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My New Dojo

KSK LogoSo I’ve started training at a new school. KSK Martial Arts is my new training home. What a great group of guys, but more on the later.

At KSK the focus is on practical training, but still paying respect to the traditions of the martial arts. What it’s not is an MMA gym, there’s a culture of respect and humility, and an attitude similar to any you’d find in the most traditional studios. The instructor calls his system a curriculum, not a style. My understanding is that it’s a collection of techniques from Jeet Kune Do, MMA, and various Philippine martial arts. What’s different is the way, and the order in which they are taught. The system is broken down into: striking, trapping, clinching, manipulation, and grappling. Many of the techniques taught are surprisingly applicable in all of these classifications.

Guru T. Kent Nelson is the instructor you can see his qualifications here, needless to say he is an expert in what he teaches. The quality of the students reflect his teaching philosophy, they have been patient with me as I’m learning, quick to laugh, and talented martial artists.

The ground work is totally new to me, and instead of teaching me techniques right off the bat, guru Nelson has instructed me to take some time to get comfortable on the ground, working the wrist and arm techniques taught from the trapping drills. The students I’m rolling with are allowing me to really learn and get comfortable, without it being a competition when we hit the mat.

I’m very happy to have found KSK martial arts and add them to my expanding family of awesome martial artists.


Written by Dan

September 22, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Posted in Martial Arts

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Marharlika Kuntaw Seminar

Saturday, December 5th, Brian “Buzz” Smith taught Marharlika Kuntaw (Way of the Royal Fist or Filipino Art of The fist) at the Innovative Martial Arts dojo. It was eight hours of great concept-based teaching. Buzz has a real knack for showing a technique and then describing the concept behind it and how you can expand that concept. It’s not about learning more techniques, but it’s about learning a concept that opens up more techniques just by nature of doing it.

We also learned some staff work, applying the same approach. Always attack in a way that doesn’t help power your opponents staff into your skull. Sound advice! As I’ve always discovered, the concepts are actually so simple that they tend to get overlooked. “It’s so easy!” was a common phrase at the seminar.

We all got to share an incredibly intimate moment as Buzz proposed to his long-lost, recently found (well, 2 years recent 😉 ) high-school love, Deb. What a great testament to the family of martial artists that have sprung up in Grand Rapids. Thanks for being our hub Sensei Pippin.

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Written by Sterling

December 7, 2009 at 11:10 am

Posted in uncategorized

PSP Seminar in Grand Rapids

Guru Sean Stark was kind enough to come all the way to Grand Rapids just to put the hurt on Sterling. Check back for an inspired post-seminar post.

For more photo’s go here.

To get more info on PSP go here.

Written by Dan

July 10, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Posted in uncategorized

Dojo Tour with Terry Trahan

I had the distinct pleasure to interview Terry Trahan at our Spring Gathering 2009. This was a great interview with some great advice from a guy who’s got real world experience. Follow a link to the permanent page and enjoy.

Dojo Tours (Terry Trahan)

Written by Sterling

June 7, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Posted in uncategorized

Unarmed defense against a knife?

I’ve always been skeptical about unarmed defense against a knife (UDAK), I think it’s important to train in all aspects of the martial arts, but with UDAK is there really any point?

Watch the video, look at the size of those guys, and many of them seems well trained. But in a small room, with someone pumping a knife into your gut like a jackhammer, there’s little hope, if any, to survive. Many of the “survival” techniques in the video depend on you pulling out your gun. OK, I think it’s training for bodyguards and the like, but what happens to the poor sap that doesn’t have a gun? Screwed…

So where does that leave us? My advice, is to train with the assumption that your opponent is untrained, or you have a weapon. If you’re facing a trained knife fighter, even one with minimal training, and you don’t have a weapon, you will not survive.

There is a possibility that I’m wrong, no matter how slight. So, I would also say don’t stop experimenting and learning, and if you do find yourself in the unfortunate position, never stop fighting. Sometimes even a trained knife fighter can make a mistake and give you the opportunity you need to survive.

Written by Dan

May 15, 2009 at 10:26 am

Posted in knife, Martial Arts

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It means tiger, and it is painful on the legs. Sensei Nick teaches us some Harimau and it is really good stuff. He got everyone thinking about level changes during combat. And it looks cool, too. We took a few videos so enjoy!

This is a clip of the style, to see what we worked on check out the links
(btw, I think Nick is on the right in the picture at the beginning of the video)

Edit: Nick is an instructor in Pencak Silat Sharaf.

Harimau Overview

Basic Movement Pattern


Attribute Builders

Gun Groundwork



Written by Sterling

May 6, 2009 at 8:00 am

Posted in Martial Arts, silat, videos

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Learning vs. Practicing

PracticeI enjoy learning new things. It’s just part of my character. I’m not a big fan of practicing. So to drill the same thing over and over again, does not hold my interest.

The unfortunate fact of life is that you can never be great without practice, and lots of it. With talent alone you can be good, but to truly excel at anything you’ve got to practice.

Repetition grinds action into long term memory. These long term memories serve as domain knowledge in order to give you perspective on other learning experiences. Without practice the knowledge will not be stored in long term memory.

Martial arts provides a good example. If I practice a jab for an extended period of time, I will have a great deal of domain knowledge about jabs, more so then someone that practices a variety of techniques. I will also be able to evaluate other techniques against that knowledge. There is a balance to this and identifying your goal is important. If your goal is to be the the guru of jabbing, you’ve got to practice techniques within that domain.

It’s the same with martial art styles in general, if you want to be an expert in a given system you have to practice that system, the more you practice within that domain, the more expert you become. When you practice in different systems you gain perspective at a different level, your expertise becomes more general. The brain handles narrow domain knowledge better then broad, the factors become too many to effectively evaluate a particular technique. Your knowledge becomes more general.

Thus, you can never be at the top of a domain unless you relentlessly practice. If the domain is to broad, you’ll never be able to process all the experience to reach a level that you would have if you stuck with something more specific.

Written by Dan

April 28, 2009 at 9:37 am

Posted in Life, Martial Arts

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