Seasons Greetings from Les

Merry Christmas!

I want to thank you for your support through this difficult year. Without you it would be not have been possible to continue to operate and run classes. In these difficult times I managed to get some of the best martial arts teachers to share their knowledge with you on their rules for success. I hope that you will find this small gift from us of benefit and are able to use some of the suggested rules to support your martial arts development. If not, I hope you at least find it amusing and a nice distraction.
Please use the link to download Rules for Success in Karate.




I am very grateful for your continued support and wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2021.

Best wishes,

Les Bubka.
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🥋About: Les Bubka is an author, Karate coach, entrepreneur and creator of the #Hikite4ever T-shirt. Promoting inclusive Karate with a focus on mental health aspects of training. Teaching both nationally and internationally.
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Happy Birthday to Anxious Black Belt.

On the 23rd of October 2019 I published my first book, Anxious Black Belt. One year later and I can say that it has been a fantastic journey. Thank you to all who have helped to make this project possible and to those that have made it a success.

I’m very grateful to all of you that have supported me by buying the book, writing reviews, helping to promote it etc. To be honest I really didn’t expect such a good reception of this small book, as I didn’t think that I could write an interesting story. Thanks to those who believed in me!

To celebrate this first birthday I thought that you might be interested to hear how Anxious Black Belt sounds with a Polish accent.

Please let me know how you imagined Anxious Black Belt might sound?

Enjoy this short clip below.

If you would like to support this blog with no cost to you and you shop with Amazon, please feel free to use my affiliate link, for which I get a small commission when you purchase something – note that it is completely free for you!  Please find the link below.

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🥋About: Les Bubka is an author, Karate coach, entrepreneur and creator of the #Hikite4ever T-shirt. Promoting inclusive Karate with a focus on mental health aspects of training. Teaching both nationally and internationally.

📹 Check out my videos 👇

https://www.youtube.com/c/ShinaidoKar…

🔔 SUBSCRIBE – so you don’t miss NEW videos 👇

https://www.youtube.com/c/ShinaidoKar…

👕GET MY #HIKITE4EVER T- shirt 👇

https://lesshop.ammhub.com/c/clothing

👍 CONNECT WITH ME:

👉🏻 Facebook ➡ https://www.facebook.com/lesbubka/

👉🏻Instagram ➡ https://www.instagram.com/lesbubka/

👉🏻Podcast ➡ https://anchor.fm/lesbubka/

👉🏻Contact me ➡ https://www.lesbubka.co.uk/index.html#about-section

Karate Unity Q&A with Les

karate_unity

I’m sure that some of forum members came across Chris Hanson’s Live Q&A,

Chris does awesome job bringing all sorts of martial arts instructors from wide range of arts and sports to chat about all martial arts related topics.

I find his work entertaining and really helpful in learning what other people do within martial arts, in a humours and energetic way.tarcza2

I was fortunate enough to be invited to one of his sessions where we talked about cross training, mental health and bit about my book.

 

Recording from that session below, hope you will enjoy it.

Kind regards Les

 

Not all roses

 

As most of you probably know I’m a strong advocate for the benefits of Karate in relation to mental health. As with everything in life there are two sides of the coin and rarely things are black and white.

 

For some individuals or groups Karate might have a negative impact on health both physically and mentally. Whether or not a person benefits positively from training depends on several factors such as:

  • Personal circumstances
  • Instructor
  • Group social setup
  • Training methods

 

Personal Circumstances

In the case of personal circumstances, an individual might have an underlying mental health condition, which Karate training can make worse if not conducted properly. Most people who start a martial art will have to face fear in some form. For example, fear of sparring, public performance or overcoming the fear of breaking stuff. Without positive mentoring the result of these fears might have a negative impact on a person.

Instructor

Sometimes an instructor, or the head of an organisation, might be charismatic but lacking in understanding of the needs of students or is simply unaware of factors impacting their students health.

If training instructions are given in a form that pressurises a student to do tasks this might lead to a negative impact on health.

Often, especially in more “traditional” branches of Karate, there can be a culture of power and bullying. This can create a mental vicious circle where bullied students either quit as they feel not worthy or tough enough to be a part of the group or result in the creation of more bullies who then take revenge on new students. This situation was recognised in the Polish army and is named “the wave”. This situation is very difficult to eradicate.

This culture was very popular in Karate in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. I believe that conditions have improved now, but “the wave” is not completely gone.

Group Social Setup

Karate is an activity that can make people feel that they belong to a group, which can easily turn into a sect or cult like organisation. This is a world wide problem that sports and social clubs face everyday from football, rugby, wrestling and Karate, leading people to feel that they are better than those who don’t belong to the tribe.

Browsing through forums, Facebook pages or YouTube comments we can easily come across conversations or comments about the superiority of a given branch of Karate. Many claim that their style of Karate is the original one, supporting their claims with lineage, or that their system is the strongest as they <…insert whatever you want here…>.

This cult thinking can lead people into developing a delusional view of themselves as the better person. From history we know that this kind of brain washing activity can lead to the abuse of power and abuse in general. Resulting in traumatic experiences for members of that group and/or others.

Training Methods

Another factor to consider in terms of benefit outcomes is training methodology. Here again “traditional” ways can creep in, where people hold the belief that past methods are always superior to modern ones. The problem here is that even just 50 years ago we didn’t know aspects of sport science, mental health and physiology in general. So, as the masters of the past relied on their knowledge at the time, now we know we can train better, safer and more efficiently.

The term traditional can also be used to hide a lack of knowledge of modern methodology, to create an illusion of exclusivity, or be used as an excuse for the barbaric treatment of students in the name of worthiness and commitment to the only true style/system.

In every aspect of life all things can be used in a positive or negative way, Karate is no different. If you pop into a Dojo and would like to start Karate, please have a look first at how the club is set up. Consider asking yourself a few questions. How is the instructor treating the students?

How are the students themselves treating each other? Do the students look happy? How does the instructor refer to the competition?

Search for things that are not said – the body language of people within the dojo, the approachability of the teacher, the overall atmosphere etc.

All of these aspects can give you an appreciation of the feel of the club and I would recommend that you only join it if you feel good about it and you feel welcomed. Your gut instinct is usually a great indicator of things being good or not for you.

I hope that most dojos now have moved on from being cult like and provide motivating and fun classes.

If you enjoyed this chapter of my new book “Karate For Mental Health” and are interested in reading my previous work, the book can be purchased from Amazon:

ANXIOUS BLACK BELT

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Les Bubka is a dedicated practitioner of the way of the empty hand and has been for over twenty years. He is the founder of LB Posture Training, which incorporates the art of Karate with his personal training qualifications in order to help people.
Les has experience in running projects in association with mental health charities and other institutions, introducing Karate as a tool to help build confidence, self-esteem and physical activity to disadvantaged members of the community.
Les runs an inclusive club in Guildford (UK) where everyone is welcome.

Anxious Black Belt

I’m very excited about publishing my book on the subjects of Karate and Anxiety. Below you can find an excerpt from the book. Please let me know what you think.

try.pngI started writing this book as a therapeutic exercise, to find out more about why I was suffering from a fear of the smallest things and to ensure that I not make the same mistakes with raising my own children as my father did with me when I was young. After talking about the idea of writing down my experiences with a few friends, they convinced me that I should write my story down in this book.

I’m not a writer, so forgive me for my lack of beautiful descriptions and poetic sentence. This book is about my fight with anxiety, how martial arts helped me to combat my fears and how it has taught me to become a stronger and more caring person.

It was a tough road. All of these experiences have led me to set up my own company, LB Posture Training, where I try to help other people improve their health and mental wellbeing and part of this business is Karate.

Karate can be used to help people who suffer from mental health issues, loneliness, and isolation. We provide group classes for adults from 18 years old, with our oldest student currently being 87 years young.

I hope that this book will help others to understand how difficult it is to live with anxiety, especially as I have only recently learnt that this is the condition that I have been suffering with.

I would like to show the art of Karate in a different light, not just a mere fighting system, but as a tool for improving one’s quality of life.

Karate has saved my life, and I am grateful for that. That is why I have decided to use it to help people around the world.

“Strong and Caring people are the pillars of society, and Karate helps to cultivate them.” Les Bubka 

For as long as I can remember I have had an overwhelming feeling of fear. I never imagined that this was something that I could change or erase, however I began to learn more about these feelings when I started to teach Karate for the charity, The Welcome Project. Here I met people who suffered from anxiety and other mental health issues.

It has become important to me to describe the ways in which I deal with these feelings. They stem from my childhood and have continued with me through adulthood. They have been with me on my journey to gaining a black belt in Karate and to becoming a person who is fortunate to teach all over the world, using Karate as a way of helping others.

In my opinion, the root of my anxiety can be found in the relationship I had with my father. He was a strict man who never showed signs of love to me or my brother and from whom words such as “I love you” or “I’m proud of you” were never spoken. Everything we did was scrutinised, never good enough or done incorrectly. This behaviour of my father turned the simplest tasks into unpleasant experiences, full of the fear of failure.

I have this clear memory of my mum sending me to a shop to buy some fruits. At that time in Poland it was not so easy to get fruits and other groceries as the communist regime had just fallen and democracy started to settle in.

I distinctly remember my mum telling me to go and get bananas, potatoes, and other groceries for the family. My memory of that event is that feeling of fear of asking people over the counter to buy a few simple Items. I felt paralysed. Luckily I found that a friend of mine was in the same queue and so I managed to convince him to ask a salesperson for my shopping. This type of fear of communicating with strangers has accompanied me to this day, but over the years I have developed coping strategies to deal with it. Now when I recognise this feeling creeping in I can reduce its impact on me via meditation and reasoning.

It doesn’t matter how hard I try, fear never leaves me. It is always lingering in the bottom of my gut making me worry that something bad is going to happen. I hope that my story will go some way to describe what people are experiencing when suffering from anxiety every day.

If you enjoyed this chapter and are interested in reading more, the book can be purchased from Amazon:

ANXIOUS BLACK BELT

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Les Bubka

Les Bubka is a dedicated practitioner of the way of the empty hand and has been for over twenty years. He is the founder of LB Posture Training, which incorporates the art of Karate with his personal training qualifications in order to help people.
Les has experience in running projects in association with mental health charities and other institutions, introducing Karate as a tool to help build confidence, self-esteem and physical activity to disadvantaged members of the community.
Les runs an inclusive club in Guildford (UK) where everyone is welcome.