Basic Fighter Principles – Balance

Sensei Posted in Training notes

Why do we fight? This is an age old question that I will not attempt to answer here! Combat training or sparring does have numerous benefits beyond learning to fight. Since most students are not interested in fighting I thought it prudent to enumerate the reasons we as Martial Artists engage in combat training. There are many practical benefits of combat training as they contribute greatly to our strength, flexibility, balance and cardio-endurance or fitness. From a psychological view point combat training builds courage, confidence, self-discipline, and camaraderie.
There are basic principles that the hand-to-hand fighter must know and apply to successfully defeat an opponent. The following is what I hope will be the first in a series of such training notes and methods, but bare in mind these are only notes and should be used as guidelines to increase your understanding of hand-to-hand combat techniques and issues. As we progress from unskilled to seasoned fighter this information becomes intuitive and second nature. In this series we will cover 6 basic principles, this being the first.
Topic: Balance
Physical Balance – Balance refers to the ability to maintain equilibrium and to remain in a stable, upright position. A hand-to-hand fighter must maintain his balance both to defend himself and to launch an effective attack. Without balance, the fighter has no stability with which to defend himself, nor does he have a base of power for an attack. The fighter must understand two aspects of balance in a struggle:

    1 – How to move his body to keep or regain his own balance. A fighter develops balance through experience, but usually he keeps his feet about shoulder-width apart and his knees flexed. He lowers his center of gravity to increase stability. I always tell my students that the person who can maintain the lowest stance often gains the advantage.

    2 – How to exploit weaknesses in his opponent’s balance. Experience also gives the hand-to-hand fighter a sense of how to move his body in a fight to maintain his balance while exposing the enemy’s weak points.

Mental Balance – The successful fighter must also maintain a mental balance. He must not allow fear or anger to overcome his ability to concentrate or to react instinctively in hand-to-hand combat. Combat training is as intensely mentally challenging as it is physical. The more expereinced you become the more situational awareness you gain allowing you to better defend yourself and exploit your opponents weaknesses.

Spring is coming…!

Sensei Posted in Events & Holidays

Spring is just around the corner, March 21st to be exact. No this is not a post about the end of cold weather, keep reading!
With the coming Spring we often think of spring-cleaning after all Spring is a time of new beginnings. So here is the deal, I do not believe in making New Years resolutions. Why? Because the odds are against you keeping them. Probably the most often made New Years resolutions deal with your weight, exercise/shape or money. This is the worst time of year to make these types of goals because it is cold, the days are short and money is tight. In other words we set ourselves up to fail. So here is my suggestion, make a Spring-Time Resolution instead. In the spring we are motivated to make real change in our life. The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, spring fever is in the air! What better motivator is there? I know there are a thousand motivational speakers gasping in dismay at such a notion! After all they will tell us that we make our destiny, etc, etc, etc. While I do believe some of the muck that they spew I am also a realist. People’s motivation is low in the middle of the winter and there are a million excuses not to perfect ourselves. After all resolutions are typically a starting point for most people and getting started can be darn hard. So while we excuse away our New Years resolution with things like the weather and statements like my winter coat hides that we get farther from our resolution and goals. Ah, but in the Spring things are much happier and upbeat, it is easier to start fresh and really look forward to reaping the rewards of our efforts…after all summer is just around the corner!!
Remember, Success doesn’t come to you – you go to it, but timing is everything! So sharpen your pencils and start thinking of what realistic goals you want to set for your new beginning.

Shrimp Marinara over Linguine

Sensei Posted in Recipes and Health Facts

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 pound linguine pasta
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Wilted Mustard Greens with Brown Sugar (see below)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside (or refrigerate until later in the week).

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. In a food processor, pulse the shallots and garlic until minced. Add shallots and garlic to skillet and saute for 1 minute. Add oregano, basil and red pepper flakes and stir to coat. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. To the simmering sauce, add shrimp, cover skillet and simmer for 2 minutes, until shrimp are bright pink and cooked through. Pour sauce over linguine and serve with Wilted Mustard Greens.

Pre-Chopped Garlic –


  • 1 head garlic, peeled
  • Olive oil, to cover

Place the garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the garlic is finely minced. Spoon the minced garlic into a jar and pour over enough oil to cover the garlic. Seal well and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Wilted Mustard Greens with Brown Sugar –


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Pre-Chopped Garlic (see above)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 bunch mustard greens, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add brown sugar and cook until sugar melts, about 2 minutes. Add mustard greens and 2 tablespoons water, cover pan and steam for 2 to 3 minutes until greens wilt. Season, to taste, with salt and ground black pepper.

Your Honor

Sensei Posted in Quotes

I prefer the “u” in honour as it seems to be missing these days.

