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As of today, the TKRIblog will redirect to the Fight Sciences Research Institute blog. For readers familiar with our former TKRI blog and identity, you can expect the same high level of quality original research and articles, training information and ideas, discussions, and accurate resources about the fighting arts and sports.
We invite you to follow us as we kick off a wider exploration of the fighting arts and combat sports and all related topics. If you found our old site useful, the new one will be packed with even more research, news and training ideas.
And we’re just getting started.
The modern understanding of “the core” and the need to properly condition it has become well known among athletic and active people, including martial artists (yes, the importance of the hips has been belabored for centuries, but the modern anatomically based concept is not necessarily the same thing). The core refers to the muscles, connective tissues and bones of the torso, yet to many it’s just the rectus abdominis (the “6-pack’). However, the core can be more accurately thought of as the support, stabilization and movement system for the spinal column. This stack of 33 vertebrae (24 moving and 9 fixed) is connected by many ligaments and muscles, which provide oppositional tension akin to the guy wires on a tall tower.
As we continue to develop our programs and explore our group identity, it became apparent that we cover a lot more ground than the average “martial arts” school, and still have a lot of more to cover. Practical, eclectic fighting skills taught at the individual level, training priorities guided by analysis of violent situations and environments, instructional methods based on modern motor learning and educational models, an emphasis on accurate knowledge of human anatomy and psychology, supported by cutting edge performance enhancement and injury prevention conditioning, a commitment to honest and ethical practice…it’s not easy to get it all into one neat bite. As a part of my ongoing MS (Human Movement) coursework, I was recently required to develop a personal mission statement that reflects my goals in the field as well as a commitment to ethical and evidence-based practice. This got me wondering about what our group sees as it’s mission. After much discussion and exchanging ideas among the St. Louis, Wash U and Virginia clubs, the following reflections of who we are and what we do took shape:
1a. Our mission is to empower responsible adults through teaching them fighting and self defense skills.
b. We do not restrict our training to those who are already fit and strong: we aim to teach those who might need to fight, not just those who are naturally good athletes and fighters.
2a. We recognize that physical strength and fitness are an advantage in fighting and help to prevent injuries in training, and so an essential part of our mission is increasing the strength and fitness of the people we teach.
b. We hold that appropriate programming begins with the needs of the students.
c. We are aware of much misleading and false information about both fighting and fitness. We recognize the scientific method as the best means to sort truth from mere opinion and we are committed to reason-and evidence-based approaches. It is a part of our mission to update our beliefs and practices in response to new evidence.
d. Publication of quality evidence-based literature and original research, experiential knowledge of other fighting arts and the as well as organization of seminars and symposia, are a priority to which all members of FSRI are encouraged to contribute per their specialties.
3a. We endeavor to foster an atmosphere in which responsible adults may learn to fight regardless of class, race, gender, sexual-orientation, age or disability.
b. We are committed to creating a training environment that enables and encourages cooperative learning, and which promotes problem-solving as a means to forging healthy personal relationships as well as appropriate responses to violence
c. We reject any conflation of ability in fighting with moral rectitude. These things are distinct. Being a teacher of fighting does not make one morally superior to one’s students. Being a better fighter does not make one a better person.
We were recently shocked to learn that that our martial arts colleague and friend in the UK, Mr Harry Cook, has been convicted of sexual assault. Whilst we are still struggling to process our personal feelings about the news, we would like to take this opportunity as an organisation to condemn these serious crimes and express our anguish for the victim and her family. Our thoughts are also with Harry’s wife and children, and with the others whose lives and relationships have been affected. The history of martial arts is littered with examples of people who used their mystique as a teacher to exploit their students – criminally or otherwise. Here at FSRI we’ve worked hard to create a culture in which things are different, and we liked to think that the teachers at clubs we associated with were different too. It is with deep anger and sadness that we realise we were wrong about this.