Full Circle Jujitsu

How to Open a Martial Arts School Part 2

How to open your own martial arts school part 2

This part two of my blog on how to open your own martial arts school.  For part one please visit here: How to Open a Martial Arts School Part 1


The latest fashionable trend in the martial arts is the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) school.  The Brazilian’s (Brazilian Jiujitsu) are also en vogue to an extent although they more owned the 90’s to 2000’s (a very good run).  Trends come and go in the martial arts as with anything in life.  Chasing trends is historically a recipe for disaster.  In the 50’s you were packed if you had a Judo school.  In the 60’s all you had to do was put up a sign saying “karate lessons” and you were guaranteed classes of 30 or more.  In the 70s kung fu was king as a direct result of what people thought they saw in Bruce Lee movies.  In the 80s ninjutsu was the ultimate in combat.  Legitimate (or not) instructors could receive thousands of dollars plus expenses for a single seminar!  In the 80’s everyone was a ninjutsu master just as now every school claims to teach MMA.  In all fairness the term Mixed Martial Arts leaves itself to broad interpretation as that can mean literally any two arts combined.  Although we all know what one is actually looking for in an MMA school.  A cautionary tale on trend chasing comes from another business that deals in physicality: the gym franchise.  Gyms chase every trend there is and are always looking for what is new to offer.  Here is the rub.  Every single gym franchise has historically failed.  Remember Jack LaLane or Ballys?  Gone.  Every one of them is destined for the same end statistically.  Modeling ourselves after gyms is a recipe for disaster.  We are so much more than that and have far more to offer.

YMCA/YWCA/YJCA/JCC and Cultural Centers

Religious and Cultural based community centers are also a great place to start a class.  These organizations typically hire instructors as a contracted employee.  They tend to have multiple rooms to offer for classes; so, desirable time slots are often available.  Being a contracted employee means that you get paid the same if you have 5 or 50 students.  However your class still needs to be profitable for them to continue to offer it.  One note of caution to keep in mind is that should there be a political or ideological shift in such organizations they might decide your class doesn’t fall in line with their paradigm.  This happened to me once despite having a full class of students.

Pros: Same as community centers except you are typically hired as a contracted employee.

Cons: Same as community centers except that you can also be cancelled due to a change in direction of the center.


A garage school has actually been my favorite place to teach. You own it!  Or at least you legally live there and/or are renting it.  You are free to customize the space any way you choose.  You can set your own schedule and not have to worry about packing your space with students.  All profits go directly to you.  The downside to using a garage is typically a limitation in space should you desire a huge class.  Also, you might have to give up your car having a place to park indoors, especially if you place down mats.  This can be very inconvenient in areas that get way too hot or way too cold.  Climate control is also a related issue in an un-insulated garage.  Most are open to the weather blowing through the cracks of the garage door and sometimes even the walls themselves.  There is also the double edge sword of the fact that you are now working at home.  This is great for those who love the convenience of walking down the hall to meet students, however it is not so great for those who like privacy and might not want others to know where they live.

Pros: You work from home and can set your own schedule.  You can customize your space any way you see fit.

Cons: You work from home and lose privacy of your address.  Weather conditions.  Potential space limitations.

Brick and mortar

If you are interested in losing your life savings and credit, sign a lease for a storefront with no prior business experience other than being a martial arts teacher.  To be successful with a brick and mortar storefront school you have to have some level of business savvy.  You have to treat you business like a business first and a martial arts school second.  I’ve always said that I will never buy mats at retail price when all I have to do is look on craigslist to find them for pennies on the dollar from someone who opened their dream school and closed 3-6 months later.  Take business and sales classes before if going this route and business is unforgiving and making a living salary teaching martial arts is a hard road, especially if you have a family to feed.  The rewards are great if you pull it off but you have to do your homework.  It also helps to have a loyal following that will support your new effort.

Pros: If you are successful you will have the ability to run the school you always wanted to have.  You are in control and the potential for earning is the most out of other options.

Cons:  The biggest risk of all the choices.  You can lose everything overnight.  The seduction of owning this type of school can lead to bad financial choices.  You have to know how to run a business first.

This list just about covers it all.  If there is anything I’m missing please feel free to leave a comment.

How to Open Up a Martial Arts School Part 1

You’ve been training long enough in a martial arts style and have always had in the back of your mind that maybe one day you would open your own school and run a successful business.  You are passionate about teaching and training and as a result you are convinced the public will see this in you and flock to your school.  After all, you’re a better instructor than Master XYZ, who has a lousy reputation.

