New Schedule and Location for 2016

Mondays, Tuesdays, & Thursdays from 8-9PM at Rejoice Dance Studio, 1418 Delaware Avenue, McComb MS.

Training log

Kids' judo
  • ukemi
  • Gracie games: crazylegs, crazylegs-to-bulldozer, crazylegs-to-bulldozer-to-crazyhorse
  • taiotoshi
Aikido
  • ukemi
  • tegatana w/ emphasis on balls of feet and tsugiashi
  • aiki brushoff
  • hanasu #1-2 w/ emphasis on synch and brushoff on a footfall
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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How to become a judo empty jacket

Perhaps it's human nature to discount things from the past as being inferior to modern marvels. I've heard this story (perhaps it even rises to the level of a judo legend) that someone once said Jigoro Kano was "a great judo teacher but not really a very good competitor," and that an eyewitness corrected them, saying, "Trying to fight with Kano was like trying to fight with an empty jacket!"
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What does that mean, "fighting an empty jacket?" Maybe its hard to imagine unless you've been fortunate enough to lay your hands on the right judo masters. There are people that are so good at judo... they move with you so well... using so little effort or strength... that you just cannot feel them. You are thrown with such pure, maximally efficient skill that it is unfathomable magic. To me, this feeling is like grabbing a tissue and trying to move it around violently - there is so little resistance to your strength that you can hurt yourself if you are not careful trying to muscle it around. I also liken it to the way a gnat is blown out of the way by the air preceeding a slap.
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Such empty jackets are few and far between in the judo world, but they are not mythical beasts. In 20 some-odd years of judo I've only laid hands on two Empty Jackets, and one more guy that is nearly that good.
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A couple of weeks ago I had the extreme pleasure and fortune to not only be able to move around with an Empty Jacket, but to ask him a pointed question... "How do you progress from being 'pretty good' at judo to becoming an Empty Jacket?"
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Here are some of the main points that I got that day - should be enough to keep me occupied for years.
  • My hands move only me - never push/pull with the intent of moving the other guy. Only use your hands to help you move your own center into position for your throw. I think that he was saying that tori's hands only do tsukuri - not kuzushi or kake!
  • Never stop moving long enough to execute a technique! (same advice and Henry Copeland gave me regarding Jodo!)
  • Pay more attention to rise and fall in newaza - just like you do in tachiwaza
  • Do more newaza escapes from static, resistive positions instead of pulling the trigger before uke gets set - learn to get yourself out of worst case scenarios
WOW! I've got a long way to go! Any of those points would probably be worth a decade of study and effort.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木
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What is karate?


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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June 2010 Starkville Judo Seminar - Day 2

Today is newaza and shiai.  For the morning class we'll be working through basic positional grappling and basic submissions.  Again, like last class, we'll be working principle ideas.
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For escapes, we'll do:

  • kesa and 4 escapes (leg entanglement, situp, uphill, bridge&roll)
  • mune & 2 escapes (bridge&roll, knees-in)
  • tate & 2 escapes (bridge&roll, elbow escape)
  • kami & 2 escapes (bridge&roll, spinout)
  • uragatame & 1 escape (scrape)
  • dojime, 2 breaks (elbow, knee), 2 passes (over, under)
The principle ideas that we'll be looking at include:
  • minimize friction and flatness
  • turn to face opponent
  • 2 hands on 1 point
  • shrimp-bridge
  • elbows&knees in between
  • the above ideas tend to tear apart holds and facilitate escape techniques
  • each escape technique, when it fails, it makes the next one easier to do.
For submissions, we'll do
  • wakigatame and udegarame
  • jujijime and hadakajime

In the afternoon, we'll have a spate of rank demos, including a friendly kohaku shiai

