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Needle Through Brick: A Postcard of Traditional Kung Fu from Borneo
February 11, 2021
Needle Through Brick is a documentary that poses these questions by taking an intimate look at some surviving traditional Kung Fu and Tai Chi masters of Malaysian Borneo, particularly Sarawak and Sibu. There’s a large Chinese population here, a diaspora of masters who fled the Japanese occupation and the communists. Needle Through Brick presents insightful interviews of Borneo’s unique elder masters as the precious disciplines that they have dedicated their lives to face extinction.
Happy "Niu" Year! 2021—Year of the Ox!
February 8, 2021
To Chinese, this most important celebration of the year is known as "Spring Festival" (春節; pinyin: Chūnjié). It is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast (年夜飯; pinyin: niányèfàn) on New Year's Eve (除夕; pinyin: Chúxī). In Chinese societies, people may take weeks off from work to prepare for and celebrate this holiday. With about 3 billion passenger trips over the 40-day travel season, it is described as the world's largest annual human migration.
Takedowns and Throws
February 3, 2020
The Israeli krav maga curriculum incorporates several core throws. Founder Imi Lichtenfeld was awarded a black belt in judo by Moshe Feldenkrais, who trained in Japan directly under the legendary Kano Jigoro. At the green-belt level (third belt level in the official krav maga curriculum) Imi incorporated several of judo’s most accessible and effective throws and takedowns.
2020: Enter the Rat! The First of the Twelve Chinese Zodiac Signs
January 20, 2020
The Chinese year 4718 begins on January 25, 2020. According to the Chinese zodiac it will be the Year of the Rat (鼠年 - “rat year”; pinyin: shǔnián). 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. The year 1 on the Chinese calendar corresponds to the first reign year of the legendary Yellow Emperor (黃帝; pinyin: Huángdì), who is said to have invented the calendar during the 61st year of his reign.
Judo - Skill Is the Practical Application of Technique
January 13, 2020
The words technique and skill are often used to mean the same thing, yet they are separate and interdependent. This article is devoted to exploring what skill and technique are, and why it's important to understand how they work.
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.
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.
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.
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 karate 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.
The Value of Practicing Sequences - November 14, 2010
As a martial artist goes through training, they will encounter many years of practicing sequences. A sequence, (Quan Tao), is a continuous flowing routine made up of a number of defensive and offensive techniques. Japanese systems often call this a Kata (or literally: "form").
Practice Any Time, Anywhere - November 1, 2010
Consistent daily training makes all the difference in achieving your rank. Because there is so much to learn and everything builds from kihon, it is important to make a commitment to try to learn something new about your martial art, no matter how small, every day.
Ancient Short Weapons - October 18, 2010
Short weapons can be divided into two classes based on length. Very short weapons measure less than two Chi (approximately two feet). Often they are no longer than the distance from the hand to the elbow. While short weapons range in length from two to five Chi.
Daoism and the Sword (道教和劍, Dao Jiao He Jian) - October 4, 2010
Many people wonder why martial arts are practiced by religions like Buddhism and Daoism that teach about compassion and humility. The idea of a warrior monk seems contradictory because in people’s minds the martial arts are linked with violence.
Interview with Kris Wilder, Nicholas Yang, and Rory Miller about "Crossing the Pond Martial Expo 2010" - September 13, 2010
YMAA Publication Center supported the inaugural "Crossing the Pond Martial Expo" held Aug. 14-15 in Seattle, and Aug. 21-22 in Coventry, UK. This expo brought together six well-known and highly-skilled instructors of martial arts and self-defense.
The Dojang—A Safe Haven During 9-11 - September 6, 2010
On September 11, 2001, I was employed in New York City at a job that I would soon vacate in favor of teaching martial arts professionally. On that tragic but stunningly brilliant morning, I stood on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Nineteenth Street watching the destruction of the World Trade Center unfold before my very eyes.
Ancient Chinese Weapons - August 30, 2010
A country as vast as China encompasses many types of terrain. Whereas deserts and high plateaus cover the northern territory, mountain ranges dominate the west. The southeast coast and central zones, favored by the Chinese for thousands of years, are lush and warm with many lakes, ponds and rivers.
About Junbi Undo—Part 2 - August 22, 2010
"Lift things properly, hit things with care", this maxim should be at the forefront of your mind when embarking upon the study of traditional Okinawan hojo undo. Find your limit with each tool and exercise, and then carefully and methodically push that limit further and further. In doing so you will learn much about yourself and who you really are.
About Junbi Undo—Part 1 - August 16, 2010
In an Okinawan karate dojo, warming-up exercises are known as junbi undo, preparation exercises. Within many Western schools of karate today, the warm-up exercises often have little in common with the mental activity that follows, neither do they always relate particularly well to the physical demands placed upon the specific muscle groups and tendons throughout the body that are about to be used in the karate training itself.
A Month at the YMAA Retreat Center - July 26, 2010
I lived and trained at the YMAA Retreat Center for the month of March 2010. Close to the end, Dr. Yang asked me to write something about my experience there. Now, sitting in a café in my beautiful hometown in Germany, I think about the time spent there.
Seize the Opportunity with Chin Na—Part 2 - July 19, 2010
A Chin Na expert must also know how to escape from an opponent's Chin Na control, and be able to counterattack and reverse the situation. To escape from an opponent's control, you must master several techniques in addition to those explained in the previous section.
Seize the Opportunity with Chin Na—Part 1 - July 12, 2010
Chin Na literally means "seize control." Chin Na covers a wide scale of defensive and offensive techniques, from very fundamental hand grappling to the very advanced Dim Mak. The fundamental techniques can be learned by any martial artist or even by someone without any martial arts experience.