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Cutting from the Wrist
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Wednesday, 24 October 2007
Punch and they will come?

I have been actively deployed with a Military Police unit for the last 6 months and the strangest thing happened… I found a batch of training partners. It is crazy that there seems to be an unspoken rule when around Military people who see you train:

If you throw a punch in the open where some one can see you (and you look reasonably competent doing it) some one will come up and ask you to show them how to do it.

In my mild mannered life as guy just wandering through life… I really have no contact with anyone. My closest friend and my wife are my most trusted training partners. To suggest to anyone else outside of the “Kungfooligan Brotherhood” that they could come and throw hands with us garners the strangest looks. Walking into a new school is always touch and go as many times the school is not what we hope it would be. We often times end up with “throw this reverse punch” or “stand in this crouching grasshopper stance.” Sometimes we get lucky enough to end up with a good school where people are concerned with “training” and not the social aspects of a commercial school.

On this deployment I never set out to churn out a batch of new martial artists. I am not going to open some cockamamie dojo just to turn a buck and quit my day job. I am also not looking to create some legacy with fancy titles and myself on a pedestal. If it’s one thing I have learned in the last few years it is that I am just looking for cool people to train with. That is definitely what I have gotten on this deployment. I found several people who want to train for one reason… It puts another tool into their toolbox to keep them alive while we are over here.

I tell everyone I train with. I don’t think I am Bruce Lee or that I am invincible. I can be hurt, hit, shot, or stabbed. As a martial artist I don’t think I am going to run into a building and take on the bad guys by myself and by hand. I know that I am part of a team and that team uses GUNS. The training that we do not only gives us options should we get STUPID and let some one get too close but it also keeps us fit and thinking tactically. I don’t plan on letting some one get so close they can grab my weapon, but it happens to Police officers every day all over the world. And since they get more training than we do in firearm retention, every little bit of training for us can help.

The toughest part of having new training partners is that some of them are new. Some of them haven’t thrown a punch other than seeing a “Punch Buggy” on the road. It can be tough building from the ground up but then again… Sometimes it can be fun. The biggest part for me to remember in all this is that when it ends… some of these guys will never train again. Then again… some will.



Posted by kroh1 at 4:52 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 6 February 2007
Kenjutsu Documentary

A kenjutsu documentary about  Shinkage Ryu swordsmanship. 


Posted by kroh1 at 7:19 AM EST
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Thursday, 11 January 2007

Yep...Coolest thing ever!!!




Posted by kroh1 at 6:40 AM EST
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Saturday, 5 August 2006
Nike Wing Chun

This Video is a great take on the martial art of Wing Chun while being extremely fun and light.  Great Add.  Great work Nike.



Posted by kroh1 at 12:10 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 6 February 2007 10:35 AM EST
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Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Originally posted in:

In a recent thread in the forum section, a poster delightedly quoted the wisdom of Isoyama Sensei regarding hakama, that "Until Shodan, must to see feet. After Shodan, no need to see feet." With all due respect, I can only wish that Isoyama Sensei did not make this statement because it illustrates a surprising lack of knowledge of Japanese history. Hakama are, essentially, riding culottes. Ordinary Japanese clothing was quite simple: men wore a fundoshi (loin cloth) and kimono, women a kimono with no undergarments. Horseriders (males, for women rode side-saddle, if at all) would be flashing "that which made them most mister" without a hakama to prevent them so flying the flag. In addition, unlike commoners, it would surely be considered unseemly for a bushi to flash his genitals or buttocks in any situation, including training. This was particularly true for women training in any athletic or martial pursuit.

There were formal hakama in which the hem covered the feet. Not being a researcher, I do not know all the reasons for this: among those claimed are that this restricted feet movements, making it more difficult to attack the daimyo in his palace. It may merely have been that nobility always becomes decadent, and this includes their clothing. Another example would be the absurd long-pointed slippers so popular in Europe at one point, the Freudian associations here all too easy to make.

