Taido and Martial Art Links

not only taido links – useful links

Taido Information

World Taido Federation Homepage

Being official, it continues to suffer from lack of meaningful content.

Taido World

Taido World is an unofficial homepage for news and updates from Taido dojo around the world.

Manjigeri’s page

There’s no English content, but random clicking will avail you of tons of videos of various techniques and hokei. With some lucky surfing, you can treat yourself to the soothing sounds of Mr. Manji’s kiai as well as the infamous Taido song. This is one of the oldest Taido pages on the ‘net and a direct inspiration for Taido/Blog.

YouTube

There’s a good number of Taido videos on YouTube, so make sure you check them out.

Dojo Websites

Yokohama Dojo

This is Negishi’s dojo where I practiced and taught Taido from 2003 to 2006. There isn’t any English content, but there are lots of photo updates on the blog. The people in Yokohama will always be a part of some of my greatest Taido memories.

Taido Associations and Dojo Directories

Australia

Denmark

  • Main Page (Unavailable at last check)

England

  • Main Page (Unavailable at last check)

Finland

France

Japan

The Netherlands

Portugal

Sweden

United States

Training and Health Links

“The Stretching FAQ”

Brad Appleton has done all the digging and research for you. Here is the information you should digest regarding improving your flexibility. Any instructor without a base level of education with regards to training methods is negligent at the very least. If you do not understand the information that Appleton has compiled here, you have no business giving anyone instruction in sports conditioning.

GMB Fitness

This is a shameless plug for my own company’s products – because they kick serious ass. We do a variety of things, but the ones that should most interest Taido folks are our stretching and gymnastic strength training courses. My team and I coach thousands of athletes, law enforcement officers, martial artists, and regular people all over the world, so if you need help with your training, get in touch. We can help you perform the way you wish you could.

The Taido Times – Issue One

A little before the end of 2008, the World Taido Federation published the first issue of The Taido Times. The Taido Times is set to be a twice-yearly magazine full of interesting news, history, and training ideas from Taido dojo all around the world.

If you’re part of an organization that is in the World Taido Federation (which essentially means ,“if you don’t practice in America”), you’ve probably already received your copy. In the meantime, I wanted to give a brief synopsis of the contents.

First Impression

My first impression when I took the magazine out of the envelope was that of quality; this is not some cheap pamphlet that someone printed up on their home computer. The version sent out in Japan (publishing in Japan and Europe were handled separately) is printed on on nice, glossy stock, and (aside from an insert with some translations) full-color.

It took a really long time for WTF to finally get this thing out, but I’m glad they didn’t cut corners and make a cheap newsletter that people end up tossing in the trash after a quick look-over. The Taido Times is worthy of holding on to. People take high-quality publications more seriously, so it’s nice that this important forum is given the benefit of a polished appearance.

Taido Times Issue One

The front cover features a badass looking photo of Shukumine from his first public performance of enmei no hokei in 1986. I love these old pictures of Taido’s creator doing what he did best.

On the back, Taido’s gojojun is written in Japanese kanji. It would have been nice to have an English version alongside, but I guess English just doesn’t look cool enough.

The Articles

There were a variety of articles in this issue written by Taido Soke (Shukumine’s family) and instructors and students from most countries where Taido is practiced. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Taido Balance by Taido soke. Notes on balancing Taido and life. Taido was designed to be valuable to members of modern society, so it’s important that we consider how to make the most of it. Taido has a lot to teach us about being effective in life, and it goes way beyond just getting stronger and more confident. Taido includes processes that can be applied to any situation. Finding the balance between training and life should be a priority for all Taido students.
  • An outline of the history of Taido in the UK. Though they’ve been around for a while now, English Taido has had a hard time getting off the ground. Being a small group with little access to high-level instruction, they’ve had to rely on the efforts of a passionate few to keep going. But they aren’t giving up.
  • The story of how Taido came to Denmark. Essentially, the first Taido teacher in Denmark never actually learned Taido. They had a rough first few years, but things have smoothed out considerably.
  • A review of a Finnish Taido training camp. There isn’t a lot to say about it here, but I do enjoy reading about how others practice Taido. Camps are a lot of fun, and I wish we had them more often in Western Japan.
  • A few paragraphs about the Taido demonstrations at Bercy Martial Arts Festival in France. This is a major event that resulted in a lot of publicity for Taido in France. The French Taido Association has had a lot of support from Japanese Taidoka in putting on these demos, and they were really successful. If you haven’t seen the videos on YouTube, you should check them out.
  • Two articles about nutrition and injury prevention from 2002. Though I disagree with some of the the points made, I’m glad to see an attempt at applying science to Taido training. Since Taido is a “scientific martial art,” it only makes sense that we would want to study new developments in sport science and athletics. Though we’re only recreational athletes, we can learn a lot from pro coaches and trainers. These articles are a step in the right direction.

