Full Time

For the second time in my life, I’m going to be a full-time martial arts teacher. It’s a privilege and a responsibility, and not a thing to be taken lightly. Much has changed in me since my first go around. I’m older and more broken, but I’ve learned so much in the intervening time. There are teachers who think running a school as a business is a way of watering down your art. The valid point they make is that to make money, you have to water down your art. That’s valid in some ways, but it doesn’t consider all the aspects of running a professional martial arts school. For sure, full-contact boxing, wrestling and swordplay out of the gate is going to make a lot of people stick their head in the door, turn right around and walk away and never come back. Most people will walk away. Hell,…

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Threading the Needle

Capoferro has always been the father system. Marozzo is our grandfather. SCA rapier fencing was a mess, a Darwinian hot pool that ate the weak and pitted the strong against each other, but it was too hot to allow the truly good to solidify out into teachable style. It creates strong individuals, but eats any style away like acid on steel. My first attempts at teaching were attempts to cool the system a little, and introduce a crystal into the mix in hopes of it seeding. When that, to a degree, failed it made sense to try again with the same idea when it came to teaching at a proper martial arts school, with dedicated students. The idea was to start with rigid development of the ideal. We would teach the perfect lunge, and restrict students to it until they had shown mastery of that line. The plan was to…

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Iron and Speed

The Valkyrie workout took a long time to develop, with a lot of stumbles on the way. Until I had a recent discussion with someone online about the relative value of bodyweight training vs weight training for martial arts, I’d sort of forgotten how I got to where I am in my fitness thinking. Thinking back on it, it all kind of flooded back to me. The books, the notes, the endless plotting and charting, trying to wrap my head around sport science concepts that were far deeper than I ever expected. Bodybuilding was the only form of weight training when I was in my teens. As martial artists, we tried to avoid weigh training, because, as everyone knew, weights just made you stiff and slow. And yet…I discovered I had an affinity for them. There was something atavistic in the appeal. Nothing complex, just move a heavy weight up…

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Making Up Class on the Fly

Writing a blog post is a lot harder that creating a class to teach for the night. As I sit around in the morning, sipping my coffee with the deadline ticking ever closer, I have to think about what I want to write. Some days it’s easy. I hit the keyboard with my focus in front of me, crank the music, and spill it all out in one long burst. Other days I muddle and can barely crank out one paragraph after the other, each just barely connected to the next. Most days it’s work. Every day I have to write something that will interest someone, that will give at least one reader something to think about or talk about for the day. My goal is to reach for that every day…but it’s like a long conversation with a good friend. Sometimes you just feel talked out, and want to…

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One year, plus one day.

A few years ago I was lying on my back, on the cold asphalt ground, screaming, staring at my right leg in utter disbelief… – Letting Go: Martial Arts Mind I wrote that almost a year ago.  I started writing posts on this blog before that…actually yesterday was the blogs official one year anniversary. I guess that means I’m committed to this writing. I’ve written every weekday, and some weekends, except for a few short breaks. I think it’s a habit now. That line above, though…that was the first time I got some real serious hits. It was the first time I got an inkling that I might be writing for more than just myself. So…thanks. I really appreciate that you’ve committed a part of your day to reading what I write. It’s no exaggeration to say it’s changed my life. It does make me happy that the first breakthrough…

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Explorers, Pioneers, and Settlers

The back of my head is full of dreams locked away, visions buried in the hope of different times to come. I had the motivation to learn when I was younger, but means and circumstances taught me to compromise. I would have loved to have been the obedient and hungry student of a master instructor, absorbing their complete system…but that’s not the path for a roamer. I always wanted roots, a safe place I could call home forever. It just doesn’t seem to be the way the world rolls for me. I’ve learned to find solace in what’s around me, and not in things that I can’t hold on to. I’ve held on to a lot of bits of martial arts over the years. Moving from town to town, from school to school and teacher to teacher, I was always looking for the one true art. Taught, of course, by…

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