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.
Four Applications of Taiji Ball Qigong (太極球氣功之應用) - December 15, 2014
At this stage, you should be able to practice the circling, rotation, and wrap-coiling patterns smoothly. You should also be able to perform each of these patterns comfortably while stationary, rocking, stepping, and bagua stepping.
Nèigōng: Martial Qìgōng for Internal Power - December 8, 2014
The traditional Chinese art of Nèi-gōng is the key to developing more qì (energy) and maximizing your circulation. Continual practice of Nèigōng is a process of internal alchemy resulting in a refinement and transmutation of the "Three Treasures" or Sān Bǎo (三寶).
Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957): The Gentle Teacher of Shuri Te - December 1, 2014
Perhaps it was always Funakoshi's destiny to shed light on a part of Okinawan culture that had for centuries remained hidden from the gaze of the general population. He shone like a bright star in a dark sky and pointed the way forward for the many millions around the world who would take up the challenge of learning.
Regulating the Breath (Tiao Xi) - November 24, 2014
Regulating breathing means to regulate your breath until it is calm, smooth, and peaceful. Only when you have reached this point will you be able to make the breathing deep, slender, long, and soft, which is required for successful qigong practice.
What is Qin Na? - November 17, 2014
Taijiquan (太極拳) 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. In order to achieve this goal, the body must be soft and the movements must be smooth and natural. Taijiquan also emphasizes the cultivation of qi (氣), or internal energy.
Stress and Health - November 10, 2014
We live with different life styles, have different personalities, have different occupations, and come from different cultures. We are all different, but we can also be happy with who we are, what we do, how much we have, and with whom we associate with.
Fond Memories About Okinawan Cuisine - November 3, 2014
I once asked a Japanese friend of mine, who had flown down from the mainland to Okinawa to meet me, if she was enjoying her visit to this part of Japan. Her reply surprised me at the time, as she confessed it was like visiting a different country. The food in particular was very different from the type of dishes she ate on a daily basis with her family in Osaka.
Different Levels of Qin Na Techniques - October 27, 2014
As with most Chinese martial arts, qin na is composed of many different levels, according to different criteria or standards. I would like to define these standards according to several different systems of categorization. First, the levels of qin na techniques can be divided according to how much a person understands the technique and the technical difficulty of the technique executed.
The Sword Way - October 20, 2014
In ancient China, the way of the sword was widely respected. This was so not just because sword techniques and skills were difficult to learn. The main reason was that moral and spiritual qualities were required in order to attain the highest levels of its art.
I.M.O.P. Principle—Intent, Means, Opportunity and Preclusion - October 6, 2014
How do you know when it is legal to get physical with an adversary? Learn the I.M.O.P. (Intent, Means, Opportunity, and Preclusion) principle. All four of these criteria must be met before you have a good case for taking action. If one or more of these conditions are absent, you are on shaky legal ground.
Never Hit A Girl…Unless She's Armed - September 29, 2014
Sun Tzu and Miyamoto Musashi made no distinctions regarding gender. To them all adversaries were defined as combatants. In today's world, distinctions of gender are made by friends, family, police, and the courts. The role of combatant is, oftentimes, secondary. While experienced bouncers, bodyguards, law enforcement officers, soldiers, jail guards, and martial artists know that women can be just as dangerous, or possibly even more so than men, (such as instinctively going for the eyes during an attack) the courts don't often see it that way.
Natural Healing for Depression - September 23, 2014
It was heart-breaking news to hear that we lost one of our favorite entertainers, Robin Williams. Thankfully his humor will stay with us forever. After learning how he passed, I wanted to address the danger of depression and offer some healing guidance.
Modern Trends: Reality-based Martial Arts - September 15, 2014
The rise in recent years of so-called ‘reality’ based martial arts reminds me of other great scams committed against the general public, like bottled water, and who can forget the panic that gripped the world in the 1990s over the Y2K dilemma that was supposedly going to see aeroplanes fall from the sky and shut down every computer on the entire planet.
Acupuncture Points Verified with New Technology - September 8, 2014
Acupuncture is the art of stimulating points in the body to improve circulation and remove blockages, either as a general tonic or to promote the healing of specific ailments.
