My responsibilities as a coach

Copyright and courtesy of Duncan Grisby 2017While I am listening to feedback and suggestions about how I teach martial arts I have been keeping the core of my style and approach unchanged for years.  By teaching martial arts and fighting techniques I am empowering my students to defend themselves and to become better people but, with power, come responsibility which I take very serious.

Here are a few key points which are the pillars on which I base my teaching:

Learning martial arts takes time and dedication

If you had the illusion of becoming proficient in martial arts within a few weeks or months you took up the wrong activity.  Nowadays most people train martial arts as an alternative to other sports or hobbies and they want fast results.  Learning martial arts should however be seen as a medium to long time project, where some results can be seen within months but decent proficiency comes after a few years of regular and frequent attendance (e.g. 2+ 60-120 minutes lessons per week).  My responsibility in this case is about creating an environment which fosters dedicated training and cooperation among all members of the club and continuously challenges everybody’s skills and performance, including mine.

Learning martial arts helps you to rationalise the irrational

In its most essential form fighting is about survival; when our ancestors got involved in a fight it was about defending their homes and families from invaders or from fierce animals or perhaps about invading other people’s territories; it was no game and it was about life and death.  Most people react irrationally to a fighting situation because when adrenaline is released, even in a controlled environment like a martial arts gym, it causes some people to lose control.  Training martial arts helps to cope with this irrational feeling and channel the energy toward better physical and mental performance.  My responsibility in this case is about encouraging everybody to challenge themselves and understand where their threshold and comfort zone are and push them further.

Tough training helps to cope with tough situations

Whether you are training for sports fights or for self-defence it’s essential to test yourself toward a range of tough situations.  In a sports fight your opponents will try their best to beat you within the rules of the fight, sometimes trying to bend such rules for their advantage.  If you find yourself on the street and need to use your self-defence skills you better be used to tough attacks, the most unpredictable ones; your street opponents will probably have no rules about fighting and potentially go for the nastiest attacks.  Here is where my responsibility is about reminding people about their limits and potential pitfalls in their skills and techniques.  I am trying to help them to train in a way that pushes their skills beyond their current limits and make them better fighters.

Martial arts can be for everyone but they are not

Training martial arts is in my opinion one of the most satisfying and complete form of exercise for body and mind.  Many people start and nearly as many give up with days, weeks or months.  Many novices cannot cope with the learning, complexity of movements, fitness requirements and so on.  It takes time, consistency and dedication which most people simply don’t have.  I encourage most people to try and, depending on a number of factors, I might push them more or less toward a tougher training, sooner or later.  In my experience of practicing martial arts for nearly 40 years and teaching for the good part of 30 years I met super talented people giving up at their first hurdle, which they never expected to happen.  I have also seen many not talented people becoming great martial artist and champions.  My responsibility in this case is about managing their expectations and feedback, in the most constructive and objective way, how they can improve and what they should do.

Beginners Course March 2017

Book NowIf you are total beginner the next CARISMA beginners course will start on Tuesday 21 March 2017, to run for 4 consecutive Tuesday and Thursday classes (e.g. 21, 23, 28, 30).

If you have a previous and relevant experience in martial arts please read the join page and join us at any time, e.g. no need to wait for the beginners course. Please get in touch with us if in doubt.

busyclassIf you’d like to check our prices please look at this page. Please notice that Kelsey Kerridge charges a day entry to every non member entering their premises.

We would like to gather numbers to be prepared so it would be great if you could leave, confidentially, your name in this form. Also please make sure to turn up before 6:15pm at Kelsey Kerridge as there might be a long queue.

Testimonial from a leaving student

One of the many students who joined a few months ago received a nice job offer for a post in East Asia and she just left Cambridge and the club.  It was a great pleasure for me, on the day she told me she was leaving, to receive a little card from her with some nice words about what she learnt and achieved.  Many people are praising the club and what we do at CARISMA; very few of them go out of their way to put it in writing.  Thank you, all the best and hopefully we’ll see you again.

CARISMA Town vs. Gown 2017

CARISMA is announcing the Town vs. Gown Kickboxing tournament to be held in CAMBRIDGE at the North Cambridge Sports Centre on 25 Feb 2017, starting at 2:00PM sharp.

The town represented by CARISMA will be challeging members from both university clubs: Cambridge University Kickboxing Society and Anglia Ruskin University Kickboxing Club.

Each fight will be pre-matched, taking into account gender, weight and experience, following the Wako international  weight categories and Kickboxing Light Continuous rules.  Each fighter will take part in a 3 rounds bout fight in the ring (beginners 1 minute, intermediate 1.5 minutes and advanced 2 minutes)

We are looking forward to members of all these club to come forward and take part is this unique opportunity: please Email Massimo (replacing <at> with @ before sending), no later than the 14 February,  indicating the following details:

  • Full Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Weight (that will have to be the same weight on the day of the fight)
  • Years (months) of experience in Kickboxing
  • Years (months) of experience in other martial arts
  • Number of fights to date

What I learnt from teaching martial arts

Picture Copyright Duncan Grisby 2010There is an old saying that goes: “if you can’t do teach”; for me teaching has actually improved my doing.  In fact my knowledge about martial arts practice has dramatically improved since I started teaching.  When I first learnt martial arts I was in my early teens; I remember struggling initially with coordination and fitness but, with continuous and consistent training, I reached a good standard within months.  By all means my technique and proficiency kept improving for years; as most movements and techniques were quite natural for me, I never had to analyse too hard how I was doing things.

Years later, when I started teaching, I realised that people from all walks of life were approaching martial arts and, as it happens, some of them were terrific, some hopeless and the majority in the middle.  By teaching martial arts to people who are not naturally talented and/or fit and/or coordinated I realised that many of them require much more explanation than showing the technique a few times and hoping they learn it.  Many people need the technique to be deconstructed and explained; in same cases a clear description of the muscles involved is necessary to fully achieve the expected result.  By analysing each technique in detail, including what muscle groups are working how and when, I forced my mind to grasp every single aspect of each movement and by improving my awareness about them it has greatly improved my technique.