Friday, February 25, 2011

Katana - The Most Powerful Sword In The World

In ancient Japanese history, countless battles were fought. Though the exact date is unknown, a swords-smith named Amakuni made swords for the Japanese soldiers. After the battle, the soldiers returned in defeat. Amakuni didn’t understand why such soldiers were beaten- until he saw their broken and useless swords. Seeing that these soldiers needed much heavier duty swords, he worked for days and nights, tirelessly without rest. Days later he returned to the soldiers with his new weapon- the Ninhoto Katana (usually just called Katana) Ninhoto is the name of the sword type in Japanese, and doesn’t have an English name. Katana simply means sword in Japanese, but is usually what people call the Ninhoto katana. But what makes this type of Katana so important?

The Ninhoto Katana is the sharpest type of sword in the world, with a record of being able to chop through 8 prisoners at once (during ancient times, the strength of a Katana was measured in how many prisoners it could chop through at once, gory but true!)This is because of tiny serrations that let it slice through things like butter. It is the only weapon that can slash apart wood, as any other wood chopping things hack at it (using the weight of its head to rush through the object). This attribute has been the inspiration for many blades, like razor blades. Razor blades have tiny serrations, just like the Ninhoto Katana. Also, serrations can be found in syringes (to make them go through skin with less pain). Also, the curved shape of the Ninhoto Katana makes it very powerful, and it will rarely break. The combination gives a powerful and sharp weapon, not to mention that it is light!

Now, considering today people don’t run around chopping people with Katana like an anime series, you may think that the Ninhoto Katana is useless for today. As if the inspiration for serrated blades and syringes wasn’t enough, the Ninhoto Katana is considered a work of art. Though in Britain things this sharp are illegal, many do have them for artistic reasons. How does this relate to art?
   It takes 4 years to master the art of making a Ninhoto Katana, and because of this the Ninhoto Katana is considered a work of art when made using traditional methods. Also, it takes 5 years to master Katana polishing, and is also considered a Japanese art. Lastly is the use of Ninhoto Katana in martial arts. Martial arts are a major part of Japans culture, and the Ninhoto Katana plays a major part in it. As you can see, the Ninhoto Katana is a work of art on multiple levels!

In addition, the Ninhoto Katana was a major part of Japans survival. As the Ninhoto Katana gave the Japanese a huge edge in battle, it played a major part in its survival. If the Ninhoto Katana was never invented, Japan may have been taken over by another country. This would result in the world losing a lot of what Japanese culture has to offer, including Sushi, a large variety of martial arts, Anime like Blood+, Bleach, to things that little kids like, such as Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh. In addition, think of all the inventions Japan has given to the world, like Nintendo, Play station, and companies like Samsung that put competition in the market for electronics. Not only did the Ninhoto Katana inspire many inventions like serrated blades, but also protected future inventions that we get to enjoy now.

The Ninhoto Katana is an amazing part of Japanese culture, and Amakuni’s invention is an important invention that should keep him remembered.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Martial Arts - Necessary For Women

Many schools of self-defense offer special self defense courses for women, teaching techniques aimed at avoiding or combating any type of physical confrontation. Martial arts can play an important role in women’s self defense and are a great way to help build confidence, strength and skills to combat any potential attacker. There are many different types of classes for women in martial arts and when practicing martial arts, women will find that their strength improves significantly after only a few months of practicing the art.

In general, an attacker will test a woman before he actually assaults her. By making inappropriate comments or behavior, a perpetrator will try to find out how assertive and strong a woman is. If she responds in an assertive way, most perpetrators will eventually run away. Martial arts can help you reach this level of assertiveness.

The Goals of Martial Arts Training

Learning martial arts is not just good for self defense but there are many other things than physical strength and techniques that martial arts women can benefit from, such as:
Mental and physical health
Your physical health will improve greatly due to the (often physically demanding) exercise. Martial arts for women will also help you improve your mental strength as you will be taught to focus one one single thing. Concentration is a very important part of martial arts training and being able to form a mental picture of your success is beneficial to your effectiveness as a martial arts student.
Self confidence
By learning a certain martial art you will be able to focus on one goal, physically and mentally. You will feel stronger mentally because you build up a sense of security and a knowledge deep down that you will be able to manage and deal with a potentially dangerous situation.
Learning body dynamics
You will learn about movements and their impact on your body and on the opponent’s body. Knowing when to strike and how to do it will enable to you to use your body to its full potential if you have to defend yourself.

