Martial arts: what to train, which style to choose and how to train in martial arts schools for free

On the path of becoming overhuman, martial arts play a crucial role. Martial arts do not teach people how to fight but how to live. My original reason for starting with martial arts is the same for Parkour – there is an initial choice to be made before everything else: to live or to die. Both are morally completely acceptable, as they make no matter on the grand scale of things. It is this nihilistic notion of unimportance of life that actually freed me. I realized that life is intrinsically unimportant and that I make the choice of living or dying. If I want importance, I have to make it myself. So I decided to live, and the next step was learning how to live. If you decide to live, you must know how one does it. And if you decide to live, you must be aware that there are forces that may end your life and that means that you must prepare yourself to protect your life. These are the reasons for both martial arts and Parkour. These reasons are still relevant for me today as they were several years ago and I feel I have valuable insights and experience to contribute.

So… Let’s have a look at the world of martial arts through questions and answers.

Can I train alone, using video instructions or do I need to go to a martial arts school?

You can train alone, but don’t begin alone. If you’ve never had any martial arts training, it would be smart to find people that can guide you. That way you progress much faster – you do not need to reinvent the wheel.

Which style should I choose?

Any style. It’s never about the style, but about the practitioner. Take up what interests you, something that excites you. For some people it may be Krav Maga or Muay Thai, both very simple, aggressive and external styles. Some people may be more interested in old styles, the various types of Kung Fu and the like. It doesn’t matter which one you pick. What matters is how open you are to other ideas (styles) and how realistic and down-to-earth you are with regards to real combat. Which leads me to…

Should I choose one style and stick with it or experiment with other styles?

This one is a though question. I always advise openness and looking at different perspectives, but I know that I wouldn’t be half as good a fighter I am today if I hadn’t stayed in my school. There are simply some things that take a lot of time and effort to master, and it’s not enough to superficially go through them. In other words, quality instead of quantity. But on the other hand, I’m equally sure that my real-world fighting skill wouldn’t be as good as it is today if I hadn’t sparred and trained with people from other backgrounds.

My advice would be this: stay in your school if you feel that what you’re being taught isn’t shit and if what you’re being taught is something you still haven’t mastered. If your master, trainer, sensei or sifu is better than you and beats you easily, you have much more to learn. But dabble in other styles – train with people with different backgrounds. This is very important.

As a Wing Tzun practitioner, I’ve encountered some difficulty sparring with Muay Thai or regular boxers. Their “normal” fighting distance wasn’t my normal fighting distance. This unawareness might have cost me my health on the street, but through sparring with them, I understood the fundamental differences in our fighting approaches and corrected the errors in my movement. Now I can fight with them without feeling awkward.

How do I know that what I’m being taught isn’t shit? Are modern styles like MMA better than traditional ones?

It’s popular for today’s MMA practitioners to say that Kung Fu and any other traditional style is a bunch of nonsense. The argument is that they have been thoroughly tested in the ring and it has been shown that these styles don’t work. And when there is a video of a fight in which the fighters supposedly use a traditional style and they’re winning, they say that they see western boxing/muay thai/etc.

While I won’t deny that there truly are many bullshit schools, relying on dogmatism and the cult of the master in order to keep up appearances, I believe that there is a fundamental misunderstanding at play here.

First and most important, fighting in the ring is not the same as fighting on the street. It’s common to grapple in the ring and you usually see people trying to land frontal strikes at the person who’s holding them, but avoiding hitting the back of their heads and necks. On the street, you would never do such a thing. If someone grapples you and gives you the back of their neck, you elbow it and hammer fist it. This isn’t allowed in the ring because fighting on the street isn’t a sport. It’s dirty and it’s bloody. You go for their nuts and for their throat and for their eyes.

I’m not saying that combat sports are useless. They are very useful and have a lot of applicability on the street. But let’s not forget that sport is sport, and combat is combat. I’m not talking out of my ass now – I’ve had some training in Muay Thai and boxing and it was very exciting and useful to learn, but it’s not all there is to fighting.

Secondly, many traditional styles have wider concerns than one to one fighting. They try to teach you how to breathe, how to look at people, how to develop you mental resilience. In traditional styles, there are many things to learn except learning how to fight. With this in mind, it should be noted that many techniques are actually only training techniques, designed to make it easier for you to gain a certain goal, not goals in themselves.

