Taido Info & Directory Links

not only taido links – useful links

Taido Information

World Taido Federation Homepage

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

American Taido – National Organization Homepage

News and info on training and events in the US.

As we recently re-established an official Taido presence, this site is still new, but over time it will grow to include a complete dojo directory, info on licensed instructors, official tournaments and seminars, and other information that US-based students will find helpful.

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

England

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.

Shooting Dice

I sometimes play a game with dice – I call it “the random new technique game”, and I’m going to outline it here so you can experiment with similar ideas.

Using a random modifier such as a die or a deck of cards is nothing new, and I’ve heard lots of stories about different versions used for workouts and games in sports training situations. Here’s one such example:

I used to do a workout with a friend in which we would split a card deck into two halves and deal exercises to each other. Hearts were push-ups, clubs were sit-ups, diamonds were squats, and spades were chin-ups. The number of the card told us how many to perform. It was always fun watching his facial expressions when I would save all my kings for last…

One interesting aspect of Taido is the unsoku, sotai, seiho, kimegi, gentai framework to the techniques. It gives a somewhat modular quality to technical composition and suggests that there are many more possible combinations than those frequently taught in classes.

I actually first learned about modular systems when I was studying about old, analog music synthesizers and was struck by the convention for these musical instruments to be described using flowcharts. The components of many old synths can be arranged in various orders with varying degrees of feedback to create new and interesting sounds.

A few days later, I was flipping through some Taido notes and noticed that the technique process was also a flowchart. I decided to try Taido technique as a modular process and see if I could find some new and interesting techniques. After a few hours of experimenting, I had made several pages of notes. I decided that I needed a neater way to list all the possibilities I had found, so I made up a simple chart. Eventually, I started rolling a die to choose values randomly from each column, and “the random new technique game” was born.

Play the Game

My original version of this dice game began with rolling a die several times:

roll 1:

1/2=unsoku, 3/4=unshin, 5/6=both

roll 2a:

1=so/in, 2=ka/gen, 3=ko/ten, 4=tsui/tai, 5=henka, 6=hengen (roll again, even/odd to choose)

roll 2b:

1=zenten (handspring), 2=koten, 3=shazenten, 4=bakuten, 5=sokuten (sokuchu), 6=bakuchu

roll 3:

1=sen, 2=un, 3=hen, 4=nen, 5=ten, 6=2nd unsoku/unshin (back to roll 1)

roll 4:

1=jun, 2=gyaku, 3=ushiro, 4=tobi/tobikomi, 5=2noashi, 6=fukuteki

roll 5:

1=punch, 2=strike, 3=kick, 4=takedown/throw, 5=grab/joint, 6=2nd sotai (back to roll 4)

To play the game, you simply roll once for each variable, and the number tells you what value to insert. For instance, I may roll 3, 2, 6, 4, 4, 3, 4 (since the third roll called for another unshin, I had to roll seven times). According to the chart above, that means “koten, bakuten, tentai ushiro takedown/throw”. Now my job is to figure out a way to move which matches that description. The simplest application in this instance would probably be koten, bakuten dogarami.

I once rolled 1, 1, 3, 5, 1, 6, 4, 4, 3 – unsoku, so/in (in), tentai, jun, 2nd sotai, nentai, tobi, kick. Combining the ten/nen inspired my favorite personal dice-game creation so far: a tobi jun nentai keri from in-soku; it looks sort of like a cross between a 90-degree hangetsu and sokuchu and seems to come out of nowhere when I use it in jissen.

Sometimes, I roll a combination that I have practiced before. Sometimes I roll a combination that seems impossible. Every roll teaches me something new about taido, and as a result, my thinking about taido technique is incredibly fluid. Though my body can’t always keep up, my brain never gets “stuck” for creative inspiration in technique creation. Playing games like this with taido gives me an infinite pool of possible combinations with which to challenge my imagination and technical ability.

Anyway, give it a shot. Come up with your own variations. I’d love to hear about other random modifiers people have used for creative taido practices. Dave in Australia told me a few days ago that they had used cards to randomize their jissen practice by drawing cards to decide which techniques to use for offense/defense, etc. That’s a good idea that I plan to try sometime.

I’d especially love to hear if anyone comes up with usable shingi by this method. Try it, and let me know what you think.

A Software Version?

A couple of years ago, I asked a student who is a programmer to design a simple random technique generator based on my dice game. I gave him a request that would allow for the following variables:

  1. unsoku, unshin, or some combination
  2. optional initial sotai for movement
  3. direction – front, back, jun, gyaku
  4. optional jump, dive, slide, or step
  5. sotai for technique (condition of body during weapon deployment)
  6. weapon – specific punch or kick

My goal was to account for any combination o unsoku/unshin, any single or combined sotai, any direction, any use of seiho, and any strike/kick/other weapon – unsoku, sotai, seiho, kimegi, gentai (and possible iterations) – in an algorithm that could use some sort of serial logic to pull values from a database of movements. Unfortunately, the iterations make the algorithm pretty complex, and my student never got around to finishing the project.

Appeal

If anyone out there can create such a program (and it really shouldn’t be too very hard), I will compensate you for the price of one beer for your troubles. I would love to have such a program executed as a php code that could be run on this site – available freely to taido students around the world. As my primary goal with this website is to inspire creative and critical thinking for continued development and evolution of taido, I can think of very few things that would be more fitting for me to host than a random movement-technique inspiration machine.

So, programmers, get to work! Seriously, I’ll be your best friend if you can make this for me, and i’m good for that beer money too.

Update: See comments for programs submitted by Juha. – thanks, Juha.

Re-update: The tech-gen was completed and integrated into the sidebar for several months, but I lost my edits when I changed Taido/Blog’s cosmetics without backing up first. Anyway, the links to Juha’s version are a good starting point – give them a go.

Less Talk; More Rock

Less Talk, More Rock is the name of one of my favorite Propagandhi albums. If you don’t know Propagandhi, they are a fantastic, political punk band that makes great songs that make great sense. I learned of their existence form Joshua Gargus, a former Tech Taido student and all-around cool cat. The reason I bring this all up is because I think the martial arts world generally needs to do less talking and more rocking.

Of course, here I am, writing about not talking too much. Yes, that’s ironic, isn’t it? (and let’s go on and get one thing clear, while we’re at it – I can out-irony just about anyone you know. I was fluent in sarcasm before I could ride a bike. But I’ve changed my tone recently to a more earnest approach. For an excellent discussion of why Irony is a Dead Scene, check out brilliant writer David Foster Wallace [whose Infinite Jest is one of my five favorite books ever].)

OK, so where was I? Oh yeah – the inherent irony of this article. I’ll address that by differentiating two varieties of “talk.” There are countless dichotomies we could make in verbal communication (though all dualities are necessarily false), but I’m most interested in looking at our Taido talk in terms of constructive versus destructive.

I feel that martial artists spend a lot more time putting things down than we ought to. Typically, this is not done openly because we have to retain the illusion of being humble and respectful, as those are highly valued in martial arts circles. The trick then, is to appear as humble as possible in public while bashing our enemies “quietly” to a select few who will spread the message for us. This is the mechanism of martial arts politics – give a deep, respectful bow, then stab them in the back. Of course, there are much less-subtle forms of destructive talk, such as what we see on most internet discussion fora, but the Taido universe, small as it is, doesn’t allow people to get away with such tactics for too long. The covert attack is much more common amongst us.

Thankfully, I don’t see too too much of this in Taido, but it is certainly out there – and just in the form I described above. We are all very polite to each other in public, at big events and online. However, in smaller groups and private emails, we can count on comments like “but he doesn’t really understand what Taido’s all about,” or “but he can’t actually fight,” or “he doesn’t really deserve his rank,” etc. These are examples of communication that is designed to tear someone down. It’s destructive and negative, and it’s a giant waste of time. Even in Japan, land of humility and grace, I often hear Taido students and instructors making comments that can serve no purpose but to make somebody else look bad. Sadly, the speakers often have very little experience with the subjects of their comments.

On the other hand, there is constructive communication… Like Taido/Blog, Taido.net, and World Taido Forum. Yes, I talk a lot. I write a lot of articles, and some of them are quite long. I sure do spend a lot of time teaching for somebody with no official qualifications. But this website is about promoting Taido, building it up. I’m trying to encourage people to think about their practice and how to make it better. I’ll criticize things I think are wrong or lacking, but I’m not doing so in a negative manner – my criticisms of current doctrine are always accompanied by suggestions for improvement. There is a spirit of “honest participation” behind my writing on Taido/Blog.

I’m not just trying to make myself look good. Taido/Blog is not an advertisement for me or my dojo. It’s not a catalog of my achievements or a directory of services I am offering for a price. Taido/Blog is about making Taido better. Period.

In addition, I’m not “just” talking. I’m trying to get people to put their Taido to practice. In nearly every article, I exhort my readers to apply some thought process or specific drill in their next practice session. I also spend a good deal of time writing about applying Taido to real life issues, so we can be “doing” Taido, even when we are not at a Taido practice. This is what rocking is all about. Why do they rock so hard? Because they didn’t just rock sometimes – they are always rocking. Did Miles Davis stop being cool when he finished recording the Birth of the Cool? Hell, no. And he didn’t cheer up after Kind of Blue, either.

Taido/Blog is talk by nature, but it’s talk about rock. The likely outcome of the discussion that takes place between my readers and I is Taido that rocks harder.

When Shukumine Sensei died, there was a lot of controversy over who was in charge and how things were going to be done. In many ways, these issues have not been resolved (not to mention the many issues that were present while Shukumine was still around). Here’s my idea about how to solve all of these problems: less talk, more rock. Taido will take care of itself if we practice honestly and earnestly and apply our best ideas to our practice.

It doesn’t matter who is in charge of Taido, because the only real definition of Taido is that which occurs in practice and competition. Taido is what happens when Taidoka do what they do. I don’t have to wear my dogi to do Taido, and neither do you. It doesn’t matter who wins the tournaments – just ask the guys that win, and they’ll tell you. It doesn’t matter who practices where or for how long. The important part of Taido is how you apply Taido to what you do.

How much Taido have you done today? Did you rock as hard as you could, or did you just sing some karaoke and call it quits?

Shukumine wrote that a martial art should be judged by those who practice it. In Creative Intelligence and Self-Liberation, Ted Falconar writes that “the measure of a company’s worth is based on the collective motivation, brains, skill, and creativity of its employees.” The same could be said for the worth of a martial art. I believe that Taido is what is done by Taidoka, and our art will be judged on who we are and what we do.

If Taido is going to rock, we Taidoka need to spend more time rocking than we do talking, and when we do talk, we need to be talking about ways to rock harder.

Andy Fossett – Taido History

I didn’t include this information here for a long time, because I didn’t feel it was relevant. However, we each make Taido our own, and some people have asked me for more details about my background and experience. Perhaps this will clarify some things.

Below, I’ve listed a year-by-year account of some noteworthy events in my Taido career and some other major life events. In some cases, I’ve stuck to the facts, and in others, I’ve added additional commentary.

The Timeline

1977

  • I was born on 24 June in Atlanta. Every patient in the hospital was miraculously cured.

1984

  • My father and I began practicing Taido on 4 October.

1986

  • I competed in the US Taido international championships.

1987

  • I was chosen as a founding member of the first Top Gun class and was elected as an officer in that class.
    • Top Gun was originally included not only advanced application practice, but Taido theory as well.

1990

  • I became the first student under 18 years of age to be admitted to the Kishi Kai.
    • Kishi Kai, at that time, was a class for adult brown and black belt students. Training included theory, application, and detailed practice of hokei.

1992

  • Along with Carlos Martinez Jr. and Eddie Perez, I became the third person under 18 years to be awarded a Taido black belt in America.

1993

  • I competed in the first Taido world championships and international friendship tournament in Japan.
    • This was my first trip abroad.
    • Training for the tournament was administered by John Okochi who had become my mentor in Taido.
    • All of us who went to Japan on this trip (about 25 people, including children and parents) got a clear picture of how different Taido was in the rest of the world compared to what we had been taught.

1994

  • I was voted to be the intermediate (teen) class president.
    • Along with Negishi Sensei, I was also responsible for running the trainings for these classes.

1995

  • I accepted a scholarship to study physics at Georgia Tech.

1996

  • I assisted in operations of the international Taido friendship games.
  • Mitsuaki Uchida and I became the first people under 20 to be awarded 2dan in America.
  • Bryan Sparks and I founded the Georgia Tech Taido club.

1998

  • I traveled solo to Japan, visiting dojo in Yokohama, Fuji, and Hirosaki over a period of two months.
  • I began studying Literature and Sociology at Georgia State University.

1999

  • I traveled again to Japan, this time for three months.

2000

  • I judged the US Taido 25th anniversary championships.
  • I was awarded 3dan.
  • I began practicing basic T’ai Chi.

2002

  • I began studying yoga.
  • I helped organize and was a main judge at the US national championships.
  • I was awarded 4dan.

2003

  • I graduated from college and relocated to Japan to teach English.
  • I joined Negishi Sensei at the Yokohama Taido dojo.

2005

  • I competed in several tournaments around the Tokyo area.
  • I visited Atlanta to assist operations of the US Taido 30th anniversary tournament.
    • 100% of my students from Georgia Tech won medals in at  least one tournament event.
  • Taido/Blog was born.
  • I began practicing CST (Circular Strength Training) training methods.

2006

  • I traveled to Australia for the second Asia Pacific Games.
    • I placed second in “Taido no Hokei” (creative hokei) and third in team jissen.
  • I visited US Taido summer camp to see my first students test for black belt (Shelley Matthews, Bolot Kerimbaev, and Laura Sparks).
  • I competed in several tournaments in Tokyo and Kanagawa.
    • I placed in a couple of team jissen events and won a nengi award.
  • I returned to the US.

2007

  • I began training in Kaikudo Karate and Gracie Barra Jiu Jutsu.
  • I traveled to Holland for the European Taido championships and international friendship games.
  • I began writing occasional articles for the Finnish Taido Kamae magazine.

2008

  • I moved back to Japan and joined both Taido dojo in Osaka.
  • I began training in Judo.
  • I attended various training camps and seminars.
  • I competed in the 18th all-Japan workers’ championships.
    • Placed third in -mei hokei division – the youngest person to do so.
  • I competed in the 42nd all-Japan championships.

2009

  • I got married and started a new business, doing freelance web design.
  • I was awarded 5dan Renshi.
  • I lead the training at a seminar for students at Kobe Gakuin University, who went on to give their best performance in several years at the all-Japan university championships.
  • I assisted with a training camp for the Finnish National Team in Tottori.
  • I assisted with preparations and execution of the World Taido Championships.
  • I broke my arm in the International Friendship Games.
  • I received certification as a Circular Strength Training (CST) Instructor.

2010

  • I judged the first Australian Taido national championships in Sydney.
    • Kaneko and I taught a series of Taido seminars over the two days.
  • I founded GMB Fitness to teach athletic movement and agility for adult physical education.
  • I relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii.

2011

  • GMB raised over $15,000 for the relief efforts after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake a tsunami devastated northern Japan, affecting hundreds of Taido students.
  • I began training in Parkour.

2013

  • I visited Sweden for the first time, training in Gothenburg with the Swedish and Australian teams.
  • I attended the Taido seminars in Helsinki prior to the world championships.

2015

  • I taught and assisted with the European championships in Sweden.

2017

Poll Results: How Flexible Are You?

Overall, the consensus is,

I can move pretty well, but there’s always room for improvement.

It looks like most Taidoka are pretty comfortable with their current levels of flexibility, but recognize that they could benefit from more (or more effective) stretching. Here’s how the results for each response broke down:

How Flexible Are You?

  • 52% – I can move pretty well, but there’s always room for improvement.
  • 33% – I can touch my toes, but that’s about it.
  • 11% – Full splits, baby.
  • 4% – I can’t see or touch my toes.

This is about what I had expected.

52% of those who responded are pretty mobile. We can do most of our techniques without difficulty. We can get around the court pretty quickly and almost always get our legs in the general direction they need to go in order to kick. That’s good, but we can do better.

33% say they can touch their toes, but this is where their contortionist tricks end. That’s too bad, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. With consistent stretching, these people can be moving faster and stronger within a couple of months.

4% can’t see or touch their toes. Hey, we’ve all got to start somewhere, right? Seriously, most people don’t begin Taido already having the ability to do all the movements. that’s why we train. Hang in there and work on your flexibility, and I promise everything else in Taido will start to open up for you as well.

11% report being able to do a full split. This may actually be a little high. I know for a fact that the number of Japanese Taidoka who can do a full split is less than 10%. This has historically been the case in America as well, though things could have changed over the past couple of years. What about you guys in Australia and Europe? Can one in ten students really do a full split? If so, you’re doing something right. Keep it up!

For the rest of us, there’s nothing that says we have to be content with our current abilities. If we were, there would be nothing to train for anyway. In other articles, I’ve given you some ideas for increasing flexibility for Taido. Let’s put that knowledge to good use.