Col. Nattapong Buayam, a former Thai spec-ops hand-to-hand and weapons instructor, trained elite troops in Southeast Asia on the combative essence of krabi krabong (Thai traditional weaponry) and muay Boran (the forefather to muay Thai) for decades. The aggressive footwork and rapid-fire weapon attacks make it a nightmare to defend against. Black Belt contributing editor Dr. Mark Cheng traveled to Thailand to train intensively with the colonel. "From sunup to sundown the colonel taught me krabi krabong's trademark weapon, the daab song mue (double sword)," he said. "By the end of the week I was able to use live blades so fast that I raised sparks with almost every movement. It was one of the dopest experiences of my life." In this exclusive video, sparks fly (literally!) as Dr. Cheng demonstrates one of the double-sword lessons he learned from Col. Buayam.


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The 2021 Diamond Nationals took place on October 8th and 9th, the first time the prestigious event has been hosted since 2019. World class competitors gathered in Minneapolis, Minnesota to test their skills in forms, weapons, point sparring, and more.

In the early 2010's, Ken Warner (otherwise known as ZenInc on YouTube) always shared his "Top Five" on Facebook after major sport karate events. Reflecting on these posts has inspired me to write a top five article of my own for the Diamond Nationals, and I plan to continue writing these articles after each tournament I attend. Special thanks to Ken Warner for his contributions to documenting sport karate history. Without further ado, here is Jackson's Five for the Diamond Nationals.

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The Kodokan Lessons Blog from a few weeks ago featured my friend Richard Riehle. It evoked a lively discussion on the importance of refocusing on the tenets of 'Big Judo.' A while back Richard sent me this essay he wrote regarding the importance of kuzushi from both a technical and spiritual perspective which I wanted to also share.

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