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Is Your Martial Arts' "Style" Going To Get You Killed?
December 28, 2007
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From the Desk of:
Shidoshi Jeffrey Miller
Tuesday, December 28th, 2007
11:38PM EST Time

In this Issue:

Feature Article: "Is Your Martial Arts' "Style" Going To Get You Killed?"

Update on the Accident

Daikomyo-Sai Weekend Training

REMEMBER: Power is created by motion and flow. Add power to your own experience and knowledge by passing this newsletter on to others.


Again, a huge, heartfelt "thank you" to all of my friends, students, and supporters who continue to help me through the recovery stages after my accident. For those of you who didn't hear, I was involved in a near head-on car crash on September 17 of this year. I am still recovering from severe back trauma, nerve damage, damage to a disc, and what the doctors tell me is post concusion syndrome. While things are getting progressively better, I'm told I still have a ways to go.

The fog is lifting somewhat, as the effects of the post concussion syndrome continue to ease. I am meeting with my black belt staff next week to plan our workshop and seminar schedule for the first quarter of 2008. I fully expect to be in Japan in late March or early April as well.

For more information about the accident, and a f*ree article on how it relates to training, you can read the entry on my blog at:

Books and Videos by Shidoshi Miller

"Shuriken Training Manual"

Kubotan: Self-Defense Keychain Training Manual

The Karate-Myth (includes another bonus book and 3 fr*ee special reports!)

The Danger Prevention Tactics DVD

Takagi-Yoshin Ryu Shoden no Maki DVD

Feature Article...

"Is Your Martial Arts' "Style" Going To Get You Killed?"

by Jeffrey M. Miller

Bruce Lee said it.

Soke Masaaki Hatsumi, Grandmaster of the Bujinkan Dojo, has said it.

In fact...

...every expert who understands the true nature of warfare has said...

... the best style is "no style."

I've heard this saying repeated time and again, in just about every dojo and self-defense class that I've either observed or participated in. And yet, I still see the insistance, even by those who enjoy parroting the words of masters, of clinging to a set style, form, or mechanical method for beating a murderous assailant bent on using whatever he or she can to damage you.

Everyone seems to want to crystalize the chaos of a fight - an unpredictible encounter with an irrational human being or wild animal - into a set of predetermined moves designed to "beat anything." If you're one of these poor, misguided souls, sorry to bust your bubble but...

...just can't be done.

Dojo Training Is NOT Fighting!"

No matter how hard you try, unless you're a cold-hearted psychopath or detached sociopath, who enjoys beating on other human beings, you just cannot make training in a martial arts's dojo or self-defense class the same as what you will experience in a full-bore, all-out, winner-takes-all, fight on the streets or on battlefield.

Don't believe me?

That only says one thing...

You've never been in a real fight.

And, I don't mean the pushing, shoving, displays of bravado that go on in high school. I mean the kind that, if you survive, your perceptions of reality and the way you manage your personal space, are forever changed.

Here's an example of something I've been hearing a lot, especially within the Bujinkan Dojo - the international organization that I belong to and receive rank from.

The general concensous among many practitioners of the art is, unless a seminar leader or instructor is presenting set kata, or training with acknowledged weapons from one of the nine publicized lineages that make up the core lessons of the Bujinkan, they don't want to train. In other words, no matter how true or usable someone's techniques, strategies, or lessons are...

...if they're not the "official" ones that everyone has agreed upon as being a part of the "style" known as Bujinkan, they don't want to know about it.

Now, please note that I'm using the Bujinkan as an example. First to show you that I'm not picking on "the other guys" out there. Feel free to substitute any other group's style and I assure you that you'll get the same results.

Nothing Beats Experience

Regardless of what you know, or how good your teacher is, you owe it to yourself to get out there and find some folks who have been in real-world situations. As the saying goes: "nothing beats experience." And, regardless of whether the people you talk to have ever studied martial arts or self-defense, including your own...

...listen to them!

I'm not telling you that "style," kata ("form examples"), or repetitive technique scenarios are bad. I use them myself and teach them to my students. What I am saying is that, there is more to the training than what was written down on some scroll.

To get a taste for what you're going to be up against in a real fight, not against your buddy in training, but against someone who wants to beat you down, break you, or worse, you're going to need to learn and develop certain skills that are NOT in any kata.

Skills like:

  • Decision-making under pressure

  • Speed and quick reflexes

  • Quick, smooth footwork

  • Defense-to-offense transitioning

  • Offense-to-defense transitioning

  • Creative application

  • Touch sensitivity

  • and more.