Account for Adrenaline - September 1, 2014
When I took a defensive handgun course several years ago, I was taught to train for handling the survival-stress reaction commonly associated with actual combat. To simulate the reaction, we had to do as many pushups as we could as fast as we could for one minute.
Action of the Five Building Blocks of Qi (Energy System) - August 25, 2014
In order to achieve a strong energetic system, we must fine-tune each of the five building blocks until fine-tuning is not necessary.
Political Turmoil in Taekwondo - August 18, 2014
On December 31, 2013, Grandmaster Kyu Hyung Lee, taekwondoist extraordinaire, formally resigned his post as president of the esteemed Kukkiwon after holding the position for a mere matter of months. Quickly replaced by Man Soon Jang, Lee claimed his startling decision was founded on irreconcilable differences between two leading factions; one consisting of officials whose behavior is largely motivated by politics, and a second group of martial artists, spearheaded by Lee, with the purity of taekwondo at heart.
Enzan The Far Mountain - A Connor Burke Martial Arts Thriller - August 11, 2014
The following is an excerpt from John Donohue's latest martial arts thriller, Enzan The Far Mountain. Chie Miyazaki is a wild, spoiled, pampered child of a cadet line of the Imperial House of Japan. When she disappears in the United States accompanied by a slick Korean boyfriend who may be taking orders from Pyongyang, it sets alarms off in Japan's security apparatus as well in the U.S. intelligence.
The Art in Martial Arts - July 28, 2014
For many practitioners, the phrase “martial arts” doesn’t do a particularly good job of encompassing the complexity of the systems we study. There is also a certain oxymoronic tension between things martial and things arty and serious trainees often prefer to emphasize the physical efficacy of these systems.
Improving Quality of Qi's Manifestation - July 21, 2014
Here we will discuss how the quality of qi's circulation or manifestation can be improved. First, we should recognize that from Chinese martial art history, it was not until the fifth century that Chinese internal styles were developed, recognized, and practiced.
About the Sword - July 14, 2014
Many martial artists, even those who have studied Chinese martial arts for many years, still have a number of questions about the structure, use, history, and geographical background of the Chinese straight sword (jian).
The Heart of Taekwondo - July 7, 2014
When the heart of taekwondo beats, it gives life to the advancement of supreme discipline, the achievement of noble character, and the cultivation of an enlightened worldview. It breaks the bonds that bind us to the Earth and again, as adults, allows us to feel the wind beneath our feet rather than merely around them.
Dukkha Unloaded-A Sam Reeves Martial Arts Thriller - June 26, 2014
A rush of wind sent debris skittering along the empty sidewalks, filthy gutters, and streets long in need of repair. Though few vehicles passed through the darkened skid row intersection of Northwest Third and Couch at three a.m., its lone traffic signal, swaying in the wind, continued to cycle its colors, casting hues off the sides of old buildings and the cracked windshield of a decaying station wagon propped up on four rusted wheels.
A Few Fighting Techniques Found in the Dukkha Series - June 16, 2014
Many kind reviewers for Dukkha: The Suffering, Dukkha: Reverb, and Dukkha: Unloaded have commented on the realistic violence, in particular the fight scenes. This is always nice to hear because I work hard to infuse the scenes with authenticity and truth. After spending 30 years around man's inhumanity to man, first as a Military Policeman in Vietnam and then as a street cop for 25 years in Portland, Oregon, I find many authors' and movie directors' depiction of violence to be sadly lacking or simply off base.
Qigong for Strengthening and Massaging the Internal Organs - June 9, 2014
Your internal organs are the foundation of your health. Most deaths are due to the malfunction or failure of the internal organs. In order to be healthy and avoid degeneration, your organs need to have the correct amount of Qi circulating smoothly through them.
Qigong for Arthritis - May 19, 2014
In the United States, May is “National Arthritis Awareness Month.” There are two major types of arthritis. According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis, which is the most common chronic condition of the joints affecting approximately 27 million older Americans. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease of the immune system and attacks the synovium (a thin membrane that lines the joints) causing inflammation and pain. (RA) affects approximately 1.5 million Americans.
