Current events

  • Aiki/Isshin Friendship Camp (April 25-27)
  • Windsong Summer Intensive - June 20-22
  • Fall Aiki Buddies Gathering (September)

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Training log - engaging is stupid

Aikido with PatrickM., Kel, and Erin - ROM, ukemi, tegatana, hanasu, shomenate, tanto-using section of Rokukata as a preview to the ABG at the end of October.  I really think the only reason that section is in that kata is to make it perfectly clear that engaging in a fight - trying to control another person - is stupid.

Chaka Zulu will kill you

Last week, Somaserious posted a pretty good video featuring Chaka Zulu. One of the things that really caught my attention in this video was his understanding and use of the concept of the ladder of force. Chaka Zulu said (and I paraphrase)…
“If you attack me, I will go into the fight with the intent to kill you. Then, if I see that I don’t have to kill you I will de-escalate. You have to do it this way because you don’t have time in a fight to go the other way, escalating from evasion to control to injuring to killing intent.”
This appears to go against the typical thoughts on ladder of force, that you evade before you control, control before you injure, injure before you kill… But Chaka Zulu has a valid and interesting justification for his understanding – the time it takes to escalate vs. de-escalate and the potential consequences.
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So, what do you think is more appropriate in ‘typical’ conflicts, escalate toward an appropriate level of force or de-escalate toward an appropriate level of force?
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BTW: Nathan at TDA posted a related article almost simultaneously with this one. Check it out.

The rhythm of my life

Funny thing...
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Some times I feel shorter, fatter.  Slumped and burdened by my responsibilities.  Less energetic and willing to proceed.
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Other times I feel stronger, taller, slimmer.  More engaged and energized by my responsibilities.
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My exercise intensity goes in waves too.
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I have noticed that there seems to be a relationship between exercise and self image but I haven't been able to tell which way the causation goes.  Does exercising more make me feel better about myself or does feeling better about myself empower me to exercise more?
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You'd think an Exercise Physiologist with a Ph.D, a godan, and a rokudan could figure this one out, but so far no luck...

Helpful handful: Smart investment in hard times

In the past few months some of our blogger buddies have warned us about coming hard times and have suggested some safe investments. I thought to offer my own handful of suggestions now. It may be late but its not too late.
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  • Pay off or pay down your home and your credit cards ASAP
  • Invest in handgun and tactical knife training and consider purchasing a handgun and folding knife.
  • Find about ¼ acre that you can plant and invest in a tiller. Don’t let the hardware store guys talk you into getting a rear-tine tiller. The front tine tiller is half the price and perfectly fine for a garden of ¼ acre (plus it is more exercise, which will make you more fit to survive hard times). Talk to the county agent, university extension, or co-op guys about what staple crops to plant for your area. Don’t forget fruit and nut trees. Learn how to preserve.
  • Invest in martial arts lessons – something street combat practical but still useful for more than just combat – something like aikido or perhaps judo.
  • Invest in your neighbors and your community. Join a church and get deeply involved with the members. You remember when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast? Let me tell you from firsthand experience - FEMA was useless, state emergency folks were useless, Red Cross was useless, and National guard and city officials had their hands full. The first responders and the best, most effective disaster relief responders were local churches caring for their own congregants and then extending that caring into the community.

Training log

Judo with Jesse, Justin, and Alan - ROM, ukemi (including oozing), footsweep to control, review (deashi, kosoto, osoto, hiza), ukigoshi, bridge&roll escape from munegatame, newaza randori
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Kids' judo with Gavin, Emma, Whit, Knox, Quin, Dylan, Chance, Lanie, Luke - ROM, ukemi, shrimping, footstomp randori, rooster-tail randori, amazon randori
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Aikido with Patrick M., Alan, and Erin - tegatana with emphasis on shizentai, hanasu #1-2 with emphasis on rolling off of uke, shomenate, aigamaeate, randori

