Wandering Warrior- Qigong


Wandering Warrior- Qigong

By Jill Roth

This month we’ll be entering the amazing world of Qigong with the gentle guidance of Bina Bou. Bina is a certified instructor of Qigong and Tai Chi who enjoys sharing her knowledge with her students in Cave Creek and other locations in the Phoenix, Arizona area.

I began with Bina’s website (www.binabouchi.com), which answers the question “What is Qigong?” Long used in training for the martial arts, Qigong is described by Bina as an exercise “designed to cultivate your Mind,Body, and your Spirit; and revitalize your Chi, the life force energy, by deep breathing and synchronized movements.”Qi or Chi means energy—a resource so essential it is impossible to define or translate Gong or Kung means to cultivate—a practice or methodology.

Qigong, therefore, refers to the exercise of one’s internal energy, and is a path to Mindfulness. Intention – Attention – Repetition – Guidance.

While everyone has Qi, most people don’t know how to tap its potential for healing and stress management. Qigong training allows practitioners to learn to relax and develop their mind-body connection. Through slow and gentle movements, Qigong has the practical benefits of providing balance and enhancing the body’s own natural healing—benefits which are documented in numerous medical publications.

With this background on the Qigong tradition, I attended one of Bina’s classes. To warm up, the group of about 24 gathered together in a large circle. You could feel the effervescent energy rippling around the room. We started with some wonderful, uplifting music and reflexology for the feet. We accomplished this
by walking in a giant circle, first on our toes, then on our heels, followed by the outsides of our feet, and finally on the insides of our feet. Next, we continued to walk while kicking out to the front, and then kicking our tushes, kicking out sideways, and lastly, marching with our knees up high. The room was filled with smiling faces, exuberant walking, and good cheer. Oh, and did I mention that the participants in the class ranged in age from 55–83?

Qigong can be used for its martial, healing, or meditative aspects. Bina says that Qigong is the mother of all martial arts, and that with slight variations it can be used for each of these goals. According to Dr. Jwing-ming Yang, a well-known teacher and author in the field, there are two separate trains of thought in the Qigong schools focused on martial arts. One, Nei Dan, believes that one should build Qi in the body and then have that spread to the limbs to increase their martial effectiveness. The other, Wai Dan, follows the belief that you should build up the Qi in your limbs and then have it flow inward to your internal Qi. This type of Qi can be used to “energize the skin and the muscles, enabling them to resist a blow without injury.” Both schools teach that by harnessing the focus of the mind (Yi), you can send Qi to the muscles and increase your fighting effectiveness. The progression of acupuncture theory also increased the effectiveness of Qigong as a martial art. By gaining a thorough knowledge of the acupuncture meridians, a Qigong practitioner would know the most effective cavities to hit and the necessary depth at which to strike. This combination of knowledge had made for a formidable martial art.

The meditative aspects of Qigong can be as simple as enjoying the focus and stress release of the movements, or as in-depth as the intense Marrow/Brain Washing, a level of training revered and kept secret from all but a handful of practitioners in every generation. To learn more about this area you can read the Marrow/Brain Washing Classic by Da Mo. Da Mo wrote this book about energizing the brain and attaining enlightenment after nine years ofseclusion in a Shaolin Temple.

Bina Bou has focused her practice on the healing properties of Qigong. I was impressed by how her students were brimming with health. Don’t be mistaken— many of her students have faced and overcome health obstacles that would have stopped others in their tracks. Take, for example, Debra, who developed a serious illness and was having difficulty with stamina and balance. Debra had been in a wheelchair before she started working with Bina. After a few months of Qigong practice, Debra was helped to the extent that she is now walking freely. But more on this later; back to the class…

Read the rest of the article and get facts about Qigong on pgs. 40-43

By Jill Roth

Willpower: Practice Makes Perfect

Willpower: Practice Makes Perfect
By Dan Ronin



I remember one night long ago. I was in my back yard practicing Iaido (Japanese sword form) and having difficulty with how the cut ended. No matter how many times I practiced the cut the end was less than satisfactory. My practice finished with me feeling despondent about my ability. It made me question whether or not I had it in me to be a competent Martial artist and if I was wasting time that could be better spent doing something else.

The following nights I continued to practice again and again and again. After doubting myself I decided that it was the practice that made me a martial artist, not my ability. If I continued to practice the only thing that could happen is that I would improve. But why? Why not. Who cares? No one. What difference does it make? Not a thing, except to me.

Ask any athlete, martial artist, artist or anyone who really specializes in something, how they became as good as they are at what they do and you will probably hear, practice. That is generally speaking not what most people want to hear. More than that, it is very difficult to dedicate yourself to regular practice sessions.

You really have to find whatever it is inside of you that will constantly renew and restore your interest in what you are practicing so that you don’t quit. It seems that in today’s world if we can’t become an expert in 20 minutes it isn’t worth it so we give up. Some people are fortunate enough to have a natural ability toward something. The rest of us have to try harder!

