Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Vunak's Top 50 Combat Secrets Ch. 34

Chapter 34 – Sizzle Sells

Dan Inosanto once told me, to be a complete martial artist you need three things.

  1. Be a good teacher.
  2. Be a good fighter.
  3. Be a good technician(in other words look good)

I understood being a good teacher, and I understood being a good fighter. But I asked Dan at that time, what was the purpose of being a good technician ? Dan’s answer was simple, and typical Inosanto esq, “it’s no good being a good teacher, if you have no students to teach”. When one is a good technician, when one looks good at what they do, this makes the students emotional, and people buy on emotion(They later justify on logic, but that’s another article). This lesson came slow for me, and over the years was definitely a work in progress. As a pragmatic, Italian Polok, who grew up in the streets, I grew up with a paradigm that states… I would rather be called a thief, or a murder, than a hypocrite. And in the martial art world, Hypocrisy runs ramped. Martial Art instructors, proclaiming to teach how to fight, and attracting their audience by breaking boards, bricks, and tongue push ups(Nothing to do with fighting).

When one is brain washed from youth, that the only thing that matters is to be functional, it is counter intuitive, when your teacher tells you how important it is to look good. However for the first 5 years of seminars, I averaged about 15-20 people. Flew all over the country, charged $500 per seminar, and would sleep on the sponsor’s sofa. And by the way my curriculum in those days, wasn’t too pretty, straight blast, headbutt, knee, etc. However I could always manage to fill the stadium, where ever I went, with about 12 people. Go figure ?...?

Then one day during a seminar, I went off on some tangent, and I started to imitate a litany of fast trapping combinations with an eventual goal of stating all this crap isn’t necessary. However, I never got to finish my point, because everybody in class stood up and started applauding. For the first time in my life, I got to see 12 people that looked like little kids at Christmas, and for the first time in my life, I really understood what Dan meant.

From then on, I made it a point to be particularly observant, and see exactly what technique gets people emotional. I call these techniques the chocolate. However in addition to teaching my normal functional curriculum (the broccoli) , this time I mixed the fancy stuff with the functional stuff. I actually coated the broccoli with chocolate. The next time, I returned to that school, I had 65 people ! So please allow me to pass on some pointers, that will teach you how to make the curriculum more palatable, and your audiences larger.

  1. Whatever technique you do, get in the habit, of surrounding it with Fancy moves. For example, if you are feeding Numerada, instead of just feeding an angle 1,2,3 or 4, before each angle bust out a florette, then a one, a florette, then a two, etc…(A florette, is a fancy twirl with a stick).
  2. If one is doing some kick boxing technique, occasionally bust out a Savate kick to your partner’s face.
  3. If you are doing some functional trapping combination on someone, finish it off, punctuate it, with an exclamation point, by this a I mean a tai-chi shove, an arm lock, or perhaps a footsweep.

So in closing, your new paradigm is to be empathetic. Place yourself, in your student’s mind, and ask yourself what would make them emotional.

And remember this…getting someone emotional is not limited to martial arts technique. When someone walks in your garage, their senses should be instantly hit, they are smelling incense, there is some appropriate music in the background, there are mats at their feet, bamboo, mirrors, and pictures in front of their face, as they look up on an alter with all of your certificates and a painting of your Grandfather, Bruce Lee. And if that was ambiguous to anyone, just take notes at our Retreat this year.

Our students are not in some stuffy banquet room, but they are at a campsite on the beach. We make sure that the weather is perfect, the evenings are 75-80 degrees. There are 10 bonfires, 10 wooden dummies, all dug in the sand, scattered around the periphery of the campsite, overlooking the sunset. There is a 20 foot barbeque grill, with the smell of T-Bone steaks in the air, waves breaking in the background, and a 20 foot movie screen, playing Enter The Dragon. Need I say more ?

Please check the Table of Contents for links to other chapters of this Online Book.



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