Altitude, airspeed, and ideas

There's a saying among pilots, at least so I've been told by some of my instructors, when you are really in a pickle and can't think of a way to make your situation better, you are "out of altitude, airspeed, and ideas." In other words, you are going to crash soon and there is nothing you can do about it.
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One of the important things that ukemi (the practice of taking falls as someone else practices techniques) teaches you is to stop putting energy into the situation when you are out of altitude, airspeed, and ideas. That extra energy is not only unhelpful, but you're going to have to eat it during the impact. When you get yourself into a situation where your skills and efforts are not going to help you change the outcome, relax and crash with as much grace as possible.
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Surely you've noticed that as you spend more time in a martial art like aikido or judo, you can be thrown more vigorously and can survive more outrageous techniques. We usually attribute this to increased skill at falling, but this is also due in part to increasing awareness of one's own limits and skills. As you gain a better understanding of where your edge lies, you are better able to know when to fight and when to lie down.

Helpful handful - Big picture martial arts strategy

My list of five (or six) indispensable judo books and five (or again, six) great aikido books met with such great success that I thought you might like to see a handful of suggestions for great books on the big picture of martial arts. Some of these are indispensable strategy classics, some are philosophical, and some are political. Some of them are directly related to martial arts and some, only peripherally. But I consider all of these books absolute must-reads for martial artists as well as self-improvement buffs.
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If you think you want to pick up a copy of some of these books. please buy them from my Amazon store through the links below.







Munegatame - the side holding position

The following is a decent instructional video on munegatame (the chest hold) known in jiujitsu (uncreatively) as the side position.  The audio is in Japanese, so unless you speak the language you'll do just as well turning the speakers all the way down and paying close attention to his positioning and motion.  I thought his demonstration of the leg entanglements and the hip switches was most interesting.
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This post is especially intended for my newbie adult judoka.  We've been working our way around the body in the ground mobility exercise and have dwelt a little bit on this position, munegatame.  This vid will serve as a good reminder/review/preview.  Enjoy...

Worst martial arts movie dialogue ever

In the mid-1990’s I watched a movie that was so bad that it actually immunized me against bad movies. Now I am able to watch extremely bad movies, frequently without even groaning. The movie that developed this talent in me… On Deadly Ground starring Steven Seagal.

Remember the scene during which Seagal beats a smartalek up really bad, then asks the man, “What does it take to change the essence of a man?” to which the guy (in tears of shame) answers, “Time... I just need time to change.” Argh! I actually feel dumber for having just typed that. The screenwriter for that movie should be traded for a pet monkey (another wretched line of dialogue from Segal’s Fire Down Below).

Lets’ hear y’all’s nominations for worst martial arts movie dialogue. I’m sure y’all have seen some doozies!

The many faces of Judo

Anticipation, Exhaustion, Patience, Endurance, Contemplation, Curiosity

Training log

Judo with Justin & Jesse - ROM, ukemi, 2-hands-on-a-point, uphill escape from kesagatame, footsweep to control, deashi, kosotogari, osotogari, hizaguruma, randori
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Kids' judo with Whit, Knox, Nick, Mick, Matt, Zach, Laurie, Stephen, Bailey, Davin, Kevonte, Mason - ROM, ukemi, oozing, crawling, cross face turnover, crawling man randori

A helpful handful: 5 great sacrifices for dealing with an overwhelming opponent

Judo as a self-defense art excels in one particular situation that can give other martial artists sweating terrors – that is, when the defender is surprised and rushed and overwhelmed and borne down to the ground.  In this situation, judo’s sacrifice throws crop up and often save the day. Following are five of my favorites.  I’ve said it before and I'll say it again – don’t practice these things without a good coach and a good falling surface.  For safety's sake we don't mess with these things until about brown belt, but if you are a judoka you owe it to yourself to (at least eventually) become proficient at these particular sacrifices.

