Tips from GMAU Students: Sean Robinson (How to Train in Multiple Styles)

By Joel Williams | Home Study Students

Sep 18

Would you like to hear about the experiences of a current Global Martial Arts University student? How about one who is enrolled in two GMAU programs simultaneously? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post you will find a transcript of an interview I conducted with Sean Robinson, GMAU Ultimate Bo and Shotokan Karate student.

Below is the verbatim transcript of my interview with Sean Robinson, conducted on Wednesday September 11, 2019. In this brief interview he provides useful tips for current and prospective GMAU students.

Listen to the full interview in the youtube video above.

Joel Williams:
I’ve got Sean Robinson with me here. Sean, thank you for taking the time to be with me. We’re just going to jump right into this interview and I’m going to ask you a few questions. So the first question is, if you can just tell us briefly a little bit about yourself and about your martial arts background.

Sean Robinson:
My name is Sean Robinson. I currently live in Jamestown, North Carolina. Grew up in Texas, and that’s really, if I have any martial arts experience, it started when I was young and living in Texas. And a fencing club in high school is where actually I started. And really that is the only martial arts, if you want to call it a martial art, is the fencing and it progressed from, I guess, an Olympic style fencing with the foil, the epee and the saber. And later I started doing a lot of historical recreation fencing with rapier and dagger and such things. So I did that a lot, probably for about, I don’t know, upwards of about 20, 25 years. And then when I got to the point to where I had just kind of faded off, I didn’t fence anymore, and that’s when I found GMAU and thought, you know what? I think a karate and Bujutsu is the next step in my martial arts evolution.

Joel Williams:
Tell us a about how you found GMAU and what your experience with GMAU has been like.

Sean Robinson:
I think like most people [I found it] doing Internet research on what dojos are in my area, what martial arts discipline do they teach, and is it right for me? And I looked and looked and looked all through the area where I live here in Jamestown and High Point and Greensboro, and there’s plenty of dojos here and they have all outstanding martial arts. Just wasn’t for me. I think a lot of people who choose GMAU, you’re not restricted to going to a dojo. You’re not restricted to the dojo hours. And so I’ve found that with my schedule, I think choosing an online platform to learn a martial arts was the absolute best way to go. It’s on my schedule. It’s on my time. It’s when I choose to and where I choose to. And from that, I think the experience I’ve gained or the experience being involved with GMAU, really outstanding. I think it fits me and I think it fits a lot of people who maybe have a busy schedule or maybe just choose not to be part of a dojo and then their hours and their timeframe and their space.

Joel Williams:
What programs have you experienced with GMAU?

Sean Robinson:
I started out with the Ultimate Bo program. And I was looking for something, and I think this came off of fencing. It’s a weapons based martial art and I thought I would like to try something else, and the six foot staff. I thought, why not? Let’s try that one. So I started out with the Ultimate Bo course and have really had a great time with it. And then I thought, I think it was about a month later, I thought, you know what? Let me try the Shotokan karate. So right now I’ve got Ultimate Bo, Shotokan karate, and I think I’m coming up on about two years in both of those programs.

Joel Williams:
Tell the folks who are listening to this, what rank you’re at.

Sean Robinson:
In the Ultimate Bo program I’m currently a Red Chevron with the hopes of testing for my Black Chevron probably in January, maybe February next week. And in the Shotokan program, I recently earned my 4th Kyu Purple Belt with the hopes of testing for my 3rd Kyu Brown Belt maybe towards the end of this year.

Joel Williams:
What advice would you give GMAU students in general, and especially those who are thinking about doing more than one program at a time?

Sean Robinson:
Pace yourself. And what I mean by that is if you choose to do, let’s say you do the Shotokan and the Bujutsu, balance that stuff out. Give yourself half hour to 45 minutes, maybe an hour worth of Bo training, and then paired off with the same amount of time as the karate stuff. So what I try to do in my day is do a little bit of karate, a little bit of Bo, a little bit of karate, a little bit of Bo, and keep them equally balanced. And maybe just for me, I feel if I go a week worth of doing Bo without doing the karate, I might lose a little bit of the karate skill. So it’s just a balance. It’s working out your priorities in your life and trying to fit the martial arts into it.

Joel Williams:
One of the most common issues that GMAU students may run into is finding someone to train with. So what do you do about that?

