Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Plato Said Knock You Out

By Damon Young

Plato was a fighter. This is not a metaphor. The historian Diogenes Laërtius tells us that Platon, meaning "broad shouldered," was the philosopher’s wrestling nickname. As a prominent aristocrat, Plato was known for his pedigree and youthful poetry but also for his physique: the muscles of a gifted grappler, who reportedly competed at the Isthmian Games. 
And for all his wariness of the body and its wayward desires, Plato also recommended wrestling for the youth. In his dialogue Laws, he celebrated the benefits of stand-up grappling. This had a straightforward military use, developing “strength and health” for the battlefield. But it also cultivated character if “practiced with a gallant spirit.” The overall impression is that physical virtues encourage psychological excellence: perseverance, courage, and perhaps a greater sense of autonomy.
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Roy Dean: The Martial Apprentice

“The Martial Apprentice” details my introduction to Judo, Aikido, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and the adventure of serving as a live in student to a Japanese Jujutsu master. It will be followed by “BJJ Journey,” set for release in summer of 2013, which explores a decade of dedicated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu study, from blue belt to black belt, with video and text to put you in the heart of the action. It will be a book like no other, and I hope it inspires others to stay on the path of jiu jitsu, which is not an easy road, but well worth the journey.

More info: https://roydeanacademy.selz.com/es/item/547a743fb7987213f059f108

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Mentalism and self-deception in the martial arts

by Dan Djurdjevic

Introduction: the old "light as a feather" game

I'm sure many of you have played the "light as a feather game": one person sits on a chair and four others gather round and try to lift him or her using only their extended index fingers. Typically this is achieved with a bit of hesitancy and difficulty.

But then the four "lifters" perform some sort of "ritual": some pre-set activity (eg. placing all their hands on the sitting person's head) or just the joint "focusing of thought waves". Then the four go back to the sitting person and – voila! – he or she is lifted clean off the seat and high into the air; as if by magic!

Back in the '80s my mentalist mate Dave (one of a dwindling number who actually earned a degree in parapsychology!) and four of his friends tried it out on a Daihatsu Charade (using a full grip, naturally). Again, they lifted the car clean off the ground. As if by magic.

False assumptions

Except it's not magic. How does it work? It relies on assumptions: false assumptions we make without even realising. The false assumption in relation to the car is this: that 5 people (two at the back and 3 at the front) couldn't possibly lift a 350 kg vehicle. This in turn relies on the false assumption that an individual can't possibly lift 70 kg. Most strong young men can bench press more than that, never mind lift it with their backs and thighs using a squat/deadlift.

We all make false assumptions every day. And mostly these assumptions are without consequence, amounting to no more than how much (or little) we can fit in the boot of a car or whether to put the extra two potatoes into the pot for the family meal. However there are some who specialise in understanding and feeding false assumptions in order to manipulate others: These people are called "mentalists".

Enter the mentalist

A mentalist anticipates and feeds false assumptions for any number of purposes: perhaps innocently, as a party trick or part of a stage show; perhaps not so innocently, as a purported psychic; or perhaps completely immorally (even illegally) as part of some sort of fraud (eg. in the case of a confidence trickster).

Mentalists don't just anticipate and feed false assumptions that you ordinarily make: they also know how to induce them. This is called "suggestion". It is the most dangerous part of mentalism because it often exploits trust in people who hold positions of authority.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Judo that Incorporates Kendo: Jigoro Kano’s Ideas and Their Theoretical Development

by Fumiaki Shishida


Kano stated that in the future judo should combine with kendo to become one while he touched upon the necessity of studying kendo and the relationships between judo and kendo, and he also often mentioned that his vision of ideal judo was present in the randori practices during the early years of the Kodokan. These remarkable statements would not have been special for Kano but will be unexpected for present judokas who practice a competitive judo as a sport. Why they have a problem to understand it is that Kano thought judo over as practical martial art as well as physical education and a sport event. Kano’s ideal judo had not completed during his lifetime but that theme was succeeded by Professor Tomiki. Tomiki defined the kendo principle as the “technical theory of chop and thrust while avoiding touching”, and clearly advanced Kano’s idea. Tomiki improved the explanation of atemi-waza through his analysis of the Koshiki-no-kata. Tomiki analyzed each form of Koshiki-no-kata through the study of the relationship between “toughing” and atemi-waza. Kano encouraged judokas to practice “Seiryoku-zenyo-kokumin-taiiku”, which would be influenced by karate in Okinawa. Tomiki systematized Kano’s idea through emphasizing that judo practitioners should practice techniques of chop and thrust based on the principle of the throwing technique, because Tomiki thought that there was a structural difference between karate judo and karate.

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