forced to retire from in-ring action due to injuries sustained while performing in the attitude era. That isn’t to say that injuries don’t happen in the PG era (Paige is a prime example of this), but the number of accidents and injuries since the shift to PG have decreased dramatically.

In the end, the key to a successful business is sustainability. Superstars won’t stay long in a business that has high risk of cutting their effective careers short. The shift to a PG era ensures that stars can be safer and happier, which means a longer lifespan for the WWE.

Going Japanese (I Really Think So): Why New Japan Pro Wrestling Is The Best Place For Developing Talent

When Cody Rhodes, son of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes and brother of Gold Dust left the WWE, he packed his bags and flew to Japan, eventually joining the biggest heel stable if New Japan Pro Wrestling: Bullet Club. His run with NJPW clearly showed the world that he had a lot of talent and that his run with the WWE actually held it back. But he isn’t the only superstar to make it big thanks to NJPW.

WWE currently has five different wrestlers who made it big in NJPW before moving to the WWE where they’re all arguably very popular: Finn Balor, AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, and Shinuske Nakamura. Of the five, Anderson and Gallows were actually in the WWE before going to NJPW, but were never more than mid carders or used in squash matches or in silly skits.

What made them really shine after moving to NJPW, though? How was it so different from the WWE? Here are a few key differences:

Moderation

The WWE loves to have big messy matches and you will easily notice this when you go out and rent a luxury vehicle and drive through Miami. 4 vs 4 tag matches, 8-man tag matches with 4 different teams, battle royales, and 8-man ladder matches happen almost monthly now. NJPW however, rarely has more than 4 wrestlers in the ring at once. This drastically changes the dynamics of the matches.

While the WWE matches look epic, with the slugfests going on, NJPWs style means that you have less wrestlers just randomly slugging it out. Instead, the crowd gets to focus on the skills on the men in the ring. This means that not only do the wrestlers really have work on their performances individually, but it also means that talented wrestlers get the attention they deserve.

Gimmicks

If there’s one thing WWE loves, its gimmicks. Even with the age of “realism”, the WWE still has a lot of gimmicky wrestlers like Bray Wyatt, Gold Dust, and Broken Matt Hardy. Japan also has gimmicks, but actually uses them to full effect by using them sparingly, and making sure that the gimmick does reflect well with the wrestler’s style and presentation.

One good example of how the WWE misuses gimmicks is by taking a look at Bray Wyatt. The so called Eater of Worlds has faced loss after loss which makes the gimmick feel irrelevant, thus losing effect. NJPW, however, makes sure that if a character has a strong gimmick, it’s reflected well in the character. Finn Balor for example (as Price Devitt) was a near unstoppable force as the “undead” leader of the Bullet Club.

How Wins And Losses Are Treated

In the WWE, wins and losses seem to be completely irrelevant given that despite their win/loss record, a superstar can immediately become number one contender after the GM announces a match to determine who the number one contender will be. This means that rather than building up to the challenge, it’s usually just a matter of promos demanding a chance before the match is guaranteed. Compare this with a Ferrari hire in Miami where you can have lots of fun driving around the city in style.

In NJPW, wins and losses are used to develop characters’ stories as they build up towards the championship. This means that wrestlers will really feel rewarded by the match wins or losses they’re given which helps them keep track of how well they’re doing as the company is “rewarding” them with wins.

These things help wrestlers in the NJPW focus more on their skills, both in ring and at promos, which are key to becoming successful, even outside the NJPW. This ensures that superstars who are trained by the NJPW have talent, dedication and discipline not found in most other brands.

Entertainment Value: Is Entertainment More Important Than Skill In MMA Now?

When the UFC first started getting the attention of mainstream audiences, people were somewhat surprised at how little fanfare there was compared to other sports like boxing. It was a rather serious affair. Even if there were rivalries and the usual staredowns during weigh-ins, it didn’t feel like a pro wrestling promo where the fighters had to hype up the crowds. That seems to be changing, though.

Recently, Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor decided to have a showdown on who was the tougher of the two. While this is something that does happen quite often, Mayweather and McGregor actually went on a full on tour to promote the fight, with threats of physical confrontation almost breaking out several times. Predictably, however, after the fight, they were acting like old chums.

This suggests that a lot of the conflict was manufactured in order to build interest in the event. Given that there’s talk of a round 2 (but MMA rather than boxing this time around), and the rumors that both athletes made almost as much money from the tour as they did from the fight, it really looks like there’s a shift from the pure martial arts focus of before to a profit-based entertainment aspect.

This brings a disturbing thought to mind: will the MMA scene put more emphasis into the entertainment element rather than the fighting element? Does this mean that controversial fighters like McGregor will get more shots at their division titles than talented fighters who don’t generate as much buzz? Given that the skill based meritocracy of the UFC is what set it apart from pro wrestling, this can be bad for business.

Considering that element, however, one glaring truth does remain. The MMA organizations are, in the end, businesses and businesses only exist if they make money. A sports business usually earns money based on sponsors and event sales. How else are they going to attract sponsors and viewers without building up hype for their events? Where should the line be drawn, however?

Should a company stay true to its roots and focus on improving what they bring to the table, or should they adapt to whatever brings in the most revenue? It’s easy to say that it should be the former, but with fighters becoming celebrities in their own right and starting to demand higher pay, the companies need to find ways to bring in more revenue in order to keep them happy. It’s quite the conundrum isn’t it?