People throw around the term “McDojo” way too easily these days.  They view this as a school that is watered down and pandering to the public.  While this can be partially correct, but not always, there are certain things to keep note of.  These are successful business owners.  McDonalds (where the term McDojo originates from) is THE most successful restaurant in the world.  They have two things going that they do correctly.  Their food is tasty (never mind void of sustenance) and they have incredible marketing/advertising campaigns.  The food doesn’t have to be 5 star quality for people to want to buy it.  They just have to enjoy the experience of eating it.  They are also the first restaurant that comes to mind (for most people) when wanting fast food.  This is not by accident.  This is a model of consistency and innovation while keeping their identity.  McDonalds has never changed what it is at its core: a burger joint.

Martial arts schools that promote a clear message and deliver on their mission statement (every successful business has one of these) consistently will attract a parents that want their kids involved and adults that enjoy the experience.  Regardless of quality, all students are better having trained than not trained.  These students will never go to the school of blood, sweat, and tears.  The commercial school fills this niche.  Anyone can develop warrior skills but not everyone has what it takes to be a warrior.

There are many ways to open a school.  What type of school you want should be in correlation to the amount of risk you are willing to assume financially.  Everyone single martial arts instructor in the world has their “dream school” that they fantasize about.  Many might have had them for a time only to wind up in bankruptcy not too long afterwards.

The Park

This is the easiest place to get started with any martial arts class.  They are free to use and for the most part easy to find.

Pros:  Free!  Open space.  Built in marketing from onlookers and passer-bys.

Cons: Adherent to weather conditions. You are displaying your technique outside.  Limited growth potential in a United States market (typically you top out at 15 students).

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Rec programs are a great place to start a class when you have zero students.  All parks and rec departments have a listing of courses that they send out to all residents of the city they are located in (huge cities, not as much but still there is adverting).  A class that fills a niche can fill up quickly with students.  Kids programs are most successful in this type of venue.  Pay is modest but you have no worries on overhead or advertising.

Pros: No rent or advertising!  The city handles all you promotion and you start off with several to many students.  They city will also provide you with the proper equipment that is reasonable to the practice.

Cons: The city can cancel your class at anytime they choose.  You can’t start right away but rather have to wait until they next cycle of classes are available.  You are limited by what space is offered to you and the times you are given.


I’ll continue this post in a “Part 2” going over the other types of schools you can open with pros and cons.  Coming soon.

A Man Named Zulu

Soke Chaka Zulu and Professor Alessandro Ashanti with as student.

My very first lesson in the martial arts came in the form of summer camp at the age of 10. The camp offered electives everyone could take, and there was a martial arts elective I signed up for which lasted 3 weeks. I have little recollection of how many days a week we met but I do remember being in the main large open field. The camp counselor was a Tae Kwon Do practitioner and purple belt (intermediate level). We had no uniforms and showed up in our regular clothes. He led us through a variety of kicks; even spinning and turning at times. From there the seed of fascination was planted.

I would pick up techniques over the next few years from friends I would meet along the way. I now call this “pick up martial arts.” Sometimes I would even find a class or two to take, but it took me several years to find a real teacher in the martial arts. My further desire to train was fueled by the Shaw Brother’s Kung Fu films with The Five Deadly Venoms being the first and most influential I ever saw. Interesting to that part of my story, it turns out that one of Master Zulu’s senior students (Now Soke (Head of Style) Bob Martin) was working at the local station that played the kung fu films. He was the person who got the films on the air.  This was my first experience in actually finding my way back to where I began, or in coming Full Circle. By the time I was in high school I was very hungry for marital arts training.

This was long before having the internet in your home. Back then all you could do was look through the Yellow Pages—younger folks can Google that term—and browse the ads. Schools that could afford to advertise were very expensive when you had zero income to spend, as I did. I would ask friends who trained about the schools they went to, but sure enough, it was always one of the overpriced schools I found in the yellow pages. One instructor in particular managed to teach half the martial artists in my high school. I lucked upon a junior high school friend named Jamal, who had an instructor that taught at a boys club just off of Chinatown. My brother and I walked down there one night to watch the class. The instructor was an imposing and impressive figure. He was a muscle-bound dark complexioned man in a tight fitting t-shirt who had the cadence and timber of a Marine sergeant. We sat down to watch class only to be told by the instructor that he wasn’t allowing spectators that night. We had no idea why but we were disillusioned. We never went back.

