Focus and Facebook

I’ve been blessed to have met Michael Keys several years ago on a seminar and have since had the privilege of having Michael attend various CSP events and workshops.

Michael is doing amazing things with his own Martial Arts and Self Defence classes and courses at RONIN SELF PROTECTION SYSTEMS.

I’d like to thank Michael for writing this article especially for CSP and wish him all the best with his future Martial Arts training.

AL x


Michael Keys is the founder of Ronin Self Protection Systems.

Established in 2009 and based in Sheffield, Michael teaches regular classes and also holds seminars where he takes advantage of his connections with some of the best in the Self Defence busines, and invites them along to teach as guest instructors.

Michael is super talented, a great guy to train with and learn from.

A wonderful instructor with an exemplary attitude that all Martial Artists of all styles would do well to emulate.

Michael is currently training with industry greats sucha s Matty Evans and Anthony Somers, and also has a permanent slot on our Invitation Only CSP Workshops.

Michael has graded with us in the CSP Real Combat System – founded in 2008 by Al Peasland and Mick Tully.

For more information on how you can get to train with Michael and the fabulous Ronin SPS family, please email him directly here:-



Let me ask you a question – how much is the focus of your training on yourself? Do you have your own focus in your art, system or training? Just as Mick Tullys first article highlighted (well done sir, a fine display of penmanship!) it’s important to remember why you’re training in first place – be it for a career or simply for fun. For me, I want to become a better instructor – because I love teaching self protection skills that may (and have – well done Mr Bonner, should have used the palmstrike though) helped someone get out of a bad situation causing them injury or worse. I want to be in good shape – and I like fitness aspect of training.

I want to learn more beyond self protection – be it from Al and Mick at CSP, or Mark Bottom at EKBJJ North, I love learning new skills to add to my martial arts knowledge. So – do you think you have some focus within your training? Is it clear, or are you not too sure?

 I’ll bet some of you have never even thought about this before (and yes, that’s ok!)

Let’s take a closer look at an obvious example which may have a negative or distracting influence on yourself and unwillingly, your focus – social networking . I wasn’t really aware other people shared this viewpoint about Facebook, until a conversation I had with some seminar participants last month (which is where the inspiration for this article came from.) Be it Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc – these internet phenomenon’s have been a blessing and a curse in modern society. And despite all the benefits, there’s always the drawbacks (as an ancient Russian Proverb once said – “There can be no good without evil.” And yes, I did just Google that. In schools, Facebook has made cyber-bullying a public platform and even easier to carry out. I have lost count of the amount of people I know who have lost partners (and even wives!) through Facebook “relationships” (Some with people they’ve never even met in real life – how crazy is that?!)

Michael with Simon Squires at CSP Masterclass

Michael with Simon Squires at CSP Masterclass

In Martial Arts, Facebook gives everyone a forum to detail exactly how much training they’ve done that day and what they’re going to do. I find this useful, fascinating and frustrating at the same time. Just like the people who virtually detail every aspect of their life – “Look what I’m having for tea! (With picture of food on plate!) To those who cry out for attention – “Feeling really fed up tonight!” (with accompanying unhappy face – prompting endless replies of sympathy and attention!) Some people will literally detail every single run, every gym workout (just “checking in” at the gym!) every kick landed, every punch thrown. This can be incredibly useful (to generate ideas or even give yourself some inspiration!) But it can also have the opposite effect and make you feel (and I’ve done this in the past myself!) like you’re not doing enough/should be doing more! In that instance, your negative “inner voice” will kick in and question your own training/commitment or whatever nagging doubt it decides to exploit. As Geoff Thompson would say “have none of it!”

I use Facebook daily to communicate with my Ronin Self Protection students and other Martial Artists. I’ll often post on Facebook if I have had a particularly enjoyable seminar or training experience, in order to publicly thank the group I have been privileged to train with (and I like to see others doing this!) But I now try to use Facebook as a tool for myself and not as a yardstick as to compare “how I am doing” against other people. Do not worry about what everyone else is doing!

If you’re struggling to find a focus – it may help to start with the simple steps (so simple that many people overlook them completely!) Make a written list of your training and have a look at what you’re doing. You may need to make a change or introduce something new to re-gain or clarify that focus i.e. after primarily training in Krav Maga and self protection, I wanted to improve my grappling, so I joined a BJJ club. If there’s something you want to change – start today! Find your focus. You’ll enjoy your training much more!

After all, who are you training for? “Self Improvement” Guru Brian Kim sums it up nicely – “if you keep focusing on everyone else’s journey, you’re going to stop paying quality attention to your own.” So let me ask you again, how much is the focus of your training on yourself? I hope my ramblings disguised as this article help you find an answer to that question.

Happy training guys, see you soon!



Stay Safe and Have Fun

Al x


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