Migrating and Retiring This Account

Hello everyone. I just wanted to post a quick note describing my plans for this site. Previously I posted information on my personal martial arts journey on this blog -- Rejoining the Tao. I also created a presence called Martial Vitality, as a possible home for a future martial arts school.
I had various social media accounts for both sites, which was confusing. I decided to retire the Rejoining the Tao account and content and migrate the blog posts to Martial Vitality. Therefore, everything previously published on this blog is now at Martial Vitality.
I've also retired the old @rejoiningthetao Twitter account, and asked my small number of dedicated followers to move to my @martialvitality Twitter account
I've been posting regularly to the Martial Vitality Facebook account regularly, so that will continue.
This will be the last post to this site. Please visit Martial Vitality for fresh posts!
On a similar note, if you're not already following my new project for 2020, Martial…

Dealing with the Trump Handshake

How does a high-ranking judoka handle President Trump's handshake? 

I'm fascinated by how world leaders and other officials deal with President Trump's handshake. Today I saw footage from a press conference hosted by Presidents Trump and Putin in Helsinki from 2018, and I got to see how a high-ranking judoka reacts.
BackgroundWarning: this is not a political post. It's a post about movement, balance, and technique.
If you're not familiar with President Trump's handshake style, the story Donald Trump's strange handshake style and how Justin Trudeau beat it is a good overview. A jiu-jitsu school's technique for defeating the Trump handshake also caught the attention of Vice News.
I'm going to concentrate on the standing handshake in this post. 
A so-called "movement expert" claims in this video that Trump is showing "affection" via his handshake style. I think Mr Trump is showing dominance.
Mr Trump has two techniques that he…

Travis Stevens on How to Fix USA Judo

Travis Stevens, American judo Olympian, spent over two hours on YouTube describing how to fix the American competitive judo system. He said he has spent several years advocating these changes and pitching it to multiple audiences.

This post is my attempt to summarize his main points. I thought his presentation was compelling, so I wanted to capture highlights. If you want it straight from him, please watch the video.
The First Step: Startup Revenue Through Seminars
The first step is to hire a coach to perform two main functions. The first is to teach judo cadets, those under age 18 years of age.

The second is to have that coach teach 18 seminars per year, across the US. (That's 18 seminars, not just seminars for 18 year olds.)

Figure 1 below shows the revenue that a single seminar could generate, depending on the attendance and the cost per person.

Figure 2 shows shows the revenue that 18 seminars could generate. I do not recall which number Travis thought would be the best estimate. …

Burton Richardson on Knife Defense

I just watched the free online seminar by Burton and Sarah Richardson on Black Belt Magazine's Facebook channel. I've known about Burton for years and I love his approach and style. When you realize he's also a BJJ black belt, you know as a jiujitsu person you can't ignore his advice.

I joined his seminar late but the material I watched involved knife defenses. Having a few years of Krav Maga Global experience, I had trained several forms of knife defense. However, I was never really comfortable with approaches like the "360" and related motions. I felt like I was not going to have a chance against anyone in a live scenario.

After describing that running and compliance were the best ways to survive an encounter with a knife, Burton explained that getting two hands on the knife hand for knife control was the best physical self defense method. I agree with this.

Burton demonstrated two methods to accomplish this goal. The first was the Russian tie method found…

Suspending Training due to COVID-19

I've decided to stop training jiujitsu during the COVID-19 pandemic. My kids' district has closed schools, probably for several weeks. I also possess an immune system deficiency because of a medication I take for rheumatoid arthritis, so I am in the "vulnerable" category.

Even if I were not classified as a "vulnerable" person, I would not want to become a carrier and expose my family members or others to this disease.

My school is currently still open, although I expect they will make the decision to close for a while as well, based on all the other martial arts school closings that are happening around us.

I want to wish everyone the best during this (hopefully) once-in-a-generation, or better still, once-in-a-century event.

Setting and Achieving Intentional Goals for Martial Arts

I have good news. In my 2019 Martial Arts Year in Review post, I mentioned that I had a goal to attend roughly "17 classes per month, which is 204 classes per year." I marked the achievement of my BJJ blue belt in late October as the start of tracking this goal. In general, my goal is to attend at least 50 classes every 3 months, as a minimum.

I'm happy to report that as of today I have met that first 50 class block. I plan to attend a few more classes this week, prior to the end of January, so long as my health holds up. (I've been having some issues with my left knee recently that caused me to miss two classes in January already.)

I'm sharing this with the world as a way to motivate myself and anyone else who might have similar goals. This 50 classes every 3 months goal is about double the previous class attendance schedule I had prior to blue belt. I was not sure how my body was going to hold up, but I decided to set the goal and see what I could do.

It took …

2019 Martial Arts Year in Review

2019 was my fourth full year practicing martial arts, since my return in January 2016. About a year ago I posted my 2018 Martial Arts Year in Review, reporting some statistics on my training and how I spent that time.

Krav Maga

In 2019 I began my fourth year of training at First Defense Krav Maga in Herndon, VA. I started the year as a G1, which I earned in December 2018.

I ended 2018 by mostly training in the sparring classes, and that continued in 2019. However, I decided to stop training mid-year, after 22 classes. I decided to leave First Defense and focus exclusively on jiu-jitsu.

Later in the year, I learned that First Defense was no longer a Krav Maga Global (KMG) affiliate. In what looks like a "KMG purge," about half of the schools that started the year as affiliates were no longer members. During my time with KMG, the US school count dropped from the 30s, then into the 20s, and now it's 12 as we start 2020.

In addition to KMG sparring classes, I attended anothe…