One of the most important lessons I have learned is the lesson of perseverance. No matter what happens in life we have the power in ourselves to overcome the hardships and adversities placed before us if we simply carry on. Quitting or giving up is the polar opposite of willpower. Willpower is the well you draw from to help overcome adversity. You are correct in your beliefs no matter what you believe. By that I mean; If you don’t think you can do something, you are right! If you think the task is too hard or the distance too far, it is! However the opposite is not only true but more powerful then most people can imagine. You can never give 110%, the math is bad. You can give 100% though and I challenge you to.

Next time you are doing something you may not be fully into, try giving it 100% and see if it makes a difference. Through the power of your will you can accomplish anything you put yourself 100% into. It starts by setting a goal and seeing yourself accomplishing that goal. Once you set a goal and do something everyday towards that goal you will reach it guaranteed. However there is more than that. Once you learn the strength of your will you can direct it where it is needed. If you truly want to meet someone, go to a certain college or work for a certain company it will happen. Beyond that once you fully understand your potential you will realize that there is nothing you cannot accomplish if you apply yourself. In addition if your will is strong no one can coerce you into doing something you don’t want to! Learn to harness your willpower and your life will change forever!
-Dan Ronin

Dan Ronin has trained in the martial arts for over 30 years. He is a combat veteran who served as a Military Police Investigtor in the Army for 8 1/2 years. Dan offers classes in Counter-Attack self defense for open hands and weaponry, as well as disaster/emergency preparedness.

Contact Dan at dan@roinproducts.com or 602-373-9630





by Jill Roth


If you like music, culture and dance, I have found the perfect martial art for you! Capoeira! This is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that was created by the slaves in Brazil. They disguised its martial applications with rhythm and music. The ghosts of past atrocities add an intensity to this martial art that I have rarely encountered in the United States.The philosophy and etiquette is passed down through oral history, and thus, Capoeira never forgets its brutal roots. Our guides through the world of Capoeira are Professor “Camara” Jay, Instructor Tizoc Guerrero, and Melissa “Iuna” Rex of Axe Capoeira AZ. Reflecting the past of Capoeira, most participants are given a nickname. Historically, Capoeiristas used nicknames to protect participants from being discovered for practicing this martial art. (www.axecapoeira-az.com)

The instructor calls for us to line up for class, and I slink to the back in order to “blend in”. Most of the commands for the practice are given in Portuguese, so I watch my classmates closely. We start with Ginga, a basic series of hand and foot movements used to warm up the body. It reminded me of ancient African dances that I have seen. I’m starting to gain a little confidence and rhythm with this movement when all of a sudden, he adds a step that requires us to turn. Yep, two turns later and I’m in the front of the class. Drat!
Not where I wanted to be. Fortunately, we do several more turns, and I am again in the back. Whew! Much better. By the time we make those turns again, I’m starting to get the hang of it and am not quite as embarrassed by my position in the front. Having survived that, we switch to movements down the floor.

Now, I should say that the website had hinted that we would be doing handstands (bananira) and cartwheels (au). They may have undersold the intensity of this experience. First, we
leap over one of the mat squares, do 3 squats, and then stand on our hands for 1 to 3 seconds. Down the floor we go. Ah, made it! “Very good, now walk down the floor on your hands”, “E”, our instructor, says. “If you fall, do 3 pushups and continue.”

Okay, now I am digging deep into my acrobat training as a kid. I’m feeling pretty good as I make it down the floor without doing too many push-ups. “Ok, excellent, now do it backwards”, leads the instructor. WHAT?!!? Hmmm….we never tried that at my acrobatics class. Shockingly, I am able to do this and again make it down the mat. “Very good, now
jump on your hands while scissoring your feet”. Haha…. Oh, you’re serious? So, off we students go. And, lo and behold, this is also a skill that we are able to do. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am starting to gain some confidence. Time to try some combinations.

“E” demonstrates this beautiful flow of movements that are quite low to the ground and striking in their martial intricacies. I watch intensely as the higher ranks progress down the floor. Truly an exciting combination of steps; I never quite get this one, but our instructor is patient and supportive. In the next flow there are two kicks involved. I’m lucky as we move down the floor this time, as there is a woman right in front of me that I can follow. I note that the Capoeira movements are much lower to the ground, more fluid, and have a lot more leaning involved than most martial arts. “E” now splits us up by rank and takes the higher ranks into the other room.

We are now prepared to work on basics with Professor Camara (Portuguese for friend). He leads our group through Martelo “the hammer”. This is quite similar to round kicks in other martial arts, but your whole body ends up horizontal as you are striking the pad. Professor Camara shared that this is so your face is not a target as you are kicking. In addition,
you continuously block your face with your arms and elbows. We practice with him one at a time, and it is very helpful to watch the other students’ efforts, as you learn a lot from both their strengths and challenges.