Aiki buddies gathering - Surviving armed assaults

This fall (October 31 and November 1), we will be having our third annual Aiki Buddies Gathering here at Mokuren Dojo. We are likely to have aikidoka from all over the southwest US come practice with us and the theme this year will be the role of the knife in aikido. We will be working on the knife part of the system, including basic knife evasions, the knife sections of sankata and rokukata, and knife randori, and I will be showing how the knife components of the system are a vital piece of the un-armed self-defense picture.
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With that in mind, I wanted to share a handful of quotes from Lawrence Kane's excellent book, Surviving Armed Assaults, that I recently reviewed. While I am not really using this book as a text for the Aiki Buddies Gathering, some of these ideas underlie what we will be working on and y'all can get a head start by giving some thought to Kane's ideas...
When dealing with weapons, awareness is the best defense followed immediately by avoidance and strategic withdrawal. (p. xix)
No matter what martial style you practice, controlling an opponent's arms (or elbows) and disrupting his or her balance is a sound strategy... (p. xxiv)

Armed assaults with edged weapons are becoming increasingly common since they are much easier to obtain and conceal than handguns, and are carried by far more people. Their relatively low-cost, silent application, and comparative ease of disposal are definite bonuses for the criminally minded (p4).

Self-protection in general, both forceful and non-forceful, reduced the risk of property loss and injury, compared to non-resistance. A variety of mostly forceful tactics, including resistance with a gun, appeared to have the strongest effects in reducing the risk of injury ... Combined with the fact that injuries following resistance are almost always relatively minor, victim resistance appears to be generally a wise course of action (p7).

Because you simply cannot tell by appearance alone whether or not that gentle-looking man or woman walking down the street next to you is a harmless accountant, a violent rapist, or even a mass murderer, you must always be on your guard (p9) ...

...in self defense...The closest thing to an absolute...is that it is critical to maintain sufficient distance between yourself and a potential assailant to give yourself time to react (p43).

...who attacks you will consider himself bigger, tougher, meaner, and more experienced than you are. Either that or he will employ a weapon to win, likely from an ambush (p56)...
That's only a handful of quotes that I marked in my copy of the book - only a taste of what the book is about. I highly recommend the book as an interesting, educational read if you want to think that your martial art has something to do with armed violence.

Interesting testimonial

Yesterday one of my judo guys - a new white belt that's only been to about 3 classes - told me he'd been talking to a guy at home that had done some judo before. The guy asked him, "Show me what you've been learning." The student demurred but upon the insistence of the old-head judo guy, he said, "Well, we've been working on deashibarai."
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"That's the advanced leg sweep, right?" Said the old-head.
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"Yep"
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"Well, show me how you do it."
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(student does deashibarai)
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"Whoa! that was cool. I've never seen it like that. Show me how to do that!"
I like it when my white belts and yellow belts surprise their friends who have been doing this stuff for longer. (But don't take this to mean that I want you to start way-laying passers-by to validate your martial arts practice.)

Training log - long, long morning

Judo with Todd - ROM, ukemi, footsweep to control, deashibarai (both early and late timings), kosotogari, osotogari, tachi randori
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Aikido with Andy, Todd, Alan and Whit - tegatana, hanasu, release randori, multiple attacker randori, sankata kote mawashi
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Judo with Andy, Alan, Jesse, & Justin - ROM, ukemi, footsweep to control, deashibarai (both early and late timings), osotogari, tachi randori, newaza randori

Kimbo Slice vs. Shel Silverstein

A quickie question for y'all. I was in the bookstore and stumbled on a book by Shel Silverstein and saw his photo on the back. I immediately said to myself, "Wow, I didn't know Kimbo Slice wrote kids' books!" Supposedly Silverstein passed away in 1999, but I figure he just went underground and re-emerged into the world of MMA. What so y'all think? Have any of y'all ever seen both of these guys in the same place at the same time? I thought not!
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How to tie your martial arts belt

Here is a very good video demonstration of the simplest method for learning to tie your martial arts belt. Some instructors make this a pre-requisite to starting judo - you have to be old enough to tie your own belt. I'm not a stickler for this, but I would really like the yellow belts to all be able to tie their own belts.

