Tristan's blog

The Body Cannot Go Where the Mind Will Not Let It

Imagine you are a physician and someone comes to you who is in constant pain. What first strikes you when you see them the first time is they are grossly overweight, let’s say they clearly weight over 300 pounds. The pain they describe runs from regular and pronounced pain the knees and lower back all the way to a constant headache which can last for days and even weeks. Sometimes these headaches get so severe that they cannot function and end up taking days off of work. Pain killers don’t provide any reprieve from the pain.

Teacher or Coach?

A while ago I was talking with my judo teacher about two primary paths judo students tend to take. As judo competition is fairly popular and particularly well suited to younger bodies, many pursue the competitive path. A competitor needs a coach to guide them to learning judo which will get them up to speed in competition in the most direct fashion. It still takes time, but the focus is on merging the student’s talent and body type with judo.

Reactionary Gap


There are a number of sound self-defense principles mentioned in this video. We can learn a great deal from professionals who deal with violence on a regular basis. The real world provides valuable lessons.

The Next Step - Breaking the Chain

A boy has an alcoholic abusive father. The boy is beaten, maybe frequently or infrequently. The father also expresses rage to the boy’s mother and on occasion beats her. This behavior is an example to the boy of what a man is. He learns either that violence is acceptable and normal when he is angry, or that violence is an appropriate tool to get his way. What type of character do you suppose this boy will show as he grows to adulthood? Chances are he will be an abusive drunk as well.

That's Not Aikido!

Something I learned from a systema instructor, who was describing an overview of the art, provided an interesting perspective to our martial arts (and all of them).

Systema is a Russian martial art. Russia, in particular what used to be the Soviet Union) is geographically huge. As such, it shares borders with many diverse cultures each of whom have their own fighting styles and flavors.

How Tough is Tough Enough to Defend Myself?

I think this is an unanswerable question, but a very common one. Defend oneself against what threat, exactly? People tend to think of self-defense skills kinda like having a fire extinguisher handy. If a fire happens, you grab the fire extinguisher and problem solved. Due to the wide range of threats one's safety, self-defense isn't so simple.

Even using the word 'tough' is precarious. I pose that 'smart' is far more likely to save one's butt from harm than 'tough'. 

Self-Defense and Fighting

It is common for people to think fighting is sport and vice versa. It isn't, although they have some things in common. Sport can build some good attributes which can be beneficial to surviving a fight.
Sport practice and training builds fitness, strength, fluid movement, speed, balance, and overall awareness of what your body can do. One of the best things is the hand-eye coordination you get from sport. Almost all athletics provide these benefits to some degree or other.

Thoughts on Competition and Aikido

Bring up the word competition among aikidoka and the typical response is that Osensei disapproved of competition and that is pretty much the final word on the matter. It is a broad brush concept which seems accepted on all levels regarding competition. There are many good things about competition so let’s discuss the matter deeper instead of dismissing all of it.

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