____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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June 2010 Starkville Judo Seminar

t-minus 9 hours and counting till we kick off our Judo seminar in Starkville.  Here is a brief overview of the material we'll be working on.
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Tonight we'll make a whirlwind tour of the tachiwaza through about nikyu or ikkyu.  This time we won't be beating details of any single throw to death, but I'll be trying to emphasize two ideas:
  • Since judo is supposed to be a soft art, maybe we can actually practice it softly!  Judo nagekomi does not necessarily have to be practiced by trading spine-breaking ippons one after another. Sometimes this idea can be a stretch for the minds of poor judo animals - especially at a college club populated by young adult males.
  • The teaching syllabus is not an un-ordered collection of 40 or 60 random throws.  It is a set of systematic variations on a few themes organized into an orderly system.
The throws for the night will include:
  • deashi, kosoto, hiza, osoto, ukigoshi
  • kouchi, ouchi, ogoshi, seoinage, koshiguruma
  • sasae, sodeTKgoshi, okuriashi
  • haraiTKashi, haraigoshi, taiotoshi
  • ashiguruma, oguruma, hanegoshi, sumiotoshi
So, obviously, doing nagekomi for 20 throws in about 120 minutes, we'll have to be efficient with our time. I'll try to minimize lecture time and maximize throwing time.  It's also obvious that everyone will have to be careful with their partners (think soft judo) and we'll have to trade partners seamlessly between throws (everyone works with everyone).

____________ 
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Owaza Jupon, Kondo style

The second set of Owaza Jupon contains three techniques that the student has already learned in Junanahon Kata - shihonage, ushiroate, and kotegaeshi. This repetition is typically justified by saying that these throws are done differently in Owaza - more dynamically and in a separating fashion. Well, Dr. Kondo told us a few weeks ago that this is his students' normal operating mode for Junanahon kata, so he felt the repetition in the second half of Owaza Jupon was un-necessary.
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So, what would you do about the repetitiveness of this kata?
  • Would you maintain the repetitive techniques in Owaza?
  • Would you drop these three techniques, reducing the ten-point kata to seven points?
  • Or would you substitute new techniques into the kata?
Dr. Kondo's take on this was to substitute three new techniques into the second half of the kata in place of shihonage, ushiroate, and kotegaeshi:
  • seoinage - much like the seoinage from nagenokata
  • osotogari - much like the nanameuchi osotogari from Kodokan Goshin Jutsu
  • ushirodori makikomi - similar to the third technique of junokata, but executed with uke doing a rear bearhug.
This made for some really interesting practice, Things I noticed...
  • Unless we study nagenokata a good bit, we probably don't spend enough time throwing seoinage, etc... from fast-moving separated attacks (hamarejudo) like in Owaza Jupon.  Even having done nagenokata a good bit, this technique was awkward for me in this particular context.
  • Seoinage, if done with a guruma-like emphasis (as would be suggested by throwing this technique into Owaza Jupon) is virtually the same as udeguruma from the first set. This makes for even more repetitiveness in the kata. Speaking of which, I thought it was interesting that the three repeated techniques in the second half of the kata agitated Dr. Kondo but the first three gurumas in the first half (identical except for gripping action) didn't.
  • Osotogari was difficult for me to do from this attack with a guruma action. Perhaps osotoguruma would be a better throw in this kata.
  • The ushirodori makikomi is really cool - obviously guruma - so it fits well in this context. It also adds another class of attack to the kata (ushirodori) but still illustrates the principles of the exercise (guruma and separation).
 What do you think of the repetitiveness of Owaza Jupon?  What do you think of this particular solution?
 
 
____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Training log

Kids' judo
  • ukemi
  • Gracie Games:spiderkid
  • more ukemi - swinging from a rope and doing ukemi into a crashpad
Aikido
  • tegatana w/ emphasis on offline evasions, recovery foot, and pushing motions
  • aiki brush-off
  • shomenate, aigamaeate, oshitaoshi

____________ Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮 ____________ Subscribe now for free updates from Mokuren Dojo ____________ Send me an email or let's connect on Facebook or Twitter

The Super Six!

