May 2012

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What you’ll need: a set of 5- to 10-pound dumbbells

How this workout works: Perform each move for 45 seconds, doing as many reps as possible in that time and resting for 15 seconds between moves. Complete the circuit four times.

Targets shoulders, back, arms, abs, butt, legs

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in left hand in front of hips, palm facing in.
  • Squat and swing dumbbell back between legs.

What you’ll need: a set of 5- to 10-pound dumbbells

How this workout works: Perform each move for 45 seconds, doing as many reps as possible in that time and resting for 15 seconds between moves. Complete the circuit four times.

Targets shoulders, back, arms, abs, butt, legs

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in left hand in front of hips, palm facing in.
  • Squat and swing dumbbell back between legs.

Lever Lunge

Targets shoulders, arms, obliques, legs

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms over head, holding ends of a single dumbbell in each hand.
  • Lunge forward with left leg, bending both knees 90 degrees as you rotate torso to right and lower dumbbell by right knee.
  • Return to start, then repeat. Switch sides for the next circuit.

  • With hips facing forward, rotate torso to right. Return to center, lower arms to start.
  • Repeat to left to complete 1 rep.

Sidewinder

Targets shoulders, triceps, abs, butt, legs

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, then lower into a squat, placing palms on floor in front of feet.

Jump 180

Targets abs, butt, quads

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms by sides.
  • Lower into a deep squat and raise arms, slightly bent, forward to chest level.
  • Jump up, swinging arms behind as you turn body 180 degrees in midair toward right to land in a squat facing in opposite direction. MAKE IT EASIER: Turn just 90 degrees in midair to land facing right.


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by Kelly McCann  

Kelly McCann on How Limiting Your Arsenal of Self-Defense Moves Can Actually Improve Your H2HC SkillI was recently fortunate to train, have dinner with and catch up with two friends who recently returned from Afghanistan. They’re members of a special-mission unit composed of some of the nation’s best warriors; they are to warfare what Olympic athletes are to sports. One is a serious martial artist and MMA practitioner, the other a combatives junkie who seeks exposure to virtually anything he believes will hone his self-defense moves, including kali, jeet kune do and more esoteric systems. Both practice hand-to-hand combat (H2HC) techniques and straight combatives regularly. Both have closed with enemy forces scores of times over the past eight years. Their unit has the intensity, funding and diligence to approach training and fitness in the most scientific and sophisticated ways. They’re able to take advantage of any training course the Command agrees is useful.

Their fighting program encompasses boxing, jiu-jitsu, muay Thai, MMA and various forms of straight combatives. They believe the aforementioned combat sports promote conditioning and athleticism and foster a fighting mentality, while combatives leverages each of those skill sets and provides a streamlined, functional battle-space approach.

Why Less Can Be More in the World of Self-Defense Moves

Our conversation got around to martial arts, combatives, personal preferences, H2HC, organizational needs and training. Interestingly, despite being exposed to a wide variety of self-defense moves, both agreed that isolating and mastering fewer H2HC techniques that are, or become, personally intuitive — no matter where they originate — is critical to prevailing in individual combat.

In other words, truly mastering the fundamentals of some self-defense moves results in a higher probability of achieving success than does having a passing familiarity with significantly more H2HC techniques — many of which might easily fit into the nice-to-know category.

They pointed out, for example, that of the many submission techniques that exist, fewer than 10 account for the majority of wins in MMA. Among them were the arm triangle, leg triangle, rear-naked choke, kimura, Americana, heel hook, armbar and guillotine. Similarly, any boxer who can get in and out cleanly, use angles, fire jabs and crosses like rifle shots, intuitively counterpunch, implement a bomb-proof guard and move well solidifies himself as an opponent worthy of respect.

In both examples, they’re pretty fundamental techniques, yet that’s what normally wins in combat sports. My friends’ point was that their H2HC experiences proved the same. Relatively few fundamental self-defense moves answer the mail over and over again.

How Many Self-Defense Moves Should You Learn for Optimal H2HC Capability?

There’s a simple, truthful elegance to answering the question, “But how many self-defense moves should I learn?” with one word: “Enough.” The trouble is, finite curricula sometimes leave people feeling doubtful, as if they don’t have enough tools or H2HC techniques in their toolboxes. I suggest they worry whether they have the right tools in their toolboxes and whether they’re reliable.

Concern about the sheer volume of self-defense moves is usually the result of resisting the grind that living a combative or martial life is. It’s the result of accepting one’s skill level with any given technique instead of improving the execution of those self-defense moves; adding more when a person hasn’t mastered what he’s got is futile. Is another H2HC technique really necessary, or does the person just lack the skill to adapt and apply the fundamental in a broader set of situations?

