Student Appreciation Moment – Ivette

Student Appreciation Moment - IvetteIt’s good to take the time to appreciate the little moments that make teaching such a pleasure. I had such a moment this morning. I received a text from one of my students, Ivette, who just received her yellow belt last night (she killed it by the way). I had used her as my demonstration partner last night, having delivered a knee strike to her lateral femoral motor point. The text she sent me today said this: “I’m so happy to have gotten my first belt… 😀 So excited still for some reason. I’m looking forward to learn new things. Also, I have a really good reminder of last night’s class… Every time I walk, I get reminded of what it’s like to get hit in the lateral femoral… hehe. So that’s two 1st timers from you, (being hit in the) solar plexus and lateral femoral… lol.” (more…)

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5 Recommended Books for Martial Arts Instructors (or Any Teacher)

4 Recommended Books for Martial Arts InstructorsIn a recent blog comment, I was asked to put together a recommended reading list for martial arts instructors. This list is far from extensive, but it covers a number of books I’ve read in the past year that have helped me better understand the psychology of the teaching process, which I applied to teaching martial arts. These aren’t directed specifically at martial arts instructors, but teachers in general. They are more about understanding the learning process and applying it to teaching strategies, not lists of exercises, drills and games. They have been incredibly useful to me to help me get inside my students minds, and to help them on a more personal level with their development. Without further ado, here’s the list. (more…)

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Looking Back on 2014

nunchuku.jpegToward the end of every year, I take time to appreciate all the great things that happened throughout the year. This year, I figured I’d write a blog post to this effect and take stock of the highlights of my life in the martial arts and in my stunt career.

1. Becoming an International Martial Arts Instructor. Over the past year or so, my role as a seminar instructor has ballooned. Thanks to the publicity gained from publishing my book, When the Fight Goes to the Ground last year with Tuttle Publishing, I started taking my teaching skills on the road a lot more. After teaching at the PAWMA (Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists) camp last year, I received further invitations to teach down south. I taught at and attended my first NWMAF (National Women’s Martial Arts Federation) training camp, and was invited back to teach at PAWMA camp again in the fall. Furthermore, I was invited to teach at Wright Fight Concepts in New Egypt, New Jersey, once in the winter and then again in the fall. I also taught at a school in North Bay, ON, having been invited there by some fantastic instructors I met at the NWMAF camp, as well as a school in Seattle, thanks to some friends I met at PAWMA camp. This is, of course, all in addition to my annual teaching gigs at the Canadian Jiu-jitsu Union Winter and Summer Camps, which are always such a pleasure. And I’m finishing my year airborne en route to New Zealand where I’ve been invited to teach multiple seminars.


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Review: Handstand Mastery Program Video

Handstand Mastery Program ReviewI’ve been working on being able to do a freestanding handstand for a while now, so when I got the opportunity to review this video, I jumped at the chance.

Starting with Realistic Expectations

To begin with, Paul Zaichik, creator of the video, tells us that we must have a few basic requirements before we can use the video. He explains the flexibility and strength requirements to be able to make proper use of the video. This is also explained on the product page so people recognize these are requirements in the process. The only thing I might suggest is to link to his shoulder flexibility DVD on the product page so that people who need help gaining that ability can easily find it from the handstand page, but that’s a separate issue from the video itself.


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Igniting My Martial Heart: My Experiences from NWMAF’s 2014 Special Training Camp

This past week, I travelled to Chicago where I had the privilege of teaching and training at the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation‘s annual “Special Training Camp.” This event is similar to the one that a sister organization, PAWMA (Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists), offers annually, which I taught and trained at in Oregon last fall. It was an incredible experience that was fun, interesting and educational, but also supportive and inspiring. (Photo below shows the training area, capable of handling 8 classes running simultaneously.)

Training area at 2014 NWMAF training camp (more…)

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Martial Herbs Strength: Product Review

martial herbs strengthA couple of months back, I was contacted by Martial Herbs to review a couple of their products, their “Martial Herbs Strength” and “Martial Herbs Recovery.” Unfortunately, due to some issues with Canadian Border Services, I only got “Strength” so it is the only one I can review from experience.

The marketing materials for Martial Herbs strength touts high claims such as “enhanced cellular signalling for swifter movement and response,” “optimized hydration through vital electrolytes” to help you “train harder and longer”, “rapid reduction of free radicals to stave off muscle fatigue and soreness.” It costs £22 (UK currency) for a bottle of 60 tablets, of which they recommend taking  a general rule, I have a healthy scepticism when it comes to gimmicky products like this, but I have an open enough mind to try the things before taking a stance. I took Martial Herbs Strength, 1 every day until I finish the bottle.  (more…)

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“Borrowing” Techniques from Like-Minded Approaches

This past weekend we hosted a 2-day course with Guro Ed Wong of Urban Survival Systems and the Modern Cimande Club. His fighting system blends techniques from Silat, Non-classical Gong Fu, and a number of other styles, and is dedicated to exploring and educating people in the reality of street combat, including many people in the field of security, law enforcement, and military. Ed (as he prefers to be called) teaches with very similar principles to Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu, but slightly different tools and applications. What’s great about this is that they are easy to blend with what we do. (more…)

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Man of Tai Chi – Movie Review

manoftaichi.pngI don’t know how fair it is for me to review a martial arts movie after having spent 7 hours filming use of force training videos for a security company. Especially a movie that is closer to the art half of martial art as Man of Tai Chi. Since I have just spent considerable time focused on efficient, simple, and relatively easy to learn techniques that have demonstrably high success rates, trying to appreciate a showy Hong Kong style fight movie presents a challenge. I will endeavour to do my best.

Man of Tai Chi is a modern take on a worn story. Usual Suspects this is not; you will not find any startling, creative story telling in this movie. Taking place in China it follows the life of Tiger Chen as he is lured into the underground fighting world. It’s a predictable tale of falling from grace and loss of innocence and the inevitable split from his honourable master. The story isn’t great, and the acting isn’t stellar, so what are the redeeming qualities?


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A Visit to Sunrise Martial Arts Academy in New Jersey

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of sharing concepts from my ground defense book with the awesome students of Sunrise Martial Arts Academy, a dojo teaching Nagasu Ryu Jujitsu. In addition to the planned seminars, one for the adults and one for the children, I also had the pleasure of teaching one of their adult classes during which I was able to share the general principles of our own style, Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu. Check out the photos here.



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NINJA II: Shadow of a Tear – Movie Review

NewImageThis is a movie that at no point was on my radar until I received the request to review it. Which is unusual for movies that claim amazing martial arts action.

I really wanted to title this review NINJA 2: The Re-Ninja-ing but as I’ve not seen the first one, it seemed unfair.

However, I can probably guess what happened in the first one based on the second one. Guy who trains and gets some ninja skills has some predictable reason to kill a bunch of people using said skills, probably in a particular showy manner, but with efficiency, often multiple attackers at once. Eventually he fights a previously introduced villain with whom he engages in a lengthy one-on-one battle in which he is grievously injured, but manages to prevail regardless.

I’m guessing that’s what happens in the first one because the second one could be described like that with the addition of the natural sequel plot. Our hero has settled down, presumably leaving behind some dark past, and his blissful domestic life is shattered causing him to seek revenge. Martial arts mayhem ensues.


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