What if the Divine Nine was actually the Super Six?
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Notice in the previous article that kosoto, osoto, kouchi, and ouchi don't have much of a technique cloud surrounding them. That suggests to me that some of these are not as foundational as the others.  I mentioned in some of the original Divine 9 articles that ashiwaza was probably over-represented because of my personal bias.
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What if these 4 ashiwaza were collected into a cloud represented by one kihon? Which one of them would be the kihon that the ashiwaza cloud is based on? I say one could modify the Divine 9 into a smaller set as follows...
  • deashibarai - okuriashi, haraiTKashi
  • kosotogari - kosotogake, osotogari, kouchigari, ouchigari
  • hizaguruma - sasaeTKashi, koshiguruma, ashiguruma, oguruma
  • ukigoshi - haraigoshi, hanegoshi, uchimata
  • ogoshi - tsurigoshi, tsurikomigoshi, kubinage
  • seoinage - seoiotoshi, taiotoshi, ukiotoshi, sumiotoshi
I guess my original point still holds - that we need a small set of kihon that are representative of most of the rest of judo, which we can practice more often than the rest of the gokyo.  How an instructor constructs that set of kihon might vary, as will their selection of which waza to put in that set. 
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There is a lot of room for variation and preference in my kihon scheme. For instance, I've discussed with some of my students that taiotoshi is such a good technique, it is so foundational, that it could probably be the kihon within its cloud instead of seoinage. I've also discussed with some other instructors that ukiotoshi could be considered the foundational technique of that same set. It's also come up that sodeTKgoshi might be a better foundational technique than ogoshi.
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So, your mileage may vary, but the Divine 9 has worked well for my students and I, and I figure to see for a while how my ideas coalesce around this Super Six.  I don't figure to change our syllabus (yet?) or the order that things are done in, but just to reorganize in my mind how this huge number of throws in judo coalesces into a systematic, orderly whole.
 
 
____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Cloudy with a chance of... judo

I have written several articles on the idea of a core of a very few representative techniques in judo - a set of kihon that should be practiced more often than the rest of the gokyo. I selected nine techniques as the set of kihon that I teach but I also mentioned that even though these nine are a core and deserve more attention than the others, they are not all of judo. There are many more important throws that teach great skills and illustrate vital principles.
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In my scheme of things, we have the kihon (The Divine Nine) and most of the kihon techniques have a set of related techniques that go with that kihon in sort of a cloud of waza surrounding some central principle or idea. 
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Here are my kihon and some of their related techniques (not all the related techniques, but it should be enough for you to see the general outlines of the cloud that surrounds each kihon).
  • deashibarai - okuriashi, haraiTKashi
  • kosotogari - kosotogake
  • hizaguruma - sasaeTKashi, koshiguruma, ashiguruma, oguruma
  • osotogari
  • ukigoshi - haraigoshi, hanegoshi, uchimata
  • kouchigari
  • ouchigari
  • ogoshi - tsurigoshi, tsurikomigoshi, kubinage
  • seoinage - seoiotoshi, taiotoshi, ukiotoshi, sumiotoshi

This is the tachiwaza material and structure that we'll be working through this weekend at the Starkville seminar.
[photo courtesy of emdot]

____________ 
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮 
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What is judo?


____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Training log

Kids' judo
  • Gracie Games: crazy horse, crazy feet
  • newaza randori with emphasis on turn to face, taking the back, and escaping from the back mount
Judo
  • deashibarai and okuriashibarai with emphasis on proper timing
  • harai tsurikomiashi and sasae tsurikomiashi as failsafes on either side of hizaguruma
____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Deashi down, okuri up

We (my students and I) have a common problem. We practice deashibarai a lot! We practice it as the basis of most other throws. But if (when) we get lax in actually throwing it or if (when) we start thinking about deashi as just a feint or setup for some other throw, we start doing the timing wrong.
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See, deashi is a down-throw. It is thrown as uke's feet are separating and one foot is entering the ground. Okuriashibarai is an up-throw. It is thrown at the peak of uke's upward motion as uke's feet are approaching each other and leaving the ground.
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If you're not careful, it's tempting to try to throw deashi as an up throw, because it's easier to get one of uke's legs into the air this way. But this is less than optimal because:
  1. it takes more strength from tori to sail uke this way
  2. it's actually harder to get uke's back to hit the ground this way, and
  3. it mostly consigns deashi to the role of a feint or minor setup instead of being a real throw of its own
If you recognize this problem in yourself (trying to throw deashi as an up throw), then you are really hitting the okuriashi timing - you're just out of position for okuri.  You are mixing up the timing and position for these two throws.  Try moving to okuriashi position when your brain says to pull the trigger on deashi.
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My students can expect several classes (at least) worth of particular emphasis on "deashi-down, okuri-up."
 
