New Beginnings Therapy


Dr. Madalina A. I. Day

Adam Field Senior Instructor at The Martial Arts Place

Ultimate goal: 

"Delivering classes in Martial Arts in an engaging manner while passionately instilling confidence, self-esteem and fitness to all students.

At TMAP, I’ve had the opportunity to embark upon a unique career which has allowed to me to provide confidence, fitness and technical ability to many people and age groups. Considerate of the necessities of all members and students, I’ve worked diligently to provide effective lessons in Martial Arts while simultaneously upholding values of empathy and a hard-working ethos."

Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: 07875947213


Practice Background:

"I originally started out in athletics specialising in middle distance running (3000m, 5000m and 10,000m) and swimming before moving towards Martial Arts. 

That happened after completing a degree in Chemistry ,and I felt I needed a more physical practical application in my life; it allowed me to express myself -- Martial Arts provided that outlet.

Before going on to completing and working nine years of kickboxing at TMAP, I practiced boxing, Krav Maga, Thai Kickboxing and four years of Japanese Jujitsu where I achieved a purple belt. All mentioned are  amazing experiences,  allowing me to refine and intensify my love  and understanding behind true meanings of  MA's etiquette ; despite it’s apparent austerity 

(discipline), there is a lot of character and history which I thoroughly enjoy


1. Why fitness (for you)?


2. What aspects of your practice do you enjoy most and why?


3. What surprises you the most in your practice and what keeps your focus?


4.What does it mean to you to instruct/mentor/teach the Martial Arts?

 

5.What is special about The Martial Arts Place (TMAP)? 


6. Who is your mentor/role model?


7. What do you see/think are the links between your practice and mental health?


8. The Martial Arts is a discipline with several meanings* - how would you best describe your practice and experience at TMAP?


9. TMAP is a place for all levels and a practice for all - would you agree? Inclusivity and accessibility?   Age groups and practice levels groups - what does this mirror? 


10.  How stress (of everyday life) is released/reduced in practice (Martial Arts in particular)? Are there specific aspects? Routine, structure, focus, physical exercise, endurance - levels of practice (grading), growth?


"Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Classes for all ages and levels in London!

Want to be fitter, stronger and more confident? Then the Martial Arts Place is the place for you." 

The Martial Arts Place London 2022


https://www.themartialartsplace.com/

Swiss Cottage Dojo

The Martial Arts Place

88 Avenue Road

Swiss Cottage

London NW3 3HA

020 7586 1222 or 07856407922

[email protected]


Stoke Newington Dojo

The Martial Arts Place

35-39 Stoke Newington High Street

London

N16 8DR

020 7254 0332

[email protected]

Fitness and Mental Health: a focus on Martial Arts (MA) 


Q&As with Adam Field, Senior MA Practioner at The Martial Arts Place (TMAP) London


https://www.themartialartsplace.com



Adam Field Contact:

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: 07875947213


"Kickboxing and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Classes for all ages and levels in London!

Want to be fitter, stronger and more confident? Then the Martial Arts Place is the place for you." The Martial Arts Place. London 2022


Q1. Why fitness (for you)?


Adam: "Fitness  to me is perhaps one of the most important aspects in your life. One of the biggest pillars, if you like, it's huge! Fitness is as important as sleep, your significant relationships, and your work life. One third of your life will be sleep​, so you better make sure you live the other two thirds to their full potential. And you need fitness to do that, to help your mind and body function to the best of their ability.  Fitness will increase the chances of you functioning at your best, overcoming obstacles, and finally allow you to have the opportunity to hit your target, whatever that may be. After all you only live once, so to live your life to the best possible degree… you need fitness.

So fitness is one of the most important aspects of your life".


Q2. What aspects of your practice do you enjoy most and why?


Adam: "There are a number of great qualities to martial arts: mental, physical and spiritual, and they all play into each other in a beautifully fulfilling way. I enjoy the physical element, of course, consistently exercising, as well as the mental applications such endurance and concentration.

I love how amorphous the sport can become. The sport/practice can be an expressive outlet reflecting the individual practicing. At times, it can be shaped to the needs of the practitioner training ,whether that be an anaerobic, aerobic or even a “meditative” technical workout.

There’s also the technical aspect to the sport that I enjoy, too.  I feel the best element of the practice is in achieving the flow of the art form itself. Understanding movement, and how movement relates to martial arts... distance, timing or rhythm suddenly become very interesting. 

