The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Train Like a Spartan

Jeff Jackson at Run, Bike, Throw had a book review for a book entitled Spartan Fit! The full review may be read here. An excerpt is below. I think there are some valuable ideas here.

But what got me so into this book? Here are three things I believe make Spartan Fit! different from the rest.

Training for adaptability. Spartan Race training is designed for competing in Spartan Races, obviously, but each race is different in the obstacles that the athletes will face. So basic techniques such as running, crawling, and lifting are stressed over specific challenges (such as climbing over a slippery wall).

Adaptability allows you to face any unexpected obstacle – physical, mental, whatever – that you may face in the course of your day. It’s like the jazz musician who doesn’t practice improvisations directly, but all the skills needed to successfully improvise. If I get nothing else out of this book, improving here would make it worth it to me.

Focus on simplicity. This training is meant to be done with things found all around us, or are readily available. VersaClimber in the gym? Run up that hill a few times instead. Kettlebells? Who needs them? Find a rock. Carry logs, drag tires, climb ropes, run and crawl through muck. That’s the essence of Spartan training.

Emphasis on training outside. DeSena points out that the original “gymnasiums” were outdoor athletic areas where the athletes trained together. He contrasts that with the “depressing dungeons,” air-conditioned, carpeted indoor gyms full of fancy equipment, and believes that the surfers on the beach would crush the bodybuilders in an obstacle race. So his workouts are outside, in any weather. And as a year-round, all-weather runner, I understand the benefits, and I agree with him.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Traditional Korean Wrestling

We're all pretty familiar with Japanese Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. We're a little less familiar with traditional Chinese wrestling, Shuai Jiao. We're much less familiar with Korean traditional wresting, Ssireum.

Below is a video on this most overlooked martial art.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The 48 Laws of Power, #20: Do Not Commit to Anyone

One of my favorite books on strategy is The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers.  Where The Art of War, by Sun Tzu is written as an overview of the whole topic of strategy, seeking to provide an overall understanding of the subject; and The 36 Strategies tries to impart the knack of strategic thinking through 36 maxims related to well known Chinese folk stories, Mr. Greene focuses on how we influence and manipulate one another, ie "power".

Mr. Greene draws from both Eastern and Western history and literature as his source material. Sun Tzu and Machiavelli as cited as much as wonderful stories of famous con men. Among my favorites is about a scrap metal dealer thinking he bought the Eiffel Tower.

Each of the 48 Laws carries many examples, along with counter examples where it is appropriate that they be noted, and even reversals.

It is a very thorough study of the subject and the hardback version is beautifully produced.

One of the things I admire about Greene is that he not only studied strategy, he applied what he learned to his own situation and prospered.

Today we have #20: Do Not Commit to Anyone.

Do Not Commit To Anyone but Be Courted By All

If you allow people to feel they possess you to any degree, you lose all power over them. By not committing your affections, they will only try harder to win you over. Stay aloof and you gain the power that comes from their attention and frustrated desire. Play the Virgin Queen: Give them hope but never satisfaction.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Four Points of Ki Aikido

Koichi Tohei was somewhat of a controversial figure in the development of aikido. Watching old videos of him, I just can't help but be in awe of how relaxed he was.

Below is a video produced by the Aikido Journal which illustrates the four key points of Tohei's Ki Aikido.

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Chinese Saber Typology

Over at MandarinManion, there is a very nice article on Chinese sabers. Below is the introduction. The full article may be read here. There are plenty of charts and illustrations that you'll want to see. In fact, the whole website is awesome. Please pay a visit.


Historical references on Chinese saber typology are scarce, and the information they provide scant.

The most comprehensive Chinese military text is the massive Ming dynasty Wu Bei Zhi (武備志) or "Treatise of Military Preparedness" by Mao Yuanyi. It mentions the existence of 8 different types of saber, of which only two remained in use by the time or writing: The changdao (長刀) or "long saber" and the yāodāo (腰刀) or "waist-worn saber" which at the time was mostly used by soldiers in conjunction with a shield. None of the other types are described in detail.1

Qing period texts dealing with military sabers refer to them as yāodāo (腰刀) or pèidāo (佩刀) both synonyms for "waist-worn saber". Pèidāo was an archaic term that the Qianlong emperor re-introduced in court circles in the 18th century. The term yāodāo remained in widespread use on a more operational level. Regulations of this period focus mainly on the outward appearance of the sheathed saber, describing different mounting styles while not giving much is any detail on the blade inside.2

Until more accurate historical information surfaces we are left with period artwork, early photographs, and antique examples to study. Pioneering work in this field is done by Philip Tom, who wrote an excellent introduction to Chinese sabers in "Some Notable Sabers of the Qing Dynasty at The Metropolitan Museum of Art".3

The current article aims to continue in this line, providing for the first time a basic illustrated typology of styles. Most antique Chinese sabers encountered in museum and private collections today tend to date from the 17th to 19th centuries, this article will focus on that period. First we look at the two basic mounting styles, to continue with the main classifications of blade curvatures and blade profiles.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Traditional Korean Martial Arts

Below is a documentary which examines some traditional Korean martial arts, such as Taekkyon, sword, archery, etc. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Yiquan Sword

You don't often think of weapons when it comes to the art of Yiquan. Below is a short video of Cui Ruibin demonstrating the Yiquan usage of the saber.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

The History of Karate

Below is a documentary, The History of Karate. There is some time spent on the differences between Okinawan and Japanese Karate. Enjoy.