Kaizen is a martial arts term which was moved into the rebuilding of Japan following World War II. The word Kaizen means "continuous improvement". It comes from the Japanese words "kai" which means "change" or "to correct" and ("Zen") which means "good". One thing at a time, keep it simple, do it right or don’t do it, practice and improve and keep getting better at it.
Kaizen is part of a way of life philosophy. If something is in your life, it’s important, and you should want and need it in your life or if not you should get rid of it. The same is true with material stuff, if you’re not using it, then it’s clutter, so get rid of it. So, everything you put in your life; people, habits, food, job, family, friends, activities, social, TV, tech, etc. everything, and everything should be looked at as important and treated with respect and improved or get rid of it, if it has a negative effect on you. Since Kaizen is a philosophy and not a rigid system, it’s flexible and adaptable to the person or company. Just 1% better every day, what extremely small step can I take to improve my life, process, product, life?
Kaizen is based on making changes anywhere and everywhere that improvements can be made. Western philosophy may be summarized as, “Good enough”, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" “We have always done it that way, why change it now” The Kaizen philosophy is to "do it better, make it better, integrate with other improved systems, improve it even if it isn't broken, because if we don't, we can't compete with those who do. If life is out of balance, balance it. It is not however the “Massive Change” or “Go Big or Go Home” type change, Kaizen is less about obsessive hustle and working more, and more about thoughtful adjustments, accepting failure, and applying learning to work better and smarter.
Kaizen in Japan is a system of improvement that includes home, Dojo, school, business life, and manufacturing. It is a concept that is applied in every aspect of a person's life.
Kaizen is the Japanese word for constant and never ending improvement "Good Change". In the dojo, martial arts is a lifestyle, no time off, you are a martial artist all the time 24/7. If you witness senior students and instructors they are always working on improving their mind, body and spirit, they enjoy those thoughts and the practice. Many people set goals, but it’s your daily habits, being mindful of what’s important, your systems, that accomplish the goals.
Only a small percentage of people read but will spend countless wasted hours on the internet or watching TV, however successful people constantly read and listen to positive and inspirational books and tapes, they seek out mentors and experts for guidance, they analysis their results. They know that by reading 60 minutes every day, within a few years they can be in the top 10% of their chosen field, this method becomes their daily normal, it’s not forced, they enjoy it. In the dojo, top black belts are 100% present in every class, the practice those skills on their own, building their mind, body, spirit, skills and attitude.
Kaizen involves setting high standards, but starting at the most basic level, then continually improving those standards at the most basic level. By setting high standards at basic level, your foundation, in all areas, it has a compounding effect that is nothing short of incredible. To support the higher standards Kaizen also involves providing the training, materials and supervision that is needed to achieve the higher standards and maintain their ability to meet those standards on an on-going basis. Kaizen is a system that involves everyone here at the Dojo - from Hanshi Alexander, Kyoshi Riedmiller to the brand new 7-year-old white belt.
The five foundation elements of Kaizen are; Teamwork, Personal discipline, Improved morale, Quality circles, Suggestions for improvement. Everything is based on Kata (system), and should stay within Kata, your Kata or system is a way of life. A bad system will destroy you where as a good can make things amazing. In a solid Kaizen system; Everything should be organized, professional and tidy, clean, standardized, sustained, and discipline.
This concept is now being used by pro athletes, has been used to rebuild small & massive company’s, and has recreated nations from the edge of ruin to world powerhouses. But it started in Martial Arts thousands of years ago and was the backbone of the old traditional Dojo’s, transforming countless people. Change starts from within yourself first.
Kyoshi Riedmiller has been researching the kaizen concept for years and has consulted with some of the top authorities in this field. In the business world there are Kaizen based awards "The Deming Prize" and "The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award" the highest awards on TQM in the world and the U.S. that recognizes individuals and management.
In the Dojo, you will see Kaizen manifest itself in many ways; Advance training classes, the way classes are taught, World class seminars, recommended reading, Lessons in Mindfulness, Leadership development classes, and commitment to the highest quality and standards in the world.
Summit Martial Arts Standards of Excellence
The Chinese say that a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step. Kaizen
is all about making that step towards improvement, everyday.
