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Some “Art” and Some “Science” of Combat Sports, Martial Arts, and Self-Defense
August 8, 2022
Martial arts, combat sports, and self-defense are different realms, and, while interconnected, they are not entirely the same.
A Scientific Approach to Self Defense
July 4, 2022
The entire Tiger Claw combination should only take a few seconds to execute completely. With practice, you can deliver all four moves in less than three seconds.
Self-Defense and the Law
June 20, 2022
When claiming self-defense, you are admitting that you are guilty of what would normally be a violent criminal action and that you did so intentionally and knowingly. However, you are also stating that your actions were justified under the given circumstances.
Meet the Author: Joe Varady and Gene Ching Have a Fun Chat About Hitting People with Sticks (video)
April 6, 2022
YMAA Publication Center author Joe Varady talks with Shaolin staff practitioner Gene Ching about his new video series The Art and Science of Staff Fighting, his method of cross-training many martial arts, HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), and the reality of using long weapons (or a broom!) in real life defense situations.
Meet The Author: Ramel Rones Talks with Gene Ching About Bringing Tai Chi into the Medical Community (video)
February 2, 2022
YMAA author Ramel Rones talks with Gene Ching about his pioneering work bringing tai chi and qigong into the medical community for decades.
Fighting Range Strategies - November 15, 2021
If you cannot overwhelm the attacker and end up temporarily disengaged facing him, you should keep moving to prevent becoming a static target and to camouflage any additional tax you must unleash as you launch into retzev. (Retzev is a Hebrew word that means continuous motion.) In short movement from movement is more difficult to discern then movement from a stationary position.”
Anatomical Targeting Strategy: Works for Both the Attacker and Defender - October 11, 2021
Keep in mind that you don’t want any type of fighting chess game; instead, the goal is to eliminate any and all of his future counter-movement and counterattack capabilities. In other words, achieve checkmate with your first or second optimized combative as soon as possible.
Understanding Physiological Reaction to Threats and Violent Conflict - July 12, 2021
The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) mobilizes your body’s nervous system fight-or-flight response. Immediate SNS activation occurs when you recognize and face imminent violence. Once activated by the perception of possible impending bodily harm, the SNS in turn activates immediate physiological changes by flooding your body with stress hormones. Your freeze, fight, or flight response hits full throttle
Push Defense: Police Hold Number Eight - June 28, 2021
As with all self-defense combatives there is a legal side, should you apply a joint lock on someone. Not only do you risk civil and criminal charges of battery, you might also face the risk of being convicted of false imprisonment.
Handling Aggressive People - May 31, 2021
Obviously, you cannot simply wish away a possible violent episode to avoid it. Silent hoping has little chance of removing the threat. This form of denial lands people in deep trouble when they are attacked and freeze, thereby absorbing the assault. Recognize there are violent people who will attempt to harm you. Sometimes, fortunately, you can change this dynamic by providing a non-violent solution.
Krav Maga: Lower Back Combatives - March 29, 2021
You can perform krav maga kicks at low, torso and head-level heights. To deliver head kicks, you'll need flexibility, balance, and enough strength to lift your leg. The Israel Defense Force, (IDF), in developing its krav maga program, set up tested candidates, many of who were talented martial artists, to run extensive distances with full combat loads. After an exhausting run in combat gear, the candidates were told to defend against an attack using whatever techniques they felt most comfortable. Few test candidates favoring high kicks could perform them. Their physical exhaustion prior to the fighting tests made high kicking extremely difficult.
Mind Body Exercise for Relaxation, Health & Strengthening Your Immune System - April 20, 2020
Physical tension usually turns into mental tension. Mentally you think you are “relaxing” on the sofa but actually, physically, you are collapsing. Over time you find yourself sore and stiff and not relaxed at all. Tight muscles pull on the bones which restrict the movement of your skeleton and over time cause physical discomfort and pain.
A Brief History of Stick Fighting and Why Learn It - March 9, 2020
There are many practical reasons to learn how to fight with sticks. Stick fighting is a healthy, competitive activity that has real world applications. Stick fighting skills are very practical for self-defense, while stick fighting also serves as a sport, offering both entertainment and fitness. It appeals to all types of people, of all ages and ability levels.
