11/20/16 - Mat Family Party @ Main Event

Sunday, 11/20/16 @ 4:00pm – It’s party time! Food, Drinks, and lots of Games! In celebration of being an awesome community of people working hard together we are inviting everyone and their families to join us at Main Event. The entire family is welcome – so little has there been times when we all get together at the same time with everyone’s busy schedules.
Main Event is located at: 13301 North US Hwy 183, Austin, TX 78750 (between Anderson Mill Rd and iFly)
No RSVP necessary, just show up and bring your “Fun Face”. We hope to see you all there!
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11/19/16 - Krav Maga Intermediate Rank Test

Krav Intermediate Test (Level 3, Level 4, and Level 5 looking to test up to next rank).
Friends and Family are encouraged to watch in support of the students in trying their best in performing under higher pressures than a typical class, which is one of the stages in stress management discussed in self defense.
Students must receive recommendation from instructor to test while also meeting the minimum criteria in both attendance and time at current rank. Testing uniform standards are to be respected and should include:
– Mat appropriate training shirt
– Member’s choice of uniform pant with appropriate level patch fixed to left thigh.
The test will begin promptly at the posted start time. Please be sure to arrive 15 minutes prior to start time of the test. Students are responsible for warming themselves up and bringing all equipment used in classes for the test including full sparring gear. We suggest bringing a small snack for additional calories and protein.
Registration for Rank Testing must be done through the studio directly and is not available through our member portal. If you are eligible to register or are not sure, email, call, or ask us in person.

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12/3/16- Social Protection Seminar

Social Protection Seminar 12/3/16
Social Protection means building awareness and practicing tools to maintain a safe and supportive community. The aggressive nature of social behaviors in recent events has created a concerning environment for us all. It is time to act responsibly within our community, supporting one another with actions of kindness rather than bully-behaviors. If we observe behaviors unbecoming of responsible citizens and feel inclined to step in, it is imperative to know what and how to do so without putting ourselves or others in further risk or danger.
Join us Saturday Dec. 3rd at our Social Protection Seminar to discuss a number of the important social concerns especially relevant in today’s climate. We will address the notion of building awareness for the safety of others, as well as what are acceptable and appropriate forms of intervention. Furthermore, we will practice some valuable tools and techniques used to respond to such behaviors with both verbal and physical tactics.
Topics will include:
• Personal Comfort & Capabilities
• Conflict Recognition & Response
• When/How to Step In or Take Action
• Non-Violent Actions
• Physical Actions
• Appropriate Use of Force
• Texas Law & Civilian Rights as 3rd Party Participants
This event is open to all everyone. Members and non-members are encouraged to invite friends and loved ones to share in the discussion of this important and immediately pertinent topic.
Cost – $49

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12/10/16- Board Breaking Seminar

Board Breaking Seminar 12/10/16 @ 1:30pm
Calling all Lions & Dragons ~ Test your might! Crack, Smash, and Snap your awesome karate skills to the ultimate test by breaking real wood board with your bare hands and feet. Students will be taken through many of the building block concepts of how to deliver strikes with effective power: muscular tension, body dynamics, and proper follow through. The grand finale will be a showcase of each students’ strength as they display their newly formed breaking prowess for their families using real wood boards!
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Holiday Class Schedule 2016

We will be closed for the holidays from Friday, Dec 23 – Monday, Dec 26. Classes will be held on a modified schedule through New Years Eve and will return to normal programming on Tuesday Jan 3. See below for a copy of the modifies schedule during holiday break, including additional early classes to accommodate for everyone’s availability. We hope you have a happy holiday and look forward to seeing you either during break or in the New Year!

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January Feature: Let It Go, Let It Flow

Let It Go, Let It Flow
By Alec Rains
The end of 2016 brought discussion to the overwhelming ambivalence of a year gone by. There’s no disputing the compounding clusterof loss, hardships, and frustrations that begged the question: “2017 can only be better, right?”. Of course the answer is never as black and white as we would like. There’s no way to tell what the future holds for us; the year is literally just starting. Whether you had a good 2016 or not, it makes no sense to dwell on the past. Easier said than done, right? Of course it is. Since we can’t stop the clock from turning consider taking solace in the fact that a New Year marks a new beginning. This new beginning might end up being better than you realize.
I’m no astrologist. Well, I did take an astrology class in college once and I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express recently so… I’m still no astrologist. That said, I am a big believer in universal coincidences. One of the unique coincidences that keeps popping up in my life is found in the study of Numerology. Numerology studies the almost mystical relationship between any specific number and one or more coinciding events in life. It also delves into the notion that significant value is associated to numbers and the patterns, sequences, and the combinations they create.
Time to Move On
Take the year 2016, for example. The sequence 2-0-1-6 (2016) when added together equals “9” (2+0+1+6). The numerology of the number “9” represents completion, or the end of a cycle. It was expressed last year that 2016 would become the year that we draw a final line in the significant projects in our lives, bringing them to completion. Take a moment to think back on everything that happened in the past year and I’m sure you will be able to figure out at least one major piece of your life that found its conclusion.
When we look at the numbers in the year “2017”, 2+0+1+7 = 10…which is distilled to 1 + 0, which equals “1”. The number one is the first number we count from; it marks firsts, and represents new beginnings. Now let’s take stock of everything we hope to accomplish in the coming year. Of those hopes, how many of them are a “first”, or “fresh start”?
The Coincidence of Firsts
Speaking of coincidences, this is the first time I have ever written for a blog, which is also being shared as the first post from The Mat. Okay, maybe it’s not entirely a coincidence since we had to come up with a topic to discuss for our first blog, but it’s definitely coincidental that it happens to be written on the first day of the first month of a year of firsts! I can’t make this stuff up, people!
Anyway, we’re doing a lot of firsts at The Mat, so this is really hitting home for me at the moment. While we certainly had to get the thought train running from the station back in 2016, it was all with the idea that we would be implementing a slew of new ideas and concepts for 2017. What stands out in my head the most out of everything we are looking forward to doing, though, is that none of our plans could be remotely possible without the completion of specific items that needed to be cleared by the end of 2016. We had to let go of a number of thoughts, ideas, and notions if we wanted to grow into what we know we can become.
"Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves" -Bruce Lee
In martial arts, there are a lot of idioms and sayings teachers give their students. “Words of wisdom”, if you will. Looking back to my childhood in karate, I can recall a number of times my sensei would sit the class down to tell a story that carried a specific meaning or moral that would become a supposed life lesson for anyone who would listen. Anyone who spent any amount of time in the 1970s or 1980s need not go far to recall moments of wisdom from Mr. Miyagi, Master Yoda, or Caine from the series Kung Fu. These characters represented the on-screen depictions of any number of gurus and masters throughout time. As a child growing up in martial arts it was always about The Greatest for me: Bruce Lee.
Be Like Water
Bruce Lee wasn’t just a martial artist. He was also a philosopher. He was once famously quoted in an interview as saying, “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.”
The quote above has become a specific piece of guidance for me, both on and off the mats, for the better part of my adult life. In fact, we created the name, The Mat, as a metaphor for life and the challenges it presents. We wanted to find a simple way to associate martial arts training with life lessons, and draw upon real life experiences to instill martial arts lessons. The mat we train on prepares us for the real world and vice versa. The only way to truly accomplish this is to create an environment of continual adaptation. Any plan rarely comes together exactly as intended. Similarly, a self defense skill rarely ends up being applied exactly the same way it is practiced. There are too many variables beyond our own control to manage expectations so precisely. That said, we still need a goal or basic plan. Proper preparation allows us to adapt to the various interjections life (or an opponent) throws at us. Water will always follow the path of least resistance, so to “be like water” reminds us to work smart, not hard, to achieve our goals.
The Yin and the Yang
Conventional self defense teachings often instill lessons of aggression and assertiveness to combat assailants and potential attackers. Let’s be honest for a moment. We do not live in a world facing a continual onslaught of life or death situations. It is more appropriate to take on the conventional wisdom taught in more traditional martial arts styles, in which there is a balance between hard and soft approaches and responses… the “Yin” and “Yang” to life. See, the water metaphor goes even deeper than most realize. Water itself is the ultimate adaptive element in our universe. In extreme cold, it hardens and becomes ice, thus forming its own yin: hard, strong, and firm. In extreme heat it becomes steam, representing yang: light, elusive, and delicate. Finding the perfect balance of both is imperative to effective self defense, and will always play an integral role in both personal and business decisions. By definition, you cannot have one without the other, knowing how to tap into both sides of the extremes is important, but understanding a true balance of both simultaneously…that’s the key to success. For knowing how to truly adapt between hard, soft, and anything in between is what it really means to be like water.
The literal transition from 2016 to 2017 is a reset to the calendar…a New Year. The symbolic transition is a reminder to move on from the past, taking the teachable moments with us, in order to create a fresh take on new endeavors. As we begin this new year it is important we remember that an open mind allows for fluidity to take its course. Having a plan is important, but life happens, and unforeseen events (good or bad) will occur. We must resist the urge to resist. Accept what is presented as an opportunity to modify our intended path. Its sounds cliché, I know, but it is also true. The path to success includes the willingness to adapt as needed. To paraphrase Jigoro Kano, founder of modern Judo, “When an opponent pushes, you pull. When they pull, you push.” Judo literally translates into “gentle way”; yet another martial art whose core principle emphasizes the balance of yin and yang to work smart rather than hard. It may be a common instinct for many to push back when life pushes us. It’s completely understandable and even has its place in our “tool kit” for life. However, pulling when we are pushed we can cause an unforeseen disruption which could unbalance forces intended to stop us. Understanding this allows us to further enhance said “tool kit”. At the end of the day, getting through life is all about staying on our feet and moving forward. There’s no rule saying how we stay standing up.
Have a Happy 2017 and keep the water flowing!