Taido News

The articles were pretty interesting. I learned a few things I didn’t know about Taido’s history and how it’s practiced elsewhere. There was also a fair amount of information about recent and upcoming events in Taido.

There was also an invitation the attend the World Taido Championships this August in Hiroshima. I can’t repeat often or emphatically enough my recommendation that everyone with the time and money to spare attend this event. Even if you don’t plan to compete, you will learn a lot and make a ton of new friends. Even if you’re new to Taido, visiting Japan needs to be on your list of things to experience. The WTC is the best time for Taidoka to visit Japan.

The last couple of pages lay out the plans for the next issue and make a call for contributions from Taido students. If you have an article idea or some interesting photos to share, definitely get in touch with Alvar. If you have questions you’d like to see answered, send those in too. There are plans to release a new issue twice a year, but this can’t happen if people don’t write to share their experiences.

Weekend Reading

I’m always reading and learning. I follow about 80 blogs on a daily basis, and a lot of those deal with topics relating to martial arts. Recently, I got the idea that I should share some of the better posts I find with Taido/Blog readers.

Here’s a few interesting links you may enjoy:

24 Fighting Chickens asks: Do you day “ossu” too much? Also, a look at the fist-turn in conventional martial arts punching.

Dan Djurdjevic has another perspective on the “corkscrew.”

Charles Goodin wants to remind you about the differences and importance of skill practice and conditioning in your training.

… And that’s all for now. I’ll have a new post up here sometime next week, so check back.

Two Taido Jokes

So in Japanese, the word jodan means joke. It’s one of the first Japanese words I ever learned, but in a Taido context, I always thought of jodan as referring to high kicks and punches. It’s also one of our three kamae.

A few years ago, I got interested in jodangamae and began to practice it pretty seriously. I worked on all kinds of interesting applications for various techniques and other movements using jodan. Occasionally, I even find myself using it in jissen to change direction or level. I especially like using jodan with sentai movements.

So one time, at a special training day for Tokai University’s Taido club, I was working with about 40 purple and green belt students on their sentai. We did all kinds of games and drills and other kinds of practice, and I was telling a few students during a break that they should spend more time working on their jodangamae. One of them replied “jodan desho?” which, in context, should have meant “you mean jodan, right?” So I confirmed that I was suggesting he practice jodangamae. Again, he said “jodan desho?” and I got it – he was saying “you’ve gotta be joking.” Sadly for him, I was not, and the entire group went on to practice jodangamae for about 45 minutes.

I learned two things from this experience: nobody but me likes to practice jodangamae, and there is always more than one way to look at any situation – one of which is usually much funnier than the others.

And so anyway, you now know a Japanese Taido joke. Congrats.

Speaking of jokes, check this out:


爆笑レッドカーペット1 (6/4/08) by KonchuT

This guy has appeared on Japanese TV at least a couple of times. For those of you who don’t get the J-talk, he’s basically telling a story that makes a joke of some Taido technique names. The punch lines of the two versions I saw were “untai 2dangeri,” and “hentai manjigeri.” One of them was sort of funny; one was sort of stupid. Apparently, he went to the Japan Taido Association guys and asked them if he could go on TV and make a joke of Taido. “It’ll be good publicity,” he probably told them. They said OK.

So, before, I would say that I practice Taido, and people would say “I’ve never heard of it.” Now they just laugh at me. Great publicity.

People here constantly talk about trying to make Taido a major martial art in Japan. Then they go and hold openly biased tournaments and let this guy make Taido look like a joke on national TV. Brilliant strategizing.

Suggested Reading

what follows is a necessarily incomplete list of things you should read as a part of your martial arts training. most of them are pretty fun, too. just remember that there is an academic portion to any quality training system. it’s your job to decide how much to trust any sources you happen to consult. this includes your instructors.

New Additons

Since I originally compiled this list, I’ve added and removed a few titles. I’ve been doing a lot more training than reading lately (writing too, for that matter), but I wanted to included a quick list of additional books I recommend for Taido students. I do plan to write proper mini-reviews for each of these in the future, but there are no guarantees on when that might happen. Anyway, here’s the list:

  • Zen Body Being – Peter Ralston
  • Advanced Karate-Do – Elmar Schmeisser
  • 10-Minute Toughness – Jason Selk
  • The Art of Learning – Josh Waitzkin

Reading is Fundamental

What follows is a necessarily incomplete list of things you should read as a part of your martial arts training. Most of them are pretty fun, too. Just remember that there is an academic portion to any quality training system. It’s your job to decide how much to trust any sources you happen to consult. This includes your instructors.

