Essays & Updates
Essays concerning the practice of internal martial arts, both in their classical forms and as applied to free practice.
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Update : Open Steel
Updates on my teaching activities and reflections on competing in a HEMA open steel longsword tournament.
Essay : Natsu no mine
Natsu no mine is the summer peak observance practiced in certain forms of Shugendo. With summer waning, I reflect on the role of demonstration in traditional martial arts and ask questions about proper training intensity.
Update : Kagu no mine
Kagunomine is the spring peak observance practiced in certain forms of Shugendo. With spring in full bloom, I look back over the last six months and provide an update on my training. Ideas both orthodox and heretical abound.
Update : Musha Shugyo
I have entered a period of retreat called Musha Shugyo (武者修行): hard training, intense study, and spiritual asceticism drawn from Taosim and Vajrayana Buddhism. I will no longer be as regularly updating this site.
Essay : The Correct Mind Shadow
The characters Jiki, Shin, and Kage, when combined can be glossed in a variety of ways. Doing so changes the meaning of the name, and the perspective one had on the art of Jiki Shinkage-ryu.
Essay : Gogyo Exegesis
Examining some of the strengths and weaknesses of a tradition. What is in a name? Does the first model that come to mind for a set of teachings represent their ultimate meaning? What is the role of secrets in an art? What is a teacher, and when you are, what do you do then?
Update : Solitude and Insight
I have spending time at solo practice, consulting with colleagues, and free sparring. I remain inspired by what I see some of the local HEMA community doing with their arts and have benefited from being able to witness some of their skill first hand.
Event : Taijiquan Classics Seminar
Master Zhang Yun taught for two days in Silver Spring, MD on the Taiji Classics.
Essay : Logic and the art of the sword
Logic is all too lacking in the martial arts. There are many challenges that benefit from critical thinking: deciding on an art to practice, finding a good teacher, deciding if a group is no longer the right one, discerning the right training path based one's personal capabilities and interests. These are but some of the decision points a martial artist faces in their career.
Essay : Too Close
I used to train in Katori Shinto-ryu, under a splinter group of the main line of the art. I learned a large portion of the curriculum they taught, and received their first rank (mokuroku). However, the more I practiced Jiki Shinkage-ryu, the more I questioned how Katori Shinto-ryu was taught.
Essay : Semiotics and Martial Theory
One of the challenges I face when I hear the word internal used in reference to Japanese jujutsu or taijutsu is that the spread of internal schools of Chinese martial arts seem to post-date the major influx of martial theory from China to Japan.
Essay : Is It Still Aiki?
The question of what internal power is and how it relates to other arts and their practitioners that want to add it to their practice, especially if it may have been common in the practice amongst their founders, but not successfully transmitted to later generations at scale, is a complicated one that touches on several different models of identity. Semiotics meets the sword.
Update : Winter Light
I'm happy to be hitting the tail end of winter. Reflections on recent discussion on internal training, Shinkage-ryu and Shinto-ryu, and the merits of walking a long, slow, path to excellence in physical culture.
Event : Longpoint 2016
I enjoyed watching the finals for rapier & dagger and longsword at Longpoint 2016 this weekend.
Update : Taiji Classics
An important book on Taiji Quan is published; April brings rain and focus on developing skill with the spear.
Essay : Are You Connected?
I was talking with a colleague about what it means to be connected and I felt like sharing some of my thoughts on the topic here.
Essay : Aiki and Internal Training
The first martial art I practiced for an extended length of time was a self-defense oriented amalgam of Aikido, Judo, Jujutsu, and Kempo/Karate. I have since transitioned to spending a good amount of time learning internal martial arts ideas via the route of baguazhang, taijiquan, and xingyiquan. This has illuminated my striking and grappling practice, offering a glimpse of the higher levels of martial arts training that was suggested but ever elusive in my original jujutsu school.