Archive for April, 2009

Apr 29 2009

No Class Sunday, Shawn Gray Seminar

Published by under Seminars

There is no class this Sunday cause everyone cool will be at Shawn Gray.  Bring Rope and Boken or Shinai, no hard weapons.  Be ready for some awesome training.

3 responses so far

Apr 24 2009

What keeps you uninjured

Published by under Training at Home

In short doing what I say, and not doing what you feel in too much.

Let me explain, I will teach you skills you need to train in class and I will teach you techniques which you are able to preform and receive with your skill level.  I will also give instructions on how “hard” to train.  When I say slow down, it’s probably best to slow down.

So if you hear my voice raised ever, you have probably been doing something very wrong for a long time.  If I tell you to stop, I would suggest highly that you do that.  I will not have injuries in my classes on account of carelessness.  Next person to step out of line during a class I will deal with you on the spot.  I will not produce a dangerous nobody.

You have been warned.  Your life is on the line, train well.

3 responses so far

Apr 15 2009

Don’t fight Gravity, use Gravity to fight.

Published by under Training at Home

I feel that I should mention this, specifically for musha dori.

When you have musha dori (the lock) we often try to scoop up the opponents elbow.  To fight you they are using their muscles plus gravity.  If instead you drop your body while keeping your hands in place, you are using gravity against their muscles.  I hope you can understand without a visual.  I use musha dori because it’s easy to illustrate.  If you need a crude Anton Diagram I will give it to you.

If you can understand this method of movement you can use it in nearly all your techniques.  If you start to understand this the need for strength in your techniques will decrease significantly.  In fact I will argue that sometimes adding strength will be detrimental to your techniques.

Give it a try, you will be pleasantly surprised.  Your life is on the line, train well.

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Apr 13 2009

Saving Lives

Published by under Other Stuff,Training at Home

That’s what we are about in the Edmonton Bujinkan Crowd.  I will just make short mention of it because I am waiting for a first hand full detailed account.  That said one of the dojo’s members was nearly crushed by a falling pipe (industrial sized) but used ukemi (a dive roll specifically) to get to safety.

This is why ukemi is important, I am a firm beliver that if you learn it well it will help you more often than the combative techniques.  Don’t disregard ukemi.  Your life is on the line, train well.

One response so far

Apr 09 2009

US West Coast Tai Kai

Published by under Media Review

Recently there was a tai kai featuring two friends of mine, Paul Masse and Rob Renner.  You can see a preview for the video here.  It can be purchased at for 29.95 US.

I am waiting for my copy right now actually.  I usually would not pre-approve a video but these are two guys who have significant Japan experience.  There is a real connection that they have which I have to insist people analyze and try to emulate.

A short note about Paul and Rob.  Paul Masse trains weekly with sensei where he is occasionally translating.  In fact all the times that I have been in Japan I think I have been to one Hatsumi Sensei class where I did not see him.  The same can be said about Rob.

In addition to Sensei’s classes Rob trains with Oguri, Nagato, Noguchi and Seno Senseis.  He occasionally translates for Oguri and Nagato senseis.  (Rob also teaches 5 classes a week at his own dojo.)

Thus you can be sure that you are in good hands when you learn from them.  That’s all I have to say about this video, for now.

2 responses so far

Apr 08 2009

Seated Sei Chu Sen

Published by under Bujinkan Training Drills

So I talked about the true centre line before.  The less space you have the more important this will become.

The art of Budo Tai Justsu works because we can control the space (well this is one of the reasons) and when we are doing seated waza it is no different.  This is why when you are doing the seated kata (or kata from a seated position) you must use your body to maintain the space.  This includes putting your legs and arms in a way that obstructs your opponents entry into your space (like in sei chu sen).  Having space increases your mobility, your movement allows you to control the distance.

Until we can effectively control the space in all situations (even seated), we can’t hope to understand the basics of Budo TaiJutsu.  Those who don’t understand basics in my opinion are wasting time trying to learn the higher level techniques.

Now I know that I have said this on numerous occasions in class, and I think that I may have mentioned it on this blog before as well but I am too lazy to use the search.  When you are practising something new, don’t go full out.  Learn the technique properly by slowly increasing intensity.  It is easy when dealing with “Ground Fighting” to go 100% with very little risk of injury.  Although it’s safe it will hurt your technique and taijutsu concepts.  You may win at first using speed and power.  It’s easier to build muscle than technique, but technique will win in the long run.  Build up intensity gradually and learn the correct way.

Your life is on the line, train well.

No responses yet

Apr 06 2009

Suwari Waza

As those who have been at class know, we have started our ground fighting month.  I have decided to start with Suwari Waza because you can (or should be able to) relate the earlier months principals to this new situation.

This of course is easier said than done.  There are some differences between standing waza and seated waza and they are as important as the similarities in some cases.  I will help you out with one difference that could make all the difference in the world.

Generally when seated you have three points of contact with the ground not two.  This changes the points where your opponent is off balance.  Understand that it is a bit more difficult to move your opponent to an off balance situation however there are now three close points to take their balance.  Your opponent is a tripod, generally with one point of the triangle pointing at you.  This makes it difficult to drag them forward.  If you move them backwards though, you will find it easy to take their balance.  Going directly left and right might be a bit difficult however forward and to the right as well as forward and the the left are two more directions where you can more easily take your opponents balance.

This is very difficult to explain without either drawing a diagram of showing it through pictures.  Those of you whom were at class however should be able to see from whence I come.

Essentially I will break it down intellectually like this, if you have one point of contact with the ground, I can push you over in any direction easily.

If you have two points of contact, there are two points where you can be taken easily.

If you have three points of contact, there are three points where you can be taken most easily but each one will be harder than the two points from the previous example.

It’s easy to show but hard to explain, this is the nature of budo in general.  Everyone let me know if you need further clarification, or maybe I might even put a diagram with enough requests.   Your life is on the line, train well.

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Apr 01 2009

Required Viewing/Reading

Published by under Other Stuff,Training at Home

I have often been told I am a difficult person to understand.  A friend of mine (Cliff) seems to have the best explanation.  I pack to many references in what I say.  If you don’t have a similar background in Education or interests you will not get a lot of what I say.  So I decided to make up a list of clips that will help you in class if you are having trouble understanding a few of my quotes.  You don’t have to like the same stuff, you don’t even have to watch it, (the required part was a joke) it will just help you understand a bit better.

1.  Venture Brothers – the guys in Calgary got me on this one.

2.  The Young Turks – when you hear me say “Weak Sauce” or “B-E-A-T, beat.” this is where it comes from.  (Warning some clips are left wing politics heavy for you conservatives reading.)

3.  Family guy – Self evident I think.

4.  Metalocalypse – because Budo is metal, and Toki is the man.

5.  Hamlet, Othello and Much Ado about Nothing – Cause I liked those ones.

6.  Bruce Lee Movies – Cause we are a martial arts class.

7.  Mas Oyama Trilogy – Cause Sonny Chiba is the man.

8.  The Strongest Karate – Cause I used to take Karate, and back in the day Karate was bad ass.  (Can you spot the Bill Atkins look alike?)

9.  Histories Strongest Disciple Kenichi – Some people who write about martial arts research concepts.  This is the best researched martial arts series I have ever seen.

10.  Japan Stories – This is from the shihan and other Japan residents.  I reference teachers movements and mannerisms as best I can.  You have to go to Japan to get who I am impersonating that day.

Oh I guess I better add some science fiction, Lenny Henry and other British Comedy (I think we should return to the gold standard).

No responses yet