Guidelines for Taijiquan Practice - May 12, 2014
To successfully learn taijiquan (tai chi chuan), you will need to understand some of the principles and guidelines that have accumulated over the centuries by masters of this ancient art. These principles and guidelines are the foundation of taijiquan.
Historical Survey of Chinese Martial Arts - Part 2 - May 7, 2014
During the Song dynasty (A.D. 960-1278) the monks of the Shaolin Temple continued to gather more martial skills from outside sources. They blended these arts into the Shaolin training. During this period, one of the most famous Shaolin martial monks, Jueyuan, traveled around the country in order to learn and absorb high levels of martial skill into Shaolin training.
Historical Survey of Chinese Martial Arts - Part 1 - April 30, 2014
Chinese martial arts probably started long before history was recorded. Martial techniques were discovered or created during the long epoch of continuous conflict between humans and animals or between different tribes of humans themselves. From these battles, experiences were accumulated and techniques discovered that were passed down from generation to generation.
World Tai Chi and Qigong Day April 26, 2014 - April 23, 2014
Celebrate World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (WTC&Q Day) on Saturday, April 26 at 10 a.m. all over the world. Beginning in New Zealand, this event will spread time zone by time zone across the globe, and will include hundreds of cities spanning 80 countries. Massive tai chi and qigong exhibitions will be held in public places such as parks, community centers, and tai chi schools across six continents. It's a time for people to come together, to breathe together, providing a healing vision for our world.
Weapons and Words - April 14, 2014
A man sees the world through the eyes he has been given. A priest and his daughter in the land called China liberate the wounded Celtic prisoner of war (Vincent) ripped from his homeland. This chapter is about the beginnings of the priest, Mah Lin, who is Vincent's owner.
Traditional Yang Style Taijiquan - April 7, 2014
How Many Techniques in Taijiquan? In the traditional bare hand sequence, the apparent number of techniques vary between 81 and 150, depending on the method used to count and group the forms. Some instructors and writers, for example, will not count repeated forms. But basically, you may judge whether a taijiquan sequence is complete by comparing the arrangement of the names given to the techniques.
Common Sources of Knowledge About Violence - March 31, 2014
We are, all of us, both teachers and students. As teachers, we give our students information. As students, we learn from our teachers. The teachers give us knowledge. This knowledge came from somewhere, from one of four sources.
What are the Possible Types of Back Pain? - March 24, 2014
Back pain can be caused by an overstretching or other trauma to the back muscles and/or tendons. A tearing or inflammation of the ligaments in the spine can also cause back Pain. However, the most common and serious cause of back pain is spasm of the muscles in the lower back area brought on by spinal disease, injury or degeneration.
Empty and Full Moon Breathing Exercise for Abdominal Muscles - March 17, 2014
For this exercise, we will focus on the physical muscles surrounding the lower energy center area. This skill, coordinating the movement of the abdominal and back muscles with the movement of the lungs and diaphragm, should be practiced and emphasized on its own. This exercise is one of those pillar principles that should eventually be incorporated into every mind/body prescription throughout the Sunset Tai Chi program. It is ultimately used with every breath you take.
Bunbu Ryo Do: The Way of The Karate Martial Scholar - March 10, 2014
In the early part of the twentieth century, when Okinawan karate teachers were first asked to provide names for their karate by the Butokukai in Japan, they struggled to come up with a name that did justice to the martial art they practiced. Many of those from the royal capital, Shuri, settled on poetic sounding names that conjured up the spirit of their homeland; Choshin Chibana (1886–1969) chose the name Kobayashi ryu, the small forest school.
Still Sitting Meditation and Still Standing Meditation—Yin and Yang - March 3, 2014
As with all other forms of martial qigong, taiji qigong can be categorized into both yin and yang practices. The yin side of taiji qigong contains exercises that emphasize calmness without movement, and the yang side of taiji qigong has exercises that are more physically active.
Fundamental Eight Stances (Ji Ben Ba Shi) - February 24, 2014
Before you practice traditional Yang Style Taijiquan, you should first learn some important fundamental practices. These practices will help you understand the essence and the root of taijiquan practice.