Training log - what a blast!

Kids' judo with Whit, Knox, Mick, Nick, Matt, Zach, Stephen, Laurie, Kevonte, Bailey, & Davin - ROM, ukemi, weightbearing exercises including oozing over a turtle, bear crawl, seoinage ukemi, cross face turnover, crawling man randori, steamroller

Training log

Judo with Jesse & Justin - ROM, ukemi, footsweep to control, deashibarai, kosotogari, osotogari, tachi randori, fundamentals of holding (munegatame&kesagatame), newaza randori
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Kids' Judo with Whit, Knox, Quin, Luke, Dylan, Chance, and Lanie - ROM, ukemi, mobility, deashibarai, crawling man randori, cross-face turnover, kneeling knockdown
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Aikido with Patrick M., Kel, Erin, Alan, and 2 new folks - ROM, ukemi, tegatana, hanasu#1, crazy man randori, shomenate

Easy to slip

One of the benefits to doing a traditional martial art is that the tradition serves to help prevent the slippage of standards that can be caused by age or boredom.
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Face it, as we get older it is harder and harder to do what we used to at the intensity and frequency that we used to. It is easy to slowly, invisibly downgrade your expectations for yourself and your students. You may never catch onto this insidious slippage until it is too late.
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Not only advancing age, but boredom can make us slip. Becoming and remaining technically proficient requires repetition, and once you've mastered a skill it can be tempting to move onto something newer and fresher instead of putting in the repetitions required to retain and maintain that skill. Sure you want to keep learning new stuff, but you HAVE to maintain your gains.
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In traditional(as opposed to eclectic) martial arts, you typically inherit a class structure and training method as well as a set of skills. Once someone has found a sufficient training routine that works and produces good outcomes, that training routine becomes part of the tradition that is passed down and the students and instructors do the art that way unless they have a really good reason to change it.
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This does not stifle reasoned, creative innovation, but it does help prevent slippage of your standards.

The Responsibility Project


Over the past couple of years we have occasionally delved into aspects of personal responsibility here at Mokuren Dojo and at some related blogs. A couple of examples include...
The above film is part of a fantastic project that is being run by Liberty Mutual to promote discussion of responsibility in the various roles we play in daily life. The Responsibility Project includes short films, a blog, resources, and a cool survey-type game in which you define your own reponsibility policy by reading and agreeing or disagreeing with various definitions of responsibility.
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I will sure be following The Responsibility Project and I think a lot of my readers would find it interesting and maybe learn something from it. Check it out.

Kane's Surviving Armed Assaults

Surviving Armed Assaults by Lawrence A. Kane is a book well worth reading if you are interested in the self-defense potential of your martial art. This is one of several very good martial arts books that I have read on this topic, including Rory Miller's Meditations on Violence and Sammy Franco's When Seconds Count, but Surviving Armed Assaults is, at the same time, both more focused and more comprehensive than these other books.
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Did I say comprehensive? I meant encyclopedic! Stretching to 315 pages, this book covers everything from awareness, avoidance, and de-escalation (my favorite chapters), to the use of countervailing force, nine rules to live by, and how to survive the medical and legal aftermath of armed violence.
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I can sum up this review by saying this book represents an extremely informative and down-to-earth look at some aspects of violence that you might not cover much (or correctly) in your martial art. You owe it to yourself to get a copy of this book and think about the concepts and ideas within it - especially if you want to think that your martial art deals with weapons.
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This is another book, like Meditations on Violence, that is definitely going to deserve more than one review post, so stay tuned in the next couple of days for a more detailed look at some of the ideas in the book.

How about a jostle of judoka?

Words for collectives of animals have always interested me. There are flocks of birds but gaggles of geese and murders of crows. Droves of dragons and herds of cows. Schools of fish and broods of hens. If you want to see a cool dictionary of collective nouns, check this webpage out.
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But my question is, What is the collective noun to refer to judo players? All you word nerds and wordnerd wannabes out there, leave me a comment because I need to know what to call my newly burgeoning kids' judo classes!