There’s a really great passage from “Fighters’ Mind” by Sam Sheridan (quoting Ronald Levao’s  in edited edition of  “Reading the Fights: The best writing about the most controversial of sports" by Joyce Carol Oates and Daniel Halpern (1988) ) that highlights this: 

These are forces played out on the physical stage — the raised white canvas is a blank and basic plateau — which makes it possible to see great athletes as great artists, however terrible their symbolic systems.”   (Sheridan, 2010, p.243; Oates and Halpern, 1988)

Sheridan further explains: “It may be, and perhaps should be, difficult to accept the notion that such an athletes work merits the same kind of attention we lavish on an artist’s, but once we begin attending to and describing what he or she does in the ring, it becomes increasingly difficult to refuse the expenditure. A martial artist creates a style in a world of risk and opportunity. His disciplined body assumes essential postures of the mind: aggressive and defensive, elusively graceful with its shifts of direction, or struggling with all its stylistic resources against a resistant but until the very end, alterable reality.  A great fighter redefines the possible .” (Sheridan, 2010, p.243)

"A great martial artist is in elation of the obstacles, to grow and redefine the possible." 

Finally, I enjoy the element of teaching/instructing. Aside from the love of fitness and strategy, it’s great fun shaping the sport to a fine art experience, almost like a dance. In other words you paint the picture when it comes to martial arts and eventually form your own signature. 

It’s like learning to exist  as both part of the Art (Martial)  - or symbolic systems that Sheridan refers to, -  and simultaneously imparting /teaching the Art of self-conceptualisation (knowing yourself)"


Q3. What surprises you the most in your practice and what keeps your focus?


Adam: "I feel working with the kids answers both those questions. I’m consistently surprised by how well attentive they can become in class. As an instructor and teacher in Martial Arts, focus becomes very important. I feel the class structure keeps your focus throughout. "


Q4.What does it mean to you to instruct/mentor/teach the Martial Arts? 


Adam: " Being an instructor at TMAP  (The Martial Arts Place) has a high level of accountability. As an instructor we are required to make sure lessons are run accordingly to TMAP’s expectations so students will be given the relevant attention they need; depending on their physical ability and age. Those expectations are very important because the experience may help shape the members/student’s life both physically and mentally. If the class is applied correctly, members should not just feel like they’ve improved fitness and strength but will have the mental fortitude and attitude to take on new and challenging endeavours. It should be an inspiring experience.

Initially, younger age groups will be encouraged (rather patiently, I might add) to develop listening and focus skills, before moving on to learning basic motor abilities such as running, climbing and crawling. Instructors have to be sensitive to the needs of the child or adult. For example, it’s important to remember the fact that 3 year old's have only just learnt how to walk; and yet we’re teaching them how to punch and kick a bag. In this particular case, routine becomes very important, and it’s perhaps significant to keep classes well structured and consistent to allow young minds the chance to comfortably get used to their environment in a fun and engaging manner.

As they get older, from 5 years and up, classes may become more technical depending on the movement being taught. Another example, here, would be footwork once they learn their basic stances.

Teaching adults is kind of an amalgamation of both physical and mental journey in Martial Arts. Of course, the kids must build confidence too, however, adults are required to go through a skill set provided by our curriculum. But, self-confidence will play a big role, and often the journey is more mental than physical.


Q5.What is special about The Martial Arts Place (TMAP)? 


Adam: "The most  special elements of TMAP  are its approach to teaching and nurturing young minds,  whilst helping adults  members to achieve fitness, confidence and self-esteem. The kids, of course, they need the guidance in confidence, too, however, TMAP club shines in its approach to the young trainees in particular, as it allows for the development of discipline, strength and fitness in a contemporary fashion. The routine of the classes are very important and TMAP has done an exceptional job at creating an accessible, friendly environment for the kids to grow maturely and pick up a life skill in an engaging and fun manner.

The club knows how to be a very accessible place for students and members,  and it’s important to and for TMAP to contain an affable community that instils the chance for people to progress and achieve their goals. All such factors, in turn,  allow their members to learn how to tackle and embrace the metaphorical hurdles which inevitably transpire in their daily lives."


Q6. Who is your mentor/role model?


Adam: "All my teachers throughout my life. Learning is key to a lot of great aspects of life. If you can improve the infrastructure of learning, you can make a considerable difference to people’s lives. Teachers have played a prominent role in (my) life."


Q7. What do you see/think are the links between your practice and mental health?


Adam: "Good question. Well, first of all, only the individual can succor their mental health. So, I feel Martial Arts provides the challenges to build the self-esteem, which in turn provides the impetus to nurture progress in members, therefore heightening their mental health. Essentially, it’s about building willpower and mental fortitude through endurance. It can be a journey of spirituality,  more than anything.

In terms of what I see: I see members, over a period of time, slowly building confidence in their physical training. First, there may be an inadvertent reluctance, a slight hesitation, but and ultimately, all becomes a strong appreciation for the mind, body and spirit; an acknowledgement  - if you may - on (just) how powerfully durable the body can be."



Q8. The Martial Arts is a discipline with several meanings; how would you best describe your practice and experience at TMAP?


Adam: "It means something different for everyone. For me, it was like looking in a mirror and having to contend against yourself. You can see where you have room to improve and develop, and it’s a very valuable experience."