The Victim Interview - February 17, 2014
I was parked alongside a major street in downtown Seattle. My hands were full of boxes and the mid-afternoon sun was glaring in my face, making it hard to see despite my polarized glasses, so it took a couple tries to get my key into the lock. I awkwardly dragged the door open, nearly dropping some of my packages, and began shoving my purchases in to the car.
Healing with Qigong and Tai Chi - February 10, 2014
Ramel Rones was accepted by Dr. Yang as a disciple in 1983 due to his exceptional learning capability and humble dedication to the training. After years of gold award-winning martial arts demonstrations and competitions across the United States and China, Ramel now works as a Scientific Consultant of Mind/Body Therapies at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and at Harvard and Tufts Medical Schools in Boston, Mass.
Teaching Joint Locks - February 3, 2014
About 2003, the training unit at my old agency got some pretty disturbing numbers. Assaults against staff and hospitalizations had increased dramatically. The programs taught at the academy and approved by our agency weren't cutting it. The Training Unit tasked a few of us to redesign the Defensive Tactics program from the ground up.
Chinese New Year "The Year of the Wooden Horse" Interview with Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming - January 27, 2014
Most non-Chinese people (Westerners) call the Spring Festival 'Chinese New Year.' The 2014 Chinese Spring Festival falls on January 31 continuing through February 6. According to the Chinese zodiac it is the Year of the Wooded Horse. In Chinese Five Element theory, Horse is in the Fire group, which is the strongest fire animal in twelve zodiacs.
Nei Dan Sitting Meditation - January 13, 2014
If you are a qigong beginner, I recommend that you do not start this training on your own. Nei dan qigong is hard to understand and experience, especially for qigong beginners. If you do not understand the training theory and practice incorrectly, you may injure yourself. Wai dan standing meditation is generally much safer.
Teaching Kung Fu to Kids and Teens - January 6, 2014
I teach primarily in my own kung fu studio. I am the owner, head coach and program designer. I pay the bills, open the doors in the morning and lock them at the end of the day. It's very much 'my house'. More recently, I've also been teaching classes at a local middle school. It is an environment, which has its own rules and procedures. I am a guest instructor for a 45 minute once a week program. As a result I am very much an outsider coming into someone else's house.
Meditation Techniques at YMAA Retreat Center - Part 2 - December 15, 2013
Two hard, consecutive chimes signal the start of the second segment. In this segment, we use a breathing technique called embryonic breathing. Embryonic breathing gets its name because it is based on the actions of pre-birth breathing. An embryo absorbs nutrients from its mother with a pumping action of the abdomen, connected via the umbilical cord. We mimic this method with reverse abdominal breathing, alongside movement with the perineum and lower back.
Meditation Techniques at YMAA Retreat Center - Part 1 - December 9, 2013
For a disciple at the YMAA Retreat Center, every morning begins the same way. Before dawn, we quietly rise from our beds and make our way outside, filing one by one into our little gazebo, which overlooks the mountains. Each disciple grabs a mat or a cushion and faces one of two directions: Either east, toward the rising sun, or toward the center of the bagua diagram emblazoned on the floor.
Wai Dan Standing Still Meditation - December 1, 2013
Over the years, various taijiquan and qigong masters have created many postures for standing still meditation. Generally speaking, they are safer to practice than the small circulation exercises because they build up the qi locally in parts of the body, rather than directly in the qi vessels.
The Standing Brocades Qigong: Exercises 6, 7, and 8 - November 24, 2013
The kidneys, which are beneath the two major back muscles, are the residence of original jing (yuan jing). When the kidneys are healthy and strong, your original jing is retained and strengthened. Only when your kidneys are strong will they be able to generate original qi (yuan qi) and enliven your body.
The Standing Brocades Qigong: Exercises 4 and 5 - November 18, 2013
Five weaknesses refer to illnesses of the five yin organs: heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys. The seven injuries refer to injuries caused by the seven emotions: happiness, anger, sorrow, joy, love, hate, and desire.
Difficult Research in Developing Karate—Part 2 - November 11, 2013
Personal research requires you to look inward towards your own nature, and to take responsibility for your karate; to step out of your comfort zone. You can do this by attending events like open courses if you like, but in truth, such challenges do little to aid your progress.