A Relentless Life
Relentless Martial Arts
Phone: 918-527-7215
6202 S Sheridan Rd Tulsa, OK  74133
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A Relentless Life

We may not all be in the same boat, but we are in the same storm.

by Brandon Bennett on 08/04/20

“No man is an island,“ wrote John Donne. It seems that the last few months are determined to make us all islands. We are being disconnected and unaffected by the people and events around us. What Donne was saying is that we’re all interconnected.  A tribe, so to say.  Life is easier with others that are helping. That is what we want to do at Relentless. We want to help.

Come to class. Reconnect.

Help your emotional state by caring for your physical state. We love what we do, so let us be a resource.

Some of us aren’t ready to join the world yet. I understand. These times seem uncertain. We often can’t just decide to feel better. But we can decide to take action. Our psychology is influenced by our physiology.

Get outside. Get some sun. Move around.

Here is an example of something I might do with nothing but athletic wear and me. No equipment. Just some space. Scale it for you.

Warmup 3 rounds
1 minute shadowbox or 200 meter run
10 body weight stand ups
1 minute stretch what you need
Ladder up to 5 and ladder down to zero push ups to jab/cross/hook

1 push up
2 push ups
3 push ups and so on.
After 5 then 4 pushups and so on
Squats to cross/hook/cross ladder up to 5 and ladder down.
Crunches/ladder up/ladder down to 5 with hook/cross/hook

You can scale this work out by laddering up to 10, by making the combinations a one minute, two minute, or three minute round with the exercise as your “rest “you could add in kicks, elbows, knees, any weapons combination. You’re only limited by your imagination.

At the beginning of this, many of us welcomed the reset. Let’s continue to improve our outlook, our bodies and work hard, and make ourselves better for families and us.

10 Wellness Tips for Shelter at Home

by Brandon Bennett on 03/30/20

1. Stick to a routine. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day.

2. Get Dressed.  Pajamas are great occasionally but getting dressed and “ready” is good for your mind.

3. Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes. Backyard, around the block?  Move and get some fresh air.

4. Reach out to others.  What a great opportunity to talk to/text people you have been missing in your life.

5. Stay hydrated and eat well. Junk food is junk.  As much as you can, practice self-care with nourishing food and fresh water.

6. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  Stress affects us all differently.  Show some grace and be kind to one another.

7. Lower expectations. This is not an ideal situation; we will need to be flexible and patient.  But we can do this.

8. Notice the good in the world, the helpers. And also – be a helper.  Write notes, support local businesses – offer to shop for someone if you are able.

9. Reach out for help—RMA is here for you. Call us, reach out on social media, or visit the website.  You are not alone.

10. Remember that this is temporary. Hard times make great stories.  One day, you will share these stories of grit and coming together with your kids, grandkids or students.

Body Language: Secret to Success?

by Brandon Bennett on 02/29/20

Why does the eyeroll of your teenager bother you?   Why does the moping of your tween get under your skin? When your young child throws a fit is there something deeper that bothers you other than misbehavior?

“Players don’t realize their body language is like a billboard showing their toughness level.” 

—Ron Naclerio, winningest basketball coach in New York City (also known as the White Shadow.)

For me, the body language a child exhibits bothers me because it not only shows what they are thinking, but their emotional state for building a response. I want the student in the best emotional state to make a decision that gives them the best result. Your psychology is influenced by your physiology and vice versa.  If they are eyerolling, the body language shows a thought pattern of disrespect and until they change their body pattern (language), they may not be able to change their thought pattern.  Body patterns are easy to consciously change. Just getting up and moving is often a prescription for depression. It does not treat the thought patterns but it does immediately influence the chemicals produced by the body. It is often easier to change the body pattern than the thought pattern.

 According to the Mayo Clinic website doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity — as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time — may make a difference. It takes less time exercising to improve your mood when you do more-vigorous activities, such as running or bicycling.  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495   

This is powerful stuff. Once the chemistry of the body is changed it leads to improvement in  mood. I think we can agree anecdotally that there are moods that lead us personally to success.

