The story behind Crossfit is quite amazing. If you dont know it was founded by fitness coach Greg Glassman and Crossfit has grown to become a worldwide, household name. According to the 'Box Magazine'
"In 1995, Glassman established a gym in Santa Cruz, Calif., and that same year, he was hired to train the Santa Cruz Police Department. Most of his civilian work had involved private training with individual clients. But as he began to get overbooked, he started doubling up clients and found that not only could he make more money (charging a reduced rate to two clients still equaled more money per hour for him), but those clients also often enjoyed the group activity. He found that he could still offer enough individual attention to each client to ensure safe and effective training. Thus the CrossFit community was born. CrossFit was formally established in 2000. The company’s first affiliate was CrossFit North in Seattle. By 2005, there were 13 affiliates. In 2012, a mere dozen years after the company started, there are 3,400 affiliates worldwide."
Its amazing to think that in 1995 one person started a business and then in 2012 there were 3,400 affiliates!! So how many are there now? 11,000!
That is what happens,things grow and then there is a tipping point to huge explosion and Defence Lab is on this path.
At this time Andy Norman the founder of Defence Lab is flying a team out to New York for the second Annual USA Conference, why? Because DL is Global.
Why do people train in martial arts?
Ill tell you- it is because they want to get fitter, learn to defend themselves, have fun and make friends. It really is that simple.
Whilst we need to respect the origins of all arts, the married Dad of 3 comes to a class to get results, and they are those stated above. Just like Crossfit where people came to have fun and get fit, people are coming to Defence Lab to get results. They want a Functional system of Self Defence, meet new people and feel part of something. As great as traditional martial arts are, the student with an essay due this week or a mum who has worked all day and just put her kids to bed and left them at home with her partner doesn't have time to learn Kata's or read at home about the history of an art.
This just doesn't fit into modern life, and martial arts needs not just to be functional in terms of self defence, but functional in its place in modern life!
It is because of this that Defence Lab is growing faster each month. It delivers results, and it delivers them quickly.
One of the things that people ask is "does Defence Lab work?". Well let me explain, our student base comprises not just of great people from all walks of life, but we also have a huge amount of Law Enforcement Officers from around the globe. We have officers from the USA, Spain, Italy, The UK, Germany and a few other nations all training in DL.
So why do they do this? Simply put it is because they have tried Defence Lab, once tried it is rarely forgotten and our techniques work, our drills put people under pressure and we get people smiling.
So if the law enforcement officers support DL, we have more and more Labs across the globe and we have people from all walks of life- just what is stopping you trying DL?
There are a lot of politics in martial arts- you wont find this in Defence Lab. We have students from Krav Maga, JKD, Judo, Kickboxing and BJJ.
It is this open attitude that attracts many to DL. Check out what other people are saying about Defence Lab in the video below to see martial arts experts from other systems talk about Defence Lab and Andy Norman.
Martial Arts has a lot of negative attitudes, people that will say "dont train in this style" or "that system is terrible" often basing it on a few seconds of Youtube video. Defence Lab is proud to sit outside of this political negativity and instead thrives on the positive attitudes in classes and the Instructor team. It is this attitude that remains constant in every Lab you will enter.
So in essence whilst DL is very very different than crossfit its growth is following a similar path because it delivers results, it delivers positive experiences and it delivers lots of satisfied students.
Until next time Shape Shifters!
I hear it all the time- there is no money in teaching martial arts, yet those in Defence Lab know this simply is not true. Then you get the others who say "the only people who make a great living in martial arts training teach kick boxing".
Again those involved in Defence Lab Know this isn't the case.
However, as much as we know the truth sometimes we need to show people that with the right product, the right processes and of course a lot of hard work you can earn a good living teaching not just martial arts but self defence. Imagine that, teaching people how to keep themselves safe could actually be a career!!
So this week the Shape Shifter team went on tour and travelled up to see a man that has changed not just his life but also the lives of his students.