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February Feature: Know Thyself

Know Thyself
By Alec Rains
How does one truly know thyself? Think about a specific activity, profession, or sport you are skilled or proficient in. It shouldn’t take long to imagine some of your best qualities or traits in that activity you embody when performing. Odds are, not many think of weaker traits, or the areas that could stand be improved. Most people think of something positive because it feels good. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to feel good about themselves? To be at the top of our game, whatever that might be, we need more than simply identifying our strengths. It is imperative to know our weaknesses if we ever wish to succeed in life. This is how we begin to know thyself.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. -Aristotle
A few years ago I read a story about how Manny Pacquiao came to become the most prolific fighter to ever train inside of famed Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles. (reference article here) Gym owner and renowned trainer, Freddie Roach, shared the interaction from 2002 that led to their partnership as arguably the most successful fighter/trainer pairing ever.
Typically, a fighter will show the trainer his skills by hitting pads and sparring a little with a partner…a sort of courting ritual. After,they review a footage of previous fights to show their skills under the pressure. Roach claimed he know Manny was special after just one pad session and had already made the internal decision to sign the fighter from the Philippines. What happened next is the shocker…
Learning from Pac-Man…not that one.
With a professional record of 31-2, Manny Pacquiao was already an established fighter. Rather than send a highlight reel of his greatest wins, however, Manny gave Roach tape of three specific fights. His two losses (one by knockout, the other by third round stoppage) and a win he didn’t feel he earned. What a shock, right? I mean, who does that? Most fighters don’t even want to look at tape of their losses let alone share it to convince a suitable trainer.
When asked why he sent these three tapes, Manny’s response was: ‘You know, Freddie. Losing is a part of life and I lost.’ He said, ‘You’ll see me at my best and I wanted you to see me at my worst.’ ”
Pacquiao later told a reporter, “It was a part of my life and I wanted him to know everything about me [if we were going to work together].”
Talk about humility and knowing what it takes to make it to the next level!
Find Your Teachable Moment
I’m not a huge fan of boxing as a whole, and I never really got into following Manny as he rose up through the ranks. To be honest, I recall him being labeled almost as a kind of “bad guy” of the sport in the early 2000s so I never gave him much thought. Then I watched a fight of his and was blown away by his hand speed and timing. I learned to really appreciate his talents as a fighter. When I read this it just solidified my respect for the man. I was impressed by his drive to ignore status and record by turning his failures into true learning opportunities…that showed a level of maturity seen rarely in this world.
"Movement for the sake of movement … is the result of laziness, complacency, or unawareness."
Being “the best” at something doesn’t mean being perfect. If you’ve seen any Rocky movie surely you’ve already drawn the connection. Physical talent/ability certainly plays an important role but it’s the intangible qualities that set apart the best from the rest. One such intangible is the knowledge we obtain about our own personal strengths and weaknesses. In Manny’s case, he displayed a rare level of emotional understanding of himself and introspection toward what he needed to improve. By handing over evidence of his weaknesses to Roach he strengthened the budding trust between them, and initiated a dialogue that ultimately lead to an entire second career’s worth of success. Since pairing with Roach, Pacquiao has earned a total of eleven world championship titles across 8 different weight divisions (most all time), and is considered one of the greatest boxers in the history of the sport with a record of 57-6-2. Impressive is an understatement.
Know Thyself
At The Mat, we call the ability to look into our own personal practice, “knowing thyself”. We ask members to asses what they feel they do well, and what can they work to improve? In the advanced stages of training, students become quite familiar with their own tendencies and habits. They know what is most and least comfortable, and they typically also know where they’re lacking. They may not know how or why, but they can at least identify the “what” of the problem. At this level, we discuss how to better focus their practice based on discussing their aforementioned qualities.
The main goal is to inspire introspection. This encourages the continual drive towards a sort of modern-day enlightenment through self-assessment, self-awareness, and active implementation. Being more conscientious of what, how, and why we do things allows us to act more efficiently towards a true purpose.
Movement for the sake of movement, or doing for the sake of doing…these are simply the results of laziness, complacency, or unawareness. By opening an honest dialogue with ourselves we become capable of identifying learning opportunities from the habits we recognize. These opportunities present teachable moments for change which in turn affect our evolution as a student, practitioner, or participant.
Calling in SWOT
If you’ve ever written a business plan you are familiar with SWOT analyses. Identifying a company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats allows an organization to assess how to best achieve goals set forth, or find competitive advantages within a particular marketplace. If we are willing to perform such analysis on a company, shouldn’t we also be willing to do this for ourselves?
Whether it’s defending an attack, throwing a curve ball, closing a sale, or underwater basket weaving, there are always opportunities to look within and find where or how we can improve. It’s important to know that we have faults, and embrace them as opportunities for improvement. It’s a process that’s everlasting, and it’s how we continually strive to truly know thyself.