Essential Stick Fighting: Crossing the Gap - February 24, 2020
The human mind can be very predictable. Our brains have a natural tendency to look for patterns, and you can use this knowledge to trick your opponent into doing what you want him to do. This is called programming. Programming is an exceptional method of setting up your techniques, maximizing the probability of eluding your opponent’s defenses in order to land a decisive, disabling strike.
Takedowns and Throws - February 3, 2020
The Israeli krav maga curriculum incorporates several core throws. Founder Imi Lichtenfeld was awarded a black belt in judo by Moshe Feldenkrais, who trained in Japan directly under the legendary Kano Jigoro. At the green-belt level (third belt level in the official krav maga curriculum) Imi incorporated several of judo’s most accessible and effective throws and takedowns.
Not All Krav Maga is the Same - October 21, 2019
I am concerned for the future of krav maga. Imi Lichtenfeld created too formidable a fighting method for it to be relegated to the pile of self-defense and exercise fads. Grandmaster Haim Gidon has spent fifty years enhancing Imi’s teachings and producing several generations of instructors who have both become and helped train some of Israel’s most capable and finest warriors.
Krav Maga: Developing Power and Balance for Maximum Effect - September 16, 2019
The following emphasizes the how of effective krav maga, in terms of how you use your body for the best outcomes. Israeli krav maga is designed to work for anyone regardless of athleticism, skill, size or gender. There are a few elementary techniques that you can perform instinctively and apply to a wide variety of situations. Importantly, you need not master more than a few combatives to become a kravist or competent krav maga fighter capable of defeating any type of unarmed or armed attack or threat.
Krav Maga Control and Disengagement Strategies for Social Violence - July 8, 2019
A moment of anger leading to violence can cost you everything, literally.  When facing the specter of social violence – a confrontation you can avoid and escape – how do you best opt-out? How do you walk away without feeling emasculated or that you blinked first? Ultimately, how do you disengage convinced that it was his lucky day?
The Legality of Protecting Yourself with a Martial Art - June 1, 2019
If avoidance, de-escalation and escape fail, the goal is never to waver about resorting to counterviolence in the face of violence. True self-defense focuses not simply on survival, but rather on how to neutralize the aggressor. There is no pity or humanity in a, perhaps, desperate visceral self-defense situation provided the counterforce is legally justifiable. Legally, you must be able to articulate what you did and why you did it. Your actions must be objectively reasonable to allow for an affirmative defense, should you face legal inquiry.
Footwork and Figure Eights with a Staff - January 18, 2017
Footwork is essential to hitting your opponent without getting hit yourself, which is really the whole point of staff fighting. The general rule on footwork is to keep your body weight balanced over a stable, but fluidly mobile base, staying light on the balls of your feet at all times.
Easy Training Equipment for Staff Fun - December 5, 2016
Here is your opportunity to become the "Lord of the Rings" (sorry, I just couldn't help myself!). Training rings allow you to develop accurate, penetrating thrusts as well as circular techniques used in manipulation of an opponent's weapon. They are useful for training both staff and spear.
Combat with the Staff: The Moment of Truth - November 25, 2016
It is not unusual for sparring with the staff to feel awkward at first. There is a big difference between doing drills with a partner, and the chaos of combat against a non-compliant opponent who is trying his best to hit you. Stick with it.
What is Staff Fighting? - October 17, 2016
The staff has been a common weapon among the many cultures of Earth since ancient times. Over the ages, humans have used this basic weapon for self-defense and for contest.
The Art and Science of Staff Fighting - September 19, 2016
The staff, or bo, is one of the most common weapons in the martial arts.  Many karate schools include bo forms in their curriculum. I am here with Master Joe Varady, martial artist and weapons specialist, to talk about the staff.
Defending Against Multiple Assailants Part 2 - July 25, 2016
The axiom that street violence is volatile and unpredictable could not hold truer than when facing multiple assailants.  Facing multiple assailants, let alone multiple armed assailants, is an extremely dangerous proposition.  Try to recognize the situation as soon as possible such as if two people are walking towards you and they suddenly fan out to your left and right.  Running and escaping is your best solution.