Creative Intelligence and Self-Liberation: Korzybski, Non-Aristotelian Thinking and Eastern Realization– Falconar

I recommend this book in order to save you the pain of reading Count Alfred Korzybski’s Science and Sanity. S+S is an incredibly important work that Korzybski wrote after studying the thinking of Albert Einstein, and it draws out a theory of language use that may allow us to perceive a less abstracted picture of reality. Falconar makes Korzybski’s General Semantics accessible by providing examples of how people routinely confuse the map for the territory and some practices we can try to break our enslavement by the language in which we organize our thoughts. Most people will think this has nothing to do with Taido. Most people are usually wrong.

Flatland– Abbot

A classic with which many of you are likely familiar. Stylistically dated, but it has interesting content. This book does to simple geometry what Taido does to karate. Avoid the social commentary (unless you’re into that sort of thing) and focus on the various perspectives on reality. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, 50 ways to leave your lover, and at least three dimensions in which Taido’s technique can be applied.

The Art of War– Sun Tzu

Learn how to talk like a fortune cookie and understand the nuances of relationships. When you think about it, war really is all about understanding and responding to your opponent – just like any great relationship of any other kind. Herein lies the origin of the idea that “all’s fair in war” (the part about love was added later). Perhaps the greatest benefit of reading this book enough times to understand it is the ability to create analogies for almost any circumstance.

The Book of Five Rings– Miyamoto

Like Art of War, a classic of strategy, but with greater emphasis on personal combat. Musashi was not a noble man – he was a mercenary and a murderer, but he was lucky enough to live through a great many life-or-death experiences. This book gives us the benefit of his experience without having to kill anyone or face threat of being killed ourselves. This is a good thing. Sometimes Musashi wants us to take his words literally; sometimes he does not, so reading this book requires more attention than the language seems to demand. Once you get a feel for it, its not too hard though.

Tao of Jeet Kune Do– Lee

Great book. Here’s the problem: because Bruce had a hyped-up image, people think this is some kind of martial arts bible. They are wrong. There is no hidden wisdom in these pages, but this is OK since there is plenty of wisdom written in plain language on each page. Bruce gives us some great ideas about training and a good breakdown of the anatomy of a fight, but don’t try to read too much into what you see here. Bruce was no prophet (Lee, that is – Springsteen is a totally different story…). He was a training maniac and a very good fighter. Take this book for what it’s worth and you’ll learn a lot.

Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere: An Illustrated Introduction– Westbrook, Ratti

Definitely among the best-illustrated martial arts books of all time and a real classic. The authors have clearly outlined the theory and general practice of Aikido in a convincing manner. While Taido includes many of these concepts, we can benefit by looking at them in a different light form time to time. Aikido is good light, and this book offers an easily digestible take on the way it works.

Quantum Consciousness– Wolynski

One of the best books on meditative technique. Wolynski’s methods are easy to get started with right away. They start simply and build incrementally so that everyone can easily get the hang of the exercises. Wolynski’s tone is patient and helpful as well as new-age-crapolla-free.

A Theory of Everything: An Integral Vision– Wilber

Ken Wilber is everything I wish I were. He’s smarter and probably a lot more fun to hang out with. He meditates several hours a day and is one of America’s most influential philosophers. In this book, he outlines his integral vision – a vision I believe can be applied to Taido practice in ways that will benefit us all. While not as in-depth as his massive Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality, a Theory of Everything tells you all you need to know to start improving your life now and how this is important for the future of society. Very highly recommended.

Body-Flow & Three-Dimensional Performance Pyramid – Sonnon

These are books every martial artist should read. Learn about fear-reactivity and how it limits your performance. Learn how to reclaim your flow. Learn a systematic methodology for breaking complex movements down into their component parts for practice. Learn how to structure training for maximal effectiveness. There is enough insight in these two thin books to warrant several readings. The body of work which composes the RMAX curriculum can improve your performance in any sport, and these two volumes are the best place to start exploring the system.

Stretching Scientifically: A Guide to Flexibility Training– Kurz

This is the stretching theory bible. The tiny photos don’t really show much, but that’s not why you should read this book. You should read this book for the dense info on how to structure a workout and stretch properly. Granted a lot of this is covered in Appleton’s stretching guide and on Kurz’s own web site, but this little book has everything you need in one place. This is information with which every martial arts instructor should have more than a passing acquaintance.