Showing posts from 2016

Train as if someone is recording you

When I first started karate my instructor told a story in class about a student he observed training on his own.  He'd arrived at the dojo during a time when no class was scheduled, gone onto the floor and undergone a 1 1/2 hour training session so disciplined, so focused that my instructor had watched the entire thing, transfixed.

Never once did the student break concentration or pause for a rest: he just kept repeating the same movements, one after the other, so that he went well into, and over, his VO2 max.  Watching himself in the mirror, he'd only move on to another technique once he'd achieved whatever (high) standard he'd set.

At the end, he finished his last technique, moved to "yamae" and remained motionless for a minute, his breathing ragged, his body so drenched with sweat that his gi had become translucent.  Then he bowed. and left the floor.
All without a word.
Over the years I've pondered this anecdote considerably - often wondering whethe…

The debt we owe to our masters

In most karate schools it is common for students to bow not only to the teacher and each other - but also to the shomen (front) where pictures of the dojo's founders are displayed.  Karate students will be familiar with the expression "shomen ni rei" (or "shinzen ni rei") - ie. "bow to front/tradition".  We used to do this but discontinued the practise in the mid '90s - partly because we did not want to associate our dojo with Shinto practices.  We are, after all, a secular school and have no intention of promoting (or discouraging) religious faith of any kind.

But lately we have reintroduced a practice of bowing, at least symbolically, to our teachers - both recent and ancestral.  Why?  Because we view it as a solemn acknowledgment of their contribution.  We would not be standing where we are but for this contribution.  As a tradition, our ritual bow is both contemplative and meditative: it makes us pause to appreciate those who gave us the knowl…

Mastery - and the question of time

There is an old rule of thumb in martial arts: 1,000 repetitions to get the basic idea of a movement, 10,000 repetitions to get it more or less right, 100,000 to get it near perfect.

And that's just a movement.  We've not yet talked about application.  Application takes much, much more practice.

Let's put it in the perspective of some other art - say, music.

You might want to be a world-class jazz guitarist, playing lead solos off the cuff, with no two performances alike.  And that's how jazz is meant to be played.  You're responding to your environment: the other musicians, the crowd, the venue, its atmosphere, your own mood, the time of day... practically anything and everything.

So what does it take to be a good jazz guitarist?  100,000 repetitions of scales won't cut it.  I don't know what the figure in repetitions is, but it's going to be a lot higher.  Actually, it's measured less in terms of repetitions than it is measured in time.  You need…

Join me for World Tai Chi Day!

If you're in Perth on 30 April 2016, feel free to join me in celebrating World Tai Chi Day.  The details are below!

Book review: The Fighter Within by Chris Olech

I must confess that I approach book reviews with some trepidation nowadays.  I get asked to it very often and I really hate giving bad reviews - it's not my thing.  If you scroll through Youtube you won't find me dropping negative comments on people's honest performances of forms, kata or sparring etc.  I just don't see the point in being mean.  Nor do I think it is "constructive" to tell people when I think where they are going "wrong". (I might draw the line at something fraudulent or harmful, but that is a different story.)

Similarly I get concerned about reviewing books because I'm not sure what to do when faced with a stinker: do I lie and say something "nice" (perhaps damning with faint praise) or am I honest?

With Chris Olech's new book "The Fighter Within: Everyone Has a Fight" I had no such concerns.  As a fight journalist with practical ring experience, Chris brings both professionalism and authenticity to this …

A season for awards!

I have just received word that this blog has received another award - making it to the Top 15 Tai Chi Blogs on Qialance!

Thank you Angelika for this honour!

Copyright © 2016 Dejan Djurdjevic

Essential Jo DVD finally published!

A year after the publication of my bestselling martial arts textbook Essential Jo (and more than 5 years after the book was written and photographed), I am proud to announce the publication of the long-awaited companion DVD of the same name.

Essential Jo, the DVD, covers the same ground as the book, along with some very useful bonus material, notably a detailed analysis of "Jusan" - the 13 count form - both in single person and two person form.

The jo - the Japanese 4-foot staff - was originally taught with the ken (sword) in the samurai arts.

This two hour video is arguably the most comprehensive on the subject to date, offering a course of study from white through to black belt in this practical, yet elegant, art.

While it is intended primarily for students with experience in weapons arts, particularly jodo, the book can also be used by beginners for home study.

The art of jodo makes an excellent addition to any martial art system.

(Also direct download from Amazon - USA on…

WLR voted into Top 30 Favorite Martial Arts Blogs!

Well this was an unexpected and very highly appreciated new year gift: The Way of Least Resistance was recently selected by as one of its Top 30 Favorite Martial Arts Blogs!

To be up there with Ikigai Way, KARATEByJesse and so many others that I have followed and appreciated over the years is truly an honour and a privilege.

Thank you, most sincerely,!

Copyright © 2016 Dejan Djurdjevic