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April Feature: Work Smarter

What’s does it mean to work smarter vs. to work harder? Let’s first take a look at what it means to be a hard worker? Typically, it means that a person spends a great deal of time dedicated to a specific task, which in turn gains them a high proficiency in that subject. A hard worker is diligent, relentless, and persistent. These are all great qualities to possess in any arena, but at some point working hard as we know it gets exhausting.
The Godfather                                               
Twentieth Century industrial engineer, Allan F. Mogensen, is known as a pioneer for office management and is considered the father of “Work Simplification” in the 1930’s. In his book, Time and motion economy in business (1938), he introduced the theories behind working smarter in the workplace to streamline workflows and simplify processes. He is literally the first person on record to use the phrase, “work smarter, not harder”.                                                  
The concept of the economy of motion is not a foreign one in most educated circles today, specifically in business related fields. While it may not be something a lay person considers in his or her daily life, it certainly doesn’t fall on deaf ears if one were to state that phrase aloud in their presence.
Who you calling lazy?
To be clear, working smart doesn’t mean lazy and working hard doesn’t mean ignorant. The two are not truly independent of one another. Working smart represents a proficiency which can only be accomplished once someone has identified and removed wasted efforts within a work flow that they already know well. Inherently, the person in question needs to be at least somewhat educated in whatever they are trying to accomplish in order to reconfigure a smarter way to work what they have already been working hard in.
  In any martial arts system, it is understood that repetition plays a major role in a practitioner’s success. No matter the style, there tends to be a systematized structure that establishes a student’s level and comprehension in training…belts, ranks, patches, sashes, etc. These achievements represent the amount of hard work a student has put in towards his or her accomplishment as a symbol of pride, of effort, and dedication.
When I earned my first black belt many years ago, I recall being told what I eventually discovered as the most famous martial arts cliché, “A black belt is just a master of basics. Now your journey really begins.” In my 30 years of martial arts training I have yet to meet a black belt who hasn’t been told some version of this phrase. It’s an ominous concept that sounds good but what does it actually mean, and why is it such a universally shared sentiment?
In short it means, “now that you’ve worked hard to get down the essential fundamentals in your training, it is time to learn how to use it better” (aka, smarter). As I continued training into adulthood I became less concerned with the conformity of doing a technique simply because that’s how it is taught. I wanted to streamline all the fluff I learned over the years into skills I could actually use to protect myself in real life.
"By focusing on my economy of each movement, I instantly saw results in how to gauge my initial positioning, when to move, how to react, and what to do with it all."
The Evolution
In my late 20’s, I was invited to work with a group who had each years training in various combative arts. I was the youngest in the group and what stood out most was that they all were really, really good at distancing and timing. I was always pretty quick and skilled, but I was having difficultly feeling accomplished in our combative training because they were just better at recognizing how to move around me…they were simply fighting smarter than I was. It felt like I just entered the Matrix (movie reference), only I wasn’t reading the code correctly. I wanted to be as calm and collected as they were, executing every move with precision and ease. Even though not everything went to plan, they were still so good at adapting and finding new paths to accomplish the goal of the drill: find safety as best as you can.
Economical Training
I watched every move, I studied each tendency, I listened to every comment and I asked questions. Lots of questions. And it all came down to the very same concepts Mogensen introduced in the business world: economy of movement. I had spent so many years simply following directions that I hadn’t put much effort into thinking about the how’s and why’swhen something wasn’t working for me. It typically came down to me just thinking I was doing the technique wrong until suddenly I was told it was right. That sounds fine when it’s about pleasing a judge or scoring a point, but when it comes to self-defense it just wasn’t working for me anymore.
By focusing on my economy of each movement, I instantly saw results in how to gauge my initial positioning, when to move, how to react, and what to do with it all.So now what?
How does this affect what we practice moving forward? By keeping things simple. Only move how and when it is necessary and be proactive in approach instead of reactionary. As we stand against another for an engagement, stand slightly off-center to eliminate options right away. As they come in close we move, stop, or get in and then get out right away. If met with resistance, pay attention to where that resistance comes from. Be adaptable to that energy rather than forcing something to happen that actively doesn’t want to. One cannot apply force in two different directions so consider the push/pull philosophy: “When you push, I pull. When you pull, I push”. Many encounters can be quickly subdued simply by letting the attacker’s intentions work against them in your favor.
Of course this all still needs repetition to become effective and proficient. Nothing comes right away and there is no “get rich quick” scheme to learn. But channel the simple things in our mind and body and everything will fall into place much easier and quicker. Practice slowly at first, with deliberation and flow. Feel for the body’s responses to tell you what to do next. Even try speaking out loud what you are physically doing so you create a mind/body connection.
We often find ourselves out of tune with what our body tries to tell us. When something feels awkward or isn’t working, it is often because we aren’t properly aligned or positioned. In slow practice, we can adjust accordingly and get a better sense of effectiveness. We can also identify what we are doing better. When we practice at live speeds, let the body do its thing. With enough repetition our bodies will act appropriately so let it work or fail. You can consider what worked or didn’t, and why, once the drill is complete.
So keep it simple, folks. Identify the smarter way to accomplish your goal. Go with what works. What works might very well change with more practice but until then, be smart. Don’t spend too much time getting fancy when the real purpose is to be safe. Work smarter and you’ll eventually find that you won’t be working as hard as you once were.

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May Feature: Situational Awareness

Situational Awareness
UT Knife Attack – Monday, May 1, 2017
The knife attack at the University of Texas on Monday, May 1, 2017 is a horrible reminder to us all that evil exists in this world and our self protection is our own responsibility. With one dead and three injured, what can we learn from this event and witness accounts? A lot.
The Attack
There were several witnesses that describe the events leading to the attack. It is important to note the attack lasted only a few minutes and campus police responded in two minutes 3.
“He kicked a sorority girl to the point where she almost fell. A little bit later, that same guy ended up pulling out the knife. Everybody started yelling and running in our direction.” 3 If the open carry of a bowie knife didn’t trigger your senses this should have been a red flag.
“Student Rachel Prichett told the Associated Press she was standing in line at a food truck outside the gym when she saw a man with a large knife approach the person standing behind her. ‘The guy was standing next to me,’ Prichett said. ‘He grabbed him by the shoulder and shoved the knife in it. I just started running as fast as I could.’” 1 In busy environments it is common to come into close quarters with others. We need to evaluate our proximity to others and look for signals indicating danger. If a person approaches with a knife, get out of there. Use your voice to alert others.
From a student helping one of the wounded during the attack: “He locked eyes with the suspect for just a moment. But as he continued to hold a rag to his fellow Longhorn’s bleeding neck, the suspect kept walking.” 3 Eye contact with a predator is a way to show you are not a soft target but be prepared for flight or fight if the predator persists.
Situational Awareness
In our highly “connected” society we are provided many distractions that remove us from the physical world. Social media, gaming, email and other activities wrestle attention away from our environment and lock us into digital trance and false sense of well-being. While we are engaging with our devices, life is happening around us.

