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San Francisco Seminar

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Just a quick post:

I’ll be in San Francisco Oct4-11 doing a week of intensive training with a private client. I’ll be occupied in the mornings but will have some free time as of noon. If anybody’s interested in hosting a seminar, give me a shout via my contact page and we can see if we can make it happen.

Topics I’ll gladly teach are:

  • Combat Sanshou: My personal blend of Chinese martial arts.
  • Sanshou/Sanda: Chinese version of kickboxing. If you’re into MMA and want to work on your stand-up, you’ll get a lot out of it.
  • Heavy bag training: Lots and lots of stuff to cover on this topic.
  • Pad/Focus mitt training: Same as above, tons of things to do here.
  • Self-defense: Simple, effective, no-nonsense stuff.
  • Practical Tai Chi Chuan: form, push hands, weapons (sabre, sword and spear), self defense, the works. The only thing I won’t teach is nei gong.
  • Of course, you can mix and match topics as well, it’s all good.

So if any of you are interested, let me know and we’ll figure it out.


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Video update: Combat Sanshou

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Next month, I’ll shoot the next part of my Combat Sanshou series. It’ll focus on the two main strategies and tactics I teach for the system. One of the things I will add to this new video is a couple scenarios. I have several in mind but wanted to ask you guys first:

Which type of attack would you like to see me cover in the new video? What kind of scenario do you find most interesting for an instructional video?

Just leave a comment here on this post and I’ll consider it. Of course, “Fight 27 ninjas!” type scenarios will be ignored. :-)



Combat Sanshou, striking

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In the last few weeks, a couple things came together and the result is this (long) post. Here’s the list of events:

  • Somebody asked about blogging and I responded. Part of my response was this:

If you really want to make money blogging, you’ll have to work hard and probably go for business models that aren’t always as cool. Not my thing, but to each his own.

  • I had a discussion with another instructor/author about training methodology, cross training and the value of traditional martial arts. It took me a while before I figured out we weren’t talking about the same thing. I think he’s right in what he said. I also think I’m right in what I said.
  • Branimir Tudjan said the following in the interview I did with him

First I would like to thank you for your interest in my MOSS video and for conducting this interview. You know, in the so called martial arts world which is nowadays unfortunately full of big ego “grandmasters” or “guru’s” and where every “expert” perceives others (and their systems) as a potential threat or less “realistic & effective” system then their own, it’s a pleasure to meet a person and a colleague like yourself who is competent, mature, confident and open minded. I am also genuinely impressed with your work with Paladin Press.

  • Somebody got the ball rolling on important life lessons, things that suddenly clicked. I wrote:

Mine was: just because I’m right about something, somebody else isn’t necessarily wrong about the same subject. And vice versa.

All these things combined are what lead up to the title of my post here.

Why I’m not a martial arts millionaire (yet)

Read More→

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So you want to be a writer, Part 7

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Here’s another interview in my series on how to become a writer. This time, I asked a couple questions to Steve Perry. I first learned of him via the Net Force series and later on by reading his blog, which has great info for both authors and martial artists. Steve’s written a gazillion novels in a wide range of franchises: Star Wars, Tom Clancy, Aliens, Conan and much, much more. So let’s just say he’s a pretty experienced writer.  Enjoy the interview!

Steve Perry, training Silat

Steve Perry, training Silat

Q: How did you start out writing your first book?
A: I was looking for an agent, and I’d been writing short stories, which weren’t going to get me one. So I pitched a novel. The potential agent wanted to see chapters and an outline, and I didn’t really know how to do that, so I wrote the book in a hurry, then used that as a basis for the outline. Read More→

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So you want to be a writer, Part 6

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In this series on how to become a writer, I wanted to get the views of some experienced and successful authors. So it’s with great pleasure that I can present this interview with Barry Eisler to you. Barry is a bestselling author, best known for his John Rain series, featuring a hit man specializing in natural causes. His latest book Fault Line starts another series and I’m looking forward to see how it evolves. As you’ll be able to tell from some ot the answers, Barry’s a friend of mine and he has a wicked sense of humor.

Don’t forget to check out his site for some more resources for writers and a great forum.