In my first year of high school, there was a kid in the school who was obsessed with anything ninja. He would even come to school dressed in ninja tabi shoes. Luck would have it that we would be put in a science class together. I asked him about his teacher and he invited me to a class in the park later that week. Thinking I was going to meet a ninja master, I was surprised to meet a man named Chaka Zulu. He was a man who I thought to be at least 6 feet tall by his presence, but he later turned out to be 5’6”. He was coffee complexioned like my mother and I later found out was just a year older than her. He introduced himself, “Hello, I’m Zulu.” My only word in response was, “Wow.” He invited me to train with them as they were having an informal workout. I was a bit intimidated but I eventually got up and began practicing some roundhouse kicks. Zulu was sparring one of the students and his motion transfixed me. He was a master of what I later learned was “flow”. I have seen many people speak of the concept but he is one of the few who truly embodied it, and to this day none have more so than him. I trained with Zulu and his system of Zujitsu for the next fifteen years of my life, after which we parted ways. Sensei taught me a conceptual framework that I use even now to absorb information and plug it into my personal matrix. Without him opening my mind to the limitless possibilities of development at such a young age, I never would have been able to be the martial artist I am today. I would simply have scattered knowledge of several systems that never found a place to integrate. He is no longer my master, but he will always be Sensei.


The preceding is a excerpt from Full Circle: Lessons Learned on the Martial Path written by Alessandro Ashanti.  Available on Amazon.com



For more information on Soke Chaka Zulu and Zujitsu please visit http://zujitsu.com

Are we True Warriors?

Are We Warriors?

In the nineties I taught under the banner of Warrior Arts. It was a great name that wasn’t in use at the time, at least not to my knowledge. I dropped the name after a conversation with my aikido teacher, who told me: We are not warriors. A warrior is a military person. Someone specially trained in warfare. These days the only ones that qualify for this bill are military personnel with actual battlefield experience, the elite of these being Special Forces.

This isn’t to say that our practice has no merit, but perhaps “civilian arts” would be a more appropriate title for what we do. We use our arts for expression, physique, sport, and self defense. As civilians, we don’t use our arts on any battlefield.  Despite dropping the name “Warrior Arts,” I’ve since reinstated the name as homage to our practice but not to be taken literally.  We are not warriors—save for those who have been in military combat—although we train in their ways. In doing so, we take on many of their attributes in order to be successful. When I train, I am fully prepared to die on the training floor. This is not an abandonment of safety; rather, it’s a commitment to the process that was laid down before us by the warriors of old. In fact, not being a battlefield warrior, the perfect death for me would be taking the best fall I’ve ever taken while in the dojo.

Warrior focus is a quality that can be learned through studying the warrior ways. It is not necessarily inherent to all students who train. Maintaining a mindset throughout your learning develops warrior focus. Focus and stay in the moment. Don’t let your outside life defeat you with your current training goals, and more specifically, the exercise at hand. Whether you are giving or receiving technique, your level of presence and intensity needs to remain consistent. They are two parts of the same whole. This is the beginning of how to find and practice warrior focus.  


The preceding is a excerpt from Full Circle: Lessons Learned on the Martial Path written by Alessandro Ashanti.  Available on Amazon.com




The Full Circle Connection Between Jujitsu and FMA

Prof. Vee and Powell The FMA and Jujtisu Connection

Filipino Martial Arts or “FMA” for short, are the cornerstone of weapons study in Full Circle Warrior Arts.  My main study of FMA stems from the Serrada Eskrima style Founded by Grand Master Angel Cabales (October 4, 1917 – March 3, 1991).  I studied under Master Khalid Khan who was master #13 directly under GM Cabales.  I trained with him for 9 years before leaving Los Angeles to move to Phoenix, Arizona.  In Phoenix I met Master Michael J. Butz whom I studied another 3 years with.  Under Master Mike I was given further understating of my Serrada training as a bladed system, not solely stick.  This opened new worlds of opportunity to unlock the potential of the art.