Nonetheless, the hakama was usually meant to be functional. Too long a hem, and it would cover and tangle with the stirrups. Just as bad, the streets of medieval Japan, like those of Europe, were filthy. Too long a hem and the bushi would be trailing manure and other filth into the mansions and palaces where he worked. Thus, a hakama properly should never descend below ankle height. Not only should you ALWAYS be able to see the feet, but the ankles and perhaps even a little shin as well.

It somehow became a fashion within some aikido circles to wear a long hakama which covers the feet. Look at old pictures of O-Sensei, and you will find them as unfashionably short as John Stockton's tight little basketball shorts in an era of hip-hop style "baggies." That one so eminent as Isoyama Sensei is apparently unaware of this (and not merely scoring points on another, younger instructor who has students wear hakama from the first day) is surprising to me in one respect, but I have found aikidoka of every level, Japanese and foreign, quite unaware of their own cultural roots.

I must confess that even I was once so blind (yet now I see). When I got my shodan, I proudly bought, special-order, the longest hakama in the history of the Suidobashi budoya (can't remember the name). I went to Masuda Sensei's class, proudly planted myself in a broad seiza, front and center, so he'd see and call me out for the first technique. He comes in, says, "Oh, new shodan," and happily beckoned to me. Like a tiger, I leapt at him, and my toe catching in the hem, flew horizontally to do a face-plant right at his feet. He and 80 other people in the class were laughing so hard they were crying, and Masuda waved me away without a throw, still speechless with laughter. So truly, with all due respect to Isoyama Sensei, even after shodan, still "need to see feet."

This article was originally written by Ellis Amdur for the Aikido Journal and was used with permission.

Posted by kroh1 at 1:00 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006 1:10 PM EST
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Monday, 13 February 2006
Some Throughts About Training

Fortunately, I have managed throughout my life to refrain for gaining too much knowledge pertaining to lumps... but I am vagely familiar with bumps... and bruises and aches and pains and very sore muscles from hours upon hours of practicing the Ken Suburi in the hopes that if I sweat enough and work hard enough I'll eventually pass out and during my state of euphoria I'll be visited by the Stupidity no Kami who will pass down a few divine secrets sort of similar to how Minamoto Yoshitsune was taught the secrtes of the sword by Sojobo, the Tengu King. I have been training for a while now and that still has yet to happen but perhaps one day.... you just never know.

Whether or not I am ever visited by a Kami or a Tengu or any other supernatural being is irrelevant. I will keep right on training day in and day out, month after month, year after year. This is Shugyo, training. Unfortunately for most people involved in the martial arts whether it be Aikido, Jeet Kune Do, Hapkido, Karate-do, a particular type of Koryu, or any other version that you can attach a name to, they never really get involved in Shugyo. They just practice. They come to class twice a week, learn what little they can and go home without a second thought about what they just did until the next class rolls around. This is very sad, I personally view it as tragic and a very great loss. All Sensei can do is hope that these students will keep coming back enough times to finally realize the benefits that are waiting for them if they choose to seek them.

I never was one of those students. From the first moment I set foot in the dojo I felt a very deep connection almost like gaining something in my life that was missing until that moment and that connection has only grown stronger over the years. Even so it has taken me quite a while to understand the importance of Shugyo, and I'm fairly certain that I'll never fully understand the scope or depth of this sort of training. You see, to me Shugyo isn't about just what happens in the dojo. It also includes everything that goes on in my life outside of the dojo. I believe that one should take the lessons that are taught in the training hall and apply them in every moment of your life. Lessons such as patience, respect, compassion, cooperation, honesty, not just with other people but with myself. Learning to be brutaly honest with myself was and is still one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it has allowed me to address many of my weaknesses and start out on the path to overcoming them. Being involved in Shugyo has allowed me to create some very deep friendships through my constant study of compassion and understanting of others' emotions. It has made me a better technician in the dojo because I have learned the value of slow practice and patience with others, and again honesty with myself. Instead of blaming uke for not falling correctly, I have learned to take responsability for my own mistakes and this has made a huge difference in the way I progress in the art. I literally took the job that I have now because I viewed it as a great oppertunity for me to continue in my Shugyo, my work is very political and public, I have to deal with people all day long, some friendly, some not so friendly. I try to approach each situation with the lessons of Aikido training in mind. Needless to say that I have made many mistakes but I continue to progress in the area of self control, it's just like a big key that has opened many, many doors.

