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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.
Yamashita’s Dojo
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.
The Lowest Level of Force
December 7, 2020
The Records area at Rusafa Prison Complex in Baghdad is enclosed by a chain-link fence and was almost always crowded. It’s a stressful place, with inmates being processed in and out, Iraqi military, police, corrections, advocates, politicos, and sometimes families of the convicts are present and a small handful of American advisors.
Physical Reaction to Information
December 14, 2015
Our right to physically defend ourselves is widely accepted in the contemporary world. Most countries have laws protecting the individual from prosecution when he or she is under direct threat and must defend against bodily harm or even death. What is less clear, though, is the degree to which we are allowed to protect ourselves in that narrow window when an aggressor has decided to attack but has not yet attacked.
Nonphysical Reaction to Information
November 2, 2015
We all have the ability to use our instincts. The problem is that we often bury that inherent skill under a lot of what we need to learn to get along in contemporary society. So sometimes we may get a warning message about a potential threat, but then we choose to ignore it, perhaps out of doubt in ourselves, and our feelings, or perhaps because we just don't want to believe we may be in danger. The first task, then, is to hone our instincts through improving our ability to experience anxiety and to proficiently process the information coming in from our environment.
Gangs: A Bigger Problem Than You Think - November 14, 2011
Partygoers got nervous as they noticed groups of young men “mugging” each other at the car show in Kent, Wash., a suburban town just south of Seattle. They weren’t stealing anything, that’s not what mugging means
Saving Yourself in a Crowd - August 30, 2011
Mobs are dangerous. Highly emotional and impulsive, they often erupt violently. Crowds can turn into mobs if members become indifferent to laws, choose to disregard authority, or take advantage of the perceived anonymity that a large group can provide, and follow instigators into violent acts.
Kage-The Shadow - August 8, 2011
This is the fourth book in the Connor Burke martial arts thriller series. Burke lives in Brooklyn, New York where his warrior-teacher Yamashita has his dojo. But the story begins in the unforgiving landscape of the American Southwest. A notorious best-selling author Elliot Westmann is killed.
A Plethora of Weapons for Self-Defense - June 27, 2011
There are a plethora of deadly objects out there that you may encounter on the street. Knowing how they work can give you a leg up on protecting yourself from harm. Major categories include hand weapons, knives, swords, mass weapons, pole arms, multi-element weapons, projectiles, and unusual weapons.
Fighting Ranges and Danger Zones - June 20, 2011
Once a criminal selects a victim, he must move into a position from which an attack is possible. Always remember that to assault, rob, or rape you, he must be close enough to talk to you. He will attempt to maneuver into this position by stealth (which is defeated by being alert), or by ruse… Positioning prior to the assault is vital to him, as he relies almost totally on surprise for success.
Interview with Kris Wilder, Nicholas Yang, and Rory Miller about "Crossing the Pond Martial Expo 2010" - September 13, 2010
YMAA Publication Center supported the inaugural "Crossing the Pond Martial Expo" held Aug. 14-15 in Seattle, and Aug. 21-22 in Coventry, UK. This expo brought together six well-known and highly-skilled instructors of martial arts and self-defense.
Thwarting Terrorist Bombing Through Awareness—Part 2 - June 28, 2010
Awareness of timing has to do with the time of day during which terrorist attacks are most likely to occur. Terrorists are very conscious of media attention, timing attacks carefully to achieve the highest possible level of public impact.
Thwarting Terrorist Bombing Through Awareness—Part 1 - June 21, 2010
This article was written right after the bombing on the London transit system in 2005 and was published in Neth Publications. It is just as timely today with the recent bomb threat in New York City in April 2010. Although some of the statistics are five years old, the core of the article tells you that awareness is the key to survival...
Wicked Words that May Kill You - March 15, 2010
While sticks and stones can break your bones, your words may actually kill you. They can also save your life. Having to be right despite the cost, reacting indignantly in the face of a threat, or insulting an adversary often guarantees that a conflict will escalate to violence.
It’s Hard to Fight When You Can’t See - February 1, 2010
I purchased the wrong type of coffee yesterday, a ground drip blend rather than the whole bean variety that I normally buy. When I popped the top of the vacuum-sealed can, a blast of grit exploded into my face and left eye.
Listen to the Subtle (and Not-so-Subtle) Warnings - January 6, 2010
We’ve spent much time writing about awareness on the street. It’s important in relationships too. Don’t turn your brain off when you walk into your home.
Violence: What Everyone Needs to Know About Fighting - August 2, 2009
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, men commit about 80 percent of all violent crimes in the United States, serious stuff like homicides, rapes, robberies, and assaults. Men are twice as likely as women to become victims of those same violent crimes, except for rape.
Never Surrender - June 16, 2009
The goal of self defense is not to win a fight, but rather to avoid combat in the first place. After all the only battle you are guaranteed to walk away from unscathed is the one you never engage in. Taking a beat-down can seriously mess up your life, yet winners have consequences too.
Spotting an Adversary’s Tell - April 27, 2009
Lawrence A. Kane supervises employees who provide security and oversee fan safety during college and professional football games at a Pac-10 stadium near Seattle, Washington. This job has given him a unique opportunity to appreciate violence in all forms. Along with his crew, he has witnessed, interceded in, stopped, or prevented hundreds of fights. He has also worked closely with the campus police and state patrol officers who are assigned to the stadium. Here is what he says about aggressive behavior as well as the escalation process that precedes violence in crowd control situations.
Mob Violence Is An Eruption With No Warning - February 17, 2009
Gang violence gets a fair amount of copy in the media. But another form of violence is mob violence.  Mob violence rises up, explodes, and then recedes.
Occasionally Hollywood Can Actually Teach You Something - January 5, 2009
Recently I watched "Felon", a movie that makes some realistic and valuable points about self-defense. In most jurisdictions a person can only resort to deadly force to escape imminent and unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm.