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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.
The Twelve Primary Qi Channels - Part 4 - December 19, 2011
At least as far back as the 3rd century A.D., in the Classic on Disorders (Nan Jing) the Triple Burner was regarded as “having a name but no form.” In the Inner Classic (Nei Jing,) the Triple Burner was considered an Organ that coordinated all the functions of water metabolism.
The Twelve Primary Qi Channels - Part 3 - December 12, 2011
In Part 1 of the Twelve Primary Channels there is a short review of the twelve primary channels and the eight extraordinary meridians.
In-Group, Out-Group: Two Sides of a Hot Issue - December 5, 2011
As both a military policeman during the Vietnam War and as a civilian police officer for 25 years, I was involved in dozens of demonstrations and all-out riots.
The Twelve Primary Qi Channels - Part 2 - November 28, 2011
You should know that in our body, there are six Yang organs and six Yin organs. Each Yang organ is associated with and harmonized by a Yin organ.
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.
Gangs: A Bigger Problem Than You Think - November 14, 2011
Partygoers got nervous as they noticed groups of young men “mugging” each other at the car show in Kent, Wash., a suburban town just south of Seattle. They weren’t stealing anything, that’s not what mugging means
Sensing Qi - November 7, 2011
How is it that the human body can sense energy? Scientifically, we don’t know what qi is. Many people assume it is some kind of electromagnetic wave. Within the body, qi could become an electrochemical phenomenon similar to how nerves transmit impulses chemically through the body.
Training Exercises for Tai Chi Ball - October 31, 2011
The first pattern in external training exercises is known as circling. There are four different methods to complete the circle. Two are related to a vertical plane and two are related to a horizontal plane.
Breathing Exercises for Tai Chi - October 24, 2011
The following will highlight some fundamental techniques required for nei gong. Nei gong is also known as internal gongfu. Internal gong focuses on regulating the body, breathing, mind, qi, and spirit.
Conflict-An Antithesis to Tai Chi - October 17, 2011
If someone were to engage me in one of those word association games-“Say the first thing that comes to your mind when I say...Tai Chi”
Qigong Healing Practices - October 10, 2011
There are four main types of Qigong healing practices: Qigong exercise, Qigong meditation, Qigong massage, and Qigong healing.
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
Shu-ha-ri - The Phases of Mastery in a Dojo and with a Pen - September 19, 2011
It’s not unusual for martial artists to talk solemnly about “the Way” and how the life lessons that have been created through training spill over into the rest of our lives.
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.
Saving Yourself in a Crowd - August 30, 2011
Mobs are dangerous. Highly emotional and impulsive, they often erupt violently. Crowds can turn into mobs if members become indifferent to laws, choose to disregard authority, or take advantage of the perceived anonymity that a large group can provide, and follow instigators into violent acts.
Latissimus or Side Lung Breathing or Wing Breath - August 22, 2011
It is not enough to just breathe in and breathe out, or even sigh and linger. You need to develop the skill of moving the air into specific areas within the lungs. Some disciplines call them chambers; some call them sections, and others call them areas, or rooms. I created friendly names and images for the different areas in the lungs—images that will help direct the air or the breath to wherever you desire it to move.
The Setting Sun and Tai Chi Drills - August 16, 2011
If you have an opportunity, perform tai chi drills as well as the tai chi form in the setting sun. Relax, but do not collapse your entire body and surrender physically and mentally to the gentle warmth and to the powerful drawing and cleansing energy of the setting sun. Of course, second best would be indoors while the sun is setting.
Kage-The Shadow - August 8, 2011
This is the fourth book in the Connor Burke martial arts thriller series. Burke lives in Brooklyn, New York where his warrior-teacher Yamashita has his dojo. But the story begins in the unforgiving landscape of the American Southwest. A notorious best-selling author Elliot Westmann is killed.
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.
How to Practice a Taijiquan Sequence - July 26, 2011
Normally, it takes at least three years to learn the taijiquan sequence and to circulate qi smoothly in coordination with the breathing and postures. You should then learn to transport qi and develop qi balance. Even after you have accomplished this, there is still more to learn before you can be considered a proficient taijiquan martial artist.
Channeling Sekishusai - July 18, 2011
One of the most important aspects of martial arts training (and the thing that first attracted me to the activity) is the linkage between things of the body and things of the spirit. There’s a lot to be said for the physical aspects of training—and if most people are anything like me, it’s almost addictive.
Outdoor Martial Arts—A Guide to Training without Sunburning - July 11, 2011
The image of martial arts students training outdoors is pervasive. From Beijing parks to the Shaolin Temple, from Hollywood and Hong Kong movies to "Kung Fu Panda," the romance of outdoor training captures our imaginations. That attractive image may have some justification. Modern psychologists speak of the outdoors as a cure for "nature deprivation disorder."
Sanchin, Shime, and Hard Impact - July 4, 2011
At the conclusion of the examination, we gathered around the new Godan, and the finger imprints from the teachers slapping his shoulders resonated red and were buried deep in his sweat-covered skin. Just being newly minted black belts, we worked our way around his torso, calling out, “look at this one,” as we discovered with reverence more marks left on his body from the test.
A Plethora of Weapons for Self-Defense - June 27, 2011
There are a plethora of deadly objects out there that you may encounter on the street. Knowing how they work can give you a leg up on protecting yourself from harm. Major categories include hand weapons, knives, swords, mass weapons, pole arms, multi-element weapons, projectiles, and unusual weapons.
Fighting Ranges and Danger Zones - June 20, 2011
Once a criminal selects a victim, he must move into a position from which an attack is possible. Always remember that to assault, rob, or rape you, he must be close enough to talk to you. He will attempt to maneuver into this position by stealth (which is defeated by being alert), or by ruse… Positioning prior to the assault is vital to him, as he relies almost totally on surprise for success.
