Traditional Martial Arts

Dana Abbott LIVE Seminar

Black Belt presents this LIVE training seminar with Shihan Dana Abbot 7th degree black belt in Kenjutsu training in Japanese Swordsmanship.

SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

Read Part 1 here!

Did the ninja use throwing stars?

The sharp-pointed throwing star was a secret weapon in many samurai schools, but such devices did not become linked to the ninja until the 20th century thanks to comic books and anime. Furthermore, in all the shinobi documents left behind, only one "ninja throwing star" is mentioned, and even then it's in reference to shinobi working in peacetime to apprehend criminals [Cummins].

However, that hasn't stopped filmmakers from having their ninja hurl stars — with deadly results. In reality, unless a star struck a vital spot or was coated with poison, it would not have killed. The weapon's principal use was to distract, slow and injure the enemy.

Keep Reading Show less

Many different types of "blocks" are taught in most martial arts school. We are taught high blocks, low blocks, middle blocks, knife hand blocks, etc. Some schools will also teach how to use the legs to block an attack, as well.

The purpose of this writing is to possibly open some minds to the possibilities of going outside the box and considering alternatives to the basics.

Blocking is taught as a way of protecting oneself from harm. Truly, we don't "block" anything, as a non-martial artist would think of it. What we call "blocking" is more of a redirection of an opponent's attack, or even a counterstrike against the opponent's attacking limb.

To block something would mean to put something, like your arm, leg or other body part directly in front of the attack. That would certainly hurt and possibly cause some damage. The goal should be to move the attack out of the way in order to prevent injury and provide a way to fight back. For example, many schools teach blocks as a limb moving toward the strike such as a circular high block.

The movement required for a block might have other uses, if you keep an open mind. The blocking techniques can also be used as attack techniques. For example, your "low block" may be used as a striking technique against the outer thigh of the attacker. Your high block might be used as a strike to the jaw. The set up for a block can be used as a deflection, as well as the actual block.

Doing a block or a series of blocks will most likely not end an attack. A block needs to be followed by a counterattack. While the block is usually taught as a separate technique in order to learn it correctly, it should also be used in combination with a counter.

The more you know, the more you realize how much you don't know. Intensive books can and have be written about basic techniques. With this writing, I am hoping to create interest in exploring the additional possibilities for what we have been taught and what we teach others.

About Grand Master Stevens

GM Stevens has been training in taekwondo for 47 years under the tutelage of the late legendary Grand Master Richard Chun. He holds an 8th degree black belt and is certified in the USA and in Korea. Grand Master Stevens is a member of the Board of Directors of the prestigious Richard Chun TaeKwonDo World Headquarters organization. He has been very active in his community and has been a volunteer with the Glen Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps for over 11 years. He is a certified member of C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team).

Gary Stevens Taekwondo is located at 175 Rock Road in Glen Rock, New Jersey.

For more information: call (201) 670-7263, email: StevensTKD@aol.com or go to www.StevensTaeKwonDo.com

Vladimir Vasiliev on Why He Regards Systema as the Best Form of Self-Defense

Interview by Glenn Murphy

Unlike the general public, Black Belt readers know a thing or two about systema. In large part, that's because of the never-ending efforts of one Vladimir Vasiliev, the most visible systema teacher in the West. Vasiliev has appeared in Black Belt numerous times, and in 2013 he was the magazine's Instructor of the Year. In this exclusive Q&A, the Russian martial arts master talks about the essential components of his self-defense system and how it differs from the traditional martial arts and combat sports.

Keep Reading Show less

On the street, criminals have to get close to you in order to victimize you. They know they can't reveal their intention too early or potential victims would vanish. A weapon has to be ready to use as they move toward their victim, but it still has to be kept concealed.

Criminals are apprehensive. They don't want to be seen by eyewitnesses or be caught. These things manifest in demeanor and movement that can be identified once you know what to look for and once you develop sound situational awareness.

It's even true in the case of an RPG. On the battlefield, a situationally aware soldier looks for anomalous movements at or around tactically sound firing positions. He scans for furtive actions made by people who know they're going to be shot dead if they're seen shouldering and aiming an RPG. That kind of apprehension and fear results in erratic movement. Soldiers are more watchful at choke points where it would make sense for any weapon to be deployed against them.

Keep Reading Show less
Free Bruce Lee Guide
Have you ever wondered how Bruce Lee’s boxing influenced his jeet kune do techniques? Read all about it in this free guide.
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter