What is Your Motivation for Training?

We’re all walking different paths. Coach Charles Martinez discusses how everyone we interact with on this martial arts journey has different goals and motivations. We should help build each other up instead of letting our egos and greed dictate how we treat each other. Leading into the new year we will all grow and get stronger together.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Hello. My name is Coach Charles Martinez from The Arena and today I wanted to discuss a motivation. I want to take this from a slightly different perspective, often in sport especially in these combat sports that we all train in, the motivation is always to be the best and to smash everyone. And I think we forget sometimes that that’s not what most people’s motivation was when they came into the gym. A lot of people are training to address fears or to feel more powerful and I think a lot of times we, especially if you’ve been training a long time or you’re a fighter, or you’re a competitor, you have the tendency of looking down on people that aren’t as good as you. And just because they’re not as good as you at this sport that you’ve chosen to be good at it doesn’t make them lesser. It just means that either their athletic ability isn’t as high, but really their motivation could be different than yours.

Just because your motivation is to go out and be the best in the world, maybe that’s not theirs. Maybe their motivation is to feel stronger, to just be more comfortable in their skin every day and maybe that’s what they’re getting. So sometimes we have the tendency of getting frustrated with our training partners and kind of forgetting that we were new once also. Maybe they’re new, maybe one day they’re going to be your best training partner, they don’t have to be a world beater to give you good work.

So I think sometimes we stray away from that and we forget that we’re all walking a different path but we all ended up in the same place. So if you take that and you treat everyone as if, hey, this could have been me on one of my first days and if someone was kind of crappy to me, maybe I would have never come back. So I think once you switch your perspective, if you could look from outside of yourself and see that maybe this person’s not like you, maybe they’re scared, maybe they’re terrified and they don’t want to get screamed at. Maybe they’ve never been an athlete, maybe they’ve never played a sport. They came here to feel better and to feel empowered and how you treat them, even if something trivial, something like, hey, good job. Even if it wasn’t a good job, just that little bit of motivation might be the reason they come back the next day. And maybe one day they turn into a valuable training partner, but either way, even if they’re only here for six months and it improves their life somehow, and it was worth it, that was their motivation, not yours.

So sometimes I think we forget, we think everyone is looking at the world through our same perspective, it doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe their motivation is different than yours. You should still respect it because ultimately that’s what we’re all here for.

Enson Inoue Speaks About His Interpretation of Victory

Everyone has a different interpretation of the meaning of victory. Master Enson Inoue shares his warrior spirit outlook on what victory means to him. For sport or for life, ultimately you must give your ALL.


Enson Inoue:
Everyone has different interpretations of victory. And it can be real superficial, it can be really deep. Some people, victory is getting your hand raised at the end of the fight. Some people, victory is coming home alive. That is a form of victory. But then if you go deeper, there’s another form of victory. Like Glenn said, giving everything you got. Win, live or die, giving everything you got.


So that, I believe, is controlled. You can control that victory. Winning and losing is hard to control. I always told you guys before, don’t dwell on wins and losses, just give everything you got. Whatever comes with it, it’s like the tail of a dog. When he turns the corner, if the dog walks around the ring right there, I don’t know if his tail is going to be on the left side or the right side, but I know it’s going to be on one of those sides.

It’s like when we fight. We don’t know if we’re going to win or lose, but we know it’s going to be one or the other. And can you control it? You can try. You can train hard. You can get ready. You can fight hard. But you can’t control it. So no sense to dwell on it.


My view of victory in the fights is not getting my hand raised, it’s giving everything I got to the very end. My sign of victory in life, I always have this image of a building burning and a child on the second floor. My sign of victory isn’t walking, going home that night. My view of victory on that is running into the building and see if I can save that person, whether I live or die. That’s my victory. Okay. So just food for thought. Yeah. It’s a different range of success and different ideas of what people view as success.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Martial Arts Training

Here’s Coach Charles Martinez discussing the effective mindset of learning martial arts techniques. How you learn can be as important as what you learn, take two minutes and listen to some advice about how to get the most out of your training.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey, this is Coach Charles Martinez from The Arena, and today I wanted to talk briefly about how to get the most out of your learning. Now, sometimes in a class setting, maybe there’s multiple things being taught. They might not all specifically apply to you in your game right now. But in a class, I feel like when I’m teaching, I usually feel like I’m teaching to the middle of the room. Some of the technique is above the head of a new person, but it’s a little too simple for the advanced person. As you’re learning things, maybe you could be attracted to certain technique more than others, and maybe that’s… It could be a body type, it could be where your skill level is currently, so when you’re taking in information, this is kind of the information age for martial arts. Everything is out there. Fundamentals are fundamentals across the board, but then after you learn basic fundamentals, you want to start developing your own game.