I've read many books and articles and been involved in lots of conversations that talk about how the martial arts can change your life. I agree 100% But only if you take your training seriously, only if you allow it to become Shugyo. How can swinging a wooden sword around for hours and hours make you a better person. The fact is that it can't, not unless you approach the training with a good mindset. Practice with sincerity, in the hopes that learning to use the sword and learning how powerful it really is you'll never have to resort to unsheathing it. Practice your techniques with compassion in mind, understand that by learning to hurt people you can then choose not to.

Contribute your heart and soul to the ceremony at the beginning and ending of each practice, perform the etiquette as deeply sincere as you can possibly manage. Treat your partners as though you were responsible for their very lives and then give yourself to them completely. Take these lessons outside of the dojo and into your very being and become one of few who are really doing O-Sensei's Aikido.

This article was originaly posted to the Aikido Journal by JD Paul ( ) and was reposted with permission.

Special thanks to the Aikido Journal. Please pay them a visit as they have an amazing site with a wealth of information.

Posted by kroh1 at 3:27 PM EST
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Saturday, 14 January 2006
More From Guro Elmore

1. 1 BLOCK - 1 HIT


3. 1 BLOCK 2 - 3 HITS

4. 1 BLOCK 2 - 3 HITS









Hope this helps you with your training.

Guro Harley Elmore
Chief Instructor
Warriors Way International

Posted by kroh1 at 7:35 AM EST
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Tuesday, 10 January 2006



1. 1 BLOCK - 1 HIT

2. 1 BLOCK - 2 HITS

3. 1 BLOCK - 3 HITS











Guro Harley Elmore
Chief Instructor
Warriors Way International

Article reprinted from Warrior's Way International and used with permission.

Thank you

Posted by kroh1 at 4:17 PM EST
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Monday, 9 January 2006
Path of the Blade
One of the things I like most about sword training is the fact that despite many of the injuries I get in practicing many other facets of the martial arts, I can usually still practice with the sword.

One of the things that people ask all the time is whay a man in this modern age would even practice with such an archaic weapon. No one uses one to fight with anymore and the closest that most of us will ever see to an actual killing weapon of this type is a machete. Knives are more practical and easier to carry without invoking a reaction of suspicion and dread. Firearms, while hard to obtain, are the most practical and modern form of weapon that anyone can carry (although the same reaction to carrying a sword might apply to a civilian carrying a firearm.).

So the question remains, why train with a weapon you will never use?

This is a question that happens to arise in a lot of the martial art systems stemming from places like Okinawa, Japan, and China. The martial arts still train weapons such as the sai, kama, and flail from Okinawa, the Abrir (a halberd style weapon) from Indonesia, and the Naginata (another halberd weapon) from Japan. The student often first undertakes the instruction in such weapons as a part of the training without question. After some time when the student is more familiar with what they are doing, they could then start to see the irrelevance of this weapon to their life and surroundings. After all, the halberd is a battlefield weapon from, what is now considered, ancient times and has no relevance in today’s world. Weapons like the nunchuku (flail) can be seen as still practical and easy to carry, however, since most of us are not rice farmers, the ability to get away with carrying such a device is limited (and in most places, illegal).

