The Automotive Applications of Tai Chi Chuan

Over the past few months, I have made a careful survey of Seattle’s Tai Chi skills.  I have toured the community centers, local parks, and martial arts studios.  Watched many classes, spoken to dedicated and passionate instructors.  After reviewing these groups, I can tell you exactly where to find the best Tai Chi in Seattle.

Go to the northeast end of downtown at rush hour.  Or try just south of Montlake cut.  You can also head west from Green Lake.  Yes, if you really want to see the best Tai Chi applications in town, just find any steep hill with a stoplight. Continue reading The Automotive Applications of Tai Chi Chuan

The Origin of Phoenix Jones, Seattle’s Real-Life Superhero

By day, he is a professional mixed martial arts fighter, with multiple black belts and a winning record. By night, he is Seattle’s own neighborhood crime fighter, operating under the costumed alias Phoenix Jones.

Phoenix recently shared his origin story, methods and motivations Continue reading The Origin of Phoenix Jones, Seattle’s Real-Life Superhero

Seattle MMA “Superhero” Fights Street Crime

First reported by KOMO News:

Phoenix Jones is a superhero.

He has a day job but wears a costume underneath his street clothes in case he encounters crime. He carries a “net gun” and has a sidekick named Buster Doe.

But this isn’t the plot from a Hollywood movie. There are no special effects. This is real-life and Phoenix patrols Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood every week- stopping fights, feeding the homeless and helping folks who have run out of gas.

Continue reading Seattle MMA “Superhero” Fights Street Crime

Wang Zongyue’s Taiji Boxing Trademark

All characters and events in this post–even those based on real people–are entirely fictional. The following page contains coarse language and reasoning and due to its content, it should not be read by anyone.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been trolled! Hoaxed! Buffaloed and bewildered!

It doesn’t happen often these days. I’ve been discussing martial arts on the Internet since before Web 1.0. I’ve seen most of the pranks, and yes, pulled a few myself.

What is the best style of martial arts for fit, beautiful women with large breasts? Please let me know, so I can sign up for it. Serious replies only.

So when someone dangles a truly ridiculous assertion in front of my nose, I usually have the good sense to ignore it these days. Usually. But a few days ago, one fairly experienced martial artist and provocateur knocked me for a loop.

We were chatting about the relevance of Taijiquan and push hands to combat. I said that I considered it inappropriate to keep one’s arms below the chest for the duration of push hands practice, regardless of whether one is interested in the martial applications of the art. It wasn’t intended as a criticism, really–just a quick observation in the midst of a wide-ranging discussion. But he eventually replied,

All this about arm position and circling is irrelevant, because in Push Hands, as long as you can touch your partner anywhere on their body, you can pop ’em (as long as they have just a bit more unconscious tension than you do). That’s it. Doesn’t much matter where you touch them as deep unconscious tension (unlike superficial and/or conscious tension) is not localized it is a diffuse property–like a dye that is wicked through a material rather than a local stain. So, hands up or down shouldn’t matter much in the deep sense except that by the standards of physicalized Push Hands which the Guest seems to advocate it should simply make it that much easier to pop me up and out.

In retrospect, I should have addressed the issue in terms a software engineer can understand Continue reading Wang Zongyue’s Taiji Boxing Trademark

Crossing The Pond – Martial Expo 2010 Review

Crossing The Pond

  • The inaugural Crossing The Pond Martial Expo was held last weekend in West Seattle. This seminar brought together five six well-known and highly skilled instructors of martial arts and self-defense from across the United States and United Kingdom.
  • Over the weekend, two one-hour workshops were held by instructors Al Peasland, Nicholas Yang, Kris Wilder, Rory Miller, Marc “Animal” MacYoung, and Iain “Tuna Fish Pizza” Abernethy.
  • Approximately thirty-five people were in attendance. Among the students, at least one third appeared to be black belts and/or instructors themselves.
  • Participants were open-minded, polite, and patient–especially with this author, who hadn’t done any Karate training since elementary school. Egoism, inappropriate competition, and input from self-declared “assistant instructors” was minimal. This is a credit to the affable seminar host, Kris Wilder, and the other teachers as well, who together set the right tone for the event.

Continue reading Crossing The Pond – Martial Expo 2010 Review

Joint Locks Considered Dangerous

Over the past week, Seattle’s recent “jaywalking rumble” has gained worldwide interest. It has provoked a spirited debate, among martial artists and the public at large, over the limits of reasonable force. Some believe that the police officer’s punch was brutally excessive, and that some form of joint lock would have been more appropriate. The following article expresses my dissenting view.


In the martial arts, a “joint lock” is a technique that targets a joint in an opponent’s body, holding it near or outside its normal range of motion. The purpose of a joint lock is not to inflict harm, but to issue a credible threat of harm. The recipient of a joint lock is expected to submit: to move, or to stop moving, as directed by the applicant.

Locking techniques exist for nearly every joint in the human body. Depending on the technique selected, the recipient may or may not be physically immobilized (“locked”) upon application. The recipient may or may not experience significant pain, as a signal to comply, before the onset of bone or soft tissue damage.

Joint locks can be applied in the context of combat sport, law enforcement, or self-defense. The use of joint locks is usually restricted in fighting competitions, due to the high risk of injury.

Joint Locks for Pain Compliance and Restraint

The use of the joint lock as a “nonviolent” coercion method–and an alternative to striking–is complicated by a number of factors. Continue reading Joint Locks Considered Dangerous

Is This the Right Time to Hit a Woman?

Last Monday, police officer Ian Walsh observed a group of women jaywalking near MLK Way in central Seattle. He directed the women to his squad car, presumably to warn or cite them for breaking the law. They refused to cooperate.

One of the women, Marilyn Ellen Levias, decided to walk away instead. As Officer Walsh grabbed her, and the pair struggled, a crowd gathered to watch. Levias’ companion, Angel Rosenthal, shoved Walsh so that Levias could escape.

Officer Walsh responded by punching Miss Rosenthal in the face. Continue reading Is This the Right Time to Hit a Woman?

The Best of Tui Shou, The Worst of Tui Shou

In theory, the Seattle Martial Arts Club has no teacher. Members meet to practice martial arts drills and exercises of their choosing, under their own direction, for the benefit of all involved.

In practice, no two practice partners are ever equal, and the partner in control usually sets the pace and the tone of a practice session—if not intentionally, then haphazardly.

As I am often the senior Taiji practitioner in attendance—or in other words, the unpaid and under-appreciated Taiji instructor in attendance—it seems appropriate to briefly discuss my personal guidelines and preferences for tui shou (pushing hands) practice. Continue reading The Best of Tui Shou, The Worst of Tui Shou

One Punch, One Kill, Two Lives Destroyed

Ikken Hissatsu, the popular Japanese Karate maxim, is usually translated as “one punch, one kill”. And although you won’t see it in the sporting ring, it does happen in real life. As reported in the Seattle Times,

The July 9 confrontation began while James Paroline was watering plants in the traffic circle, where he set cones on the street to protect his watering hose. Instead of driving around the cones, a group of girls got out of a car and two of them yelled at Paroline.

One of the girls summoned Brian Keith Brown, who was driven to the scene. He hit Paroline once and walked away…

Hans Aschenbach, a friend of Paroline’s for 20 years, said the [cellphone video evidence] proved Brown deserved a long sentence. “The video is shocking and was really an execution with a fist.”

Now, I’m not going to ask whether, with all your Karate training, you could have stopped someone like Brian Brown. That is too easy. Continue reading One Punch, One Kill, Two Lives Destroyed