Thursday, April 17, 2014

5 Health Benefits of Martial Arts

Reasons Why You Should Take Advantage of Ann Arbor Martial Arts Programs

(For a more detailed version, visit this website article.)
(Ann Arbor) Martial arts. You’ve seen it in movies, on your friend’s Facebook newsfeed, and in those “Things to do before you die” lists. Whether you have yet to cross ‘martial arts’ off your bucket list or keep a rack of black belts in your closet, here is a list of reasons why doing martial arts can benefit you today!

You Get Stronger and Lose Weight

One acronym: HIIT. High intensity interval training means doing periods of short, intense anaerobic exercise. It’s good for:
·      Athletic conditioning
·      Improving the metabolism
·      Fat-burning

Depending on your weight and the martial art, you can singe anywhere from 500-1500 calories in an hour.

Compare that to having to run 7 miles at a 10 mph pace or doing three Insanity workouts. Not only will you feel that burning calories is effortless, but doing martial arts targets your entire body, not just certain parts. It’s also fun.

Not only that, but building muscle promotes a calorie burn after you’ve stopped working out. Because martial arts involve a combination of slow and fast twitch muscle conditioning, you promote muscle development.

You Stay Younger

In a study that compared 40-60 year olds who were either martial artists or sedentary, the researchers found that training reduced aging.

This means that compared to their sedentary counterparts, middle-aged martial artists:
·      Were more flexible
·      Had better muscular strength and endurance
·      Could balance with more agility
·      Had a lower body fat percentage

Fewer of the martial artists had heart diseases. The illnesses that normally hit middle-aged people, such as hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, showed up in much higher percentages for the sedentary group.

You Become More Intelligent

In an article from BotBot, studies showed:
·      Improvement in memory
·      Enhanced problem-solving skills
·      Reduced risk of Parkinson’s or Alzeimer’s

The most effective types of exercises were aerobic and resistance-training methods, both of which can be found in the martial arts. What’s more, it doesn’t matter when you start. Exercise benefits your brain immediately.

Martial arts are different from other forms of exercise, because a lot of it requires tactical thinking. This means an increase the brain’s ability to learn, or plasticity. Resistance training, flexibility or coordination, and aerobic movements all add up to enhanced brain plasticity.

You Become Happy

It’s no secret that doing exercise makes you feel emotionally better. In an article released on WebMD, researchers stated that regular exercise releases chemicals called endorphins. The endorphins affect the way your brain perceives pain and act as sedatives.

Some of the benefits included:
·      Reduced stress
·      Alleviated anxiety and depression
·      Improved self-esteem
·      Better sleep

Also, in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow, he describes how there is a state where an “optimal experience” or state of flow can happen. He cites martial arts as being a particular type of flow where a martial artist can act with lightening speed without having to think about it. 

You Meet Awesome People

As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather flock together.” In a study that looked at how people stay happy, it was found that happy people tend to spend time with other happy people.

You’re also in an environment that often requires trusting a partner. In a study by Desteno, he found that being put under high levels of stress requires one of two responses: trust or distrust. If a group of people can trust one another, the stress augmented the working relationships that martial artists had with each other.

This is anecdotal, but anywhere you go in Ann Arbor, martial arts programs seem to attract well-balanced, like-minded people. The environment at the Japanese Martial Arts Center encourages growth, challenges the individual, and cultivates a rich working environment among its martial artists.

If you’re interested in trying traditional Japanese martial arts, consider visiting our site at, OR email us at for more information.


Friday, April 11, 2014

JMAC Field Trip!

JMAC trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts to see the Samurai Exhibit on
Saturday April 26 at 3pm.

 I (Stacia Proefrock) have seen the Samurai exhibit and it is pretty cool!
Lots of swords, lots of Japanese household items, a few big tapestries
with battle scenes, some Noh Theater Kimonos, some films, some tea
ceremony stuff. In short, heaven for the Japanese Martial Arts and
culture nerd.

 We are organizing a trip for JMACers and their families and friends. If
you would like to come with us and enjoy the company and discounted
tickets that we can provide, you need only complete these few steps.
Questions? You can email or call me at 734 834 5392.

 1. Give money to Kristen Seguin BY APRIL 18. Tickets are $12 for adults
and $8 for kids under 12. You can give money to Kristen at the dojo
(she's often there) or you can send her money via square cash. Go to and send money to

 2. Let us know if you want to come to dinner. I'm making a reservation
at Traffic Jam and Snug, which is a pub with a nice, balanced menu and
lots of choices and lots of room. Reservation will be for 5pm. Send me
an email at or a text to 734 834 5392 and let me
know how many people will come for dinner. Do this by April 18 if at all
possible as well.

 3. Get yourself to the DIA by 2:45pm on April 26. I know that's going to
be a stretch for anyone coming from Judo, so I'm willing to stay in the
front lobby and meet folks who are trying to get there from judo or who
get lost. It's normally about a 40 minute drive from the dojo to the DIA.
There is ample parking there in structures and on the street. You can
call or text if you are lost or are going to be particularly late.

 4. Kids are welcome. The exhibit takes about 60-90 minutes to get
through. Don't forget that i-96 is closed from 275 to Telegraph when
trying to get to the DIA. I-94 is the best route from the Ann Arbor area.
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Right Fit: Martial Arts Ann Arbor Has to Offer

         Whether you are a seasoned martial artist or someone who has never been involved in martial arts, Ann Arbor provides many choices that are of high quality and integrity. It can be difficult to choose which program to start with when there is such a variety. Some questions that you might ask when picking a program are:

“Will I be taught practical self-defense?”
“Can I use these techniques in the real world?”
“Are the instructors up to par with the principles they teach?”
“Do I have to be physically fit already? Will I become physically fit with this program?”
“Is the place safe and clean?”
“Of all the different martial arts Ann Arbor affords, why choose this one?”