____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Organization of Junanahon kata

When you consider the amount of understanding and thought that goes into creation of a kata, it's awesome. You can't just grab a handful of your favorite techniques and throw them in and shake them up. There has to be an underlying logic (riai) to the selection, ordering, and execution. For instance, Junanahon kata exhibits several forms of organization, including:

  • generally easier-to-harder ukemi
  • techniques occur in complementary pairs, like gyakugamaeate and gedanate
  • progressively looser connection between uke and tori (atemi then elbow connection then wrist connection then floating throws)
  • progressively more flowing (later techniques are more indirect and take more time to execute)
  • progressively more movement involved
  • progressively more timing dependent
  • most immediately useful stuff first

What other trends or forms of organization have you found in Junanahon kata?
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Training log

Judo
  • ukigoshi, haraigoshi, hanegoshi, uchimata
  • a lovely uchimata-taiotoshi combo that Mario wanted to work
Kids' judo
  • Gracie Games: croc control, crazyhorse
  • crocs&cows
  • taiotoshi and ukiotoshi
Aikido
  • release#1 into junana #1,11-17

____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Don't let your practice grow stale

Some quick ideas about how to avoid letting your martial arts practice grow stale...
  • go to a seminar
  • host a seminar
  • try a different art - especially one you have always disregarded or discounted
  • try a different focus on your art - what if your goal for your art was different
  • read a book - or a blog
  • write a book - or a blog
  • write an email to a teacher you don't know
  • figure out the assumptions your art is based on and violate one in practice
Or perhaps best of all, combine several of these.  Maybe you can write an email to an instructor you've always discounted, questioning one of the assumptions of your own art, then attend one of their seminars and blog about what you learned...
____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Shihonage is a chimera

A while back I went to a seminar with a highly-ranked instructor and the seminar topic was the last section of junanahon kata - floating throws. Well, the instructor walks out on the mat and said, "Okay, floating throws... Let's start with shihonage." And immediately my internal alarms went off. See, in the Tomiki scheme of things, shihonage was classified as a wrist throw, not one of the floating throws (maeotoshi, sumiotoshi, hikiotoshi). Of course, we went along for the ride and had a great practice, but I kept wondering why he'd decided to throw shihonage in with the floating throws.
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Of course, you can learn to apply the floating throw principles in any throw...
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And shihonage does share the same distinctive form of offbalance with the other floating throws in Tomiki's kata...
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But I still kept wondering. And I think I have realized that shihonage is a chimera - part one thing and part another. Shihonage shares characteristics with both the wrist techniques and the floating throws.
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In its role as a chimera it points both directions. It suggests that your floating throws can benefit from some greater wrist control and your wrist techniques can become more floaty. You can apply ideas from either set to the other.
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I saw the same thing at the recent Kondo seminar when Dr. Kondo threw me with shihonage. It was a wrist technique - definite wrist control - but he floated me into that wrist control and used the wrist control to maintain and prolong the float. Then the actual turn and throw happened on the next otoshi - just like a floating throw.
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Notice shihonage's position in the kata also suggests its role as chimera. It is the last item in the wrist set and just before the floating set. As an exercise, you might consider how the last technique of each set can be thought of as a chimera. How is ushiroate like an elbow technique? How is wakigatame like a wrist control? How is hikiotoshi similar to the next kata (Owaza Jupon)?

____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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What is aikido?


____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Training log

Aikido

  • ukemi w/ emphasis on forward kneeling roll and back fall
  • tegatana steps 1-3 w/ emphasis on balls of feet and getting offline
  • aiki brush-off
  • shomenate and gyakugamaeate
  • release#1


____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Paradoxes in aiki; throwing vs. releasing

I've covered this idea briefly before.
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You can't really "throw" a person-sized thing like we usually think of throwing something, like we think about throwing a baseball or a stick. A person is just too big and too flexible to pick up and accelerate ballistically.
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So, do we throw or do we release?
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Do we execute a technical skill in order to make uke fall down or do we repeatedly lead him into places of such profound weakness and unbalance that he might fall down and hurt himself but he certainly won't continue to attack us effectively?
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What do you think of this paradox?
____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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What is each aiki rank about?