Regulating the Breath - June 13, 2011
Regulating the breath means to regulate your breathing 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. Breathing is affected by your emotions. For example, when you are angry or excited you exhale more strongly than you inhale. When you are sad, you inhale more strongly than you exhale.
Positive Attitude Required for Black Belt - May 30, 2011
Learning martial arts can be very challenging. It is a lifelong process that encompasses not only internalizing an abundance of fighting techniques, but also learning proper body alignment, breathing, and movement. It is both a physical and mental process.
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.
More Benefits From the Sunset and Sunrise Tai Chi - May 2, 2011
Most of us are shallow breathers. Some of the mind-body prescriptions from both series, Sunset Tai Chi and Sunrise Tai Chi, will introduce you to various breathing techniques, which will develop your lungs and over time you will become a deep breathing individual.
Benefits of Sunrise and Sunset Tai Chi Series - April 25, 2011
Most of us experience relief and joy when the end of the working day has come. For our own health, when the end of the day is here it is time to change pace and let go. This &ldquo;letting go&rdquo; can be different for each of us as it is a time to relax and recharge. The faster we let go of past activities and focus on the present to refresh, gather forces, and dissolve the tension and stress from the day, the quicker we will be able to enjoy the rest of the evening.
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Across the World—April 30, 2011 - April 18, 2011
On the last Saturday of April each year, the entire world is invited to move together, to breathe together—one world, one breath. World Tai Chi &amp; Qigong Day is celebrating its 13th anniversary day on April 30.
Qigong Training Theory - April 13, 2011
Every qigong form or practice has its special training purpose and theory. If you do not know the purpose and theory, you have lost the root (meaning) of the practice. Therefore, as a qigong practitioner, you must continue to ponder and practice until you understand the root of every set or form.
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.
Body Conditioning - Wrist Training - March 28, 2011
If one is to be a true martial artist, one must train their body accordingly to their art. By conditioning, the body becomes stronger and more resistant, making conditioning an essential part of any self defense discipline. When conditioning we must see all the reasons for which we want to condition.
Martial Grand Circulation - March 21, 2011
We always hear stories about Kung Fu (功夫) or Taijiquan (太極拳) masters who have developed incredible skills. One of the reasons why they became so good is because they practiced Martial Grand Circulation. Some martial arts practitioners believe that through Martial Grand Circulation, one can energize the muscles to a higher state of efficiency.
The Twelve Primary Qi Channels - Part 1 - March 7, 2011
Here will briefly review the twelve primary Qi channels along with the eight extraordinary meridians. You should also know the organ's Yin and Yang. In our body, there are six Yang organs and six Yin organs. Each Yang organ is associated with and harmonized by a Yin organ.
Steps in Learning Taijiquan - February 28, 2011
Every taijiquan master has his own sequence of training, emphasizing his methods and content. The following lists general training procedures according to my learning experience with three taijiquan masters and my teaching experience of more than forty years. This is a guide only to the bare-hand training procedures of taijiquan.
Neck and Spine Exercises for Back Pain - February 21, 2011
I would like to stress that the following exercises are based on my personal understanding and treating experiences from both the Western and Chinese medical point of view about lower back pain. I urge you to keep your mind open, study, and absorb other sources of information about back pain treatments.
Some Stretching Qigong Exercises for Back Pain - February 14, 2011
Out of all the Chinese martial Qigong developed in the last fifteen hundred years, there are only a few styles which pay attention to the torso’s strength, especially the spine. These styles are: White Crane, Snake, Dragon, and Taijiquan. The reason for this is simply that these styles are classified as either soft or soft-hard styles of martial arts in China.
Kung Fu Nuns - February 7, 2011
The nuns at the Druk Gawa Khilwa Nunnery in Nepal train kung fu each day in the early morning. A few years ago, several Vietnamese nuns were asked to visit the nunnery in Nepal to teach Kung Fu there. Another Drukpa nunnery in northern India has expressed interest, and the Vietnamese nuns will go there to teach as well.
2011:  The Year of the Rabbit! - January 31, 2011
The Chinese year 4709 begins on February 3, 2011.  According to the Chinese zodiac it will be the Year of the Rabbit, which is associated with peace. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar (not purely lunar). Months begin with the new moon (when it is darkest).  New Year's Day usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice.
Why Meditation is Important in Martial Arts - January 24, 2011
To reach the full potential as a martial arts practitioner, you must begin by training your mind. One way to accomplish this task is through sitting meditation. Through meditation your awareness, calm, and focus will increase. These are all very important factors in martial arts.
The Standing Eight Brocades Qigong: Exercises 1, 2 & 3 - January 17, 2011
The standing set of the Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong is more popular than the sitting set, so there are more versions of it. You should not worry about which version is better or more accurate, because the basic principles are the same.
The Sitting Eight Brocades: Exercises 1, 2 & 3 - January 10, 2011
It has been nearly one thousand years since the Eight Pieces of Brocade were created. It does not matter which version you are training, the basic principles and theory are the same, and the goal is consistent. Remember that the most important thing in the training is not the forms themselves, but rather the theory and principle of each form, which constitute the root.
Coughs, Colds, Breathing Problems - January 3, 2011
The ability to breathe freely is crucial to the practice of the martial arts. Here are some combinations that can help with breathing problems due to a recent cold or hay fever. Note that a commonly accepted guideline for exercise during a cold or the flu is the &ldquo;neck up or neck down rule.&rdquo;
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 <em>karate</em> 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.