Mikey Wright is the lead instructor at Defence Lab Leicester and today you will learn how he went from working in a warehouse to having 140 Defence Lab students in just 24 months. This is a true story and you will also learn how you can achieve the same level of success.
It was Tuesday when the Shape Shifter team departed for Leicester, I have to say I was looking forward to catching up with Mikey's team because having met them before they are seriously motivated and fun to be around.
I actually got through the traffic and arrived at about 6.45pm and managed to catch Mikey Wright teaching his DL Kidz clas. Here was my fist glimpse of the professionalism that makes not just Mikey but Defence Lab stand out. I walked into the door of not a dojo, but a school hall and see 20 children all lined up, they then go through a range of striking drills and DL shapes that would put adults to shame, all the time Mikey was buzzing. His energy was amazing, the kids were having fun whilst learning a great system of self defence. Parents were all watching too and this was half term week and I know afterwards that it was a quiet session compared to normal.
I was really impressed from the approach of Mikey Wright but what happened next after the class just made my jaw drop.
The adults class was due to start at 7.30pm and Mikey told me that it would be busy. I'm usually quite reserved about this as busy to most would be about 15 to 20 students. Then it started to happen...........
Students started to arrive, and they arrived fast. All kitted out in their Defence Lab black and green clothes and they were of all ages. We had men and women, a family of 4, and a group of young girls, 18 year old lads along with 40 year old men and women.
The sheer variety of people coming through the door was overwhelming, then what hit me was the sheer atmosphere. People were just wandering around the room saying "hi" to people they knew and those they didn't. New students were welcomed like old friends and people really seemed to be buzzing. But it didn't stop! More and more people just kept flooding through the door and at one point it seemed like we were going to run out of space! I later learned that this is the second venue for the Lab as they outgrew their last one.
Mikey got the class to stand in line for the salute and suddenly I was beamed into the famous Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon. Line after line of students all ready to train, I was waiting to hear someone shout 'Bolo'. Look at the photo above and you will see exactly what I saw.
The class began and and I was treated to a DL self defence spectacular and Mikeys Team of Instructors helped me to train. It really was a great session, Mikey Wright is a very talented martial artist and a great instructor. However it was afterwards that was truly magical.
The class were so happy they just had smiles ear to ear. I mean these are people who just had a tough session yet they were all happy and almost elated!! The whole class atmosphere was amazing and people went around the room thanking each other for a great session. People come to Defence Lab to be part of something and you totally saw this in action here.
But just who is Mikey Wright? And how has he developed such a class. I assure you this story will blow you away
I was keen to speak to Mikey to learn more about him and we sat down after the class to discuss things.
I soon learned that Just over 2 years ago Mikey Wright was a part time martial arts instructor with a handful of students and working in a factory. Then a chance meeting with Andy Norman at Seni changed his life. Mikey went on to tell me:
I was first introduced to Andy Norman and what was then KFM by my close friend Anthony Pillage, whilst I was teaching at Anthony's spiritual warrior martial arts academy in Coventry. I was invited to Malvern to attend a seminar with Andy and Paul Strauther.
On first impressions I was blown away by Andy and Paul's ability and movement I had never seen anything like it before! I was also intrigued by the obvious comaraderie amongst the senior guys, needless to say I was instantly hooked, and I have to say very intrigued....
Not long after the seminar I was asked to help Anthony run his stand at SENI 2012 as he was responsible for organising and running the seminars over the two days. It was at SENI that I was fortunate to spend more time with Andy and i vividly remember him asking me the question, "what's your direction Mikey?" My response, no idea!! "I'll be in touch" he said, and the rest... Well as they say is history!
Over the following months Andy kept in touch and at the same time we saw the disbanding of KFm and the creation of what is now Defence Lab. I think I was one of the first non KFM instructors involved in Defence Lab.
It's 2015 now and Mikey has 140 students,12 assistant instructors/ instructors in training and is growing each week.
But how did it all happen? Just how does a guy go from a zero students to 140 in 2 years?