Training log

Judo with Todd - ROM, ukemi, footsweep to control, deashibarai, kosotogari, ukigatame, ground mobility cycle
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Aikido with Kel, Todd, Jesse, and Justin - ROM, ukemi, tegatana, evasion&brush-off, release#1, shomenate, suwari oshitaoshi, tekubiosae

Ike smites Clear Lake

This is some raw footage from the weather channel of Hurricane Ike's eyewall as it passes through Clear Lake Texas. This is where our buddy, Scott Zrubek (The Mad Moravian) does aikido at our buddy Ray Williams' dojo and ( I suppose) pretty doggone close to where he lives. Earlier this season Scott wrote that he had the gut suspicion that Gustov was about to barrel right down his throat but it turns out it was to be Ike.
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We're praying for you and yours, Scott, and for all our Houston buddies. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help y'all.

A helpful handful: 5 ways to get past the guard

There are a bazillion ways to get out from between uke’s legs in a grappling situation. Following are five of my favorites. 
  • Get base and break the closed guard apart – First things first. If you do not get a wide base and an upright posture then you will be unable to do anything from between uke’s legs. Even though the judo rules prevent uke from squeezing with his legs, allowing uke to close legs around you and lock feet together makes it easy for even relatively weak people to crush your ribs and insides to pulp -  so breaking uke’s feet apart should be a priority. Put hands on uke’s belt and lever elbows into uke’s femoral arteries or put a knee in uke’s buttcrack and push back from him with your hands.
  • Pass over a leg – You will want to control uke’s hips with one hand on the belly and push a leg to the ground with your other hand. You will get better mileage if you crawl over the leg starting with your farthest leg first. This prevents uke from entangling your trailing leg.
  • Pass under a leg – if you push uke’s leg down and it pops back up, scoop it to your shoulder (watch out for the triangle) and crush uke’s knee into his chest with your weight and leg power. As he resists twist around the leg, letting it drop out of the way as you fall into the side position.
  • Throw legs aside and shoot – if you manage to back out and get a grip on uke’s knees or ankles, give them a jerk toward you to straighten his legs out. As he resists, allow him to curl his legs back to him a little and throw both feet to one side, shooting in to the other side. This pass will often make uke roll onto his side away from you, giving you his back.
  • Stack him up and dump his feet over the other side – if you can get base and get to standing, use your weight and leg power to crush his hips into his chest. from here, keep stacking uke up onto his shoulders and the back of his head and then push his hips over, forcing him to backroll to relieve the pressure. As he backrolls, jump on him.

The best aikido book out there!

OK, ok!  I got the picture.  As Kel mentioned in the comment to the previous post, Nick Lowry's book really is much better than any of the six that I recommended.  The only reason that I didn't link to Nick's book was that for some reason, Amazon didn't have a cover image, so I figured my link would look shabby.  Thanks to Kyle Sloan for sending me the cover image, so if you are interested in getting a great book on aikido - particularly Tomikiryu Aikido as we practice it, keep in mind that this is the best book out there.

A helpful handful - 5 great aikido books

A few days ago I posted a list of absolute must-read judo books and since then several readers have responded saying that they loved those books and appreciated the recommendations.  I figured I'd post a similar list of aikido books.  Following are five great aikido books and a sixth - a little lagniappe if you will.

Can anyone tell me...

Why is it that in judo competition you get penalized for non-combativity when you stall or run when you are on your feet but when you are on the ground the main two strategies appear to be:
  • turtle up and be defensive until the ref gets bored and re-starts you standing
  • disengage and walk back to the starting line, ignoring the guy that just fell
I mean, I do understand that they think that groundwork is boring to watch and they want to encourage ippon judo and all that, but this particular glitch in the rules (or their interpretation by officials) is dumb.  If you think that stalling and fleeing is bad when you're standing then you should penalize it on the ground too.  If you think that ignoring the downed opponent or stalling on the ground is okay, then these strategies should be okay when you stand back up.
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But then again, you can't have a judo match when one player is stalling and running and stiffarming and only playing defense, so IMO, we should have good, reasonable penalties for noncombativity both standing and on the ground.

