Halloween Safety Tips – Magnan Martial Arts

October 26, 2011

The martial arts is an increasingly important element in preserving Halloween as a positive, safe activity for children and the community. Unfortunately, children are more vulnerable as victims of predators today, especially whenever children participate in activities in public environments and even the streets of their neighborhoods.

Every child can enjoy Halloween safely if they learn to be disciplined, aware and prepared. Halloween discipline means staying on well-lit streets and always crossing at the corners. Halloween awareness means being cautious of animals and strangers. Halloween preparedness means planning your Trick or Treat night route and sharing it with your family. These are just a few of the safety tips listed on our attached Halloween Safety Flyer and that will be discussed at our Kick For Treats Event scheduled for Saturday, October 29th from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm.

Halloween is only one day of the year. Children must be safe every day of the year, which is why our school teaches specific safety techniques and lessons in leadership, so children have the self-confidence and self-control to respond to any type of situation. Although we don’t necessarily expect a small child to ever have to use martial arts techniques to “fight” off an abductor, we do expect them to become more aware of their surroundings and the people in them, so they never find themselves in an abduction scenario.

Halloween is one of those fun-filled celebrations that evoke strong memories for adults. Today’s children deserve to experience their own Halloween fun to remember throughout their lives; and our schools is ready to join with parents, schools, churches, local government and other civic organizations to make Halloween the safe, traditional celebration it has always been.

Magnan Martial Arts Students Score In and Out of the Ring!

September 11, 2011

While considered a young school, being open only 1.6 years, we decided to enter our first open tournament. On September 10th, I am proud to say, we had 13 students attend the KICK/USA South Region Qualifier. While the school’s emphasis lies primarily in self-defense and character education, I knew the tournament would be a good experience to keep the students sharp, motivated, and working as a family. Being a former competitor myself, I saw the value in that! That being said, I did remember all the negatives of past tournament experiences, ie., bickering coaches, long waits, adversarial parents, etc. Sometimes, even school owners and parents went to blows. Much like some of today’s youth baseball leagues. Talk about forgetting what the Martial Arts are all about! Needless to say, I was excited about the event but with some reservation.

As my first students began to arrive I could see the look of excitement in their eyes. I could also see the “Deer in Headlights Look”. It was funny to watch. I don’t know who was more nervous though, them or me. I felt the same butterflies and adrenaline rush of when I use to compete! What had been considered a novelty, an abstract concept of going to a tournament, just like in Karate Kid, was actually taking place. They were there and now they were all feeling it. It wasn’t a fun movie to watch anymore, they were living it.

As my youngest competitor at five years old was called up to start the day’s events, I couldn’t help but get goosebumps seeing all of his 7 year old classmates that he is use to sparring with, lined up behind him outside the ring cheering him on. I get chills just writing about it! While the referee stated the rules they were all patting him on the head psyching him up. He was no longer the youngest, cute kid in the class, he was their boy and they were there to back him up 100% of the way. He was family and they were going to bat for him! I couldn’t help but think to myself, how cool it must of felt for him, at only 5 years old, to have the support of the older kids standing right behind him. He had been very nervous at first, but the support gave him the strength and energy he needed.

As the days events continued to unfold, I saw much of the same. The students would gather together to support their fellow students in every match. Our parents followed suit, with countless cheering and applause for a job well done. Our presence was definitely felt! The MMA family was strong and it was evident.

Other than one negative “Hit him hard! You already have him crying” comment overheard by one of our parents from one of the opposing school’s coaches, the experience was an overall success. As for that coach, I guess he has yet to learn the values of the martial arts. Along the way, in addition to everyone receiving great competitor recognitions, we picked up the following medals:

(1) First place – Fighting
(3) Second place – Fighting
(1) Second place – Forms
(1) Third place – Forms
(1) Fourth place – Fighting
(1) Fourth place – Forms
(1) Fifth place – Fighting

Most importantly, it solidified my view on Martial Arts education and its role in the development of a child. In one day, they learned how to conquer their fear and exhibit courage; they learned about modesty/humility through the realization of their own weakness or limitations at their current stage of development; they learned about courtesy by showing respect to their opponents and their coaches before and after each fight or form exhibition; they learned about integrity by sticking to a course of action and seeing it through; they learned about perseverance through the ups and downs of tournament competition and continuing to strive even though tired or a little bruised; and finally, they learned what it means to have an indomitable spirit, the heart and fire to put it all on the line. All of the tenets of the Martial Arts! What a great foundation for the development of future champions in life.