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by Tom Koch

Modern Aikido: Moves and Meaning (Part 1)Forget the politics that have divided the founder Morihei Ueshiba’s aikido into a half-dozen communities, all calling themselves aikido. There are, in truth, only two aikido camps today: one mostly hidden, some say forgotten, and the other ascendant.

The first is a fearsome martial art cobbled together from older Japanese styles, resulting in a pattern of off-balancing entries, devastating throws and effective joint locks. That was the system Ueshiba, also known as O-Sensei, used in 70 matches when adepts from other styles came by to ask for a “lesson.”

The second is a noncombat-related practice in which aikido moves are taught to advance Ueshiba’s social philosophy, one in which effectiveness is at best secondary to goals of personal balance and communal harmony. That is hombu aikido today, the discipline that’s advanced by the founder’s grandson, Moriteru Ueshiba, the current head, or doshu, of the style. That doesn’t mean the aikido moves he teaches are ineffective, only that martial excellence is, for him, a secondary concern.

Hawaii Event Celebrates Tradition and Offers Forum for Practice of Aikido Moves That was the message preached and repeated at Aikido Celebration 2011 in Honolulu. Fifty years before, O-Sensei traveled to Hawaii on his only teaching trip outside Japan to dedicate Honolulu Aikido Dojo, a 130-mat building that was to be the center from which his art would spread through the state and to the world. His grandson, as well as his son and eventual successor, were there to rededicate the dojoand reaffirm the art’s message.

In 1961 O-Sensei came to teach a small community of largely Japanese-Hawaiian students, many of them practitioners of other arts. Most were looking to reconnect with Japan, seeking to join their heritage with their post-World War II American lives. Aikido, some said, would be the answer. “I wish to build a bridge to bring the different countries of the world together through the harmony and love contained in aikido,” O-Sensei said. “I think that aiki, offspring of the martial arts, can unite the people of the world in harmony, in the true spirit of budo, enveloping the world in unchanging love.”

If Japanese-Hawaiian students were looking for links to the Old World and its ways, they would be O-Sensei’s link to the world that was evolving. The Hawaii event was a celebration of that local history and the founder’s pledge to spread his message to the world. Talk about bridge building: On the practice mat were more than 400 instructors and students from 15 countries engaged in aikido moves.

The whole production — from opening ceremony to the doshu’s last-day demonstration of aikido moves — brought together Hawaii’s disparate community of practitioners. For a few days at least, O-Sensei’s harmonious bridge seemed real. Under celebration president Glen Shoji Yoshida, sixth dan, everything worked well as dojo members from Hawaii’s various islands pitched in to make it a success.

For Hawaii, a microcosm of aikido’s many technical disputes and stylistic splits, that was unprecedented. If Hawaii was to be the base for the founder’s bridge, it was also where the bridge supports first fractured. It was in Hawaii in the 1970s that Koichi Tohei, then the senior instructor of Ueshiba’s aikido in Honolulu, broke away after the founder’s death to create shin shin to itsu, known today as Ki Society aikido.

Ever since that split, hombu-style practitioners have tended to discord and division, splitting from their original schools to pursue their own ideas regarding aikido moves. Each new dojo chooses a slightly different mix of martial practice and philosophy, with most instructors insisting their idea of how to meld martial practice and social harmony is the real path.

The Art Today: Aikido Moves and Aikido Spirit

That, the doshu said with Yoshida translating, is the way it should be. “It depends on how the instructor has internalized these different aspects, martial or philosophical, and how he or she pursues it,” the doshu said. “Whether you do it one way or the other, you’re still doing what is aikido, strengthening your body and spirit.”

Some teachers are interested in practical applications of aikido moves, while others seek a less-martial, almost philosophical practice. Some teach weapons while others do not. “It’s all aikido,” the doshu said, different parts of the whole. And really, he continued, this is the way it has always been, the way styles have stayed fresh. People train, develop and practice aikido moves, then they teach others who appreciate their ideas. “To have an example in front of you is to have the traditional way we’ve done it in Japan in budo and bujutsu, and O-Sensei took this as the way to train.”

If some wish to make basic aikido moves into a practical self-defense art, that’s fine, the doshu said, but for him, martial excellence is a secondary result. In contrast with most modern arts, aikido permits no competition. But then Japanese martial arts have never been solely about fighting.

Jigoro Kano, founder of judo, sought to create a modern art that could be an Olympic sport and serve as a vehicle for international cooperation. Gichin Funakoshi, founder of shotokan, wanted an art that would foster individual betterment and social advancement.

“Aikido’s foundation is in the ancient warring techniques,” the doshu said. “What the founder did was take elements of this physical training, mental training and spiritual training and create a system that anyone can practice.”

Time and again, the doshu insisted on one thing: Aikido is a system of practice based on older arts but whose goal is to bring people together for mutual benefit. It comes from Japanese martial arts but is not just a practical art. Rather, it’s a philosophy learned through practice. “The evidence of what we do is in the people who are pursuing aikido throughout the world, strengthening their bodies and minds,” he said.

