Saturday, June 25, 2011

More Faults...

Right after writing my last post, I came across this quote in a book about Krishna Consciousness. It said:
"The elephant may take a very nice bath in a river, but as soon as it comes onto the bank, it throws dirt all over its body. What, then, is the value of its bathing?" -- The Nectar of Instruction, Swami Prabhupada, quoting Pariksit Maharaja.

It made me chuckle in its Truth.

Monday, June 20, 2011


"Look upon the man who tells thee thy faults as if he told thee of a hidden treasure..." -- The Dhammapada (Chapter six)

This is probably one of the most difficult concepts to embrace in both martial training and in living life in general. That "man who tells thee thy faults," comes in many forms: a sensei, an uke, a friend, a spouse, and especially, one's self. If we're not open to looking at our own short-comings it could set us up for a fall. It could mean danger, for the spirit, or, on the street, physically.

Sometimes, while training, we express such flaws in technique in a jesting manner; other times it becomes a very serious conversation. As long as it solves the problem, the comments are considered a success.

As a friend, or an uke, I would be letting my partner down if I were to pretend a technique is working well if it is not. As a friend outside the dojo, the same applies.

But the hard part is always hearing such flaws about yourself.

As always, humility is a great teacher.

Friday, June 17, 2011

the right reaction....

Getting too caught up in a technique can be a bad thing.
What I mean by this is that if you have to search for the right response to an attack, it could be too late. Better to make a quick strike as a reaction and get away, than to fumble around for something specific and get laid out by your attacker in the process.
No-Mind, after all, could be in the form of a slick and smooth martial arts counter attack, or it could be in the form of a quick spit in an attackers eyes and a kick in the shins in order to run. You would be no less of a martial artist if that were the case. Whatever works is the right technique.
That said, one has to remember that an attacker, if motivated, can also run. This is a good reason to bring your No-Mind reactions up to a more substantial level. One also has to prepare for an attacker who may not let go at the first distractionary technique. For example, a kick in the groin may not drop a man who is full of adrenaline right away, or you may miss. You may sustain an injury during the scuffle that will not allow you to run.
The scenarios are limitless.
This is why we attempt to bring our non-conscious skills up to a degree that can cover the broadest range of situations.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Four good shots...

If you ever want to fully understand the concept of no effort, just go golfing with any decent-scoring senior citizen.

Yesterday, I was invited by two friends to join them in a charity tournament along with my father. Both men were in their 70s, and were former club champs.

Says one:

"In the old days, I could reach this green with a driver and a six iron, now it takes me four good shots."

The result, however, was not so shabby. Four shots. One putt. And a par.

All the swings were effortless, down the fairway, and in a comfortable spot to set up the next shot.

Me, I crunched several balls. And it felt great. But I also had several moments where my control was lost, and the strokes began to add up.

"Just swing a touch slower," says the other friend.

And I did.

And, of course, it worked.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

body drop...

ah, tai otoshi, how I love thee...

quick, surprising, flows nicely with a softening technique....

And it sucks to be on the wrong end of it.....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The More Things Change...

Epictetus was a Roman slave who earned his freedom and became a great thinker in the first century A.D.

The following is a short list of some of his ideals:

  • self-mastery depends on self-honesty

  • seeking to please others is a perilous trap

  • events don't hurt us, but our views of them can

  • learn to apply basic principles to particular circumstances in accordance with nature

  • start living your ideals

  • all advantages have their price

Not to shabby. As any practitioner of traditional martial arts would recognize, or any contemplative individual in general, is that nothing changes when it comes to truth. The environment may change, the culture may increase in size and its technology, and the population may feel superior to the previous one; but in the end, as Robert Plant said: "The Song Remains the Same".

Monday, June 6, 2011

more small circles...

above: wally jay and son, leon

Reflecting a lot upon small-circle theory lately, especially with the passing of Wally Jay (see post below), I have come up with a few reasons why I think the small-circle concept holds water.
*small-circle jiu-jitsu is a style of MA where traditional japanese jiu-jitsu is used with a focus on quick, tight, circular movements (as opposed to larger, looser motions).
Here is a list of some of the positive aspects I see for myself regarding this style:

  • pain and/or control comes on very fast

  • very few telegraphing motions

  • little effort required to achieve big results

  • surprise factor (movements often shoot in at an attacker, which few thugs expect)

  • sets up variety and/or flow (small techniques can readily be switched up as the commitment is less... ie. a big forward stance strike may be harder to reset into a throw, whereas a tight wrist lock can be turned into a throw or a dojo favourite where I train, the lock stays on during the throw. it'll make you feel sick, trust me....)
So, this isn't a compare and contrast post bashing other styles which I also respect. These are just thoughts meant for myself, and why I feel comfortable with the art I practice. Surely there are aspects of every branch of MA that can be suitable for the practioner.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Journeyman on the passing of Professor Wally Jay: a true innovator and legend.