We then pair up with a partner and do reps of 10 until he calls us back. Now onto the queixada kick; Professor Camara points out that Capoeiristas have actually woven three kicks into one. This kick starts like a front kick, moves to a sidekick and ends in a back kick. He taught that this “braiding” of techniques is one of the things that makes Capoeira so formidable. This kick is a beautiful kick and could easily be made into a dance-like movement…

Read the rest of the article and the interview on pages 42-25

-Jill Roth

Jill Roth holds her fourth degree Black Belt with the American Tae Kwon Do Association, a Blue Belt in Kempo, a level 2 Reiki and an NRA Certification in Basic Pistol. She has taught Tae Kwon Do across the country. She studies different types of martial arts all over the state and writes about her experiences in her “Wandering Warrior” column.
Email Jill at:


Wandering Warrior-Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

GracieBJJ logo

This month we will be learning about the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Seta Reupenny from the Gracie Arizona Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Seta teaches the all women’s class on Saturday mornings.

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that focuses on grappling and ground fighting techniques which can be used by a smaller person to defend against attacks by larger, stronger opponents. Specifically, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu refers to the style developed by Helio Gracie in the 1900s from a modified version of pre-World War II Judo including some techniques from Japanese Jujutsu.
Because of Helio’s slight build, he developed a fighting style using technique, leverage and timing allowing a practitioner to successfully defend themselves against a bigger, stronger adversary.Today, we train in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu for self-defense, sport grappling tournaments (gi and no-gi) and mixed martial arts (MMA) competition.(www.graciearizona.com)

The first thing I saw when I pulled up to the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy was a sign that read “PROFESSOR PARKING ONLY ALL VIOLATORS WILL BE CHOKED.” I thought, “These people are either going to be really fun, or I’m in for a world of hurt.” It was a little bit of both.

After I changed into a Gi that they were nice enough to loan me, I had time to sit and watch the kid’s class before mine. I was blown away. There were 30 kids in the class and EVERY single kid was enraptured in what they were doing. And, they weren’t just rolling around on the floor “playing” and having a good time. They were rolling around on the floor, demonstrating good technique and well thought-out strategy…. and having a good time! I have never seen 30 children that focused on one task. Impressive.

I was welcomed into the family before class had even started. Donna, an experienced student, had spied me sitting alone and waiting for class to start. She didn’t hesitate to come over and make me feel at home. She said hello and answered several of my basic questions. With Donna on my side, I felt more secure in learning something new, which was good because our fabulous instructor, Seta, was calling us to start.

Now, I should tell you that I started off my morning with a 3 mile run. I figured, “It is my first day of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, how much could they really have me do? I’m sure it won’t be a very thorough workout.“I have one word for that plan of action…..STUPID! Even though it was my first day,I had a very good workout. And, I’m sure as you get better and better, (and your
instructor can spend less time explaining and more time doing) it will be an even more challenging workout. We started by warming up. This was achieved by running around the perimeter of the mat forward, then sideways, the other sideways, and then backwards. We then proceeded to run to one side of the school and slide down the floor on our backs and sides. This is called shrimping. It kind of looked like a switchblade opening and closing, but on your sides. Seta had to demonstrate this to me and then explained that no matter how long it takes, you always finish the skill that you are working on. We then ran back to the other end. Next we did forward rolls down the mat, run back, followed by backwards rolls down the mat, run back. I missed it, as the rest of the class did bear walk (I was learning the beauty of rolling backwards over one shoulder from Seta). I caught back up with the class when we did monkey walk. These were kind of like cartwheels, but on your knuckles, run back. At this point Seta figured that we were warm. Yep, pretty warm over here.

We made a large circle in the room and then began to swing our arms to loosen them up. Ah, time to breath. Having swung our arms forwards and backwards, we stretched our legs. Yay, more
breathing. We did forward bends over our legs and then straddled our legs and leaned forward again. We were back in my comfort zone, now, and I was feeling better. We laid on our backs and circled our hips and legs and then rolled forward and backward, coming up to a squat each time. I was a little behind the class, but was rewarded with a smile when I finished all 5 of my required tasks.

Now it was time for partner work. I was worried that I would be all alone when Donna came over and saved me. Seta instructed the class to go through a set pattern of drills that help to
prepare you for “rolling” later. “Rolling” is like sparring in other martial arts. But since most of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) takes place on the ground, they call it “rolling.”

Donna did a great job of being patient with me and helping me to understand the “hows” and “where fors” of each technique. The first thing you need to know about BJJ is that you will be
VERY close to your partner. An anorexic tapeworm would not fit between the two of you while you are practicing. I took an all- women’s class and can see how this would be much more comfortable for a beginning student. That being said, the Gracie Arizona Jiu-Jitsu Academy is the only school that I have seen with an all women’s class.

Our partner practice started with “going up and down the body.” You practice where you would put your feet on the other person to gain the largest advantage.(hook behind the knees, locked on the hip joints, and pushing against the crux of the elbow). You work your feet up and down your partner’s body focusing and pushing as necessary.

Next, we practiced “sweep 1” and “sweep 2”. I never really “got” these two, but the general concept is to move your body around in the way that you would need to in order sweep your partner from the right or left side. A sweep is when you position yourself and your partner in a way that you are able to “sweep” their legs out from under them and they end up on the ground.

