Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Honor the men, challenge the material"

I came across this fantastic article tonight by Rob Pincus. Besides being right on target, it immediately reminded me of the Great Kata War Pat started on his blog back in January 2010. Here's the post heard 'round the world that started it all.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I'm proud to report that after 22 hours of training this past weekend, I passed my NRA Basic Pistol Instructor course. That means after the paperwork with NRA and Louisiana State Police is all taken care of, I'll be able to teach the class for concealed carry permit applicants!

I learned a lot during the course. Much of the training can be applied to the aikido lessons I teach as well, since they're just good didactic methodology.  Met some great folks, and had a good time shooting. I was originally planning to use the certification to teach family and friends, but the more I learn about it, the more I think I may be able to make a legitimate side business out of it. I'll also use the opportunity to advertise my aikido lessons to my shooting students as well. Devious, I know.

Stay tuned for developments!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Kazoku, 1/16/13

After a short review of our shomenate lesson from earlier in the week, Kim and I worked on release 1, focusing on:

  • Timing your footfalls to coincide with uke's.
  • Following uke from a safe position behind his arm.
  • Synching up our feet, and recognizing when and in what direction to push, as determined by uke's steps.
  • Not using strength to lift uke's arm in order to make the technique look like it's "supposed" to; rather, moving our body in such a way that the arms naturally come up, and the "bump" at maximum distance facilitating the rest of the components (lifting the arm, getting behind it, etc.).
  • Evading in such a way that doesn't leave you in a dangerous position. I was having trouble getting this across, until I used Pat's patented "put-a-knife-in-uke's-hand-and-watch-tori-magically-learn-to-evade" trick. Realizing uke could be dangerous really helps you forget about "counting the steps", and get the heck out of the way.
  • We briefly looked at how release 1 provides entries into other techniques. We specifically looked at a release-1-to-junana-3 combo.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kazoku, 1/14/13

Worked with Kim on Shomenate, focusing on:

  • Keeping your center pointing at uke (demonstrating the advantage of doing so) and getting your hands up, via the "cow catcher" drill.
  • Making sure the hands are coming straight up from the shoulders vs making a circular, sweeping motion that imitates what the kata makes tori seem to be doing.
  • Evading to a relationship that allows room for unbendable arms rather than being so close to uke that you have to, you know....bend your arms (demonstrating the disadvantage of doing so).
  • Pointing out a couple places where a kuzushi (off-balance) could be found in the technique (on uke's initial footfall and their recovery step, into kind of a spine lock).
  • Waki gatame as a counter to shomenate.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Obligatory Reflection

I don't have that much to say about my training in 2012, but in the interest of keeping a record of it:

  • I think 2012 may have been my most inconsistent year yet, in terms of attendance. Frustrating. Redoubling my efforts to train more in 2013.
  • That said, I have felt a little more effective than I used to. One lesson that stuck with me from 2012 is that the magic, effortless aiki hocus pocus is great and all, but the bottom line is that my aiki has to work.  This was mainly highlighted by our increased use of a knife during kata practice. 
  • Nothing really happened on the teaching front in 2012, but I'm going to keep trying to build my local club in 2013. Teaching for free, if anyone near Baton Rouge is interested!
  • On a related note, my dear wife finally decided a few months ago that she wants to be forged into a living weapon! Exciting!

What I'm looking forward to in 2013:
  • I may finally make shodan (first degree black belt). Not that I will have "arrived", but it's a landmark, nonetheless!
  • Once I get shodan, I plan on adding another art to my formal study. I still can't decide if it will be karate or judo/BJJ.
  • I will receive my NRA instructor's permit (hopefully by April), so I can teach their basic pistol course and concealed carry classes.
  • I plan on digging in to knife and impact weapon (jo, baton, kubotan, cane, etc) training this year. What was a tangent in 2012 will be pursued with more intent in 2013.
  • I would really like to get Kazoku Dojo up and running; I love teaching this stuff! Maybe I can fish prospective aikido students from groups of my pistol students.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


On the heels of Pat's recent post about blogging, I'm renewing my efforts to regularly blog about my martial arts training. Godin & company make good points.

Additionally, I'm going to start a new blog about my family's prepping efforts. There's nothing there yet, but there will be soon. You can find it at

Talk at you soon!