Furthermore, teachers often overemphasize certain things in order for people to understand them at all. In my phonetics class, our teacher used to overemphasize certain sounds just so that we could say them correctly. We underemphasized, they overemphasized, and thus we said them just correctly. So don’t try to turn over-explanations into bullshit claims. There are enough of them already.

Try to feel it: if you feel that what you’re being taught is not BS, it probably isn’t. This is where your own objectivity comes to play. Ask questions. Spar with other styles. Keep at something, maybe it will make sense to you after more diligent training. There’s no straight answer here.

What should my primary focus be on?

Many styles have their own ways of training, and each one thinks its way is better than the others. Usually there is a valid explanation why. This question can only be answered by an opinion, so I give mine.

Learn how to straight punch and straight kick. This means hitting air, but even more importantly, it means hitting a bag. After two years of training Wing Tzun, I had a certain technical know-how, but I wasn’t accustomed to the very act of hitting something hard, which is, in turn, the most important part of the fighting process. I firmly believe that beginners’ focus should be on striking heavy bags. That way, you get truly comfortable with the act of hitting something. Naturally, there are some styles that don’t do bag-striking at all. This doesn’t mean that they are bad. They may have a lot to teach you, but if you want quick improvement in your ability and fighting confidence, hit a bag. And of course, I hope I don’t need to mention it, but hit the bag with no gloves or pads. You don’t wear gloves on the street.

Get tough. One part of getting tough is simply getting strong. Do strength exercises, they will do you a lot of good in fighting. The other part is getting resilient, not being psychologically or physically bothered by adversity such as rain, cold or your opponent’s punches. I have several exercises that might comprise a toughness training session, and they are as following:

  • hit yourself with a wooden stick on the forearms and shins
  • do Parkour rolls – this alone increases your toughness and overall “body armor”
  • while sparring, allow yourself to get hit sometimes
  • fall on the ground and bump into walls on purpose – this might seem funny, but it is very useful
  • train in the cold, in the snow, in the wind, in the rain, without having eaten previously and without having slept sufficiently – of course, don’t overdo it. You don’t want to get sick and unhealthy. Balance is key.

One thing to remember is this: if you are getting beaten, don’t lose confidence. Persist despite adversity of any kind.

Become very fast (without sacrificing technique). This means developing your strategic footwork (every martial arts has its own) and, well, becoming physically fast while executing techniques. Footwork and speed. Footwork, speed. Speed, footwork. Got it? Great.

Shouldn’t I just fight on the street? Isn’t it true that you only get better at things if you do them? So if you want to get better at fighting, shouldn’t you just head outside and fight?

No. Fighting is one of the rare things you don’t get truly better at if you just head outside and do it. The odds are against it. There are certainly some good street fighters, but I have yet to meet a good one that never trained fighting. Sure, your self-confidence might rise (even at the expense of being a jerk). But do you get proper technique? Real punching power? Anything. In my opinion, no.

But I don’t have the money to go to a martial arts school.

If you really like a specific school and really don’t have the money, ask the instructor if there is any way for you to repay your debt, if you could clean the gym or help in any other way. Try it, it might just work. I know I’d accept someone that’s really passionate but doesn’t have the money.

But there is also another way for the empty of pocket. Most bigger cities have hundreds of various gyms. The first class is always free (and if it isn’t, it’s probably not worth your time anyway). Go from one gym to another, ask for the first free class, try it out, say thank you and then repeat with another gym and another school. You could do this for an entire year, and still have places you haven’t seen yet. I do this when I’m not training Wing Tzun. I go from one martial arts gym to another one, see what they have to offer, absorb new perspectives, feel their pulse, see how they breathe, and then visit another one.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or objections, the comment field is below, comment away.


The only solution I’ve found for knee pain

As a Parkour practitioner, I’ve experienced knee pain on many occasions. Parkour involves a lot of impact and for some people knee pain never arrives, but I started to feel it after some two years of practice (and it wasn’t a completely bad practice, I did warm up and I did pay attention to good technique).

I’ve experimented with foam rolling, then with wooden stick rolling, with a lot more stretching, with more running, with weight training (actually, with one legged squats, popularly called pistols) and the only thing I’ve found to work and to stop my knee pain, not only prevent it, is static strength training.

