Martial Arts

A summary of the things I've studied. Styles in which I trained for fewer than six months aren't mentioned.

An article I wrote about the technical reasons for slapping the ground when breaking a fall can be found here.

Tae Kwon Do

I spent two years (four semesters) studying Tae Kwon Do (1989-1991), training under Dr. Ken Min at UC Berkeley. I advanced to 3rd kyu before I graduated and moved away. I also acted as a teaching assistant in my final semester, teaching one of the beginning TKD classes.

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The picture is a snapshot of me from a California state TKD tournament in San Jose in 1991. I'm in the blue belt, apparently about to throw a back side kick at the guy in the red belt. I lost the match shown above, and went 1-1 in the following UC Open tournament, losing to a Cal teammate who went on to take 2nd place.

Eskrima Serrada

I spent about 6 months studying eskrima serrada, a Filipino stick fighting art, in 1992. My instructor was Khalid Khan, who studied under Angel Cabales in Stockton, CA. He wrote an article about the style for the June 1990 issue of Kung Fu magazine (scanned pages: 68 69 70 71 87).

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Tai Chi Chuan

I practiced Yang style Tai Chi Chuan at the Sunnyvale Recreation Center for about two years, starting in March of 2002.

[front view]

This is a picture of my instructor, Larry Young, about to perform a straight sword form. (The image is a still frame from a low-quality MPEG movie.)

Danzan Ryu Ju-jitsu

As of January 2006 I hold the rank of nidan (2nd degree black belt) in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu. I trained at Kodenkan Jujitsu in Santa Clara from January 1998 to early 2008. It currently operates through the City of Santa Clara recreation department.

I was out for most of 2006 due to shoulder and back injuries that accumulated during my training (eventually requiring an arthroscopic acromioplasty in September '06).

[brown belt 1] [brown belt 2] Two photos from a ceremony in December 1999. I was being promoted from blue belt to brown. One of the traditions is the tying-off of the old belt: the sensei ties the belt into a knot, and you never use it again. (I have a decorative box with my white, blue, and brown belts.) The second photo shows Tony Janovich (left), Clive Guth (right), and me (center).

You can see the training surface in the first photo. We used traditional tatami training mats filled with woven straw, not foam. They were rather old, hence the duct tape along the edges, and years of use had compressed them to the point where they didn't have a lot of give when you landed on them. They were laid directly on top of a concrete floor. This made for a very unforgiving floor for throws; whether it's better or worse than a hardwood floor laid on a raised foundation is debatable.

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From left to right: Chris Love, Tony Janovich, me. This was taken in January 2004, when Chris and I were awarded our first-degree black belts. Sensei Janovich started the dojo with Sig Kufferath many years ago, and is currently the dojo's shihan. Chris and I were awarded our shodan and nidan together, and spent a lot of time training together to prepare. Chris went on to open his own school in Colorado.

Related links:

Krav Maga

[vkm logo]I began studying Krav Maga, the Israeli "defensive tactics system", in June 2007 at the Academy of Self Defense in Santa Clara, CA. Despite being more physically challenging than most (if not all) of the other styles I've practiced, it's easier on my back and shoulder than ju-jitsu -- no high falls or shoulder joint locks at the early levels. Not so easy on my nose, which isn't quite the same shape it used to be.

I was awarded a black belt in Vanguard Krav Maga in September 2014. I've been an assistant instructor at ASD since December 2010 (if I were a full instructor I would get paid, but would also have to show up to staff meetings).

Back in 2009 I also did a bit of training in Brazillian Jiu-jitsu, reaching the mighty rank of 4th degree white belt.

Muay Thai and Boxing

[jivoni and me] Also at ASD, in September 2008 I started training in Western boxing, and in August 2009 started training in Muai Thai. Both styles were taught by Jivoni Jordan. (Photo, courtesy ASD, is from 2018.)

I dropped boxing to focus on Muay Thai, and was headed toward entering a tournament in early 2012 -- one of the sort you do when you're not ready for an official amateur fight yet -- but other things got in the way, and I had to stop training for a while. It's hard to pick up again when you're 43 and getting older every day, so I never did step into the MT ring. As of 2019 I still train occasionally.