Hello everyone! Every now and then I like to celebrate a milestone of the website. Happily one such milestone is approaching. The Facebook Fan Page is approaching 10,000 group members!
This is great – I didn’t suspect it would grow so large and I’m very thankful it has.
In order to help get us over the hump, I want to do a giveaway. This giveaway is rather special because it is going to feature IkigaiWay T-Shirts. These are the first of their kind as IkigaiWay has never had any personal swag outside of stickers.
A custom printing company called OoShirts has been kind enough to offer three shirts for the giveaway. OoShirts is a private startup out of Berkeley California and I am happy to support them.
Here is a peek at the shirts you’ll have a chance to win. I will gather the correct sizes after the winners have been declared and contacted.
The front of the shirt features the unique Ikigaiway tree with mitsu domoe. The site name is featured below the emblem. The back of the shirt displays kanji for the famous saying “Fall down seven, stand up eight”. A quote that I feel truly embodies what the martial arts can provide in our lives.
How to Enter
Entering for this contest has two easy steps.
1. spread the word about Ikigaiway.com.
You can do this one of two ways. If you have a blog, you can make a mention of the site and link to it. The context of the mention is totally up to you.
The second is by utilizing the Facebook “share” button. Goto the Ikigaiway facebook page, and locate the share button as shown below:
(click the image to enlarge)
2. Tell me you did it.
Drop a quick comment on this blog post to let me know you shared. Be sure to include your email address when filling our your commenting name so I can reach back out to you.
How will I know if you actually shared or not? Because you gave me your word that you did, and you are a martial artist. It’s what we do and who we are. You’re word is good enough for me.
End of Contest
The contest will end after we crest the 10,000 fan mark. At that time, all the participating names will be put into an electronic hat and three will be drawn randomly. Those winners will be contacted in order to get their proper size and shipping address.
Good luck, and thanks for all your support!
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It’s that time of year again. Time for Martial Arts Santa to make his appearance!
For those of you who remember the previous exploits of Martial Arts Santa, thanks for sticking around the blog for so long! This year he’s going to focus on that wonderful tradition of gift-giving.
As opposed to normal martial arts gifts like a new bo or a copy of “Karate-Do: My Way of Life” (great book btw), M.A.Santa is going to dig a little deeper and try to recommend some resources and items that the martial artist in your life may not have heard of.
Whether you need some fresh ideas for yourself or a loved one, check out these M.A.Santa approved items:
In 1609 the Shimazu Clan of Satsuma, Japan staged a bold takeover of the Ryukyu island chain. Unfortunately, most karate resources briefly mention the event, state that the Shimazu reinforced weapons bans on the island, and move on.
This excellent book delves deeply into the details of the conflict, exploring the military capabilities of both the Japanese and the Okinawans.
Richard Kim is a very well known researcher and practitioner of the classical arts. He had a large impact on the development of western martial arts.
In this book, Kim Sensei tells a series of stories that illustrate the character, skill, and mindset of classical individuals throughout our collective martial past.
Included are stories of Funakoshi, Musashi, Higashionna, Miyagi, and more.
When I first began my sword training, my instructor recommended this book to me. It was a real game changer! The author, Dave Lowry, is a highly respected researcher and storyteller in the realm of Koryu arts.
In this book, he explains the unlikely circumstances of how he met a true Yagyu Shinkage Ryu Master and became a disciple of the art.
If you’re in the first few years of karate training, or would just like to establish a better understanding of history, “Okinawa: Island of Karate” might be a good choice for you.
This DVD, presented by George Alexander Sensei, provides a quality walkthrough of karate and kobudo history. Also featured are unique video clips from old masters, and a trip through Okinawa’s Budokan Museum.
It’s quite likely that this is my favorite martial arts documentary of all time.
“Budo, the Art of Killing” was filmed in the late 70s and features high level experts in a multitude of Japanese and Okinawan arts.
The thing that makes this documentary special is that it touches upon the heart of each art and doesn’t get caught up in gimmickry.
Bill Hayes Sensei tells an amazing story in his book “My Journey with the Grandmaster”.
This book provides discussion of concept, mindset, and spirit, mixed with personal experiences of the author on Okinawa.
These are all top shelf resources and I hope you’ve seen something here that you’ve never seen before.
Happy gift giving!
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Kata is very energetic. Once you get on a role, it can feel like an avalanche of focus and momentum.
In some ways, that’s good. It means that the form has been learned and you no longer need to pause, scratch your head, and try desperately to remember what comes next. Unfortunately, that same momentum can carry you away and cause you to miss some of the finer details of kata execution.
One aspect that is frequently overlooked is…looking. Often, when individuals perform a kata, they become transfixed on what their hands and feet are doing. They snap blocks, fire punches, and move crisply. However, throughout the entire performance, their head stays laser straight, looking ahead at all times.
That sounds like a good thing, right? You would want to be looking in front of you if that’s where the bad guy is. The problem occurs in the directional changes.
If we move our entire body without looking where we are going first, we’ve made a conceptual error. Although the kata dictates we go one way or the other, we need to visualize a real opponent in that place. As such, a real opponent can be unpredictable. We can’t simply shift and block and magically know where the attack is coming from and at what distance. We have to LOOK first. Once we spot the enemy, we can then act in accordance with kata.
Often looking means turning our head slightly and shifting our eyes to the new opponent. We do this before committing to a stance or response, as is advisable in a real confrontation. Therefore, during training, we can take an entire pattern and make sure our eyes and head are moving before technique execution.
Of course, as with any good rule of thumb, there are exceptions.
Even though kata tends to turn in many directions, such movements do not necessarily mean a new opponent is arriving. Sometimes it can indicate that you, the defender, have trapped your opponent and are throwing them. Your body movement is then an ample method for creating that throw. If this is the case, you wouldn’t need to be looking all around – you’ll want to focus on the opponent at hand and execute the throw to maximum efficiency. After that, you can either strike the grounded opponent again or move on.
The important factor here is knowing which method of visualization you are employing. If you are keeping your eyes straight ahead during a turn, is it because you are maximizing a throw? If not, and you intend to address a new opponent, would you be wiser to take a peek first?
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