New instructional video: Five Element Arm

Here is a quick update and a product announcement:
My surgery went fine. The doctor reattached the supraspinatus muscle and filed off the acromion to avoid future damage. I now have to keep my arm immobile for four weeks and then I can start rehab. I should be able to resume normal life in about eight weeks and have a full recovery in 6 to 12 months. Thank you to all of you who wished me the best both before and after the surgery.

Because I’m self-employed, this means pretty much zero income during the eight weeks I am not allowed to drive a car. As mentioned in my podcast, I had planned on doing some sort of crowdfunding to span that period. But it turned out I didn’t have enough time to set that up properly. So instead I chose to focus on two new products and offering them for sale:

  • Finishing the “Boxing for self-defense” book as quickly as possible so I can release it. That went reasonably well so far: I finished the photo shoot a few days before my surgery and am now busy finalizing the manuscript. With some luck I can publish it very soon.
  • Republishing my Paladin Press videos as soon as the rights revert to me on January 1, 2018. I’ve now found a platform where I can do just that. It’s called Pivotshare and allows me to offer online streaming and digital downloads. It also offers a monthly membership option that I might explore in the future. But all my original DVDs will be republished there and I will continue adding to that library of instructional material.

With that in mind, I just uploaded an instructional video as a test case, to get used to the platform and figure out how to optimize it for your convenience.

The video is called “Five Element Arm.” I originally made this video for my Patrons, but several people requested a separate purchasing possibility, so I uploaded it to the platform. You can create an account directly from the video here below or go to my main channel page and do so there if you would like to buy it.

What’s this video about? You can watch the preview here above, but here’s a quick explanation:

“Five Element Arm” is a series of self-defense techniques from the Practical Tai Chi Chuan system I teach. It takes a specific scenario into account: what if you can’t use both arms to defend yourself?

  • You might be injured during the fight.
  • You could be carrying something and not have the time to drop it.
  • You might need the other hand to keep track of the person you’re protecting.

Whatever the reason you might find yourself in that scenario, this drill teaches you effective self-defense techniques for such an occasion. This video includes both the solo drill as well as detailed instruction on how to apply each technique. It is just over 30 minutes long and to the best of my knowledge,  it is the only instructional video available on this specific drill.

Given as I am now exactly in the situation for which this drill was created, I can speak from experience that it’s worth investing the training in “disaster” scenarios. I will not have the full function of my right arm for several months and being defenseless during that time is unacceptable. It’s for exactly this reason that I practice this drill and several others. I hope you find it useful as well.

As explained above, all of my instructional videos will eventually be available on the Pivotshare platform so stay tuned for more.


PS: in case you’re wondering, I’m using Dragon Naturally Speaking software to dictate this text. I can very much recommend it to everybody.

Woman throws baby so she can fight

In this video, you see a woman who throws her baby so she can fight another woman on the bus. If you find that hard to watch, don’t click on the video below. That said, there are a few points worth considering if you do watch it, in particular relating to female violence. First, a short introduction:

  • We don’t see the beginning of the incident, it is well underway when the footage starts.
  • There is a lot of cursing and shouting but we can’t say who instigated the incident. What is clear is that both parties are more than willing to continue engaging the other; there is virtually no de-escalation.
  • As a result, one woman snaps and throws her baby at another passenger to start the fight.

Here’s the video:

Earlier this week I taught a thirty-something woman self-defense and female violence is is one of the topics that came up. Here’s why:

There is the assumption in modern society that violence is strictly a male issue, but nothing could be further from the truth. Women fight and use violence too, but it tends to get less press than when men fight. There are several reasons for that, one of them being that women tend to do less damage when they fight (except when they use weapons.) Regardless, woman-on-woman violence and fighting is real and more prevalent than you might expect. The video shows a few interesting dynamics in this regards, so here are some thoughts: [Read more…]

100 Ways to Attack the Groin

Master Ken is back in action, this time with IMHO his best video ever: 100 ways to attack the groin.

Put down any beverages and then start watching this video.


Superhero Mixed Martial Arts

Of all the things I was expecting to see in 2014, superhero mixed martial arts wasn’t one of them. Check out this video of Batman and Robin fighting Spiderman in a 2-on-1 fight under what looks like mixed martial arts rules.

Take a look:

Whatever you think of the fight, the intro as they got on the stage was pretty cool with Robin jump-kicking over Batman. Too bad they got their asses kicked. The takedown by The Riddler was cool too.

After a quick search, I found this site: Hardest Man. Turns out it’s a UK organization that is putting up the events. I have no idea why they are doing a super hero mixed martial arts division on top of the regular one, but who cares?  It’s awesome.

Here’s another trailer from them: [Read more…]

Two assholes on the mat

A couple years ago, I did a series of posts on how to piss off your training partner. I just saw this video featuring, well, two assholes on the mat, and it reminded me of that series. Those posts were written with conflicts between students in mind but it applies as well to student-teacher dynamics. In this video, you get a prime example of how people escalate a situation into full conflict despite having numerous options to solve it.

Frankly, I’m not entirely convinced this is real. A couple of things feel off to me so I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a set up to give that school some free publicity. But I’ll assume it isn’t and  treat the footage as real. That way I can point to the aspects that are worth mentioning.

I’ll comment some more below but first, take a look at the video:

There are a couple things that stand out:

  • The instructor replies with “Whatever” when his students say the black belt’s name is Keith. That’s some pretty disrespectful behavior right there.
  • Then he refuses to shake Keith’s hand. He just ignores the man’s outstretched hand and grabs him by the collar right away. Now I could be wrong but the way I learned Japanese martial arts, you bow to your training partners. There are good reasons for that, as this video illustrates.
  • Keith is being a bit of an asshole there by gripping the collar hard and resisting the move. It’s not hard to mess up a technique if you know it’s coming. It’s also not possible to teach a technique clearly if your demo partner resists all the way. The students just won’t be able to learn it.
  • Keith is then told to relax and leave it loose. He does the opposite and fights the technique even more. Asshole, times two.
  • The instructor doesn’t handle it well though. He stares Keith down and then cranks up the volume. When that doesn’t work, he slaps Keith. He is now also fully engaged in asshole-mode.
  • The scuffle is broken up and the instructor apologizes, offering his hand. Keith slaps it away. He is now in all-out asshole-mode too.
  • The instructor apologizes again (not convincingly in my opinion…) and grabs Keith again to demonstrate the technique. I’m pretty sure he was planning on slamming Keith on the floor as hard as possible.
  • When Keith, predictable as hell, resists again, the instructor cranks it up some more and grabs Keith’s face. The scuffle is back on again.

I’ve been in similar situations tons of times in the past 25 years and can relate with how the instructor feels: it’s annoying as hell to work with a guy like Keith: you can’t teach the technique because he resists it so the students don’t learn anything and you waste a lot of time. What’s worse, both you and the guy can get injured if he resists the wrong way. There’s really is no upside for anybody in these situations.

The instructor could have done several things to defuse the situation: [Read more…]