I do not know why the horse stance is so good and why it helps so much, but it does. Just two days ago I’ve started feeling my left knee again and yesterday I did just five minutes in the horse stance and voila, the pain had all but disappeared!

So I advise you, if you have knee pain (and I know a lot of people who have have it, it’s common enough within the world of physical activity), do static exercises, namely the horse stance. Do it as long as you can. If you can manage one minute, try two. If you’re okay with 5, do 10. There are people in this world that can hold the horse stance for hours on end. So, it can be done. It is on you to do it.

This is horse stance:

Disclaimer – Cass Heaven pointed out in his/her comment the following:

(…) While you might be right that it can help with a lot of knee pain when you strengthen your quadriceps muscle (front of things) you are wrong that it is the best thing to help all kinds of knee pain.
There are a lot of different structures and depending on what is hurt this exercise can actually cause a problem to get worse.

I agree, it might make the problem worse, depending on what’s wrong with your knee. I advocate self-experimentation but I also advocate being smart, so be smart and find out what the best therapy for you is. I’ve only given my personal account of managing knee pain, and it is based on practicing Parkour and recurring low-intensity knee pain. It might not be the best solution for you, but it also might be, and that’s why I put up the post, to share this idea with all of you. Experiment and be smart people!


The mind can go either direction under stress – toward positive or toward negative: On or off. Think of it as a spectrum whose extremes are unconsciousness at the negative end and hyperconsciousness at the positive end. The way the mind will lean under stress is strongly influenced by training.

Hyperawareness is not only related to stressful events, even though its biggest quality lies in the fact that it can be present in high stress events. But hyperawareness is something that can be exercised and practiced in any situation, stressful or not. I describe hyperawareness as a sort of Zen Rampage mode. It’s an oxymoron, but for me it’s just that.

It is not a very pleasant experience. It includes quick change between thinking (deductions, analyses and so forth) and perception, observing the world around you. Even in observing, one does not simply relax and observe, but observes in quite a proactive way – you do not merely wait for an observation, you seek it.

So, if you were to happen to be in a room during a meeting, you would not simply meditatively look at your surroundings, you would try to watch the reactions of many people at once, jumping with your eyes from one to another. You would be aware of movement and direct your gaze towards it. You would shift from multitasking to singletasking: from listening to a person speak and actively interpreting it while looking at their body language (multitasking), to just analyzing it (singletasking), to looking at the reactions of people (singletasking), to seeing someone shift in their chair uncomfortably and interpreting their behavior (multitasking). This exchange is rather rapid in nature, and, for me, quite tiring.

What you get during such hyperawareness sessions is a chaotic mass of new knowledge without any obvious hierarchy of importance. You get that your professor is bored, and you get that the college board is granting money to a magazine, and you get that a professor-assistant has weight loss issues, and you get a million other things that are absolutely chaotic in their organization. That’s what you get. A million pieces of info in a great swarm. That’s also the reason why hyperawareness is so hard to maintain for a long time. It’s much like sprinting – you cannot sprint 5K. In a lot of ways, the brain also works as a muscle – you use it and train it, and it becomes better at what you do. But the thing with the brain is that it CAN actually sprint for hours on end, and it can also get better at its sprinting speed. For example, my hyperawareness can last maybe an hour or so, but the intensity of it, the speed of the deductions I make and the amount of data I perceive are almost triple the amount I got three years ago. I remember myself several years ago because it’s then I started to write a journal, and from reading it today, I know how much I would get from my surroundings. I have multiplied both my hyperawareness intensity (the “hyper” part of awareness) and the length of time I can maintain it without relapsing into normal awareness. Of course, the natural goal of hyperawareness training is to maintain it indefinitely.

However, there are certain caveats that are important and should be shared. It would seem that hyperawareness causes hyperproduction during later, normal awareness stage. I have been told that I speak a lot (like, really a lot) and I have seen that my creativity drive and will to express myself (be it through words or movement) are almost indomitable. I must do something! I must write, sing, walk, run, jump, move in general, talk, explain – in one word: produce.

This is both a good and a bad thing. Good because, obviously, being creative is good. Producing things is go(o)d. Bad because, if you cannot control your will to express yourself, you do not control yourself, and if you do not control yourself, then all of this is in vain, because the whole point of overhumanity exercises is achieving control.