Mikey is a normal guy, he is 32 years of age married to Sara and has 2 children-a girl aged 4 and a 6 month old baby! Anyone with children will know just how hard doing anything is when you have kids that age let alone growing a new business. Sometimes getting out of the house seems like a mission in itself. Bottle check, Nappies check, pram check..
So I was keen to see how Mikey had achieved all of this and he was happy to explain to me that its all to do with the Business processes of Defence Lab and the hard work of his team that without their efforts he could not have achieved the success he has. Mikey has done a lot of martial arts and has a background in Systema and also kick boxing, but he wasn't part of Andy Normans old KFM team. Mikey Wright is a great example of someone who was new to Defence Lab but has fast studied its techniques to become an expert in the system.
Mikey is clearly a hard worker but he knows that Defence Lab is a great product. Supported by Liam Neeson and there are Law Enforcement officers from the UK, Italy, USA, and Spain that have chosen DL as their personal system of self defence, DL is clearly an effective method of self defence. He is also very clear that none of this would have been possible without the team from Defence Lab who have trained him in the business systems that create the growth of his Lab.
"From the beginning We were introduced to a lot of education, very alien for a lot of us in the martial arts, firstly BUSINESS! I'd never really considered what I did as a business! "
Within 12 months of opening his Lab Mikey had achieved 30 students and as his own business skills developed his Lab grew and he eventually won the heavily contested Defence Labs "Franchise of the year title!" Within 2 years his journey had gone from warehouse worker to award winning business owner.
One of the aspects that keep the students coming to a class is how they feel about the service they get, how the training makes them feel. Often this is a really neglected aspect of martial arts business. Instructors seem over concerned about delivering the system and forget about their students. However in Mikey's class they were all very happy, I asked a few of his students to stand in front of the camera, totally unscripted and tell me what they thought of their Defence Lab experience, here's what they had to say:
I could have shot videos all night long, people had nothing but positive things to say about Mikey and Defence Lab.
I asked Mikey what his biggest challenges were in developing such a fantastic business.
"I think the biggest challenge was the mental shift from being a part time martial artist to a full time professional"
However what was Mikey looking forward to?
"I'm looking forward to growing my business and also helping others in my team to reach their own goals and help them to grow businesses of their own"
I think it shows just what kind of person Mikey is when already he is thinking about helping others, But having been involved with the DL instructors they all have this same attitude almost embedded into their souls. It speaks volumes about the types of people involved in DL.
It is clear from my visit to DL Leicester that Mikey Wright is fast becoming one of the best martial arts and self Defence Instructors in the UK and he should be really proud of what he has achieved and the team he has developed. No matter how good Defence Lab is ultimately it requires lots of hard work and effort from a person to grow a business. Mikey has put in this work, and without this none of this would have been possible. His business didn't just drop out of the sky, it is clear that Mikey has grafted to build his business from nothing to the size it is now.
Mikey Wright- The Shape Shifter blog salutes you.
There are a lot of martial arts instructors, especially self defence instructors out there struggling. Perhaps their product isn't quite right, perhaps they lack the business skills to get their schools growing?
Whatever the reason you aren't living your dream, Defence Lab could be a solution for you. Every one that becomes a franchise owner with Defence Lab gets not only amazing training on Defence Lab techniques, they get the business training and branding support that helped to take Mikey Wright to 140 students!
If you want to learn more then go to www.Defencelab.com and perhaps you might be a future winner of the Franchise of the Year title!!
There is a belief that martial arts are mainly geared for self defence, and whilst this is partially the case if you look at the Martial Arts as ONLY being about self defence then you will miss all the other amazing benefits that training martial arts can offer.
In this article we will look at the reasons why adults and children should take up martial arts and the benefits they will receive.
In the martial arts one thing you will face is adversity and that can come in many forms. It can come from sparring with a better opponent, it can come from an injury, it can come from fatigue and it can come from failing a grading.
Yes adversity and martial arts come hand in hand. However there is a saying in the arts "If you get knocked down 9 times you have to get up 10". This is the martial arts spirit and the reason that both adults and children will soon learn to deal with the issues that face them in their daily life.