1) Shoshin – Beginner’s Mind
Shoshin means “Beginner’s Mind” It reflects an attitude of eagerness and openness when beginning an endeavor, and a lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would. When you are in a state of shoshin you should be feeling enthusiastic, creative and above all optimistic and positive. Think about a time when you were getting ready to start something new that you were very passionate about. You were excited and wanted to start as soon as possible, ready to do or learn whatever it was you were about to start.
Getting into a state of shoshin would clearly be whenever you’re about to start something new, even ones you may be nervous about or dreading, but with an attitude of open minded which helps to make most situations that you once thought were difficult or unpleasant much more enjoyable as your confidence grows. Shoshin is an absence of preconceptions and a general sense of optimism. You shouldn’t be thinking too much about what is going to happen, you should just be eager to accept whatever comes and assured it will all be for the best.
Releasing preconceptions and an attitude of new is one of shoshin’s most valuable qualities. You can work on placing yourself in a state of shoshin even when doing something you’ve done before, but at a new level, with experience and wisdom to ensure that you aren’t making poor decisions based on preconceived biases. It also helps train you to keep a positive and eager outlook about everything that might come your way.
The phrase is also discussed in the book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, a Zen teacher. Suzuki outlines the framework behind shoshin, noting "in the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few.
This refers to the kind of attitude that you probably had when you first started martial arts. You were excited and eager to learn. You had an attitude of openness, eagerness, and had no preconceptions of how to do your techniques. You just wanted to learn. This is the mind that you should have, even when you get to the point of learning advanced martial arts or mastery. Looking at how different arts may use the same or similar technique, but in very different ways. Using this in Bunkai or analysis or disassembly of Kata, and there are three distinct ways of looking at bunkai: Omote, Ura, Honto (more on this latter) Help beginners that are in this state, they can help remind you to find this state again. If you are a beginner, take your time and enjoy this state , don't be in a hurry to go to another level to soon.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you already know everything that you need to know. Maintain a beginner’s mind, even when you get to the higher levels of your martial art. The person who thinks that he or she already knows everything, is not open to learning anything. Maintain Shoshin when you are training with others and continue to learn from everyone you meet, what to do and what not to do.
Here are Bushido’s Eight Virtues
Justice is the Highest virtue of Bushido. Course of conduct to do what is right regardless of cost, without justice neither talent or learning can make the human into a samurai.
Bushido distinguishes between bravery and courage: Courage is worthy of being counted among virtues only if it’s exercised in the cause of Righteousness and Justice. Courage is doing what is right. To know what is right and do nothing is cowardice.
3. Benevolence or Mercy
Someone with the authority over others and the power to kill is expected to demonstrate equally extraordinary powers of benevolence and mercy: Love, affection for others, sympathy and pity, are traits of Benevolence, the highest attribute of the human soul.
Discerning the difference between obedient, attentive and politeness can be difficult for casual visitors to Japan, but, courtesy is rooted in benevolence: Courtesy and good manners are a distinctive Japanese trait. But Politeness should be a show of respect for feelings of others, not a fear of offending or breaking rules.
V. Honesty and Sincerity
True samurai disdained greed, and lack of honesty and integrity. Honest with yourself and others. Thus talking about money showed poor taste, Bushido encouraged thrift, not for economical reasons so much as for the exercise of abstinence. Luxury, waste, gluttony was thought the greatest menace to manhood, and severe simplicity was required of the warrior class.
Though Bushido deals with the profession of soldiering, it is equally concerned with non-martial behavior: The sense of Honor, a vivid consciousness of personal dignity and worth, characterized the samurai. He was born and bred to value the duties and privileges of his profession. Fear of disgrace hung like a sword over the head of every samurai … To take offense at slight provocation is riddiculous and shameful. To embrace the unbearable and find peace.
Always remain loyal to those to whom you are indebted: Do not allow others to speak badly of those you care about. Loyalty was the most distinctive virtue. In Bushido Honor and Loyalty assume paramount importance.
VIII. Character and Self-Control
Bushido teaches that men should behave according to an absolute moral standard, one that transcends logic sometimes. Right is right, and Wrong is wrong. And its not about to blurred lines, arguments, debates or justification, know the difference and draw a line in the sand. Finally, it is parent's obligation to teach his children moral standards through the model of their own behavior: The first objective build up Character. Prudence, intelligence, and dialectics were less important. Action speak louder than words. Choosing compassion over confrontation, and benevolence over belligerence, it demostrates ageless qualities of the Samuarai.