Control, because great powers without control are useless, and quite literally so. Useless = without use. Why develop something neither you or anybody else can use?

Balance, because life is best lived through balance. Eat an imbalanced diet, you get sick. Be overly emotional, you get into situations were you don’t want to be. Laugh too little and you’ll die wondering why you didn’t do it more.

Stability, because only through perseverance, hard work, dedication and a certain stubbornness do you achieve great things. Nothing good in life comes easy. Also, if you are stable, life doesn’t knock you over when it gets windy. The problems come and they go. You stay.

Mutability, because change is the only true constant. Nothing is ever complete or defined. There is no closure. There is no job safety, and there is no personal security. Everything changes. In a world where everything changes, one is obliged to adopt an attitude and a physique that also adapt. Discard your opinions and practice naivete. Discard your blunt force and flow.

Fun, because it’s the ultimate generator of the human condition. We can, of course, give rationally supported arguments why we do some things and not do other things, but at the root of it all is plain old fun. Be it throwing rocks into a pond or practicing a Seven Star Praying Mantis form on top of a remote mountain in China – we all do it because we enjoy it.

Growth, because that’s how you achieve all of the above. You grow. You see better, you fight better, you think better, you write better, you garden better, you program better, you eat better, you live better, you die better. You grow.

There are many other words I could use to describe this journey, and maybe I could have done so with much less. It doesn’t really matter in the end because the point is not to describe the journey, the point is to take it.


Can you infer personality traits?

This is something I’ve been having some doubt about, ever since a friend of mine said he considered such a thing to be quite shallow. Can you actually say things like: he’s a narcissist, she’s egotistical, they’re smart and so on? I mean, surely you can do it after getting to know a person, but can you say that someone is a narcissist only by the fact that they like to wear tight and revealing clothing? Can you say that someone is dominant or extroverted or self-confident by the strength of their handshake?

I don’t know. I don’t like not knowing.

What you most certainly can do is make comments on their behavior and behavioral residue. If there is a lot of mud on the shoes, that person has obviously been outside. If one’s clothing is dry and clean, and it’s raining outside, one can safely infer that the person has either been indoors the whole time or has changed attire.

But what about their personality?

We do not like to be negatively categorized, even though we fully embrace positive categorization. No one likes to be called lazy or selfish, but rarely will you find a person refusing to be called trustworthy or steadfast. So if I as an observer decide to call someone vain or untrustworthy, there would be a lot of disproving. If I were to call someone altruistic and creative, my words would be accepted. This still tells us nothing about the veracity of the personality inferring process.

If you call people bad things based on what you see, you should at least be able to call them good things based on what you see. I think this question is a matter of preference and opinion, not of fact. Some people would avoid personality deductions altogether. This is fine, but I feel you lose a lot of information out of fear of being shallow or mistaken.

So my working solution for this problem is yes. Yes, you may judge people’s personality from what you perceive. But, as in other deductions, change your deduction if new data points to another direction and do not suppose more than what the data tells you. If someone is selfish, it does not necessarily mean that the person is also a liar, nor does it mean that being selfish increases the chance of that person being a liar, or anything else, for that matter. If you conclude that someone is selfish, well, then it’s the only thing you conclude.

I do not guess. I observe. And once I’ve observed, I deduce.


On unexplainable emotional states

I have this thing I call my “blackness”. It’s the best term I can find to describe it. It’s a sort of sadness, mixed with frustration, anger, and resentment. I would even say hate, sometimes. It’s also a sort of depression. Absolutely no creative drive and no will to do anything. It’s a type of thing that gets you nailed to your bed, not wanting to get up and do what you need to do, not wanting to have a drink of water when you’re thirsty. It’s a kind of thing that chains you to your thoughts, and builds a wall that obscures the outside world, so you just spin around and around in your mind, thinking, living again through past episodes of life, imagining new ones.

I have my blackness under firm control. Each time I feel it trying to resurface, I know that I’ve loosened up some of the ropes that hold it down: it might be that I’m not meditating enough, it might be a question of perspective (like, becoming too focused on some things in such a way you forget how truly unimportant they are on a cosmic scale) or it might be that my surroundings influence me – for example, certain people that have the amazing gift to make me feel bad – make me feel bad.