Benefits Of Executing 'KIAI'

During some movements in the martial arts, we also practice a loud shout or yell. This yell comes from the lower area of the belly or hara. We usually practice this shout directly after or before an attack.
You will also make use of the kiai during class and in basic movements such as Stances. In the beginning, it is often difficult to kiai. Why? Because you are being heard. Many people have trouble with speaking out.
When students are asked to do a kiai for the first time, they usually begin with a small yelp. This sounds even funnier than a kiai, which is what they were afraid of in the first place. Once students get used to the discomfort, they have no problem with performing a kiai on command. Many of us live through life in the background going unnoticed by society. This may be okay for some people, but for most, it creates a shield that keeps them from enhancing their future or career. Outside of this realm of life, there are three main reasons for doing a kiai during combat:

1: A kiai is used to receive a sudden surge of power by speeding up the adrenaline flow.
A kiai gives us energy, power and belief. This is why you hear people scream just before they are going to do something brave, heroic, courageous or even stupid. A warrior jumps off of a rock in an ambush and you hear him shout. A war Hero yells as he runs into battle. A martial artist throws a kick in self-defense training and he kiai’s. A kiai is a sort of body drug that will numb the pain and increase our ability.

2: To break the concentration of your opponent.
Can you imagine the reaction of someone who just received a perfect kiai to the face, totally by surprise? This breaks your opponents concentration and allows you some time to react. However, imagine your opponent coming up and you yelp like a puppy. This may only be effective in reducing a threat if he starts laughing so hard he falls over.
Remember, if you want fire, your kiai has to be on fire.

3: A kiai, is a natural air shield
Have you ever been punched in the stomach? How about falling on your back only to knock the air right out of you? You end up standing or lying there wondering if you’re ever going to breathe again. Either way, you are almost totally hopeless, because you can’t breathe. So how can we protect ourselves against this? By breathing before the fall, you will keep yourself from losing your breath. So a kiai is not only important when attacking, but also when being attacked.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Truth About The 'Shadow Warriors'

Japanese culture has produced a lot of great ideas, inventions, and people in history. The country is now one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world. Japan may not be constantly fighting itself anymore but one of the most interesting and extremely important things that came out of feudal Japan was the best fighting style of its time, Ninjustu.

The art Ninjutsu is over 1100 years old and early Ninjas or shinobi which is a Japanese mercenary who is trained in the art of stealth. The first of the shinobi assassins was said to be deployed by Prince Shotoku around 600 AD. Then warrior monks came over from China in the early 1200s and trained with early ninjas to form the well known and highly skilled ninjutsu techniques. So all the credit for ninjutsu should not go to the Japanese, but also to Chinese monks.

Ninjas came up almost as an opposing force to the samurai and played a key role in battles and wars throughout feudal Japan. The main difference between the two is that the Samurais had the Bushido code of honor which put respect and loyalty first, but the ninjutsu code was getting the mission done at any cost. Since Samurai were restricted by the Bushido they often hired ninjas to do their dirty work and paid quite a lot to get it done.

There were many different types of ranks in ninjutsu but there were three main types during their most important role in feudal Japan. The highest of these three were the Jonin who were in charge of huge groups of ninjas. The next served as the middle man, who were the managers. They were called Chunin and took orders from the Jonin. Then there were the regular ninjas who did most of the actual killing, spying, and other ninja duties. They were called the Genin.

The Ninjustu schools called the Ryu, were used to train new ninjas before they were put to work and they are even still used today for teaching Neo-Ninjutsu.  In the Ryu they taught the ninjas various techniques. They were generally taught 18 specific skills. The first set of skills did not use weapons of any kind. First was spiritual refinement which meant they had to become spiritually sound. Next they needed to learn unarmed combat techniques, so if they had no access to weapons they were still powerful.