I felt much better about my attempt at the “berimbola.” This was an intricate combination of rolling over and placing your hands and feet on your partner. You use their legs for leverage and
move in and out of their legs in a rolling kind of dance. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty but at lease I kind of got it.

Finally, we laid on our backs and held our partners ankles while they stood. We did a series of leg lifts that would have made Jillian Michaels proud. I was beginning to see why Seta was in such great shape. Donna told me she was a mother of 6, but you would have thought her abs had been flat her whole life.

With our drills completed, Seta called us all together to show us the technique we would be focusing on that day. The all women’s class isn’t a beginner class, so this was an advanced description of the intricacies of the technique. Seta, carefully demonstrated all the weak spots you need to “shore up” in order to succeed when you roll. Fortunately, I had Donna to fall back
on since I had never seen these before. Seta had us focus on making sure that our weight is spread out evenly. She suggested that we visualize a tent. Each corner of the tent has a spike to hold it in place. We should endeavor to be this stable. It is key to stay close to your partner and block them from being able to move. If they can move, they can move you-not what you
After I had practiced with Donna for a while, Seta came over and showed me some of the places that I needed to shore up. BJJ is an excellent combination of physical workout and mental mastery.
It is like a chess game. You and your opponent are constantly searching for each other’s weaknesses. Seta, showed us one more key point to focus on and then it was time for us to roll. Donna left me, and I thought for sure I would just end up watching the others roll, but I was so impressed. One by one, the other students came over and invited me to roll with them. We switched
partners about every 5 minutes, and not once did I feel left out or awkward. One of the students always jumped right in and made me feel welcome. With that, class was over.

We shook hands and hugged each person from the class. If you If you had had the pleasure of working with that person that day, you thanked each other as well. After all the hugs were over, Donna came over one more time. She asked if I wanted to join her in the following class, as she usually stays for two more classes and then 2 hours of yoga. What? After I politely declined, she said she hoped to see me next Saturday. These are some Gung ho women, and I was inspired by their openness and commitment.

Where will you send me next?

Read the Interview and more on pg.43 at http://joom.ag/jSbb

-Jill Roth
Jill Roth holds her fourth degree Black Belt with the American Tae Kwon Do Association, a Blue Belt in Kempo, a level 2 Reiki and an NRA Certification in Basic Pistol. She has taught Tae Kwon Do across the country. She studies different types of martial arts all over the state and writes about her experiences in our Wandering Warrior section.


Self-Defense | Training | Commitment

The most important cornerstone for building a foundation in your own personal protection is understanding the importance of training and the commitment level with which you chose to subscribe.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy and the chance to draw back. That always leads to ineffectiveness. Think about this statement. Today I want us to look at commitment in a new, more definitive light.

I think there are many historical lessons we can look at to gain insight on current objectives. For this lesson I believe the story of Hernando Cortes would be quite appropriate. Hernando Cortes was a Conquistador who was tasked with conquering the central corridor of Mexico. He went to the new world with a handful of ships which had a compliment of roughly 300 men. Now keep in mind that the Mayan and Aztec cultures were already in place with millions of inhabitants at this time. Doesn’t sound like a very fun job with odds like that, now does it?

The interesting thing was that, at one point, after several engagements with the native people his troops’ commitment to their job started to deteriorate.  His men wanted to mutiny and head back home. So before yet another battle Cortes sank his ships.

Why do you think Hernando Cortes sank his own boats? After all this was the only means of returning to safety. The Conquistadors were shocked that Hernando Cortes had ruined their only way to escape. But let’s pre-frame this from his standpoint. He personally was committed to the task at hand. Without any way of escape – how do you think the Conquistadors fought? Why?

Once you are fully committed, a whole stream of events is put in motion. Things you probably wouldn’t have even considered prior are now on the table. And when you are fully committed, your creativity and perseverance are at their peaks. How does this apply to your martial arts training? What area or areas within your training or within your life have you been hesitating, holding back, or avoiding?

If you do not fully dedicate yourself there is a lack of sincerity in your actions. Indecisiveness and hesitation are roadblocks that will hinder you from reaching your full potential. Don’t be that person who has one foot in and one foot out so if things don’t go according to plan you have an escape route. Commit yourself to those you love, and to yourself, and to living your fullest life possible. Make sure you do not have the means of escape built into your mind as this will cause you to stumble.

Sometimes we don’t know what the outcome will be. As long as we hold back, we will never know what it COULD be – therefore, dream big dreams and make a commitment. Eliminate the possibility of retreat or failure and begin with boldness!

I dare you to be GREAT!

In Oneness,



Tai Chi- Mindful Movement for Vitality and Health

For this issue we are exploring the “softer” art of Tai Chi through Adam Montoya of the Desert Song Healing Arts Center. Adam teaches a Tai Chi form, inspired by all five Tai Chi styles, that he created himself. His personal practice and study is with the Chen Practical Method. (1) He teaches a style of Tai Chi that is a combination style that focuses on health and well-being.


