It was a good day yesterday as we trained outside the dojo in relatively warm thirty degree weather. I got to see the power of using science as a training tool. Good science is about testing ideas and then having the experiments being duplicatable by others, meaning they get the same results.
Our martial art isn’t about mimicking movements of the teacher, it is about using principles to get the same results regardless of who is doing the techniques. Most of the time the principle we are using most is turning gravity into kinetic energy.
One of our students had knee surgery recently and was training with us, slowly. Because of his limitation he was able to discover better the use of gravity to exert less muscular energy and allow gravity to do more for him.
Two other members of our group used the principle of converting gravity to kinetic energy while helping me demonstrate the techniques so well that my body switched from teaching mode to defensive mode on its own. For me this...
Twenty years and one month ago I tested and passed for my first rank at Boston Martial Arts. I had been training for one year and three months. That may seem like a long time, and in other martial arts that I had studied it would have been. The goal of the other martials arts I had studied had been to teach me a set of memorized moves, have me regurgitate them and then get a belt rank. This process would keep repeating until I got to Black Belt.
I actually started the martial arts because it was a more interesting way to stay fit than going to the gym or running. Honestly anything to avoid running. Then I attended a seminar with Mark Davis and everything changed. He spoke, presented and taught differently than anyone I had ever seen in the martial arts.
He didn’t try and sell or show us how great his skill was. He talked about his teachers, their generosity in sharing the art, their awareness of the world around them and how grateful he was to them. He spoke, not shouted when...
Describe sex to a virgin…
Writers do this all the time in novels and screenplays. However no matter how good they are at their craft the words are not enough. There is no way to truly express the experience to someone who has never had the experience.
This is the catch to teaching martial arts for survival in a real conflict. So many instructors have stripped away the experience of the martial arts and replaced it with a simple set of instructions that can be memorized and followed by anyone. The problem is this is not the martial art experience.
When my teacher had me start a training group back in 1992 he told me it was my job to create an experience for the student, so that they discover the principle I want them to learn, without me telling it to them. I have been creating experiments and crazy analogies to attempt to do this ever since. It took me twenty-seven years to finally get to the point where I can do this for anyone.
Early in 2019 a last piece of the puzzle fell...
While watching and listening to the news I often hear people answering political questions based on their team’s ideology without addressing the actual question. I’ve noticed the same thing in conversations with friends. A subject comes up and depending on the side/team they’re on the answers begin.
I get asked what I think, which side am I on. My answer is, it depends. What is the problem?
How can you have an answer without knowing what the problem is?
The same happens in our training. Students will ask is it this or is it that. They are looking for a constant they can rely on. Unfortunately there is not one thing that works all the time. I have to answer them, it depends on the situation. When you are training for self protection you don’t when, where or how you will be attacked.
This is why we use the Shinobi Formula in our training. It is a system of knowing what we want and using what’s available to keep us safe no matter what situation we are in....
Frustration and impatience can take over our training and sideline us in the moment. If our training partner is having trouble we offer kind words, suggestions, jokes and to keep punching in til they “get it.” On the other hand when we don’t get it we start to get irritated and frustrated with ourselves, which frequently goes down the rabbit hole of berating ourselves in all manner of creative destruction.
This takes us out of the moment, out of learning, out of embracing the lesson. It is necessary to be able to stop that trip down the rabbit hole, to be kind to ourselves as we would our training partner to stay in the moment. It is vital to our training and safety to be in the moment, if we get distracted in any moment we can be sidelined and injured. It is less likely at a desk than in a car but it can happen.
By learning not to berate ourselves even in uncomfortable situations, we learn to stay in the moment. The more we are present in the moment the more we...
After Saturday's outdoor training class, I stopped at the local grocery store to pick up a few needed items. As I was waiting in line I noticed the man in the next checkout had a bouquet of flowers, as did the man behind me and several other men waiting in line or exiting the store. I thought what is going on? Why are all these guys buying flowers then it dawned on me, duh tomorrow is valentines day!
Laughing out loud I thought of how many things we are conditioned to do and we never question it. How many men must have bought flowers and chocolates because that is supposedly how to show someone you care about them? I thought about how women do similar acts for valentines day but do not have the same pressure put on them by the marketing industry. Don’t get me wrong we have other pressures from the marketing industry constantly, smile, be pretty, be thin, don’t make waves….
How many times do we do things without thinking or questioning? I am not a fan of...
Today's date is a palindrome. Palindromes are words or sentences that are spelled the same way forward and backward. For instance kayak, racecar, madam, was it a car or a cat I saw, step on no pets, madam I am adam.
So yes just in case you hadn't noticed yet I am a geek/nerd. Which is completely cool with me. It means I have curiosity, ask questions and notice things like today's date is a palindrome. Though technically I am not sure numbers can be considered palindromes. I have the ability to look at life and the world around me with wonder.
The ability to see the world with wonder is part of what everyone I know who trains at Shinobi Science has. It is what hooks us to continue to train, we keep experiencing and see the wonder of moving with taijutsu/gravity. It keeps us giggling and making jokes about everything during training. We are playing and discovering how amazing we can be.
If you are interested in discovering the wonder of training please click the link below.
I just read an article that says scientists have recorded and discovered seven distinct fish choruses off the coast in western Australia. They sing at dawn and dusk. I find this incredible and yes I listened to the recording. Really pretty amazing if you ask me.
There is communication all around us in nature but we have so often for many years ignored it. We have a bias for our human communication thinking it’s superrior. Are we? I think not. We are just different.
Trees communicate with each other with underground root relationships where they can share signals with each other. If a tree is sick the others share nutrients with it. If you have ever seen the documentary Blackfish you know the Orcas have a complex communication system. As do the primates, elephants., wolves, whales, bees….. The more we study and learn about their communication between each other, with the planet and other species, the more we understand how complex life is and how we are all connected.
I saw a video on Youtube about Jack Dempsey. It talks about his early life and how he started fighting very early for survival. Jack traveled around looking for work and opportunities.
He would take up a street fight to earn a few dollars so he could eat. Frequently when he fought then he hadn’t eaten for several days, so his strength was certainly diminished so ending the fight ASAP was vital to him being able to win. The longer a fight went the more likely he would be too tired to be effective. The more likely he would be injured. The more likely he would lose.
His fighting strategy was like the one I have learned from my teachers, if you have to fight, end it as quickly as possible. Each extra moment is a moment that it can go bad for you. All of my teachers Rumiko, Mark and Dennis have stressed this point. Fights don’t last long. We train to be efficient at ending conflict because we don’t want to fight. We just want to make it home.
If you would like to...
Yes, someone brought a sled to Saturday's training. So she and I went sledding on the huge snow hills at the back of the parking lot. We went just a few times but there was much laughter and joy!
The first time I went down I crashed about half way because I wasn’t paying attention to gravity. I was just thinking about getting to the bottom of the hill. The next couple of times I noted where the sled was balancing in gravity. As I went down the hill I made the adjustments with the sled to stay in balance and gravity. No crashing just laughter on those runs.
The training we did in class was the same thing. Using awareness to balance in gravity and change our shapes without our partner perceiving it, allowing us to strike them at the same time. True shadow boxing, ninpo shadow boxing. When my partner got it right, my perception lost her and my mind was thinking “What? Where did she go?” and BAM she got me in the same moment.
So if you would like to know more about the...