A lot of skills they had to learn were weapons skills. As all warriors of the time they learned to use a sword. Another important weapon was a staff because they were almost always accessible. Training with spears was completely separate from staff training. They were also trained to use a niganata which was similar to a very long sword. A difficult skill to master was the art of throwing weapons especially because ninjas did not even use throwing stars but perhaps the most difficult and dangerous weapon to be skilled in was the kusarigama which was a small stick with a curved blade on the end and a chain with a weight attached to end of the weapon.

Some of the most useful skills for ninjas in tight situations where there environmental skills or use of their surroundings and the best way to get rid of an enemy on your tail is if you have the opportunity blow them up or light them on fire, and pyrotechnics was an important skill to ninjas. Another thing not only for attacking but escaping was water skills using it to drown make them slip or just being able to hide in the water was crucial to ninjas. And they also learned to use horses to attack and just to ride them skillfully.

The most important set of skills that sets ninjas apart from other warriors was there intelligence skills. They were all taught how to use proper tactics in any situation. Something that all ninjas needed was the espionage skills so they could be stealthy during a mission. They all learned how to skillfully enter into places undetected. They also needed to be able to escape as fast as they got in if not faster. They also needed to be somewhat good meteorologists as in they should know the conditions they are working in. They also had to be skilled with direction and geography so they knew where they were going. One of the most lifesaving skills of a ninja was their ability to disguise themselves and impersonate someone else which meant they had to be pretty good actors

One of the most famous ninja stories in Japan is of a samurai who jokingly says to a ninja “I will hire you if you can take my pillow from under my head while I am asleep” so the next morning he wakes up from a thunderstorm and realizes his pillow was gone.

Throughout the long and ongoing history of Ninjutsu many styles and techniques as well as myths have developed. The deployment of the first ninja started a trend that evolved, with the help of a fallen samurai and his friend, into one of the greatest styles of fighting ever taught. Ninjutsu not only affected Japanese history through direct fighting with them, but also changed the world with all of the stories and myths about ninjas that has inspired millions of ideas. And is still one of the best close combat fighting styles as well as majorly influencing books, movies, and the entire world.

Importance & Benefits of Namaskar

The "Namaskar", also sometimes referred to as the "Hindu Pushups" is a full-body beast for fitness benefits. Standard military push ups are fantastic on their own, but when you add the fluid movement and endurance needed for Hindu Push Ups, the reasons to perform this highly effective exercise rise exponentially.
This was also one of the most important daily workout in Master Lee's fitness plan. 

    A Chance to Work All Major Muscle Groups in One Fell Swoop

  1. The Hindu Push Up hits pretty much everything from your shoulders to your toes. You can even get a nice neck stretch when you reach the last phase of the exercise and look up to toward the ceiling. This push up strengthens all of major muscle groups. It is fantastic for your shoulders, but it also helps to strengthen your core, legs, back, hips and chest. Your hands and feet even get in on this action since they are an instrumental part of the movement.
  2. A Massage for Your Internal Organs and Your Spine

  3. You can feel the benefits from the inside-out, since this exercise is a gentle flow of motion. Provided you don't have major back issues, this is great for strengthening your spine since your whole back is in motion.
  4. Doubles as a Great Full Body Stretch

  5. Often envisioned as our body as a wave hitting the shore, this fluid but powerful exercise stretches everything that it strengthens simultaneously, including wrists and ankles, something we tend to overlook in everyday stretching.
  6. Cardiovascular Benefits

  7. This movement has a flow of motion, which requires you to move your entire body, lowering it and raising it back up, which in turn will raise your heart rate, particularly when first starting out. In addition, as you increase your repetitions, you will maintain a steady elevated heart rate. You will also find that your breathing has deepened, which is good for your cardiovascular system.
  8. Endurance

  9. The Hindu Push Up rivals the endurance we ask of our legs in many exercises. You can build on your endurance daily as you increase your repetitions.
  10. Free and Mobile

  11. A simple beauty of this push up is that it can be done anywhere with no additional equipment and it doesn't cost a thing.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Body Weight Excercises Vs. Free Weight Excercises

I am going to discuss about bodyweight exercises vs. free weights exercises in this article. Bodyweight exercises are superior for wrestling and other grappling and martial arts, gymnastics, and for those who want to join the armed forces. Weight training is superior for brute strength, football, lifting competitions, and many of the sports. However, when training for other sports, free weights should be combined with sprints, some bodyweight exercises, as well as sport specific drills.