 Body language is biologically wired into us. A study done by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, discovered just how universal body language is in athletes. In this study, Olympic athletes and athletes who have been blind their whole lives were studied. The athletes in both groups demonstrated the same body language for victory/pride, defeat, and embarrassment.  The blind athletes have not seen the body language and simply mimic it.  This indicates it is hardwired into their bodies.

It’s human nature to stretch out your arms over your head and smile when you win.

It’s human nature to hang your head and drop your shoulders when you are defeated.

It’s human nature to cover your face when you are ashamed.

No matter what you feel, you have to fight human nature with your mind and decide to display confidence, instead of letting your feelings take control. When you control your mood, you can set up the conditions that better lead you to success. 

We need to learn to control human nature by learning to control our body language as well as adding exercise to change our emotional state. Studies indicate that when you show confident posture (chest puffed up, head held high, shoulders back), the chemicals in your brain change by increases in testosterone levels and decreases in cortisol levels.

By carrying yourself confidently, you gain a significant performance advantage. Increased testosterone leads to higher confidence, better mood, and increased mental focus. Decreased cortisol means your stress and anxiety levels will go down. These chemical changes put you in a much better position to perform at your best.

So at Relentless Martial Arts in Tulsa, when we teach Martial Arts in class we work on postural changes to help students get to the right mental states.  Seated attention uses all of the positions described to get a better performance advantage.

What would you give to help your child to be better able to control their mood and get into a state that leads to an advantage in performance in the classroom, on the playing field and in life?

Here are some action steps can you take as a parent to help your child get this performance advantage:

1. Teach body language.

It’s easy to point out bad body language, but first take the time to teach your child what good body language is, how to carry yourself, and what that looks like. Show them how a confident person stands, how a confident person walks and carries themselves. This works so much better than yelling at your child for slouching.

2.  Praise good body language.

Praise what you want repeated. If a child is quick to recover from a mistake, praise them in front of someone. Make it a person they respect and it builds confidence.

3. Exemplify great body language.

Set the standard for what great body language looks like. Lead by example and your children will follow.

 Maybe you don’t have the best body language yourself. Maybe you aren’t quite sure how to model it or what to model. We can help. We can try to be the models in class and give your kids the performance advantage they need to get to the next level.

P.S. This article was inspired by/ and parts were taken from a website called Basketball is Psychology. My wife, Lisa, read this and said, “This sounds just like what you talk about all the time.” I read the article and agreed. If you want to read the articles go to https://www.basketballispsychology.com/post/body-language-your-mental-toughness-billboard  

I think many of their articles are applicable to parenting and martial arts and all of life. It is not about a round ball sport, it is about being better able to deal with life.

Guro Brandon Bennett

Raising Confident Daughters

by Brandon Bennett on 01/11/19

The other day, I had a couple of interesting things happen. First, I was driving a group of young teenage girls to rehearsal.  They were discussing an assignment they had done at school. This assignment asked them one question. The question was “Who am I?“  This question upset the girls. I really didn’t understand why until we talked. The answer lies in, as teenage girls they are told many different stories about who they should be. They receive little or no positive affirmation from our culture about who they are. They are often objectified and treated like Barbie dolls or future baby mamas by culture, peers and family.

The next interesting thing I saw was an article on the BBC website. It described how many women were killed in a day in the world. Most of these women are killed by domestic partners. Less are killed by family members.  Although this article focuses on the cultural climates in areas by providing profiles of some murdered, I believe that the question of “Who am I?” and the killing of women by domestic partners are connected.

I might be stepping out of my lane a little bit - I teach people about personal protection - but I see two simple ways that we can decrease these numbers.

First, we constantly need to affirm to our daughters, nieces, and the young ladies that are around us, especially in the preteen years, with a positive message about who they are. These messages should not be connected to the way they look. They need to be connected to their character. To young ladies in my martial arts class, I am individually assigning them “tell me who you are”. I say it must be positive, it can’t describe how you look, and give me as many examples as you have years on the earth. Ten years old, 10 things that describe who you are.  Simple but not easy.

