February 2

3 things we can learn from Anderson Cooper being attacked in Egypt

Anderson Cooper could tell us more than you might think about self-defense.

Today, while reporting on the Egyptian protests, CNN’s Anderson Cooper was attacked by members of a crowd in Cairo. Cooper said he was punched “like, 10 times in the head,” while passing at least one protester with a knife.

Despite being in the middle of a dangerous situation, Cooper eventually made it to safety.

I thought I’d point out some important lessons that Cooper’s incident in Egypt can teach us as martial artists.

Know what makes you a target

If you’re not going somewhere you expect will be dangerous, you might not have to address this issue as much. However, if you’re Anderson Cooper heading into demonstrations that have garnered worldwide coverage, you may want to know how you’ll attract attention.

“Anybody with a camera was a target on the streets of Cairo today,” Cooper said.

Having armed yourself with this information, you can attempt to make plans.

Work in groups

When you are entering a potentially violent situation, such as these demonstrations in Egypt, don’t go alone.

Being on air, journalists typically can’t both operate a camera and report the news. In this case, Cooper had a Flip camera and was filming himself as he reported. Without a doubt, he was accompanied by a CNN camera crew, and probably translators and guides.

If Cooper had ventured out by himself and tried filming with his Flip camera, he may not have gotten out as safely as he did.

Walk, don’t run

Cooper said in the video that he and his crew were “walking, not running so as to incite the crowd even further.”

Running would be a considerable sudden movement. In much of the footage I’ve seen, demonstrators have simply been walking. You’ve heard in movies not to make sudden moves in front of an animal. Surely the animal that is the group of demonstrators would have been on high alert with a strange man (or group of people) running through the crowd.

If you find yourself in a situation like this, use these tips and common sense. Anderson Cooper seemed to do all of the logical things – he knew that the camera would attract unwanted attention so he went in a group, and he tried to downplay the situation even further by just trying to escape.

Neither Cooper nor his crew tried to impress anybody by attacking the Egyptian protesters, but tried to quietly exit a volatile situation.

Update 2/16/11: Although Cooper escaped his incident, other journalists have not been so lucky. Last night, we found out that journalist Lara Logan was beaten and sexually assaulted by a mob until she was rescued by a group of women and members of the Egyptian military, according to CNN.

February 2

What are your favorite moments?

We’re turning nine years old this month, and I thought it would be great if everyone would share with us what their favorite moment was with us over the years.

I’ve had the privilege to be with this program since 2003. While I haven’t seen all the great Metamora Martial Arts moments over the years, there are a couple that stick out.

The Sunnyland dojo

This isn’t a moment, necessarily, but a few moments wrapped into one.

I remember the Undoo Renshu in 2004 where we learned Shudo-so the first time in the grassy area right outside the building. We also had an in-house tournament that day, and I specifically remember Joe Maubach ripping his gi pants during the middle of a performance. Thanks to him, I now wear athletic shorts under my gi just in case.

Also, who could forget Mike Chat’s visit just three months later in October 2004? We got out of school early and Kyle Dorethy literally put the pedal to the metal when he took Ben Alig and I over to the studio for a day of demonstrations and a big workout.

Even though it only lasted a year, the Sunnyland dojo is the reason why we’ve had an involvement at our district’s grade schools over the past several years.

Our first open tournament

My junior and senior year of high school (2006 and 2007), Mr. Hawkey invited higher ranks and Mr. Chianakas to visit his office before school and talk martial arts. Biscuits and gravy or sweet roll in hand, I remember the two instructors often discussed hosting an open tournament. Finally, in 2008, we did it. We had over 12 schools, 100+ competitors and lots of encouraging words pour in afterward.

I think we really fired on all cylinders that day with the help we had from our terrific parents and friends.

The ISAT pep assemblies

I don’t know how well the local grade schools actually did on their ISAT tests. But if they studied and took those tests as loudly as they cheered in Metamora Grade School, I’m sure they did well. We talked to over 1,000 students in three locations and performed some demonstrations and breaking, all to show how determination and working hard could pay off.

Arts Day

I’ve been to so many Arts Days at Central Grade School in Washington that I’ve lost track. One of the first times I went, I remember literally having a mob of grade school students holding out their markers for each of us to sign their t-shirt. It was like the Metamora Martial Arts band showed up and we were like the Beatles. Okay, maybe not as popular as the Beatles, but we were still a hot item at recess.

The big U.S. Open trip

For those of you who don’t know, the U.S. Open is one of the biggest martial arts tournaments in the world. You may have seen some of the events on ESPN. Around 20 of us traveled to Orlando, spending two days at the event and others at Cocoa Beach, Wet n Wild water park and Universal Studios.

What are some moments that stand out for you?

Those are some of the events that, as a program, stick out for me. Obviously I have my personal favorite moments. So please, tell us what stands out most to you after being a part of this program or after becoming out friend! We’d love to hear it!

January 28

Kaizen: incremental improvement

Hello everyone! And welcome to the new MetamoraMartialArts.com!

I wanted to start this blog by introducing a Japanese term taught to me by Mr. Hawkey years ago: kaizen.

Kaizen means to improve by increments, which is just what I’ve done with this website in the more than four years I’ve operated it. From basic HTML, to frames, to Invision Power Services and finally to our own self-hosted WordPress blog, I’m doing my best to keep our site current by integrating elements of the latest technology.

But more than just for me, I’m hoping this incremental improvement benefits you, the martial artist (or parent), the most. Improve your martial arts training by researching this site over time, and following the articles or links we may post. Visit the links to other schools and blogs I’ve placed toward the bottom of the page. Follow our Facebook page, and grab make sure to track our Twitter feed as well for exclusive items I may retweet.

I challenge all of you, whether you practice with us or not, to think about the ways you improve yourselves every day. Remember, you don’t have to make huge adjustments every day. The improvements are tiny – incremental – but are still there nonetheless.

Tell us how you make these small improvements every day. Are you reading books or visiting websites? Are you practicing more at home? Are you asking questions? Think about your answer and get back to us!