January 18, 2021
Fights are not static. Things move. People move. Bear-hugs and headlocks and all that stuff happen sometimes in a fight, but they are transitional actions. You do not get bear-hugged just to be held (except by bouncers). A Threat wraps his big arms around you from behind either to pick you up and shake you (disorienting and intended as an intimidating show of strength) or to drive you into a wall. Maybe to throw you over a balcony. If you practice technique-based defense, will they work if the Threat refuses to stand there? If he is using that headlock to slam you from wall to wall?
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.
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.
Preparation for Beginning a Tai Chi Sequence
January 5, 2017
Before you begin the sequence it is good to stand in wuji for a moment to focus your intent and your qi.
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.
How to Evaluate a Force Decision - April 16, 2012
Fighting is ugly. Killing is ugly. Getting involved in any force incident is dangerous and it hurts. Violence affects humans at a very deep emotional level, and when we see or hear of an act of violence most people are sickened or outraged. And our default assumption is that anything that sickens or angers us so much must be wrong.
Sport, Health, and Martial Art: Kyogi, Kenko, and Budo - March 19, 2012
For many people training in karate these days, there seems to be only one way to train … their way! Like other martial arts, karate has not escaped the glare of commercialism, and with that, the packaging and branding of each school, style, or association.
Developing Fortitude and Fighting Strategies - November 22, 2011
Polishing the spirit (sen ren shin) is the term used to point the student of traditional karate toward the idea of developing fortitude. This is achieved through diligent training conducted frequently over a protracted period of time.
Ten Precepts of Karate - October 3, 2011
Truths abound. They are all around us like radio waves carrying music through the air; the trick is to discover how to tune into them. For over three and a half decades, I have been guilty of stumbling over more than a few truths.
Shin Gi Tai – Karate Training for Body, Mind, and Spirit - September 26, 2011
The dojo is a special place, where guts are fostered and superior human natures are bred through the ecstasy of sweating in hard work. The dojo is a sacred place, where the human spirit is polished. -Shoshin Nagamine sensei, Founder of the Matsubayashi ryu karatedo.
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.
The Meaning of 'Tradition’ in Traditional Karate - April 6, 2011
Much is written these days about traditional karate, but when it comes right down to it, what exactly is the "tradition"? It takes more than the wearing of a plain, white, karate gi (uniform) to make you a "traditional" karateka. A few bow's here and there and the use of a few Japanese words during training, won't do it either.
Comments on Hojo Undo from Okinawan Karate Masters - December 27, 2010
Since I began traveling to Okinawa in 1984, I have been privileged to meet many great karate teachers over the years. Some have had a worldwide following, while others have not, but the majority of them have had something in common—their sincere love for the fighting arts of their homeland and their willingness to share what they know.
About Junbi Undo—Part 2 - August 22, 2010
"Lift things properly, hit things with care", this maxim should be at the forefront of your mind when embarking upon the study of traditional Okinawan hojo undo. Find your limit with each tool and exercise, and then carefully and methodically push that limit further and further. In doing so you will learn much about yourself and who you really are.
About Junbi Undo—Part 1 - August 16, 2010
In an Okinawan karate dojo, warming-up exercises are known as junbi undo, preparation exercises. Within many Western schools of karate today, the warm-up exercises often have little in common with the mental activity that follows, neither do they always relate particularly well to the physical demands placed upon the specific muscle groups and tendons throughout the body that are about to be used in the karate training itself.
Grandmaster Li, Mao-Ching (李茂清) - March 29, 2010
Grandmaster Li, Mao-Ching (李茂清) was born in Qingdao city (青島市), China, on July 5, 1927. He first began training martial arts in 1934 when he was eight years old, under the instruction and guidance of his father and his cousin Shang, Huan.
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.
¿Golpeas al objetivo? - December 14, 2009
Nunca dudé, al ponerme frente a Kanazawa sensei, que iba a "enchufarme". Pero tenía la absoluta certeza de que no iba a hacerme daño.
Are you hitting the target in Karate? - November 30, 2009
There was never a doubt in my head when I lined up to face Kanazawa sensei, I knew he was going to 'plug' me.
Remembering Chojun Miyagi - November 11, 2009
Among the huge number of so-called karate styles in the world these days, all can be traced back to the island of Okinawa, the largest island in the Ryukyu archipelago that stretches from the southern coast of Japan to the northern tip of Taiwan.