One of the facets of Japanese kenjutsu (sword methods) training is that is teaches combative distancing. Distancing from an opponent is one of the four primary aspects of a correctly executed technique. By studying the sword’s application of distancing, you learn many things that come in handy when learning empty handed or even modern weapon combat. The first of these is the ability to hit your opponent while being in a relative position of safety. This applies to melee weapons in terms of body position in relation to your opponent’s weapon. If he strikes out to you and you turn or move into a position where he cannot strike you unless he turns toward you, you are now in a better position to strike him. He has to turn to strike at you with his weapon and this application of distancing gives you some time (a breath or two) in order to execute your technique. This also applies to the empty handed martial arts as well. If an opponent moves to hit you and you step away from the line of attack, he now has to turn to hit you (in a manner that would cause damage. In many cases he can still hit you but the attack will be mostly ineffective. There is no power in the attack because of the way he is positioned, unless he turns). Granted, the person in an empty handed fight is closer, but the principle remains true, he has to apply correct posture to do any damage. If you move so he has to turn his body into a correct position, this still grants you the time you need to counter-attack.

Another combat distance principle taught by the sword is the concept of ignoring the body. When one attacks another person in close range combat, something must be extended. If one’s spacing from their opponent is such that it allows for some movement, a person can zone out of the line of attack. This zone can allow the defender to attack the incoming wrist (or limb). This is often seen in kenjutsu when a person comes in with a wide sweeping cut and the defender zones away. A cut is then made to the incoming wrist before it breaks the plane of attack (the place where the wrist turns over and the blade is now in between the attacker and defender). IN iaijutsu (a method of drawing and attacking with the sword in the same motion), A similar method of attacking the limb comes into play when a person goes to draw his sword. The defender sees the man reach for his blade and steps out of the line of attack (once again maintaining good position and distance) and cuts the wrist before the attacker has a chance to draw the blade from its scabbard. This is the same for principles of combat apart from the sword. A person can throw a punch, and rather than simply blocking / parrying or moving out of the way, a person can attack the attack and strike the incoming limb. This serves to deflect and damage the limb so that one has more “bang for the buck.” Thus, sword work proves that attacking the body is not the only way to finish a situation.

One final distance principle taught by the sword is the use of deceptive distancing. This idea shows itself in many of the martial arts of Asia as well as being a staple in Western Boxing. The swordsman might lean a bit or show himself to be off balanced by having something too far forward or back. The person’s center is actually in balance and right where it should be yet he appears to be in the right place to have his attacker take advantage of him. This is seen often times where a fighter might lower his hands to show a false opening or have them in a non-threatening posture so as to make it seem like he is defenseless. This is a lure to bring an attack in by the opponent, which the defender has already planed for and intends to counter. The defender will either be in the right place to counter or will trick the attacker into striking the place where he appeared to be while he strikes from a position of “safety.” Another example of where deceptive distance comes into play is when the swordsmen are ready to engage (squared off), one common trick is to aim the tip of the blade at the other swordsman’s eyes. This takes away depth perception from the opponent’s point of view and makes it difficult to judge how far away the blade actually is. This trick, much like the first, is commonly used in hand fighting arts as well. A person will aim a strike at the opponents eyes just long enough to trick the depth perception into “loosing the distance” and when the opponent raises his defense to be sure, the exponent will alter the strike a bit to change the target into someplace unprotected.

In terms of combative distancing, the sword can teach many lessons. The sword has secured a place in modern martial tradition as a training tool for modern hand to hand combat. As long as people strike out against each other and still fight hand to hand, the sword will still be sought.


Posted by kroh1 at 2:27 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 9 January 2006 4:02 PM EST
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Friday, 6 January 2006
The end of an era...New Beginnings
They say that breaking up is hard to do.

At the end of November I decided to leave the school I have been with for the last eight years. I started at the Derderian Academy of Martial Arts late in 1997. I was looking for instruction in the Filipino Martial Arts and I came across the DAMA add in the yellow pages. I was looking for this type of martial art as I had just gotten out of the Army and had trained in it for a year.

I went to the Academy and was also asked to partake in the Jeet Kune Do class as well. I did this for a few years and one day was asked to assist in a kid’s class for the Kempo system taught at the school. I started to help in the class on a regular basis and was soon invited to join the Kempo Class, which I cross ranked into (as I had rank from a previous instructor).

