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Juji Gatame: The World’s Most Popular Armlock
April 29, 2019
There are, fundamentally, two core ways of “locking” an arm. You either bend it over a fulcrum to cause pain or you straighten and stretch it over a fulcrum to cause pain. Juji Gatame is one of four primary armlocks that attack the elbow joint (as well as shoulder joint).
YMAA Tai Chi and Internal Arts Curriculum
April 22, 2019
At YMAA, students learn qigong (energy cultivation) as part of their taiji or kung fu classes. In ancient times, Shaolin monks trained the cultivation of qi (energy), and realized muscular power could be enhanced to a tremendous level, making martial techniques more powerful and effective. This was the beginning of internal cultivation in Chinese martial arts, starting around 550 AD /CE. In internal styles, YMAA focuses mainly on traditional Yang-style taijiquan which originated from Yang, Ban-Hou (楊班候).
A Fight of No Fight (無爭之爭) as told by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming
April 15, 2019
The best way to win a fight is without fighting. Often you can win a fight with wisdom, and this is better than physically beating someone up. Instead of aggression, use patience and endurance to succeed. Big successes always come from many little efforts.
The First Rule of Self-Defense
April 8, 2019
I’m fond of telling my martial arts students that the First Rule of Self-Defense is “Don’t get hit.” After all, how can you be defeated if no one hits you? This rule makes perfect strategic sense from a pugilistic perspective. However, there is a better and more broadly applicable rule that I prefer to stand by: “Protect your best interests.” What is self-defense, really, if not protecting, or defending, your best interests? The advice “Don’t get hit” is simple and unambiguous, and therefore easy to understand.
The Three Building Blocks Of Learning And Training In Judo
April 1, 2019
In any field of study, there has to be some kind of structure so that the contents of that particular area of study can be logically understood, taught and learned, and ultimately passed on to others. This structure or framework must have a firm theoretical and philosophical foundation based on practical application and, just an important, allow for innovation to take place. It must be fixed, yet flexible so that the activity (in this case judo) has room to grow.
Krav Maga's Training Philosophy - January 25, 2016
Krav maga is designed around a few core tactics to counter a myriad of attacks. Defenders get tools for their toolboxes along with a general blueprint for how to use them. Imi's goal was survival in any defensible situation. While there are no set solutions for ending an armed confrontation, there are preferred methods using violence of action combined with retzev, or "continuous combat motion."
Foam or Knuckles—Navigating the Illusion of Safety - January 18, 2016
If you really want to understand how gloves contribute to the safety of our athletes, especially when it comes to their brains, take a closer look at the physics behind taking a punch with a bare fist or a glove.
Hooks in Violent and Non Violent Encounters - January 12, 2016
Dealing with people who routinely used violence to get what they want, they often sought a "hook." A hook is an excuse to act out or a rationalization that will allow them to excuse their actions later.
Dukkha Hungry Ghosts - December 28, 2015
As Mai and the crowd watch in frozen horror, the Lexus slowly rolls again until it's on its top; the front-end still nose down into the water. After a moment, only the rear back tires are still above the surface. Then they too slip beneath the bay.
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.
Sai: Ancient Marvel of a Weapon - December 7, 2015
Sai (釵, chāi) is perhaps most commonly known in popular culture today as the featured weapon of choice by the comic book characters Raphael of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Elektra of Marvel Comics. While it is not entirely clear how the sai was created as a weapon, it is widely accepted that the sai originated from mainland Asia several thousand years ago.
Additional Exercises With a Partner for Tai Chi Ball - November 30, 2015
It is advisable to have one partner at a time lead the exchanges in the beginning. Follow this with the freestyle method of exchanging where either person may choose to change the direction of the pattern between yin and yang. The following exercises will be the vertical yin-yang circling patterns using both sets of hands on the ball, followed by each person using a single hand attached to the ball. When practicing the exercises using both sets of hands, the ball will be turned slightly along its horizontal axis allowing a crisscross pattern.
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.
Dukkha:  Hungry Ghosts - A Sam Reeves Martial Arts Thriller - November 16, 2015
The following is an excerpt from Dukkha: Hungry Ghosts.  Sam Reeves and his girlfriend Mai are enjoying a morning at Saturday Market, a sprawling weekend bazaar along Portland's waterfront. From the top of a bridge at the market, a crazed man, "Tonto," announces that he will be the crowds designated shooter.
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.
Dukkha: Hungry Ghosts - A Sam Reeves Martial Arts Thriller - October 26, 2015
His legless torso swings back and forth between his arms, as he hand-walks along the dim but ornately lit cobblestone path that meanders about the lavish yard through tall bamboo, past large stone Asian lanterns, around half a dozen towering palm trees, and encircles a large pond. Twelve-foot high brick walls border the large yard on three sides.
Discover the Tai Chi 24 Form - October 19, 2015
The Simplified Tai Chi 24 form is the most popular tai chi form in the world. With only 24 movements, it is the perfect way to experience the amazing health benefits of a shortened tai chi form, no matter your current fitness level. The ancient art of tai chi is often described as "moving meditation" because it stimulates your mind, body, and spirit.
Motivation of the Warrior - October 12, 2015
The motivation of the individual or group plays an integral role in determining the final outcome when facing a combative or self-defense situation. Intention that is positively grounded increases focus, strength, speed, and endurance. Think of a mother lion defending her cubs. She experiences anxiety but is fearless in protecting them. People are the same. Through my years of experience, I am convinced that when we are motivated by what is good, we will eventually prevail over those who are not. We all choose to live by either service, which we might even call love, or power.
Tai Chi Ball – A Lost Art - October 5, 2015
Practice with a wood or stone ball was traditionally part of the curriculum when studying many Chinese martial art styles, until about a hundred years ago. Because of repeated cultural upheaval, some of the deeper aspects of tai chi (known formally as taijiquan, "grand ultimate fist") were lost over time. But now, the taiji qiu or tai chi ball is making a comeback.
Power Issues Relating to Women - September 28, 2015
According to the World Health Organization, one in three women worldwide will be the victim of violence, including sexual violence. Over twenty-two million women in the United States have been sexually assaulted. The FBI estimates only 46 percent of these assaults are reported. These statistics tell us it is vital for every woman and girl to take courses in combatives, both armed and unarmed. This may seem drastic, but facts are facts, and the danger is real.
Guns, Knives, and the Hollywood Death Sentence - September 21, 2015
In order to become a successful screenwriter in Hollywood, you need to watch a lot of movies, so you can learn from the screenwriters who came before you, and so you can get a feel for what else is out there and popular today.  Unfortunately, this important part of a screenwriter's education is also how Hollywood ends up propagating and recycling incredibly stupid ideas over and over again to the point where the audience just accepts it without question.
Tai Chi Sword for Beginners - September 14, 2015
Tai Chi Chuan is a kind of moving meditation with ancient roots in Chinese martial arts. Beyond the bare hand Tai Chi form awaits the elegant and highly effective Tai Chi Sword, which has long been considered the highest achievement in Tai Chi training. The beautiful and flowing Tai Chi Sword form will strengthen your body, sharpen your mind, and raise your spirit.
Protecting the Brain from Trauma: A Home Experiment to Show We Can Do Better - September 7, 2015
If you put on a football helmet right now and smacked yourself in the head with your hands, you might notice you can hit yourself pretty hard before you start to feel pain. You could even grab a stapler or a coffee mug and hit yourself with that. If you are like me, smacking yourself in the head is the first thing you do when you put a helmet on, just to test it out.
Psychology at Work: Developing the "Third Ear" and the Mob Boss - August 31, 2015
In his book Listening with the Third Ear, the psychologist Theodor Reik applies the third ear principle to the process of practicing psychotherapy. He says the proficient psychotherapist must be attuned to the instincts, the third ear, in order to truly understand clients and be sensitive to their needs. In exercising this faculty, we hear what is being said, but another "listening" is taking place as all of the information is coming in through the senses, prompting unconscious responses in the form of associations and spontaneous thoughts and feelings on the part of the therapist.
Qi and Taijiquan - August 24, 2015
There are several questions taiji practitioners frequently ask. How do I experience qi in taijiquan? How do I generate qi? How can taijiquan benefit the body and bring me health? How is qi circulated in taijiquan? How do I use my qi in the martial applications of taijiquan? What is the relationship of qi to jing? All these questions are very important for the practitioner who wishes to approach the higher levels of taijiquan.<br>
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.
Safety In Practicing Taijiquan - August 10, 2015
Is there a safety issue for practicing taijiquan? Yes. I occasionally listen to a program on learning taijiquan while in my car. A host once asked his guest (a famous master of taijiquan), "What physical conditions are required for learning taijiquan?" The guest answered: "You can learn taijiquan as long as your knees are fine."
Boundary Setting—Society's Rules - August 3, 2015
One of the advantages of living in society with a set of rules and mores is that the boundaries are supposed to be set for you. In a homogenous society everyone has similar ideas of right and wrong, appropriate and inappropriate. The rules say who you can and can't touch and how, what you can and can't say and to whom.
