Monday, March 20, 2017

Exploring The Strengths And Weaknesses Of Judo Grapples And Grips

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Many grappling-based martial arts have their own preferred methods of taking hold and throwing opponents. Judo, arguably the most famous of these sports, relies on gripping and throwing their opponent to end the match quickly once the opponent is pinned down in a submission hold.

Judo is a passive discipline, relying on using the opponent’s force and momentum against them. This makes every grapple and grip an excellent defense against an active, charging opponent. The art also emphasizes heavily on chokes and joint locks, all vital to the all-important need to bring the opponent down.

This does have the disadvantage of making judoka less resilient in the face of strikes because judo’s opening offensive moves are heavily dependent on grabbing an opponent.

A competitive contemporary judo match begins with a contest of grips, which aim to grab hold of the opponent’s body or clothing to bring them to a position where they can be properly thrown and pinned. Besides their innate limitations, grabs are among the most neglected moves by amateur judoka. A mastery of an excellent grab can turn the tides in a judoka’s favor rather quickly.

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This emphasis on countering charging force and being largely reactive contributes to judo’s popularity as a means of self-defense. Judo grabs and tackles are an excellent way to defend oneself from assailants, designed as it was to incapacitate armed opponents. Here, judoka has at their side the element of surprise, also a vital tool when sparring against non-judoka martial artists.

Peter Spennato is a martial artist and an NRA and DOJ-certified instructor who has had years of training in judo and Korean Tang Soo Doo behind him. Visit this blog for more updates on martial arts training and practice.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Close Quarters Combat: Powerful, Efficient, And Lethal

Military units, police forces, and other law enforcement officers can sometimes find themselves in situations that require them to engage in physical confrontations with other enemies or other combatants. To prepare themselves for such scenarios, they are taught a tactical fighting technique that takes advantage of their physical attributes and personal weapons – close quarters combat (CQC).

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The hand-to-hand combat component of close quarters combat combines various martial art forms, including boxing, wrestling, and Muay Thai, among others. The disciplines utilized are those that allow the practitioner to quickly dispatch of opponents because of the possibilities of facing several enemies or the presence of hostages or civilians.

Close quarters combat also require great proficiency with weapons (from knives and bayonets to pistols and other guns), along with ammunition, protective gears, and special maneuvers. There is a need to make the right decisions in a split-second because of perilous situations.

The combat technique originated during latter part of the Shanghai International Settlement when heavy opium trade was widespread in the city; and to add to that, there was extreme political chaos because of the ongoing Chinese Civil War.

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Then Shanghai Municipal Police Assistant Commissioner William Fairbairn was tasked to establish an auxiliary squad specifically for riot control and aggressive policing. They were taught a variety of martial art forms and gun combat techniques. They were also trained in effectively using ordinary things as ad hoc weapons.

Peter Spennato has undergone martial arts training for decades. He is also proficient in handling CQB handguns and edged weapons, having trained under SWAT commander Rick Brown, Navy SEAL Jeff Gonzales, and federally certified force options instructor Steve Tarani. Read more about martial arts and combat techniques by subscribing to this blog.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Drawing The Line Between Self-Defense And Martial Arts

A lot of people, even practitioners of both methods, often think that self-defense and martial arts are interchangeable. Aligning the two terms seems just about right, but there’s actually a line that separates them:

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Martial arts do not give anyone license to pick fights in the streets. Many martial arts have cultural and historical value, and were created when people had to defend their countries and families from opponents. The techniques used in martial arts go way back, and they are usually derived from the every day lives of the people who pioneered them.

Martial arts hold a physical, cultural, and spiritual connection to those who practice it, although globally, they are seen as sports. People who train for years in a specific art have belts, uniforms, and trophies that define their level. There is hierarchy among practitioners (masters, teachers, students), and there are specific arts revering and following their founders’ legacy.

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What then is self-defense program, if martial arts is mostly a traditional practice or a sporting event? Self-defense does not follow tradition or hierarchy. People train to gain practical skills for real life attacks. It does not require many years or decades of training, but learners can immediately gain techniques to protect themselves. Many self-defense programs borrow techniques from martial arts, but the goal is to teach students in carefully deciding between fight and flight during attacks.

Peter Spennato, DDS is a martial arts practitioner and a weapons specialist. Visit this page for similar articles.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Points and tips for starting martial arts after 40

From the term "martial arts" one can easily deduce that, while these are primarily used for sports or after-school activities these days, there's still a high degree of physicality and body contact involved. The question is, can someone aged 40 or older still participate in martial arts since older people aren't as spry as they used to be? If so, which styles should they look into?

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The good news is that, barring any health complications, any older men and women with interest in the martial arts can start (or continue) practicing martial arts. That said, it's important to evaluate one's physical condition before committing to a class. High-impact, fast-moving styles like Muay Thai are probably more suited to those who exercise regularly, but perhaps one can ease into those after training in a slower martial art such as T'ai Chi.

