Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Get Motivated!

We change as we get older.  Our bodies tend to ache at times, we gain weight often and even our minds tend to lose a step or two in regards to memory.  Does it have to be this way?

Not according to this guy!

  Sure we will change with age but can we reverse the aging process?  I am working on that problem as are many more folks like me.  Once I approached 50, I started thinking in terms of what my life would be like for the next 20 or 30 years, if I'm blessed to live that long.  I decided I wanted to make the best of it and I started training in Aikido, then Combat Hapkido.  My job is also very physical so I had to get into much better condition just to keep up with all I had going.  Not to mention the fact that I have seen too many people eat themselves into oblivion in these later years and become so out of shape that they can't even walk up a small flight of steps without needing oxygen.  I knew I did not want to be like that.

My workouts were OK for a few years then I stepped it up.  With the help of a personal trainer I learned new techniques to help me reach some goals.  Now, with a body-weight workout of my own design, I am reaching goals and going beyond!

You can too!  As I have said many times all you need to do is get your mind right.  Once you find the proper motivation it is ON!  I still remember one evening several years ago I was having a cold beer with a friend and I told him when I reached 50 I wanted to be in the best shape of my life.  His response?  He laughed...

Now, at 53 I can honestly say I am in the best shape of my life and intend to keep pushing until I see just how fit I can be.

What's your motivation?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The mystery of "Aikido & Hapkido"

Many people have never heard of Aikido. 

 Even some in the martial arts world who have heard of it do not know or understand how it works.  At the dojo last night we were talking with a student who is about to earn her 2nd Kyu and she told us when she decided to learn Aikido, she did not really understand the art even though she had read about the blending with energy from your attacker.  She of course had no idea of the many drills for hand and foot movements that we do over and over again. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar Aikdo is a Japanese art founded by Morihei Ueshiba, December 14, 1883 - April 26, 1969. The founder also known as "O'Sensei",  (pictured above) was a man of small stature, it is said he was just under 5 feet tall but was of a strong muscular build after he left the Japanese army.  He understood that smaller people needed something extra when confronted by larger and stronger attackers.

In my humble opinion, this is the essence of Aikido. 

 My Sensei has taught me that I do not need to use my strength when applying these techniques, especially the joint locks.  I am one who has built my upper body for many years to be stronger and capable of using my strength to my advantage, so I have had to train myself NOT to be strong when using these techniques.  It is still a struggle at times for me but I am moving in that direction.  In fact, this concept of applying Aikido techniques softly is probably the hardest part of my training.  Now don't misunderstand,  Aikido can be used very forcefully!  When it is applied this way it is no less than devastating.   Bones will be broken and opponents can be maimed.  No doubt Aikido can be very dangerous when applied with violence of action.  Yet we are trained to be able to control our use of force and treat our training partners and even our opponents with respect and not injure them if the situation calls for that.

Now let's move on to Hapkido which is a Korean martial art developed by Choi Yong-Sool, it is said the Hapkido was heavily influenced by "Daito ryu aiki jujutsu" as was Aikido. Much like Aikido, Hapkido has many joint locks, throws and pins.  Yet it is different in that there are many more strikes and even kicks which are not taught in Aikido.  That leads me to Combat Hapkido.  This system is heavliy influenced by the Korean form of Hapkido but is not a traditional martial art.

Combat Hapkido

My training in Combat Hapkido has also been useful in applying this concept as we learn to use our entire body to manipulate our attacker with many techniques to injure, control or throw our attackers.  Combat Hapkido is a blending if you will of many arts, including Korean Hapkido, Aikido, Judo, JuJutsu/JuJitsu, Taekwondo, Jeet Kune Do and others.  Grand Master John Pellegrini, (pictured above) took what he felt was useful from each art and combined it all to make a form of Close Combat Self Defense.  He calls it the Science of Self-Defense.  I am trained to use it at 10%, 50% or 100% depending on what technique I am doing and what the situation calls for.  Always remember there are legal and moral ramifications to an encounter.  You must be wise when defending yourself or wind up in court.  Of course if your life is in danger you have to do what it takes to survive and Combat Hapkido will teach you those lethal skills.  So it is obvious that this is an art that when applied with full violence of action is devastating and can maim or kill an attacker.

Yet I digress.

My original intent here is to explain the kido arts in a way to make it more approachable and understandable to those who have never experienced it.  There are universal principles involved that span many martial arts.