Purely Offensive Jing - July 27, 2015
Wardoff jing is a strong yang jing that is used offensively even in defense. In principle, it behaves like a large rubber ball—when pressure is applied, it compresses, and when a certain point is reached, it bounces the outside force away. The opponent's force is often directed upward; as you lift his attack the way water lifts a boat. This jing is often emitted at maximum strength in coordination with the sound ha. It may be done at all ranges, and is often used to bounce the opponent away. This application is forceful, but not directly destructive.
The Sword Structure - July 20, 2015
The sword consists of two parts: the blade and the hilt or handle. Both edges of the narrow-blade sword are sharp; the handle and sword body are always straight. The hand guard is always flat and perpendicular to the blade, rather than circular or oval. Usually, the sword is one continuous piece of metal, and the hand guard and handle are slipped onto the butt end (the tang) and held in place with a knot-shaped nut or with a pin or rivet.
Saga of the Chinese Sword - July 13, 2015
The ancient Chinese regarded the sword as a very important weapon, as evidenced by the relatively large number of documents about it and the frequency with which swords turn up in archeological digs. It is the only weapon that has been used and admired continuously from the beginning of Chinese history to the present day.
The Different Jing and Their Applications - July 6, 2015
Jing can be expressed by the hands, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, legs, or even the body itself. Taijiquan emphasizes the upper limbs and the body, and uses the legs and feet as secondary weapons.
On Practicing Taijiquan—The Five Mindsets - June 29, 2015
Many people are aware that taijiquan is beneficial, but to obtain those benefits one needs "samutpada" (arousal of earnest intention) and one has to pay the price. Everyone can afford it, but most people are reluctant to pay. Whenever I run into taijiquan enthusiasts who want to practice taijiquan with me, what I first say is, "If you want to learn taijiquan you need to pay the price.
Mind Approach in Practicing Taijiquan - June 22, 2015
The Mind Approach in Practicing Taijiquan. The mind approach is a way of practicing with one's heart (mind and intent) as the guidance. It used to have no fixed patterns or rules; however, the mind approach I present has its principle based on the following six points.
Don’t Take It Personally - June 15, 2015
What does that even mean? In Conflict Communications the meaning is very specific. It takes history to hate a person. There must be a history of wrongs or perceived wrongs in order to get a deep and personal emotional bond, positive or negative.
The Why and Wherefore of Conflict Communication - June 9, 2015
How often have you found yourself in an argument with your wife, husband, or significant other and thought, "Here we go again"? Have you ever found the answer to a real problem and had it ignored while the person you are trying to help wastes time and energy picking at you, trying to create a personal problem from a good thing?
Interpreting The Kanji - June 2, 2015
Studying an Asian martial art can be a daunting task for a non-Asian student. Not only do you have to learn the physical postures and how to move from one to the other, you also strive to master the seemingly endless number of techniques. As well, the cultural milieu in which the martial art developed is often confusing. Many times the task you undertake is compared to climbing a mountain, and for good reason.
What's It All About?  Tai Chi - May 25, 2015
Each day, millions of men and women worldwide practice the Chinese martial art Tai Chi Chuan (taijiquan), which has been known for centuries to promote deep relaxation, excellent health, and to prevent injuries and illness. This gentle moving meditation teaches you to find balance between strength and flexibility, increases bone density, while involving all of the various soft tissues in your body: muscles, tendons, ligaments, fasciae, and skin.
Moving Taiji Qigong - May 15, 2015
Moving taiji qigong includes both stationary and walking exercises. The following discusses the first of three stationary sets with exercises. The first one, which I call the “primary set,” is generally used for taijiquan beginners. I call the second set the “coiling set,” since it emphasizes coiling movements. The third set is the “rocking set.”
One World, One Breath: An Interview with Bill Douglas, founder of World Tai Chi Day & Qigong Day—Part 2 - April 20, 2015
I recently spoke to Bill Douglas, founder of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, about his experience with this amazing global event.  Here is Part 2 of the interview.  See April 13, 2015 for Part 1.
One World, One Breath: An Interview with Bill Douglas, founder of World Tai Chi Day & Qigong Day—Part 1 - April 13, 2015
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (WTCQD) will be celebrated on April 25, 2015 at 10 a.m. in every time zone around the world. You can participate in this global day of peace by yourself or with your local tai chi group by simply practicing at 10 a.m. As the day passes, a wave of energy will encircle the globe through the hearts and minds of practitioners on every continent.
