Be The Partner You Want And Need

The fastest way to improve in martial arts is to have great training partners, but the best way to have great training partners is to first become one yourself. In martial arts, paired drilling, the concentrated practicing of specific, often isolated, skills with another person, is an irreplaceable component of any well-rounded training regimen. However,…

Enter First With Your Mind

“Always irimi, even when retreating.” – Budd Yuhasz There are a lot of valuable lessons beneath the surface of Japanese weapon training that translate to empty hand practice. With sword-work in particular, the principle of irmi* becomes especially evident. Irimi, meaning ‘entering body,’ is more than simply the act of entering into an opponent’s physical…

Sharing Self-Defense And Forming Friendships

If we walk the path together, we are more than simply travel companions. We are friends. We are family. A few days before Ike Haertel, head instructor at Kogen Dojo, was going to test for his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) with Relson Gracie, several of us attended a seminar with Relson at our…

It’s Not For That (And That’s Okay)

“The aiki-arts (aikido, aikijujutsu, hapkido, et al) are ineffective for fighting and incapable of teaching practitioners how to defend themselves against even the most inexperienced attacker, let alone a seasoned martial artist.” As a practitioner of both aikido (one aspect of Taikyoku Budo) and Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), I have spent a lot of time contemplating…

Taikyoku Aikido and Aikido of Pittsburgh

In the Spring of 2014, I attended my first aikido seminar. The seminar was hosted by Aikido of Pittsburgh and featured Ellis Amdur who would be teaching his unique framework for aikido which he called Taikyoku Aikido. Taikyoku Aikido is based on Amdur’s observation that all aikido techniques can be mapped along five movement shapes,…