A LETTER FROm
Dear Budo Fam,
It's not everyday that you get to meet an Olympian... But in our case, we're able to cross that item off the bucket list as we were fortunate enough to meet Judo legend, Mike Swain at this year's Martial Arts Super Show in Las Vegas.
For those who might not be aware, Mike Swain is a four-time Olympic competitor, a two-time Black Belt Hall of Fame inductee, and the first American male ever to win the World Judo Championship. More than simply a successful competitor and coach, Swain has taken what he learned on the mat and translated it into entrepreneurial success in a big way.
Swain Sports International was founded by Mike Swain in 1987 with the intent to create high quality products that would set new standards for the martial arts community. Believe it or not, the 1996 Olympic Committee selected the Swain SportsMat as the official martial arts mat of the Olympic Games. In 2008, Swain Sports and Dollamur Sport Surfaces joined forces with the goal of creating the most revolutionary sports mat on the market with a global reach. Bottom line, Mike Swain is one successful human being and we are more than honored to be delivering his powerful message in this month's issue.
We're sticking with the "Double Feature" theme this month. With that, we are pleased to feature Sensei Jeremy Creasey, a Bujinkan Ninjutsu Shidoshi from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Jeremy has studied martial arts for 21 years, specializing in Ninjutsu. In 2003, he received his instructorship directly from Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi of the Bujinkan dojo in Japan. As a practitioner, Jeremy is known for his aggressive style of fast and precise movements and his unwavering commitment to his budo. In this issue, he will be demonstrating two short-fist skills from Koto ryu Koppojutsu and one long-fist flow technique from Dakentaijutsu. The emphasis is on developing a strong, fluid, and precise execution of your skills in a realistic combat scenario. Videos are there for you to enjoy!
Recently, we realized how much content we have created over the past 18 months and decided to start organizing everything for mass consumption. We've spent hours compiling everything on our YouTube channel in the form of playlists so anyone can enjoy our past features and previous eMag content.
Featured Budo Brother
There is no better feeling than throwing your opponent to the ground effortlessly with a foot sweep or hip throw before they had even known you had attacked. In fact, a perfect throw happens so fast that even the person executing the throw will get right up and forget what happened for a split second. That is called an ippon or perfect throw in Judo. An ippon happens only when your mind, body and spirit all work together in one flash of a moment.
I have had the privilege of training and competing on four Olympic Judo teams: 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992, as well as coaching the 1996 Olympic team and training and competing in five World Championships: 1977, 1983, 1985, 1987, and 1989. These experiences have taken me around the world and given me in-depth, real-life competitive training and knowledge of modern-day Judo.
When I look back at my journey and reflect on all my experiences, there are some key takeaways that I would like to share with you that might be helpful for your journey.
Dream big and have confidence in yourself
When I was 8 years old, I used to throw my pillow around on top of my bed dreaming that I was winning a Judo match. I would hold it down for 10 seconds then pick it up and throw it again and again until I got tired or my mom yelled at me for making too much noise. I did not know that Judo was in the Olympics nor did I care at that point, but I guess I was ahead of the game. In my 8 year old mind, I was just playing around beating my pillow in imaginary judo matches, but this pretend play is exactly the same as Olympic visualization techniques used by elite athletes: watching, dreaming and envisioning not just winning but defeating your opponent. But really, visualization techniques are just big dreams that we dream over and over. The first step to making these dreams become reality is believe in your own power to do so. Maybe confidence comes naturally to some people. Maybe it is encouraged by the role models that surround you like positive parents, teachers, peers and coaches. Either way, you need to visualize and dream about what you want, and then believe in your own power each day when you look in the mirror. The dream cannot succeed without the confidence, and the confidence cannot exist if you don’t have a dream to motivate you. Find your dream and your confidence because no one else can do it for you.
Shoot for the moon, fall among the stars
I remember the night clearly. Two USA Judo teammates and I were sitting in a small bar in Tokyo after a major event. At the time, we were all in the top 10 of our categories in the world ranking. We all had won some major events, but none of us had reached the podium to earn a World or Olympic medals yet. We dreamed our goals out loud and we all agreed that if we won an Olympic Gold medal and World Medal that would satisfy us for life . Then, someone spoke up and said, “Is it the beer or do you think that’s realistic.” Then we all laughed together and said ok , ok if we win one or the other we would be fine since after all it’d be the same people fighting at the top spot. In the end, several years later,I became the first man from the western hemisphere to win the world Judo Championships. My other friend won an Olympic silver medal. And the guy who started the whole dream conversation never won an Olympic or World medal but became a very successful real-estate businessman (and now pays the bill whenever we meet for a drink and talk about the same old stories!). In the end, we all became very successful because we dreamed big. We gave it our all and shot for the moon. No one earned the elusive Olympic/World Medal combo, but I believe we are all satisfied with our own success. So aim high and dream big because regardless of where you end up, the things you learn on your journey set you up for great things whether or not you achieve your goal.