1. Balance Disruption
2. Circular Movement
3. Non Resistance (Harmony)
4. Water Principle

These are critical!  In order to take control of an attacker you must gain control of his/her balance.  Once you have this you can manipulate the opportunity, often by using circular movement. If you use the energy coming at you and do not resist it, it makes taking the balance easier.  You see, all principles at play here, working together in harmony to allow you to gain control over your attacker and find a suitable outcome.  As you work, you flow in, around, over and under, like water. How it ends is up to you!

Now before I conclude this essay let me explain the OODA loop!

Observe, Orient, Decide and Act!  I must explain that I was taught this by Master Doyle a 4th Dan in Combat Hapkido who is a Special Forces Veteran. This is a simple decision cycle our minds use every moment as we live.  When it comes to martial arts these are critical seconds that tick by as we determine how dangerous the situation is (Situational Awareness) and decide how to respond.  Here's what I found online:

The phrase OODA loop refers to the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act, developed by military strategist and USAFColonel John Boyd. Boyd applied the concept to the combat operations process, often at the strategic level in military operations. It is now also often applied to understand commercial operations and learning processes.

Be Safe!



Friday, September 12, 2014

FYI ~ Focusing on Martial Arts this month.

Just a brief note to say I have a new post coming soon getting into detail about Aikido and Hapkido.  Also explaining the OODA LOOP!  This one is taking me a while to write and I have limited time these days.

Until then continue to practice Situational Awareness and be safe!

Don't forget if you want to look like this!  

You have to stop eating this!



Prepared, Educated, Awake, Controlled and Engaged

Friday, September 05, 2014

Self Defense 2014 - Are you Aware?

I left off in the last blog post talking about self defense and how the most important element is Situational Awareness.  You must always be on the lookout when you are in a public place.  Trouble can be only a footstep away...

I have a video to share that will illuminate this..

Notice how in the very beginning of the video the couple seems to be totally unaware of what's coming.  Are they ignoring them or just oblivious?  Also notice that once the attack ensues, the man and woman fight back forcefully and it seems to help some, as a few of the bad guys decide to run instead of hanging around to keep fighting. 

OK, now imagine the guy, girl or both were trained to deal with multiple attackers and they managed to take out one or two of the thugs before the rest could get their licks in.  How many of them would have run away from the get go once they realized these people were gonna kick their asses?

Here's another video to explain how this could be accomplished...

This is why we train folks!  

Now let's look at where they are and why.  Could they have avoided being alone in a part of town that obviously is less than safe?  Certainly, always consider this in an area where these types of criminals prey on folks just like these two.  DON'T walk down deserted alleys or streets.  Take a longer route if you have to in a more public area where many people are around.  Perhaps this could have been avoided altogether had they planned their route more carefully...

Next blog I will talk about the OODA - LOOP.  This is a very important concept in a self defense situation....



Prepared, Educated, Awake, Controlled and Engaged

Thursday, September 04, 2014

A good night's sleep...

It makes a HUGE difference in your day.

Yes, we all need a good night's sleep.  I have trouble in this area as I have a dog who loves to wake me up early but today she slept until 5:00 AM which is my normal wake up time.  I am feeling great this morning, my back pain is almost nil today and my first set of the morning workout routine was a breeze!  Heading off to do the second set, be back in about 10 to 12 minutes...

OK, I finished my second set and went back and did an abbreviated third set this morning.  I'm trying to work up to three full sets.  Hope to be there in a week or two.  Also, I am going to change things up and instead of two days on, one off for cross training. I think I would rather do three days on one off.  As I said I will be tweaking as I go until I find the right formula for this workout.

I want to begin focusing on Martial Arts again here on this blog.  I have taken some time off from Combat Hapkido since I went to the seminar a few weeks ago.  It is time to resume training in a couple of days and I have a class to teach at Church in a couple of weeks so let's explore what I will be teaching.

It will be a 45 minute class so I will not have allot of time for warm ups and stretching but I want to at least get 5 minutes of that in before we begin.

It is a Self Defense class so my focus will be defining self defense in it's many forms including combat.  The first and most important aspect of self defense is:

1.  Situational, Awareness!

This cannot be stressed enough!  We have to be aware of our surroundings when we are out and about.  Get your face out of your phone or whatever gadget you are carrying around, that goes for when you are driving too!!!

I will follow up with a new blog post on this later.

Until then..