The term “situational awareness” is used a lot, and in some regards, people may have become desensitized to what the term means. From a high-level, it is an awareness of your surroundings. When you enter a space do you scan the area for oddities things that seem out of place? Do you know where your exits are located. If an emergency situation arose, could you find cover, concealment, environmental weapons and other obstacles to make you a harder target? Do you present yourself as the model victim with certain types of body language and lack of attention? This seems like a lot to consider but in reality only takes a few moments to scan and make yourself familiar with your environment. 
Was anything odd about the attacker? Yes. On a college campus, carrying a bowie knife is not a normal thing one sees or expects to see, even in Texas. Although not entirely cause for alarm, people should note oddities like this and keep an eye on the person as well as distance. I understand, it is lunch time, everyone is busy so it is easy to become complacent.
Pre Attack Indicators
Certain types of body language and behavior changes are indicators that an attack will soon occur. We all posses an ability to recognize danger but most of us do not hone that skill or even consider it. There are likely many cues that went unnoticed due to distractions and these are cues that can be utilized if we educate ourselves and remain vigilant.
Classmate says, “White had been missing classes lately and when he asked him about it last week, White said he had a few things going on his life and “that he had to put academics on the back burner for a bit.” 4 Although not necessarily a cue that this person will commit a violent act, additional changes in behavior may give clues to the person’s psychological state.
For more information on pre attack indicators, see the links at the end of this article.
Responsibility for My SafetyPhoto: Complacency
Many people believe police are responsible for our safety. This shows a disconnect in perception versus reality. Police responded in two minutes to this attack. It takes time to mobilize and address a situation and police cannot be everywhere at once. At present we do not have teleportation technology that I am aware of. If you know of some, message us.
What are we supposed to do if police are not everywhere we are to protect us? We must take responsibility for our self protection by being aware, training ourselves to recognize danger and have a plan in case things go sideways. Find a place that you can train self defense scenarios and combatives. If you carry a gun or knife, train using these tools in various situations, under stress, retention, creating openings to deploy with combatives, etc. Buy training versions of the items you carry along with safety equipment so you can train as close to reality as possible to help recognize patterns of attacks. Learn how items you carry daily can be used as weapons if you find yourself in a non permissive environment or do not normally carry for self defense.Recommendations
Accept responsibility for your self protection Train with the weapons you carry and not just statically; train retention, combatives and fitness, create distance to deploy weapons Educate yourself further to hone your senses and recognition of pending attacks
The timing of this attack is eerily close to the knife attack seminar presented at The Mat on Sunday, April 30. This was an opportunity for us to gear up and go hard to really train against an aggressive attacker. This differs greatly from a compliant training partner that is feeding you attacks in classes. We drilled techniques and scenarios using eye protection, head gear, forearm pads, and virtual blades (plastic training knives with a cloth strip that allows you to add chalk, lipstick or other items to show when you’ve made contact with a target).
At The Mat we are training situation awareness and weapon defenses throughout the month of May in addition to the seminar so be sure to attend to learn how to recognize threats, mitigate injuries and improve chances of surviving an edged weapon attack.
Talking about awareness and self defense is easy. Training is the only true way to become effectively ready for such scenarios so be sure to check for self-defense classes in your area. For more information regarding self defense training at The Mat, call us at (512) 520-5997 or email info@themataustin.com.
Pre attack indicators
1 http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/05/01/stabbing-reported-at-university-texas-at-austin.html
2 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/01/us/texas-austin-stabbing-attack.html
3 http://kxan.com/2017/05/01/reports-of-multiple-people-stabbed-on-ut-campus/
4 http://kxan.com/2017/05/01/students-react-angrily-following-stabbing-on-ut-austin-campus/
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Handgun Defense Seminar II: Dry and Live Fire!

Handgun Defense Series - Part 2
Handgun Fundamentals II: Dry & Live Fire

Date - Sunday, July 9, 2017
9:00a - 3:00p
Cost - $180 (single session), $290 (see staff for bundle pricing)

The Handgun Defense Series is a 3-part seminar designed to educate and familiarize civilians with the components and functions of the common handgun, along with train basic defense techniques from typical gun threats. Part 2 picks up where Part 1 left off, specifically in application of firing the weapon. Significant time will be placed on dry fire and live fire drills at a range, ending with combined defenses, combatives and live fire on targets under stress. Enrollments will be limited to 20 participants on a first come basis.

Topics Covered:
• Safety rules/ basic first aid
• Function, Stance, grip
• Basic Manipulations (dry fire/live fire)
• Malfunction clearing (dry fire/live fire)
• Trigger control, sight alignment, sight picture.

• Must complete Part 1 or 1.5
• Firearm (must bring own or arrange rental with Safety Measures)
• Ammunition (200 rounds, 9mm)
• optional - Personal Training Weapon (various Blue Guns/ASP models available in advance for sale through The Mat)

Firearms training is presented by Safety Measures, LLC. www.safetymeasures.us. Defensive and combative training provided by The Mat Martial Arts, www.themataustin.com
Event Prices:$180.00 -Part 3 Only$350.00 -Parts 2 & 3$450.00 -Parts 1, 2, & 3

We will be meeting at The Mat Martial Arts before driving to the range together.
12617 Ridgeline Blvd (inside Champion Performance)
Cedar Park, TX 78613

Firing Range Location
Best of the West Shooting Sports
19500 W SH 29, Liberty Hill, TX 78642

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Intermediate Handgun Defense

Handgun Defense Series (part 3)
Part 3 of our extensive Handgun Defense Series 
Intermediate Handgun: Tactical Deployment & Retention
Date - Sunday, 8/13/17 
Time - 9:00am - 3:00pm
Cost - $180 (single session)

The Handgun Defense Series is a multi-part seminar designed to educate and familiarize civilians with the components and functions of the common handgun, along with train basic defense techniques from typical gun threats, followed up with practice at a firing range and stress drills covering a cumulative review of all 3 seminars.

Part 3 is an introduction to Intermediate Handgun skills, including tactical deployment, multiple targets, rapid reloads, and movement while firing. Participants will also test the cumulative review of their skills through a gauntlet of drills spanning all three seminar topics in a single course designed to stress concentration.   

