Over the past couple of months I’ve been taking inventory of the various ways in which I communicate, whether is be for myself to keep track of news and information (on NetVibes), externally through tweets, Facebook updates, NYGrapes updates, dojo updates, or this blog.  In short, while I hope to keep this site fresh, you are more likely to catch what I’m thinking about or doing via my Facebook (which is connected with Twitter) feed.  As the song goes (name that band!), “Time is the measure before it’s begun, Slips away like running water…” and I’m just out of time to write down at-length prose on all of the various topics I’m interested in.

So, if you know me (and by know I mean more than just we met once and/or we’ve communicated more than once since we were in highschool), have a look for me on Facebook.  Better yet, rather than pseudo-conversationalism through blogs, tweets, and the like, just pick up the phone and call.  Cheers.


We held our 3rd annual 9/11 commemorative fundraising seminar at the dojo this past weekend at the dojo to raise money for The Bear Search & Rescue Foundation.  This year we exceeded all possible expectations and raised $3675 for the foundation.  It was a memorable seminar, not only because we saw faces of people who have supported the fundraiser for the past 3 years, but also because Captain Scott Shields came and gave a presentation about his work and the work of rescue teams in the field.  To top it off, my teacher received an award for “extraordinary service to humanity.”  Over 3 years we have raised over $7,000, about as much as it costs to train and qualify one search and rescue pair (dog + person), and when you think about just what such a team can do in rescue or recovery situations, you realize very quickly that our donations are going towards exceptional work.  Just Google “Captain Scott Shields” or check out the site link above to find out more about the extraordinary work that he and the foundation do so that others may live.


“Pain is color-blind.”

We happened upon this expression during training last night…

– Color as measured by experience?
– Color as a function of complexion?
– Color as a function of nuanced style?

It is also a great teacher.


Grappling! Not to be confused with grappa or gravity, the duration of this evening (at least while I was there) was spent grappling.

A: Opponent tries to throw you
D: You counter-throw
A: Opponent counters back and brings you to the ground
D: Then what? You could counter-roll or do any number of things. As soon as someone lays hands to you, your entire attitude during the confrontation needs to change. The person who walks away alive is the one who had more will. Just ponder all the stories of confrontations for centuries where someone (or a group) was outmanned, outgunned, etc., and yet he/she/they won the battle. Fight to survive, and you may live.

Good ukemi will enable you to move to a position sooner than your opponent expects it, which can give you leverage in both time and space to produce a counter.


We worked on simple basics (basically, simple techniques) this evening. Much attention was paid to angles and symmetry of limbs in relation to technique (e.g. the magic triangle of musha-dori).

Moving onto sword work, we used a combination of soft daisho and steel swords. The general technique/idea explored was the idea of ‘dancing’ in front of the opponent to draw him in with his cut (dancing = capoeira-esque). The dance is a trance. Then, we moved onto the scenario in which you are retreating and your opponent gives chase with two to three cuts. How do you defend against that with no blade of your own? (Luck + Skill) The same principles of taijutsu apply; footwork, timing, and distance. For anyone who practices with soft daisho, try cutting at your opponent with a metal blade; you will find that the blade behaves much differently than leather-wrapped bamboo. Cuts are precise in as much as they are certain (unlike the feeling/ability with soft swords to use them like foils…real swords have a weight of their own).


Rotating of the spine to generate defense and power as a slash comes to your throat. Once you have stayed clear of the first strike, your footwork should enable you to have complete control of what happens next.

Get behind the blade! An opponent with a short sword has an advantage over you if you have a long sword, for his draw will be faster as he does not have the length of blade to travel in the scabbard as you do. As you draw:
1) either step/leap back and bring your sword on line (in seigan)
2) turn the sword blade into your body, kneel, and then bring the blade across your oncoming opponent’s lower leg. Practice this draw A LOT because you are turning the blade into your body as you draw it out of the scabbard.

We often talk about the difference between living and dying as being the width of a piece of paper. To wit, read the following AP story and draw your own conclusions.


Hidden Technique
Part of the ‘secret’ of Budo is the generation of internal power without it being outwardly obvious, and storing that internal energy just prior to a strike. For the latter half of class (I only made it in for about 40 minutes this evening), we simply worked from ichimongi no kamai…precision strikes, opening up ‘channels’ within the body, using footwork to generate power (not just arms), having the body work as one unit, storing energy in your spine, striking from ichimongi and then turning the ‘second move’ into just about anything you desire (all pathways are open). If your ichimongi is “good,” you don’t really need to move from it at all. If you opponent is fixated on your head as a target, he’ll walk right into your fist. If you think ichimongi is ‘easy,’ try striking as a cat would; when your opponent’s punch comes in, strike it as you leap out a considerable distance (you are the own best judge of that distance relative to where your opponent is when he strikes, where he will be after you attack his striking arm, where you think he will be for a response, and where you should be to receive/give).


Good day. We worked with swords this evening. The specific techinique involves an attacker drawing a sword; the defense is as follows:

1) If you have the stones, come in to stop the sword from being drawn.
2) If you step in, but your opponent can pull the sword out into seigan, obviously you don’t want to be at the tip. This leaves you with several options:
a) Don’t be in no man’s land (like tennis!). This is a sure way to get cut.
b) Slap the sword with the flat of your hand while moving in. Yes, it is possible to have your hand parallel to the sword without being cut.
c) “Hold your opponent 1” There is a mid-way point between you and your opponent such that he must raise his sword into daijodan in order to reach out and strike you. As he lifts into daijodan, move in and strike as his hands are above his head.
d) “Hold your opponent 2” Same mid-way point…opponent moves into daijodan and strikes; step out of the way and disarm.


Tonight’s class was uncommonly acrobatic (the warmer it gets, the easier the limbs move). Lots of rolling in the beginning:

– rolling over metal sword
– rolling over three people crouched
– flipping over two stationary people (think of diving through)
– handstand flip (aided by extra belts!)


Very small class this evening; some teaching, some training. Had the junior folks work on rolling, in particular, backwards rolls and overcoming fear of broken necks from rolling on either side. As an exercise, if someone is having a hard time rolling backwards on one side, apply omoto gyaku and help them pull through the roll. It will give them confidence that they can in fact roll in that direction.

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