Category Archives: General

06Feb/17

About Those Martial Arts Books…

I’m occasionally asked by a student or friend, “What’s the best book to learn X?” where X is some martial art or skill. There’s a real simple answer.

None of them.

There’s no way to learn a complex martial skill from a book. There’s just too much hidden knowledge, too much subtlety for it to ever boil down perfectly to some words and a series of still images.

That being said, I’ve got dozens of martial arts texts. Here’s a picture of my desk:

The books that currently live on my desk.

The books that currently live on my desk.

That image begs the question, why have them if you can’t learn technique from them? Those books are really good to remind you what you’ve already learned.

It’s really difficult to learn a new form from a book or to master a complex takedown. However, once you’ve seen it from an experienced instructor, once your body knows the motion, the book becomes valuable. Should my hand be on the sleeve or the lapel? Is that a back stance or a tiger stance there? Do I grab over or under my own cane? That’s the time that these books really pay off.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Taekwondo: Complete WTF Forms by Marc Tedeschi – Easily, hands down, the best reference for WTF forms you will ever find. Each form is presented in tables, summary photos, and then detailed photos. The book also presents applications for some portions of forms. My only criticism is that these applications tend toward the interpretation that blocks are actually blocks and have some very questionable explanations for things like scissor block, half-mountain block,etc.
  • Complete Tang Soo Do Vol. 1 by Ho Sik Pak – Not quite as comprehensive at Tedeschi’s book for WTF Taekwondo, this book is a great reference for Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan.
  • Modern Arnis: The Filipino Art of Stick Fighting by Remy Presas – This slim little volume is a great reference on the basics of Arnis. It’s wonderful, particularly for early learning, on angles of attack, disarms, and basic sinawali.
  • 75 Down Blocks: Refining Karate Technique by Rick Clark – Recommended to me by Master Jason Ladd, this is a great book to introduce people to the ideas of bunkai/bunseok. Rick Clark lays out 75 different ways that a low block could be interpreted. Not all are amazing, but seeing that amount of breadth in what is often the first technique taught to new students is fun.

Of course, everyone has their own list of critical texts. Use the comments to share your own.

13Jan/16

Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolution

Did your New Year’s resolution for 2015 fail? Do you think 2016’s will be any different? It may come as a shock, but according to research from the Journal of Clinical Psychology only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution goals. Most either do not have enough invested, get too busy, or simply give up.

If your New Year’s resolution is to get in shape or spend more time with your family, Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness is the perfect place to help you achieve your goals and have fun along the way!

Exercise You Want to Do

Exercise and losing weight are the most common New Year’s resolutions and the ones most likely to fail. Why? Because gyms are impersonal. If you do not know what you are doing, you can easily injure yourself. Results can be poor, and sometimes working out for the sake of working out is just plain boring. Sound familiar?

At the dojang, you have a dedicated instructor and mentor who customizes your lesson based on your personal skill and level. As your prowess increases, so do your challenges, pushing you far beyond what you thought possible, while keeping your personal safety in check. Plus, the constant challenge of learning new techniques and responses to self-defense situations will keep you engaged while you sweat.

Taekwondo Teaches More than Fitness

Taekwondo is an excellent fitness tool, but it also teaches you valuable life skills. As you learn self-defense, you will also develop greater self-confidence by challenging yourself, confronting new situations, and progressing through the challenges of the belt ranking system. Having a purpose beyond merely exercising enriches your experience and the continued engagement makes it easier to maintain your New Year’s Resolution.

Make Family Time Your New Year’s Resolution

When you share a New Year’s resolution with others, you are far more likely to succeed. What better way to improve your chances than building your resolution around family?

Everyone can train together at Amerson’s Taekwondo from ages 6-60. It is an incredible bonding experience you cannot find anywhere else and your family will be healthier and happier for it. Don’t leave the family behind while you go to the gym or sit on the sidelines while the kids have an activity. Get on the floor because the family that kicks together sticks together!

Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness

Kick the New Year off right by committing to learn martial arts as a family with Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness. Join us to have fun, build confidence, get in shape, and spend quality time with your family. 2016 is going to be a great year!

Get started by visiting us at the Falls River Town Center at 10940 Raven Ridge Rd., Ste. 120, e-mailing us at masteramerson@gmail.com, calling us at 919-307-KICK (5425), or visiting us online at amersonstkd.com.

23Nov/15

3 Things to Know if You are Attacked in Public!

In our previous article, Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness taught you the steps you needed to take to avoid being the victim of a public assault. But no matter how cautious you are, there still may come a time when the unthinkable happens. If you are attacked in public, remember these 3 things to remove yourself from your assailant’s grasp.

Continue to Draw Attention to Yourself

If you are untrained or out of shape, you are likely to tire quickly when placed in this intense situation. You have 30 seconds or less to act before fatigue sets in. Use this time wisely.

  • Make lots of noise! Scream or shout “NO!” or “BACK OFF!” to make your presence known to others in the area.
  • Stay focused on your goal to break free. Your energy and demeanor count as much as your attacker’s.
  • If you can, run to a safe place for you and your family until help arrives. This is not like a scene from a movie. Running to safety is always your best option.

Make it Count!

If you have to try striking an attacker to create an opportunity to escape, make sure you hit hard and fast to an effective area.

Common areas to strike an attacker are:

  • Eyes
  • Groin
  • Nose

Less common/obvious areas to strike an attacker are:

  • Ears
  • Inside of the Knee
  • Throat

Your attacker may be ready to block strikes to common areas, so being comfortable with the less common options will be helpful in removing yourself from the situation. Strike hard, strike fast, and get to safety!

Use What You Have as Weapons

There are a number of everyday items on any given person that can be turned into weapons to help you escape:

  • Keys. Lace them between your fingers and use them as claws or clench one in your fist so it juts out the bottom.
  • Pens. Clenched in your fist, they become a potent jabbing device.
  • Loose change. Small coins can be thrown in an assailant’s face like sand.
  • Water bottle. Squeeze an open bottle to squirt the water in the eyes of the attacker.
  • Magazines. When rolled up, they can be used as a makeshift baton.

Even with one of these weapons, remember that your goal is to strike fast to create a chance to get to safety.

Train Yourself for the Future

If you have not been trained in self-defense, your goal is to escape as quickly as possible. At Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness, we hope you never have to use the methods we teach, but believe they are important to learn for the continued safety of you and your family.

13Nov/15

Stay Safe During Holiday Shopping!

As the holiday season approaches, the sun starts setting sooner and many people are out shopping after dark. At night, the risk for personal assault rises. In order to avoid this potentially life-threatening situation for you or your children, Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness recommends the following safety guidelines:

Plan Your Exit Strategy

Your best weapon for self-defense is your brain. If you know you are likely to leave a shopping complex at night, planning ahead can greatly reduce the risk of attack:

  • Always park your car in well-lit and frequently trafficked areas.
  • Locate your car keys before you exit and have them readily available. Sorting through a purse, backpack, or pockets diverts your attention from your surroundings.
  • Scan the parking lot for anything suspicious, like people lurking in shadows. If you see something you do not like, turn around and ask for an escort to your car.
  • Keep your children in close proximity and hold their hand if possible.

Strength in Numbers

The average assailant chooses targets of opportunity. Traveling with a group of friends or family members decreases the likelihood of an attack. If you are alone and do not feel safe walking to your car, ask for an escort. There are often security guards, attendants, or store clerks you can ask to walk with you. Remember: it is always better to err on the side of caution.

