Author Archives: Josh Simon

Integral Martial Arts: A deeper look at the Red Stage

Coming out of the previous Purple Stage, aka the Tribal Stage, of martial arts practice, the student begins to wonder about individual power and skill when pit against other foes. Whereas the Purple Stage focuses on a group of students and its master teacher, the Red Stage focuses on what the student can and cannot do, and how the student’s abilities relate to the wider adversarial world.

Red Stage martial arts practice is ubiquitous throughout the world in every culture and time period and naturally arises out of Purple. Those of us who lived through the 1980’s may remember a great example of a Red martial arts school from the movie The Karate Kid, the Cobra Kai.… Read more...

Expanding your “We”

Fortunately or unfortunately as it may be, I am in the process of getting a job that will take me away from regular teaching of the martial arts, and has been keeping me away from blogging here over the last month.  I have high hopes for the job which is similar in function to being a Sensei to martial arts students, but it instead involves another arena.

Having said that, I will be getting back to the dojo here and there and teaching intermittently.  This past week I had that luxury.  The class spent the last few months working on first quadrant (i.e.… Read more...

Working through rough spots

Sometimes in class, we work techniques that we are not really that fond of doing.  It would of course be nice to always do the things you like, but it’s often the things we don’t like that teach us the most.  If the world were only made up of the things that we like because they don’t trigger us, we would not learn much.  Working something in class that you do not like gives you the opportunity to work on what belief you have that is making you dislike whatever is happening.  There’s much advantage in that.  This past class, I had that opportunity and it was great.  … Read more...

Exploration of technique

A lot of martial arts classes pick one thing or the other:  either you learn traditional punching/kicking/etc. or you learn the “modern” punching/kicking/grappling of today’s current schools.  Each of those types of schools, depending on their choices, will often decry the other choice.  I really do not see it that way.  The “pre-modern” or traditional martial arts methods are useful for some things and the modern ones are useful for learning other things.  If you just want to fight and do not care about anything else, you can stick to the modern.  If you want to be traditional and follow the letter of the style, then you can do the pre-modern stuff.  … Read more...

Subtle subtleties

This past class, we looked more deeply at the subtle parts of movement in a basic technique.

I may have said before that there are more things to study within martial arts than you will ever be able to.  The items you choose are what characterize who you are and what you learn.  In my case, I have found that there is generally a lot of external focus on technique:  how many boards can you break, how many tournaments can you win, how close is your form to the traditional…. and so on.  Pre-modern martial arts focus a lot on tradition and whether you are copying the master correctly.  … Read more...

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