Chi (Qi) Demystified

There is a lot of nonsense out there about qi. A big part of it is due to mistranslation and others due to secrecy, misdirection and let's not forget television. Let's talk about what qi isn't. It's not magic. It's not an ethereal, life-giving, cosmic energy that pervades the universe....

Aiki vs. Awase

There is a big misconception about what the meaning of Aiki (合気) is. To many practitioners of internal of so-called 'soft' arts aiki means matching the speed and energy of an incoming attack. In reality, this is awase (合わせ) a part necessary to creating aiki, but it's not the compete picture....

The Role of Uke

In partner training, there are two people involved. There is a person working on the technical side of the form, and there is an attacker. This is a misunderstood thing in a lot of individuals martial arts practice. They think of the attacker as a wooden training dummy, Something to...

A Rationale For Fighting Back

Originally Posted on January 17, 2017 by Karri It can be difficult to decide whether to take defensive action against someone violating your boundaries, like personal space, inappropriate intimate contact or teasing gone too far. This is especially true if the offender is a friend or family member. But when...

What the hell is “internal power,” and why should I care?

Originally Posted on August 22, 2016 by Karri Okay. There is a lot of talk about qi (or chi), and building your reserve of this mystical life-bringing energy in your abdomen that you visualize as radiant amber light flowing through your fingers that you manifest along your meridians that will...

What’s Your Plan?

Originally Posted on August 18, 2016 by Karri In his book Meditations on Violence, Rory Miller states that the experienced martial artists who are most successful at surviving a sudden, surprise attack do so with a simple plan. In the fractions of a second, you don’t have time to remember...

The Spirit of Competition.

Originally Posted on November 11, 2015 by Karri For the longest time, I held the belief that competition in martial arts was unsafe, and ultimately counter to the guiding principles we engender. I believed that deliberately putting yourself in harms way, and looking for a fight was reckless and only...

OK. So maybe we’re not all vying for entrance into Valhalla. Maybe we’re not striving to be immortalized in song, or in history. But that’s still no reason to lead a useless middle-of-the-road life. I was reminded by a friend yesterday how common it is to try to achieve just...

Finding a cure for dojo-itis.

Originally Posted on October 22, 2015 by Karri We’ve all seen the demonstration. An esteemed martial arts master calmly walks out onto the mat, and nods to the group of students waiting nearby, who then enthusiastically proceed to attack only to be effortlessly thwarted by the expert martial artist barely...

The Trouble With Being Big and Strong

Originally Posted on October 8, 2015 by Karri I have a student, who at the age of sixteen is already stronger than I am. He lifts daily, plays football, lacrosse and now trains in martial arts. To top it off, he is extraordinarily athletic. His reflexes, pain response and mobility...