Today these lessons are more timely then at anytime. In traditional high quality Karate and Jiujitsu schools around the world they still try to pass these powerful lessons.
Manners and respect are of the highest importantance.
The Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe
Ne waza or Ground fighting is essential in self defense.
So why are so few Karate practitioners not being taught basic Ne Waza or ground fighting skills…
When I was coming up in Goju Ryu Karate as a teen, my instructors would stress learning judo for throws and groundfighting. Ok, so the following week I started Judo too, and they were right of course, it made me a far better, more well rounded Martial Artist and Karateka
Even if the purpose of Karate is to finish an opponent with a single blow and never go to the ground.
It's pretty bold to think no one could take you to the ground and frankly a little foolish.
Ground fighting is just what it sound like, its fighting on the ground. It involves key control postions, escapes, joint locks, chokes, strikes, sweeps, etc.. Today, most quality martial arts and self defense systems include ground fighting to some degree, and you see it effectively used in combat sports; like MMA, BJJ and Wrestling. The Military and Law enforcement always train and use in their tactical training
For a Karate, Kung Fu, self defense system, really any stand up practitioner, to remain ignorant about ground fighting is foolish. Every modern martial artist should learn basic takedowns, sweeps, falls and throws and of course ground fighting. Plus its great for your fitness level.
9 out of 10 fights go to the ground! Do the math!
Why? Because because of Ego's and low quality, unquailified instructors that don't know any better. McDojo's, Fad based gyms trying to teach self defense, etc. Most of these places are out for a quick buck and they just never learned, so why teach it. Many folks don’t even know how to fall down, let alone stand up, correctly!
I'm not trying to pick on anyone, folks just don't know about, what they don't know about!
But, If you are ready to add some ground fighting to your toolbox, make sure you find a high quality instructor. Regrettably there are far more unqualified than qualified, do your research.
You need to learn the best ground fighting techniques for Karate, that are truely effective, not sport or rolling or stupid fancy techniques that would never work in a real situation.
If your close to our Dojo drop in and learn some practical Ground Fighting, it will make your art even better. If you live to far away, schedule a seminar for your Dojo, you'll have a great time and learn real skills. It will be EXACTLY what you need to know about ground fighting; surviving, escaping, defending, and regaining control of the situation and either win or get the heck out of there.
You see, according to Helio Gracie the goal is not to fight on the ground, that's the worse case scenario, you didn't trip, you got knocked on your a**. From a self-defense perspective, that’s very dangerous and will only get worse if you don't know what your doing. So train with the worse case in mind, prepare in advance. Plus its exhausting if your unskilled, you may only have 30 to 60 seconds of breath before you are completely exhausted trying to fight for your life.
All the pieces of an art or system involving the martial arts are very much like a wheel with spokes, each spoke or piece has a very important job, regardless of large or small. I've seen many martial artist, competitor, athlete, etc.. try to cherry pick the best moves and throw the rest away. This may get the job done and even make sense regarding short term goals, but long term its a mistake. One key area of big picture, long term planning is the components of fitness, after all a chain is only as strong as the weakest link.
There are seven basic movements the human body can perform, and all other exercises are merely variations of these seven: Pull, Push, Squat, Lunge, Hinge, Rotation and Gait. When performing all these movements, you will be able to stimulate all the major muscle groups in your body. These motions focus on recruiting multiple muscle groups, making them efficient for those using time as an excuse not to exercise. Mastery is in footwork and should be developed daily, hip movement in Jiujitsu.
Cardiorespiratory endurance is a measurement of how well your heart, lungs, and muscles work together to keep your body active over an extended period.
Aerobic exercise in Karate, Jiujitsu, and Judo is very important, more common areas also include running, jogging, swimming, bicycling or even speed walking because all these activities get your heart rate up and generally use larger muscle groups. Naturally, your breathing increases as your heart rate climbs and your lungs fill with oxygen. Should be done daily
An estimate of a person's maximum age-related heart rate can be obtained by subtracting the person's age from 220. For example, for a 50-year-old person, the estimated maximum age-related heart rate would be calculated as 220 - 50 years = 170 beats per minute (bpm).
