Saturday, January 1, 2011

Neko Ryo Cane Video: Two-Hand Backwards Strikes

This, the fourth Neko Ryu Cane video, demonstrates the Two-Hand Backwards Thrust and the Two-Hand Backwards Butt Stroke with the crooked cane.

Please enjoy this 2:29 minute video.


Link to Other Topics in the Special Report: The Neko Ryu Cane

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Neko Ryu Cane Video: Two-Hand Butt Strokes

This is the third Neko Ryu Cane video. It demonstrates two-hand butt strokes with the crooked cane; basic techniques derived from military bayonet drills.

Please enjoy the video. The length is 4:46.


Link to Other Topics in the Special Report: The Neko Ryu Cane

Monday, November 1, 2010

Neko Ryu Cane Video: Two-Hand Thrusts

The most basic two-hand cane techniques are taken from military bayonet drills. The Two-Hand Thrust is the first. Please enjoy the video.







Link to Other Topics in the Special Report: The Neko Ryu Cane

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Neko Ryo Cane Video: Introduction - Would You Feel Comfortable Carrying a Cane?

My way of using the crooked cane as a self-defense weapon, the Neko Ryu Cane, is based on the principles of Neko Ryu Goshin Jitsu as taught to me by Professor Ernie Cates, his son and current head of the style - Moose Cates, and by Professor Cates’ senior student Master Danny Glover.

Neko Ryu is primarily an empty hand style and the crooked cane isn’t formally part of the system. However, Professor Cates’ emphasizes that Neko Ryu isn’t about techniques – it’s about principles. And, I’ve applied his principles to the crooked cane as faithfully as I’m able. Hence the use of the name, Neko Ryu Cane.

If I’ve misapplied any principle it’s my error – certainly not the error of the Neko Ryu system.

The cane is legal. The cane is versatile. The cane is powerful. It’s also a lot of fun.

Please watch & enjoy the Neko Ryu Cane Video series beginning with the introduction:

Link to Other Topics in the Special Report: The Neko Ryu Cane



Link to Other Topics in the Special Report: The Neko Ryu Cane

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Principles of War: Self Analysis Results

I’m analyzing my martial arts skills, capabilities, and style through the lens of the Principles of War as defined in U.S. Army Field Manual FM 3-0. My commentaries on each principle are available through the links below.

Mass
Objective
Offensive
Surprise
Economy of Force
Maneuver
Unity of Command
Security
Simplicity

In my previous posts I analyzed my personal martial arts style using each of the Principles of War; one at a time. I graded myself as shown:

Mass - a "C"
Objective - a "B"
Offensive - a "B"
Surprise - an "A"
Economy of Force - an "A"
Maneuver - a "C"
Unity of Command - an "A"
Security - a "C"
Simplicity - a "B"

Three “A’s”, three “B’s” and three “C’s” average out to a solid “B”. Not bad – but what do I need to change to deserve a solid “A”?

The “gap” between an “A” and my “B” was caused by:

Mass - a "C"
Maneuver - a "C"
Security - a "C"

In my analysis of Mass I scored poorly in “attacking the decisive place”. I noted a need to develop a strategy & tactics for creating an opening to attack the “decisive place”.

In Maneuver I observed that my tendency to counter-punch “… gives away the initiative to the enemy and limits my flexibility in purposefully putting him in a disadvantageous position.” I noted that, “I need to work on maneuvering my opponent into a disadvantageous position.”

In the post covering Security I described the four types of security that apply to the self-defense situation. Of these, I rated two as weaknesses in my personal style. The two can be consolidated using the term “situational awareness”; referring to awareness of the commonplace before a confrontation begins.

In my post on the Offensive, I gave myself an overall “B”. However, on one of the elements, “Seize the Initiative”, I scored a “D”. I noted that my tendency to counter-punch gives away the initiative.

My notes on these four Principles of War form two self-improvement themes.

First, Mass , Maneuver, and Offensive combine to urge me to go on offense, immediately and aggressively. This fits with the teachings of most self-defense specialists. It also aligns with my military training.

Second, my notes on Security urge me to greater situational awareness – all the time. This will require emphasis on observing my environment in detail and mentally processing the observations – without continuous conscious thought.

These two themes are the new improvement objectives for my personal martial arts style. I don’t yet know how I’ll tackle them, but I will.

If you’ve stayed with me thru this journey of analysis – though I really doubt anyone did – I think you can see how the Principles of War can be used to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a martial artist or a martial arts style.

If nothing else was achieve in these posts, I’ve at least convinced myself to add the two improvement objectives I described above to my personal goals. And, I’m confident that I’ll be a better martial artist as a result.

Link to the Martial Arts Training Report: The Principles of War

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Principles of War: Self Analysis – Simplicity

I’m analyzing my martial arts skills, capabilities, and style through the lens of the Principles of War as defined in U.S. Army Field Manual FM 3-0. My commentaries on each principle are available through the links below.