Topics Covered 
Safety rules/ basic first aid
Intermediate Manipulations (dry fire/live fire) 
Malfunction clearing (dry fire/live fire) 
Trigger control, sight alignment, sight picture
Movement while firing
Multiple target transition
Unarmed defenses
Retention and deployment (dry fire)
Stress Drills
Must complete Part 2
Firearm (must bring own or arrange rental with Safety Measures)
Ammunition (est. 200 x 9mm)
Holster (with sturdy belt)
2 Spare Magazines
Magazine Holder/pouch or pants with cargo style pockets

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Board Breaking Workshop (Lions & Dragons)

Board Breaking Workshop

Saturday, 8/19/17

2:15p - 3:30p

Calling all Lions & Dragons ~ Test your might! Crack, Smash, and Snap your awesome karate skills to the ultimate test by breaking real wood board with your bare hands and feet. Students will be taken through many of the building block concepts of how to deliver strikes with effective power: muscular tension, body dynamics, and proper follow through. The grand finale will be a showcase of each students' strength as they display their newly formed breaking prowess for their families using real wood boards!
Cost - $45
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Combative Takedown Seminar

Combative Takedowns Seminar

Sunday, 8/27/17

11:00a - 2:00p

This Combative Takedowns seminar will present a variety of effective maneuvers that can be employed both in training and on the street as an added tool for stopping or containing a bad situation. We will discuss the principles that make for effective take downs, learn proper handles and control points, and work through applications of techniques from various scenarios including:
  • Side Clinch
  • Full Clinch
  • Straight Attacks
  • Circular Attacks
In addition, we will be warming up with proper implementation of rolling and falling in various directions to ensure self-preservation and partner safety. It is recommended that participants have a basic understanding of fight movement and footwork to ensure efficient flow through seminar topics.

Cost: $69

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September Rank Testing

September Rank Tests for All Programs and Levels. Be sure to get to ready by attending classes regularly this next month. Testing schedule is as follows:
Lions & Dragons
Saturday, 9/16
  • Dragons - 2:00pm
  • Lions - 3:15pm
* Lions & Dragons must wear full uniform to test. Dragons (Yellow Belt & up) are expected to bring sparring gear.
Adults & Teens
Sunday, 9/24
  • Foundations - 11:00am - 1:00pm (All Levels are required to attend if testing today)
  • Intermediate - 11:00am - 3:30pm (Testing to Level 3, 4, 5...must attend Foundations Test. 30 min break will be issued between tests)
* All Test participants are required to wear Mat appropriate shirt and have all necessary sparring equipment (minimum, mouth guard, groin protection, mma gloves, shin guards)
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How to Defend Punches Better

Defend Punches More Effectively

This past week, I got the chance to meet up with an old friend and training partner for some practice and discussion. It just so happens, Sensei Ando (as he goes by in his online persona), has a successful martial arts blog (www.senseiando.com) and YouTube channel (click to visit), and he asked if I’d be willing to share some thoughts on a topic for his latest post. Not one to turn down an opportunity to share my opinion, I naturally accepted. Watch the video below to check out what we came up with, or scroll down to read a summary on what we filmed.

In the early stages of our training, most of the movements we practice are larger or more gross motor. Regardless of style, this is a typical behavior:

It’s easier to teach and comprehend bigger movements
We tend to have more “flinch” responses that lack refined motor skills.
Many styles even incorporate this notion from the get-go, anticipating the larger movements as a starting point to learn effective responses.
Training with the expectation of larger movements is helpful when learning new skills and is part of what comprises the “beginner mindset”. The problem here is that in time we must actively change our approach, both emotionally and physically, to match our training as we progress through more intermediate and advanced levels.
The “intermediate” mindset is a bit of a grey area. Clearly we understand and associate what it feels like to be a novice...and we can identify others around us who we perceive as more “advanced”, yet we often struggle to find footing within the gap ourselves.
What makes someone more advanced is their ability to control their movements in a more refined manner. They appear to achieve big results with less effort. It appears more “natural” to them. In fact, that’s exactly right but it wasn’t always that way. They had to figure out where their efficiency could improve, and then train countless reps and hours to hone new habits.

Here’s a tip:

Consider a ratio of “wants” versus “needs”. How much do you WANT to move, versus how much do you actually NEED to move.
Take defending from a straight punch for example. A beginning student will learn to deflect or redirect the punch with a large pushing motion across their center line using their arm or hand. Their intention is to get that punch as far away from them as possible as quickly as possible.
This is a completely adequate response but the reality is, if you do this, you’re DOING TOO MUCH! You want that punch to not hit you but it’s way more than you need.
A miss is a miss. You only need to have that punch miss your head or body by fractions of an inch. That might be far closer than you’re comfortable with, especially at first. The more you move one way, the more you’ll inevitably have to move back. This translates to wasted energy through unnecessary motion. You’re also taking your body’s alignment off balance, losing valuable opportunities to maximize your counter response or escape.
If you become more at ease with closing that gap between your wants and needs, you’ll be more efficient and more controlled in your movements.

So how do we close that gap?

Grab a partner and start slowly. Have them begin throwing slow straight punches toward the center of your chest. Rather than using your hands or arms to initiate a defense, keep them perfectly still and simply rotate your hips so that your shoulders move your arms into the oncoming punch. You’ll quickly notice that you won’t need to move very much in order to not get hit. Practice rotating left and right with each punch and start picking up the pace as you see fit. Then raise the target to the head and repeat...don’t forget to raise your hands too.
In due time, you’ll begin noticing that the hands are actually not even a necessary component of this defense. The body’s rotation is what gets you out of the way. The hands are just there for assurance, and later, additional tools for controls and manipulations. If you haven’t begun learning slips yet, this is a great time to do so. As the punches come towards your head, rotate the opposite shoulder toward the punch and add a slight dip, allowing the punch to pass right over your shoulder.
So there you have it. A simple partner drill to gain more confidence in your ability to recognize what you need to do versus what you initially might want to do. The more you do this, the more you narrow the gap in the wants:needs ratio. As you avoid the punch, what you do with your body and hands is entirely open to your interpretation.
Of course, there are many ways to defend yourself from an oncoming punch. This is merely a single drill to hone your comfort and response to become more efficient in your movement. The more efficient you can become in your response, the more options you give yourself to counter or get away. Stay safe out there and keep training, learning, and living for a better life!

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Temporary Schedule (1/3/18 - 1/14/18)

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VIP Open House

VIP Open House


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Help us celebrate the Grand Opening of our new location!
Join us for a free sample class and information session, with special savings on enrollment. Parent or guardian must be present but students will participate on floor on their own. Class will be followed by a brief information session on the programs offered throughout the week and our monthly rates. FREE UNIFORM and $0 ENROLLMENT FEE for signing up the same day. Reserve your spot now!
1:00pm - Tiger Tots & Lions (3.5 - 6 yrs old)
2:00pm - Dragons (7 - 12 yrs old)
2:15pm - Teens & Adults (13 yrs +)
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Essential Footwork for Self Defense

Footwork: 3 Essential Movements (pt. 1)

Click video image to view

Understanding how to move yourself into position (or out) is what allows for proper distancing to your target, generates momentum for increased power, and gets you out of range from oncoming attacks. There are a number of ways to move in and out of position, but boiled down, there are really only three essential footwork movements you need to know for self defense training:
• Step-through
• Shuffle
• Slide
Yes, there are bursts, lunges, double-steps, and plenty more. At the end of the day, they are all just variations or modifications to the above three. So, let’s keep it simple and focus on what you need to know in early stages of training.