Why are bodyweight exercises superior for grappling, combat, and gymnastics? For several reasons. First of all, in each of those activities one needs the ability to use a muscle group over and over again at high levels - that is, muscular endurance, which is developed very well by bodyweight exercises like squats, push-ups, sit-ups, etc. Second, each of those events requires body awareness.

I define body awareness literally as being aware of every part of your body at any given point in time in any given position. The problem with weight lifting exercises, even the good ones like snatches, cleans, jerks, or bent pressing, is that you use "weight awareness" - that is, you have to be aware of where the weight is at all times more than where your body is. As long as the weight is lifted and caught in the correct position(s), the body will naturally follow suit (or else the lift fails).

However, bodyweight exercises take the weights out of the equation. To successfully do such challenging exercises as handstand push-ups, one-legged squats, headstands, and bridges, you have to be focusing on every part of your body. That is why they are so good for wrestling, and other combat sports where your body is in many different positions during a match, and to be able to successfully recover and counter attack, you must have full awareness of where each part of your body is at all times. Similarly, in gymnastics, where you flip and end up in many different positions, body awareness is crucial.

Not all bodyweight exercises develop body awareness equally. Some of the ones I mentioned above such as handstand push-ups and bridging do a very good job, but regular push-ups on the other hand develop it to a lesser extent. The more a bodyweight exercise requires agility and balance, the more body awareness it develops.

Bodyweight exercises are also good for people always on the road, those without money to purchase weights, and those with very little time, as a set of push-ups or squats can be squeezed in at odd moments during the day.

Martial Arts Vs. Guns

As you reach to retrieve your receipt from the ATM, the evening air makes you shiver. You stretch your neck around, your muscles still sore from yesterdays workout. Its been a long, hard day, and you are glad its almost over. Just one more stop at the all-night grocery store and .

All right, scumbag! Give me your money and your keys!

Startled, you turn at the sound of the voice, the content of the mans words not yet registering in your brain. Hes about 20, unshaven and dirty. He smells bad and looks like hes on drugs. Your eyes survey his body, and your surprise turns to shock as you detect the chrome-plated revolver in his trembling, tattooed hand.

Moment of Truth That scenario or one similar to it has played out countless times, both with accomplished martial artists and armed off-duty police officers in the role of the victim. If you think resistance is futile, youre wrong. However, the situation carries with it some dynamics that cannot be answered with a speedy fastdraw or a spinning back kick. To win this encounter and by all means, it is very winnable you must understand several things about the realities of human conflict at close quarters.

Primarily, you must have your warrior mind set correctly. Winning a real fight requires controlled violence. You must be able to call up your dragon and become a fierce, feral creature instead of the domesticated human you were raised to be. If you are not emotionally and psychologically prepared to rip your adversarys heart out of his chest and barbecue it in front of his fading eyes, forget about trying anything.

Your best bet, if you lack a killer attitude, is to simply submit, be nice to him theres not much you can do except go out with style.

The hoodlum in the story, as well as most people who will point a gun at you (as opposed to simply shooting you), do so for reasons of intimidation. Their objective is to place you in a position of tactical disadvantage and bargain with you for something they want. The bargain is typically that if you do as they say, they will not kill you. (Your money or your life is the classic line, although females often receive a modified offer.) Their intent provides you with the opening you need to defeat them.

Lets look at the two men in the story in a simplified way: The hoodlum has the pistol pointed at the hero. The hero is surprised. The hoodlum makes his demands and then waits and give him what he wants, then hope for the best.

Personally, I dont believe that giving in is a viable option, and presumably neither do you. Even if you think you'll never stand up to a gun, I can paint many scenarios where you might choose to do so. If you agree, then lets have a look at how to solve this problem and win the day.

Intent First of all, I am not claiming that any secret skills, ancient art or trendy technique can withstand a bullet. Any martial artist who thinks otherwise has been smoking too much rice paper. But if you understand your adversarys motivation, you can find a way to defeat him.