The speech below is the now famous speech from Sylvester Stallone in the film Rocky Balboa. :
"The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that"
I think we can all resonate with that speech. But it really does show what the martial arts is all about. Every drill, every session that puts you on your back, every shot you take that takes your breath away helps you to face the adversity that we all have to face in real life.
Have you Ever seen Fight Club- The Film starring Brad Pitt? Well in the film there is a scene where he wants to fight with another male (If you have not seen it I wont spoil it). In the film he says "How Much do you know about yourself if you have never been in a fight" or words to that effect.
Now martial arts training doesn't mean that you will end up fighting but you will learn more about yourself and what you are capable of. Many people who come to martial arts training cannot even do a push up! Yet after a few months they are able to pump out 100.
A good martial arts or self defence lesson will make you tired, it will introduce new and exciting concepts and your body and mind will be pushed as you try and develop your skills.
This is different than going to the gym or going for a run. Your training partners will provide you with the resistance as your instructor helps you to achieve your goals. It is like having a personal trainer pushing you, because that is exactly what a martial arts instructor does. They recognise your level and help you push to the next one!
A black belt is a white belt that never gave up! So that tough work assignment or meeting with the boss doesn't seem so tough once you have experienced martial arts training.
Everyone can have self esteem issues. Our kids especially can suffer from self esteem issues, however adults also live in a world now where they are bombarded with images of models, success stories and achievements of others and we all compare ourselves with our peers.
Martial arts training has one of the most ingenious reward systems ever developed. It will allow people to work hard and reward those efforts. Not at the end of the year but at regular intervals. This grading process can be used with 'belts', 'sashes' or wrist bands. You dont even need that just a certificate of recognition
The important part of this is the recognition, to have someone telling you that you have achieved your next step in the journey of martial arts. To have someone not just say you are getting better but to provide you with proof of that really helps boost self esteem. I have never seen an unhappy person receive their next grade.
Gyms can be the most boring places to go to, after 30 minutes training it is really tempting to just go for a sauna! Did you know that new Gym memberships in January drop off by the second week of February? Did you also know that it has been estimated that only 18% of gym memberships sold will actually be used on a regular basis!
Yes going to a gym can work however you are far more likely to reach your fitness goals by joining a martial arts class.
A good martial arts instructor will support and guide you through your training. They will know what your personal goals are and help you to meet them.
We now live in an era of £10 a month gyms. It's easy not to go a gym like that when it costs so little! You invest in your martial arts and the arts give to you! As a result you are very often counting down the hours until your next class.
A good martial arts or self defence class will have a range of drills and games that test your fitness, increasing it week by week and because you are more likely to go to a martial arts class then you are more likely to reach your fitness goals.
The social aspect of martial arts is perhaps among the strongest reasons people take up martial arts. We all like to make new connections in the world, just look at Facebook for an example of that!
Martial Arts training provides you with a place you can mix with others and make new friends that you wouldn't have likely to have met ever before. The photo above is from the Defence Lab class. Everyone is having a great time and everyone is having fun making new friends.
We are now in a world where we spend a lot of time sitting. From being at our desks at work, to being at a school desk. Did you know that children in the UK only spend 102 minutes a week doing P.E. !
We don't really understand what our body can do. What movements it can make, how explosive we can be if required and how fast our arms can move.
Martial arts will cause your body to move in ways you never thought possible. Below is footage off the very talented Chloe Bruce showing just what can be possible from training. By investing in your own physical development you will grow from the office/desk bound human to the discovery of resources within you never knew existed. We all have small goals, from being able to touch our toes, lose a few pounds or even to perform a high kick! We will never achieve these physical changes unless we invest in ourselves. Martial arts will help you to do this
One of the worlds best boxing trainers Cus D' Amato once said:
"The hero and the coward both feel the same thing, but the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It's the same thing, fear, but it's what you do with it that matters."
Walking into a martial arts club is one of the hardest things that you will ever do. At Defence lab we have a process that will help make that easier for you however make no mistake it takes real guts and courage to take that first step!