Another way y'all can help me out

Part of why people keep coming back to read what I write here at www.mokurendojo.com is that over the last few months I have gotten to know a good number of my readers a lot better. Where they live, the arts they practice, some of their reasons for practicing martial arts. And as I have gotten to know y'all better I have gotten better at crafting articles that draw upon your specific interests and give you specific information that you want and need.
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But there are a lot of readers out there - folks that drop in on this blog pretty often but never leave a comment. On other forums they might be called lurkers. You know who you are. I would love to get to know more of my readers better so I can keep providing content that you want to come back for.
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So, if you would like to help me out a bunch, leave me a comment. Let me know what you are all about! Or if you don't want to leave a public comment, write me an email at mokurendojo@gmail.com.

A helpful handful – 5 hints for a stronger kesagatame

A few days ago I posted a helpful handful of hints on escaping from kesagatame.  Let's turn the tables a little and give the holder an advantage this time.  Here are five hints for making your kesagatame stronger.
  • Set the hold with your solid ribs against uke's floating ribs and turn your far shoulder slightly into uke, as if trying to face him chest-to-chest. If he tries to push you away, rolling your shoulder away from him will painfully rack his ribs around yours, discouraging him.
  • Set the hold relatively lightly and wait for him to exhale. Every time he exhales, pull in a little tighter, preventing him from inhaling freely. Like a python, this will eventually crush the air and the resistance right out of him.
  • Pull uke’s head and arm to you tightly with the feeling of pulling yourself closer to uke. Don’t try to push uke down toward the mat because you will just push yourself off of him and make yourself lighter.
  • Make sure that both your knees are on the ground. if your back knee is up (such a common fault that I call this, “faulty gatame”) then it is easier for uke to entangle your back leg. Spread your legs out as far apart as you can get them and dig the bottoms of your toes and both knees into the ground to get base and traction.
  • If you are doing kesakatame holding his far arm instead of his head, every time he struggles and shifts, work your fist farther under his far shoulder, creeping it toward his spine. This creates a chock to prevent bridge and roll, it is painful and discouraging, and it makes his breathing even more difficult.

Taking over the world - Training log

Kids' judo with Davin, Bailey, Mason, Mick, Matt, Zach, Nick, Whit, and Knox (Whew!  what a load of new names for my old brain to remember) - ROM, ukemi, tsugiashi running, deashi falls w/ spotter, deashibarai with partners, kneeling knockdown (randori), seated listening concentration exercise.

The osotogari-haraigoshi connection

Once I was demonstrating osotogari for a class and after that class I had an interesting conversation with a fellow black belt. It went something like this:
“You meant to call that haraigoshi, right?”
“No, that was osotogari.”
“No, it was haraigoshi.”
“osoto”
“harai”
“osoto”
“harai”
and so on.
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Here’s you a point to ponder – does it seem to you that in haraigoshi and osotogari, tori’s motion is roughly the same? That’s because they are the same technique from tori’s point of view. What makes the difference is how uke chooses to fall out of it or how he tries to escape it. If you do this technique when uke is turning in toward you, it tends to make uke fall forward and turn over, like haraigoshi. On the other hand, if you do this sweeping motion while uke is trying to turn out away from you, it tends to smash uke backward onto his back, like osotogari.
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Following is a video of one of the famous (or should I say infamous) 1950’s Kodokan instructors (Isao Okano) doing osotogari. On some of the entries, if you didn’t already know he was throwing osotogari, you’d swear he’s getting ready for a shoulder throw or a haraigoshi.
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Political in-fighting

This is one of the funniest (in a shameful way) judo matches I've seen in a long time.  Next up on the fight card: Joe Biden vs. John McCain followed by the main event of the night - the fight we've all been waiting to see - Sarah Palin vs. Hillary Clinton!
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A helpful handful - 5 necessary judo books

One of my students asked me today what are some good judo books that I'd recommend for his off-mat time.  The following five are invaluable and indispensable.  If you're going to be reading about judo then you pretty much have to start out with these books.