There’s this Bruce Lee saying of, “Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and then add what’s specifically your own.” I think that’s important, but first… You don’t know at first what’s going to be the most useful for you. So when you’re taking in information, try and take it all in. Maybe there’s a piece today that you can apply today. Maybe the bare bones of what’s being taught today is important for your fundamentals of your game. Maybe one of the moves, or one of the versions of the move, just doesn’t make sense to you; you just don’t get it. And that’s fine. Maybe it’s not applicable to you today, but it could be. It could be as you get older, whereas maybe you have an injury, or maybe there’s an easier way of doing it. When you’re young, you have the tendency of behaving one way. When you’re older, maybe you find a path of least resistance a little bit easier. So the technique often is taught across the board, to everyone in the room, regardless of tall, short.

A good coach, as you start to develop, if you’re training specifically for yourself, you can start to tailor and decide what’s best for your body type, and your game, etc. But first you have to have the basis to build that on top of. Sometimes the technique is just not for you; maybe it’s just not for you ever, maybe it’s just not for you right now. I think when you have that mentality as you’re learning technique, it will be a lot easier to develop what is your own, but also have an open mind of other technique that could be applicable down the line, or it could be applicable against a different opponent, or a different body type. I think once you have that, you can draw something useful out of all technique, rather than being like, “I like this. I don’t like that.” Maybe you don’t like it right now because you don’t understand it right now, but down the line, you might be able to really draw something from it that benefits your game. That’s your tip.

Judo Youth Olympian Vandric Castro Transitions to Jiu Jitsu

Listen to what The Arena’s Vandric Castro has to say about his transition from a high-level Judo world to the foundations of his new journey in Jiu Jitsu.


Vandric Castro:
My name is Vandric Castro, I’m 22 years old from the Island of Guam. My first real love of Martial Arts came from judo, started when I was about seven years old. It’s taken me in a lot of places, I’ve competed mostly in the Asian circuits. Probably my biggest accomplishment being participating in the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. About the age of 20, is probably when I made the transition into Brazilian Jujitsu. I started in the Academy of Purebred back in Guam, went to college four years, moved out here to San Diego, then I found The Arena. It’s been a really good experience learning from them rolling with the guys, sharing what I know of Judo and just taking in all the knowledge they have of Jiu Jitsu and just trying to blend it together to make a pretty unique style. My goal is to make the transition from the standup to the ground a little more fluid.

Coach Baret Yoshida:
Off to start, We could tell he had phenomenal judo. I watched him all the time. You make guys do somersaults and you just demolish these guys. It’s very fun to watch him. Sometimes it gets him in trouble when he misses a throw, he could end in a bad position. But I think he’s getting better at recovering. Slowly, he’s going for less and less higher risks rolls.

Vandric Castro:
A lot of times, my throws don’t go exactly how I want. So I end up with this guy just monkey holding my back, and that’s a recipe for disaster in the Jiu Jitsu world. So I think that’s one of my biggest challenges right now is to complete the throw in a way that I can land in a more advantageous position. I really wanted to jump into a new world where I could be a beginner again and just work on absorbing knowledge. I think it’s what motivates me and being in this new world, swimming with all these sharks, there’s just a lot of fun. Wouldn’t really trade it.

Tip of the Week: Options for The Clinch

How’s it going? I’m Coach Vince Salvador from the Arena.

I’m Coach Charles Martinez. We’re here to discuss some options for the clinch different than what you may have seen before. We’ll start here.

A lot of times in the clinch, the basic rule for the clinch is to have my hips close to his hips. People say cup to cup or belt to belt. If I’m out here in a clinch, I’m gonna get kneed all day. It’s easier to snap my head down if this is MMA. If I see my feet in the clinch, I’m probably gonna see a knee in my face, as well. I need to bring my hips in and I need to trap the inside of his biceps. When I do that, it prevents him from being able to grab me. It prevents him from hitting me, punching me, throwing elbows.

Also, if he tries to throw a knee, I have a steering wheel. The steering wheel is what I’m gonna use to open up the space for me to land my shots. If I’m controlling the bicep here and I wanna make some space, I’m gonna use my inner thigh and my steering wheel to open up one side. If you come around to this side, you can see it on this side. We’re hip to hip. I have no space. I cannot knee from here so I need to make some space.

What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna get his weight to this side so this leg is light. The way I do that is with the steering wheel. I can use this grip, this grip, either/or. It’s really a preference thing. I like this grip. This is gonna make it easy for me to bring his head down. For me to do that, I distract him with a knee. Then his weight goes here. I pull where my inner thigh is gonna meet the inner thigh of his inner thigh to open up his body.

I’ve already opened up that side with my elbow lifting. Now my left knee just comes up and right back down. When I land that, I don’t wanna leave it there too long, ’cause he might grab it. If it’s MMA, I’m going on my back. It’s quick and down. If he does grab it, I can still kick my leg down, throw an elbow to attack on that same side, but as long as I have the bicep I’ll be strong here.