Combine strength days with cardio days.
It’s a simple equation: the more muscle you can get working, the more it will challenge your heart and your cardiovascular system. Instead of building cardio-only workouts integrate the whole body; Karate, Jiujitsu and Judo require every muscle in the body to be involed.
Measuring and training with a heart rate monitor
Power is the ability to move the body parts swiftly while applying the maximum force of the muscles. Power is a combination of both speed and muscular strength. For example, fullbacks in football muscling their way through other players and speeding to advance the ball and volleyball players getting up to the net and lifting their bodies high into the air. Karate, Jiujitsu and Judo pin-point to very small targets to maxamize effect.
Muscle strength is the ability to exert a maximal amount of force for a short period of time. In the gym, that may be bench pressing a heavy barbell 5-8 repetitions.
Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance for an extended period. It is one of the components of muscular fitness, along with muscular strength and power.
Muscular Power: the ability to exert a maximal force in as short a time as possible, as in accelerating, jumping and throwing implements. While strength is the maximal force you can apply against a load, power is proportional to the speed at which you can apply this maximal force.
Relative strength is the amount of strength to body size, or how strong you are for your size. This reflects a person's ability to control or move their body through space, a vital trait in athletics. ... Absolute strength is the maximum amount of force exerted, regardless of muscle or body size. This is very important in the martial arts where the smaller but trained fighter can defeat a larger stronger untrained fighter.
Mobility relates to movement while stability relates to control. Stability is defined as the ability to maintain control of joint movement or position by coordinating actions of surrounding tissues and the neuromuscular system.
Flexibility is the range of motion in a joint or group of joints or the ability to move joints effectively through a complete range of motion. Flexibility training includes stretching exercises to lengthen the muscles and may include activities like yoga or Martial Arts.
Body composition is used to describe the percentages of fat, bone, water and muscle in human bodies. Because muscular tissue takes up less space in our body than fat tissue, our body composition, as well as our weight, determines leanness. 15 % fat or less is ideal
Speed is the ability to move quickly across the ground or move limbs rapidly to grab or throw. ... Movement speed requires good strength and power, but also too much body weight and air resistance can act to slow the person down.
1. Visual Reflexes: This component focuses on the training methods that will increase your ability to spot openings and track movements. Exceptional visual reflexes allow you to recognize, track, distinguish, adapt to, and counter movements with precision and confidence. In the martial arts, visual reflexes are primarily utilized during long range fighting. In addition, visual reflexes are critical to the success of world-class athletes in all competitive sports.
2. Tactile Reflexes: This component focuses on the training methods that will develop your tactile (touch) reflexes. With practice, you can learn to instantly feel what the opponent is attempting to do by quickly interpreting the direction of his body force. You must anticipate the opponent’s every move when you are in the grappling or trapping range. Ninety-five percent of all fights end up in close range. Be prepared!
3. Auditory Reflexes: You can improve your auditory reflexes by enhancing your listening skills. It is important to react quickly to what you hear. In a situation where you must defend yourself against multiple attackers, you will more than likely hear the attack before you see it. If you have ever experienced blind sparring, or fighting in the dark, you know the importance of this attribute.
4. Adaptation Speed: This component deals with your mind’s ability to instantaneously select the perfect action in response to an attack or opening. You should develop the ability to instantly select the most effective movements to use at any point during a physical confrontation. Highly developed adaptation speed will allow your reflexes to carry out the movement selection process automatically. With training, you will learn to respond quickly, accurately, and seemingly without thought.
5. Initiation Speed: You must focus on the development of your explosiveness once you have chosen the correct action to initiate. It’s not how fast you move, but how soon you get there that really counts. Your attack may be very fast in flight, but a slow takeoff will severely reduce your chances of effectively landing that attack on target. Train yourself to make your movements felt before they are seen by developing a flawless poker face and the ability to relax at will.
6. Movement Speed: Movement speed is the ability to quickly transfer part or all your body from one place to another. It is the speed that is most recognized by the public at large. In addition to genetics and body weight, your ability to contract and relax your muscles efficiently will determine your movement speed. Don’t be concerned with “demonstration” speed. Your training should focus on developing the “applied” speed that will help you overwhelm and subdue an opponent in seconds.