Sean Robinson:
Actually that’s one of the problems I’ve had right now too, is that I’m up in such a rank where I need an opponent, I need a partner. I need a partner of at least equal rank, I would think, and it’s really been a challenge. I check the student locator quite often to see if there’s anybody local that can help me out, or that’s interested, or who has the schedule to play. But I think that’s… If I had any challenges with the GMAU, it’s trying to find an opponent, a partner close by, and then trying to get with their schedule as well.

Joel Williams:
Is there any other thing that you’d like to add about GMAU or that you would like to say to other students, or people who are maybe even thinking about trying one of the programs?

Sean Robinson:
Yeah, absolutely I would. I look at the other student profiles because I like to know who’s in our community, what other people like to practice martial arts? And I see a lot of students say their goal is to obtain a Black Belt, which I think is an outstanding goal. But what I think I want, and what I do for myself is I think a Black Belt will be wonderful. What I want to be able to do is enjoy the journey to the Black Belt, and knowing that Black Belt is not a finishing spot, it’s a starting point. You’ve got all your basics down. Once you achieve Black Belt, I think that’s when it starts going into some really deep martial arts experiences. So yeah, enjoy the journey. Be on that journey. Enjoy what you’re learning in order to get to your goal, and then once you get to your goal, you can just explode out of that with all the depth of stuff they’re going to teach us.

Joel Williams:
Thank you very much for your time and your willingness to share your experience. And for those who are listening to this video or who may be reading a transcript, if you’re a GMAU student, I would encourage you to use the student locator, as Sean mentioned, and just reach out to him and let him know that you saw his video. Give him some encouragement. If you want to ask him about some tips or if they have some specific questions, would it be okay to reach out to you in that way?

Sean Robinson:
Absolutely, Joel. Yeah, that’d be great. I’d love to have that.

Joel Williams:
I think it’s a unique feature of the community and this is an opportunity, I believe, to highlight that feature and encourage people to use it.

Sean Robinson:
Absolutely. Yes.

Joel Williams:
Well thank you again so much for your time. I appreciate it. I know that we scheduled this right after you were getting home from work, and I appreciate you being willing to do this interview, and good luck to you in your training, and good luck in your future testing.

Sean Robinson:
Absolutely, Joel. Thank you very much too. I appreciate the opportunity. You have a great day.

Joel Williams:
Thank you. It was nice to meet you.

Sean Robinson:
You too. Goodbye.

I hope you enjoyed this interview. There is something very special about hearing directly from GMAU students. Interviews like this one allow us to gain a perspective on real experiences, explained in the words of someone who is actively training in one (or more) of the GMAU programs.

Having said that, the only way to better understand GMAU is to experience it for yourself. Sign up now for FREE!

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About the Author

Husband. Father. University Professor. GMAU Certified Krav Maga Instructor.

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(2) comments

Ralph Hughes September 25, 2019

I really love how you have provided a platform for students to learn about increasing one’s effectiveness as a martial artist; sharing best practices; learning how to operate a school, in addition to other relevant topics. I have one question I hope you can provide insight: how does one remain proficient as a martial artist while teaching martial arts students full-time? I pose the question because I believe if you don’t use it, you will lose it. What are some best practices for instructors to stay proficient?

Reply
    Joel Williams October 3, 2019

    Ralph – This is a very important question. I believe instructors must make time for themselves to train. There could be several reasons: (1) they are not seeking additional rank but wish to maintain their own personal level of skill, (2) they are seeking to advance in rank in the system they teach, (3) they are learning and/or cross-training in another style or system. Of course, their could be other reasons… For me, I am an “in-person” student in BJJ (which I do not teach yet), and “in-person” student of traditional karate (which I also do not teach yet) – I train in these systems at least 2-3 days per week (where I am a student in a class). I am a Krav Maga student in the GMAU instructor certification program (constantly learning new techniques) and teach that system at least one day per week. On the days I teach Krav Maga I will sometimes come in early or stay later to get my own Krav Maga training in. I know from talking to Sensei Michael Hodge that he sets aside time during the week for his own personal training. He literally builds that time into his weekly routine and puts it on the calendar. The real bottom line to your question, I believe, is that someone who teaches must commit to, and consistently engage in, their own personal training to maintain or improve their skills. This MUST be a priority. Thank you for your question and I wish you all the best in your training. – Joel

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