Speaking of styles, there are many options available from all over. Popular among older adults is the aforementioned T'ai Chi, a gentler, meditative martial art from China that can be practiced alone or with a group. Meanwhile, the Japanese Aikido is great because it puts much focus on self-defense although students will also learn some offensive techniques. For those who want to learn weapons-based arts, there are the stick-fighting Eskrima and the sword-reliant Kendo, among others.

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The options for older adults (or martial arts students of any age) are almost unlimited. However, it's integral to find a martial arts instructor who will be able to address any health or physical concerns with regards to learning martial arts.

Peter Spennato has practiced a variety of martial arts styles throughout the years. Follow him on Google+ to read more about martial arts.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Korean Martial Arts: An Introduction

The popular belief when it comes to martial arts is that its origins are in Asia, specifically in Japan and China. Korea, however, has its share of martial arts. Of course, aside from the ever-popular Olympic sport taekwondo, Korea has produced a number of fascinating hand-to-hand battle techniques that people may find effective. Below are three of them.


Hapkido employs the use of a number of long-range and close-quarter offensive and defensive techniques. Practitioners can strike with flying kicks and hand attacks from a distance, and they can also perform joint locks, and target pressure points up close. Throws are also a huge part of a hapkido fighter’s arsenal.

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Taekkyon practitioners rely heavily on swift and flowing footwork. The utilization of the arms comes secondary to the martial art’s emphasis on legwork. The use of multi-level kicks and sweeps greatly aids taekkyon users in the stand-up game, which means experts have an excellent grasp on balance.


This sword art has its roots in the legendary Japanese technique of kendo. Kumdo though is much more recent. One look at the movements of kumdo practitioners, and it’s plain to see that it is almost identical to its Japanese cousin. It is so close that Korean kumdo teams have competed in the World Kendo Championships.

Peter Spennato has decades of experience to offer for people interested in self-defense. He is an expert in the Korean martial art of Tang Soo Doo, among others. Learn more about him by visiting his Facebook page.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Gentle Way: A Primer To The Philosophy Of Judo

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Judo, from the words Ju (gentle) and Do (way), is a dynamic combat sport that originated in Japan during the samurai and feudal era. It is a highly underrated practice in the mixed martial arts arena. Some believe that it is because of its inherent simplicity that many people underestimate its practicality. Unlike other martial arts, judo does not involve kicking or striking, nor are there any equipment or weapons involved. Instead, judo was developed to subdue an opponent by using forces of balance and movement. In a standing position, judo allows one to lift and throw opponents onto their backs. From there, judo techniques pin opponents to the ground to control them, using chokeholds or joint locks until the opponent submit.

This is why it is called the gentle way. Masters use techniques that seem simple and gentle but require a complete understanding of physics and human movement. Judo uses the gentleness of motions to gain power over an opponent. It has often been said that seeing a true judo master is like watching a dancer perform. There is grace in this martial art. That said, judo
requires diligence and persistence. It is one of the more rigorous sports as masters need to be both strong and agile. It is also necessary for masters to have fast reaction times and proper coordination. Nevertheless, these are attributes that can be properly honed with daily and constant practice.
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Those interested in learning judo should understand that it was developed with the aim for simplicity. All movements should thus seem effortless and graceful.

Peter Spennato is a trained mixed martial arts specialist. His focus is judo and Korean Tang Soo Doo. Learn more about him by viewing this LinkedIn page.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Veterans And Fly Fishing: a Calming Therapy For The Mind

Men in uniform are the heroes of the United States or any other country for that matter. They have sacrificed a lot to fight for their country, leaving behind their families, friends, and their home. However, the battlefield is a harsh and unforgiving environment and every time they step on its tattered grounds, the risk of not making it back home multiplies a thousand fold. There are numerous instances where their risk pays off, and they can go back home safely, but sometimes this comes with a heavy price. They aren’t the same person they were before. The battlefield leaves them with immense trauma.
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 The Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing was founded to help disabled active service personnel and disabled veterans achieve physical and emotional recovery through fly fishing. According to the project’s president, fly fishing is a therapeutic activity that touches the body, mind, and soul. It is an incredible sport where millions of individuals from all over the world partake in.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common health problems that soldiers returning from battle face. That is why the organization is promoting fly fishing because it has been proven to help individuals cope with the symptoms of the disorder. It is also able to help them get back into a healthy social environment because it allows them to meet different individuals and form meaningful relationships, aiding in the overall healing process.

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Peter Spennato is a martial artist and an NRA and DOJ-certified instructor. He is also into outdoor sports and adventures, including boating and fly fishing. Visit this blog for more on his interests.