A student was telling me a while back that he'd been reading a book by a BJJ instructor and that the interesting part of it was that author had characterized the different ranks as each having a different thematic focus. White belt was spent developing one particular set of principles and qualities, blue belt another, and so on...
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That student asked me if this sort of thing applied to our aikido or judo. Does each rank have some particular focus?
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Sure it does! Our way of teaching aikido mostly goes something like this...
  • yellow is about fundamental motion and evasion - the aiki brushoff, etc...
  • green is about atemi - attacking uke's center and driving him directly off of you if you aren't able to evade - shomenate, etc...
  • brown 3 is about moving with uke using his elbow to control his motion - oshitaoshi, wakigatame, etc...
  • brown 2 is about moving with uke using his wrist to control his motion - kotegaeshi, kotehineri, etc...
  • brown 1 is about floating throws - particularly otoshi timing - maeotoshi, sumiotoshi, etc...
  • black 1 is about refining all previous material to integrate the floating throw concept - also introducing guruma motion.
  • black 2 is about variations in maai, attacks, and timing
  • black 3 is about weapons and also honing that light aiki feel
  • black 4 and beyond are primarily about time-in-grade, teaching, and service to the art
____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Training log

Kids' judo
  • Gracie games - tackle the giant
  • judo sumo
Judo
  • footsweep control
  • osotogari 4 ways
  • ground mobility cycle
  • envelope (mune, kesa, wakigatame, udegarame)


____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Owaza jupon for multiple randori

Sometimes someone tells you something that you already knew, but changes how they say it just a bit - just enough that it totally casts that knowledge in a different light.  That happened to me a couple of times at the recent Kondo clinic. 
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For one thing, Owaza Jupon - I've been doing this set of techniques since brown belt and It has always been my favorite kata.  It has always seemed more aiki like than the other stuff we did.
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I'd always characterized the kata as an exercise in separation (throwing as you move away from uke) and as an exercise in contrasting otoshi and guruma - and it is both of those things.  This past weekend Dr. Kondo told us that Owaza Jupon was intended to be a multiple opponents type thing.  That it is comprised of techniques that take very little time or commitment so you can do them when you are in a hurry.  That is, these techniques are good for multiple randori because you don't have to get tied up with uke for very long and because they don't tie you up with uke.
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See, I'd always known that it's a separation thing, but hadn't made the connection that the reason you separate is so that you can stay free to keep moving.  Slight spin on the idea, big wow to me.

____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Helpful handful; Multiple randori in aikido

One interesting and fun and beneficial practice in aikido is multiple randori, in which 2 or 3  or 4 ukes attack one tori.  In our class we don't practice this very often but at the recent Kondo Seminar we warmed up with yonnin (4-attacker) randori.  Here's a handful of hints on implementing this practice into your class.
  • Control the intensity - First, realize this is not a gang-fight pile-on simulation.  It is just a mechanism to get a little more chaos and variability in the randori and increase the intensity a little.  It helps to have a referee (not tori and not one of the ukes) to help control the intensity by giving hints to tori and ukes from the sidelines.
  • Home positions - Give the four ukes "home positions" in the 4 corners of the mat.  They attack one at a time from these home positions.  As soon as tori touches one uke it is time for the next one to start from their home position.
  • Fall and get back up - Uke, when you fall, roll away from tori and get up, moving immediately back to one of the corner home positions.
  • Walking attacks - For all but the most advanced, craziest toris, a fast walk is a good intensity.  Ukes running blindly from all sides doesn't do anything but get someone hurt.
  • Use the aiki brush-off - Tori, don't try to engage and destroy every single uke with a beautiful technique.  Brush some attacks off.  Atemi others and keep moving.  Hide behind some ukes to keep the others off of you. You might only be able to throw a clearly-defined, named technique every 5-6 attacks.  That's more than okay.