Continued in Modern Aikido: Moves and Meaning (Part 2)

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by Dana Abbott

Excellence in swordsmanship demands that one make a conscious effort to learn and execute correct techniques and practical cuts with samurai weapons while living in accordance with bushido virtues — the samurai code for living. With time and experience, and assuming a certain level of physical ability and perseverance in diligent practice with samurai weapons, the road to self-mastery can be traveled by anyone in a relatively short period. When the road is not correctly navigated, however, self-mastery can elude one for a lifetime.

The Samurai Code of Bushido: Meeting of Mind and Weapon

The key to self-mastery is the melding of body and samurai weapons such as the sword, thus creating an inner spirit. The samurai code stemmed from an understanding of this need to control the mind and body, and so they developed a keen but subtle awareness to aid its pursuit. Without such total involvement, they found it difficult to adhere to bushido virtues or excel at any phase of a disciplined life.

Practicing the Samurai Code of Bushido Means Acting Responsibly As the samurai practiced bushido virtues and followed the precarious path to self-mastery, they could be forced to act as judge, jury and executioner when the occasion demanded. Yet their social status, the strict Japanese way of life — and, additionally, the samurai code of bushido — imposed certain responsibilities. They were forced to look beyond the present to the consequences of their actions and contemplate the possible results of using their samurai weapons. One reason they were so respected is they demonstrated exceptional perception and a sensitivity for the intricacies of wielding bladed samurai weapons while adhering to not only bushido virtues but to the moral precepts of the time.

These individuals were always conscious of their razor-sharp samurai weapons even as they acted in accord with their social position, which commanded reverence on and off the battlefield. They believed that to live and die by the blade was a point of honor. Because war was a proving ground for them, they quickly learned how to live from day to day, skirmish to skirmish, battle to battle. In the face of conflict, they gained insight into survival using all the knowledge they’d accumulated during their lives. That made the battlefield the ultimate arena for testing mettle and fortitude.

Two Types of Samurai Weapons Warriors

In war, the samurai were masters of destruction. They slowly began to comprehend the delicate balance between life and death. Many were aware that they might fall in battle, so they adhered to a strict code of ethics — the samurai code of bushido. If they were going to die, they wanted to do so with dignity and humility and without thought for their own welfare. In this light, a samurai who controlled his own destiny, and did it well in accordance with bushido virtues, achieved self-mastery.

Not all of these warriors adhered to the samurai code of bushido. Some had no desire to live by bushido virtues or fulfill their social responsibilities and discarded honor while manipulating others for their own benefit. They wished to experience again and again the sensation of using their samurai weapons to kill without putting themselves in harm’s way as one would do in battle. They frequently derived pleasure from using their samurai weapons to cut down unarmed peasants in the field.

Today, we’d call such men serial killers. They terminated life not for their clan or their lord; they used their samurai weapons to kill for sport while pretending to be true samurai — a blatant violation of the samurai code of bushido. Such men were the source of much grief throughout the ages and the perfect illustration of how the quest for self-mastery can go awry.

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By Juno DeMelo

Craving an energy boost? We ate our way through dozens of contenders to bring you the best.

Raise the Bar

When you’re on the go, an energy bar is one of the handiest and healthiest snacks around. But it can be tough to tell the good ones from the candy bars in disguise. No worries — we did the work for you, enlisting a team of nutritionists to find options with minimal added sugar, 200 or fewer calories, and at least three grams of both fiber and protein per full-size bar­. And then we taste-tested every one! Keep these winners in your purse, gym bag, or desk drawer for a satisfying bite wherever you are.

Luna Bar Chocolate-Dipped Coconut

This 70-percent-organic bar “taste like a Samoa,” the classic chocolate-drizzled Girl Scout cookie, testers told us. No need to pair it with a glass of milk, though: It contains 35 percent of the 1,000 milligrams of calcium you need in a day, plus vitamin D. (190 calories)

Clif Crunch Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bar

The generous portion — you get two bars in a serving — and extra-crunchy texture make this bar a standout. Try crumbling it over low-fat plain Greek yogurt for a delicious, healthy breakfast. (190 calories)

Balance Bar Bare Blueberry Acai

With 15 grams of protein — more than any other contender — this yogurt-coated bar is perfect for post-workout refueling. (200 calories)

ThinkThin Crunch Fruit & Nut Cranberry Apple & Mixed Nuts

Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan of this gluten-free line of snacks, and it’s no wonder: The variety we sampled has nearly half the sugar and about twice the protein of many fruit-and-nut bars. (170 calories)

Corazonas Blueberry Oatmeal Squares

“Yum! This tastes more like a baked good than a bar,” one tester said. Even better, each contains natural plant sterols and 17 grams of whole grains, both of which may help lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol. (180 calories)

Pure Naturals Peanut-Raisin Crunch Bar

 Kill two cravings with one of these salty-sweet snacks. They have a chewy texture that’s “like a Snickers bar,” testers said, but without the chocolate or the additional 21 grams of sugar. (200 calories)

Rise Raspberry-Pomegranate Energy + Bar

  Numerous testers likened the consistency and “fruity, but not too sweet” flavor of this date-based bar to the filling of a Fig Newton. It’s ideal for those who don’t eat gluten, dairy, soy, or peanuts. (200 calories)

Kind Fruit & Nut Delight Mini

Four kinds of nuts give this petite pick a surprising amount of staying power. Eat one a couple of hours before a big meal, when you need to take the edge off your hunger. (108 calories)

What Makes a Winner

Companies submitted more than 60 new bars to FITNESS. Our experts — Anar Allidina, RD, a dietitian in private practice in Toronto; Keri Gans, RD, author of The Small Change Diet; and Marissa Lippert, RD, author of The Cheater’s Diet — analyzed the nutrition facts and ingredients to help us determine which ones deserved to move to the next round of judging. Those finalists were sampled and voted on by dozens of staffers in a blind taste-test.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2012.

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by Avi Nardia
In the Israeli martial arts, kapap defines “impact” as a force or shock that strikes a target. While this may seem like a simple statement for a powerful force, it remains an apt definition because it is all-inclusive. Rather than define impact as a kick or punch, Israeli martial arts practitioners using kapap techniques define impact as any force that can be applied by anything. This not only includes kicks and strikes but also defensive impacts, like blocks, or offensive impacts made by weapons, such as guns, sticks and knives.

Because the definition is so broad, practitioners of kapap techniques in the Israeli martial arts are able to borrow moves from a variety of systems to create their own well-rounded impact defense. In the case of the first Jewish settlers of Palestine, they chose to use sticks as impact weapons because they had very few self-defense options, whereas the modern combatant using kapap techniques has many combat systems and martial arts from which to choose.

ISRAELI MARTIAL ARTS: KAPAP TECHNIQUES VIDEO
Avi Nardia Demonstrates the Use of Human Pressure Points to Take Down an Opponent

The Full Scope of Impact in Israeli Martial Arts

It’s also important to remember that impact in kapap techniques covers much more than just hitting your opponent. Instead, it requires knowledge, understanding and common sense. As a person aware of your relative position in life, do you know what impacts your body has been conditioned to withstand? Or do you know how strong of an impact you’re capable of launching?

In the end, impact in kapap techniques is never about brute strength. Use your best weapon — your brain — to make the right choice during a close-quarters conflict to escape and live to fight another day.

Using Human Pressure Points in Kapap Techniques

When some people think about the concept of impact, they imagine a punch sending someone through a wall. However, an impact can be something as simple as a pressure-point attack, which is a powerful force applied to human pressure points — small points on the body.

Pressure-point techniques are also useful surprise moves because human pressure points are located in areas of the body that most people consider to be part of their “personal space.” This means that your opponent might not expect his personal space to be penetrated with a pressure-point technique, even during a real conflict.

While human pressure points might seem easy to learn, their effectiveness depends on the ability, skill, mental awareness and physical fitness of both the defender and attacker. For example, an opponent high on drugs might not know that he is being hit in a sensitive spot. If that happens, then it’s best to consider your relative position and use a restraining technique instead of trying to exploit his human pressure points.

The Mask: Using Human Pressure Points to Take Down an Opponent With Just One Finger

Though it may seem improbable, you can take down an opponent just with one finger. The masking technique uses one of the human pressure points found under the nose to immobilize an attacker.

In the above video, I apply pressure with my forefinger to a point just above the demonstration opponent’s lip. This prevents the man from walking forward — but if he does, further pressure will force his head backward.

The “mask” technique helps me control the situation. With my opponent off-balance and uncertain because of the exertion against one of his human pressure points, my hand masks the opponent’s face. I can further control the situation by pressing into the man’s eyes before taking him to the ground.

When using kapap techniques such as this, avoid masking an adversary between the lips because he might bite you. From the mask, I can use other kapap techniques such as a rear choke hold, bringing his right arm under the opponent’s chin and placing his right hand alongside his own head. I then apply pressure by squeezing.

Learning Israeli Martial Arts is a Lifelong Pursuit

There is always more to learn, and the information in the video on this page — and in the book and DVD series titled Kapap Combat Concepts: Martial Arts of the Israeli Special Forces — is just a starting point. One source will never give you a complete understanding of combat. Whether you’re a student or an instructor, it’s always important to find qualified teachers, educational outlets and other resources to add to your base of knowledge.

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