In any case, I do what I need to do in order to stop it from devouring my soul. Sometimes it just means taking a break, lying down and doing absolutely nothing until I become drowsy, fall asleep and wake up replenished and not blackened.

I manage it. In order to become overhuman, one must first become human.

It took me a long time to understand that a lot of times, my emotional states were just a reflection of the chemicals running through my veins. High serotonin, low dopamine, that type of stuff. My knowledge of human biochemistry is practically nil, but I do know that what we perceive as emotions is measurable by the amount of secretion of certain chemicals, such as serotonin, dopamine and endomorphin.

It’s nothing but a bunch of chemicals.

With that being said, one must understand that our emotional states are caused by these very chemicals, and that there are certain situations where it’s only and just them.

I know that not all people can relate to this, but I figure some can. You know those situations when you’re just sad or angry, or frustrated, and even being completely and utterly honest with yourself about the reason of that emotional state you still cannot find the source of it?

If you’re like me, you try to figure out why the hell you don’t feel good. You speak with a person that cares about you, and trying to speak about the problems you have, you see that, from a distanced rational perspective, your problems are no true problems at all. Yet you still feel bad.

I believe it’s called cognitive-emotional dissonance. Even though you rationally KNOW that your problems aren’t so problematic at all, you still feel bad and it won’t stop.

Well, enough with searching deeply within the psyche to find the grand source of the issue! There may or may not be a childhood trauma behind all those bad emotions you’ve been experiencing, but the fact is that even childhood trauma is only a simple chemical conditioning you never became aware of. CHEMICAL CONDITIONING. That’s that thing junkies do with heroin.

So, even though it may be the hardest thing in the universe, when you’re feeling bad, and you’ve removed all the factors that make you feel bad, you’ve seen your problems, and rationally, logically, they are so little that they shouldn’t even be problems, distance yourself. It’s hard to think about yourself in such a way. It’s hard to see your emotions as not having some grand issue behind them. It’s hard to reduce them to something so worldly and non-spiritual as chemistry. But we who seek control and unclouded thought must do this. And it can be done. So yes, distance yourself.

Distance yourself and recognize that the source of your misfortune might well lie in a complex chemistry equation.

And then, rise.

The Overhuman Diet

What does an overhuman eat? How does (s)he eat, when does (s)he eat?

This post is no ultimate guide to weigth loss (even though you might find it quite useful for that goal too), and no ideal way of eating. There are many dietary experts out there that can give you much more specific, detailed, structured dieting programs than I can, but I feel it is necessary to talk about eating from an overhuman perspective.

If there is one rule in the overhuman diet, it is that you always know why you eat something.

That is the main principle upon which everything else lies. As you see, it is quite often that the main principle of the path to overhumanity is just that – being aware.

Let me explain this with the example of coffee. Coffee has been shown to increase focus and alertness and also to help in sports performance, as well as increasing memory. (for references browse mental performance and sports performance here

Regular consumption of coffee makes your body resistant to the effects of caffeine, and therefore makes coffee practically unusable. (

So, the overhuman way of coffee consumption is not to drink coffee unless you have a reason to. Reasons might be the following: you have a straining training session before you that requires a lot of alertness; you are tired, but need to perform (physically or mentally); you have to work on something and keep your concentration on just that; etc.

But what do you eat on an everyday basis?

Well, there are generalities:

  • avoid basing your diet on an “empty” food like rice and flour – these foods will satisfy your need for energy as they contain calories, but making them the cornerstone of your diet means depriving your body of important nutrients you need in order to function as a highly tuned precision instrument you want to be
  • artifical and highly refined foods are toxic and dangerous in the long term – you do not want to fill your body with chemicals that are not helping you in some way. These foods include potato chips, chewing gum, candy, sodas, industrially produced pastry and so forth. If it’s not natural, it’s probably very bad.
  • use stimulants like coffee and black tea sparingly, when you need them. The same goes for other kinds of stimulants like alcohol (drinking up to two beers has been shown to decrease focus but increase creativity – or cannabis.
  • take your carbs from fruit and veggies, load up on protein and don’t fear fat – butter, olive oil, pumpkin oil and many others are great
  • combine fat with vegetables because vitamins A, D, E and K are soluble in fat, not water, so that way, they become much more bioavailable ( and
  • eat a lot of protein
  • eat A LOT of protein
  • eat A LOT of protein
  • green smoothies or any kind of vegetable or fruit smoothie is a great idea – have one every day
  • avoid nutrient stealing foods like phytate filled flour and soy
  • eat both raw and cooked foods
  • eat nuts