In a very “full circle” sense my study of FMA has led to greater understanding of my roots in the martial arts. You can trace my jujitsu lineage directly to Dr. Florendo “Vee” Visitacion , the founder of Vee-jitsu-ryu jujitsu system. Dr. Vee was grew up in the Philipinines and learned Arnis as a child. In his later years he would return to his cultural roots and pursue further study of FMA eventually founding Vee-Arnis-Jitsu. His earliest student was the legendary Dr. Moses Powell (June7, 1910 – January 4, 1999) who taught my first sensei Soke Chaka Zulu as well as Hanshi Anton Muhammad. The jujitsu that Dr. Vee taught was laced with his early martial art experiences. At first glance of “pure” FMA one might not see the connection. The further you delve into FMA theory the more you start to see the correlation.

Jujitsu and FMA both stem from the understanding of blade work. Jujitsu has never been simply a grappling method, although that aspect is wildly popular these days as it was in the 20th century in the form of its off-shoot, Judo. Rather it is designed as a last line of defense against an opponent armed swordsman. The traditional motions take blade awareness into account. However in the modern training this is still evident and found if one knows where to look. Modern FMA styles tend to be “stick” oriented, preferring the cylindrical theory of rattan over the original blade theory of old. As Master Mike always said, stick comes from blade, blade doesn’t come from stick. The blade is there waiting to be unlocked by the right instructor. Two disparate blade oriented cultures, in my experience, came to many of the same conclusions. The differences in methods tend to be cultural and practical (e.g. armor vs no armor, katana vs bolo). There is a gap there that is easily bridged should you have serious study of both methods.


Reiki as the calm during the storm

Reiki as the Calm During the Storm

Today, while going through some personal adversity, I turned to Reiki to calm myself. My heart was racing and my thoughts focused on the worst aspects of my situation. I went and grabbed what I call my “Reiki cheat sheet”, this contains notes I have on healing and the Reiki symbols. I find constant review of the symbols aids in my “digesting” of them, much in the way I still practice my martial arts basics on a regular basis. The keys to all are in the basics! I cleared my head and accessed the universal Reiki energy. In doing this I envision and experience an opening in my crown chakra that brings energy down through the heavens. It’s akin to a cloudy sky suddenly opening up to reveal a bright sun behind. I’ve never spoken to other practitioners about this so I’m not sure it’s the same for them. My actual experiences with energy work precede Reiki, however my attunement made the access and process much more refined and powerful. From there I decided to draw the Reiki power symbol (cho ru kei) on my heart chakra. My heart was hurting and I felt it could use the draw of power. On top of this I drew the harmony symbol (sei hei kei). Sei Hei Ki helps with emotional and mental harmony. In this case I needed purification and protection. Finally, to bind this all, I drew the distance symbol (hon sha ze sho nen) in the air. “Distance” in this case doesn’t mean physical location, rather it refers to time. My hope is to heal not only the future but the past as well.

When I first started the healing I was rather cold and had just put on a sweater. Within 60 seconds of completing my final symbol I was burning hot and had to strip down to my teeshirt. I could feel a flood of healing an calm descend upon me. Did my troubles suddenly disappear? No, not completely. However, what did transpire was the actualization that everything can and will be ok. My worry turned into acceptance. My pain subsided to an unaffected level. I was able to carry on normally and centered.

Just a short Reiki story that was very powerful to me.

How to Choose The Right Martial Art and the Right Teacher

Students Training -How to find the right martial art and he right teacher

When it comes to selecting a martial arts instructor or a martial art, it’s not always an easy task.  In this day and age there are dozens of martial arts and an abundance of schools to choose from. While you are never married to staying with any class you decide to visit,  your first experience with any martial art or instructor should be a positive one.  Ideally it should result in you wanting to stick with your choice.  There are few important things to consider before visiting a class for the first time or meeting with an instructor.

First and foremost, think about why you want to learn a martial art. Ask yourself the question, “What do I desire from my study?”  I fully believe that there is no wrong answer for this but it’s good to know what you are looking for just the same.  Even if you just are looking for a fun social activity that will get you in shape, knowing your goals will allow you to select a school or instructor that will help you meet them.

Here are some common reasons for wanting to start martial arts:


  • Self defense
  • Physical fitness or “getting into shape”
  • Social activity
  • Engaging in competition
  • Building self discipline
  • Wanting to train with a particular instructor you met
  • Studying a cultural activity
  • Any combination or all the above


Whatever motives you have for beginning martial arts, make sure that the school or instructor you select will be able to support them and help you progress. Many martial art schools will tell you that they offer everything,  that they are complete, and that they can meet any need. While this can be true, more than likely they will have a particular emphasis. Some schools specialize in competition, whereas others focus more on fitness and self defense.

Some arts have a particular “purpose” attached to them — Brazilian Jiu Jitsu often draws people who want to compete and who are looking for a social way to get in shape and discipline themselves. Karate often appeals to people who enjoy bettering themselves through hard work and self discipline, whereas some arts, like the Filipino Martial Arts, offer a more casual approach that appeals to people seeking immersion in a particular culture and social gatherings.

Once you’ve figured out your reasons for wanting to train, it’s time to figure out where and who to train with. Options range from large commercial schools to one-on-one training in backyards and living rooms, and everything in between. There are great, good, not so good and bad instructors, and there are martial arts that will be suitable for your needs, and some that you just wouldn’t enjoy.

The Commercial School

Usually these schools are a storefront at a strip mall or a standalone building. They will have signage and will unmistakably be a martial art school. People are sometimes leery of these schools because they fear becoming simply another number (and that’s not always without reason), but there are world class instructors who have big schools. A commercial school or academy shouldn’t be ruled out just because it’s big.

See if you can observe a regular class at the level you would be training at, or ask if you can watch a couple of back to back classes so you can see different instructors. Don’t be rude or intrusive but be wary of an instructor who won’t allow you to sit and watch.  Typically, they don’t (or, at least, shouldn’t) have anything to hide but they usually are trying to funnel you into introductory lessons which are designed to culminate with you signing a long term contract.  Long term contracts to train aren’t a great thing to get into sight unseen.

Most martial art schools offer a series of trial lessons that is sometimes combined with a free uniform.  This is always a good deal but will more than likely end with you being asked to sign up for a long term commitment. If you don’t desire a long term commitment then it would be a good idea to steer clear of most storefront schools. Some schools may allow you to request a month to month contract instead, although the price per month may be higher.

Most commercial schools teach traditional or competition martial arts, like karate, Taekwondo, judo and jujitsu. This type of learning environment and the most common types of arts offered tend to appeal to people who are looking for self discipline, fitness, or competition training.

Community Training

The right teacher may be at a community center, YMCA, or completely underground.  Most martial arts instructors aren’t business people.  They are hardworking, passionate and even extremely talented people, but they often don’t have the know-how for the day to day operations of a small business. Unfortunately, sometimes the inverse can be true — there are far too martial arts business owners who don’t have the same level of talent for teaching. While this is a generalization on both sides I will state that I’ve rarely been taught at a commercial school.  Most of my teachers never had a place that they controlled completely.  Two taught in local parks (an advantage to living in Los Angeles and Phoenix).

Check your local parks and rec for lists of classes they offer.  There are always at least one class available.  Also, check out your local Y.  You will find excellent and passionate instructors who are hidden gems.  Most martial arts instructors hold down full time jobs and family.  Their passion leads them to squeeze out a few nights a week to instruct.

Get a referral from a friend who is involved in the arts.  Everyone knows at least one person who is or has been a black belt.  Sometimes that person can actually wind up being your teacher!

Be wary of name chasing.  Not all big name teachers are a fit for everyone. Buyer beware. Some of the bigger names are extremely commercial, whereas others draw people who seek power or other ways to “get ahead.” The environment around some of the more well-known instructors isn’t always conducive to learning, so always make sure to research, research, research. Know what you’re getting into.

There is some conventional wisdom to choosing an art by body type.  Long legs? Try a kicking art like Taekwondo.  Stout and short body? Try a throwing art such as judo.  I find this approach to be too limiting to a student’s potential experience, though. Feel free to explore and challenge yourself.  Also, not all areas are inundated with martial art teachers. Some areas might only have one school, and in that case, you either have to be willing to travel, or you have to be willing to work with what you’ve got.

Final Considerations

When it comes time to finally go and train for the first time, let your gut guide you. Your initial inclinations (and misgivings, for that point) will rarely be wrong. Do what feels right — your martial arts training should restore, rejuvenate and build you up, not break you down or make you feel worse. If it feels right, it probably is. Challenge yourself with your training, and always seek to meet and surpass your goals. If you aren’t seeing or achieving the results you desire from your training, it might be time to reevaluate and reassess what you’re doing and why.

Don’t do more than one style or train with more than one teacher at a time. It can be tempting to jump around from art to art, but until you form a solid training base, you won’t be able to benefit from cross training. Of course, that assumes the art and instructor you’ve chosen are a good fit for you, your needs, your goals, and your reasons for wanting to train. Never feel as though you have to stay with a toxic instructor or one who isn’t meeting your needs, but also be certain that you’re not continuously making excuses to “move on” because you’re being challenged past what you’re used to. Be loyal to your instructor but don’t be blind Don’t be afraid to move on when or if the time is right.

Above all, have fun. Training itself will not always be fun — sometimes it’s hard, grueling and occasionally painful — but you should enjoy the path you’re on and the progress you’re making. When you’ve found the right art and instructor, things will seem to “click” and you’ll feel at home. That’s when you know you’ve made the correct choice.


This article written by Alessandro Ashanti first appeared on:


The Reiki Symbols

Reiki Symbols Stone

While many know Reiki is a powerful healing method, few but the initiated know of the existence of the Reiki symbols that are used to focus that power. The Reiki symbols are characters derived from both Sanskrit and Japanese. While many in the Reiki community consider the characters to be of sacred value, it’s important to note that the characters are not proprietary to Reiki use. Indeed three of the four Reiki symbols have significance in Buddhist philosophy.

Traditionally the Reiki Ryoho (typically stated in English as “symbols”) were passed down from master to student in secrecy. Reiki students themselves were not allowed to keep written copies of the symbols, rather they would need to have them committed to memory. The publishing of the Reiki symbols in print and on the internet is the subject of much controversy among practitioners. Some feel that traditions of Dr. Usui (the founder of Reiki) should be honored while others feel that the characters on their own do not hold power to those who have not undergone a Reiki attunement with a Reiki master.

In respect for my Reiki teacher and own personal beliefs, I will discuss the Reiki Ryoho but will not publish them. They are easily found though.

The first symbol: Cho Ku Rei

The power symbol. A Reiki practitioner would use this symbol to increase the power of their healing. The symbol has many stand alone uses (cleaning negative energy, on the spot treatments, spiritual protection, etc.) and can also be used in conjunction with other Ryoho to enhance their power.

The second symbol: Sei He Ki

The symbol for emotional/mental harmony. A Reiki practitioner would use this symbol for calming the mind or emotions and to promote healing of such areas. The symbol clears emotional blockages, balances the spirit, and heals past traumas.

The third symbol: Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen

The symbol for distance healing. This symbol is used when a Reiki practitioner sends healing to a client who is in another area. The symbol can be invoked to promote healing in the past, present, or future.

The fourth symbol: Dai Ko Myo

This is the master symbol of Reiki and the most power of the Ryoho. It is only used by Reiki masters. It signifies intelligence and wisdom and can be used to heal the soul.

How to Survive a Street Fight

Full Circle Jujitsu How to survive a Street Fight

I worked as a bouncer doing nightclub security for five years in New York City and San Francisco.  I saw a lot of crazy stuff during this time, though I got out of it relatively without a scratch.  I was a young black belt in my 20s, weighing in at 165 pounds and standing 5’9” tall. Typically I was the smallest of the security staff at the club I worked in, although I had full respect of my co-workers due to seeing me deal with situations.  I was never able to visually intimidate most people.  However, intimidation was never my intent at a bouncer.  I was there to diffuse and (if I’m very honest) to put my training into practice.  During this time I saved a number of club goers from danger, but there were those that weren’t so lucky.  This was never due to any fault of my own; some people are just hell-bent on fighting.  I once saw a one-on-one fight turn into a five-on-one fight in the span of 5 seconds.  The loser was beat to a pulp.  I would bet good money he never forgot the experience. So, if you want to know how to survive a street fight, here are some personal observations from my experience.


Don’t get into a fight with a stranger if you can avoid it.  You never know whom you are fighting or what their capabilities are.  You also have no idea the level of insanity the other person may posses.  In all reality, dusting it up over something that can be talked out is just bad for personal business.  It’s not worth it.

Talk your way out of it.  Please take my advice on this one and let your ego be bruised. An extremely low percentage of fights are worth it.  Let someone else think they’ve “won” rather than risk damage or worse.

Should you be unwittingly dragged into a fight, don’t ever underestimate the capabilities of your opponent.  Looks can be deceiving!  Take my example of being small for a bouncer.  I was just as, and sometimes a lot more, effective than my peers who had 100 pounds of weight on me.

Watch out for their friends and even strangers.  There is no such thing as a fair fight.  Rarely will you see in this day and age friends who will let their buddy fight one on one.  Especially if their buddy is the one losing! Always assume that there is a potential second or third opponent and watch your back.  Keep moving, and don’t stand still.  This will help you catch your surroundings.

Get out of there.  Don’t stick around to gloat.  Get to your car or to anywhere that would be safe.  You run the risk of being hurt further or winding up arrested.  You might not be charged with a crime, but the police are well within their rights to arrest people who are fighting and sort it out later in the courts.

Don’t do any more damage to someone than it takes to defend yourself.  Should you find yourself in legal trouble, you will have to be able to prove that your response wasn’t excessive to the incident at hand.  For instance, say you wind up in a fight in a bar and your opponent is on their last legs.  For good measure you wind up hitting them one last time and their head hits the bar railing, killing them. You are now potentially (depending on the local laws, I’m not a law professional) on the hook for involuntary manslaughter.  You can’t at that point in front of witnesses prove that you felt in fear for your life.

At the end of the day, just don’t fight.  If you have to fight, keep good awareness of your surroundings and get the hell out of there as fast as you can.  Don’t hurt anyone in excess to the danger of the situation.

This article written by Alessandro Ashanti originally appeared on https://www.thisismorpheus.com/2016/02/survive-street-fight/

The Importance Of The Book Of The Five Rings In Modern Times

Miyamoto Musashi | Full Circle Jujitsu | Full Circle Warrior Arts

If you ask a martial artist to name the greatest warriors of all times, among them they might say Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645), the author of The Book of Five Rings. Musashi was a legendary Japanese swordsman who is known by having cut down 60 men in his time as a duelist. Far from being the only duelist in Japanese history, what separates Musashi is that he took the time to document everything into the paper in the form of the Go Rin No Sho – The Book of The Five Rings, a manual on swordsmanship strategy.

At first sight this seems like simply another book about martial arts, however the truth is that when Miyamoto wrote the book he was already old and had nothing to lose about revealing his fight secrets. Although a lot of the content is specific to the feudal period of Japanese swordsmanship, there are endless things that martial artists and others can learn from the text. Strategy can be transcendent to context.

Mushashi’s book is divided into 5 different parts:

#1: Ground:

In the first chapter of the book, Miyamoto clearly focuses on the idea that if you want to succeed in combat, you need to have a plan. This is something that you learn in each martial arts style in varying degrees. You need to first study and, only then, fight.

Knowing your capabilities and skills as well as understanding the dynamics of the conflict will help you succeed. Despite not knowing in advance who will win any situation, the better you’re prepared the better odds you have to be the winner.

#2: Water:

Within this part of his book, Miyamoto refers to one of the major difficulties many martial arts have: adaptability. When fighting an opponent, you need to utilize all the tactics and techniques you know and use the best one to defeat your opponent; not the one that you prefer. Before the fight even begins, you need to know what movements you’ll be applying to your opponent and always be ready to change your tactic.

#3: Fire:

This is the part of the book that concerns about being a fierce fighter. One thing is for sure: you may have been trained by a renowned master and be in great shape. But if you lack the ferocity, you will lose the fight if your opponent has only ferocity. You don’t have to be like Miyamoto who never slept or never washed his body. You just need to apply what he said: “The way of the warrior is the resolute acceptance of death.”

#4: Wind:

You need to focus not only on your martial art system but also to study your opponents. And who are they in the 21st century? You need to learn who they are, what they wear, and how they operate.

The lesson behind this part of the book is pretty simple: let’s say that you’re learning karate. You can consider taking Eskrima or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, to expand your horizons.

No matter how much you want to run away from the idea, you know, even though it may be deep in your heart, that combat is animalistic, violent, and simple. You can only understand it and accept it.

#5: Void:

In this last part of the book, Miyamoto explains that you need to focus on 2 different aspects:

— Mental: When you’re with the right mindset, even though you’re in the middle of combat, you won’t have any fear. This doesn’t make you either stupid or brave; it just shows that you were focused on winning. When you study the martial arts as well as you can, when you know all the parameters, when you have a backup plan for any action, you will know what to do.

— Technical: Knowledge and learning are meant to be forgotten. And only when you are able to fully acknowledge this, is that you’ll be ready to fight because your body will move as if it is automatic.

As you can see, the Miyamoto’s The Book Of The Five Rings couldn’t be relevant to the modern era. Yes, things have changed since Musashi’s age. However, all the knowledge and insights written in the Book of Five Rings can still be applied to everyone’s lives.


Full Circle Jujitsu