            You’ve heard the horror stories of people being taught half-baked techniques from McDojos. You don’t want a martial arts academy that drains your wallet and keeps you there with premature belt promotions. If practicing a martial art is anything like dating, finding the right place can be productive and happy for all parties involved. If it’s a bad fit, you find yourself miserable and poorer than where you started. You just want to find the right fit.

            If your first concern were self-defense, would it help you to know that at the Japanese Martial Arts Center a female in the Judo program successfully fended off an attacker with techniques that she learned at the dojo? You also get a chance to train with several instructors that have specially tailored seminars geared towards self-defense. At the end of the day, you want to leave with the proper skills to protect yourself.

            The benefit of finding the right dojo is being able to learn applicable self-defense techniques. It means feeling confident that what you learn in the dojo is effective and well structured, taught by instructors that are martial arts savvy. It allows you to grow as an individual in physical fitness, mental discipline, and self-efficacy. The right dojo for you will make you feel safe from disease and poor training, and respected.

            Of all the martial arts Ann Arbor presents, the Japanese Martial Arts Center meets all of your standards. The traditional Japanese martial arts can have powerful applications with devastating results. World-class instructors that have not stopped learning, competing, and growing as martial artists will teach you. We are more interested in your growth as a martial artist than using promotions as an incentive of keeping you. You will be in programs that have safe, structured curriculum, which are appropriate for all age groups, including kids, young adults, and adults.
            Getting started is easy. You aren’t asked to fork out cash and sign a contract when you enter the door. Instead, you are welcome to watch a class or two in the program that you are interested in. If the training looks like something that would appeal to you, then you can arrange for two FREE private introductory lessons with one of the instructors. In those lessons, you will be taught basic etiquette and enough fundamentals where joining the other students will feel effortless.


Are the techniques effective?
Yes! We teach traditional Japanese martial arts, with rankings that are recognized by the Shudokan Martial Arts Association. We have students that go on to compete in national and state level tournaments, often coming away with medals in kata and randori divisions. We also have students that have gone on to defend themselves in life-threatening situations.

Would I be welcomed there?
Yes! It doesn’t matter where you are in your martial arts career, how physically active you are, or your personal identity. As long as you are respectful of other students’ safety, you will get the chance to work in an environment that both challenges and encourages you. We have classes for children, teens, and adults.

Is it a clean, safe facility?
Yes! The claim to fame that this martial arts Ann Arbor dojo has is the spring tatami mat, which ensures safe falls. (There are over 1400 springs in the floor, which makes it bouncy and increases your longevity as a martial artist!) The curriculum is structured with evolving, intelligent techniques and occasional conditioning to create the optimum environment for a burgeoning martial artist.

Are the instructors qualified to teach?
Yes, and then some! For example, the head instructor, Suino-sensei, has a two-generation martial arts lineage that extends to the legendary Mifune Kyuzo. He has published influential material extensively in the martial arts field, including The Arts of Japanese Swordsmanship. He holds positions in several international martial arts committees. You can view other profiles here.

Getting Started with the Japanese Martial Arts Center
            If the Japanese Martial Arts Center sounds like it might be a good fit for you, you’re more than welcome to come in to watch a class. Call us at (734) 645-6441 to arrange a time to visit, or check the schedule and come in when a class is happening. (Advanced courses are not open to the public, however.) If you feel more comfortable with email, you can message (or use the contact box at the top of this page) or message Kaily at
You can also visit us at 3853 Research Park Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Test Day Checklist at the Japanese Martial Arts Center

Kaily here,

I'm re-posting the old test day checklist Suino-sensei published a couple of years back.


We know how hard you have worked to get to this point. To ensure the appropriate level of seriousness and safety, please follow this checklist when preparing for your test day.

1. Uniforms: You and your uniform must be clean and tidy. Be sure your uniform is washed and unwrinkled. Sleeves and pant legs may not be rolled up – please have them tailored!

2. Jewelry: No jewelry may be worn during a formal test. Be sure to remove all earrings, necklaces, piercings, friendship bracelets, etc.

3. Be On Time: Please be warmed up and ready to go at test time.

4. Dues: Your dues must be current in order to test.

5. Techniques: It is your responsibility to know the techniques required for your test. Check with Sensei if you are not sure.

6. Visitors: Friends and family are welcome to watch!

7. Waiting: Often, the hardest part of a test is waiting for your turn to be called. Please prepare yourself for an extended period of sitting and/or waiting.

8. Uke’s Role: If you are part of a two-person kata, remember that uke’s role is critical. Uke (receiver) has the job of making tori (do-er) look his/her best. Often, uke is being evaluated on the basis of his/her skill, just as is tori.

9. Decorum: At every moment during your performance, carry yourself with confidence. A mistake is not fatal, but an inappropriate outburst may be. Never criticize other dojo members.

10. Donations: You are asked, not required, to donate $10 toward the JMAC building fund when you test.

11. Factors: Many factors are considered for promotion in traditional budo, including time in practice, attendance, dojo citizenship, positive attitude and behavior, ability, and improvement over time. Try to excel in all these areas!

12. Certificates: If you want internationally recognized certification of your promotion, consider joining the Shudokan Martial Arts Association, North America’s most prestigious general budo organization. Check with Sensei for details (JMAC students at sankyu and above are required to join SMAA).

Enjoy the moment! Getting promoted at JMAC is a major accomplishment!