You could almost feel the calm emanating from the building. As you walked through the front doors, you were enveloped in a sea of bliss. Soft lighting, peaceful chanting, and delicate
incense embraced you as you entered. “Welcome to Desert Song Healing Arts Center,” lilted a voice from behind the front desk; and with that, our Tai Chi adventure began. Lady luck had smiled upon me as it just so happened that Adam had started a 3-week intro class the week before. Here was my perfect chance to join other would-be practitioners otheir quest. It was interesting to discover what had brought the different classmates to this introduction class. One woman was looking for a “moving meditation,” another was searching for a workout that was “less intense than yoga”. It was clear that all of them were enjoying the camaraderie of pursuing a new path with fellow explorers.

Before class, Adam had instructed us to set up a folding chair with a yoga mat spread out in front of it. He greeted us as he started class and then asked us to lay on our backs with our heads towards the chairs. Next, he invited us to notice the support that the earth offered us. “What an interesting perspective,” I thought. So, I gave it a try, and, yes, it was quite comforting to note that the earth supported my body completely without any muscular effort on my part. Next, he asked us to bring our feet up by our bottoms with the soles on the floor. He then instructed us to move our feet to the edges of the mat and let our knees touch.

Hmm, where did all the stress in my lower back go?”
Following this, he encouraged us to keep our feet in the same spot but let our legs fall to the left. We stayed in this position for about a minute and again focused on how little we needed to do to support ourselves; gravity and the earth were doing all the work. “Hmmm, so if I harnessed the energy of the earth and used it as my support, I would be pretty connected and rather formidable,” my little mind suggested. “Clearly this is going to be an interesting night of learning,” I concluded. We balanced this movement by dropping our legs to the right and again spent a minute or so noting the effect.

Next, we placed the soles of our feet together and let our legs fall out to the sides (kind of like a frog) and again centered ourselves in this new position.Finally, we rolled to the right, rested a moment then used our arms to push ourselves to sitting – no straining here, just centering, observing, and focus. Nice. We then rolled up our mats and prepared to do some movements while standing.

Adam then stood in front of the class and instructed, “Follow me.” He proceeded to perform dozens of intricate and flowing movements. At first I panicked a little and thought “Holy cow, this is the INTRO class?” But,then I relaxed into it and just did my best to follow.

During our interview later Adam commented on how fun it is to watch students as they release “thinking mind.” This is exactly how it felt. When I quit thinking about it so much and just “felt” the form, it was fantastic. All the moves were done incredibly slowly and it was fun to recognize the weight shift required in Adam’s body before he would be able to lift a limb. It became quite easy to tell which way his next move would go simply by paying attention to his body position and replicating it with your own weight distribution. You began to feel what must happen next just by the way your body was prepared.

Like watching a Hawaiian hula dancer, you suspected that each movement had a meaning, and a benefit. I felt that if I studied this art long enough I would be able to unlock these secrets. According to Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, certain movements will heal or prevent illness in specific parts of the body. (2) Adam later explained that he designed his form to slowly open and balance his students.

I must say that towards the end, when the moves were getting more elaborate, I loved the way that it made me feel inside. I felt powerful and agile.Powerful may seem like a contradictory word here as each move is done intensely slowly, and your goal is to keep your muscles and mind completely relaxed throughout; but somehow it just felt bold to move in this way.

Adam later explained that many people believe that the body and Chi are separate, but the body and Chi actually are reflections of each other. When you open your body, you automatically open your Chi. When your Chi is open, your body can use energy better and the body becomes like a vessel utilizing the Chi. (**) Obviously, this is an art form that you could study for your whole life and never completely master.

After giving us a “taste” of what Tai Chi feels like, he went back to the beginning of the form and showed us the intricacies of the first couple of moves. This is where it really got fun. When you begin the form you stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and bend your knees. You then sink until you can feel your feet connecting with the earth. From here, you gradually sink until every part of your body feels like lead that has bonded with the earth except for your head. Your head is suspended above your neck as if you had a string tugging from the tip of your skull. It is amazing how grounded you feel.

In the next move, you mindfully raise your arms with a slight bend in them with relaxed wrists. This seems deceptively simple. If I asked you to pick up a glass of water, you would start with your bicep and pick it up. But here it is completely different. You sink into the lift and your arms come up as your elbows sink. Confused? We were to, so Adam did an awesome demonstration. He had each of us, in turn, push down on his arms. He showed us how it felt when he lifted with just his arms. It was very easy to hold his arms down. But then you could see his body sink into the earth and the movement came from his base. Each woman in turn fell off balance and giggled at their inability to hold his arms down. It was very cool!

He demonstrated a similar lesson with lifting our legs. Several times in the form you must lift your leg and step to a new location. But he explained we didn’t want to lift that leg, but rather move our bodies in a way that the only possible outcome is for the leg to raise. What? Again, I was struck by how cleverly he guided us to the answer. He had us stand near the wall and
ease our weight onto the leg that would become the “base leg.” Then, gradually, we pushed against the wall and moved our energy into that base leg. Low and behold, at the tipping point, your other leg just rises, because you have set it up where there really is nothing else for the leg to do. AWESOME!

