Thursday, December 26, 2013

Didn't get what you wanted this Christmas?

I just finished the Martial Thoughts Amazon store.  You can click on the link, or you can use the link on the side of the webpage.  Either way, it will take you to our aStore which features the books I review, the books of author's we interview, and the movies we discuss in the podcast.  Everytime you do, it helps us out a little, and we can get more books to review.  So in the end it helps you too.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Martial Thoughts Episode II-pt. 2 Show Notes

Episode II-pt. 2 Show Notes

Besides iTunes, you can directly download us here from podcastgarden.

Introduction Music: Theme from "Enter the Dragon" by Lalo Schifrin

News: This Week in Martial Arts
Story One
  Matt Fiddes
  Michael Jackson
  Uri Geller
  The Amazing (James) Randi
  Ed Parker
  Elvis Presley
  (Steven) Seagal
  (Lyoto) Machida
  (Anderson) Silva
  Bruce Lee
  Kareem Abdul-Jabar
  David Lee Roth
  Montley Crue "Too Young to Fall in Love"
  Roxanne Pallet
  Peter Andre
  Jessica White
  Tito Jackson
  Daniel Lloyd
News Story 2
  Black Dragon Martial Arts Association
  Tactical Hapkido/Universal Tae Kwon Do Alliance
  Black Dragon Special Forces
  Ron van Clief
News Story 3
  Chris "Dark Guardian" Pollak
  Guardian Angels
  (Teenage Mutant) Ninja Turtles
  Will I Am
  Robert Earl Kieth
  Alex Castro
  Stand Your Ground Law
  Trayvon (Martin)
  Keanu Reeves
  Tiger Chen
  The Matrix
  Ali Khan
  The Raid
  Pencak Silat

Top 5 Martial Arts Movies that are so Bad, they're Good
  Jaredd's List
    The Medalion
    With a Bullet
    Jim Kata
    Karate Kid
    Ninja Master
    American Ninja (1-4)
    Phoenix Force
    Silent Death
    The Octogon
    The Last Ninja
    Mega Force
    The Crow
    Side Kicks
    Kung Fu
    Rapid Fire

People Mentioned
  Chuck Norris
  Bruce Lee
  Jean-Claude Van Damme
  (Rudy) Ray Moore
  Michael Dudikoff
  Margret Cho
  Lee van Clief
  Sho Kosugi
  Sony Chiba
  James Bond
  Shaw Brothers
  Run Run Shaw
  Jackie Chan
  Chuck Norris Jeans
  Grizzly Adams
  Guy on a Buffalo (Youtube)
  Dolph Lundgrin
  Brandon Lee

Outro Music: Voodoo Chile-Jimi Hendrix / Gayageum ver. by Luna

Monday, December 23, 2013

Martial Thoughts Episode II-pt 1 Show Notes

  See I told you we'd figure this out.  The only problem is that we are apparently very talkative.  As the episode was about 2 hours long, we broke it up into two one-hour segments.  The first half is our discussion topic.  The second half is Martial Arts News and our Top 5: Best, Worst Martial Arts movies.

Besides iTunes, you can download it directly from here.

Episode II pt. 1 Show Notes

Introduction Music-Theme from "Enter the Dragon" by Lalo Schifrin

Discussion-What is Ki? 
  Ki (japanese)/Chi (Chinese)
  Internal Energy
  Shaolin Monks
  Fight Science
  Stan Lee's Superhuman
  Dr. Moses Powell
  Mr. Miyagi
  Amazing (James) Randi
  Ancient Aliens
True Tales of Martial Arts
  Swine Flu
  Doc (Philip Chenique)
  Kubi tori
  Kote gaeshi
  Blockbuster Video Stores
  Pink Panther + Kato
  The Unfettered Mind
  "The Master is envious  of the Amateur's Confidence"
Closing Music: Voodoo Chile-Jimi Hendrix / Gayageum ver. by Luna



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We're on iTunes!

  Faster than an RSS feed, more powerful than a XML file, it's Martial Thoughts Podcast-Episode I: Introduction from iTunes.  Download it, subscribe, and give us reviews.  Show notes for Episode I are listed here.