Speak Up: Draw Attention and Aid

In the unfortunate event you find yourself in a situation where you are being attacked, you need to act quickly to dissuade the assailant from continuing. Try to remain calm and follow these steps:

  • Use your voice! By shouting “No!” or “Back off!” you alert others in your area to your distress.
  • A loud shout can also startle your attacker and enable you to prepare yourself for action. Martial artists know this and use the yell or kihap to their advantage.
  • Fleeing back to a safe area and contacting the police is always your best option.
  • If you do get into a physical altercation, strike soft areas like the eyes, ears, throat, and groin for maximum impact with minimal training.
  • Do not give up! The more you struggle and make noise, the more likely you are to be left alone or draw attention that your attacker does not want.

How Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness Can Help

At Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness, we believe the holidays should be a time for giving and sharing. We hope these tips will keep you safe during the season. We also believe it is essential to learn proper self-defense techniques and martial arts to ensure your continued safety year-round. When you are ready to take your personal safety into your own hands for you or your family, we’re ready to share our dojang with you.

21Oct/15

Falls River Town Center is a Wonderful Place to Be!

At Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness, we are excited to be neighbors with the wonderful businesses at Falls River Town Center. Location is everything, and Falls River Town Center has something for everyone! Before, during, and after classes at our dojang, Falls River Town Center has everything you need to take care of all the other activites, shopping, and dining on your list.

Fitness and Activities

Falls River Music: (919) 637-052. A one of-a-kind music shop, offering music lessons on a variety of instruments like piano, violin, drum, woodwinds and more! Want to learn to play guitar with the whole family? Group classes are available Thursday nights and Saturday mornings. They even offer lessons on-line. Falls River Music also hosts year-round music camps for kids and band rentals.

Gratitude Hot Yoga: (919) 307-3325. If you are looking for the best place to learn or continue improving your yoga experience, this is the studio to go to. They offer both hot and non-hot yoga classes. In their top-of-the-line Sun Room, you can enjoy the slower pace of Gentle Hot Flow or get intense with their physically challenging Hot Vinyasa. In their cool Moon Room, you can reach Zen with deep stretching Yin Yoga. They even have Prenatal classes and workshops to teach you how to teach others.

Klaystation: (919) 848-8079. Explore your family’s creative side in Raleigh’s best potter painting and party place. Hosting a large selection of pre-fired earthen ware, you can choose your favorite piece to add your own artistic talents and create a truly unique gift of art. They also offer special event planning with step-by-step instructions to turn an otherwise boring birthday party or ladies’ night out into something special.

The Little Gym: (919) 846-9760. Dedicated to helping children ages 4 months to 12 years, this gym develops your little ones into confident and capable citizens of tomorrow. They offer programs ranging from gymnastics to dance, helping your child build strength, improve concentration, and learn teamwork. Every parent wants the best for their kids; so let The Little Gym’s time-proven method give your child the best start possible!

Restaurants

Taza Grill: (919) 872-7161. They offer a variety of fresh Mediterranean dishes like Shawarma, Shish Kabobs, Gyros, and an assortment of delicious salads. For the vegetarian in your group, their Vegetarian Platter with Falafel, Tabouli, Hummus, Pasta Salad, and Pita Bread is the way to go. All this with affordable prices cannot be beat. They cater and offer home delivery as well.

Guacamaya: (919) 846-7044. Formerly known as Chubby’s Tacos, Guacamaya combines the freshest ingredients with a casual atmosphere to create the ideal taco location. Choose from a variety of tacos like the Spicy Carne Asade, Barbacoa, Sweet Potato and Black Bean, or build your own! Their combo prices are the best deal around and they have an amazing array of salsas.

Nantucket Grill: (919) 870-1955. Capturing the essence of New England style cuisine, this establishment delivers with their specialty sandwiches, like their Cranberry Bog with roast turkey, warm stuffing and cranberry sauce for lunch and Pecan Crusted Tilapia for dinner. On the weekends, enjoy Herb Roasted Prime Rib for a melt-in-your-mouth experience you will want to have again and again. Great restaurant for small or large groups.

Shopping

The Book Bar: (919) 780-7804. This is the best place to give a new life to your old books. Here you can purchase great used books at the lowest prices around. You can also trade in the stories you loved for new adventures and receive store credit for every single book! If you enjoy talking about and sharing books with others, feel free to converse with other enthusiasts over a cup of FREE coffee. They have a large selection of children’s books and offer readings and a chance to meet local authors.