From that first step inside the club you will feel your heart racing and when you have your first drill, have a punch thrown at your direction or even lace up your first glove. I can assure you that all requires courage.
It is that courage that keeps you coming back time and time again. It builds up week after week and will help you to do the 'right thing' more often. Courage comes in a lot of forms, it might be telling the local youths not to swear as they walk past your young child. It might be telling the teacher you are being bullied, or it might be telling a teacher that you know that another child is being bullied. It might be approaching your manager with a new idea for work.
It doesn't matter what form the courage takes, however as martial arts requires courage every time you step through the doors you will soon see that courage flowing into your normal life!
When you first enter martial arts training you will be a beginner and looking up to those who hold senior grades. However after a while more new students will start to join. They then enter at the beginner rank and look to you for guidance, they might even ask you if they are doing a technique correctly. This is how it starts.
As your skill grows then you will become a leader, and possibly even an instructor. Before long you are the first getting to class and the last to leave. You listen closely to all that is being said and you help others to achieve their goals. This is leadership.
You will develop the attitude of presenting solutions and not problems, as you search for ways to land your left hook, or pass the guard of an opponent. You will have to stand in class in front of others and as such develop the ability to lead from the front, always showing others that you work hard.
It is easy to see that martial arts could really be useful for anyone wanting to improve themselves or their careers. However these same skills will be picked up by children as well. They are no longer the child at the back of the class room messing about but they are now sitting at the front, always prepared to volunteer and ask questions because that is the exact same environment that exists every week in their martial arts classes.
Many martial arts clubs even now have dedicated leadership programmes to enhance this development.
For those that have trained in Defence Lab you will know that Andy Norman is an amazing leader and he tries to help others develop those same skills. The Martial Arts treat people as Human Beings and help to release the potential that exists within everyone, the potential that they themselves may have forgotten about. The only way this can happen is from great leadership, that is something that you will find within martial arts.
Its easy to dismiss martial arts as an activity that promotes violence. That is exactly what people who have never tried martial arts think. In truth the arts are all about RESPECT!
According to Wikipedia Respect is a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person. I like this definition because this is really what martial arts are all about. Every class starts with a bow, salute, handshake or a touch of gloves. This is respect that we rarely see to such an extent. After each different practise or drill we salute our training partners before swapping over.
This is done because we are thanking our opponent for a great practise and without them we cannot get any better! We need others to help us along in practise just as we do in life. We also learn that others are actually very capable of causing us physical harm. We recognise that in others there are strengths and by working together we get the most out of ourselves. This is how team work is developed, from mutual respect for others.
You only have to visit any digital forum or social media platform to see a lack of respect. It's amazing the poor level of social interaction we see on line and wonder if these people would speak to others that way if they saw them in the street?
The martial arts starts off with respect and ends with respect. You will not see any other system of education like this in the world. In an average class you could bow, or shake the hands of 20 to 30 people, when you step back and consider just how many times the average martial artist does this in a year you would struggle to find this level of respect elsewhere.
We have save the most obvious reason for training in martial arts. Of course this is self defence. Its the main reason why people choose martial arts and of course self defence ability will flow.
The world can be an amazing place to be and live however every now and again we can come into contact with some unpleasant individuals and situations. Martial Arts Training will help you to avoid these situations and if you have to you will be able to deal with them.
For children it might be a case of standing up to a bully in school or protecting yourself from a gang. For adults it might be about the group of youth approaching you as you walk home. Martial arts will give you the knowledge of how you should deal with the situations. Most situations can be avoided or de-escalated with some basic skills, however there are occasions where you need to step things up, to show you can handle yourself and you may have to get physical.
Its always better to have self defence skills and not need than to need self defence skills and have none!
I hope you have enjoyed these reasons why adults and children should take up martial arts. However I have probably missed one of the best reasons off the list and that is FUN. Martial arts should be all about fun and enjoyment and I am sure that anyone who has tried martial arts came away enjoying themselves.
Until next time Shape Shifters, but for now we leave you with some great footage of martial arts and self defence fun.