Mass
Objective
Offensive
Surprise
Economy of Force
Maneuver
Unity of Command
Security
Simplicity

So far I’ve graded my personal martial arts style as follows:

Mass - a "C"
Objective - a "B"
Offensive - a "B"
Surprise - an "A"
Economy of Force - an "A"
Maneuver - a "C"
Unity of Command - an "A"
Security - a "C"

This time I’ll grade myself on the Principle of War: Simplicity.

Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and clear, concise orders to
ensure thorough understanding.

The last Principle of War, Simplicity, seems at first not to apply to the self defense situation. During the immediacy of an assault, there’s little time to plan a defensive strategy. Attempting to do so could result in your immediate defeat – perhaps death. Attempting to plan a strategy would be a distraction; in effect, putting you in violation of the Principle of War: Unity of Command – with you trying to do two things at the same time.

Simplicity, in this context, must be applied to the planning and training done well in advance of the situation.

You can decide now on a “grand strategy”, if you will, for your defense. Will you try to talk your way out? Will you run? Will you submit and hope for the best? Will you defend against assault but avoid hurting your assailant? Or will you, perhaps, choose to counter attack to disable your opponent and end his ability to threaten you or your loved ones?

If you haven’t already decided this question you should give it some thought right now. Indecision, when the attack comes, could be fatal.

All of the strategies I listed above are simple. Any of them could be valid for you. Simplicity means choosing a simple strategy and avoiding one that is too complex to implement under stress.

Simplicity also must be applied to your techniques and tactics.

If you’re a professional negotiator, you may have some favorite negotiating techniques that you believe will get you out of a confrontation. If you’re a martial artist, you’ll have some favorite fighting techniques and tactics.

The point is, when you are under stress you will have little time and little ability to think clearly about what you are going to do. That’s why many martial arts, including Neko Ryu Goshin Jitsu, stress training and drilling simple techniques and operating in a state of “mushin” or “no mind".

This means simply doing what you’ve practiced thousands of times and doing it immediately without thinking. When this happens, it’s fast, it’s decisive, it’s massive, it’s unified, it’s secure, it’s surprising, and it’s simple.

I’m still working on mushin. As I’ve said in earlier posts, I achieve it during countering techniques. Developing the ability to achieve mushin at will or at need is my single most important opportunity to improve my overall martial arts capability.

Nevertheless, both my training and my martial art emphases simple techniques, well drilled. My predetermined strategy is to counter-attack to eliminate the threat. And, I sometimes achieve mushin.

For the Principle of War: Simplicity I award my personal martial art style a “B”.

Now that I’ve analyzed my martial arts style through the lens of each of the nine Principles of War, in my next post I‘ll summarize what I’ve learned from this exercise. And, what it means for my future martial arts training.

Link to the Martial Arts Training Report: The Principles of War

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Principles of War: Self Analysis – Security

I’m analyzing my martial arts skills, capabilities, and style through the lens of the Principles of War as defined in U.S. Army Field Manual FM 3-0. My commentaries on each principle are available through the links below.

Mass
Objective
Offensive
Surprise
Economy of Force
Maneuver
Unity of Command
Security
Simplicity

So far I’ve graded my personal martial arts style as follows:

Mass - a "C"
Objective - a "B"
Offensive - a "B"
Surprise - an "A"
Economy of Force - an "A"
Maneuver - a "C"
Unity of Command - an "A"

This time I’ll grade myself on the Principle of War: Security.

Never permit the enemy to acquire an unexpected advantage.

“Security results from measures taken by a command to protect itself from surprise, interference, sabotage, annoyance, and threat ISR. Military deception greatly enhances security.”

Security is the most difficult Principle of War to apply to the self defense scenario. In military operations security implies reconnaissance, screening forces, observation posts, intelligence gathering and analysis of an enemy’s capabilities and intentions.

In the self defense situation, there’s no opportunity to know your enemy in advance except for the possibility of observing and discerning the threat when he appears - before he launches his attack.

Likewise, there’s no opportunity to create a time cushion through the use of screening forces or observation posts. And, we’re certainly not going on a reconnaissance to actively find the enemy.

So what kind of security operation is possible?

First, we chose where we go and how we get there. Are you aware of the relative level of danger in your geographic area? Do you habitually drive with your doors locked? Do you lock the doors & windows of your home? Are you aware of potential ambush sites as you travel? Are you aware of the people traveling near you?

Second, we chose our level of threat awareness. Do you notice the abnormal behavior in people that indicates a possible threat? Do you manage the distance between you and potential threats? Do you identify nearby escape routes and expedient weapons?

Third, when the confrontation begins, we can engage in deception, movement and stance to shape the opponent’s attack in a preferred way.

Fourth, we can attack.

In my experience, martial arts don’t teach the first or second security operations. Some instructors talk about them but give them little more than lip service.

Yet, in the self defense literature – as opposed to martial arts literature – the first two operations are considered the most important. These operations are the behaviors that allow you to avoid combat.

It’s only after battle is joined or becomes unavoidable that the third and fourth types of security operations come into play. These are taught in most martial arts styles.

