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.
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.
What is Enlightenment Meditation?
November 14, 2022
The first step towards enlightenment is to establish a strong will, without which you will not finish the training.
Purposes of General Meditation
October 31, 2022
“…if you can control your consciousness without falling asleep, you can build up a better sensitivity for energy correspondence with the outside world. This is one of the desired states in meditation practice.”
Taiwan, Teachers, & Training: An Interview with Yang Jwingming ~ Part 2
March 14, 2022
Now that you have provided us with some fascinating background details dealing with family, studies, and work, I'd like to focus on your martial art studies. What exactly got you interested in these arts? Please provide some details about your very first teacher.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.