You're also going to have to break some habits that could get you killed.

Habits such as:

  • Grabbing or chasing every limb or target that comes your way

  • Relying on preset techniques

  • Telegraphing your moves

  • Eye movement, and...

  • Displaying your style

That last one is a big one. Because anyone who is really studying for self-defense, is also studying the moves and tell-tale aspects of the other martial arts, boxing, and fighting styles out there. Just like a football team analyzes the moves and plays of other teams, the master warrior knows what to look for in his opponent's strategy.

So, the question is...

...are you limiting your training to just the forms of your style, or are you really developing skill. In a real fight, there isn't always time for that cool move you learned and sometimes you just have to hit the guy with what's available.

Buddhist teachers have a saying that goes:

"Suffering is like a thorn in your hand. The teachings, too, are like a thorn - one that you use to dig out and remove the thorn of suffering. But once you do this, you should throw them both away"

The idea here is that, if you hold onto the thorn originally designed to be a tool, it will prick you as well.

Don't let your "style" be the thing that holds you back from greatness. By all means, study it, train, and learn the lessons. But never forget that the lessons are NOT the solution. They are only a guide to help you learn what you need to know.

But... what you need to know, and what you need to be able to do should the time ever come...

...may not be the same thing!

Want to know more about the things you didn't know you didn't know when it comes to really mastering self-defense? Check out the Takagi-Yoshin Ryu Shoden no Maki DVD

It was shot live during one of the Shidoshi's training seminars and includes the techniques, strategies, and foundational lessons of the Takagi-Yoshin school, one of the 9 lineages contained within the Bujinkan Dojo.

A note of warning though, if you're looking for motion picture quality sound and video, you'll be disappointed. But, if you;re like most and are looking for the information, then this DVD will provide you with enough to keep you busy for months! It breaks through the myth that the jutaijutsu is a grappling art, and sheds light on the skills you'll need to bring this centuries old art to life in the 21st century!

Get your copy today!

Annual Daikomyo-Sai Seminar!

Live Training w/Shidoshi Miller

January 5th & 6th, 2008

For those of you in the Bujinkan, you're familiar with the annual training event that commemorates the birthday of Soke Masaaki Hatsumi, headmaster of the international Bujinkan Dojo. You know that the world over, dojos run seminars coinciding with the big event held in Noda. What you may not know is that many people have a difficult time making it to these events.

Whether it's due to the holiday rush and work and family commitments or the fact that everybody and their brother is holding a Daikomyo-Sai at the same time, many folks just can't seem to get involved.

Luckily though, we have a solution. Every year, we simply shift the dates for our own Daikomyo-Sai to coincide with Shidoshi Miller's birthday at the beginning of January and celebrate both birthdays at the same time! We also allow many more people to attend because, whether or not they made it to another event, the fact that ours is after the holiday rush makes it a gret way to kick off the New Year's training.

This year's Daikomyo-Sai event will focus on the lessons from the Kukishinden Ryu and the Togakure Ryu. We will be exploring the sword as well and offering you the opportunity to do some live sword cutting! There will also be an optional Goma, goal-setting meditation on Sunday afternoon to set our sights on the New Year!

Shidoshi Miller will be joined by several guest Shidoshi and senior instructors from WCI so this is one seminar you definitely won't want to miss. The cost is just $100 for the weekend and we will be having a special Japanese Dinner and Birthday Celebration for anyone who wants to attend.

Space will be extremely limited due to the subject matter and the live sword work so reserve your place now. To register, call the Academy at (570) 988-2228. You may pay with a check, money order or Visa or Master Card. A $50 deposit is required to hold your place with the balance paid at sign-in.

So, mark your calendars and let's kick off the New Year's right - Bujinkan style!

Want to send me something?

You may send questions, comments, or "what-if's" for inclusion in the newsletter using the CONTACT form on the web site - or cut and paste this link into your browser:

Just remember to keep your communications clear and to the point (limit each correspondence to ONE point, please). Any comments or questions received that are not easily understood or rife with spelling and grammar errors will be deleted. It's not that I don't want to answer but, if I can't understand your point or what you mean, I can't answer in a way that will be beneficial.

Until next time. Dedicated to your training success!

Shidoshi Jeffrey M. Miller
Founder & Director
Warrior Concepts International
Self-Protection & Personal Development

362 Market Street
Sunbury, Pa. 17801

(570) 988-2228

"Master Your Self - Master Your Life!"

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