Q: How did you start out writing your first book?
A: I have a long-standing interest in what I like to think of as “forbidden knowledge:”  methods of unarmed killing, lock picking, breaking and entry, spy stuff, and other things that the government wants only a few select individuals to know.  When I was a kid I read a biography of Harry Houdini, and in the book a cop was quoted as saying, “It’s fortunate that Houdini never turned to a life a crime, because if he had he would have been difficult to catch and impossible to hold.”  I remember thinking how cool it was that this man knew things that people weren’t supposed to know, things that gave him special power.  Anyway, since then I’ve amassed a small and unusual library on some of the foregoing and on other esoteric subjects, I spent three years in the CIA, I got pretty into a variety of martial arts…

And then I moved to Tokyo to train in judo.  I think all the other stuff must have been building up in my mind like dry tinder, waiting for the spark which life in Tokyo came to provide.  Because while I was there commuting to work one morning, a vivid image came to me of two men following another man down Dogenzaka street in Shibuya.  I still don’t know where the image came from, but I started thinking about it.  Who are these men?  Why are they following that other guy?  Then answers started to come:  They’re assassins.  They’re going to kill him.  But these answers just let to more questions:  why are they going to kill him?  What did he do?  Who do they work for?  It felt like a story, somehow, so I started writing, and that was the birth of John Rain and Rain Fall.

Barry working on his ground game with Dave Camarillo

Barry working on his ground game with Dave Camarillo

Q: When did you decide to write full-time and how did you reach that decision?
A: You remind me of that joke about why dogs lick their genitals… (oops, did I say that out loud)?
I love writing, and had for a long time thought that getting paid to do full time what I love would be wonderful.  So as soon as I got my first check, from Sony’s Village Books imprint for the Japanese rights, I left my day job and started concentrating full time on writing.  That was in 2001, and it’s been a dream come true ever since. Read More→

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So you want to be a writer, Part 5

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After yesterday’s interview, here’s another one. This one fits into the series I did on “So you want to be a writer.” I figured it would be helpful to ask one of the most successful writers in martial arts and self defense for his take on the craft. So here’s the interview with Loren W. Christensen.  Enjoy!

Q: How did you start out writing your first book?

A: The year was 1976 and I was on leave from the PD because I had broken my knee in a martial arts sparring match. I had been thinking about writing a book on police defensive tactics because at that time there were only two on the market. Part of my desire was to write about DT and the other part was that I just wanted to write a book.

During my three years in the Army I had taken a writing course and had sold a small piece to Reader’s Digest. Five years later I received a check from them (not all publishers are this slow), which was the same week I decided to write the DT book. I took the payment, bought a cheap typewriter and a year later my first book was born.

For the next several years I wrote only magazine pieces, focusing on the martial arts, survival, bodybuilding, nutrition, and police techniques. Ten years later in 1987, I wrote another book and then another and another. Today, I’ve had over 40 books published by five publishers and I’ve written dozens of magazine articles.

I would suggest that new writers begin with magazine pieces and stories for their community newspapers. It’s better to get experience writing smaller pieces first than trying a book. When you jump in hard and fast with a huge writing project, you’re more likely to crash, burn and give up discouraged. Instead, take your time to learn and practice, and things will naturally fall into place for you.

Loren choking out his partner

Loren choking out his partner

Q: When did you decide to write full-time and how did you reach that decision?

A: Because of some incorrect information I’d received, I thought I could retire from the PD after 20 years. When I had about 18 years on, I began planning a full-time writing career, with a side gig of teaching martial arts privately. At 19 years on the job, I was told I couldn’t retire until I had 25 years in. Six more years! Read More→

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So you want to be a writer, Part 4

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The previous parts of this guide were basically a reality check on what the writing life can be like and how to get your head straight while living it.  This part here is different. I’ll give you some tools and resources to get better at the craft, get published, be successful and more. These are the ones that worked for me and I believe are helpful. I hope they can be useful for you too.

Barry Eisler

Barry Eisler writes excellent thrillers, packed with action, martial arts, spy-craft and much, much more. But even better, he’s very generous in sharing his experience as a writer with others. He has a cool section especially for writers on his website, giving loads of great advice. You can also get to his forum there, where he’s very active and has a cool community going.  Here’s an interesting video where he talks about writing a bit:
Read More→

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