If there's a martial artist in your life who's hard to shop for, look no further than this list of the best holiday gifts from the world's leading magazine of martial arts.
The holidays are right around the corner and there's no better time to shop for the ninjas in your family! Black Belt Magazine doesn't just provide the history and current events of the martial arts world, we can equip you with all the best products too. From beautiful belt displays, to stylish gloves, to collector's edition books, keep reading to check out this list of the top five gifts to kick under the tree this year.
A thoughtful question from Mitch Mitchell, an affiliate coach of American Frontier Rough and Tumble, prompted me to commit to paper some observations regarding two common tools/weapons of the frontier. First, the exchange that led to all this:
Question: "Am I on the right track or holding my danged knife wrong?"
My reply: "Bowie designs are manifold. My personal preference falls toward a flat-spine knife with a half-guard because a spine-side guard or broken spine jams up my thumb on a sincere stab in a saber grip. For me, anyway, a nice, straight, full-power stab with a hammer grip on the high line is impossible, and anyway it is a wrist killer."
Mitchell's question is a common one that can lead us one step closer to weapons wisdom. First, I will point out that discovering that certain tactics and grips are wrist killers is possible only when we invest time in hard training with hard targets. If we stick with mirror play, shadow play or tit-for-tat flow drills with a partner using mock weapons, we likely will never stumble on the realities that make certain tactics ill-advised. As they say, train real to find real.
Intellectualization is defined as a defense mechanism that entails using reasoning to avoid unconscious conflict and its associated emotional stress — wherein thinking is used to avoid feeling. It involves removing oneself emotionally from a stressful event.
Increasingly, I notice the trend in combatives and other self-defense "systems" to intellectualize — actually, to over-intellectualize. The definition of intellectualization that appears above perfectly captures the meaning as it applies to fighting.In an effort to avoid the pain, consequence, damage and stress of fighting — whether in training or for real — instructors use constructed language to describe the impossible (what's expected in the moment) and use pseudoscience to justify what they're professing.Those of you who have read this column for any length of time have heard me say over and over that if you want to learn to fly, at some point, you have to actually take off and land. The same is true of fighting: If you want to learn to fight well, you have to spend a significant amount of time actually fighting. There is no replacement for this.
On July 20, 1973, Bruce Lee passed away in Hong Kong. On July 20, 2020, in honor of his life and his profound effect on my life, I watched director Bao Nguyen's Be Water, an ESPN "30 for 30" film that covers his life, career and martial arts philosophy.
What separates Be Water from other Bruce Lee documentaries is the lack of narration. Instead, Nguyen provides insights via rarely seen videos and home movies; diary entries; letters to friends; and interviews with Lee's students, a former girlfriend, his daughter Shannon Lee, his brother Robert Lee and his widow Linda Lee Caldwell.
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Friday marks what would have been the 80th birthday of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee. Despite having died in 1973, Lee remains a pop culture icon who still makes headlines nearly 50 years after his death.
Just last month his daughter, Shannon, released her book Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee which quickly became the number one selling martial arts book on Amazon. This week, as the anniversary of his birth approached, Nike re-released its popular Kobe Bryant brand of Bruce Lee-inspired sneakers while the Hong Kong postal service will be releasing a special set of Bruce Lee commemorative stamps.
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