There is a belief within the martial arts that once you get to the floor you need to be a grappler to survive. It is an understandable belief based on the success grappling arts have had within events such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an amazing art and so are catch wrestling, Judo and Traditional Ju Jitsu however there is one issue that changes the dynamic of every self defence situation and that is numbers.
There are some amazing grapplers out there however what happens when you add more than one opponent? The dynamic changes completely. Have you ever heard the saying by legendary Brazilian Jiu Jitsu expert Carlson Gracie where he says " punch a black belt in the face he becomes a brown belt punch him again purple". Its a saying that I am sure has its variations across the world but the theme is correct. However I would add that if you have 2 people punching a black belt in the face or even stamping on their head their skill level reduces a lot quicker.
But what if you add 3 opponents, 4 or 5? What if you are attacked by a gang of 7 and you are forced on the floor? Experience tells us that these things happen, YouTube is littered with video footage of incidents such as that. However it still begs the question, what do you do? Just how do you deal with incidents when you face incredible odds?
The answer is not easy to find, your back will be on the floor as an angry group attacks you possibly for no reason other than 'fun'. As part of the Defence Lab training process we investigate these situations within our training. So what have we learned?
You don't need to be an expert to realise that when a gang attacks you then you face punches and strikes from 360 degree's. You might be looking at one person with a bottle or glass in their hand and then get punched from behind, from a person you never knew was there. If you end up on the floor it is even worse. Your vision is even more obscured.
As much as we would like it, we simply do not have eyes in the back of our head.
The above shot is a from our DNA On line training which you can check out here, it is a tiny glimpse into the type of training we do, exploring new angles and working from uncomfortable positions. We aim to push our training beyond conventional boundraries
It would be easy to ignore 7 on one gang attacks in training but why would instructors ignore these situations?
Because those types of odds are difficult to deal with, because traditional training doesn't like to place us in positions we may not be able to win?
These may be some of the reasons behind this, however at Defence Lab we want to stare into the abyss that makes others uncomfortable, we explore the situations where your back is on the floor, where you have been punched really hard and put on your back or where you may be bleeding and have one eye swollen shut!
It is only through exploring these situations can you discover that there are ways to both protect yourself and also mount and offence even when your back is flat on the floor and you have a gang around you!
We know its not easy fighting a gang but you do have options, you can fight back and not just be a victim! At Defence Lab after years of testing Andy Norman has created a training system that has evolved the ability for a person to protect themselves against a group on the ground. If you are a member of our DNA Training pack then last week we delivered a bonus example of this type of training. You can still purchase this now if you click here.
We don't make promises that our training will teach you to dispatch a gang of 7! That would be foolish, however our training will teach you how to be offensive within these situations of extreme defence, and experience tells us that if you manage to hurt one or 2 of the group then the others may start to back away as they consider their own safety. People attack in gangs because it gives them safety, they feel any chance of them coming to harm gets reduced. Its true, but just imagine what could happen if you changed that dynamic, and you could actually hurt one or two?
Dealing with gang assaults starts with protecting yourself as much as you can.
Protecting the brain is a key part of this because if you get knocked out then you lose the ability do anything and are at the mercy of the attackers. And as we know attackers show little mercy!
Our shape shifting style has been specifically developed to help you survive incidents such as gang attacks, even when you end up on the floor. To finish off we have included some CCTV footage showing a young couple that get attacked by a gang. We are not showing this to shock you however this footage shows that in a multiple attacker situation you need to protect yourself from all angles, and be able to fight back from all positions!
I hope you have enjoyed this little post from Shape Shifter and it re enforces why DL training is so special and at the same time so unique.
Our training is ideal for all martial artists including grappler's because the training drills, techniques and strategies are unique and will add value to your existing training So if you are already an experience grappler or striker then come and try DL and find your nearest Lab at DefenceLab.com You will find that it might just enhance your current training programme and take your individual skill to the next level.
Happy Shifting and very soon we will be bringing you amazing news from the Labs across the world and DL HQ