I have played practically every sport my whole life and love them, but as I have always stressed, unlike seasonal sports, the Martial Arts should be viewed as your second school. Where else can you derive all the benefits and life-long lessons inherent in the Martial Arts. A discipline, a way of life, a sport, and an art form that you can practice your whole life.

Personal Protection – The First and Last Line of Defense

January 11, 2011

After recent news events such as the Arizona incident and the foiled hijacking of a Turkish airline, we all witnessed a common theme. Victims fighting back! In the Arizona incident, one man, while bleeding from the head, grabbed the assailant and executed a quasi lock/takedown and had help in subduing the attacker. In the Turkish airline incident, we experienced a similar theme of passengers holding the assailant down as he tried to rush the cockpit. With incidents of violent crime on the rise and an everchanging landscape of personal security issues, the victims are frequently the first and last line of defense. In most cases, the victims must act until the police arrive. Often times, with the police arriving too late.  It is essential to have a personal safety plan in place for your family. That plan should not only include effective, reality-based self-defense solutions, but also make you aware of prelimary considerations of combat, as well as pre and post-conflict strategies. The more you are exposed to different adrenal-based scenarios and its effects on the human body, the more you are likely to function under the reality of a violent encounter and come out on top. I highly recommend making the book “The Gift of Fear” part of your personal safety library. It offers valuable suggestions and strategies on how not to be a victim and how to tap into your intuitive abilities to sense danger.  Remember, knowledge is power and even becoming just a little bit more informed about personal protection, may help save your life or that of a loved one!

Halloween Safety Tips

October 30, 2010

Halloween is upon us and it is important, as part of your family safety plan, to talk to your children about some of the dangers involved in such an otherwise fun and exciting night. Help your child become a Safety Leader by following these Halloween Safety Tips and sharing them with their friends.

The Karate Kid – Reminding us of Our Origins

June 17, 2010

For the premier weekend of The Karate Kid, I had the good fortune of working with Kendall Regal Cinema in cross-promoting the movie by having a booth at the theather along with the assistance of my good friend and training partner Julio Anta and his Demo Team. Being in the industry, I had been hearing about the remake of the movie for quite some time and can honestly say that I was at first a bit apprehensive. After all, how can you replace Daniel San, the kid we all grew to love, and Mr. Miyagi, everyone’s surrogate dad. I remembered being 11 years old when I first saw The Karate Kid. The movie blew me away and kicked off my passion for the martial arts and all that it has to offer. 

Once I started to read about the movie in trade publications, I began to get excited to see it. As I arrived at the theater and started to set up our booth, I could feel the buzz in the air. People were talking about the movie, there were posters everywhere, and kids kept coming out of the theater kicking in the air.

On Sunday morning, I was happy to have 56 members of the Magnan Martial Arts family join us for a family movie day to welcome the remake of The Karate Kid. What can I say, I loved it! While the 1984 version will always have a special place in my heart, the remake was very well made and definitely did justice to The Karate Kid Franchise. Jaden Smith (Dre Parker) showed his talent as an up and coming star as Mr. Han, played by Jackie Chan, gave a formidable performance as this generations Mr. Miyagi.