How does a company stay true to its roots while managing to keep up with the demands of their primary draws? Let’s not forget that McGregor isn’t an isolated case. Even Brock Lesnar is drawing attention by going back and forth between the WWE and UFC. With Lesnar’s recent signing of a contract with the WWE that offers ridiculous amounts of money, will the UFC be forced to follow suit to keep him as well?

What is your take on the situation? Should the UFC and Belator focus on the fighters, or should they consider focusing more on entertainment, pushing for bigger crowds and higher revenue?

Food Fights: The Best Food For Martial Artists

As with all physically strenuous activity, a strict diet is important to martial artists. A balance of carbs, protein, and even fats is essential. But what specific foods are good to include in your diet? Here are some of the universally considered good to include:

Quinoa

Quinoa can take a while to get used to, with its slightly bitter taste and strange texture. A solid substitute for rice, quinoa is a protein that can replace rice or oats in a low-carb, high-protein diet. It’s highly versatile, however, and can be served as part of a full meal, as a stand-alone snack, or even as breakfast or dessert!

Durum Wheat

Another low-carb, high-protein alternative, Durum Wheat is usually used to make pasta that’s low-carb. Unlike quinoa, the taste is almost identical to normal pasta, while actually being a bit firmer which helps you avoid soggy pasta. While not as versatile as quinoa, it’s easier to sneak into a family diet without people noticing!

Kale

Also called “leaf cabbage”, kale is considered a superfood thanks to its solid nutritional value while being low calorie. A highly popular ingredient around the world, it’s made waves in the health-centric communities recently. One popular version of serving kale is serving it as chips.

Blueberries

Don’t worry! Not all the items on the list are funny tasting seeds, grains, or vegetables! Blueberries are packed with nutrients while also packing anti-oxidants and vitamins. Fresh or frozen, blueberries are a healthy alternative to sweets or processed snack foods.

Avocado

Maybe Millenials are on to something with their avocado toast! Avocadoes are a good source of healthy fats, vitamins and potassium, providing more potassium than bananas (and being lower on the glycemic index, too!).

Acai Berries

Need an energy boost? Rather than grabbing that cup of coffee, you may want to try out an acai berry shake instead. Not only will you get an energy boost, but acai has been found to improve cognitive function and maintain normal blood sugar levels. Most health stores carry a powdered form of the berry that you can add to your protein shakes or oatmeal.

Salmon

Salmon is packed with Omega-3 and other healthy goodness while serving as a solid protein for your diet. Doctors do recommend including fish in your diet at least once a week. Given that tuna, while healthy, tends to have higher mercury content, salmon are the healthier choice.

Eggs

One of the easiest to prepare and add to any meal, eggs are a great source of protein especially if boiled or poached to avoid using oil. Just remember that everything has to be taken in moderation! Be sure to factor in the cholesterol you’re getting from the eggs and how much of your daily protein intake the egg accounts for when factoring it into your diet.

Yogurt

After a heavy workout, your body will still need energy to repair the damaged muscles and help them grow and power-up. Yogurt mixed with fruit can give your body the energy it needs for this important task. You may want to avoid adding any processed sugars to the mix though, as processed sugars can be very bad for you.

What foods are staples of your diet? Conversely, what food do you avoid at all costs?

Laying All Your Cards On The Table: Why The All In Pay Per View Can Make Or Break The Independent Wrestling Scene

On September 1, 2018, the All In event will be held in Chicago Sears Centre Arena. What IS the All In event? Well, it’s only the biggest independent wrestling promotion to ever be held on American soil, with some already saying that it will rival WrestleMania. But like the saying goes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. The event has the potential to either shoot the indy scene into the mainstream or bury it.

The hype for the event is huge. Big enough that people whose wrestling knowledge is usually WWE-centric are hearing about, and getting excited for the event. This can be attributed to the fact that the event is being run by the Bullet Club, an incredibly popular stable from Japan whose former members include Finn Balor and AJ Styles, both wrestlers with a very large following in the WWE.

Another factor is that the current leader of the Bullet Club is Cody Rhodes, son of WWE Legend Dusty Rhodes and longtime wrestler for the WWE. Despite his talent at both wrestling and promotions, he was never given the chance he deserved in the WWE and eventually left for Japan.  Now head of the Bullet Club, he appears to be an unstoppable force, elevating the indy scenes to new heights.

Why It’s Great

All In can put the indy scene over with the mainstream crowd as it’s an indy promotion the size of which hasn’t been seen before. While non-WWE brands like TNA have tried to build up to the same heights as the WWE, none have succeeded. All In seems to have found the answer to this.

Rather than simply taking members from the talent pool of New Japan Pro (the brand Bullet Club is part of), All In is drawing talent from practically every wrestling promotion that doesn’t prevent its talent from wrestling outside the brand. This means that there’s something for everyone. The rumors are that former WWE talent such as Rey Mysterio will be there. There’s even talk that Daniel Bryan will hold of re-signing until after the event.

Why It Can Be Bad

If the focus of All In moves away from showcasing the amazing amount of talent on the independent circuit, and ends up trying to show up the WWE and it’s PG fights and safer events, things could get bad as the performers may end up injuring themselves in an attempt to show how far behind the WWE is in terms of stunts and hardcore action. This would just reinforce the WWE’s decision to usher in PG entertainment.

Also, if the event fails to impress (as unlikely as that is), it can end up being a major blow to the independent circuit, as WWE loyalists will feel that the indy circuit doesn’t live up to expectations set by its fans. All In flopping will effectively kill any chance of it, or any similar event, ever happening again.

Are you planning to see All In this year? Do you think it’s a good idea, or is it an over-ambitious promo that’s a disaster waiting to happen? Please let us know! We’d love to hear your opinions on the topic!