Ok! So I said you'd get five books and I gave you six. Actually the last two are sort of a tie. The Path to The Blackbelt book is more of a how-to techniques book (and about the best I've seen), while the Mastering Jiujitsu book is more of a conceptual book about why the system is designed to work the way it does. 
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Which books other than these would you guys recommend?

What's going on here?

I try to keep up with who hits on my blog and where they come from and that sort of thing.  It helps me tailor content to folks to make it more interesting.  Well, today,out of the blue, I have started getting dozens of hits on this article on Boxing and Aikido.  They appear to be mostly coming from Europe - specifically eastern Europe.  They look like they are being referred from Google Images, but when I hit the link to track them down I can't load the page.  Curious.
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But I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth - keep the hits coming!

Training log

Aiki with Kel - ROM, Tegatana, Hanasu, shihonage, aikinage, randori

Kids' judo is getting started

Tomorrow is the first meeting of the new season of Kids' judo classes. We'll be meeting at the dojo at 5:30 in the afternoon to sign up, fill out forms, pay dues, and divide the kids up into classes. After this first meeting, the classes will be once per week on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 5:30. Class sizes will be limited to about 10 kids and If we have so many kids sign up that we overflow the Tuesday/Thursday slots then we will add a 5:30 Friday class and/or a 5:30 Monday class.
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If you need any more info, email me at mokurendojo@gmail.com or give me a call at 601-248-7282 and I'll be glad to help you out however I can.

Gustov waza

Well, we made it through hurricane Gustov pretty much okay. Had a few trees down here and there and lost power for about a day. We didn't have aikido class tonight but we'll be back in full swing Thursday. I'd planned, if we'd had aiki tonight, to have a hurricane themed night, with particular emphasis on  the spiral motion of shihonage and aikinage (iriminage). We'll work that stuff Thursday!

A helpful handful: 5 great ways to escape from kesa gatame

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Here is the latest in my ongoing series of how-to articles. These are five ways to get out of the scarf hold - kesagatame. None is infallible but all are indispensable and each works together to make the others easier and better, so if one of these doesn't work, just cycle on to the next one.
  • sit-up escape – The first escape I teach – the easiest and the cheesiest. But you know what? It happens a lot more than you’d suspect. To make it go, you throw your feet and hips as far away from uke as you can, then do a situp while twisting to face him. This presses his back into the ground, placing you on top in kesagatame.

  • uphill escape – statistically the most likely escape to work. Throw your hips into uke’s hips/side HARD and bridge into him, using your free hand to press his face into the mat and grind it. Then turn toward him onto your knees and pull you trapped arm free.

  • bridge & roll (A.K.A. the downhill escape) This is the one that everyone beats to death but it is hard to make it go without having a good uphill escape. After you try the uphill escape, if he resists having his face ground and puts more pressure on you, bridge to throw him diagonally over your far shoulder. Thinking about bridging his face into the ground really helps on this one.

  • leg entanglement often seems like a cheep way to escape – like rules lawyering, but leg entanglement can lead to a great bridge&roll or to several devastating leglocks, so in the judo rules leg entanglement stops grappling. The threat of leg entanglement can also make the other escapes easier to do.

  • shrimp-bridge – this is not an explicit escape technique but rather a type of motion that tends to tear hold-downs apart. If you alternately shrimp, then bridge against uke, you tend to create space while causing him to constantly fight to keep the hold. situp, uphill, and bridge&roll escapes pop out of this kind of motion all the time.

But then, there's the infamous nose-honk!

Other blogs (not as good as mine, but they try awfully hard!) :-)