Origin of the Blood Oath
September 18, 2023
And there it was. It’s not only my injuries that wake me in the night. In the vulnerability of the dark, I wonder if the point of Yamashita’s art is not about skill or technique but simply about pursuing an unshakeable willingness to surrender the self in the pursuit of something higher.
August 14, 2023
The following is an excerpt from John Donohue's upcoming martial arts thriller, Keppan: The Blood Oath, coming to YMAA Publication Center in September 2023. This is the sixth installment of Donohue's gripping martial arts thriller series about martial artist Connor Burke. Fusing the way of the pen and the way of the sword, Donohue has trained in the martial disciplines of aikido, iaido, judo, karatedo, kendo, and taiji. He has dan (black belt) ranks in both karatedo and kendo. A nationally known expert on the culture and practice of the martial arts, Donohue infuses his thrillers with genuine cultural and martial aspects that every reader will enjoy.
Some Martial Applications in Taiji Pushing Hands
August 16, 2021
The Thirteen Postures, (are derived) according to the theory of five elements and eight trigrams. They are the thirteen total jings of pushing hands. There are not another Thirteen Postures. The five elements are advance, retreat backward, beware of the left, look to the right, and central equilibrium. They can be interpreted by dividing into internal and external.
Heng and Ha Sounds Qigong
June 7, 2021
In the taiji classics it is written, “Grasp and hold the dan tian to train internal gongfu. Heng, ha two qi’s are marvelous and infinite.” It is also written, “The Throat is the second master.”
Training Contents for Taiji Push Hands
January 25, 2021
From the fundamental practice of single pushing hands, advancing into double pushing hands, (you learn) to listen, understand, advance forward, retreat backward, beware of the left, and look to the right. When (you) have reached a natural reactive stage of using the yi without the yi, then (you) may enter the practice of moving pushing hands. (However, you should know that) in moving pushing hands training, the practice of advance forward, retreat backward, beware of the left, look to the right, and central equilibrium also start from single pushing hands. Its main goal is to train central equilibrium so it can harmonize the criteria of advance forward, retreat backward, beware of the left, look to the right.
Theory of Taiji Pushing Hands - December 14, 2020
When discussing the concept of pushing hands we often envision two individuals engaging in an exercise where one is attempting to find the other’s center of gravity (i.e., physical center) and push them off balance. In some cases, the tendencies of aggressive behavior evolve into a competitive interaction between the two individuals, and unfortunately the essence of taiji pushing hands becomes lost with one person winning the match through use of force. Pushing hands practice involves the application of taijiquan theory and basic movements into matching actions with a partner.
Taiji Ball Qigong - November 30, 2020
Traditionally, taiji ball qigong training was a very important training for many external and internal styles. The reason it is so effective is because taiji ball qigong, using wood (internal styles) or rock (external styles) balls in the hands, helps focus the training in round movements. Consequently, this training is able to increase the endurance, strength, mobility, and flexibility of the practitioner's physical body, especially the torso.
Tai Chi Jing Practice - October 26, 2020
Often jing has been considered a secret transmission in Chinese martial arts society. This is so not only because it was not revealed to most students, but also because it cannot be passed down with words alone. Jing must be experienced. It is said that the master "passes down jing." Once you feel jing done by your master, you know what is meant and can work on it by yourself.
Preparing Some Herbs - July 6, 2020
Your best bet is to have pots dedicated just to working with herbs. In fact, if you are going to work with herbs that are toxic, it’s a good idea to dedicate some of your pots and utensils exclusively to topical and/or toxic preparations. Sure, you’ll clean them well after each use, but there’s always the chance of a bit of herb impregnated wax sticking to the inside. The last thing you want when you’re making a nice stew is bits of arnica or menthol getting into it.
Theory of Taiji Ball Qigong (太極球氣功之理論) - November 12, 2018
The theoretical foundation of taiji ball qigong is based on the theory and philosophy of taiji (太極). From this theory, practices were developed. In order to understand the root of taiji ball qigong training, you must first understand the meaning of taiji in taiji ball qigong.
Karate: Is There Equipment That Can Help Me? - July 23, 2018
Much of modern karate training can be done simply by refining one's technique through careful internal reflection. The only thing required is a karate uniform or do-gi. However, there can be great benefit to using equipment in training. The use of equipment can be vital for developing a method of direct feedback regarding the execution and delivery of power into a target. To this end, equipment can be used for two primary purposes: (1) understanding the internal feeling of the body as a technique impacts an object, and (2) developing focus and power delivery through correct alignment to a target outside the body.
