To Fight Or To Make Peace

A friend of mine used to be a bouncer at a pub. One day, the pub owner called him into his office and said, “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to let you go.” My friend said, “I don’t understand. I win every fight that I get into.” The pub owner replied, “That’s the…

Cross-Training for Aikido Pt 3: Principles Over Techniques

As an aikido practitioner who wants to cross-train in more resistance-based arts, it is best to approach them using lower case ‘a’ aikido, which is a set of principles, than capital ‘A’ Aikido(TM), which is a set of techniques. One of the greatest hindrances to aikido practitioners cross-training in other, more competitive arts is the…

A Willow in a Snowstorm (Jujutsu and the Transcendence of Violence)

Does your jujutsu (jiu-jitsu) propagate violence or transcend it? The Japanese word jujutsu (柔術) is often thought to translate as ‘gentle art.’ Gentle implies a lack of force or lack of strength. Anyone who has ever done any form of jujutsu knows that there is nothing gentle about being thrown, pinned, joint-locked, or choked. In…

Systems to Live By

If you see every problem that arises as new and unique, you will always be reactive and to be reactive is to be behind. In combat, to be behind is to fail and to fail is to die. It is highly likely that the problems and challenges we face from day to day are going…

Cutting Through Closed Guard

Accepting even an expert’s opinion as fact, without testing and retesting it in different contexts, can be detrimental to growth and progress. When I first started cross-training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), I accepted the opinion that closed guard is better than open guard for self defense. It seemed logical. There is more postural control in…