Meditation Point #74

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing

How can you come to know yourself? Never by thinking, always by doing. Try to do your duty, and you’ll know right away what you amount to. And what is your duty? Whatever the day calls for.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
I like this particular meditation point as I think of it when I hear people talk of what they would do in a certain situation. We love to talk of others with an air of judgement, If I had been in that situation… they will begin and of course their way is always better. This meditation point reminds me that we never truly know what we are capable or incapable of until we try. The act of trying is only reached when we stop talking and do something! Unfortunately most people would rather talk then do it is so much safer. For after all we might find we don’t like the person we really are, for in action is irrevocable proof of our mettle. What people forget is that if we do not like what we see or find when we test ourselves through action, we can always try again and work to become the person we want to be. Both require action, doing, trying but above all introspection. I like this particular meditation point because it is real. Do something and see for yourself!

They are watching…

Sensei Posted in Self-Defense

So in order to protect the quivering masses our governments and some companies are going to great lengths, ridiculous lengths. Here is a story of technology being used to watch every single face of every single passenger on every single flight, for the entire flight. I call that excessive! Now the software is supposed to detect suspicious facial behavior that will indicate a terrorist in our midst! HELP US!! I am reminded of Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents where we witness this great example of being taken the wrong way in a stressful situation…

Flight Attendant: I’m sorry, sir, you’re gonna have to check that.
Greg “Gaylord” Focker: I got it.
Flight Attendant: No, I’m sorry, that bag won’t fit.
Greg: No, no, I’m not–hey, I’m not checking my bag, okay?
Flight Attendant: Okay, There’s no need to raise your voice, sir.
Greg: I’m not raising my voice. THIS WOULD BE RAISING MY VOICE TO YOU, okay? I don’t want to check my bag, okay? And, by the way, your airline? You SUCK at checking bags, okay, because I already did that once and you lost it, and then I had everything screwed up very badly for me, okay?
Flight Attendant: Well, I can assure you that your bag will be placed safely below deck with the other luggage…
Greg: Oh, yeah? How do you know my bag will be safe below with the other luggage? Huh? Are you physically going to take my bag and put it beneath the plane? Are you going to go right now outside, with the guys with the earmuffs, and go put it in there?
Flight Attendant: No.
Greg: No? Okay, then shut your piehole and listen to me when I say that I am FINISHED with the checking-of-the-bags CONVERSATION!
Flight Attendant: Sir, we have a policy on this airline that if a bag is this large, we —
Greg: Okay, you know what…just take your scrubby little paws off my bag, okay? It’s not like I got a bomb in here. It’s not like I want to blow up the plane! I just want to stow my bag according to your safety regulations. Hey…hey, if you would just take a second, take the little sticks out of your head, clean out your ears and maybe you would see that I’m a person who has feelings. And all I have to do is do what I want to do and all I want to do is hold onto my bag and not listen to you. And the only way I would ever let go of my bag would be if you came over here right now and try to pry it from my dead lifeless fingers. If you can get it from my kung-fu grip then you can come and have it, okay? Otherwise, step off, b!#%$.
(She gasps)
(We next see Greg being violently dragged from the terminal)

Classic! But also a good example how situations can easily be misconstrued by people let alone some software written by people! Well that is enough from me, here is the real story if you are interested…
In London (United Kingdom) – A tiny airline spy that spots bombers in the blink of an eye. Tiny cameras the size of a fingernail linked to specialist computers are to be used to monitor the behavior of airline passengers as part of the war on terrorism. Cameras fitted to seat-backs will record every twitch, blink, facial expression or suspicious movement before sending the data to onboard software which will check it against individual passenger profiles. Scientists from Britain and Germany are developing a system they hope will make it virtually impossible to hijack an airliner by providing pilots and cabin crew with an early warning of a possible terrorist attack such as 9/11. They say that rapid eye movements, blinking excessively, licking lips or ways of stroking hair or ears are classic symptoms of somebody trying to conceal something. A separate microphone will hear and record even whispered remarks. Islamic suicide bombers are known to whisper texts from the Koran in the moments before they explode bombs. Airlines gave the scheme a cautious welcome, indicating it would be too expensive to fit on existing commercial aircraft and that it would probably be ten years before such systems were fitted to new planes.
Oh great the Germans helping to weed out the unsavory types! Hey I can say that as I am part German so don’t go all politically correct on me.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Sensei Posted in Events & Holidays

Happy Valentine's Day I love You

Happy Valentine’s Day

Sensei Posted in Events & Holidays


Sensei Posted in Site_News

I’d like to apologize to all my readers. This week has been crazy and I am behind in everything! I promise to have a bunch of great posts starting next week. For now I am back to the pile! What have I been doing? Well last week I was sick, bad stomach bug. Then I gutted my office, I’m on a temporary desk right now and I don’t know where anything is, not fun. The carpet is being install on Saturday so next week I can move back in. I have also been neck deep in an exciting project. Failing to find any software to help me and my students manage and track our activities I have begun to write my own application. It is very rough right now and I expect it to take a month or so to complete but when it is done!! Of course tax season is upon us here in the USA so I am gathering all the necessary information for that process…I’d rather be sparring!
So until next week, keep training!