Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Capoeira Action!

Below is a very interesting video of Capoeira. If nothing else, I truly admire their athleticism.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Your Training in Perspective

Below is an excerpt from a post at the Huffington Post. The full post may be read here.

You Don't Suck as Much as You Think You Do

If you're going to get better at fitness (or anything), then you need to accept one fact: You do not suck as much as you think you do.
Most of us are far harder on ourselves than anyone else ever could be. We look at other people and compare ourselves, often to our own detriment.
But here's the thing: you're not going to last very long if you keep thinking you're the worst. There's only so long you can punch yourself in the mental face before you just say "Screw this" and walk away, off to try something else, then something else, then something else ...
We do this to ourselves, though -- this "you suck" mentality. And our culture helps. Plus, there's money to be made by telling us we suck, because there's always someone to teach us how to improve. That's okay (we live in a capitalistic society), but nobody's going to regulate this talk, so you need to learn to regulate yourself. Because a community (with good intentions) will say this:
"Look at this you're bad at. And this. And this."
"Work your goats. Work your goats. Work your goats."
But it gets old, and it has a cost.
See, I know because I used to be this way. All my life, I was the first one in the line to punch myself in the mental face because I wasn't the best at this or that. I'd compare myself to her in the class, or him, or that person online. My goats -- these things I needed to improve -- well, they were many. They multiplied daily. And they ran all over my backyard, obscuring any flowers, hiding any accomplishments. CrossFit only helped me see more goats. Oh, those goats. I chased those ugly, smelly things constantly.
Then, one day, I realized I was spending all my time herding goats, and I was not enjoying the things I did like and I was good at. So I opened the gates. I let all the goats run free. And then I could see the flowers again. Life was a heck of a lot more beautiful... and fun.
And now? The goats hang around the outer edges of the lawn, but I don't let them eat the flowers and sometimes I just run right at them and scare the crap out of them. Goats don't bother me so much anymore.
Do I still suck at some things? YES. But I don't give a damn anymore. I work on some things to improve -- like double-unders or pull-ups or snatches. And some things I just let run into the woods. Handstand walking? I don't care. I don't want to do it. My chiropractor begs me not to do it. And it doesn't matter to my physical or mental well-being if I do it. I'm not a CrossFit Games athlete. I'm not a local competitor. I'm just a writer who wants to stay healthy and move heavy weight, and I'm never going to walk on my hands. I'm good with that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

8th Dan Kyudo Exam

In many Japanese martial arts, 8th Dan is considered recognition of full mastery.

I had previously posted about what might be the hardest black belt grading in the world, the 8th Dan test in Kendo.

Below is an excerpt from a documentary on 7th Dan preparing for his 8th Dan exam. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Five Year White Belt

I'm 57 and by far the oldest student in the BJJ group I train with. I could be the father of most, if not the grandfather of some of the other students.

The people I train with are faster, stronger, more athletic,and pick up the moves more quickly than I do. I also have less time to put into it.

Would I like to advance in rank some day? Of course, but how I'm measuring my progress is that I'm still showing up. Every time I step on the mat is a small victory for me.

There are people who haven't even started, quit and come back who will pass me up with regards to rank, but if I can do still be doing this when I'm 60, maybe I can still do it when I'm 65, and so on.  The rank will resolve itself.

Below is an excerpt from White Belt Jiu Jitsu, written by a five year white belt. There is a lot of good advice here, that I'd recommend to anyone training in any martial art, at any level. The full post may be read here. Enjoy.

What I Learned As A Five Year BJJ White Belt
by BJJJ1

There were several times over the years when I thought about quitting. There were days when I was getting owned by everybody on the mat, but I somehow managed to push through and made it to blue. I wanted to share some things, for the white belts out there, that made all the difference for me:

• Submit your ego. Seriously. Keep in mind that you’re there to train, not to prove.

• Try to break yourself of the “Oh well, I can’t stop this pass/sub/reversal from happening. I’m just gonna sit here and take it“- attitude. Try anyway. Struggle. If the escape you try doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work, but remember that you’re not there to prove anything. You’re there to train, so TRY. Because trying will always improve your endurance, strength, sensitivity, and experience.

• Don’t train injured.

• Ask questions. Don’t be surprised if no one gives you any kind of guidance if you keep your mouth shut the whole time.

• Be supportive of both your juniors and seniors. Set an example. You don’t need a black belt to be everybody’s favorite person to train with.

• Roll. There are too many low ranks that bounce when the mat opens up after practice. High ranks stick around and work, and low ranks that are too self-conscious to grapple wonder why high ranks are so good. Go get your ass kicked. It’s practice with your team. Get tapped out. Pick your favorite submission and go hunting. And get tapped out some more in the process.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Uechi Ryu Karate DVD

Uechi Ryu karate is an Okinawan style, which was derived directed from Southern China. 

Today we have a guest post from Shai Hai, who is the head of Uechi Ryu Israel, describing the DVD he has recently produced. Check out the YouTube!

Groundbreaking Uechi Ryu!

Hello to all fellow martial artists. Here me out! My name is Shai Hai. I am the head of Uechi-ryu Israel (Kenyukai Association). I am a direct student of Master  Shinjo Kiyohide of Okinawa, Japan (9 times world champion, chief of the Kenyukai and the OKF-Okinawa Karate Federation, and possibly the most famous of all Okinawan masters in our time).