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Training log

Kids' judo

  • Gracie Games - spiderkid, crocodile, crazyhorse
  • ashiwaza - deashi and kouchi
  • swept a ball around the mat using the deashi motion

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮 
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What martial artists should eat

Every so often someone will ask me for dietary advice, either because I'm an exercise physiologist or because I am a martial arts teacher.  I guess they figure those two domains of education and practice make me an expert or something.  Folks will ask me what I think of some particular diet, like Atkins, or what I think of a particular suppliment, like creatine.  Some folks assume that because I'm a martial artist, I must be a zen guru and therefore vegetarian.
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So I thought I'd post my professional opinion (from both professions - physiologist and martial artist).  I try to be Flexitarian, A.K.A. Omnivorous - but within the general guidelines espoused by Michael Pollan in his excellent books.  And if you are at the stage of your life that you are interested in eating sanely, Pollan's books might help you too.
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Food Rules: An Eater's ManualIn Defense of Food: An Eater's ManifestoPollan's basic thesis is that we should, "Eat (real) food, mostly plants, and not too much."  If that general plan sounds pretty good to you and you want more details, Pollan's book, Food Rules provides great guidelines.  If you want more than the basic guidelines, you might enjoy In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto.
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Either way, These books describe my philosophy of nutrition, which I suppose you could call something like, "Read Pollan and eat sanely" (the RPES diet plan).


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Kondo Clinic - June 2010

Just returned and started recovering from the recent Yoji Kondo clinic. An excellent time was had by all and we certainly learned a lot. I'll be giving me a lot to work on and a lot to blog about for a while. Today I thought I'd do a quick recap.
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Day 1 -
  • yonnin (4-opponent) randori
  • owaza jupon - with some interesting twists
  • toshu randori
Day 2 -
  • junana hon kata w/ emphasis on small action and practical, intuitive aikido
  • goshin jutsu
  • judo newaza

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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What is karate?


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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The first and second rules of judo

So, a while back I mentioned my fledgling Judo Catechism that I'm doing with my judo kids.  It gives us something to talk about during warm-ups.  It begins...

  • Q: What does the word judo mean?
  • A: Soft Art
  • Q: What are the two most important things to learn in judo?
  • A: How to fall right and how to act right."

Lately I've added the "First rule of judo" and the "Second rule of judo."

  • Q: What is the First Rule of Judo?
  • A: "You and me both win"
  • Q: What is the Second Rule of Judo?
  • A: "Find the easiest way for both of us to win."

Hmmm... Where have I heard those before?  The kids are making great progress learning these.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮 
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Zappo's dojo kun

A dojo kun is a set of aphorisms or proverbs that describe the desired ethos of the dojo - the way the dojo and its denizens are supposed to be.  The following is roughly the equivalent of a corporate dojo kun - Zappo's 10 Corporate Values (proudly stolen from Zappo's by way of Tom Peters)

  1. Deliver "WOW!" through service.
  2. Embrace and drive change.
  3. Create fun and a little weirdness.
  4. Be adventurous, creative and open-minded.
  5. Pursue growth and learning.
  6. Build open and honest relationships with communication.
  7. Build a positive team and family spirit.
  8. Do more with less.
  9. Be passionate and determined.
  10. Be humble.

I really like this.  I think it pretty much describes how Mokuren Dojo (both the blog and the dojo itself) is supposed to work.  What about you guys (Dear Constant Reader), what do you think?  How do you think Mokuren Dojo is doing wrt these values?
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Something for the joke-doka in you

Q: How many judoka does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: FIVE... Two wrestle with the bulb, one says, "That grip is against the rules," one says, "That's not how my sensei does it," and one yells, "Waza-ari," when it's finished.

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Interview: Rener Gracie on Bullyproof