Bruce Lee was Wrong...and Right

Or: Why martial arts have styles

The man had style...
    Bruce Lee was an innovator in martial arts.  One of his important philosophical additions to the martial arts world was his idea of formlessness; that styles are a bad thing.  His idea, and I'm paraphrasing, states that styles are artificial contraptions that bind you into a way of thinking; lock you into a way of moving.  His idea was that the human body can only move so many ways, and be effective.  And in many senses he's right.  The laws of physics and anatomy dictate how many martial movements will be be best accomplished, so yes the artifact that is a style will create limitations.  I get what he was saying.  Especially considering how he grew up with the Wing Chun/Choy La Fut rooftop fights, where the style was the motivating factor of these fights.  However, there are many good reasons why these styles exist, have existed and will continue to exist.

The style exists as a learning model.
  The nebulous idea of human interpersonal, physical conflict is vast.  For anyone trying to start off on that path, there is far too much to learn, so the prospect looks daunting and there is no place to start.  It is the paradox of choice idea.  Because there is so much to learn, beginners don't know where to start.  A good system will provide a pathway.  It will say, "here are the basics, once you become proficient in these, then here are the next set of principles, and then the next", and so on.  And then when you've made it through the curiculum, you get to start over and look at the old stuff with a new mind and body.  Every system is different in how it emphasizes or shows the aspects of combat, but every complete martial art should end up covering all the same principles and ideas.  The limitations are a purposeful part of the system of learning.  It is only once you've gotten the idea of how the principles work can you decide to leave some aspects behind, or concentrate on them. 

Someone once told me there's no kicking in aikido...

  Overall, the Mr. Lee's idea was right.  At some point in your training you should get a nagging feeling that there is more.  When I say eventually, I'm talking about after going through the curriculum and have a very good experiential knowledge of the principles, theories, tactics, and techniques of your art. Now you can gain an appreciation of the limitations of the system.  In terms of self-defense, you should never limit yourself to anything.  The answer to self-defense is "whatever it takes."  For example, aikido does have strikes in the system, they are often hidden, and not taught that way, but if you know how, and where, to look they are there.  However, I've never seen kicking included in any aikido school.  Kicking has its place in martial arts.  Every tactic in martial arts is like a tool in your toolbox.  A hammer is really great at pounding in nails, but it sucks at screwing in screws.  You need a different tool for that.  Kicking is kind of like that.  It is great is great in long range, not so great in clinching.  Some tools can be made to serve other purposes.  You could use a wrench to pound in nails, but it really isn't designed for it.  Martial tactics again work the same way.  The overall idea is, keep as many tools in your toolbox as possible.  When you need the right tool, it'll be there.  Some styles naturally have a limitation of use of certain tactics (limited tools).  Study the limitations, but don't become entrenched in the dogma of the system to where you don't know the other tactics.  When you need to use a tactic, use it.  Even if it is not "very aikido to kick."

P. S. The opening line of this section has a second part to it.  I read this one statement (I have no idea where), that said "Someone once told me there's no kicking in aikido... so I kicked him again." I

Friday, December 13, 2013

Martial Thoughts Episode I


You can download it directly here from podcastgarden.

WARNING: Explicit Lyrics!!  This is an entertainment show not intended for minors, or those easily offended.

Martial Thoughts: Episode I-Definition of Martial Arts Show Notes

Introduction Music
  Theme from “Enter the Dragon” by Lalo Schifrin
Introduction Section
  Martial Arts Mentioned
    Chendokan Aikido
    Sogetsu ryu Kenjutsu
    Aikikai Aikido
    Jun Rhee’s Tae Kwon Do
    Shaolin Kung Fu
    Fuju Pow-Tiger Claw
    Sanuces ryu Jujutsu
    Atemi Arnis Kuntao
    Shotokan Karate
    Doctor Philip Chenique
    Doctor Moses Powell
    Wolf's Rain

Defining Martial Arts
    Bruce Lee
    Penceck Silat
    Martial Sport
    European Martial Arts
    Native American Martial Arts
    Buckskin Gi
    Jeet Kun Do
    Rex Kwon Do
    Krav Maga
    Shaolin Temple

