Tag Archives: aikido and the Dynamic Sphere

Was Matrixing Ever Done in the Martial Arts Before?

Newsletter 906

Is Matrixing actually New?

I get this question every once in a while.
Some fellow writes in, makes a comment,
and the question is:

Has matrixing ever been done before?

Valid question.
let me give you a couple of instances
so you can totally understand whether Matrixing is new.

In the original hard bound ‘Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere,’
(not the soft bound or kindle)
by Westbrook and Ratti,
there is a fold out which sort of matrixes Aikido techniques.
It is actually quite brilliant,
but it is not a true matrix for several reasons.

One, it pertains solely to Aikido,
therefore, it lacks the viewpoint necessary to the whole art.

Two, it doesn’t provide for a gradient list of techniques,
advanced or basic, you figure it out.
This makes it VERY difficult to learn.

it doesn’t demonstrate the ‘basic-basics’ of Aikido
(those body motions which construct the basics themselves)
rather it espouses a singular concept (giving way)
this results in a student going down a singular path,
and not being able to develop certain attributes and tendencies necessary to quicker understanding,
if not more thorough understanding.

Another example of ‘almost matrixing,’
is in the book ‘Wing Chun Kung Fu’
by James Yimm Lee.
This book was supposedly authored by Bruce Lee,
but I’ve read nothing to substantiate this,
other than the fact that Bruce was teaching out of Jame’s house in Oakland.
So, who knows on this point?

The specific matrixing would be the ‘four doors and eight gates’ theory
with the resulting drills.
This is quite genius,
explains the blending of hard and soft admirably,
and in a mostly mechanical manner.

One, it is, same as Aikido, specific to an art.
It is readily applicable to other arts,
but most people don’t understand the basics of their arts
well enough to understand the how and the why.

Two, it is specific to the Wing Chun method of controlling the contest through the arms.
Thus, several other theories are ignored, or at least not mentioned.

There are other things which influenced me,
but these two were key.
Important to note,
when you consider them,
is that I was studying several other arts at the same time,
writing extensive records (to be books) concerning them,
and really examining them from a ‘whole art’ point of view.

is matrixing new and unique?

It is totally new and unique.

It is not just a new model of car,
it is a new and incredibly faster type of vehicle.

It’s like comparing a Mustang to a Tesla.
Really different.

Of course,
you won’t believe it till you’ve tried it,
and the best place to start is the basics,
as in Matrix Karate.
Not just the basics of karate,
but the basic theories of matrixing,
and a completely different way of looking at the arts,
of being able to combine all arts so that they make sense,
don’t fight one another,
and join into one whole art.

Here’s the obligatory link…


Oinkly Doinkley,
Next Monday is HanaKwanMass,
stay tuned for the yearly rendering of a Martial Artist’s ‘Night Before Christmas.’

Have a great work out!


The Contradictions Of Morihei Ueshiba, Or The Making Sense Of O Sensei

To understand Morihei Ueshiba, the man known as O Sensei, one needs to examine contradictions in his life. This is something that most people, enraptured in reverie, do not do, and this is sad. For it is contradiction that we isolate the crucibles of existence, and the truth of what makes a man.

The man who founded Aikido was sick and weakly as a youngster, and lived a privileged existence. His father sought to make him stronger by telling tales tales of his Samurai grandfather. Did the manly tales cause him to grow stronger…or encourage him to regard dreams as inspiration?

O Sensei studied briefly with many before he adhered to the teachings of Takeda Sokaku. Was he a flake waiting for a boulder to roll over him and pick him up? Or was there sufficient substance in his soul that he was a seeker par excellence?

Early martial arts training included much attention on Atemi, or Striking points. Linear approaches to techniques varied from linear to circular to linear, at certain points of the founders life. Eventually techniques became more focused on kokyu-nage, or Breath Throws, and this is often considered the pure aikido.

The third most important man in Morihei’s life was Onisaburo Degushi, the leader of the omoto-kyu religion. Interestingly, this religion, considered a woman’s religion, was sometimes involved in political upheaval. One can sincerely ask the question whether the techniques of Aikido are female in nature.

Spiritual awareness can be considered to be at the core of Aikido. One can easily make the point that the art evolved over the years in response to the growing spirituality of Ueshiba. Often held up as the pivotal experience of his life, the founder’s firm conviction that the universe is love obviously effected his technical interpretation of martial techniques.

Though sickly as a youth, O Sensei became known for his immense strength. Eventually, age deprived him of all strength but that which he had accrued in the spirit. Once again, we have a firm clue to the changing technique in the Master’s Art.

Having made the above points, having compared and contrasted the man behind one of the world’s most significant martial arts, one is left with certain conclusions. Straight line or curved, muscles vs harmony, even male to female, there is a significance of evolution which should be studied, and can aid any student’s understanding of this most mystical art. In conclusion, to understand Morihei Ueshiba, the man known as O Sensei, one must analyze beyond the white washed accounts of his life, and know that he was earthy, real, and possessed of immortal character.

To learn Aikido in an entirely unorthodox manner, head over to Matrix Aikido at Monster Martial Arts.

Here’s a snippet of this radical method for learning Aikido

The Eight Best Martial Arts Books in the World!

Gonna be some different opinions on the Eight best Martial Arts books, but I would start off with Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere. Written by Adele Westbrook and Oliver Ratt, the writing is very descriptive, and the illustrations are possibly the best martial arts illustrations ever drawn. A large book, it covers the art in depth, and one gets the feel of how energy actually swirls in the doing of the art.

The name of this piece of literature is Uechi Ryu Karate Kung Fu. It seems like it is always out of print, but it was one of the first martial arts books in the United States. It describes the entire system, and is rich with anecdotes, in fact, you’ll see where some of the martial arts legends really came from in this serious bit of work.

Tai Chi Touchstones, by Douglas Wile, has some wonderful pics of old Master Yang himself. The real joy of this tome is the many songs and poems. These works of art are rich with and accurately convey the moves and strategies of the Grand Ultimate Fist.

The Master Instructor Course is one of the great secrets of the Martial Arts, it seems like hardly anybody has ever heard of this one. Written by A Case, it is actually a CD/DVD course, and the author doesn’t sell the book by itself anymore. You blink your eyes when the author claims to have the secrets of perfect form and perfect technique, but man, does he deliver!

The 25 Shotokan Kata is a great book which analyzes kata in draftsman detail. Every move is drawn out in precise detail, and it makes it very easy to learn any of the great Shotokan katas. The only drawback is that some of the forms are presented with classical lines, and not functional lines, but this can be fixed if one has read The Master Instructor Course.

Zen Flesh Zen Bones has been around forever, and it is a collection of zen parables and anecdotes. These stories give the flavor of a culture and an art, and of the true fighting spirit of the martial arts. Reading this book while practicing the martial arts one can actually feel the spirit of zen sink into one’s very bones.

No list would be complete without the pivotal work by the greatest swordsman in history, Miyamoto Musashi. This book can be taken on a personal combat level, or on a grand strategic level. It provides a philosophy which is life changing, and it is used by people in all walks of life to conduct their lives.

The Art of War is the bible of combat. No army has ever won a battle, let alone a war, without following the exact principles laid out in this masterwork. Anybody who has ever read this ultimate epistle knows that now is the time to end this list of the best Martial Arts books in the world.

If you like martial arts books you will want to drop by 25 Martial Arts Books for $10.