Holiday Recipes from Amateur Mixed Martial Artists

International Taiji Community Cookbook

The following guest post may have been submitted by amateur mixed martialist Manny St. Pierre, as a response to the new International Taiji Community Cookbook, with its sales proceeds financing the International Taiji Park in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The holiday season is upon us again, and the time has come to prepare delicious meals for friends and family. Try my powerhouse recipes, and you’re sure to win any Ultimate Feasting Competition…

The Turkey Whizzer

Step 1: Purchase a frozen turkey from your favorite MMA gear supplier. (If they are sold out, you can buy one at the grocery store, and use a magic marker to write Tapout or Affliction on the side. Trust me, everyone will be impressed.) Continue reading Holiday Recipes from Amateur Mixed Martial Artists

Should Dueling Be Legalized?

For your consideration, guest author Liam Boyle submits this modest proposal for the reinstatement of the duel.

“Sir, I Demand Satisfaction!”

Turning on any television show based on small claims court a person is bound to hear some variant of that title, many times in a much less polite form. Sitting in a small claims court, or any civil court for that matter, a person is bound to hear some variant of that title phrase. Yet, in many representations of historical duels, those words are commonly found. Conflict seems to underscore our society and the phrase, “I’ll see you in court,” has almost seemed to reach the status of a common greeting. This could give someone cause to wonder that wouldn’t it be simpler and possibly more effective to just have the disputing parties put on gloves and go the proverbial twelve rounds rather than tie up the court with expensive and needless litigation. This lead this writer to the posting of the question, Should dueling (non-firearm) be legalized to replace some civil lawsuits? Continue reading Should Dueling Be Legalized?

“This I Believe” On Martial Arts

This I Believe

This I Believe is an international project engaging people in writing and sharing essays that describe their core values. More than 90,000 of these essays, written by people from all walks of life, are archived on their website.

Naturally, some essayists shared their beliefs on, and experience with martial arts. Here are a few of their stories.

Life Is A Spiritual Struggle
by Joseph Laycock (Brighton, Massachusetts)

Over the din of boxing gloves pounding against leather bags, I struggle to hear this Brazilian explain yet another way to choke someone unconscious. This is a martial arts gym. Most of the regulars are amateur fighters with dreams of going professional. When they’re not here, some of them work as firefighters or bouncers. I’m definitely the only schoolteacher in the room.

My students take interest in my training. Sometimes I’ll enter the classroom with bruises or a slight limp from the gym. In world history, I’ll discuss the cultural significance of the fighting styles I study. In Thai kickboxing, the eight striking weapons — fists, shins, elbows and knees — represent the eight-fold path of the Buddha. Brazilian jujitsu has more improvisation than Japanese martial arts, which reflects different cultural attitudes towards tradition.

Every class asks me the same questions, “Have you ever beat anyone up?” And, “Why are you a teacher instead of a professional fighter?” When I tell them the truth — that I have never been in a fight and have no aspirations to go professional — I get a range of reactions from disappointment to accusations of cowardice.

“So why do you do it,” they always ask.

I believe that life is a spiritual struggle. My battle is not against another fighter but against the unjust and apathetic system that is attacking my students… [continued]

Continue reading “This I Believe” On Martial Arts

Quiz: Can You Name This Martial Art?

How much do you really know about the history of martial arts? Test your knowledge with this Martial Development interactive quiz.

If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions, you are welcome to look it up first, either online or offline. That’s not cheating, folks–it’s research! Continue reading Quiz: Can You Name This Martial Art?

The Devil’s Dictionary of Martial Arts

The Devil's Dictionary

BLACK BELT – That uniform accessory most coveted by students of martial arts, who, upon receiving it, pretend it never held any interest at all.

PRACTICE – To endlessly repeat the same sequence of movements, always hoping for different results. (See also: INSANITY.)

KATA – An awful form of dance, often assumed to divulge some hidden meaning after sufficient PRACTICE.
Continue reading The Devil’s Dictionary of Martial Arts

Martial Arts Secrets: Are You an Insider or Outsider?

Equality. Transparency. Trust. Fairness.

