Last night in the Togakure Ryu Leadership class our discussion was about patience. We strive to have the ability to respond to a situation as it is unfolding in an appropriate way.
To do this we need to have patience, to watch as it is happening and responding for that moment appropriately. Once that moment is done, it is the next moment we are in. We watch how the attacker reacts, to change our response as is necessary. It takes patience to watch, as opposed to taking the situation to where we believe it is going, or to our desired projected outcome.
The kata Do Gaeshi is an example of this. You pin the attacker to the ground with an arm bar and choke. As the attacker tries to escape instead of forcing them back to the ground, you use their rising energy to flip them over and pin them face down even more effectively. It takes an aware, patient mind in the middle of a violent situation to use this moment of transition to your advantage.
At Shinobi Science we use the Shinobi Formula...
Recently several people have reached out to say thank you for our posts. One said it was a daily training moment of Zen. Many have said it helps keep them sane and gives them something to look forward to.
Thank you to all of you who have reached out. We are grateful. We are grateful to know we are helping you train and stay connected to the art.
To those of you who are able to be members, we are especially grateful to you. It is because of you that we are able to keep going, training and sharing the art and all its many facets with you.
At Shinobi Science we share our understanding and thoughts, words and actions of the art so that you can learn to have a safer happier life.
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We are grateful and look forward to training with you.
I am learning French slowly but surely. It is not an easy language to learn. It would have been far easier to learn Spanish. Most would think that would be the language more useful to me. That would not be considering the whole picture.
I grew up in a state with towns where French is the first language. I have friends in Canada and from Haiti whose first language is French. I have other friends who speak French who I can practice with. French is the most appropriate for me before I hopefully move on to other languages.
This art has so much information. There are nine schools with different taijutsu basics. There are a plethora of weapons. There is armor and no armor. There is swimming, walking, running, rolling, camouflage, and tree climbing techniques and many others. There is so much information. It is said to take forty years to see everything. All of this while still training to refine our movement and understanding of the basics or fundamentals of the art.
So how do...
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.