Howdy everyone. As you know I work closely with the Karate Depot team to figure out new ways in which to help martial artists.
Recently we realized something unusual about martial arts retailers – every company has a standard store front with wholesale tacked on the side as an afterthought. Karate Depot was just as guilty! We realized that with such a large contingent of school owners getting online to promote their business and supply their students, why shouldn’t there be a resource dedicated entirely to them?
It was with that idea Zengu.com was born.
Zengu combines the resources of multiple different retail sites, including http://www.karatedepot.com, http://www.boxingdepot.com, and http://www.mmaopinion.com. Pooling these resources into one location resulted in a greatly improved product selection. The prices were then dropped as close to factory as possible while still allowing for a sustainable business model.
After that core framework was taken care of, we went in and started building features that would benefit martial art school owners specifically. For example, on Zengu you have the ability to create and save lists of products that you may need for tournaments, demonstrations, or routine school maintenance (click here to learn more about Zengu’s tools). Each list is separate and can be quickly ordered or re-ordered any time they are needed.
It can be difficult to remember which products you need (and how many) when taking registrations, prepping events, promoting students, etc. so these kinds of tools provide a streamlined experience.
To become a part of Zengu, simply sign up for a free account and submit your proof of business. After that the KD team will activate your account and you’ll be good to go. Also, for a little added publicity for your school, don’t miss out on the Zengu Network.
I was glad to be a part of this project, and I hope Zengu adds to my core goal of helping other martial artists in their training journey.
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One of the best ways to stay hungry for improvement and stave of complacency is to get exposed to high level martial artists.
Observing top practitioners of any classical style can quickly fill you with a mix of emotion (admiration, uncertainty, self-consciousness, inspiration, etc). It can also be a surefire way to stay humble.
If you think about it…a martial artist who trains with 10-15 people will eventually start to base his/her sense of ability on how they perform against those other individuals. If said martial artist starts to dominate, he/she could easily lose perspective and let ego grab hold.
If that pool of people were much bigger and included some top practitioners, the artist would be much more inclined to keep perspective.
I’m fortunate in that I have the Heilmans and their four Kyoshi to keep me in check routinely. But this last weekend’s IKKF Annual Training served as a reboot for every student present.
At our annual gathering we get a chance to train under premiere instructors like Bill Hayes (Shorin Ryu), Jody Paul (Motobu Udundi), and Miguel Ibarra (Aikijujitsu). But this year we also had the pleasure of hosting some of most senior Okinawa Kenpoka such as George Epps, Larry Isaac, Vic Coffin, and Al Louis (some of whom also brought senior students from their respective dojo). Put that together with the Heilmans and their Kyoshi and what you have is a gigantic soup of experience.
While all the teachers no doubt enjoyed reconnecting and sharing with each other, we (the students) were the lucky ones as we could not turn around without seeing or learning something interesting. I was in attendance for all three days and still couldn’t attend a seminar by every instructor.
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If you find yourself training in a vacuum, constantly re-convincing yourself that you know enough and are the keeper of “the truth”, I highly recommend making an effort to connect with other respectable martial artists. They can be within your own style, or from something completely different.
The key of course is to use such connections to enhance an already strong foundation. Being a seminar jumper or video collector without a core operating system results in a lot of surface level, superficial understanding. But, when done right, such experiences can help you keep that classical mindset of humility and curiosity.
The longer I train the more I realize the importance of wellness.
Of course, wellness may be the least glamorous part of training. After all, eating vegetables and legumes doesn’t make for an exciting youtube clip.
Luckily I get to hang around a bunch of experienced practitioners who tell stories from time to time of their tough training. Personally, I’ve been an uke since age 11 and am becoming more acutely aware of how repeated impact affects the body.
It’s because of these realizations that I recently read The Okinawa Program, a book describing the Okinawan way of life and how the Ryukyuans became the longest lived people on the planet. And fortunately, thanks to the good people at YMAA, I was able to follow up that research with Western Herbs: For Martial Artists and Contact Athletes.
Western Herbs is a unique addition to my library.
The Okinawa Program deftly lays out the lifestyle and diet of the Okinawans. Most other books regarding traditional Chinese medicine, including The Bubishi, discuss herbal concoctions that you will most likely never encounter. Western Herbs, on the other hand, takes that same pharmacological approach and applies it to vegetation and growth readily available in western countries.
Have you ever wondered how Aloe Vera works, and how to utilize it’s full effects? Did you know the capsaicin in peppers (when prepared properly) can help relieve back pain and arthritis?
This is stuff that doesn’t require a shady trip down back alleys in Chinatown. The best part is that this book grades each herbal claim via a 5 leaf system. Zero leaves means the claim of effect is completely unsubstantiated, while five leaves means you are good to go and can rely on the results.
The author, Susan Lynn Peterson, is a trained martial artist as well as researcher (she has a real P.H.D., not the weird “professorship” some martial artists prescribe themselves). Her approach is non-mystical with no heavy-handed desire to prove that eastern healing methods are the exclusive answer to all health problems. She mixes east and west in an approachable and fact-friendly way.
The book is broken up into digestible pieces that teach you…
- how to utilize herbs from a novice perspective.
- how to create various kinds of tinctures and concoctions.
- how to handle each of the most important herbs.
- how to assess your needs and safely begin herbal treatment.
- how to not make yourself dead by doing something stupid.
There’s no question I won’t be able absorb all this book has to offer in one sitting. That’s why I intend to keep it nearby as a resource to access as I slowly increase my ability to understand and improve my own wellness.