There are a lot of goals that I didn’t achieve while I was there and more than one I achieved that I didn’t expect. I didn’t get my black sash in JKD. A lot of people said to me that this was a shame. I really don’t see their point of view on this one. I received all the training that leads into that rank. I am well versed in the principles associated with that system. I have the training and the skill but no paper to back it up. No worries…If I ever need it I can always go back or train with some one else to get it. I don’t plan on opening up a school so that point is really moot. I love to train and Mr. Derderian was a great influence in this area…time well spent.

I also didn’t gain any official ranking in the Filipino Combatives program that was offered at the school. I love the Filipino Martial Arts. I find that they are the most dynamic of the martial arts that I have studied and are very practical in their application. It killed me that this program often fell by the wayside and was offered mainly to keep a few students that practiced them happy. I managed to gain a fairly comprehensive skill set while at the Academy and was able to see certain aspects of FMA combat that I lacked in the Family fighting system taught by my army buddy. The FMA’s were the main reason that I went to the Academy and it pains me to leave this program as well as Mr. Derderian is well versed in their methods. Once again, however, I was able to learn many aspects of the art and since I am not a rank hound…Time well spent.

One of the areas I really didn’t go looking into was to garner another ranking in a kempo system. Mr. Derderian’s Kempo (The Shinko Ryu ) was a fairly well put together system that taught a combination of percussive and submittal techniques. Applications were designed to off balance the opponent and then dump him on the “deck” to either put him in his place or so that the exponent could escape. It seemed to be a well rounded blend of American Kempo (I have been observing some of the self defense methods appear in a lot of the other kempo systems in the area. The ones that I have observed seem to be either from the Parker of Cerio methods of Kempo and have only slight variations) and some of the Okinawan hand systems (often called kempo systems to reflect the Chinese influence on the method). There is a smattering of Japanese kansetsu waza inlfuencing the system that seems to be at times pillaging some of the concepts of aikijutsu while still retaining its kempo flavor. When I started I was very unimpressed with the system’s Okinawan kata and the lack of any progressive kata exploration. We did them in solo sets and every once in a while actually applied the methods by doing the kata with partners. Most of the theories in the katas ended up in the self-defense methods and thus were practiced that way. One of my friends who has just started practicing Wado Ryu Karate-do has been clueing me into some of the significance of the katas I have learned and thus they have really opened up for me. There is a lot more there (just like the Japanese kata I learned) than just the obvious and digging for a deeper meaning often revealed a diamond in the rough. I managed to ascend to the rank of Nidan in the system and feel like I accomplished something, as this is the first ranking beyond the basic transmission I have received. Time well spent.

A lot of people have been coming to me and asking me the magic question. “Now that you are no longer in the school, are you going to open your own?” I always look at them and answer with, “Why would I do that?” There is this strange notion that martial arts people when reaching their black belt magically transform into teachers. That is most definitely not the case. Martial arts people are just that. People trying to find out the truth about combat. They might find it in an Asian fighting method or in a Western one, but in either case, they are looking to do more than just punch and kick in a hostile situation. They are not born teachers and many that start to train never even make it to the basic level (shodan or black belt). Many who reach Shodan even start to teach (which would be like taking a high school student and sending them to teach high school right after they graduate). I have never had any intention to open up my own school. I have every intention to keep on training until my joints won’t allow me to. Let everyone else open up the schools, I just want to keep learning.

So that was my insights into my time training in the martial arts from 97-2006. After all this time, my experience at the Academy brought me back to the thought I had when I walked through the door. No matter what happens today, keep training and never get cozy. Complacency is tantamount to mediocrity. Those that are hungry have a tendency to excel while those that are comfortable have a tendency to “hold the course.” It was time to move on and it was time to get hungry again. I now have my business ( HAZARD Studio) back up and running and new classes to look forward to (although I can’t train to the extent I was when I first got back from the Army). It’s a great time to look into new things.

I wish all those that train at the Derderian Academy the best for 2006 and I look forward to training with them once again in the future (Because unless you are a real jerk, you never know how things will end up).


Posted by kroh1 at 2:10 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 6 January 2006 2:14 PM EST
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