One (Very Unexpected) Tool For Better Living

There’s something called the “uchi deshi” in Japanese martial arts. This is the live-in student, the one that takes care of the dojo. And at an early point in my martial arts training, I became the uchi deshi at Mr. Miyazaki‘s dojo. I would clean and straighten up around the dojo, making sure it was ready for classes and to receive … [Read more…]

The Power of Setting Limits

I remember that when Jiu-Jitsu first became popular in the U.S., it seemed like “traditional martial arts” became yesterday’s news. I was the worst offender. I left my traditional training behind because I thought that the lessons were antiquated and irrelevant. I thought there was so much freedom in not having to be bound by … [Read more…]

The 40% Rule

Maybe you’ve heard of something the Navy SEALs call “the 40% Rule”. It goes something like this: the moment that your brain tells you that you’ve had enough, you’re actually at only forty percent of your capacity. You’ve got sixty percent more to give to whatever endeavor that you’re doing. They apply this rule to all … [Read more…]

My Teacher’s One Maxim

A simple piece of advice (with a hidden warning). My teacher had a way of dispensing advice and recommendations so that even the simplest ones would end up like a Zen koan. You’d go home thinking about them, wondering and turning them over in your mind, never quite having the right answer or reply. They’d have you … [Read more…]

The Difference Between Being Accepted & Fitting In

For anyone feeling nervous when you step onto the mat, I want to talk to you about the difference between being accepted and fitting in. You see, everybody’s welcome in our school, whether you’re strong or fragile, male or female, gay or straight, Jewish or Muslim or Catholic. But if you feel like you have to be something you’re not in order to … [Read more…]

Navigating Nutrition (Podcast)

Listen to the newest podcast right here! Our overall health determines how much physical energy we have and how sharp our mental focus will be. How we feel determines our attitude toward everything we do; our attitude in turn influences our actions (or our inactions). It’s a tremendous feeling to be energetic, healthy, fit and focused. When our emotions … [Read more…]

The (Only) Two Things You Should Be Doing on the Mat

Share This: I want to discuss the two positions from which one studies in a traditional martial art school. I’ll explain why they’re so important in a moment. There are two seated positions: either the informal seated position with the legs crossed, or a more traditional listening or learning position called “seiza“, which is on the knees. One of the benefits of this kind … [Read more…]

Redefining Black Belt

We define black belt in all sorts of ways – commitment, courage, humanity. And across the world you’d be hard-pressed to find two people who agree exactly on what it means. Is it a perfect technique? A demonstration of mental toughness? An ideal of perfection? So I’m going to step out on a limb here and … [Read more…]