A step-through is really just walking but from a fighting stance. Just take a comfortable step while adjusting your hips, shoulders, and hands to compensate for the shift in rotation so that you’re still able to protect yourself.


To shuffle, lead with the leg that matches the direction you wish to go. (Front to go forward, back to go backward, left to go left, right to go right). Simply lift your foot and press off the ground with the other in the direction you intend to move.
• Fastest for short distance
• Less than full step
• Keeps one side forward
Some describe shuffling as an “open-close” motion to our stance. It is. Just be sure to “open” and “close” from your regular fighting stance. Your feet should remain apart, not touch, in order to maintain the ability to spring in and out of position. Also, as you lift the foot, your body naturally begins to fall in that direction. Use that natural drop to emphasize the push off rather than stepping and dragging the other foot back to position.


The slide step is effectively the inverse of the shuffle. Rather than moving the lead foot in the direction you wish to move, start with the opposite foot. (To move forward, bring the rear foot toward the front foot, then place the front foot into position to maintain stability).
The slide step differs from the shuffle in that you can cover the same amount of distance as a step-through, only you get to remain with the same leg in front. There are two main benefits to this: It’s still quicker than the step through because there are less moving parts, and you can keep a dominant side ready to strike or defend with very little adjustments. You can mask your approach better when attacking. As long as you keep your head at the same level (by staying at the same height in your stance), you minimize telegraphing your movement.
We want to minimize any movement our bodies need to make. We call this The Economy of Movement. This conserves energy, minimizes unnecessary motion, and prevents giving away our intentions [telegraphing]. Think of a car driving down a country hillside versus a desert road. The more that car goes up and down the hillside, the easier it is to track its progress. The flat desert road creates a mirage effect that makes it difficult to recognize which direction the car is moving, let alone how fast. These microsecond adjustments comprise the very things that “trick” the opponent’s brain into delaying their response.

Whichever footwork you are using, keep these key tips in mind…

1. Be Consistent. The distance you move one foot, move the following foot the same amount. This helps maintain your balance and efficiency.
2. Stay centered. Think of a carousel horse. The pole down it’s center allows it to rise and drop, or rotate without tipping. Leaning over your toes or heels is your body’s way of telling you to that you’re off balance and need to bring your torso back to center.
3. Small corrections. Be prepared make little adjustments in your steps to maintain proper distance and balance.
As you build muscle memory with these movements, in time, you will find your body responding without you having to think about it, freeing up your bandwidth to consider other parts of your training.

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How to Kick More Effectively

Throw More Effective Kicks
Check out the YouTube video here, and read a breakdown of the lesson in written form below.

Does Size Matter?

Yes, sort of. Size does matter...at least sometimes. Strength, timing and accuracy, among other factors, will always play their parts towards success in martial arts training. Without the benefits of strength through size, you must be proficient enough in technique to realize effectiveness.
A common misconception, particularly in the martial arts, that I have come across many times in my thirty-plus years training and teaching is that size equals strength. While being big undoubtedly often translates to being strong, being small doesn’t necessarily being mean weak. While certainly connected in some truth, the two are not mutually exclusive to one another. A smaller person can still generate a wealth of power when the technique is well executed. If a smaller body can learn to maximize its potential power with technical adjustments, how does that not also hold true for a larger body? Regardless of size, there’s no arguing good technique improves power and accuracy for anyone.
The key to realizing effective “power”, as mentioned above, is proper technique. Without technique power can be erratic, inefficient, and ineffective. A very common occurrence where technique can make or break a skill’s effectiveness is in kicking.


Kicks utilize the largest muscle groups in the body. They can provide an immense amount of power because of their length, the trajectory in which they’re thrown, and simply because of the shear mass of most people’s legs compared to other parts of their bodies.


Kicking has its downsides as well. To name a few, accuracy, or targeting, takes time to hone because of the above listed benefits require practice. When you kick, you’re on one leg so you lose a significant amount of stability and mobility. Simply put, you need to be good at kicking if you’re going to have any beneficial effects...otherwise, keep two feet on the ground and get good at moving and striking with your upper body.

Expanding Your Tool Kit

But what if you want to get good, or better, at kicking? What if you’re interested in improving or expanding your martial arts tool kit so that you have the ability to choose the most effective tool for each scenario? If this is the case, give yourself five minutes a day and a little bit of persistence and you’ll be ready in two shakes of a karateka’s leg! (That’s dojo-speak for practitioner).

The Secret

There are two key factors to becoming effective in kicking.
Good Chambers
If you can train these to elements well enough, the rest will fall into place how it needs to. In time, as always, there will be more ways to hone skill and maximize your potential but to keep it simple, good chambers and consistent training will go a very long way.
Generally speaking, there are four parts to a kick:
Set Down
For the purpose of this discussion, we’re going to focus on three common kicks found in most styles. There are many more kicks we could talk about, and even some variations to the ones we’re using, but to keep it simple and streamlined, we’re using the front kick, round kick, and side kick.
Disclaimer: A quick word about the round kick. We are talking about a “snap” or “flip” round kick here, not a Muay Thai or “wheel” kick. One could argue they still have the same four parts but since they use a more circular movement there are fundamental differences in how to execute them that do not apply to this discussion.

Good Chambers

The “Chamber” is the set-up position for most kicks. Picking your knee up high [and tight] is what creates the necessary tension for the kick to spring outward. It also provides options when targeting. A high knee can go to high, middle, or low. A low knee can only go low.
Get yourself very familiar with a high and tight chamber where your kicking leg lifts up directly in front of you, with your foot under your knee. This is going to be the starting point for all three kicks in this discussion, and allows you to mask [from your opponent] which kick you’re throwing. How high is high enough? For the sake of practicing good habits, we’re going to say as hi as you comfortably can lift while flexing your knee tight. (In live speed, it’ll adjust as it needs to as long as you build the proper habit ahead of time). No matter what, you have to be consistent in your chamber placement.


Repetition is imperative for consistency, but it matters more that what is being repeated is correct and accurate. This is where the proper use of the phrase “muscle memory” becomes important. You see, the brain/body connection that creates the “memory” in your muscles is entirely based on what you repeat over and over again. There’s no discerning whether your body recalls the correct movement, only that it recalls the movement it has trained.  It’s essential that we train the best technique possible in repetition to build proper muscle memory.


To build that consistent muscle memory, try this little drill:
We’re going to drill isolated holds for each of the 4 stages of the kick. Find something stable to hold on to for balance, and stand next to it. Plan on 5 sets with one leg, then another 5 sets with the other leg. Starting with the front kick…
Chamber your knee as high and tight as possible (hold 5 sec.)
Extend your leg outward as high as possible (hold 5 sec.)
Bring leg back to chamber as high as possible (hold 5 sec.)
Set the foot down
Once you’ve repeated 5x on each leg, do the same sequence but hold each segment for 2 seconds. Then again holding for 1 second. Then drill through the full kick at “live” speed.