Now, here is the kicker. Imagine doing a form that lasts 15 minutes with each move being that intricate! No wonder Tai Chi is renowned for healing and focus. With that kind of centering
you would be unstoppable!

All too soon, class was over. We had so much fun exploring the form that we didn’t get a chance to meditate. Adam shared that he often has meditation at the end of class. There was no formal bowing in or bowing out with the class. We just quietly put our chairs and yoga mats away and said our goodbyes.

Wikipedia defines Tai Chi as the following:“T’ai Chi Ch’uan training involves five elements: taolu (solo hand and weapons routines/forms), neigong & qigong (breathing, movement and awareness exercises and meditation), tuishou (response drills) and sanshou (self defense techniques). While T’ai Chi Ch’uan is typified by some for its slow movements, many T’ai Chi styles (including the three most popular – Yang, Wu, and Chen) – have secondary forms with faster pace. Some traditional schools of T’ai Chi teach partner exercises known as tuishou, pushing hands, and martial applications of the taolu’s (forms) postures.” (3)

According to an article by Bruce Frantzis, there are five different types of Tai Chi. (4) He states that all Tai Chi styles are similar in that they develop Chi, use slow-motions, and flowing,
circular movements. Yet, each of the styles focuses on different specific strengths and its practitioners espouse varied benefits. The fivetypes are Yang, Wu, Chen, Hao and Combination. Yang is the most popular and widely practiced. Wu emphasizes small, compact movements. Hao is focused primarily on internal chi, and the physical movements are less important. Chen is known for a combination of fast and slow movements with jump kicks and stamping actions, and it is often preferred by the young and athletic. As you might expect, combination is a mixture of the other four styles. (4)

You may also find this martial art listed as T’ai Chi, Taiji, T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Taijiquan and Tai Chi Chi Kung.

Written by Jill Roth.
You can read the interview with the instructor Adam on pages 29-31 here.
Email requests to Jill at: jroth@mindsetselfdefense.com

1)You can learn more about Master Chen Zhonghua and the Practical Method at
(2) The Essense of Tai Chi Chi Kung, Health and Martial Arts, by Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming.
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T’ai_chi_ch’ua
(4) http://www.taichimaster.com

Hard & Soft Style Martial Arts

The Budo Shingikan Dojo Philosophy on Hard and Soft Martial Arts

“The Graduate School of Martial Arts”

hard and soft martial arts

As an instructor, one of the greatest compliments shown to me is the happiness of my students with our martial system and our programs at the Budo Shingikan Dojo. The other finest compliment I could receive is when a student makes the commitment to travel the path leading to a place within our Yudansha Kai (group of black belt students). When a student makes this their primary goal as a student at The Budo Shingikan Dojo it shows that they are willing to put in the effort needed to start learning the martial arts as it is only within the black belt ranks that true martial wisdom starts to develop.

I use the phrase, “the graduate school of martial arts”, because being a martial system, we don’t teach a singular “martial art” at The Budo Shingikan Dojo. One of my most senior students in our black belt ranks came to us with previous martial arts experience. One day in conversation he said, “Sensei, our Dojo really is the graduate school of martial arts”. I have always taken this type of comment as a HUGE compliment. The fact that so many of my students see the value within studying Budo fills me with joy. I am also extremely lucky because 90% of my students came as black belts in other martial arts, or have a few years of martial art experience. I simply love that our programs at the Budo Shingikan Dojo appeals to both brand new students of the martial arts and to folks who have already taken up the martial arts lifestyle and find a place here at my Dojo for growth and enjoyment in their lives.

The other day I had a new student who came to us for a trial. During the interview process, which we put all new students through as a way to select which students we accept at the Budo Shingikan Dojo, she posed a question, and a very good question. This trial student comes from a martial arts background and asked whether we consider Bushin Ryu to be a “hard” or “soft” style. This is a great question because I feel this is a topic with which we see a lot of confusion within the martial arts community.

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In Oneness,

Dedeuc D’Antonoli Sensei

Founder of the World Bushin Ryu Federation

Founder and Chief Instructor of The Budo Shingikan School of Japanese Martial Arts


Dedeuc D'Antonoli Sensei

What is being a Martial Artist?

What is being a martial artist and living

“The Martial Arts” Lifestyle?

Martial Arts Mesa AZ

I talk about lifestyle quite a bit, more specifically martial arts or the warrior lifestyle. So what is it?

I remember when I started training in martial arts; I was 11 years old and I started studying Kenpo Karate. My Sensei at the time had a “mat chat” with a group of us. There were 15 or so children in the group and Sensei had us huddle up for a story. Sensei started by asking us to imagine a set of twins growing up together in virtually identical ways. As they got older seemingly small differences started to emerge. One of the twins would get up early every day and review the school work he had done the day before and make sure he was fully prepared for the day ahead. The other twin would sleep in and rush to get ready at the last minute, sloppily throwing together what he needed for the day. The twin who got up early generally had enough time to eat a good, healthy breakfast and pack a good lunch for the day. The other twin would grab whatever was available and then buy chips and snacks from the vending machines. After school, the early bird twin would go home and immediately do his homework and make sure his tasks and chores were all finished. Following that he would spend the remaining hours exercising, riding his bike, or participating in other physical activities. The other twin would come home, eat fast food or candy, and then play video games and spend the minimum amount of time available to do some of his homework, often times not having enough time to finish it.

