Martial Arts Instructor News and Articles

John Graden

John Graden

Executive Director

John Graden led the martial arts into the modern era by creating the first professional association, trade journal & instructors certification program.

October is National Bullying Prevention month and there is no more clear example of rampant, unrepentant bullying than NFL players refusing to stand for the national anthem.

John Graden, the author of Stop Any Bully: A Family Plan for Taking Action is taking aim at NFL Players in this editorial.

Bullies throw their weight around to get their way. They see themselves as superior to their victims and use their strength to impose their will. Bullies often justify their rude insults or physical abuse as if they are trying to teach the victim a lesson. “She had it coming,” or “someone’s got to put him in his place” are common excuses.”

NFL bullies are targeting the very lifeblood of their income and acclaim. Hard working, loyal Americans who simply want the exciting distraction of football to entertain rather than infuriate.  The only time a fan’s blood should boil is when things don’t go well during the game, not before it even begins.

To be in a stadium filled with 70,000 Americans, who all stand in respect of our country and flag, is an honor and an amazing experience. For over a century, the collective pride and energy of the national anthem has ignited the crowd in universal pride and anticipation. That is no longer the case.

That moment of anticipation has been bullied into anxiousness and agony. It’s a terrible way to start a game.

President Trump shared the feelings of millions of Americans when he expressed his disapproval.

The kneeling players are saying that we, the fans, are idiots who need to learn something. We had it coming. That is classic bully behavior. It’s as though 70,000 fans stand in unity for the anthem and the 100 players flip them the finger and call us one of many undeserving mass label ‘isms.’

Bullies always have justifications for their actions. NFL Players have all kinds of claims as to why they are kneeling. That’s not important. The excuses of a bully never are. All that matters is action.

There is no doubt that there is a lot of internal bullying going on inside NFL locker rooms. I suspect many players and coaches do not want to kneel but are bullied into doing so. I think the most apparent example was the inspiring image of military veteran Alejandro Villanueva of the Pittsburgh Steelers standing alone to honor the flag while the rest of his team cowered in the locker room.

Americans had a hero against the bullies in Villanueva. His lone anthem image went viral, and his jersey sales skyrocketed. That soaring moment of pride quickly crashed to the ground the next day when he claimed that he felt ashamed of his actions. I have no doubt that he was bullied into apologizing by his team.

We love our football, but we love our country more. What was once our favorite stress release has been hijacked by selfish, condescending bullies who think they all know what is best for Americans.

The bullies may argue that they have a bigger cause to expose on their platform, but I have news for them. It’s not their platform. It is America’s.

From millions in stadium tax breaks to billions in TV and ticket sales, the American people have giveth and can taketh away. The NFL is fast losing our hard earned cash, our viewing time, and its place as our most popular sport.

Most of all, you have lost our respect. No one likes a bully.”

Book Video:

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Book Cover:

John Graden, Author:

Notice Tyson’s hand is by his face, not his hip.

His chin is down instead of up.

His shoulder is up instead of pulled back.

His body is sideways to his opponent instead of squared off.

His legs are under his body not spread apart like he was riding a horse.

With this kind of form, he would fail his orange belt exam in most schools. 

How does that make any sense?

Sensei Tyson?

If Mike Tyson or a world champion kickboxer came to your school to teach your black belts. What do you think he would work on? Double punches, square blocks, and keeping your chin up?

I’m pretty sure he would emphasize head movement, how to snap your punches and a defense that does NOT include pulling your punch back to your hip.

I’m sure the students would learn advanced applications to adjust for different fighters. Notice I said advanced applications, not advanced strikes.

When you focus on application, you can apply that to almost any technique.

For instance, if the drill is about how to fight a taller fighter, the answer is more about footwork to stay on the outside until you can secure quick access. My brothers are 6′ 3″ and 6′ 4″ so I know something about fighting a taller opponent.

Drills that teach that application do not require complexity. They require simplicity.

The more complex a skill becomes, the less chance it can be used. Have you ever seen a double punch? Only in kata and here:

If you eliminated all kata and traditional skills, you could devote that time to drills and conditioning that would give your students a true advantage in sparring or self-defense.

Imagine teaching fewer skills that are easy to teach and learn than traditional skills and kata.

You could spend more time on the application of those skills rather than stepping up and down the classroom and holding blocks and punches out in the air, which leaves you wide open for a counterattack.

Rather than spending student’s time with the complexity and frustration of spending years perfecting the bad habits of pulling their hand back to their hip, keeping their chin up, aiming and holding a punch in the air, and blocking with power while stepping forward, your retention will improve. Your student quality will improve. Your curriculum consistency will improve.

This is the core of our white to black belt curriculum Empower Kickboxing.

It’s an old saying, but true. “Less is best.”

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