Beyond Self-Defense

Northwest School of Martial Arts

Welcome to Northwest School of Martial Arts, a Stanwood, WA family martial arts school. Northwest School of Martial Arts has been serving the local community since 1988.

“Beyond Self-Defense. Mind-Body Discipline for a Better You!” Located downtown at the Stanwood Mason Hall, we teach Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Arnis to people of all ages. From youth who want to fly high and kick, to teens who need a confidence boost, women who need vital self-defense skills, and adults who want fitness, discipline, and a mental challenge: whoever you are, we can be a part of your journey towards a better, healthier, more confident you!

Browse the tabs to learn more about our programsblack belts, and the arts we teach. Or, send us an email to find out more. Scroll down to check out Northwest School of Martial Arts blog!

nwsma entrance

Arnis/Sai Seminar Success Jan. 18, 2014

Here are a few photos from the recent seminar! I couldn’t make it for the Arnis portion, but I got some good shots from the sai part.

Big thanks as usual to Sabumnim Cory for spending his Saturday up at NWSMA! :D

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chang Moo Kwan: Taekwondo or Tang Soo Do?

Taekwondo or Tang Soo Do?

What is Tang Soo Do?

What does Tang Soo Do have to do with Chang Moo Kwan anyway?

Arnis black belt

To clear up some common misconceptions about Chang Moo Kwan (and TKD in general), hit that “more” link!

Continue reading

Martial Arts Belt Testing, What’s the Purpose?

The best challenges are the ones we have a choice in. By choosing to undertake difficulty, we make ourselves stronger. –Sensei/YDN Caitlin

Pile o' belts.

Pile o’ belts.

Today, I was reading about the history of using colored belts when I came across another great quote. “Achievement of rank should be considered as a side-effect of karate training and not a goal.” (You can read the essay here if you’re interested, but it is a fairly dry [no offense to its author] historical essay full of facts, names, and dates).

Anyhoo, I agree that your training shouldn’t only be focused on achieving belt rank. That’s shortsighted, and misses the point of martial arts.

But I *do* think that testing is an important ritual in martial arts. Let me explain… (click “more”).

Continue reading

Grinding in Karate, or Why Karate is Like a Video Game

Karate is like a video game. Karate is better than video games. (Sorry, gamers). In order to bust a move in karate, you will need to engage in the act of “grinding.”

The students in the picture below are grinding. They don’t realize it, but front stance straight punch is the very definition of grinding for karateka. Isn’t it beautiful?

Stanwood Karate

NWSMA youth class in action!

What does “grinding” mean anyway?

In video/computer gaming culture, “grinding” refers to engaging in repetitive tasks for a purpose, either to attain an item, badge, or to unlock access to certain features. The repetitive tasks are rarely entertaining.

Tl;dr “grinding” means to do the same thing. Again and again, a lot. And it’s not terribly exciting or fun.

Hmmm….this is starting to sound like karate! Click the “more” link to hear about why grinding is important, not just in games!
Continue reading

6 Things Black Belt Candidates Should Be Doing

When I look at a black belt candidate–a high-ranked student who is getting close to black belt–I usually rely on a gut feeling to tell me whether or not they’re ready for black belt.

By black belt, I mean 1st degree. Provisional black belts are not yet black belts, they are on probation and have to prove themselves worthy of that rank. By “candidates” I mean everyone from brown belt to provisional black belt–people who aren’t yet there but are trying to get there.

The demo team bows after their performance.

The demo team bows after their performance.

Today, instead of relying on my gut, I want to try to articulate some of the things I’m looking for in black belt candidates: all brown, advanced brown, and provisional black belts.

Continue reading

Language Learning: One of the Least-Discussed Benefits of Martial Arts

Look at any martial arts website, and you’ll often find a list of benefits of martial arts. No matter the source, the lists of benefits are usually pretty accurate.

However, something I have never seen mentioned is the benefit of learning a foreign language.

Benefits of Martial Arts Learning a Language

Vocab study notes on a sticky note are great to attach to a mirror or cupboard so you can look at them every day!

In martial arts, often, it is required for the student to learn vocabulary in a foreign language. The actual language depends on the art. It can be as simple as learning to count to ten, or as complicated as learning to recite dojo creeds in another language.

Granted, the instructor may not be a native speaker. But generally speaking, exposure to a foreign language at a young age does cool stuff to the brain.

Additionally, martial arts is a kinetic activity, involving movement. By learning in a way that connects language with movement, children may also become more flexible learners.

Continue reading

Mental Requirement: Understanding the Importance of a Proper Diet

“Understands the importance of a proper diet” is a mental requirement for our Tae Kwon Do students.

Each TKD belt level has 4 mentals, and students must memorize and recite them at tests. We also usually ask each student to talk about what they mean, and occasionally ask for a short essay if a student has not been displaying the values contained in the mental requirement.

But back to the importance of a proper diet. If you train like an athlete, you should eat like one.

apples!

You know what they say about an apple a day…

Continue reading

Why Being a Multi-Stylist is Awesome: Shito-ryu Karate History

Karate vs. TKD: Each of these pairs contain one Karate and one TKD student. They are doing sticking or splashing hands--originally a kung fu drill! Credit: Bec Thomas Photography (facebook.com/BecThomasPhotography)

Multi-stylists: Each of these pairs contain one Karate and one TKD student. They are doing sticky hands, originally a Kung Fu drill! Credit: Bec Thomas Photography (facebook.com/BecThomasPhotography)

There’s a lot of debate in the martial arts world about which style of martial arts is best. With the surging popularity of UFC and MMA, it’s not surprising that we have these debates.

There are some who demand that you stick to one style, one art, one school. There are also those of us who cross train and learn to find value in different styles.

Reading this article recently about the history of Shito-ryu Karate (NWSMA’s style) taught me something really cool.

Continue reading

Tournament and Test Anxiety

If you’ve ever participated in a competition or have taken a test, you know that nerves can sometimes get the better of you. Even if you know the subject well, test anxiety can paralyze your performance and skew your scores. According to the ADAA, 1/8 children suffers from some kind of anxiety disorder, as well as millions of adults.

test anxiety

Do tests make you feel like this?

Martial arts is great for learning to overcome test anxiety. The system is set up for each student to learn progressively, in steps, at their own pace.

Continue reading