Q9. TMAP is a place for all levels and a practice for all - would you agree? Inclusivity and accessibility? Thinking about age groups and practice levels groups - what does this mirror? 


Adam: " Yes, absolutely. It’s important, whether teaching the children or adults, there is an welcoming and accessible environment to which people can come and train. It’s easy to create a military based “austere” setting, but the challenge is to generate a setting that nurtures abilities and allows members to improve and grow, and attain their goals whatever they may be. This is a community we’re proud of and strive to look after.

TMAP has a structure in place that allows all ages from 3 years and up to begin learning kickboxing. To be exact: we have 3-4s, 5-7s, 8-10s and 11-14s classes in place. Each with their own structure and format, depending on their age, to help the students' growth and development in an age appropriate training style.

Adult class structures will be split into three. Beginner level, Intermediate level and Senior level; with each of those three categories broken down into further sub-structures, to help other qualities such as technique, plyometrics or cardiovascular ability.

I feel overall it creates an organised format to inspire, and help members onto their Martial Arts performance/ journey."


Q10. How stress (of everyday life) is released/reduced in practice (Martial Arts in particular)? Are there specific aspects? Routine, structure, focus, physical exercise, endurance - levels of practice (grading), growth?


Clarification: This question* is addressing specific  components of the MA - that I consider always present, it is subjective and objective, myself, (DR. Madalina A. I. Day as a practitioner in the practice of MA) - " I do not mean to associate stress to work-related stress (not in itself) or a fast-paced life. My question is directed to my own knowledge and interpretation of a way of being* as a practitioner of MA - which I was* - so , only partly speaking from experience - my target question is about: 


"A Way of Being* i.e. composed, calm, structured, attentive, developing self-awareness  - and  more importantly about developing a 360 degrees  of lived life where and even if  natural* predisposition to stress* can and might exist, the practice of MA  would inevitably assist to that".  - DR. Madalina A. I. Day (February 2022) of New Beginnings Therapy



 Adam: "Martial Arts does provide a good structure to tackle stress, especially in our corporate fast-paced world.

 I think, (if you excuse the pun) there can be a real “kick” from “working hard, rising up the ranks and achieving your belt”… there is a great system in place at TMAP that encourages progress and a thrill along the way.

Certainly Martial Arts provides the necessary routine, structure, focus, exercise and endurance that the mind and body needs to help alleviate stress. But there’s more: it also helps create a foundation of good habits by reverting the bad ones.

It is important to remember not look at hard work in a hedonistic way. For example: "Hard work inspires Happiness"  -  it can be said that it is a “back-to-front” analogy, or a common false logic that exists in our contemporary world; it may be that our perception of stress is poor or backwards. People burn their wheels in the wrong direction and inadvertently push their goals/titles out of reach, and this causes an unhealthy/heightened level of stress in return.

I feel training in Martial Arts helps to revert that tantalizing craze. Instead of "Hard Work induces or inspire Happiness" ,  Martial Art teaches you to love the journey, to understand titles essentially are subjective or don’t exist. It’s not about achieving a title/grading (or belt), but learning to love ‘hard work’ and the ‘journey’. In other words, it should be: (Happiness inspires Hard Work) with the right habits and appropriate behaviour to complete tasks properly; Martial Arts teaches you that there can be no progress without the correct foundation. I feel it’s that understanding or relationship that helps to tackle stress as you learn to appreciate the ‘hard work’ mindset. You learn to love the exercise that helps you to feel rejuvenated,  and not the end product. This would certainly fall under the category of structure; and then perhaps meditative would follow.

Martial Arts encourages that healthy form of progression. For example, we often hear people asking to grade for their next belt when they’re not ready. They’ve got their eye on the title, not the journey.

Endurance, routine and structure then become the icing on the cake. In a fast-paced environment the heavy anaerobic and aerobic workouts can certainly be a great way to alleviate stress and increase will power (will power behaves like a muscle by the way, it’s size is proportional to how hard you work). Will power will get bigger the more you train and this will improve patience, heighten tranquility and combat stress. There is no surprise that we often associate meditative aspects to those that are experienced in the world of Martial Arts. 


Adam's ultimate goal:

"Delivering classes in Martial Arts in an engaging manner while passionately instilling confidence, self-esteem and fitness to all students.

At TMAP I’ve had the opportunity to embark upon a unique career which has allowed to me to provide confidence, fitness and technical ability to many people and age groups. Considerate of the necessities of all members and students, I’ve worked diligently to provide effective lessons in Martial Arts while simultaneously upholding values of empathy and a hard-working ethos."  



Bibliography

Oates, J. and Halpern, D., (1988). Reading the fights. New York: H. Holt.

Sheridan, S., (2010). The fighter's mind. Inside the mental game. Amazon.co.uk  Sam, Sheridan  9780802145017 Books