How to Look Like a Victim for Self-Defense

How to Look Like a Victim in Self-DefenseEvery person has different things to keep in mind when it comes to how their situation looks when using physical force to defend one’s self. Smaller women, like me, are more concerned with not looking like a victim, so we teach them how to carry themselves with confidence when walking about (more details in How to Avoid Looking Like an Easy Victim). We also teach them to make their psychological intention stronger to make it clear that they are not an ideal victim to their aggressors while simultaneously adding more force to their physical defense (more details in The Power of Intention in Self-Defense). But what about bigger, stronger men? Their situation is quite a bit different when it comes to how the situation looks, especially when it comes to bystanders.

Especially now when videos are easily taken with smart phones, bigger men have to be concerned with how they appear to potential witnesses when they use force to defend themselves. Even if they’re not the aggressor, and resort to reasonable physical tactics only to protect themselves, they might still be seen as the aggressor simply because they’re bigger, as many people only come to witness a fight after it’s already in progress, not having seen how it started in the first place. Add obvious combat training to their size and it makes it look worse. (more…)

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The Benefits of Being an Uke for Belt Tests

On the surface, being an uke or “beat-up dummy” for a belt test can seem like tough gig. The role of uke (Japanese for one who receives) involves holding pads for strikes and attacking the student testing so they can demonstrate their knowledge and abilities. But if you look past the surface, there are a number of benefits the uke receives while being hit, thrown and submitted.


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Julie Black Belt – Book Review

julieblackbelt.pngOk, quick disclaimer. This particular review and this product is really directed at parents of young children who are in the martial arts, or instructors of children. So if you’re not interested in illustrated books for children, then take a scroll through some of our other reviews, that cover things like self-defense and traditional martial arts books, or our ever popular Nutty Buddy review.

This review really covers both books, even though the publisher originally asked me to review the sequel. The first book, entitled Julie Black Belt – The Kung Fu Chronicles is the first book and it takes our young protagonist Julie, and teaches her that it takes focus, patience and hard work to make progress in the martial arts.


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Advice for People Starting a Martial Art Later in Life

Advice for Older Students Taking Up a Martial ArtThere are a lot of people who harbour a secret desire to train in a martial art, but don’t pursue it in earlier in life for whatever reason. As they age, after years of watching action movies or professional fighting, the notion creeps back into their minds in their 30s, 40s, 50s, even 60s. Most let themselves be talked themselves out of it, citing various reasons like “I’m too old to start an activity like that as a complete beginner,” or “My body just can’t take what it used to,” or “I’m just so out of shape, what’s the point?” Well, I’m here to say, it’s never too late if you approach it correctly.

The thing is that there is some truth behind the cited reasons above, but it can be worked around. Here are 3 tips for on how to approach taking up martial training later in life: (more…)

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How to Maximize Training Energy & Minimize Recovery

How to Maximize Training Energy & Minimize RecoveryI recently reached a bit of a plateau in my strength training regimen. I had made some decent progress in my strength over the past few months but a few weeks ago I was finding myself sore for several days after working out, with no improvements in my performance. I decided to seek out professional advice from a friend who is a personal trainer. He gave me two pieces of advice that made a huge difference:

1) Make sure you eat 0.3-0.6 grams of carbs per pound of body weight immediately after working out.
2) Don’t do your cardio training and strength training on the same day.  (more…)

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How to Develop Speedy Entries into Martial Arts Techniques

How to Train Speed of Entry for Martial Arts TechniquesThere are a lot of great reasons for wanting to train speed of entry of martial arts techniques. Your initial reaction in a self-defense situation is vital to determining the outcome of the altercation. The first contact you make has the potential to completely turn the tables on your attacker, and vice versa, if you’re caught off guard and take a bad hit right off the top, it’s a lot more difficult to recover effectively. Speedy entry into techniques is equally important in the competitive martial arts arena. The faster you move into a technique, whether it’s a strike, throw/takedown or submission, the more likely you catch your opponent off-guard. Speedy entry, of course, is only one factor among many, but it is an important one.