For the last 2 years we have been co-working on a huge cost production film which is intended to express the true spirit of traditional karate according to Master Shinjo. This incredible project had been filmed in Okinawan and Israel. It showcases many top level kata (prearranged series of movements), Kumite (prearranged fighting sequences), and uncanny, amazing breaking demonstrations by Shinjo and by his top students, myself included. Throughout the film are laid out many rare and exquisite interview pieces with Master Shinjo. These are tastefully woven alongside much authentic wild footage of the most remote and lost parts of the land of karate - Okinawa. The film provides the viewer with an artistic glimpse to the mind of a modern day Samurai, in a wild forgotten land. The film is 55 minutes long. Its soundtrack was especially written by the multi-talented world famous superstar Borgore, as well as other renowned musicians. This film has no equal on its level of production. Nothing similar was ever produced, either with Shinjo sensei or any other Okinawan master of Karate. It is highly unique and rare.

The film is available for purchase online. DO NOT miss on a chance to be exposed to a true supernova of adrenalin and imagination, as the ancient spirits of Karate manifest their greatness on your screen. May this film be of inspiration for you to pursue your own excellence in whichever path you may choose.

Shai Hai sensei

Get the film here:


Monday, March 16, 2015

Developing Situational Awareness

Below is an excerpt from a post from the wonderful blog, The Art of Manliness. This one is on how to develop situational awareness. The full post may be read here.

I have found that when I have been training regularly, I am a lot more observant and sensitive to what is going on around me.Enjoy.

How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne

Brett & Kate McKay

There’s a scene at the beginning of The Bourne Identity where the film’s protagonist is sitting in a diner, trying to figure out who he is and why he has a bunch of passports and a gun stashed in a safety deposit box. Bourne also notices that he, well, notices things that other people don’t. Watch:

That superhuman ability to observe his surroundings and make detailed assessments about his environment? It’s not just a trait of top secret operatives; it’s a skill known as situational awareness, and you can possess it too.

As the names implies, situational awareness is simply knowing what’s going on around you. It sounds easy in principle, but in reality requires much practice. And while it is taught to soldiers, law enforcement officers, and yes, government-trained assassins, it’s an important skill for civilians to learn as well. In a dangerous situation, being aware of a threat even seconds before everyone else can keep you and your loved ones safe.

But it’s also a skill that can and should be developed for reasons outside of personal defense and safety. Situational awareness is really just another word for mindfulness, and developing mine has made me more cognizant of what’s going on around me and more present in my daily activities, which in turn has helped me make better decisions in all aspects of my life.

I’ve spent months researching and talking to experts in the tactical field about the nature of situational awareness, and below you’ll find one of the most complete primers out there on how to gain this important skill. While the focus is primarily on developing your situational awareness to prevent or survive a violent attack, the principles discussed can also help hone your powers of observation in all areas of your life.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Difference Between Japanese Jujutsu and Brazilian Jiujitsu

The short clip below was posted at BJJ Video Vault. It's about a 5 minute description of the difference between Japanese Jujutsu and Brazilian Jiujitsu, at a very high level. It was originally posted here.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hakko Ryu Jujutsu

Aikido isn't the only offshoot of Daito Rtu Aikijujutsu. Hakko Ryu in another. Below is a video of Hakko Ryu. Enjoy. Did I ever mention that I love these vintage videos?

Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Meaning of Kata Practice

Below is an excerpt from an excellent post that appeared at Okinawan Fighting Art: Isshin Ryu.

Kata practice is plenty of people who say you shouldn't practice it at all and others who believe that kata practice is absolutely essential. Personally I think in many cases the nay sayers don't really understand what kata has to offer if taught and practiced with the right mind.

I think this post helps to clarify the pro kata opinion. The full post may be read here.


No one really takes the time and effort to explain all that can be learned from the kata as the accumulation of kata, in regards to an ability to perform the kata, seems to be the gaol especially since it is tied directly to grading and rank awards. 
Kata are taught as a means of assessing what the person knows, i.e., I know sixteen kata and I have a black belt in four styles or systems of martial arts, etc. I had to know, in other words perform pretty kata, eight empty hand kata and two weapons kata to be graded/awarded a black belt yet if you looked hard and deep you would find that most of that kata lacked “substance.” 
Substance is what kata are all about, i.e., a mode or model to transfer knowledge of the physiokinetic and technique aspects provided by kata, a symbolic stylized memory efficient method of transferring such a physical discipline, where in lieu of the snap of the uniform and the perfection of the bodily formations made in kata is paramount over learning such things as breathing, posture, structure, centerline, spinal alignment, structure, power and more. 
Kata are a means, a tool, to convey such esoteric teachings that cover those principles that without kata simply remain a tool for grading and ranking along with a means to accumulate perceived knowledge to validate the rankings awarded. It seems to have lost its true essence over egoistic pride driven accumulation of kata. 
Then there is the whole gambit of actually transferring the knowledge conveyed through kata training and practice to actual self-defense applications that are reality based stress induced adrenal flood affected applications that also remain within the standards and acceptable levels of force application in self-defense of life or great bodily harm. 


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Small Circle Jujutsu

There are a lot of variations of Jujutsu. The video clip below shows the late  Prof. Wally Jay, the inventor of Small Circle Jujutsu and former student of Bruce Lee demonstrating his art.

Prof Jay had a Certificate of Mastery in Danzan Ryu Jujutsu, which is another variation.