Week 4-6: The Sambo Mambo

3 Sambo ThrowsI had a busy week the other week,¬†involving a couple of days of stunt work on the 100, and this¬†week I’ll be heading to Toronto for the week, so this week, I’m covering 3 techniques to keep my weekly techniques covered.

I found 3 different Sambo throws that caught my eye and decided to learn them by teaching them to my students on an alternative curriculum day, which happen to coincide with the 10-year anniversary celebration for my dojo. Here is the video of me doing the 3 different throws: (more…)

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Removing Risk to Make Learning Easier in the Martial Arts

Removing Risk to Make Learning Easier in the Martial ArtsI recently made a big purchase for our dojo. I bought a soft 3″ thick portable folding mat. Considering that we already have 2″ tatami mats over top a custom built sprung floor for our dojo’s training surface, this purchase may seem unnecessary. And for anyone who is fully comortable with their breakfalls, it is. What we have is more than enough for general use, and preferable over a soft mat like the one I got for developing a better sense of the ground and how best to do a breakfall on it safely. It’s hard enough that you can feel your mistakes, but springy enough to take the jolt out of solid impacts. But I discovered that even our advanced system isn’t always enough. (more…)

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Combat Creativity: Finding Inspiration for the Martial Arts

Combat CreativityAt our dojo, we make room in our lesson schedule for “alternative curriculum” classes. Sometimes we use these classes to play with techniques not usually featured in our students’ curriculum, either because it’s more advanced or because we’re working on our usual techniques in an unconventional way. And sometimes we go completely outside what we usually teach to play with different concepts or techniques that the instructors want to explore to keep things interesting and to continue our development. Like with any creative endeavour, you can get inspiration for your martial arts training and teaching from a wide variety of sources. Here are just a few that have served to inspire me. (more…)

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Gi Washing Tips for Double Weaves

My washing machine started having problems this week, so we got a service guy to take a look at it. In doing so, we showed him one of the double weave gis that is frequently washed in our machine. Holding it in his hand, he said “Do you have any idea how heavy this thing would get when wet?” He then informed us that we should probably only be washing it in a commercial grade washing machine. Since we can’t afford a commercial grade washer, I got advice from appliance service guys as to how to lessen the impact of the double weave washings.

1. Buy the right washer. If you can’t afford a commercial grade washing machine, either buy an old school washing machine with all metal parts (no plastic) or a front loading washing machine. A new top loader is a bad choice because top loaders need to fill the drum with a ton of water. Add that to the weight of the double weave gis and it’s bad news for the washer. Old school ones with all metal parts will be better, but then they aren’t as energy efficient. Since front-loaders are all “new” they will have plastic parts, but because they use less water, it’s not as damaging on the machine.
2. Use the delicate cycle. When washing your double weave, use the delicate cycle with warm water. It only has a very short rotation/agitation cycle, using a long “soak” cycle to do most of the cleaning. If it’s still a bit damp at the end of the wash, throw it in for a standard final spin.
3. Hang dry before using dryer. Now, of course, hang drying won’t always get a double weave completely dry in time for your next class, so you may have to use the dryer to some degree. To save on electricity bills and to take less of a toll on your dryer, hang your gi to dry overnight then put it in the dryer on low heat.
The above tips will help extend the life of your washer and dryer if you wash double weave gis, however, the best bet is to wash it at a laundromat if you want to save the wear and tear on your washer and dryer. We ended up having to replace ours, so hopefully these tips will keep you from having to do so.
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How to Tell If Your Martial Arts Instructor is Legit

The martial arts are very popular these days and it seems like more and more dojos are springing up all over the place. When choosing a martial arts school, many people turn to the instructor bios to find out their background. Many will make great claims about their experience, but how do you know if it’s all legit? Here are 2 things you should do a little research on about instructors you’re considering training under:

1. Training background. Most instructors will list their training backgrounds on their websites. It is a good sign if they list their past instructors, dojos at which they trained, as well as organizations with which they’re affiliated. If so, do a Google search of all of these items, looking for references of the instructor or their dojo in relation to them. If the instructor doesn’t make any reference to any of these things in their bios, ask them specifically about them so you can look them up. Anyone can list a bunch of martial arts they’ve trained in, people they’ve trained under or claim a certain rank, but if you can find no evidence to support their claims whatsoever, you might question the instructor’s legitimacy.

2. Competitive record. If an instructor claims to have won competitions or ring fights of any kind or to have coached or represented fighters, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding evidence of the fact online. A quick search of their name and martial art (ex. “louis sargeant boxing”) should yield a number of results related to their competitive background. If you’re specifically questioning a boxer’s professional record, you can easily look it up at This site lists all the details you can imagine about professional fighters, managers, specific fights, etc. in the International boxing world.

There are a lot of hacks out there who don’t have the expertise or backgrounds they claim. Protect yourself by doing a bit of research before choosing a martial arts school.

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Rude Awakenings: When a Martial Artist Has Nightmares

I remember one time, back when I was married, when I had a terrible nightmare. I was being attacked by a man on whom none of my strikes were affecting. In my dream he took me to the ground while laughing at my fruitless attempts to defend myself. As I fell to the ground I thought, “I have to do something!” I then grabbed him by the hips and gave a full power knee strike to his groin. At that moment I awoke to the sound of my rudely awakened husband yelling at me, “Lori! You just kneed my in the balls!” As I was dreaming, in reality, I performed the technique with great accuracy on my sleeping husband.

Since I took up martial arts, there were a number of times that I had dreams in which I used techniques in an attempt to defend myself. At first, in most of these dreams, I would strike with all my power and nothing seemed to work. My attackers would just laugh at me as I hit them and it would continue on until I woke up in a cold sweat.

Later on, the dreams shifted and I was able to use my martial arts training to defend myself effectively, but the dreams never seemed very real. It was more like watching an action movie in which I was the star.

Not too long ago, I told some of my students about the nightmare I had with my husband. A couple of them, ones who had trained for martial arts for awhile, admitted their own stories. One fellow woke from a nightmare having elbowed his wife in the head. Another had kicked their partner in the calf. Out of curiosity, are their many of you out there that have had experiences like this?

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