Often times, when you’re taught this, everyone’s taught to clench the head right away. That means that you’ve gotten past all these other phases of pummeling and clench. A lot of times here, this happens in the pummel. He goes to swing his hands inside. If I reach for the head and I’m strong, he has a hard time breaking this off but he swings his hand to the inside, he can use the bicep to start to clear that grip. If he swings his hand to the inside to the collar tie, when I clear the bicep, I also use leverage in my body and I try and establish that inside control.

If you want to think about it from an MMA perspective versus a Muay Thai perspective, when I’m controlling the biceps, he reaches in, tries to grab it under hook, I’m already in contact. If he tries to try and run his body that way, I’m able to start wizzering hard on that side and I’m already in contact versus being up here where it makes it easier for him to kind of bump and establish this good hard under-hook that he’s really looking for.

So close, head in, and then I’m able to start advancing to a better clench from here to deliver the unbalances, knees, elbows and I’m able to be attached to him to prevent these take-downs.

That’s your tip of the week.

Tip of the Week – Rolling Back Take

Jamarr Coleman:  Hey, what’s up everybody. This is Jamarr from The Arena. I am here with the rattlesnake, Ryan Fortin, one of our jiu-jitsu coaches here.

I got a question for you. I know we were working on the rolling back take. I try it, and I’m like a damn ostrich. You know? I’m like hitting my head smack into the ground.

How do I make this rolling back take smooth?

Ryan Fortin: Definitely. Definitely. I see this a lot. You know a lot of people have this problem. Right? Let’s get into position.

Jamarr Coleman:  Okay.

Ryan Fortin: So we’re gonna start in the three-quarter mount. Right? So go ahead, take mount.

Jamarr Coleman:Okay.

Ryan Fortin:And then the guy’s got your ankle.

Jamarr Coleman:   All right.

Ryan Fortin:    Okay? So a lot of times probably what you’re doing is you’re trying to roll right from here, right?

Jamarr Coleman:   Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I’m sitting up here and I’m really looking like an ostrich…

Ryan Fortin:   So, the problem is is that there’s too much in the way, so just try walking with your hands more towards my feet. Right?

Jamarr Coleman: Oh, okay.

Ryan Fortin:    Yeah. Now you’re creating a stronger leverage, so now when you roll, my hips are a lot lighter.

Jamarr Coleman: Oh.

Ryan Fortin:It’s much easier for you to clear that space. Make your rolling back take easier.

Jamarr Coleman: Hey, there you have it. Move of the week.

Judo: A Brief History

In mixed martial arts, there are many ancient sports that athletes study in order to become better fighters. These include Greco-Roman wrestling skills and boxing, both of which date back centuries. Judo, however, is quite important to MMA, but was only developed in the later part of the 19th century. You will find it similar to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in many ways, and that’s not hard to understand, since BJJ actually developed out of the world of Kodokan Judo.

In Judo, the main objective is to find a way to knock your opponent to the ground and then use a lock or a choke in order to gain an advantage. Judo students do learn striking, however, throwing techniques and grappling skills are far more important. In fact, striking is not a part of either sparring practice or allowable in competitions. In the century or so since Judo was developed, there have been many figures important to the sport.

Obviously, Jigoro Kano deserves the first mention as he founded the art, which became the first martial art included in the Olympic Games. Kano, much like Helio Gracie, was a bit of an underdog. Small and physically weak, he turned to jiujitsu to increase his strength. Eventually, he added wrestling techniques and techniques from other martial arts that he found to be effective, and out of many arts, a new one was born.

Like many who have sought out the teachings of Judo, Mitsuyo Maeda was not a particularly strong or large man, but he wanted to get stronger and he wanted a solid set of defensive skills. Taught by Jigoro Kano, he did so well that he was sent to other countries to spread the martial art. While visiting Brazil, he met Carlos Gracie, who was quite impressed with Judo and became a student. Eventually, Gracie opened his own school and with the help of brother Helio, the martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was developed. Maeda was an impressive fighter and earned a 7th dan black belt from the Kodokan Institute.

Maeda’s primary teacher was Tomita Tsunejiro, and he certainly has earned his place in the world of Judo’s Greats. Tsunejiro was one of the very first students of Judo, trained by Kano Jigoro himself. Tsunejiro also was the first student to earn a black belt and is also considered to be one of the Four Guardians of Judo.

Aside from boxing and wrestling, Judo was the first true martial art to be a part of the Olympic Games, and it was displayed as early as 1932 and became an official part of the summer games in 1964. The first gold medalist in the sport was not from Japan, but The Netherlands. Anton Geesink was the first Judo gold medalist, and although he eventually earned the rank of a 10th dan black belt from the International Judo Federation, this rank was unrecognized by the Kodokan Institute, which has awarded very few 10th dan black belts and none to anyone outside of Japan.

Because Judo is so effective as a way to overcome an opponent no matter what their size, it is very useful for mixed martial arts. There are several Judo experts in the world of MMA, such as Yoshihiro Akiyama and Anderson Silva. Ronda Rousey has used Judo effectively to win each of her professional MMA fights, and she won the bronze medal in Judo at the Olympic Games of 2008.

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