Traditional Arts

The October/November 2020 issue of Black Belt includes a feature titled "The Sai: A Classical Approach to Wielding a Classical Weapon." The author Chris Thomas graciously prepared this video to illustrate the points he makes in the article about this misunderstood kobudo weapon.

Sai jutsu: Classical Application for a Classical Weapon youtu.be

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Visit the author's website here!

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Just like royalty has dynastic families that rule over nations, martial arts have dynasties that rule over the world of combat. So here's a list of our top five family dynasties in martial arts...


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Osu!

Osu! I occasionally greet people with, "Ehh, howzit?" Those people are my age or younger, people I know well and who have some conversance in Hawaiian pidgin

Now, suppose someone, particularly someone for whom English is not a native language, hears me say, "Ehh, howzit?" to a friend and decides it is the way a reasonably well-educated, upper-middle-class person greets others. After all, they heard me say it, and I make my living using words. Therefore, it must be correct.

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There are few things simpler than the law of success. If you are consistent and persistent, eventually, you should arrive at your goal. Pretty simple, right? It is, but as the wise Jim Rohn used to say, "What's simple to do, is also simple not to do." Here are some tips to get the most out of every day.


How Often Is More Important Than How Long

Karate

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So, what does that mean, exactly? Here is an example a teacher gave me once.

"Well, I can only practice for 10 minutes…"

The teacher shrugged. "OK, do it for 10 minutes."

"Some days, I can only manage 5."

"OK, do it for 5," he answered, unmoved.

"Most days, were talking 2 minutes."

Finally, he gave the pearl of wisdom, "I don't care how long, just do it every day."

Rather than spending hours on perfecting a technique (kick, punch, throw, etc) and then not touching it for days or weeks, do it for a few minutes each day. Repetition over a long period of time will work the material into your body for good. Any time I ever crammed for a test the information seemed to fly out of my head quickly afterward. Go for long term gain and work on things often no matter how long.


Don't Practice Things That Don't Need Practice

Don't practice what you're are already good at doing. We love to though, don't we? However, improvement comes from doing those things that are neglected, but necessary, and we know it, don't we? As much fun as it is to do things we're already good at, (possibly show off?) to get the most out of our time and attention, we really need to start hitting those things that make us roll our eyes in frustration, until we feel like we can move them over to the "totally awesome" category.

Work Slow

Tai Chi

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There are times to work on speed, (and I am working on something to address that coming soon), but if you are trying to improve something, you'll likely need to pull it apart and put it back together again slowly. Try ultra-slow. I mean so slow that Tai Chi speed seems like a Donnie Yen fight scene. Use video or a mirror (preferably both) and take out the "uglies" until your movement looks like your gliding on ball bearings. If it's a mess slow, it's a mess fast, you just may not realize it.

Keep Moving Forward

Most of these points address consistency, but for your hard work to have any tangible results you have to be persistent and keep moving forward. All our excuses melt away when we realize that they get us no closer to our goal. Am I really, super busy, or just super distracted? If I spent as much time practicing as I do on social media could I make some progress? We know what's true, don't we? Whether you are pursuing your next rank, next competition, next technique or just trying to spend more time off the couch than on, try these simple to follow instructions and begin your pursuit and capture of that once elusive goal.

As the more astute among you will recall, Black Belt ran a piece in its December 2018/January 2019 issue titled "8 Things You Didn't Know About James Lew" right after he won an Emmy for Outstanding Stunt Coordination in a Drama Series for Netflix's Luke Cage. Within the article, Lew's longtime kung fu buddy and perennial Hollywood bad guy Gerald Okamura chimed in with a little good-natured trash talking. At least, we hope it was good-natured — either way, readers loved it.

Well, the time has come, Okamura informs us, for the "Hard Master" to have his say. Okamura figures that if a whippersnapper like Lew can dazzle Black Belt's readers with eight things they presumably didn't know about him, he can certainly do the same. Actually, Okamura bets there are nine things you didn't know about him. So brace yourselves, gentle readers. The road gets bumpy from here.

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