There are countless number of martial artists who blog. But here are the five martial art bloggers who have helped clarify my direction during my setbacks in 2014 and 2015.
Sensei Ando – Andrew Mierzwa
Ever met a wise master with a “split-personality”? A sudden switch from cheeky trashtalk to serious fatherly advice. Andrew Mierzwa is just like this – and he is the person behind SenseiAndo.com.
Sensei Ando breaks down key aspects of martial arts and turn them into actionable insights. It takes martial arts as a holistic lifestyle of self-development, self-defence and improving your technique’s proficiency.
What I love about Ando’s writing is its calming effect on you if you are having a bad day. He usually ends off with simple and immediate action you can take to improve your life. And when people make excuses on remaining at status quo, he has no qualms over calling out on it. Not many people can balance having a fun wacky personality and being no-nonsense, without looking like a mental case.
Ando – the cheeky ‘trashtalker’
Just in two sentences (when asked to describe his blog), Ando responded tongue-in-cheek with:
The BEST Martial Arts Blog in the world. No nonsense about sticks, ninjas, or whatever the hell Andrea and Jo are into.
His cheeky statement was aimed at Andrea, Joelle, Jackie and me. And we all had a great laugh about it.
Ando – the mentor
Ando’s advice has helped me out throughout my cross-training journey, even if I was always stubborn, paranoid and overambitious.
When I was promoted to black belt after what I felt was a fiasco of a grading, I lamented about my feelings of not deserving my black belt. In his trademark cheekiness, he pointed out that I was a bully… to myself.
Of the things Ando has taught me, these were what stood out:
- Incorporate rest and recovery between training.
- Acknowledge my own achievements
- Be patient with progress
- And to focus on fewer goals to truly excel at them.
Whether you are a layman or martial artist, check out Ando’s blog for small and easy actionable steps you can take to live a happier life.
The Martial Arts Woman – Andrea Harkins
Know anyone who can link martial arts to any random topic? Meet Andrea, the martial art blogger who runs The Martial Arts Woman.
Through stories and anecdotes, Andrea demonstrates how being positive and having a martial art mindset helps one overcome the struggles in life. What’s equally important to her is giving a voice for female martial artists, and to challenge dojo gender stereotypes; a mission I believe is especially important for the next generation of martial artists – both male and female.
When she first started her blog, I had no idea how she managed to write on a near-daily-basis, while always being personable in her writing. And therein lies an important lesson I learnt from her – to avoid overthinking it or being perfectionist and let things happen as they should.
How I ‘Met’ Andrea?
I first approached Andrea back in 2013 to ask if she wanted to be a contributor for the inaugural Day Of Ninja. She accepted. We’ve tweeted back and forth since then. And chatted on video once or twice.
Earlier this year, when sharing one of her inspirational piece, we both got unfair lashback from a certain online community. When managing the crisis, I saw another side of Andrea – we became private ‘swearing buddies’ then.
For feel-good real life ‘case studies’ of how you can apply the martial art mindset to overcome obstacles, check out The Martial Arts Woman.
The Martial View – Dan Holloway
Interested in exploring all things self-defence? Look no further than The Martial View.
This community is the place to debate ideas and theories, and learn about self-defense programs and apps, regardless of your martial arts background and style. Many “big shots” have also been interviewed – including Richard Norton and Bob Breen.
But who’s the face behind The Martial View?
Introducing Dan Holloway
Besides the fact that he’s a fellow Aikido practitioner, I was drawn to Dan because of these reasons:
- The clarity over his purpose in doing martial arts – Dan is dedicated to exploring self-defence concepts, and he cross-trains towards that goal without discrimination over style.
- He is a third-dan sensei in Yoshinkan Aikido and instructor at Defence Lab but has never pushed his ego around whenever we talk online
- His decision to be a live-in student at an overseas dojo (Aikido Shudokan) trainee, is the very same leap that I intend to make in the future
As a result, I can’t help but see Dan as a senpai who has walked the path before me.
If your way of the warrior involves impeccable self-defense, take the leap and check out The Martial View. And join his Facebook group for discussions on self defence structure.
The Stick Chick – Jackie Bradbury
Stick weapons, Filipino martial arts geekery, debates over controversial martial arts issues and the occasional parentbrag. The Stick Chick presents the musings of Jackie Bradbury, a martial art blogger who trains in Presas Arnis and kobudo.
Her blog talks about the following:
- Technicalities of FMA and stick weapons
- Face-off Friday – a solicitation of the reader’s view over a specific martial art issue (or topic)
- Humorous observation of the people we’d prefer to avoid in the dojo
- Video fight analysis
- Shenanigan instructors and hoaxes (I believe she may no longer be doing these)
If you’ve trained in martial arts for some time, you will enjoy Jackie’s Face-Off Friday discussions, which looks at specific issues in martial arts culture.
What Jackie has taught me
As a marketer by profession, Jackie’s approach to blogging hinges on knowing what her readers want and tweaking her articles in response. I, on the other hand, complicate matters by introducing too many ‘bells and whistles’ to Way Of Ninja and not focus on writing the essentials. I will be taking a leaf out of her book to keep it simple and hit the essentials for 2016.
For awesome martial arts discussions and stick weapons geekery, check out The Stick Chick.
A Beginner’s Journey – Joelle White
Are you a beginner with self-doubts? Joelle’s experiences and inner-dialogues will push you forward and demonstrate that it is never too old to begin.
After a 27-year hiatus, Joelle White returned to Karate at her daughter’s and sensei’s challenge. The long time away from the dojo made her appreciate karate in the eyes of a beginner.
Other than her experiences in sparring, competitions and classes, this martial art blogger occasionally does an ‘inner-dialogue’ segment that illustrates ego trips and doubts that everyone has as martial artists with humorous personal anecdotes.
Getting to know Jo
I first spoke with Jo back when I wrote Anxiety in Martial Arts and Sports as a Slow Learner. She was the person who pointed out that I may have some form of directional dyslexia, and it was great knowing the name of this condition of not being able to process directions as quickly as I’d like to.
What I learnt from Jo was to learn with enthusiasm and confidence, and be unafraid to go at my own pace. To never shun looking at martial arts with a beginner’s perspective.
Check out A Beginner’s Journey to be inspired to take every day as a lesson in martial arts.