My training has been in the typical martial arts approach; modified somewhat by reading self defense books and articles and my efforts to practice the first two choices to a small degree.

On balance, I give my personal martial arts style a “C” for the Principle of War: Security.

In the next post I’ll grade myself on the final Principle of War: Simplicity.

Link to the Martial Arts Training Report: The Principles of War

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Principles of War: Self Analysis – Unity of Command

I’m analyzing my martial arts skills, capabilities, and style through the lens of the Principles of War as defined in U.S. Army Field Manual FM 3-0. My commentaries on each principle are available through the links below.

Mass
Objective
Offensive
Surprise
Economy of Force
Maneuver
Unity of Command
Security
Simplicity

So far I’ve graded my personal martial arts style as follows:

Mass - a "C"
Objective - a "B"
Offensive - a "B"
Surprise - an "A"
Economy of Force - an "A"
Maneuver - a "C"

This time I’ll grade myself on the Principle of War: Unity of Command

For every objective, ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander.

Obviously, when you’re alone in a self defense situation you’re the person in charge of your defense. There’s no competing “commander”. So, for the self defense situation, and for martial arts generally, I interpret the Principle of War: Unity of Command to mean you must be decisive - you must not “be of two minds” or uncertain as to the actions you will take. Either fight or flight may be okay but freezing is fatal; as is second guessing the fight or flight decision.

Because, under stress, we tend to do what we’ve repeatedly trained to do - any effective self defense system must include lots of drills. Drills must repeat techniques and movements over and over again until they become natural; until they’re performed automatically - without thought.

When this level of training is achieved you can hope and expect that in the stress of an attack you’ll do what you’ve trained to do without hesitation – with one mind.

All of the martial arts in which I’ve participated have incorporated drills to ingrain movements and techniques into your subconscious – into “muscle memory” as it’s generally called.

I’ve developed my own drills and I cycle thru them each week. I’ve performed my drills so many times that I have to force myself to slow down as I do them so I can see the techniques and speak their names.

I’ve done my drills so many times that today; it’s actually easier to flash thru them without thought.

For the Principle of War: Unity of Command I award my personal martial art style – along with every other martial art and combative sport style I’ve ever seen - an “A”.


In the next post I’ll grade myself on the Principle of War: Security.


Link to the Martial Arts Training Report: The Principles of War

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Camp Budo 2010: Take Aways

Camp Budo 2010 is over and it was well worth the price of admission. It was in fact, at $80, a fantastic value.

Taking home even a single idea, principle, or technique would’ve been worth the price. My actual take away was much greater than that.

Professor Cates, at 77 years old, still learns and experiments, clarifies, and adds to his Neko Ryu Goshin Jitsu. On Friday night, Professor Cates introduced an old principle to a technique he's taught for years. But, I don’t remember ever hearing this principle used in conjunction with the technique.

Specifically, Professor Cates often taught a technique in which tori (the person executing the technique) lays his forearm across the shoulder of uki (the person the technique is applied to); brushing the arm forward across uki’s shoulder then downward causing uki to fall. Sometimes, this worked for me, but it was inconsistent.

Friday night, Professor Cates taught us to push uki’s arm back until his wrist is behind his hips then immediately apply the original technique with your opposite forearm. This worked every time; now I’m comfortable adding it to my tool box.

Pushing uki’s arm behind him is an off-balance technique – a kuzushi. It subtlety twists uki’s spine reducing his structural stability and moves his center of gravity slightly to his rear corner.

The “forearm take down” wasn’t the only revelation of the weekend. I brought home an adjustment to a standard choking technique after Professor Cates reinforced another principle on Saturday.

I’ve adjusted an arm bar that I practice weekly because of principles demonstrated by Soke Moose Cates (Neko Ryu & Judo) and Master Steve Waulk (Escrima).

Master Waulk taught some stick disarm techniques on Sunday that I’m adding to my cane drills. And, I’m adding a variation of a “back of the neck” take down to my drills that I learned from Soke Moose on Saturday.

There was some great Shorin Ryu & Isshin Ryu Karate and some other very good jujitsu styles taught throughout the weekend. I don’t mean to diminish them at all. The master instructors of these arts are awesome. However, I absorb as much Judo, Neko Ryu, and stick fighting as I can. Little time is left for me to learn from the other instructors.

Many of the students are karate-ka though. They concentrated their time on the other instructors and were suitably impressed and informed.

Beyond the teaching there was also the fellowship. If your understanding of martial arts schools is based on the depictions of “The Karate Kid” then you can’t relate to the “fellowship” element. But, although the “show no mercy” martial arts schools exist, they aren’t representative of martial arts schools generally.

The single most important element of any martial arts school is the respect shown not only from student to teacher, but also from teacher to student, from student to student and even from teacher to teacher.

Camp Budo has all of this, in spades.

I encourage you to put Camp Budo 2011 on your calendar now. The dates haven’t yet been announced, but it’s normally the last weekend of July.

See you next year!