That’s the main idea. It is completely fine to indulge a little in unhealthy things, but just a little, and again, with a reason. Before buying the bag of chips, state your reason. “I feel bad and I’d like to eat something crunchy and salty”. Okay. Buy the bag of chips then. Don’t make it a habit though. I’ve found that, if you do state your reason for eating every time, chances are that you’re not goint to buy the bag of chips or whatever it may be, because you’ll take the unconscious decision to a conscious one.

What kind of meals should you have?


Instead of explaining, I’ll just give an example of what I (would) eat:

  • Broccoli, onion, carrots and butternut squash sautéd on butter and a little white wine, mixed with fried eggs and some more butter. (I had that today)
  • chicken breasts, marinated in soy sauce, red wine, sesame seeds, salt and pepper, fried on olive oil; carrot, zucchini, onion sautéd on olive oil
  • raw cabbage salat with pumpkin oil; fried pork chops
  • potato purée with kurkuma with sarma (minced meat rolls, wrapped in sauerkraut leaves and cooked)
  • omelette au fromage (put a lot of pepper, you’ll be amazed) and raw onions and pickles
  • tofu stir fry (rice, season vegetables, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and scallion)
  • grilled fish with lemon juice and olive oil; tomato and basil salad
  • cottage cheese with salt and either olive oil, pumpkin oil or flaxseed oil

The Overhuman Diet is not the cheapest diet you can find, it is not vegan or vegetarian and it is not the most eco-friendly diet you’ll find. There is a lot of protein in it, and a lot of that protein is animal protein. Unfortunately, to become overhuman, one cannot sacrifice himself or herself completely and not eat high quality nutrients. However, there are things you can do in order to thread lightly on Earth’s ressources: shop locally, grow your own and, if you can, hunt your own. Dumpster diving is also a smart way to get food. For example, the biggest markets in Zagreb throw loads and loads of vegetables because of small defects or little rotten bits. And we’re talking at least 100 kg every day, on every one of the 5 biggest markets. That’s a lot of vegetables and fruits.

Find your balance, but do not forget what I said – an overhuman is a highly tuned precision instrument. You cannot be a highly tuned precision instrument without good nutrients.

Eat smart to be smart.

Inverse clue gathering

So, in my people watching analyses, I usually tend to watch a person and then figure out who that person is, their occupation and the like. Now, there’s a technique which is quite useful in doing it and it’s to do the inverse. Basically, if you know who the person is, try to see what are their distinctive features that would characterize them if you didn’t know who they were.

Sounds complicated, but it’s not. Take, for example, bus drivers. You know a bus driver when you see one because that’s the person driving the bus. Megasherlock right there. But no, seriously, you see bus drivers all the time if you use public transport. The thing with this approach is to try and find their distinctive features, what makes them busdriverish and remember that so you can use it afterwards when they’re not wearing their uniform and driving a bus.

So, what would be a distinctive feature for bus drivers? Well, a lot of sitting tends to make you fat, but there is a myriad of professions out there that involve a lot of sitting, so being fat is no good tell. I seriously don’t know. Maybe stiff, but that’s also something common in a lot of professions. I’m still working on that one.

For guitar players, it’s easy. You see callouses on their fingertips. Of course, you might confound them with the occasional ukulele or violin or mandolin afficionado, but you have big chances of having a guitar player, and even if you don’t, you know it’s a string instrument player, which is also good.

Drummers are easy, they practice all the time with their fingers when they’re bored.

For martial artists and dancers, you have movement that gives them away. When people who usually move in complicated ways become bored, the routines they usually do just come out on their own, with no conscious control. I’ve also noticed that martial artists often stand in public transportation without holding any bars for balance.

There are a lot of things that can characterize professions, but we’re looking for distinctive features or combinations that make distinctive features.

The next time you watch a bus driver, try to see what it is that is common to their profession. If you see a college professor, see what makes them distinctive. Is it a pattern of behavior? Is it a movement? By doing this, you get a “dictionary” of sorts, and such a dictionary will help you in further deductions.