Round Kick

Complete the same drill with round kick. When you chamber the knee up, keep your foot behind your hip with your knee pointed at the “target”. Don’t let your knee turn inward or downward as you bring up the foot. Between the chamber, extension, and re-chamber, the goal is to maintain a level triangle connecting you hip, knee, and ankle. Think of holding a tray of drinks across your chamber.

Side Kick

Position the chamber perpendicular to the target with your foot directly under the knee. As you extend the kick outward, get the supporting foot to pivot in the opposite direction. This opens up your hips to maximize reach and thrust into the kick when done at live speed. As you rechamber, pivot the foot back to its neutral position.

Go Forth

So there you have it. A simple yet effective drill to practice proper technique to build effective muscle memory. In very little time, you’ll see rapid improvements in functional strength and stability, and you’ll eventually be able to do this without holding onto anything at all. Be sure to loosen up your hips and legs before attempting the full sequence. It is much more difficult to hold an outstretched leg than most people realize and you will cramp up at first.
To increase your strength and flexibility even more, try lifting your leg upward when extended in a “pumping” motion 5x before rechambering. I suggest running through a four count, and then doing the lifts on the fifth pass for each leg. It won’t be comfortable but you’ll see amazing results quickly if you do this regularly in your practice. Nobody ever said getting better was easy!

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Why We Need Plateaus

Why We Need Plateaus
As a beginner it is easy to become overwhelmed by the various skills and scenarios presented in class. It can feel like a bunch of mental clutter floating around in your head. Much like a room with scattered clothing and books and toys and dishes and papers all over the place, it is really difficult to walk in and think anything other than, “Oh, man! Where do I start?”  

Gathering and Organizing

Just like we would create a list of priorities to clean that room, we must be able to do the same with our thoughts. Everything should have a place in the room, and if it doesn’t, find a place or get rid of it. Training is the same process. The more we train, the more our brain and body should be finding little “buckets” to place specific knowledge into. This is the information gathering and organization phase.

Trimming the Fat

Progressing from the beginner mindset into intermediate, the next stage involves gaining confidence in accessing all that information previously gathered. We begin to find moments of success in applying concepts and skills we’ve been training because the repetition begins to take effect. We also might begin “trimming” away pieces of what we’ve learned to streamline out movements or thought processes.
“The plateau is nature’s way of creating change opportunity in ourselves.”
The more this continues, however, one of two things tends to occur: analysis paralysis or complacency. Analysis paralysis is when the brain pauses for a moment to figure out what is next, even when the available options are glaringly obvious. Complacency is simply becoming comfortable with specific habits because that skill has been drilled into near boredom. In either situation, this is the first “plateau” in training.


Plateaus get a bad rap. They tend to carry a negative connotation because of the root causes mentioned above. Don’t get me wrong. We don’t want to stay in a plateau. What is often overlooked is that there is very little room or opportunity to grow without them.
Think about it for a moment. Growth in training is really just change for the better...improvement. Without the need to grow, there’s little desire to seek improvement. We could be doing everything correct to that point, but progress is still stalled. The plateau is nature’s way of creating change opportunity in ourselves.

Supply and Demand

It’s a basic “supply and demand” relationship. If we want to grow and improve we must be able to recognize the moments that these opportunities are presented. Where to focus the attention at that point is a deeper discussion but that’s why we have instructors, coaches, mentors, and peers. Rarely can someone answer these questions on their own.

Always Learning

The “clutter > gathering > plateau” sequence is a never ending cycle. There is always something to work on, or something to improve. It just becomes more and more focused each time we go through the sequence. This is really what differentiates more advanced [anything] from others, and the exact reason for the adage, “there’s always something to learn.”
So the next time you feel “stuck” in your training, or overwhelmed by options, understand this is where you’re supposed to be at that moment. What you do with that plateau is what decides your growth into the next phase of your training. So go forth...collect, conquer, plateau, and improve!
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Efficiency in Training: Wants Vs. Needs

Efficiency in Training: Wants vs. Needs

Understanding the difference between what you WANT to happen and what NEEDS to happen is a large component of what it means to move from one level to the next in martial arts or self defense training. As we increase our confidence in our abilities and the skills we obtain, we must learn to narrow the gap between what our brain WANTS and what our body actually NEEDS. This improves efficiency in our movement, allowing us to identify and act with more options rather than being over-committed to a single response. We're not getting any younger as we train more, so a general rule, we should always be striving for more ways to work smarter rather not harder, especially when it comes to self preservation.
A few months back I shot a video with my friend and fellow practitioner, Sensei Ando. It was posted to his channel and has been viewed nearly 500,000 times at the time of writing this. (Click here to watch that video). That video was specifically in dealing with improving your punch defense strategies, which among other things, is comprised of this "wants vs. needs" ratio. It received a lot of great response and I had been asked to put together a little more detail on that specific topic on our own channel. So, here’s a quick video tip on how to approach training through your own practice. I hope you enjoy it and find it useful in expanding your martial arts “tool kit”.
Be sure to check out our YouTube channel here. We're constantly updating it with new content, and are always open to suggestions from viewers.

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Basic Tips for Better Punches

Click link for full video - https://youtu.be/h1qTRrmf_Gk
Basic Punch Tips: Hand Position
When it comes to throwing effective punches, there can be almost as many ways to do it correctly as there are to do it incorrectly. No matter which method one ascribes to, there are a few common elements we can all agree on…

Loose hand = broken hand
Keep the wrist straight
Strike with the first two knuckles
After these three, there might be some variations depending on context preference but for simplicity, this video will focus on how we teach basic punch positioning at The Mat, with three main hand positions.
When you make a proper, tight fist, focus on your top two knuckles (the largest two closest to the thumb) as your primary striking surface. Avoid any bends in the wrist while aligning the large, middle knuckle, down the center of your forearm. This helps keep your wrist straight and supported by your arm on contact.
Now, consider the body’s anatomical position, with the hands down by the legs and palms facing outward. Imagine placing your hands on a giant beach ball, where you’re holding the bottom of the ball. Picture sliding your hands apart, around the outside of the ball until they meet back together at the very top. At this point, your hands should be palms facing downwards, as if you were “palming” the ball with each hand. Consider the position of your hands at each angle of the “slide” around the ball. Those angles are the same positions you want your hands to be at as you strike at similar heights.
Whether you’re punching straight forward or rounding the angle in hooks or uppercut fashion, none of the above changes. What changes is your depth (distance) to the target or the angle of attack towards the target. Your hands should rotate [around the beach ball] based on said distance or angle.
The three basic distances and hand positions in straight punch are:
Close Range - Elbows bent (roughly 90 degrees), still touching body, fist faces upwards.
Mid Range - Elbows partially bent (half straight), fist becomes vertical.
Extended Range - Elbows nearly locked (slightly bent to avoid hyperextension), fist rolls to horizontal.
In hook punches, the fists rotate similarly as long as the elbows remain directly behind the wrists. Rather than extending outward, the punches rotate through the target in horizontal angles, as if to be punching around the edges of the beach ball. The higher the target, the more the wrist turns from palm up to palm down.  
As you become more comfortable in punching this way, you will begin to find subtle nuances that make sense to your striking abilities. In the meantime, take it slow at first and pay attention to any red marks on your knuckles. Where you’re red is where you’re making contact. Keep it on the two large knuckles. Don’t forget the general rule for striking: Hard target, soft striking surface. Soft target, hard striking surface. Good Luck!

