This was a short “scratch-the-surface” talk on just a few of the important concepts and principles developed by Tony Blauer and Gavin de Becker that we cover in our Personal Defense Readiness and Personal Protective Measures courses. Important principles that are rarely covered by conventional martial art based personal defense programs.
Seminar / Workshop Reviews
Reviews and thoughts from martial arts and self defense seminars and workshops taught by guest instructors.
This past weekend, I flew up to Baltimore, MD for a very rare seminar with Shihan Mark Lithgow teaching. The theme of the seminar was “Koppo no Ken.”
Of course there was the excellent training we participated in. But there were also fun stories shared, new friends and connections made, and an inspiring show of support from the people in the Bujinkan. [Read more…]
Shihan Paul Masse recently taught an awesome martial arts seminar in Birmingham.
He talked about several martial arts concepts, but really emphasized the concept of connection.
“Cherish your connections!” he said.
As with everything in budo, there are multiple layers to what is taught and practiced.
Shihan Masse’s statement for us to cherish our connections is not only in terms of our connections to our friends, family, and colleagues, but also our connections to our opponents. [Read more…]
Fundamentals are the most important thing to practice and train in martial arts.
The thing about fundamentals is that they are the essence of martial arts. Essential. That means that they must always be present. Without proper fundamentals, all your other techniques will fall apart when you need them most.
How is that any different in life? [Read more…]
Shidoshi Michael Tucker and the Magic City Dojo hosted Shihan Phillip Legare (15th Dan) for a martial arts and self-defense seminar in Birmingham, Alabama on July 31 and August 1, 2010. [Read more…]
Shihan Michael Asuncion was in Huntsville for the third consecutive year to share his insights into the study of Budo Taijutsu. This third year was the best attended thus far, with folks from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Conneticut.
Training started Friday evening with a review of Kihon Happo (the fundamental techniques of our art). Shihan Asuncion had two of his Shidoshi level students demonstrate all of the Kihon Happo as a single set, then had us pair off to train. Next he had his students demonstrate each technique one by one starting with Omote-gyaku (a wrist locking technique). Asuncion-sensei also had me demonstrate the same technique (I took that as a personal compliment). He then began to teach some fine details and important points for each of the Kihon Happo. I always get great points for futher study as these seminars.
After Friday night’s budo training, several of the students stayed behind for a class on how to build fukuro shinai (a padded training sword) for use the rest of the weekend. I was humbled to teach that class. Thanks to all that attended – and be sure to have fun beating each other with your shinai 😉
Saturday began with taihenjutsu (body movement skill) training. We warmed up with ukemi (rolling & breakfalls). Shihan Asuncion then taught some of the finer points of taihenjutsu. Many of the drills we went through, most of us had seen before, but were being taken for granted. Asuncion-sensei taught us the key points for making the drills realistic and practical on a level most of us had not yet acheived. Once again our eyes had been opened by what he shared with us.
We then moved into Kihon Happo, focusing only on a couple of techniques, but with many variations. He focused on finer points of efficient body movement and details about kyusho (weak points). We then moved on to kenjutsu (sword skills). Fine points Asuncion-sensei went into were the importance of not forgetting the taijutsu when using a weapon. Too often, when we have a weapon in hand, we get fixated on the weapon and forget to move properly within the space. He also spoke about when to do certain types of cuts (small vs. large) with the sword. That concluded Saturday’s training.
On Sunday, we once again warmed up by going through all the Kihon Happo. And once again we focused on one specific technique with multiple variations, both in taijutsu and sword. Asuncion-sensei also talked about the use of shuriken and using totoku hyoshi no kamae (a sword posture) to defend against shuriken being thrown at you. He then showed a really cool way to throw the shuriken to defeat the countering posture.
I think one of the most important points Shihan Asuncion spoke about was the kind of heart required for the study of budo. Budo training is not easy, nor should it be. Afterall, we are training for self defense; we are training for combat; we are training for life itself. Each of these are incredibly difficult experiences and you only get once chance to get it right. Hatsumi-sensei has said that he is at such a high level because he has put in three times as much money, time, and effort as anyone else in the Bujinkan. We should take his example to heart.
Shihan Asuncion talked about how sometimes training should be more of a burden than a fun activity. The days we really don’t feel like training are probably the most important days that we should train. Doing hard things will polish the heart and make it strong – fudoshin (the immovable heart). Some students over the years have complained about how much expense is involved in attending seminars. Afterall, you have to pay for gas, hotels, food, etc. in addition to the training fee for the seminar. So before you complain, ask yourself, “How much is my life worth?”
