Watch Trap

Being asked for the time seems innocent enough. It’s a common request that doesn’t take ten seconds to fulfil but it may be the watch trap.

What is the Watch Trap?

The watch trap is a tactic employed by muggers to deviate your attention. Once asked for the time, you will divert your eyes down to your watch or mobile device.

Why do Offenders Use it?

The watch trap is ideal for a mugger as it allows him or her the opportunity to get closer and pull a bladed weapon close to your skin.

Other Variations

They may not ask for the time. They may ask you to light their cigarette, beg for spare change or plead you to do a quick google search. Whatever they ask, it still follows the simple principle of the watch trap.

What Are You To Do?

It’s awkward. You for all you know, the person who has asked you for the time just simply wants to know the time!

If you’re in a public place, you’re probably safe. If you’re not, don’t look down at your watch. Instead, lift your wrist so that it creates a barrier between you and the asker. Read the time from there. Never look down at your watch or smart phone.

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Improve Your Stamina for Taekwondo

To improve your stamina for Taekwondo, you must first have a full appreciation for what stamina is. A text book definition would tell you that stamina is one’s ability to sustain a prolonged physical or mental effort. This post dissects this definition into three distinct areas with a suitable training method to tackle each.

The Hearts Ability to Pump Blood

The sub-heading for this section may also be referred to as cardiac-output. It does not refer to the speed of heart but the strength. The stronger the heart, the more blood it can pump around the body in one beat.

High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short, has been proven to be the most effective method for improving cardiac output. This involves a short burst of exercise which lasts no more than 30 seconds. This is coupled with a brief rest of between 10 seconds to 1 minute.

As a side note, HIIT is also the most effective way of improving lactate tolerance. Participants who struggle with poor muscular endurance (i.e. feel the burning sensation in their legs far too early) should implement HIIT into their training.

Practice HIIT three times per week. The most popular method is the Tabata protocol which involves 20 seconds of intense activity followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is to be repeated 8 times on a given exercise.

Beginners may wish to practice 30 seconds of intense exercise and follow it up with a full 1 minute rest.

The Lungs Ability to Absorb Oxygen

The lungs ability to absorb oxygen is also referred to as VO2 Max and is a crucial if you wish to improve your stamina for Taekwondo. The good news with VO2 Max is that we only need to work on this capacity once per week. Unfortunately, the work is demanding.

A beginner should go about vigorous exercise such as cycling for a 5 minute blast. Go as far as you can in that 5 minutes. After the all out effort, cycle gently for 5 minutes. Repeat this twice. However, if you’ve been exercises for quite some time, repeat this four times.

Mental Fortitude

Mental fortitude or “grit” is out mental capacity. Once per week, this can be challenged with a moderate intensity over a prolonged run, swim or cycle. Incidentally, long duration cardio vascular exercise has been proven to enhance cognitive functioning via improved blood flow to the brain. The  brain only requires 20% of the blood which has been pumped through the heart but for adequate flow, exercise is crucial.

Beginners should attempt a prolonged bout of exercise for 15 minutes. More advance participants can go as long as 45 minutes.

Sports Specificity

To improve your stamina for Taekwondo, it is essential that you spar on a regular basis. Bag work is great and so are rounds on the pads but sparring must be frequent. Sparing allows you to work at different intensities and coaches you to handle pressure. Sparing keeps you mentally sharp as your body becomes exhausted and at the end of the day, you will not become a better fighter without fighting.

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Flexibility for High Kicking in Martial Arts

Flexibility is the range of motion around the joint. Mobility is the ability to exert strength within these end ranges. Therefore, flexibility for high kicking in martial arts is far more dependent on ones ability to exert strength than it is their ability to touch their toes.

I have meet many martial arts practitioners that are capable of doing a full split yet struggle to kick head height. This calls for a step by step guide.

Step 1: Understand Tightness and Shortness.

If a muscle is tight, it’s often down to the area being over worked. In martial arts, many participants have tight hip flexors from repetitive kicking. However, this does not mean that the muscle is short. This simply indicates that the aria is sore and knotted and may require manual therapy such as sports massage, physiotherapy or a simple five minutes with the foam roller.

If a muscle is short, it has been neglected in flexibility training. The muscle does not have the capacity to go about a good range of motion. This is seen is people who have poor posture, poor pelvic alignment and issues with joint pain. An example of this would be a person who has short hamstrings. Short hamstrings lead to poor alignment of the pelvis which stresses the lower back.

With an understanding on tightness and shortness, you can decide if an area needs more manual therapy or more stretching.

Step 2: Use Dynamic Flexibility for Practicality

Many martial artists go over board on static flexibility.  By running around, jogging on the spot and practicing footwork, we raise our heart rate and increase out blood flow. This provides better oxygen carrying capabilities whilst exercising. However, this can be hindered by static stretching. This is true as static stretching is inactive and discourages blood flow to the muscles.

Dynamic flexibility exercises such as leg raises is a far more practical addition to a warm up. For beginners, ten repetitions should do the trick. However, as you progress, you should look to adding more sets. A black belt should be capable of performing three sets of ten repetitions with relative ease.

Step 3: The Only Time to Use Static Stretching in a Warm Up

I pinched this little tip from fellow Taekwondo practitioner and Strength and Conditioning Coach, Alwyn Cosgrove. Static stretching can improve our flexibility for high kicking in martial arts. We must simply use this method in a tactical manner.

If a muscle is tight, this approach will not work. The tight muscle simply needs to be rolled out for five minutes before exercise. However, if the muscle is short, you can use static stretching to your advantage.

If a participant has short hamstrings or groin muscles, they may consider using static flexibility for high kicking in martial arts. These stretches should be held for no more than thirty seconds and should not be performed for more than two sets.

Flexibility for High Kicking in Martial Arts
An example of a static groin stretch that we use at West Coast Taekwondo.

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How to Improve a Childs Focus

“How to Improve a Childs Focus” is a post I wrote after seeing terrific developments in my junior students. However, I believe that the information below will also apply to many adults who struggle in an overwhelming society.

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Thanks and take it easy!

Coach GRJ


This post “How to Improve a Child’s Focus” is designed to offer guidance to parents, teachers and sports coaches.  Focusing is something most adults struggle with. So before we learn how to improve a child’s focus, we must understand it for ourselves. When it comes to focusing, the key is in the word.

  • Follow
  • One
  • Course
  • Untill
  • Successful

In his book, the “ONE Thing,” Gary Keller brought about the focusing question.

“What’s the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

how to improve a childs focus

This question is often difficult to answer. How can we improve our focus is we live in an age of abundance and demand? How can we expect a child to focus?

Abundance.

We have unlimited choices. In one way, it’s very pleasant. From TV channels to a full wardrobe, who wouldn’t want that!

On the other hand, studies in “decision fatigue” suggests that having too much choice results in more exhaustion. This may impact the quality of our choices.

Demand

A demand for our attention starts from birth and escalates as a child ventures into adulthood. More homework, more exams and more chores.

A children are punished for a lack of focus despite their young brains being overwhelmed with tasks.

Scale and Priorities

Tim Ferris once said “If you don’t have time, you don’t have priorities.”

Initially, Play is crucial for developing motor skills, communication and creativity. This is the one priority of a toddler.

Priorities may be added sparingly. However, it is essential that a priority is added by itself, not with a bucket full of other tasks.

As a second priority, reading is ideal. Between reading and play, learning possibilities escalate!

Please feel free to comment bellow. What priorities do you have with your children? What are your thoughts on our post “how to improve a child’s focus?”

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