The story had more depth to the behavioral patterns in both twins but I do not remember them all. What I remember most was the construct of the story and the questions Sensei asked after. At the conclusion of the story, Sensei asked us kids what differences we saw in the twins. It was clear what they were, so the next question he asked us was, what would be the differences between the two in a week’s worth of time. Not much right? So, then Sensei asked what would be the differences in 6 months or a year? Well, at this point the conversation got real interesting. Some kids said that the one twin would be out of shape from playing video games all the time and eating junk food so much. Others talked about the twin having bad teeth and cavities due to the bad diet. Others talked about the poor grades the twin would get because he never did his homework completely, and was always ill prepared for the day ahead of him. This list went on and the funny thing is that we children really saw the side effects of the “bad” twin. Rarely did anyone comment on the side effects and successes the “good” twin would receive based on his lifestyle.

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In Oneness,

Dedeuc D’Antonoli Sensei

Founder of the World Bushin Ryu Federation

Founder and Chief Instructor of The Budo Shingikan School of Japanese Martial Arts


Dedeuc D'Antonoli Sensei

Bujutsu – The Way of The Japanese Warrior by Jill Roth

I came in looking for Ninjitsu, but, left with a glimpse at an entire Japanese Martial Art system. The way of the Japanese warrior is actually a combination of many paths. At the Budo Shingikan Dojo the students are guided along five of them, through the system of Bushin Ryu Aiki Bujutsu. This literally translates as “Authentic Style of War Arts Utilizing Harmonious Blending of Energy”. At first glance those concepts may seem to be at war with each other, but as I learned, that is the beauty and balance of this art. (www.martialartsmesa.com) From the moment I chatted with Shannon on the phone I knew we were in good hands. She asked that we arrive 30 minutes early so we could have a tour of the school and be assigned a student to “shadow”. This student would help us a along the way through the class so that we could blend comfortably into the class and learn some basics. She then further shared that we should wear long pants and a t-shirt to be most comfortable in the class. I took Kris Costa, our favorite Editor, along for the adventure.


Entering the dojo was a study in balance. Dedeuc D’Antonoli Kaiso proudly shared that they moved into their new location about a year and a half ago. It is the perfect combination of spacious 21st century warehouse and feudal Japanese simplicity. We were only 10 minutes into the tour when Kaiso demonstrated the intricacies of his art. We were chatting about AiKi, the study of the marriage between body structure and energy. After carefully listening to a question of mine, he clarified with a simple demonstration. He asked me to stand in a typical martial arts front stance with my hand extended in a punch. After I complied he pushed on my extended hand. I noted the familiar concussion as the jarring energy pushed me backwards and my body attempted to accommodate by exerting pressure of it’s own. Next, he asked if he could move my body a little. With my permission he then rotated my hand position about 20 degrees and bent my elbow in. Again, he struck my hand. I was riveted, as I realized my body didn’t have to absorb any of the energy, and I felt his impact flow right out of my right heel into the floor. I had read before about Japanese martial artists wanting to emulate an “immovable mountain”. At 128 lbs, I didn’t think I had an immovable anything. It wasn’t my strength or powerful resistance, rather, the structure of my stance and body position by which the energy flowed right through me.

I was hooked!

Back in the front office we were filling out permission forms when we were introduced to Jim. Jim is referred to as Senpai (sen-pie). In class, he is the highest ranking student. We were to shadow Jim throughout our class. Senpai did a masterful job of guiding us through the ins and outs of the lesson, while gently educating us on the culture and etiquette of the dojo

The first thing I noted upon entering the dojo was the silence. Students are encouraged to remain quiet and I was moved by the centering affect this granted. Before the class the students lined up by rank and knelt in Seiza (say-za). This is a position where you kneel on both knees with your feet tucked under your bottom. We bowed in as each student mindfully placed their left and then right hand on the floor and bowed their head towards their hands. Then, equally mindful, placed their right hand and then left back onto their thighs. We bowed to the front of the room and then to the Sensei. The students recited several words in Japanese. Kaiso then asked one of the students to lead the class in warm ups. It was clear to me that this would be considerably different than classes I had been to before. Rather than warming up with jumping jacks and stretch kicks, we focused more on wrist and hip limbering techniques. Almost all of the stretches were static and each student was responsible to stay within their own limits. We stretched in unison as the leading student counted out the moves. The commands were spoken in Japanese and I was told the students are taught these through a student guide and practice.

Freshly warmed up, we moved onto Ukemi (ooh-kim-e) – tumbling. As new students, Senpai took us to the side and taught us forward rolls. I was guessing that these were designed to make me feel as uncoordinated and humble as possible! However Kaiso, explained that they are actually a very important way to teach us how to fall. He shared that living in such a safe area, we are more likely to get hurt by slipping and falling than by being attacked. Falling gracefully and without injury is an important skill. Senpai’s demonstration did look like a graceful flow of skirts and limbs. My rolls, well, …. not so much.

