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Simple Drills Worth Knowing
January 30, 2017
The following are important things, some little, some major, that lend themselves well to simple drills or exercises. Backing up is almost never the answer. Unless you are excellent at reading and remembering tactical terrain, you might not know what or who is behind you.
Evaluating Drills—Part 2
October 31, 2016
I get especially annoyed with weapons. Unarmed defense against a weapon sucks. Never, ever, ever practice dying and do not train to be killed. The stakes are too high to blindly imprint a habit, even a habit as simple as handing a weapon back once you have disarmed someone.
Evaluating Drills—Part 1
October 24, 2016
I'm not a big fan of most drills. There is a fine line, but conditioned reflexes are crucial in a fight and habits will get you killed. Conditioned reflexes are things you do without thinking about it. They are essentially trained flinch responses. If something suddenly comes at your eyes you WILL do something: block, move your head or, at the very minimum, blink.
Not Parlor Tricks
September 12, 2016
The following aren't actually tricks. They are exercises that you demonstrate once to show a deeper truth. Most will not work on people a second time. Some will learn to game it.
DRILL: The One-Step
August 29, 2016
The one-step arose as a useful accident. Many years ago I was reading George Mattson's The Way of Karate and I completely misunderstood his description of ippon kumite. I thought, "That's brilliant—unscripted but safe, just looking at this whole thing as a meat geometry problem…"
Counter Assault: Surviving Attacks - September 12, 2011
Talking to a friend in a public place, her eyes suddenly focused over my shoulder and went wide. I turned fast, elbow up, spinning and drop-stepping towards the Threat. Didn’t feel the solid contact of a head, but felt an arm brush away and continued.
Counter Assault: Attack from the Front - September 5, 2011
When a threat attacks you, he has a plan and his is counting on your surprise. He is expecting you to freeze in fear and leave him free to do whatever dastardly things he has planned. He expects your own adrenaline to ensure that he wins. An operant conditioned response will kick in before the adrenaline surge that might trigger freeze rather than fight or flight.
Facing Violence: The Unconscious Stuff-Finding Your Glitches - August 1, 2011
In my own experience, almost everyone hesitates before doing a dangerous or uncomfortable thing. Whether jumping out of an airplane or diving into cold water or singing karaoke in public, very few people can just go for it without hesitation the first time.
More About Violence Dynamics - May 23, 2011
Social violence can roughly be delineated as the Monkey Dance (MD), the Group Monkey Dance (GMD), the Educational Beat-Down (EBD) and the Status-Seeking Show (SSS).  The MD and GMD were discussed in <a href="/articles/violence-dynamics">part one</a> of this article. We will continue starting with the Educational Beat-Down.
Violence Dynamics - May 16, 2011
Bill and I were talking to the warden in an Iraqi prison, drinking chai. A gun fired. Other than ours and the warden’s bodyguards there shouldn’t have been loaded weapons in that section of the building. I put down my tea, stood and drew my sidearm. I started clearing the building.
Self-defense: Down and Dirty - May 9, 2011
Let's start with one, very simple thing—power generation. A traditional martial artist is taught how to hit hard. Different systems have different methods of power generation, but two of the most common involve a solid connection with the ground and good structure.
Fundamental Moving Patterns of Xingyiquan - December 6, 2010
We will begin this discussion by introducing the most basic stationary posture of Xingyiquan, the three body posture (San Ti Shi). This posture is also commonly called the three power posture (San Cai Shi) or Taiji posture (Taiji Shi).
Seize the Opportunity with Chin Na—Part 2 - July 19, 2010
A Chin Na expert must also know how to escape from an opponent's Chin Na control, and be able to counterattack and reverse the situation. To escape from an opponent's control, you must master several techniques in addition to those explained in the previous section.
Seize the Opportunity with Chin Na—Part 1 - July 12, 2010
Chin Na literally means "seize control." Chin Na covers a wide scale of defensive and offensive techniques, from very fundamental hand grappling to the very advanced Dim Mak. The fundamental techniques can be learned by any martial artist or even by someone without any martial arts experience.
The Seven Aspects of Self-defense - January 13, 2010
The following article is an excerpt from an upcoming book by Rory Miller, tentatively titled 7. It will explore the seven aspects that are critical to self defense, giving you a few hints on staying alive, or if you teach self-defense, some critical information you can pass along to your students.
Taiji Chin Na - Martial Application - May 4, 2009
Taijiquan was originally developed for combat in ancient times. Its fighting theory is to use the soft against the hard, and to use the round to neutralize the straight or square.
What is Xingyiquan? - October 6, 2008
In order to survive in what is oftentimes a violent and cruel world, animals must very quickly develop the ability to protect themselves from natural dangers and other animals.
The Contents of Baguazhang Training (Baguazhang - Part 2) - September 29, 2008
We can see from the available documents that Baguazhang covers a very wide field of training. It includes not only barehand techniques, but also many weapons.
The History of Baguazhang (Baguazhang - Part 1) - September 24, 2008
The martial arts history which has been passed down to us is fairly vague. In fact, it was not until this century that an effort was made to trace back this lost history.
Meditations on Violence - May 22, 2008
People are weird. They have an almost infinite ability to learn and communicate. At the same time, this amazing ability is used as much for fantasy and entertainment as it is for information and survival. Take, for example, the rhinoceros and the unicorn.
Truly Learning Chin Na - January 21, 2008
Though it is very hard to catch the Chin Na techniques with 100% accuracy from a book and a video, many techniques can still be learned as long as you ponder, practice, and humbly ask.