Week 11-12: Spinning Head Scissors Throw & Taco Fall to Kip-Up

For week 11, I decided to follow up on my previous work on the scissor throw at the head level, and try a fancier version with a spin. This one really is purely for aesthetics, but is a beautiful looking takedown for film work. The initial set-up is pretty much the same, but once in position, I relax my legs as my partner removes his arms allowing me to drop. I don’t fully open up my legs though. I need to keep a bit of squeeze to allow the momentum to swing me back up a bit so that I can land on my feet as my partner throws himself down to make it look like I’m initiating the throw. The end result is pretty cool looking, as you’ll see below. (more…)

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Week 3: Sacrifice Throw from Handshake Position

This week’s technique was an easier one for me, while being a little more challenging for my uke. In this technique, I kick my leg over the handshake while grabbing the back of the neck, then drop to the ground. My leg and hand serve as an anchor so all I need to do is drop down on an angle so my partner has no choice but to go down, as you can see in the video below. (more…)

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Week 2: Round-Off/Cartwheel Counter to Throws

For my second week of my 52-week challenge, I decided to try something challenging that I’ve been interested in trying for a while; using a round-off/cartwheel as a way of countering a throw. I’ve seen this done most commonly against a shoulder throw, but it can be done against different types of throws. Here’s a video I used for inspiration: (more…)

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Personal Project for 2016: 52 New Jiu-jitsu Techniques

sacrifice sode tsurikomi goshi judo throwHappy New Year, everyone! I’ve decided that this year I’m going to try to bring a bit more fun and whimsy into my life. It feels like I’ve gotten a bit too end-goal oriented that I’ve lost a bit of my sense of playfulness, particularly in my training in the martial arts and for my career as a stunt performer. So rather than just focus on the things I want to accomplish, I’m going to take more time to remember why I got into my training in the first place, to relax and have more fun on the journey. As a part of this, I’ve decided that I’m going to learn one new technique related to Jiu-jitsu each week this year. My choices will be more focused around learning something that looks fun to learn and do rather than for pure practicality. (more…)

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Training to Do Breakfalls When Balance Is Actually Broken

Training to Do Breakfalls When Balance Is Actually BrokenWhile I was in New Zealand to teach seminars, I had the pleasure of doing some training with Jules Robson Sensei. One of the topics we spent a lot of time on was breakfalls, as you can see in the photo on the right taken at his dojo. He posited that many martial artists train their breakfalls in a more performance oriented way. By this I mean that the uke being thrown has full control over their balance and structure allowing them to get more leap and spring so as to enjoy greater control over one’s fall. When well trained, these falls and rolls look quite beautiful, but when applied as a response to a throw, it’s a beautiful lie.


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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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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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What Ballroom Dancing & the Martial Arts Have in Common

What Ballroom Dancing & Martial Arts Have In CommonMy friend James is a west coast swing dancer. He does it for fun, exercise, social activity, and simply because he enjoys it, much like the reasons I train in the martial arts. Every month or so, we get together for brunch and get caught up on each other’s lives and inevitably he ends up talking about dancing and I end up talking about martial arts. I used to do east coast swing dancing and other forms of ballroom for a couple of years back when I was in university, so I can also relate directly to his dancing experiences. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that partner dancing and partner-based martial arts training have quite a lot in common, despite their very different appearances on the surface. It’s no surprise to me that Bruce Lee was both a great martial artist and ballroom dancer. What the two things have in common really boils down to one thing: body control. (more…)

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My 36th Year Birthday Bounce

My 36th Year Birthday BounceI woke up yesterday morning to my 36th birthday, contemplating what I wanted to do to celebrate on the day. I had coffee in bed with my husband then decided to start off the day with a bang by going out for a 5k run, using the new 5k race mission that was added to Zombies, Run!, the game that got me back into the running regime.

I knew I wanted to be at the dojo for the two adult classes in the evening, even though my second in command offered to let me take the night off for my birthday. Honestly, most of my friends are through the dojo, and I haven’t been able to be at the Tuesday and Thursday classes for the past couple of weeks due to the movie work I do on the side, so I really just wanted to be there. I taught the first class and trained in the second with Chris Sensei running the show. (more…)

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Using Video to Improve Martial Arts Form & Application

This past Sunday we worked with local boxing champion Louis Sargeant to improve our sparring skills. In the second half of the class, we all took turns doing some boxing-style sparring with Louis coaching us. As part of the experience, we decided to film everyone’s sparring so people can watch themselves and get a better idea of what things they need to work on. (more…)

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