Top 5 Samurai Movies
  Jaredd’s List
1.     Seven Samurai
2.     Yojimbo
3.     The Hidden Blade
5.     The Last Samurai

  Rick’s List
    1.-3. The SamuraiTrilogy
    4. ShinsengumiSeries (2004)
        (Afro Samurai)

  Tony’s List 
1.     47 Ronin
2.     Yojimbo
3.     Seven Samurai
4.     Shogun (TV series)
5.     Samurai 7(Anime)
6.     Bleach (Anime)
(Black Samurai)
  Plinio’s List
1.     Seven Samurai
2.     Sword of Doom
3.     Kagemusha
4.     Shogun Assassin
5.     Samurai Jack

    Toshiro Mifune
    Akira Kurasawa
    Clint Eastwood
    Oda Nobunaga
    Jim Kelly

  Misoula Missouri Boys and Girls Club
      Dog Pound Fight Team

    New Hampshire Martial Artists Kick Breast Cancer
      Fusion Training Center or Exeter, New Hampshire, KI

  Ninja: Shadow of a Tear (2013)
    Kane Kosugi
  Ninja (2009)
  Diggin DaDownloads at the Atemicast network
  Cinema Abyss at the Atemicast network

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In the not too distant future...

COMING SOON TO AN iTUNES NEAR YOU (and eventually other podcast sharing utensils as well)

  My friends (you'll meet them) and I have been working hard to start up a martial arts podcast.  We're going to call it the "Martial Thoughts Podcast."  It is going to be a collection of discussion topics, interviews, and movie/book reviews all geared towards martial arts and martial artists.
  Our Goal is to talk about martial arts and martial ideas in an open format so that we can learn new things about different martial philosophies and practices.  We want it to be like talking to your friends at the dojo over an adult beverage of choice. Our interviews have been going well, and we're always looking for new subject material.  So if you know someone, doesn't have to be famous, that would be a good martial arts interview, let us know (  We're hoping that after we get going, we'll have listener feedback.  We want the show to be as interactive as possible.  At some point in the future, we even want to have live Google+ Hangout chats with listeners as we record the episode.

We have a couple of episodes recorded, and are now working on getting them online.  They should be up in a week or so, right before the holidays.  (Merry Christmas?)  Once they are officially online, I'll let everyone know, and then you can tell your friends about it, and we can grow large and slowly take over the podcasting world (Mu ha ha!).  Or you can just enjoy them and give us some feedback.

What is a "Complete" Martial Art?

O-Sensei striking
    There are many different martial arts, and they all can have different purposes; sport, self-defense, self improvement, historical reproduction, exercise, or whatever else you want to make up as a category.  A martial art usually works on several of those ideas at the same time, but to be a called a complete martial art?  You art should have several different application categories.  Even if the art you practice doesn't have one or more of these aspects, or concentrates to the exclusion of other aspects, you yourself can supplement you training with...more training.  Again I train in a Japanese based art, so the terminology I'm using is such.  I'm sure that Chinese, Korean, Indonesian, and every other art have their own terms for the same categories.  It is only through my own ignorance that I am not using them.  I'm also going to use my own arts of Aikido and Jujutsu to demonstrate some of these categories.

Putin doing Judo (looks like striking...)
  Whether it is punching, kicking, elbow strikes, or eye gouges, there has to be some percussive techniques in martial art.  In aikido, O-Sensei is often quoted as saying "70% of aikido is atemi."1  In aikido and jujutsu we use the strike as a distraction for the real technique, or as a quick pain to give a brief second of time to perform a lock or throw.  Some arts have come to specialize in the percussive parts of the art, or practice the striking as a sport aspect.  Tae Kwon Do goes to an extreme in this and specializes in the kicking aspect of striking, again for the sport aspect.

Tai Sabaki/Whole Body Movements
  Whole body movement encompasses a couple of different ideas, all lumped under one heading.  The general idea is body movement in relation to the opponent, often to get out of the way of an attack.  It includes cutting angles, getting to the dead side, and moving your body of the line of attack.  These are mainly represented in Jujutsu and Aikido by irimi and tenkan.