The ones who make excuses or complain often wash themselves out after a while. They didn’t have the heart necessary for the study of Budo. That said, the ones that do have that heart, the ones that enjoy the challange, usually stay for many years and become excellent martial artists.
All in all, it was a fantastic seminar as usual. Thank you to Shidoshi Dr. Leland Cseke and the Bujinkan Huntsville Dojo for hosting the seminar. Thank you to Shihan Michael Asuncion for once again coming to the deep South to share your insights in this wonderful art. I’ll see you again next time!
Sorry it’s been such a long time since the last post. The coming of a new year always brings new tasks and responsibilities to take up ones time.
Well, so far this year, I’ve had the fortune of attending two seminars.
The first was with Shihan Jay Zimmerman in Little Rock, AR. Due to extreme and unforeseen car troubles during the drive to Little Rock, we missed all of the first day of training. However, Ergin-san and I looked at these obstacles and our responses to them as training/application of the heart and mind that is developed through training. More on that later…
We did finally arrive just as training was coming to a close and got to spend some face time with Shihan Zimmerman and Shidoshi Walker at dinner, then later at Shidoshi Walker’s home. We all shared good stories, funny jokes, and thoughts on training.
The following day, we practiced some advanced taijutsu concepts using some of the kata from Takagi-yoshin ryu. I was personally fortunate to be used as Uke for the entire day. Those that already train in Budo know what a privilege and gift being uke can be. For those that are new to martial arts, being uke for a Shihan level teacher means that you will pick up small, but important points that go beyond verbal explanation.
Anyway, the key points that I took from the second day of training was the use of bait/threat, pressure/release, and filling/creating vacuums all within the space of the technique. Again, advanced concepts.
I would like to thank Shihan Zimmerman for the great instruction and for using me as uke all day. Thank you to Shidoshi Jeff Walker for hosting the seminar at his dojo and for inviting us to his home for good conversation. Thank you to Shodan Mitch Parker (originally one of my students from Tuscaloosa, AL) for providing a place to lay our heads. And finally thank you to all at the Bujinkan Arkansas Dojo for welcoming us with open arms. I can’t wait till next time!
The Magic City Dojo was proud to be the host dojo for the Alabama Bujinkan community this year during our “end of the year” event in celebration of Masaaki Hatsumi-soke’s birthday.
Each year folks from all over the SouthEast come together in Martial Fellowship to train and share insights in martial arts. This year we had folks from as far as Atlanta, GA and Pensacola, FL join us for training.
The theme of the seminar was “Fundamentals.”
Shidoshi Jim Hilgartner of Montgomery started us off with some physical fitness exercises reminding us that it’s important to stay in good shape. He then went into weapon applications of Sanshin no Kata.
Next was Shidoshi Shane Layton of Pelham. He emphasized the importance of “hiding” yourself, your intent, and your technique while engaged in self-defense.
Third was Shidoshi Leland Cseke of Huntsville. Shidoshi Cseke shared his perspectives on technical aspects and applications of the Kihon Happo (eight fundamental methods).
Finally Michael Tucker of Birmingham discussed some fundamental training methods for stress inoculation during real self defense situations such as sucker punches, groundfighting, and anti-kidnapping.
The Magic City Dojo would like to thank all those involved in making this year’s event a success. A special thanks goes to Mountain Brook Baptist Church for providing the space for our event.
– Michael Tucker
On the weekend of Oct. 24-26, 2008 we finished up the Level One training of the Shinken Taijutsu program as taught by Phil Legare.
Because of his “real world” experience while serving in the US Military and Government, Legare-sensei was directed by his teacher, Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi, to teach this particular aspect of our martial arts. Shinken Taijutsu translates as “Real Combat Body Skills.” This training at Level One goes into the absolute bare essentials of self defense and combat survival. Even experienced instructors were gaining new insights for their training at the seminar.
Several folks completed the Level One Practical Evaluation and earned their Level One Certification. Dan Reiher of Virginia Beach completed his Level One Instructor Certification. Congratulations Dan!
Legare-sensei gave us a spoken preview of what to expect at Level Two. I am personally very excited to start on Level Two. Everyone should look forward to that in 2009.
Anyway, thank you to all who attended and we look forward to seeing you again in 2009!