Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai – Review

Hagakure - The Book of the SamuraiI was first introduced to Hagakure – The Book of the Samurai via the movie Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (one of my favorite flicks). In that movie, the main character “Ghost Dog” (played by Forest Whitaker) carries around the book Hagakure, and the movie is interspersed with passages from the book read by Ghost Dog as narrator. The book is a collection of thoughts by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, compiled after the death of his master, and Tsunetomo had retired to the mountains. In this book he expresses a lifetime of thinking on the nature of what it means to be a warrior, and how to live in a truthful manner (aka, following “The Way”). As martial artists we look for truth in action, and Tsunetomo sought to also find truth in life, indicating that this is how a warrior should strive to live. Continue reading “Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai – Review”

Double Leg Takedown Penetration Drills for Leg Endurance

Recently at class our instructor had us drilling technique to improve our double leg takedowns. The drills were  focused on improving the penetration step, so that was the area we focused on more so than actually finishing the takedown (though we did get to that by the end of class). It was a grueling workout that caused my legs to burn in a way they haven’t in a long time. At our school we have pretty lengthy mat space, which means that as we did our penetration shots down the mat we were able to get LOTS of repetitions.

Here is the sequence we roughly followed:

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Grappling Dummy Buyer’s Guide


We’re all looking for ways to improve our jiu jitsu off the mats. From taking supplements, fixing our diets, exercise and watching YouTube videos there are plenty of different ways to up your game when you’re not at the gym. Arguably a grappling dummy can be a useful tool to help drill concepts and moves when you don’t have a training partner. But what type of dummy is right for you? There are a couple of different types of dummies and a variety of companies making each. Identifying your goals will help you to determine which type of grappling dummy to purchase.

Grappling vs Throwing Dummies

Depending on your goals you may be more interested in a grappling dummy OR a throwing a dummy. A standard grappling dummy is generally more flexible than a throwing dummy, lighter, and easier to practice more variety of movements on than a throwing dummy. You can sit a grappling dummy up in your guard, and you can practice leg locks on a grappling dummy. A throwing dummy on the other hand will allow you to practice some grappling techniques on, but where they really shine is giving you a good way to practice throws. They are heavier than grappling dummies, and more durable. Throwing dummies can give you a good workout and double as a ground and pound heavy bag. I’ve even seen some people hang their throwing dummies similarly to a heavy bag to get double duty out of them.

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Masakazu Imanari shows Leg Locks

Masakazu Imanari is a Japanese MMA fighter and grappler who is renowned for his leglock skills. His nickname “Ashikan Judan” means “The Great Master of Leg Submission”, and  the “Imanari Roll” and “Imanari Choke” are moves named after this leg lock master.

In the video below Masakazu Imanari shows off the leg lock skills that earned him accolades as a grappler:

Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings – Review

Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings is a classic text on Japanese Swordsmanship and martial arts philosophy.  Musashi was a swordsman, philosopher and ronin who lived in 16th century Japan and was the founder of the Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship. He had an undefeated record of 61 duels.

Musashi’s Book of Five Rings details his strategy on fighting, but as with many martial arts philosophical texts, the ideas can be applied to everyday life.

The book is divided into 5 parts as the title would suggest:

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