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Martial Arts Studies Conference 2024: A Fighting Scholar’s Paradise
July 1, 2024
As a first-time attendee and presenter, at the Martial Arts Studies Conference, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in this thought-provoking and inspiring experience. 6 Min. Read
The Importance of Belonging to the Wulin
June 17, 2024
YMAA Staff writer Gene Ching ruminates on the society and culture of martial artists known as the wǔlín. 6 Min Read
Bring Your Body Into Balance
May 6, 2024
Slow, Deep breathing stimulates the main nerve of the parasympathetic nervous system called the vagus nerve, which in turn releases hormones and neurotransmitters that slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure and generally brings your body into balance. 5 Min Read
From Warm Hand to Warm Hand
February 26, 2024
With the abundance of martial arts resources and the power of today’s communication technology, YMAA staff writer Gene Ching ponders what effect it might have on the traditional arts for the next generation. 5 Min. Read
Why your teacher is not God - The infallibility illusion in traditional martial arts
December 18, 2023
It is easy to fall into the trap of seeing our martial arts masters as infallible or near-invincible in skill. However, this mindset is not just erroneous, but downright dangerous too. The following article will explain why.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Five Categories of Qigong Exercises - October 21, 2013
It is very important to keep the qi or internal energy circulating smoothly in your body. Many different kinds of qigong exercises have been created to achieve this, but they can generally be categorized into five groups according to the main purpose of the training.
Principles Common to Both Qin Na and Ground Fighting - September 30, 2013
A lever is the simplest of machines, which utilizes a rigid bar to rotate around a fixed pivot point called a fulcrum in order to exert force on an object (load). If the resistance or load exceeds the strength of the bar, the bar will break. Biomechanically speaking, the arm is a bar, and when the fulcrum is at or above the joint, breakage can easily occur.