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Kuzushi can be done right or wrong

One can think about kuzushi in a lot of different ways, including - A pre-requisite or set-ups for doing a technique. The first step in executing a technique. (Classical judo thinking) Slowing/weakening uke so that tori/nage has more than enough power to effect his will upon uke. Show More Summary

Seven fundamental off-balances

So, Nick's got a cool shindig planned for end of September at his place in OKC. I think the way it works is everyone that shows up is supposed to bring some aiki or judo thing to play with. The piece that I want to work on is Koryu Dai Yon - especially the first 7 movements that some people call Shichihon no kuzushi. Show More Summary

The effects of aiki porn

There is, of course, an objective skillset underlying aikido and judo, but each practitioner seems to also have a subjective aesthetic ideal of what the art is supposed to look and feel like. Perhaps this is (some of) the difference between do and jutsu.. Show More Summary

What's jo got to do with it?

Today we had our first Aikido Renaissance Playday of the year, and I went into it thinking along the lines of playing with aiki-jo material and trying to figure out what sticks and swords have to do with our aikido anyway. What is so 'aiki' about aiki-jo? We worked on the first four of Tomiki's Jo-no-tsukai, A.K.A jo-nage in some aikido lineages. Show More Summary

Ukigatame ends throws and begins groundwork

We almost never allow students to do newaza (ground grappling) and tachiwaza (stand-up throwing) practice at the same time on the same mat. This is especially important in a small practice space because when you have mixed classes the...Show More Summary

To develop and demonstrate control

A lot of times in our classes, we get hung up on throwing people down - as if that were our goal. It isn't. We are not out to topple and smash - our real goal is to develop and demonstrate control - We want to develop such exquisite control of our own bodies, our strength and mobility and balance, that no opponent can take that control away from us. Show More Summary

Deashibarai & gyakugamaeate - perfect first day lessons

Why is deashibarai the first technique of the gokyo? I have wondered this for a long time, and (in my spare time) sought an answer. I've come up with a couple of possible answers. The timing and footwork and mechanics of deashibarai teaches the timing and footwork and mechanics skills for all the rest of the throws. Show More Summary

Tech distorts our sense of time

I've been assured by all the Baby-Boomer curmudgeons out there that too much access to smartphones and Facebook and Internet and television and computer games would make me stupid. I'm sure that is how I sound when I tell my kids that...Show More Summary

Performance Measures

In preparing for the start of a new class tomorrow, I ran across this set of performance measures that we have used in the past to judge the viability and righteousness of what we are doing in our classes. These ideas date back to our college club. Show More Summary

Defending the self, but against what?

Historically, I haven't had many students express interest in competing in judo or Tomiki aikido competitions. I've tried to carefully remain neutral and offer students the opportunity to do the tournament thing, but most of them seemed more interested in self-defense or self-development - what my teacher called "recreational judo players.". Show More Summary

Gracie University and distance learning

10 months agoMartial Arts / Judo : Mokuren Dojo

There's a lot of folks that talk a lot of smack about Rener's Gracie University distance learning program, but it looks to me to be a good program, and this video is a good demonstration of that fact. I enjoyed this narrated roll very much - especially watching how a distance student handled live rolling. Show More Summary

Can, should, and must

10 months agoMartial Arts / Judo : Mokuren Dojo

Here's a photo of our buddy Jules. The photo comes from an article in which he discusses (among many other interesting things) instant gratification vs. slow, careful internalization of the art.This is related to a lesson in martialShow More Summary

Circle walking

11 months agoMartial Arts / Judo : Mokuren Dojo

A common feature of many of our arts is many instructors use a foundational footwork/body management exercise. In Tomiki Aikido we use "The Walk" known in various groups as Unsoku, Tandoku Undo, or Tegatana no Kata. I'm always looking for interesting looking exercises, and this looks to be a good lesson on a fun footwork exercise. Show More Summary

Learn aikido in 20 hours!?

11 months agoMartial Arts / Judo : Mokuren Dojo

So, Malcolm Gladwell suggested in his Outliers book that it takes something like 10000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert at any field. But then along comes this guy - Josh Kaufman and says that's too long - WAY too long!...Show More Summary

Tesla on human fragility and The Secrets

11 months agoMartial Arts / Judo : Mokuren Dojo

A couple of thoughts from a renaissance man - probably not a stretch to say this is applicable to aikido and judo... “Everyone should consider his body as a priceless gift from one whom he loves above all, a marvelous work of art, of...Show More Summary

Martial arts as fine arts

11 months agoMartial Arts / Judo : Mokuren Dojo

Aikido and judo are martial arts - a form of fine arts like dance or art or poetry. Just like other arts, you can use them for a lot of different things. You can compete (as in dance) You can demonstrate (as in music) You can use the...Show More Summary

Nothing is ever random

11 months agoMartial Arts / Judo : Mokuren Dojo

A few years ago I noticed something in my martial arts practice and I asked a group of higher-ranked players if what I was seeing was real or if it was just some random coincidence. One of them replied, "Nothing is ever random." That statement has stuck with me and made an impact on my martial arts.. Show More Summary

Things Karl taught me

11 months agoMartial Arts / Judo : Mokuren Dojo

There was so much that Karl taught me, and so much that Karl taught my teachers who then filtered the lessons to me, that it is difficult to condense it to a handful of memorable teachings,but here goes... Karl was a master of heuristic-based...Show More Summary

Things Becky taught me

11 months agoMartial Arts / Judo : Mokuren Dojo

Becky adopted me into her Baton Rouge dojo after I graduated from college and moved back south. I spent 2-3 years sometime around nidan or sandan travelling an hour and a half to and from her dojo every Saturday to continue my training. Show More Summary

Things Mac taught me

11 months agoMartial Arts / Judo : Mokuren Dojo

I beat my head against the proverbial wall of judo for a long time until Mac came along. He was a compassionate encourager and put things in a way that made us feel good about what we were doing. Among the lessons I gleaned from Mac include... Show More Summary

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