7. Alteration Speed: During your training, be sure to engage in drills that will develop the safeguard known as alteration speed. Alteration speed involves the ability to quickly change directions during movement. Essentially, it involves control of balance and inertia. Through mastery of body mechanics, you can develop the ability to stop your movement instantly…just in case you initiate a wrong move.
Balance is the ability to stay upright or stay in control of body movement, and coordination is the ability to move two or more body parts under control, smoothly and efficiently.
There are two types of balance: static and dynamic. Static balance is maintaining equilibrium when stationary, while dynamic balance is maintaining equilibrium when moving. We use our eyes, ears and 'body sense' to help retain our balance.
Coordination is a complex skill that requires not only good balance, but good levels of other fitness components such strength and agility. Balance and coordination can be improved through practice and training within specific sports. Coordination is the ability to use the senses together with body parts during movement. For example, dribbling a basketball. Using hands and eyes together is called hand-eye coordination.
Accuracy – This is partly covered by the definition of agility, but accuracy refers to the ability to control movement in each direction at a given intensity. Reaction Time – Also closely related to agility, is defined as the time elapsed between stimulation and the beginning of the reaction to it.
Agility is the ability to move and change direction and position of the body quickly and effectively while under control. It requires quick reflexes, coordination, balance, speed, and correct response to the changing situation. Agility is the ability to change and control the direction and position of the body while maintaining a constant, rapid motion. For example, changing directions to hit a tennis ball.
Reaction Time is the ability to reach or respond quickly to what you hear, see, or feel. For example, an athlete quickly coming off the blocks early in a swimming or track relay or stealing a base in baseball. The interval time between the presentation of a stimulus and the initiation of the muscular response to that stimulus. A primary factor affecting a response is the number of possible stimuli, each requiring their own response, that are presented.
Quickness is defined as rapid reaction and movement time in relation to a given stimulus. Training for quickness is not the same as training for absolute speed. Quickness relies heavily on immediate movement reactions. Think of quickness as the first phase of speed.
Stamina is one of several components used to evaluate health and fitness. It includes cardiovascular and muscular endurance, which is the ability of your heart, lungs and muscles to work for long periods
Enjoy what you are doing, the process, the people and life as a whole.
Over pushing yourself, over taxing body to quickly, will result in long term failure and very possibly permanent damage. Many of the great martial artist have trained very actively into their 70's, 80's and even 90's that train smart.
Breathing: Training breathing muscles will help to increase lung capacity, leading to better performance during aerobic activities, all while helping with overall fitness. There are simple inhalation exercises which can be practiced aiding this. Proper breathing during exercise
Breath in 4 count, breath out 4 count don’t breathe to movement or music, don’t hold your breath when exercising.
Meditation and Visualization are empowering tools to get you in proper state of mind, enhance consciousness and self-awareness and to focus the mind. Visualization is a healthy way of bringing positive energy into your mind, body and spirit, expanding your capacity for creativity. Meditation, “it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which lessens the stress response. “But meditation also has a large learning component. The person who practices meditation consistently learns to understand his own mind and the way thoughts come and go.” These learning processes change the brain in a good way, she adds. “Likely, the combination of meditation and exercise is especially effective because the change in autonomic and central nervous system activity is quite profound.”
This seems like alot to cover in a workout, however high quality instructors and coach's should be able to build organized classes and training plans that take all this factors into consideration. All the classes at Summit Martial Arts are based on these key components of fitness and the highest quality Martial Arts. With a little education and thought anyone can design and plan smart workouts. The result will be long term success.
Kyoshi Charles Riedmiller Head Instructor/Owner Summit Martial Arts Delaware, Ohio and has over 43 years experience in the Martial Arts, he started training in Goju Ryu karate and Judo at age 13. He been training in Goju Ryu & Shorin Ryu Karate, Kobudo, Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido for over 4 decades and BJJ for over 20yrs with Professor Pedro Sauer. He has been dedicated to teaching authentic, high quality Martial Arts his entire life. Sensei Riedmiller has taught thousands of Military, Law Enforcement, pro-fighters/champions and martial art students of all ages.