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to purchase the new Gracie Bullyproof DVD set, and it turned out to be all it was cracked up to be and much more - a really excellent set of DVDs about teaching kids to grapple and helping them to avoid bullies and other common predators.
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Today I had the fortune to be able to have a brief email conversation with Rener Gracie, son of UFC creator Rorion Gracie, and one of the instructors on the Bullyproof DVDs. I got to ask him some questions about teaching kids to grapple and he let me post it here as a short interview.
PATRICK PARKER: Thanks Rener! I really appreciate you taking some time from your busy schedule to answer a handful of questions for me and my readers. I wanted to start by congratulating you and thanking you for such a fine instructional product as Bullyproof. My kids and I have really been enjoying working through it together. Were you or your brothers ever bullied at school or did everyone around know not to mess with "those Gracie guys?"
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RENER GRACIE: I was 10 when my father created the UFC so people knew who we were..
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PATRICK: Other than just playing the Gracie Games with y'all, how did your dad and grandfather motivate you and your brothers to want to make jiujitsu such a large part of your lives?
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RENER: In the early years it was just the Gracie Games. Around 6 or 7 years old, is when the real learning began. The key to making sure that we stayed motivated was the use of the Golden Rule: expect nothing, praise everything. He never condemned us for not meeting his expectations so we never felt like we were letting him down.
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PATRICK: Was it expected of you, like "You're a Gracie so you will do jiujitsu?"
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RENER: He never forced us to train (although he did have to bribe me a few times).
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PATRICK: Did any of y'all decide, "No, I don't want to do jiujitsu?"
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RENER: Some members of the family are less involved than others, but all of them know enough to defend themselves and that's what matters most.
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PATRICK: That's exactly right. In the Bullyproof program you have the child paired with an adult partner who is always adjusting the intensity level so that the child always succeeds. When do you start emphasizing randori or sparring or more competitive games where the kids compete against each other?
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RENER: As soon as a kid feels like he/she is "not good at it" they will want to quit. So it's our job to make sure they are never in over their heads. As a result, we don't let kids do live sparring exercises until they have trained for several months and we can see that they have a very dedicated learning spirit and, more importanly, they can lose without taking it personally. All kids start in a program based on the fundamentals, with no competitive sparring, until they display a very mature learning attitude, and then we send them to the "Black Belt Club" where they learn more and train harder. All it takes is one bad experience for a kid to quit, so we are very careful to manage the intensity in our classes.
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PATRICK: A while back I interviewed Dave Camarillo, and he said he thought it was probably better to start kids in judo and graduate them into BJJ later. But your generation of Gracies seems to have had pretty good success starting young in BJJ and (I suppose) cross training some later in judo or wrestling, etc... What are your ideas about the path kids should take in cross-training these martial arts?
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RENER: I can certainly see the benefit of the path Dave describes, and from a technical standpoint I don't think the order matters too much, but from an engagement standpoint I think that starting with GJJ is the best option because any kid can do it and it's simple, fun and low impact, resulting in less injuries, therefore a child is less likely to quit in the early stages.
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PATRICK: Wow, Rener, that was some really great info you just gave us. Thanks! I've had a blast chatting with you and I know my readers will love reading about your ideas.
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To learn more about the Gracie Bullyproof at-home training DVDs please visit: http://www.graciebullyproof.com/


____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
____________
Subscribe now for free updates from Mokuren Dojo
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Send me an email or let's connect on Facebook or Twitter

Training log

Kids' Judo
  • Gracie Games - bulldozer (should have been named steamroller), crazyfeet, basebattle (we called it, "Pulling weeds")
  • push hands (randori with object of making opponent move a foot off of a tape mark on the floor)
Aikido
  • kotehineri, kotegaeshi, tenkai kotehineri, shihonage

____________
Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Subscribe now for free updates from Mokuren Dojo
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What membership doesn't do for you

The phenomenon of martial arts organization membership is kinda funny to me. Some folks see organization as this official recognition thing, where you pay your dues and thereby earn the right to use the organization's good name in your advertising.
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Others see organization as this loose, organic affiliation thing where you might work out and talk more with members from clubs A, B, & C more than members from clubs D, E, & F until it suits you to avoid club B people and hang out some with club D people.
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To folks that think more organically, the other folks sometimes seem like kool-aid drinking cult members, while the kool-aid drinkers often see the other folks as disloyal opportunists.
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Funny thing is how organizations separate people rather than uniting them.
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Off the top of my head, here are a handful of things that being a member of a martial arts organization does NOT do for you.
  • It doesn't make you any cooler (except in the opinion of the leaders and perhaps some members of that organization)
  • It doesn't make you any more "official" to call yourself a "Gracie Barra" school or an "Aikikai affiliate", or a "USJA club" or whatever...
  • It doesn't make your practice any more authentic. Either you practice and get better or you don't.
  • It doesn't make you any more skillful. Martial arts is not something that someone else can do for you, and even if they could in some sense do it for you, they couldn't sell it to you in the form of a certificate or license.
  • It doesn't allow you to tap into the skills or wisdom of some long-dead instructor, founder, guru, or practitioner
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
____________
Subscribe now for free updates from Mokuren Dojo
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