As New Years hits we are presented with a bittersweet moment where we reflect on things past and look forward to the future. What was in 2010 will never be again, for better or worse.
A significant part of Budo is coming to grips with mortality and learning how to make decisions, and once made moving forward strongly and bravely so as to better confront the next challenge. It’s with that in mind that we should look back fondly on 2010 no matter the circumstances, knowing we can grow and learn from every experience.
As time continues to march, I’ve sometimes wondered if my love for the martial arts would wain. Over the past decade or so my involvement with the arts has, like a steam engine, slowly built in strength and speed. What was once an average 3-day-a-week activity has turned into a life pursuit, one which I have carefully intertwined into my every day dealings. My work, my writing, my training, my reading all revolve around finding slivers of growth, and helping others find theirs as well.
I’ve learned to build in breaks and purposefully put down my training, even if for just a few days. Even so, there’s always that concern and wonder if one day I’ll find myself falling out of love; when I’ll wake up and not want to touch a gi. So far, after 15 years, it has not happened. Not even close, actually.
It’s beyond my full understanding but the arts have a way of becoming the best part of you, if you let them. Letting go of them would be letting go of Ikigai.
It’s with that I wish you a 2011 filled with strong spirit, so that you may overcome your obstacles and achieve those goals which will help you make the world a better place.
Hey everyone. It’s that holiday time of year, and with it comes Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and Robanukah. In honor of each of these fine occasions, I’d like to wish everyone three holiday wishes.
Wish #1: May you find a small bit of improvement in your art that galvanizes you to continue.
Wish #2: May you balance your martial arts and home life so that each thrives and neither suffers.
Wish #3: May your art bring you happiness and allow you to deliver happiness to those around you.
I like kicking and punching as much as the next person, but that certainly isn’t the only tool you and I should have as martial artists. To optimize our abilities to defend ourselves and others we need a continuum of abilities that are effective at all ranges. An important part of that continuum is joint locking.
In traditional karate we use tuite which has it’s own unique flavor just as jujutsu, aikido, etc. have flavors of their own. Whatever particular style you study, incorporating some form of joint locking is highly recommended.
In order to make joint locking a valid part of your self defense skills, you can’t rely purely on base-level technique walk-throughs. You need to improve your ability to apply locks on the fly and in harmony with striking using “touch reflex”. Touch reflex is a term that describes your immediate ability to know where your opponents body parts are when you make contact with him or he makes contact with you. Furthermore, it describes being able to sense how resistant or distracted your opponent is, thus making the right moment for a joint lock ‘jump out’ at you.
Please check out this video demonstrating how to move your joint lock training from base level to applicable:
It’s critically important to know how to use joint locking in harmony not just with strikes, but with takedowns, trips, kyusho, and any other aspects of your art. Alone each of these elements suffers from vulnerabilities. For example, trying to joint lock a resistant opponent without distracting or injuring him usually results in a muscular struggle as well as adrenaline fueled punches to your head. But when each aspect is used at the proper time with the proper flow the destructive qualities of the whole are significant.