Next, Kaiso gathered us back into a straight line kneeling in seiza. I noted that if students became uncomfortable in this position that they would bow and then quietly move into a cross-legged position for more comfort. Kaiso asked Senpai to come to the front of the class and they demonstrated an attack with it’s counter move. It was an artful escape and countering control technique one could use if an attacker had both hands held behind you. D’Antonoli Kaiso demonstrated that it wasn’t a tug-of-war between you and your attacker. If there is no conflict, there can be nothing for your attacker to move against. He flowed masterfully out of the grab and Senpai ended up on the ground.


We paired off and attempted to emulate the technique. This was my favorite part of the entire experience. Sensei would visit each pair and make minute changes that made all the difference in the world. He would gladly repeat the technique with you until you could see the differences. In other martial arts schools I have practically felt the testosterone rolling off my instructor as he made the students “comply”. Often times it seemed to me that the students would submit just to stop the pain. This was not like that. Never for a moment did I feel negative energy flowing from Kaiso or Senpai. It was clear that their goal was to share this knowledge until you truly “got it” and without conflict. I felt as if they were effortlessly guiding me through the lesson. It was like the gentle swish swish you feel and hear as you ski down a gentle mountain slope.

Each time we partnered up to practice we would say “Ome gai shimasu”. This is a way of saying that you are trusting your partner with your body and your theirs. You are both sacrificing your body’s security for the potential learning of your partner. Before returning to the line up, each partner says “domo arigato’. Which means “thank you, very much.” After each technique I felt the pride of victory and achievement. Not because I had overpowered, or outmatched my partner, but because we had travelled down this path together.

Later, as Kaiso was demonstrating a technique to me, he explained “I then help my partner to the ground”. I laughed at this, and joked about “how kind he was”. He acknowledged my mirth, but then shared, that this is actually an important point. “Forcing” your opponent to the floor holds a much different feel and energy than “helping” them to the floor. Practitioners of his art, always strive for the absence of “fighting mind” and internal centering is a big part of this. It was interesting to me that there wasn’t any “kihaps” (yells) in the dojo. Ki-haps are used in other martial arts to harness and release your energy during the time of impact. Of course in Bujutsu there is no “point of impact”. The dojo is flush with quiet and centered energy.

Kaiso then called us back to line up and showed us what to do after we had “helped our opponent to the floor”. Again, we paired off and practiced the technique. And, again Senpai insured that I actually understood it. There was no veil of mysticism that would be raised after years of study. He helped me understand it right.


D’Antonoli Kaiso called us back to the line up to have a chat about Chudo (chew-doe) — The way of the middle. He asked the students to put this into their own words. I heard, “balance”, “no extremes”, “taking the center path”. Kaiso expanded upon these definitions. In the martial arts you may have two extremes. For example, you may have one martial art that is teaching you to rip someone’s arm off and take it home for dinner. At the other extreme, a martial art that is completely defensive and would never hurt another. Rather, he spoke of taking the middle path. Not constantly moving through life looking for, and interpreting, signs of an attack. And, not moving through life shying from all attacks and cowering. Rather moving through life with expectations of peace and a willingness to defend oneself if necessary. D’Antonoli Kaiso had explained during our introductory tour that there are five tips that each student must demonstrate to earn their next belt rank. And, like a star, each of these five points need to be equally developed in order to be a complete and well rounded Japanese warrior. They are:

1. Yellow Tip – Koppo Jutsu – punching and kicking techniques,

2. Blue Tip – Jujutsu – grappling/joint locks and chokes,

3. Purple Tip – Aiki no Jutsu – internal components, body mapping and body architecture (structure),

4. Brown Tip – Kobujutsu – weapons – they focus on sword, staff and knife,

5. Black Tip – Martial concepts, principles and philosophies.

Our final lesson of the evening was one in energy. Kaiso invited Senpai up to the front of the class to try and “push him over”. They were both kneeling on the ground, facing each other, with their knees planted wide. Senpai would push against Kaiso and Kaiso would flip him around on the floor with little or no effort. D’Antonoli Kaiso explained that he had no conflict with Senpai. That his mind was actually behind him and that he let the energy flow right through him so there would be no “point of conflict.” Dutifully impressed, we set off with our partners to practice this mystical art.

Guess what? It worked! Again, I had that feeling of complete immovability. I wasn’t “fighting” against Senpai’s force. Rather, I just focused my energy behind him. And, when it was my turn to push against Senpai, it felt absolutely useless. Because I could tell I was actually just pushing him harder into the mat. The only one pushing was me.


We lined up by rank a final time and knelt again in seiza. Kaiso made a couple of school announcements and we mindfully bowed out. What an amazing lesson! After class each of the classmates came up and shook our hands and introduced themselves. It was clear that the dojo was a family and we were welcomed in with open arms. What a wonderful adventure!