Power Training for Tai Chi Sword - April 6, 2015
According to Chinese martial Qigong, the power is first generated from the mind. From the mind, the Qi is led to the physical body to manifest it as power. Therefore, we can see that the Qi is the energy, while the physical body is like the machine. A detailed explanation of Qigong can be found in the YMAA book The Essence of Shaolin White Crane.
About Pushing Hands—Part 2 - March 30, 2015
An (Press or Push Down) means to settle the wrist. It is executed by using the base of the palm, either one palm or both palms can press and push. An can be divided into offensive An and defensive An. In offensive An, the base of the palm is used to push upward to the chin to destroy the opponent's central equilibrium; to the throat to seal the opponent's breath; to push forward to Xinkan (Jiuwei) (i.e., solar plexus area) to seal the breath as well as destroy the opponent's central equilibrium or shock his heart; to push downward to the abdominal area to destroy the stability of the lower part of his body or to seal his breath.
About Pushing Hands—Part 1 - March 23, 2015
Practicing Methods of the Four Directions and Four Corners (Eight Doors, Eight Trigrams). What are the four directions and four corners? They are the eight doors. It is also the theory of Eight Trigrams in Taijiquan. What are the four directions?
Basic Taiji Theory - March 16, 2015
If we desire to understand taiji theory, then we must first trace back to its origins and roots. Only then will we know how and where it came from. Although a great proportion of Chinese martial arts history is vague, we can still trace it with some accuracy and in some detail.
Marshal Yue, Fei's Ten Important Theses—Part 6, Final - March 9, 2015
Grab the right, enter the left. Grab the left, enter the right. When stepping forward, the heels touch the ground first. The tip of the foot uses the toes to grab the ground. The stepping must be steady and the body must be solemn. The strike must be firm, solid, and have Li from the bones. While going (i.e., attacking), the hands are relaxed and when they reach the opponent they become fists. When fists are used, curl (the fingers) in tightly.
Marshal Yue, Fei's Ten Important Theses—Part 5 - February 23, 2015
It is the stepping, which gives your strategy life and creates the hundreds of variations. It is also the stepping, which allows you to react naturally to an attack and avoid or escape from dangerous situations.
Chinese New Year Celebrations—Yesterday and Today - February 17, 2015
The days leading up to biggest Chinese holiday are palpable with excitement. Traditionally, Chinese New Year is marked with feasts, new clothes, red envelopes, performances, games, and lighting firecrackers late into the night. The two-week long celebration is the time to visit loved ones, welcome the spring, and wish for luck and prosperity in the New Year.
Marshal Yue, Fei's Ten Important Theses—Part 4 - February 9, 2015
Xin combines with Yi, Yi combines with Qi, and Qi combines with Li are the three internal combinations. Hands combine with feet, elbows combine with knees, and shoulders combine with hips are the three external combinations.
The Players in Self-Defense - February 2, 2015
No matter what levels of force you need, the players stay the same. It is critical to be able to read the players. The threat dictates the situation. You must understand the problem before you can choose a solution. A charm predator is one thing. A drunk wanting to show off for a girl is an entirely different problem. You must learn to read threats and threat dynamics.
Avoiding Workplace Violence - January 26, 2015
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 18,000 people a week are victimized by some sort of workplace violence in the United States. In fact, although industrial accidents abound, homicide is actually the leading cause of death among female workers and the second leading cause of death for men.
The Practical Problem of Teaching Self-Defense - January 19, 2015
Self-defense is unlike anything else humans train for. Unlike engineering or architecture, you can't have any idea of the problem you need to solve. An engineer knows if he will be building a bridge or a tunnel. A self-defense student will never know if they might someday face a rape attempt, a kidnapping, a drive-by shooting, or a simple assault.
Marshal Yue, Fei's Ten Important Theses—Part 3 - January 12, 2015
This discussion starts with striking and postures.  When talking about about postures, we first discuss Qi.  Man has five viscera, which therefore form the shape. From the five viscera, the Qi is born. Therefore, the five viscera are really the original bearers of human nature (i.e., life) and the source of growing Qi.
Marshal Yue, Fei's Ten Important Theses—Part 2 - December 28, 2014
It is seldom heard that he who discusses striking, also discussed Qi. About the Qi, it is mastered as one but can be divided into two. What are these two? They are inhaling and exhaling. The inhalation and exhalation are the Yin and Yang. The striking cannot (be done) without moving and calmness.
Marshal Yue, Fei's Ten Important Theses—Part 1 - December 22, 2014
Marshal Yue, Fei's Ten Important Theses on Xingyiquan can be considered the essence or the root of the art. We can clearly see that all of the available documents and books written in the last 60 years derive almost all of their theories and principles from these theses.