All Posts by Michael Hodge

About the Author

I am a Lead Instructor at the Global Martial Arts University. I live with my three energetic kids on a prairie in Texas. I also lead The Abundance Projects.

Apr 17

What I Learned About Bojutsu from My Trip to Okinawa

By Michael Hodge | Ultimate Bo

I’ve been training with the bo since I was a kid, mainly in a style that you can call American Bojutsu. The techniques are derived from what you would find in Okinawa or even mainland Japan. I studied other forms of using the staff, and these ended up creating a new style called Ultimate Bo.

I really wanted to go back to the roots of the weapon, at least regarding recent history, and that made me want to travel to Okinawa. There was an allure to the idea of learning from grandmasters who are in the direct lineage of some kobudo greats such as Sakugawa Kanga and Taira Shinken. To actually be there and train as they have for the last several centuries, it would be like using a time machine to travel to the not-so-distant past. I also wanted to walk into my classes with a clean slate, with a white belt mindset, discarding anything that I have ever learned. Afterwards, I would synthesize everything with my greater knowledge, but in the moment itself, I didn’t want to allow for previous knowledge to impede any potential gains.

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Feb 15

Are You a Certified Martial Arts Teacher? Or Just an Average Martial Arts Instructor?

By Michael Hodge | Instructors

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To rephrase the question, have you invested in your own education as a teacher, or do you just run classes? When you began as a martial artist, you were gung-ho about your training, and wanted to learn every little detail you could about the art. You probably stayed after class to talk to your instructor, attended every special event and seminar, and read books to dig even deeper. You were a true student of the art. Then you got your black belt. This passion for training and learning more as a student may or may not have continued since you began to teach others. That is great. But, have you invested this same energy into being a world-class teacher?

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Feb 01

Why Do You Teach? Martial Arts Instructors Share

By Michael Hodge | Instructors

Before you become a professional martial arts teacher, you need to ask the question: “Why will you teach?” Or, if you are already an instructor, ask yourself the question: “Why do I teach?”

It is easy to be sidetracked by the daily grind of running a martial arts business. Phone calls, working with employees, payroll, cleaning the school, planning classes, handling accounting, marketing, and all the others tasks. We might fade away from our roots, and forget why we began teaching.

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Jan 14

Bō Staff Styles from Around the World

By Michael Hodge | Ultimate Bo

As historic as the bō is, since there is a severe lack of reliable and well-grounded sources detailing its early existence, it is difficult to determine accurately where it first arose. In prehistoric times, we can surmise that man’s first weapon was a rock, and his second weapon was a stick. Over time, especially when warfare between humans broke out, more advanced and sophisticated forms of fighting were developed. Not simply for sport or as an art form, but out of the necessity to preserve one’s life and protect the tribe.

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Dec 21

The Abundance Projects: A Year of Giving (2018 Review)

By Michael Hodge | Food for Thought

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As we close out this year, I have nothing but deep gratitude to you and to all. We were able to publicly prove the efficacy of the abundance mindset once more. This year we were able to donate twice as much as last year! Do good, receive good in return, share your extras, plant more seeds of prosperity, see the cycle continue.

What are The Abundance Projects?

Instead of scraping every last penny of profit out of the organization (the Global Martial Arts University and Black Belt at Home), or reinvesting purely in our own growth – we’ve chosen a different path. If you didn’t know, we donate a portion of our monthly proceeds to people and projects in need. This is not about getting some tax deduction or trying to look good. We don’t usually publicize the donations or seek some sort of charitable spotlight.

What we do, is pass along the abundance to people in great need – so that a virtuous cycle can continue. Pass it forward, if you will.

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Dec 14

7 Ways to Make a Living Teaching Martial Arts

By Michael Hodge | Instructors

You love your art, and what it has done for your life. Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a great living teaching BJJ, TaeKwonDo, or whatever style it is that you love? The good news is that you can, and there are more ways to do so than ever before.

Are You a Professional Martial Arts Teacher?

There is not just one way to be a professional martial arts instructor. But wait, what does it even mean to be a professional martial arts teacher? First, you need to hold at least a black belt rank. Second, you need to be a trained and qualified instructor, by way of completing a teacher training program (such as the Certified Martial Arts Teacher™), to effectively spread your art and make an impact.

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Dec 07

What is Krav Maga Like in Israel?

By Michael Hodge | Krav Maga

Today I interview Dan Gador. Dan is a 3rd degree black belt in Krav Maga, and runs a Krav Maga school in Kiryat Gat, Israel. He is also on the Leadership Board of the Global Martial Arts Association. I attempt to decipher the main differences between the style of Krav that you see instructed in its mother country, versus in other parts of the world. And, in doing so, we learn more about how this style developed into what it is today.

Dan’s Background

Michael: We’ll get started. Dan, can you tell us your name and just a brief background in regards to your martial arts training?

Dan: My name is Dan Gador. I’m 30 years old. I started training when I was 10. I actually started training because a lot of my friends went there, and it was kind of fun. But after a few months of training, I realized that I was actually pretty good at it and after, I think, three years of training, I started helping out as an instructor. That was when I was 13, I started helping with the instructions. And when I was 16, which is the minimum allowed age to do the instructor’s course in Israel, I went and did the instructor’s course.

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Nov 19

What are the Requirements to Becoming a Martial Arts Instructor?

By Michael Hodge | Instructors

Many aspiring martial artists fall in love with their art, and would be honored to spread its life-changing impact to others. You can feel a sense of evangelism and missionary-like drive to teach and make the world a better place through the tenets of Tae Kwon Do, or the brotherhood of BJJ. Most of these martial artists have the best of intentions, and some of them go on to opening up their own school, or teaching others in some capacity.

Can anyone start teaching martial arts?

Depending on the country that you live in, the answer is usually yes. Essentially anyone can open up a facility, call it a martial arts school, charge for tuition, and teach whatever they would like. On the one hand, it is great that governments give us the freedom to do as we please, and teach or congregate (if it is not immediately dangerous to society), without unnecessary oversight. On the other hand, this can lead to very poor experiences for students, due to the lack of a professional education on the instructor’s part.

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Nov 12

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Shotokan Karate

By Michael Hodge | Shotokan Karate

Shotokan Karate is a dynamic martial art style created by the late, great Gichin Funakoshi. The style is characterized by highly concentrated striking, forthright blocking, powerful stances, and a series of captivating kata. Shotokan is a form of self defense that is built like a strong house – first a formidable foundation is molded within a student, and then one brick is layered on at a time. Rather than including endless variations and techniques, the style focuses on a handful of powerful blocks, strikes, and kicks – and then perfecting the body alignment and concentration required to place them within an actual fight.

This guide is designed for complete beginners to the style. You will be introduced to the style’s beginnings, the purpose of the various training types, along with some practical knowledge on its basic movements. This is a crash course in the white belt level of the style – focusing on the foundational movements, rather than the complex combinations and sequences (kata).  

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