MORE INFO: www.themataustin.com

WARNING: The advice and movements shown in this video are for informational and educational purposes only. Consult a doctor before engaging in any exercise or martial arts program. Viewer assumes all risks.
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Privacy Policy

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Round Kick Variant

The round kick is one of the most common skills found in martial arts. There's no doubting the sheer power a well executed kick can deliver. What is less known about the round kick, however, is that there are more than one way to throw it effectively.In this video, we explore a way to throw the kick that is quicker and more elusive than the standard "Thai" style kick. By using a front kick as a setup we can mask the approach of the kick within the chamber. Our opponent perceives a kick approaching from the front and responds accordingly, only to figure out the hard way that the kick was in fact redirected to attack from the side. It may not be as powerful, but it's speed and element of surprise make up for what it lacks, and can still be plenty strong to do enough damage when thrown well.
MORE INFO: www.themataustin.com 
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/themataustin 
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YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUNU... 

WARNING: The advice and movements shown in this video are for informational and educational purposes only. Consult a doctor before engaging in any exercise or martial arts program. Viewer assumes all risks.

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Better Hook Punches

The hook punch is one of the most common strikes in a fighter’s arsenal, yet it is often trained incorrectly leading to bad habits and even injury. You must remember to rotate and keep the trajectory of the punch online with the direction of the rotation. Here’s a quick tip on how to train the hook punch motion more effectively so you can strike through the target rather than at the target.

MORE INFO: www.themataustin.com 
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/themataustin 
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/themataustin.com 
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUNU... 

WARNING: The advice and movements shown in this video are for informational and educational purposes only. Consult a doctor before engaging in any exercise or martial arts program. Viewer assumes all risks.
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5 Basic Responses to Attacks

There are 5 basic responses to consider when dealing with an oncoming attack: Move you, move it, stop it, cover, and get hit. This quick video reviews those basic concepts with a few pieces of context and essential pointers as you pick up your training in martial arts or self defense. Bear in mind there are more ways than just these five responses once you build experience and recognition. This lesson is limited to the 5 most basic and widely accepted responses as you begin training, or continue building your repertoire. 

Shoutout to our friends and designers at Plop Cartoons for designing a cool vintage style logo for our new apparel. Check out their channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9wBE1n__sYqI9DgEsoeSFw


MORE INFO: www.themataustin.com 
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/themataustin 
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/themataustin.com 
YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUNU... 

WARNING: The advice and movements shown in this video are for informational and educational purposes only. Consult a doctor before engaging in any exercise or martial arts program. Viewer assumes all risks.
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Upcoming Events

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Ryan Hoover Training Event

Ryan Hoover Seminars

As the official Fit to Fight training center in Austin, TX, The Mat is honored to host the head of our system, Ryan Hoover, for a series of seminars from 12/14-12/16. Offering a multitude of training opportunities both for our members exclusively and for the general public, this will be an opportunity you won't want to miss!
The Mat will be closed for regular classes during this time as a portion of the weekend includes closed door Instructor training and certifications. 

Schedule of Events:


2:00pm - 6:00pm Instructor Certification Training


9:00am - 11:00am Clinch Fighting. Close quarters combat from various clinch positions, leading to strikes, escapes, controls, and takedowns/finishes. This makes up the bulk of the Defensive Options training through Level 3, and is a precursor to Fit to Fight's Sparology program, which is coming to The Mat in 2019.
11:00am - 1:00pm Weapons from the Clinch. Working both offensive and defensive tactics from close quarters including drawing a weapon and defending from one drawn on you. 
1:00pm - 2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm - 4:00pm Defensive Options Curriculum Review (Members Only)


9:00am - 12:00pm Instructor Certification Training


Advance Registration (before 12/10):

Single Event - $49
Double Event - $79
Members only Review - $25

Regular Registration (12/11 and later):

Single Event - $59
Double Event - $99

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Holiday 2018 Class Schedule

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Better Straight Punches


The straight punch is an integral tool in any marital artisit's asenal. As frequent as they are drilled in practice, it's amazing how little is focused on the mechanics of sound, effective punch techniques to maximize the body's full potential in delivery. Check out these quick tips on throwing strong, effective straight punches. Keep watching for some cool and simple drills to work on your own in class or at home. Hit us with your comments below if you have any topics you'd like us to explore in future videos. * LIKE * SHARE * FOLLOW * CONTACT US * MORE INFO: www.themataustin.com FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/themataustin INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/themataustin.com YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUNU...
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January 2019 Class Schedule

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Reserve Your Class

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Effective Breathing for Striking

Full video available at our YouTube channel... https://youtu.be/baZyR8J8AFY

Everyone understands the importance of breathing when it comes to fight training, but what is commonly under-practiced is effective breathing during the actual strike. Especially in those just getting started in training, the breathe becomes lost in the tensions of our body's movement and winds up being too early or too late, which in time depletes even more energy. The breathe needs to match the exertion of our body, simultaneous to the physical action in that moment. Whether you are working slow and smooth, or hard and fast, the principles in breathing remain constant. Match the rate of air with the rate of movement. They both start and end together. Give it a shot during your next session and see how you feel after. Hit us with your thoughts below after as well. Good luck! * LIKE * SHARE * FOLLOW * CONTACT US * MORE INFO: www.themataustin.com FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/themataustin INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/themataustin.com YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUNU... WARNING: The advice and movements shown in this video are for informational and educational purposes only. Consult a doctor before engaging in any exercise or martial arts program. Viewer assumes all risks.

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Start Your FREE Week Now!

Thank you for visiting us this past weekend to chat about our programs! We are confident that you'll truly enjoy our age-appropriate approach to practical self defense and look forward to having you in to try some classes. We are offering 1 FREE Week to everyone we spoke to at our table. If you have not yet booked your first class, please do so below. Click on the appropriate age group to register for your first Starter Class. 
Use Discount Code: "Festival" at checkout.

Valid for any program:

Click Above to Select the Appropriate Program and Book your Starter Class Today!

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5 Common Habits to Fix in Your Striking

Full video available on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/LxPFfOIoDcs

Through years of training and teaching I am often finding myself making many of the same corrections on students. Posture, Rotation, Extension, Push/Pull, and Tension. Young or old, new or seasoned, it's very common that one or all of these elements come up in discussion on a daily basis. Here's a couple of things to keep in mind for your next strike training.

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Active Killer Defense

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