For smaller stature people like me, the speed of entry and application of techniques helps make the best use our natural agility, and advantage we have over many larger/stronger attackers or opponents. Regardless of size, speed of entry helps the defender make better use of the element of surprise. It helps you stay one step ahead of your attacker or opponent, making it harder to mount a defense, whether through the use of strength or technique. There are lots of benefits to improving speed of entry, so below are a few tips for effectively applying and training this concept. (more…)

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How to Feel the Fear & Do It Anyway

How to Feel the Fear and Do It AnywayTo live life to the fullest we have to take risks. The things that really give our lives meaning all involve some form of risk, whether it’s starting a business, getting married, or starting a martial art. Some risks, we are more comfortable with, whether it’s because of our personalities or our personal histories. Others types make you more anxious and fearful. Often times it is the risks that make us most uncomfortable that are the experiences that have the most potential to transform our lives. But for us to attain this, we have to feel the fear, move past it, then do that which causes the fear anyway. Here are a few ways to do just that.

1. Research. Whatever it is that you want to do that scares you, big or small, learn as much as you can about it. Read about it. Watch videos. Talk to people who do it. Let’s say you want to take up a new activity like a martial art, but you’re afraid of looking foolish. Put in the time to research schools so you find the best style, instructors and training atmosphere for your needs. When you find one that interests you, familiarize yourself with what they do. Get in touch with the instructor and ask questions that help ease your fears. Then, when you decide to give it a try, you’ll feel more comfortable going in. Becoming familiar helps alleviate fears, just as it does for the child who needs to be shown there is no monster under their bed before you turn out the lights at night.


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Taichi Jiu-jitsu? Exploring the Commonalities between Martial Arts

taichi jiu jitsuWhat do Taichi and Jiu-jitsu have in common? No, this isn’t a joke and no, I’m not crazy. When you look past the surface images of elderly people doing slow-moving patterns, there are many fundamentals that are alike. And not just with Jiu-jitsu, but many other martial arts styles as well, as many students discovered at the Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists camp I recently attended. At one of the classes I took when I attended this year’s PAWMA camp, Sifu Debbie Leung, instructor at Chinese Healing & Movement Arts, related some of the fundamental principles guiding the practice of Taichi (a.k.a.- Taiji). She didn’t simply teach us a pattern from her style. She had all the students choose a particular sequence from their styles then we applied each Taichi principle to that move.

When it comes to seminars, this type of format in which the instructor teaches concepts from their style in ways that are applicable for a variety of styles, is one I love. This makes the concepts more relevant the students’ own styles, allowing the students to take that concept home and continue using what they learned. I usually try to teach principle-based seminars myself as described in my blog post, My Approach to Teaching Martial Arts Seminars. (more…)

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Book Review – Aiki-Jujutsu: Mixed Martial Art of the Samurai

aiki-jujutsuMartial arts instructional books are generally written along one of several different lines; they’re written to address a specific topic and give you another tool you can add to your current martial art. They can tackle philosophy, or they can provide an overall solution, a martial arts system, acting as a textbook.

I recently received a copy of Cary Nermeroff’s Aiki-Jujutsu: Mixed Martial Art of the Samurai.

This is a Textbook

I have nothing against textbook style martial arts books, but they are more difficult to review because there is a danger that I’ll end up passing judgement on a martial arts style rather than the book itself. While this book is entitled Aiki Jiu-jitsu, it really seems to be an overview book of Fukasa-Ryu Bujutsu Kai, the style created by the author. At the end of the day, you can’t learn a martial art from a book, but you can gain insights into the art, and hopefully with an open mind, gain insights into your own. (more…)

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My Experience As a First-Time PAWMA Camp Teacher & Student

This past weekend, I had the privilege of participating in the PAWMA (Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists) annual training camp, both as a teacher and as a student. I have had a lot of experience teaching Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu at martial arts training camps over the years, but all of them were for Jiu-jitsu organizations and open to everyone, men and women, from a variety of dojos. I had absolutely no idea what to expect from this event with nearly 100 women martial artists of all different styles, from all over North America in attendance. What I experienced completely blew me away.

PAMWA Camp 2013 Teacher Line-up


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