If the criminal simply wanted to kill you, he would just walk up to you unannounced and shoot you without warning. Regardless of how many years of training you have or how many arts you know, you will never be able to defend against that. If its your day to die, for the expected compliance and response from the hero. In essence, the hoodlum is in pause, waiting for the return of the hero. The hero can go either way at this point: comply or fight. If he understands the dynamics of human reaction time, he can come out of it quite well.

Theory Every conflict, whether between countries or individuals, is a cycle in which each party observes the other, orients himself according to those observations, decides on a course of action and finally puts that decision into action. Called the OODA loop, it is the theory of conflict professed by the late Col. John Boyd. Boyd was responsible for creating many of the aerial-combat tactics now employed throughout the free world.

His findings resulted from projects and studies he conducted about the success American pilots had over their North Korean adversaries in the Asian unpleasantness of the 1950s. Boyd theorized that although the North Koreans had certain technical advantages with their airplanes, American pilots could generally see their adversaries first because of their planes cockpit design.

They could immediately recognize them as enemies and decide what to do more quickly because of their recognition training as well as their flight training.

And the controls on the American airplanes allowed them to put those decisions into play more rapidly than the North Koreans. This allowed them to complete a decision-action cycle more efficiently than their adversaries.

Boyd then theorized that in any conflict whether it is between nations or individuals the party that can go through the observation-orientation decision-action loop most quickly enjoyed a remarkable advantage over the competition.

That aerial-combat concept also applies to personal combat. Studies have determined that even for a prepared individual, each phase of the OODA cycle takes at least 1/4th of a second.

That means you may have up to one full second to act before the other fellow even realizes what you're doing. And then he has to select a viable response to your actions and employ it.

Field Testing Studies involving students at Suarez International, the training establishment I founded, support this concept.

Using marking cartridge firearms, two operators of comparable skill level were told to face each other at arms length. Operator No. 1 (the aggressor) was told to command his opponent to put his hands up, as the thug in the story might do. Operator No. 2 (the defender) was instructed that as soon as he thought he could do it, he should quickly move into the first portion of a weapons disarm. The aggressor was told that when he saw the other man move, he should fire. The aggressor had every advantage. He had the pistol already pointed at the defender, his finger on the trigger and the hammer cocked. Furthermore, he was familiar with the technique the defender would use, and he knew that the defender would not comply. The odds were obviously in his favor. (To make it more interesting, we added the stress factor of the loser buying dinner for the winner.) The results were revealing and supportive of Boyds concepts. Out of 10 tries, the defender was able to deflect the muzzle of the pistol and trap it in a single move before the aggressor was even able to fire all 10 times.

Lesson learned: All things being equal, action always beats reaction.

Conclusion If you understand how to take advantage of the dynamics of human reaction time, you can implement your responses and countermeasures before your adversary has even realized what you are doing. This doesnt require you to be particularly fast or technically proficient. All you need is a tactically correct, preconditioned move that is simple to use, violent in nature and technically correct for the situation.

With this in mind, the scenario I used to open this story could end this way: You realize hes holding a chromeplated revolver in his hand.

Hey, idiot! I said give me your money!

You reply: All right, sir. Please dont shoot me. I'll give you everything I have.

Expecting you to hand him a wad of C-notes fresh from the ATM, the hoodlum transforms his expression from smirk to horror as your left hand sweeps his pistol aside and your other hand smashes into his nose  once, twice, three times. In his watery-eyed stupor, he doesnt even realize that you've taken his pistol out of his hand and followed up with a strike to his temple. His final thoughts are unprintable as he sinks into blackness. ...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Meditation Technique Practiced By Master Bruce Lee