Nage Waza/Throwing Techniques
   The basic idea of nage waza is putting someone on the ground, while you remain standing.  Aikido and Jujutsu heavily emphasize the throwing aspect of martial arts.  Using balance and pivot points can supplement the force of gravity to create a powerful downward force to injure.  Different throws also specifically throw the opponent so they either land awkwardly, or the cannot absorb the impact very well.  Some arts may concentrate more on sweeps than say arm or hip throws, but they all fit the basic idea.
Kansetsu waza/Joint locking Techniques
  Joint locks are another necessary part of a martial art.  Aikido and jujutsu often uses joint locks to lead to throws.   Because strength is not a defining factor, this is one of the ways that smaller people can use martial arts on larger people.  There are basically two categories of join locks, based on the joint that is being manipulated.  Large joint locks, and small joint locks.  Large joint are things like the shoulder or elbow.  Small joints are things like wrists, fingers, or ankles.  These are generally controlling techniques, however, with additional pressure, they can be used to break people as well.  This covers a lot of grappling techniques, both ground grappling and standing grappling.

  These maybe something specific to throwing arts, but as a personal opinion, something like this should be in every martial art.  Ukemi is almost a whole art in itself.  It is the art of safely receiving a technique.  This will often be how to safely fall from a throw.  I think this should be in the list because of all the things I've learned in martial arts, falling is the one I use the most often.  Being able to fall and not injure yourself is an important life skill in general.

  I know not all martial arts have a weapons program in their curricula, but I think this should be part of anyone's knowledge who wants to call themselves a martial artist.  I've already written on why the study of weapons is an important.  But suffice to say, it should be part of your studies, in my opinion.

1 Aikido Groundfighting: Grappling and Submission Techniques by Walther G. Von Krenner, Damon Apodaka, and Ken Jerimiah

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How long does it take to get a black belt?

Belts for Sale?
      If you've taught martial arts at all you've probably heard that questions.  I have.  I hate that question.  There is no good answer for it.  It isn't what the person wants to know anyway.  Depending on my mood at the time I answer it in a couple of ways.  Neither of these answers are mine, I've borrowed them from other, wiser people.

    Answer 1: "If you pay me $12.00, I'll go to the back and get you one now."  I always say this one with a smile.

    Answer 2: "How long does it take to catch a fish?"  This is my answer if I'm feeling particularly philosophical.

Mastery by Robert Greene, worth the read
    Part of the problem is the question itself is flawed.  The black belt itself doesn't mean anything.  But, it is supposed to represent a certain skill level.  The real question they want know is how much time should it take to master this skill.  Again, the question itself has problems.  The term master is a misused title... but that's a subject for another column.  I've recently read a book called Mastery by Robert Greene.  A great book as an overall subject, but if you read it with a martial arts perspective it becomes extremely relevant to us martial artists.  What Mr. Greene discovered by looking historically and contemporarily is that it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated study to master any skill.  This usually works out to about 10 years of apprenticeship.  What was funny to me was he described an idea that is present in the Japanese language, that we're missing in English called Shu-ha-ri.  What was unusual was that the skill didn't seem to matter.  The time frame was about the same.  I know different system have different definitions of what a shodan rank means, but this should give you an idea. If you practice 3-4 hours a week (52 weeks in a year), it will take about 64 years to master the skill.  This means you have to practice at home.  Or at least be thinking of martial arts problems and philosophies while off the mat.  If you spend about 20 hours a week doing martial arts related things, now this brings mastery down to about 10 years.  That's a scary thought. He uses the example of "natural" prodigies like Mozart.  He had mastered his skill by the time he was in his late teens.  However, he started his mindful practice at age 4.  I know I've been doing martial arts for about 15 years, and I feel I'm just starting to get my own feel for it, as opposed to imitation. If you're interested, check out the book.  It's a good read, and easily plays into martial arts.

So now I have a new answer for this question.  "10,000 hours of mindful practice."