These are all qualities one would expect to find in a good Chinese martial arts school. Expecting the modern American cultural interpretation of these ideals, however, can lead to confusion and disappointment.

The traditional distinction between indoor and outdoor disciples tends to bother American martial artists. Following this tradition, a master selects a subset of his students for special attention and secret information. Continue reading Martial Arts Secrets: Are You an Insider or Outsider?

In Defense of the Dojo Kun

In thousands of halls across our great nation, an archaic manuscript hangs on the wall. Written many decades ago, in a time and place quite foreign to our own, this inscrutable document anchors us to a primitive culture that we would do well to forget. I submit to you that it holds no value to us today; as rational men and women, we should put our sentiments aside and discard this anachronism immediately. Our traditions must not be allowed to stand in the way of progress.

What makes this document so odious? Simply put, it is subjective. Instead of identifying specific behaviors for its reader to follow, it describes general principles and leaves each reader to interpret them as they see fit. These statements are so vague and meaningless that they could conceivably be used to justify anything.

Who decides what this document really means? Continue reading In Defense of the Dojo Kun

An Antidote for Martial Arts Poison

Patrick Parker (of Mississippi’s Mokuren Dojo) asked for comments on the article, Martial Arts Poison. Unlike author Kim Soo, I am not a 10th-dan black belt and do joo nim (founder) of my own Karate style. Nevertheless, I venture to offer my own perspective on the topics he addresses.

How do martial arts build character?

Many people believe martial arts training is helpful in building one’s character. This is especially important for growing boys and girls — to build their characters, and give them self-defense skills for life. Parents often want to send their children to martial arts schools, for they have heard of the benefits of traditional training.

But all too often, the negative consequences of poor martial arts teaching appear, and very quickly — injuries in the dojang; development of radical, trouble-making attitudes; declining grades; fighting; discipline problems in school. When children turn out to be aggressive, parents regret sending them to the dojang. But the problem is not martial arts, but poor instruction and improper values (such as emphasizing competition and fighting).

So, parents may think the dojang is a source of such troubles, but the children still are drawn to martial arts training because of consistent exposure to movies and TV—that constant advertising for martial arts schools. Parents may not think martial arts training is good for children, yet the children still nurture powerful and glamorous images
they are getting through the media. This can also set the stage for discord and strife in the home and family.

I am among those who believe martial arts practice has character building potential—a potential that many students and teachers never realize. Therefore, when a Karate dojang (dojo) claims their lessons will build character, I expect to hear some illuminating details.

Why do so many schools tout character, without defining what they mean by the term? Continue reading An Antidote for Martial Arts Poison

Lineage and Credibility

With thousands of martial arts authorities publishing online and in print, how do you decide whom to trust, and whom to ignore? Credibility is an important factor, but determining a martial artist’s credentials is a perilous task.


Frankie Chan vs. Lam Ching-Ying

Since crossing hands in a duel can lead to serious injury or death, most sane martial artists look for alternative means of establishing credibility. Lineage reputation is one such method.

Great masters beget great masters, whereas the students of charlatans go nowhere. Under this Confucian-flavored principle, the martial disciple inherits a portion of their master’s reputation, and would-be authority figures that decline to identify their lineage are viewed with suspicion.

Lineage is indeed a useful heuristic, in my experience. Yet here I am, writing a weekly martial arts column, without providing a list of my teachers; and I do not accept challenge matches; I am not even Asian. How cheeky!

The absence of my declared martial pedigree is no oversight. Continue reading Lineage and Credibility

Is This The End of Mixed Martial Arts?

In the past few years, mixed martial arts has enjoyed remarkable commercial success. Some fans imagine that its popularity is a result of its vast technical superiority over traditional martial arts styles. But neither MMA techniques nor training methods are particularly innovative; much of what you see in the competition ring was pioneered decades or even centuries ago.

The recent success of the MMA product is best explained with a sociological model, not a technical one; and this model predicts an inevitable fall from grace. MMA will decay, like every style before it, into a traditional martial art. Continue reading Is This The End of Mixed Martial Arts?