When it comes to beginners meditation, Bruce Lee was a true master above all others. Here is a direct quote from him, about the state you should be in when you go to meditate, as well as day to day life:
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Quoted From Master Bruce Lee.
This quote is an inspiration to us all. It shows the foundation of beginners meditation. It shows that you need to adapt to any given moment, any given situation.
And this all can be achieved through simple meditation techniques.
Being a beginner in meditation you should focus on your breathing first and for most. You need to control it, bend it to your will, and once you have achieved this, you will notice that you will breath when you need to, it will be more slowly, more focused, and you will not have to think about it.
You need to focus your mind on one thing at a time, do not jump all over the place, do not think of what you need to do later, or if you did something in the past. You need to be anchored in the moment, not wandering around looking at all the shiny objects you can see.
Achieving a true meditative state.
is an act of will alone, and only you can do this for yourself. You can not except some outside force to come along, and sweep you into a meditation that can help you solve all your problems now can you? Of course not, that would be silly.
You have to realize that you are in complete control of your own mind and body, and if you can control them fully, you can achieve whatever your heart desires.
As you can see, Bruce Lee was a wise man, beyond his years, and his ways are a true foundation of any beginners meditation technique we use today. You have learned that with you in total control of your mind and body, that nothing can be out of your reach, you can achieve any of your hearts desires, and you will be more at peace of mind than you ever thought possible.
Looking to achieve happiness in your life? Then you should learn Meditation. To get you started on your road to stress free life, where YOU are in control.

All The Best for your future life.
Feel free to to ask any queries !

Hari Om.

Bruce Lee’s True Philosophy Behind Martial Arts

Bruce Lee was an American-born Chinese in the year 1940. Those who are not familiar with his work or philosophy might only think of him as a great martial artist and a famous actor. He shot to international stardom when he was featured in “Batman” and also a season of “The Green Hornet” in 1966-1967. Little is known about his spiritual side which forms the foundation of his fighting art or more accurately, his life. He studied philosophy, drama and psychology during his university years. Perhaps that explains why it has a major impact on him apart from his knowledge in martial arts.
He also describes that the body mechanics works best by unifying the body and spirituality in one of his quote :-
“One of the extremes would be unscientific, another end of it, will turn you into a mechanical man, no longer human. It is through the combination of both where you can express yourself truthfully.” – Bruce Lee
His Teachings
Bruce Lee teaches martial art as a way for his pupil to express their emotions through body movements. He does not believe in any kind of form or structure, he sees them as obstacles to achieving natural expression. His best quote follows…
“Be formless… shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle; it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot; it becomes the teapot. Water can flow, and it can crash. Be water, my friend…” – Bruce Lee
Law Of Attraction (LOA)
You might not believe this but Bruce Lee is actually one of my spiritual masters. For me, his teachings are the old school way of practicing Law Of Attraction (LOA) and The Power Of Now (PON) or perhaps he is the only person I know that practices LOA and PON in an entirely different way. He mentioned that to honestly express one’s self is incredibly difficult, it might take years of training, most of the time, a lifetime. The new age LOA teachings describes how we can attract or create the things that we want into our lives. The better you are in LOA, the less time it takes to create or attract the things that we want.
From Bruce’s perspective, he is trying to achieve perfection in expression. I would imagine that his ultimate goal is to achieve a state where he can react in lightning speed to his opponent’s advances countering all possible attacks. We know that this is impossible, he knew that too but he can do one thing, which was to improve every part or components of himself which were his belief, strategy, confidence, physical strength, edurance and speed. This way, he can become closer to his ideal self (the things that he want), very similar to the concept of LOA.
The Power Of Now (PON)
The Power Of Now encourage us to focus on the present moment, and ignore the past and future because ultimately, the present moment is the only time where creation takes place. This can be seen from Bruce’s belief to detach from any form of structure, for example, the attachment to a particular form of martial arts like boxing, kung fu or karate (the past) and also to ignore all related fear, for example, the fear of the unknown which refers to the unknown strategies or moves that the opponent will execute (the future). He focuses only on the “Now” moment, gathering only the existing information that is “present” and come out with a solution or action. This way, he will be super efficient because he has less information to process (only the present data, compared to past, present and future) and he will not have worries or fear in executing his moves.
“I think of myself as a human being, under the sky there is but one family, it just so happen that people are different”. – Bruce Lee on whether he thinks he’s Chinese or North American.
Bruce Lee will always be remembered as the most efficient fighting machine of all time. Besides that, his work in martial arts will serve as a guide to anyone who wishes to glimpse the ultimate level of physical expression, which can be viewed either from a physical or spiritual perspective.