The second is far more complex. We need to show our daughters how to pick good partners. That means we need to be good examples. Our daughters see how we communicate or disagree with our partner. We show what good relationships look like. We need to talk about the value of our daughters to our daughters. We need to explain to our nieces the signs a relationship is dysfunctional. We need to explain to our granddaughters what a relationship should be based on.

No problem like this is simple. Both solutions take years. You could do the exercise “Who am I?” once and never have an effect. We need to do this daily. We need to do things that affirm our girl’s confidence. Martial arts is only one way. It’s the way I know. I know it works.

As I read the numbers in the BBC article, they’re just numbers to me. But they’re somebody’s daughter. Somebody’s sister. Somebody’s niece. Somebody‘s granddaughter. Don’t let your little girl be a number.

5 Reasons to Give Experiences Instead of Gifts

by Brandon Bennett on 11/19/18

Do you remember that Christmas?

I remember the Christmas that my family drove to my parent’s house in a near whiteout snowstorm, because Grandma and Grandpa Bennett wanted to see the kids.

I don’t remember what I got for Christmas. We often tend to value, in the short term, material gifts over experiences. I don’t know why that is but I can tell you why we should flip the script on that idea.

The following is from an article on Entrepeneur.com

The assumption has been that spending money on material possessions would increase happiness because possessions last longer than an experience. A 20-year study by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, found the opposite is true.

Dr. Gilovich is just one of several researchers who believe in the the Easterlin Paradox. This phenomenon simply states that after our basic needs have been met, money will only increase happiness to a certain point for the following reasons:

1. Happiness over material items quickly fades.

“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” says Dr. Gilovich. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

Psychologists call this "hedonic adaptation." In other words, the excitement of that new car, iPhone or furniture set will quickly fade into the background as they become a part of our daily lives. Experiences, like traveling, attending an art exhibit or trying a new restaurant become a part of our identity, which brings us greater satisfaction.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”

2. Experiences define your purpose and passions.

Your daily activities should be guided and influenced by your purpose and your passions, not material possessions.

Think of it this way. Let’s say that your favorite musician of all-time is Bruce Springsteen. Even though you have all of his albums, and some other items like shirts or posters, do all of those possessions top seeing The Boss in concert? Probably not. In fact, if someone offered you a front-row ticket in exchange for all of your Bruce memorabilia, you would probably take them up on that offer in a heartbeat.

3. Possessions don’t contribute to social relationships.

“We consume experiences directly with other people,” says Gilovich. “And after they’re gone, they’re part of the stories that we tell to one another.”

Do you bond more with other people when discussing material possessions or experiences? Think of Bruce again. When you run into a fellow fan, you have a certain bond and connection. You can talk about his music, the concerts you’ve attended and how much his music has positively impacted your life. That seems like a more in-depth and interesting conversation that discussing your cars, gadgets, wardrobe or even your Boss souvenirs, right?

4. Moments are more memorable.

While experiences are designed to be fleeting, they provide high level of arousal and memorability thanks to anticipation. Again, let’s revisit The Boss.

You hear he’s coming to town, so you mark your calendar not only for the date of the show, but also when tickets go on sale. You’re anticipating purchasing tickets and then attending a show after you’ve secured your tickets. Going to this show is an entire experience, not just a singular moment.

5. Experiences introduce you to a whole new world.

Unlike stuff, experiences introduce you to new perspectives, life lessons and the importance of gratitude. Take traveling, for example. If you live in New York City and travel to West Virginia, you may realize the pros and cons of living in the Big Apple. Even though there’s culture, public transportation and plenty to do, that weekend trip south made you appreciate nature, the quiet and the beauty of clear, starry nights.

You may realize and come to understand cultural differences. Even if you don’t agree with these points-of-view, at least you’ve walked away learning how to be more thoughtful, compassionate, humble, or grateful.

I don’t tend to remember or think of my material items when I reflect on my life. I remember….

The first time in the ocean with my son.

Going to Sonic with my daughter and hearing her laugh.

Traveling with my wife.

Being caught in a rainstorm in Florida, doing martial arts in the backyard of one of the greatest martial artists I have ever met.

Your experiences create and define who you are. Your stuff doesn’t.