Introduction and Short History of Tai Chi Ball Qigong - January 9, 2018
Though the existence of taiji ball qigong has been common knowledge in both Chinese martial arts and laymen societies, its popularity has been limited due to the secrecy of the training techniques. Taiji ball qigong training, in each style, was kept secret and passed down only to trusted students.
Keri: Kicking Techniques - April 10, 2017
One difference between martial arts styles developed in Asia and many of the Western arts is the refinement of the legs and feet as striking weapons. In Shotokan karate in particular, kicking techniques, or keri are seamlessly integrated into the curriculum and are one of the six major classes of techniques (zuki, uke, uchi, nage, keri, and dachi).
Four Fundamental Requirements of Martial Arts - March 20, 2017
Karate-do, or any other martial art, is, at its core quite simple. However, it can be made far more complex than what it actually is. The multitude of techniques, combinations, kata, and partner drills—combined with nebulous concepts like "use your hips," "lower your stance," "do budo karate," "make more kime," and "use your ki"—can make martial arts seem overwhelming.
The Karate Science of Wrist Rotation - February 27, 2017
I was reading through one of my martial arts group news feeds the other day on Facebook, and I stumbled across a question posed by one of the members. The question was based on the fact that, as we all know, a block is not a block, but rather a receiving technique.
Train with a Partner using a Tai Chi Ball - November 23, 2015
Practice with a partner. This will allow you to focus on your sense of distancing as well as enhancing your connecting, adhering, and sticking jin skills. Whether you are practicing pushing hands or engaged with your enemy, these skills are necessary for positioning an opponent into a disadvantage and defeating them. In the following exercises, when it is recommended that one person at a time initiate a movement, the training for the passive partner is to stick to the ball and yield to the direction of the initiating partner. This is also an important element in training.
Some Movements for Tai Chi Ball Practice - August 17, 2015
The following are some movements that you may find helpful while practicing tai chi ball. It is best to do each exercise for 12 repetitions. 1. Stationary (Ding Bu. To begin this exercise, stand in ma bu and start the stationary horizontal circling pattern using a yang pattern. Once you have increased the size of the circle to your maximum range of motion, repeat the pattern for a few repetitions.
Four Applications of Taiji Ball Qigong (太極球氣功之應用) - December 15, 2014
At this stage, you should be able to practice the circling, rotation, and wrap-coiling patterns smoothly. You should also be able to perform each of these patterns comfortably while stationary, rocking, stepping, and bagua stepping.
Enzan The Far Mountain - A Connor Burke Martial Arts Thriller - August 11, 2014
The following is an excerpt from John Donohue's latest martial arts thriller, Enzan The Far Mountain. Chie Miyazaki is a wild, spoiled, pampered child of a cadet line of the Imperial House of Japan. When she disappears in the United States accompanied by a slick Korean boyfriend who may be taking orders from Pyongyang, it sets alarms off in Japan's security apparatus as well in the U.S. intelligence.
The Art in Martial Arts - July 28, 2014
For many practitioners, the phrase “martial arts” doesn’t do a particularly good job of encompassing the complexity of the systems we study. There is also a certain oxymoronic tension between things martial and things arty and serious trainees often prefer to emphasize the physical efficacy of these systems.
Improving Quality of Qi's Manifestation - July 21, 2014
Here we will discuss how the quality of qi's circulation or manifestation can be improved. First, we should recognize that from Chinese martial art history, it was not until the fifth century that Chinese internal styles were developed, recognized, and practiced.
Taiji Ball Qigong Training (太極球氣功之練習) - December 3, 2012
Taiji ball qigong is a mixture of internal gong (nei gong, 內功) and external gong (wai gong, 外功). The internal gong includes the development of the feeling between the physical body and qi and also learning how to use the mind to lead the qi efficiently.
Advanced Taiji Ball Training (高級太極球之練習) - June 25, 2012
The following exercises are a sample of how you may take your tai chi training even further. As you will see, there is no limit as to how much you can train. It is up to you to challenge yourself to reach deeper levels of understanding and excel at taiji ball training.
Breathing Exercises for Tai Chi - October 24, 2011
The following will highlight some fundamental techniques required for nei gong. Nei gong is also known as internal gongfu. Internal gong focuses on regulating the body, breathing, mind, qi, and spirit.
Shu-ha-ri - The Phases of Mastery in a Dojo and with a Pen - September 19, 2011
It’s not unusual for martial artists to talk solemnly about “the Way” and how the life lessons that have been created through training spill over into the rest of our lives.