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Extract #2 from "Essential Jo"

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Here is the second extract from my forthcoming book "Essential Jo".

Informal grip

As with golf, tennis, or any other activity which requires using a stick-like object, your grip is one of the most important features.

The “informal grip” is one you adopt when you are not actively engaged in training. We use the traditional method also seen in other Japanese and Chinese weapons arts: the weapon is held palm down and behind your shoulder. This is not only subtle and non-confrontational; it also provides an element of concealment and surprise, should you need it against would-be assailants.

Surprisingly, the hold is also quite effective in allowing a “quick draw” for defence.

The key to this “quick draw” is to hold the jo slighly off-centre, palm closer to the end facing downwards. I’ve found that the ideal point is approximately one palm width from the centre (or slightly less than that).

What this means is that when you drop the jo naturally it slopes upwards at a gradual incli…

Crescent stepping

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A colleague at the Traditional Fighting Arts Forums recently posed this question:The only explanation i've ever heard for the crescent stepping (other than just being able to generally move in various ways) comes from George Mattson's "The Way of Karate" where he states that it represents protecting the groin as you move into the opponent's range.

Any other explanations? Surely there's more to it than that..?My answer is: not really.

To my mind, the crescent step is the way one should perform basic ayumi ashi (natural stepping) when there is no initial lunge with the front foot (more on this in a minute). This is primarily so as to protect your groin (which the crescent step achieves by bringing your knees together during the step).

There is very little "time loss" because the arc drawn by your knee inwards does not significantly alter the path taken by your hip. So crescent stepping is quite useful for general movement because it is inherently protect…

Mathematical dimensions and martial arts analysis

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Introduction

The other night I dreamt I was back at university, in a mathematics lecture. The lecturer writes up Pierre de Fermat's last theorem1 on the board as follows:

cn = an + bn, where n = 3 or greater, has no possible solution.

Instead of asking us to prove the theorem, he simply says: "How many variables are there?"

I woke up and wondered about that piece of cheese I'd eaten the night before. Then I started thinking about the substance of the dream: How many "variables" are there in, say, c3 = a3 + b3? And how does this compare with the number of "variables" in Pythagoras' theorem c2 = a2 + b2?

Pure mathematics relating to number theory arguably has no practical application. Yet I realised that maybe, just maybe, my subconscious was telling me something "useful" in martial terms.

Flawed dimensional analysis

It seems to me that when marital artists analyse techniques, they often do so in either 2 dimensions without considering t…

Another award for The Way of Least Resistance!

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I just received word that this blog has received the honour of another award - this time selected by Home Alarm Monitoring as one of the "Top 40 Tae Kwon Do Re Mi Blogs".

This is especially an honour since I don't practise taekwondo. I'm glad it has been of some use and interest to those who practice this fine art.

I'd like to thank Allen Wright and Home Alarm Monitoring for this honour.

Copyright © 2010 Dejan Djurdjevic