I truly believe that the movie could not have come at a better time. As much as I love mixed martial arts as a sport and training discipline and incorporate its teachings into my curriculum, it seemed that the real essence of what martial arts is all about was starting to get lost. The traditional values of Respect, Integrity, Modesty, Courtesy, Self-Discipline, Perserverence, and Indomitable Spirit, were being passed up for the latest techniques against the cage. With the growth of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and its impact on the sport, there has been a proliferation of mixed martial arts gyms, run by inexperienced instructors, opening in every corner and operating primarily out of warehouses filled with a bunch 18-34 year olds showing off their latest sleeve tattoo and desire to have their first fight at all costs. As of late, so called backyard brawlers are even trying to find a home in mixed martial arts.

As a professional martial arts instructor who loves and incorporates mixed martial arts techniques and strategies into my curriculum, I have seen the negative effect of all of the less-qualified mixed martial arts gyms popping up everywhere. Case in point, just a couple of weeks ago I had one individual walk into my school and ask “what kind of fighting do you teach?” Those were the first words out of his mouth! I quickly responded that I do not teach “fighting”, I teach martial arts for self-defense purposes. After telling me that he was experienced because he had done a little MMA at some school and participated in backyard fights, I knew he was not the kind of student that I wanted as a part of the Magnan Martial Arts family. As I proceeded to go over a couple of basics with him just to answer my own questions, it became apparent that his knowledge lacked fundamentals. He went on to say that where he formerly trained operated most of the time like a gym or what they call “open mat”, with not much instruction. Just a bunch of guys hitting each other, rolling, or getting hurt. No lessons on the traditional values so imporant to overall personal development. The prospective student freaked out when I told him that he had to bow before entering and leaving the mat and that there was a certain order in which everything was done at the school. He went on to ask for a discount for being a so-called “backyard fighter” and went on his way. True story!

The above story is the reason that I loved The Karate Kid and hope that things start to come full circle again. We live in a time of video games, instant messaging, texting, information at our fingertips, etc. While it is smart to evolve with the times, there are certain fundamentals that can not be ignored, whether when working on your technique or on the perfection of your character. It is these fundamentals that the movie brings out and I find so refreshing. What mother of a 4-12 year old child or adult professional looking for a place to train, would argue with that, over the “open mat” gym mentality popping up at many martial arts schools across the country.

Grand Opening Event

January 29, 2010

If you are interested in learning more about Magnan Martial Arts School of Self-Defense, attend our Grand Opening Event where you will be able to take a sample class or watch a class with Sifu Afred. Also at the event will be many sponsors bringing pizza, Chinese food, refreshments, a bounce house, and lots of special offers. Prizes and T-shirt giveaways will be raffled after each class showing. Bring the entire family for a great time!

Click here to view the invitation…

Grand Opening Event Invitation

Bullying – The Aftermath!

January 25, 2010

Today I had the unfortunate job of having to break up a fight between two high school boys. It was 7:30 am and first period was about to begin. After breaking up the fight quickly with only a couple of grazing punches thrown, I had the opportunity to speak to one of the students involved as I escorted him to the office. The student mentioned the fact that he was always being bullied by the other student and just could not take anymore of it – he just snapped.

The incident brought back memories of major media stories covering massacres as a result of bullying and re-emphasized how important it is to undertand bullying in all of its forms, including cyber-bullying. Bullying in schools is a major threat to the learning environment. So much so, that Broward Schools requires all new teachers to receive training in bullying.

As it is imperative to understand bullying and why people resort to it, it is equally important to have an action plan in place to address the issue. Stopping a bully is not just about learning the latest self-defense moves, it is about learning pre-conflict strategies and verbal de-escalation techniques that are frequently forgotten or never even addressed.

For the safety of your child, it is essential to have a personal safety plan in place; and, that plan must include bullying. Do not allow your child to be a victim of physical and emotional violence! 

Sifu Alfred Magnan

Grand Opening

January 24, 2010

Magnan Martial Arts is excited about its Grand Opening scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010. The event will will run from 12-4 pm and will include Grand Opening specials, a bounce house, face painting, free refreshments, demonstrations, and prize giveaways. Make sure to swing by and say hello🙂