On Testing

I was 14 years old, fidgeting nervously in seiza. Sitting at the edges of the mat were maybe forty people, all staring at me. Directly in front of me were not only my instructor, but his instructor, the head of our organization, as well. My parents and brother sat in chairs off the mat. Having trained all day … Continue reading On Testing

Why Beating Up Your Compliant Training Partner Doesn’t Make You A Badass

If you've been around the Internet at all, you've probably seen them: the "real", "combat" videos of martial arts otherwise derided as ineffective. In them, an instructor, sometimes in camo pants (and sometimes merely with camo pants in his heart) shows you a REAL, NO-NONSENSE way to apply a technique from a compliant martial art. … Continue reading Why Beating Up Your Compliant Training Partner Doesn’t Make You A Badass

Culture Shock, Guest Article: Sexism (and Sexual Predation) against Women in Martial Arts

I've received, and continue to receive, a lot of great feedback on my Guruism article. Chief among those who have shared their stories are a number of women who have endured abuse in what is still, primarily, a male-dominated hobby. Rather than attempt to place myself in their shoes and speculate as to their experience, … Continue reading Culture Shock, Guest Article: Sexism (and Sexual Predation) against Women in Martial Arts

Mats Don’t Lie: Reflections Before (and After) My First BJJ Comp

Thursday "I can't wait for your tournament," an online acquaintance told me, "So I can see a six page blog post about how it's not about winning it's about the experience you get along the way." "What I'm hearing from this," I responded, "Is that you read my blog." But hey-- when you're right you're … Continue reading Mats Don’t Lie: Reflections Before (and After) My First BJJ Comp

Interview with Chris Li about “Internal Power” training in Martial Arts

Hey folks! What follows below is an interview with Chris Li, a martial artist who has primarily trained in Aikido. He's a great resource within the Aikido community regarding the history of the art and a very approachable guy. He also trains in "internal power", which is something that never made sense to me, even … Continue reading Interview with Chris Li about “Internal Power” training in Martial Arts

Guest Article: In Defense of the Woo-Woo

This week, a guest article by "Roger" (last name withheld at his request) about drawing the line between realism/practicality and some of the other benefits of martial arts that may be understated, undervalued or ignored. What do you think? Is there benefit in training martial arts beyond practicality? Is the philosophical benefit of what the … Continue reading Guest Article: In Defense of the Woo-Woo

Cults of Personality and Guruism in Martial Arts (and ways to fight it)

Quick Note: The point of this article is to point out experiences that I've had and been told about regarding certain prevalent behaviors in the martial arts community. To that end, I've taken out a lot of names and specific details. If some of the stories seem vague, it's because I'm trying to make a … Continue reading Cults of Personality and Guruism in Martial Arts (and ways to fight it)