Gamesturz: (919) 322-1753. Video gaming is a great way to meet new people and immerse yourself in action. Gamesturz offers the best prices on video games and video game trade-ins, but that is not all. Their gaming lounge gives you the opportunity to play right in the store, perfect for anyone ages 7 and up. They host birthday parties, lock-ins, and summer camps. Do not miss out on the opportunity to let the inner gamer in you shine!

Going Local NC: (919) 301-8437. Featuring a variety of handmade items from across the state, Going Local NC is the perfect place to find a special piece of jewelry, art, or clothing for yourself or as a gift for someone else. Swing by today and find something truly unique and support local artists.

Red Hill General Store: (919) 457-9020. An authentic and traditional general store, their selections range from home décor like hand forged wrought iron shelf brackets to farm and outdoor supplies. They have everything you could ever need for your pet, from collars and toys to wireless fences. If you do not find what you need on location, their vast on-line network can deliver it right to the store.

Here at Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness, we are lucky to be surrounded by an array of fine businesses, creating a wonderful shopping destination where everyone can meet, share, and make memories. To learn more about our fitness classes and all we add to Falls River Town Center, give us a call (919) 307-5425, or stop on by!

29Jul/15

Choosing The Perfect Martial Arts Studio

Anyone who has started looking for the perfect martial arts studio can tell you, there are a lot of options available. You need to find a place that will fit not only your goals, but also your personality, your family, and your budget. To ensure your best possible experience, there are four main points to consider: the instructor, the location, your personal goals, and the cost.

Getting to Know Your Instructor

You should never sign up to join a martial arts studio without first meeting the instructor and watching a class. The interaction between the instructor and student varies widely and is paramount for success. This isn’t something you can determine from a website; there’s no substitute for observing a class in person.

Unlike many other martial arts studios, at Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness, you’re able to engage in a no-obligation trial on your first visit. What better way to form a bond than with firsthand experience? You can learn right away if the school is a good fit for you, and how Master Amerson trains.

Location, Location, Location

When choosing your martial arts studio, you want to find a place that is convenient. As exciting as martial arts training can be, it has to fit into your busy life. A location that sits near your home or fits your commute is essential. Our location, in the Falls River Town Center, offers a place you can travel after work without hassle that’s easily accessible from I-540. If you have a young one in class, it also provides you with time to mark off some of your errands in the surrounding shops while your child trains.

Your Personal Goals

Each individual has different goals when seeking to train in the martial arts. Whether you are interested in training for your little one, as an adult, or as a family unit, take a look at what a school has to offer. Some schools focus on children while others may be too intense for younger participants. We provide programs to fulfill the following needs:

– Our Little Dragons curriculum focuses on ages 4 to 6, helping to develop valuable motor skills and discipline in a fun and engaging environment.

– Our Family Taekwondo classes focus on training both as a family unit and with class peers, combining the perfect family activity, while continuing to engage growth and development.

– Adult Arnis focuses on real-life self-defense for older students in a less formal environment.

The Martial Arts Contract

You don’t want to get forced into unwanted long-term contracts when searching for a martial arts home, and this is one of the biggest secrets of the industry. The majority of contracts are for a year or more and cannot be cancelled. Furthermore, most schools will not discuss tuition up front or contract terms until after a trial. By that time, your excitement or your child’s excitement can lead to a regrettable decision if your desires or goals change in a few months. Always ask about enrollment terms when looking at a school.

At Amerson’s Taekwondo, we provide multiple levels of contracts ranging from 1 to 3 years of rate lock-in, meaning the rate when you started training is guaranteed, regardless of posted tuition increases on our site. Our contracts are cancellable with a few months’ notice in the event you or your child wants to pursue other goals, or your family needs a change with time. It’s a win-win, and we’re not afraid to post that information on our website.