Get out of Town and into the woods
When I was 16 years old, I defeated an older and much more experienced opponent to qualify for the world Championships in Barcelona, Spain. My breakthrough. At that moment I started to believe I could make the 1980 Olympic team and so did my coaches and mentors. They all said I should pack up and move to Japan to train after high school.Now, training Judo or any combat sport is not for the faint hearted, and things get pretty rough on the mat when the goal is to slam, choke, pin or arm lock your opponent.
But nothing is more unnerving than moving to country and immersing yourself in another culture and way of life. To me the decision was easy, but the sacrifice was tough. If I wanted to make the Olympic team and win medals, then I needed to train with the best at Judo. I think it’s the same in other sports or fields; you must seek out the best and go to them for help. Whatever comes with all that, just accept it and keep learning so that you can reach the next level and keep growing.
Keep the faith
It was early 1987 about 5 years after my dream session with my teammates in Tokyo. I was 27 years old and had yet to win worlds or Olympics. My best was silver at the world championships but I was stuck at silver in many world events. Silver sucks because you lose the match right before they hand you the medal on the podium. At least a bronze means you won your last match! Then, on top of that out of nowhere, this young, up and coming Japanese player who later on became a judo legend named Koga threw me twice for ippon (a full point) Now, I can count on one hand the number of times I was thrown by ippon and he is 50% of them. Things were going the wrong way fast. I had pretty long hair back then, and I decided to cut it really short like all the freshman had to do when they lost or did something bad at Nihon University in Tokyo where I was training. I think it was part punishment to myself and part old school mentality “lets get back to work”. Either way, they all laughed at me when I came to practice but after some joking, they quickly understood that I had come back with one thing on my mind. It was like a mental reset. With the new hair, their help, and faith and sheer persistence, I was able to win the worlds later that year. Faith that year was all I had left in my strive for Gold. Without pure faith, we can dream big and try hard and still never get there.
Always ask What’s Next?
Winning medals and championships are great achievements, but should be celebrated only on the day they are won. Successful people never look back. They wake up to the future and find more goals to achieve. The Budo spirit preaches to win humbly and lose graciously, and to never disrespect an opponent because if they had not pushed you to your limits, perhaps you would have been stuck in mediocrity.
Of course I am proud of my accomplishments, but my medals are stuffed in one of my sock drawers as a reminder to myself that other things are more important, and my focus is on the future-not the past.
One-on-One with Mike Swain
What is the hardest part about competing at a high level?
What kept you in pursuit of your title?
Skills Of THe Month
Judo by Mike Swain
Basic Judo Drill - Uchikomi | Ippon Seoi Nage
Intermediate Judo drill - Uchikomi | Osoto Gari
Advanced Judo Drill - Uchikomi | Hiza Garuma to Osoto Gari
Learn from the masters!
We are pleased to announce that we be will launching our first digital seminar in the New Year.
We will be partnering with some of the most talented martial artists in the game!
Digitally delivered in a layout that is loaded with video demonstrations, text explanations, and detailed pictures.
We are going to over deliver on value and bring this product to market at an incredibly affordable price.
We want to know: What styles should we focus on?
Let us know by clicking this link:
Featured Budo Brother
Sensei Jeremy Creasey
My name is Jeremy Creasey. I have been studying Bujinkan Ninjutsu for twenty years. As a young boy, my uncle introduced western Canada to this art after having been trained in Japan. When I was old enough, I began my training under his tutelage. I was always fascinated with martial arts, and especially with Ninja. On a Saturday afternoon, I showed up at his dojo steps and, with open arms, I asked him to teach me. That was twenty years ago and counting. In 2003, I made my own pilgrimage to Japan and passed my tests to become a Shidoshi (instructor.) The very next day, I was on the tatami mats, grinding and training as though nothing had changed. This is because nothing had. I believe there are two types of individuals within the martial arts community. There are those who train martial arts, and then there are martial artists. I commend everyone for having the courage to try studying martial arts, but I have true respect for the person who shows up the day after they get punched in the face. To truly accomplish anything within the martial arts, one must decide early on to totally commit. This is to live the budo lifestyle. Never take a day off, so you never have to get ready. You are always ready. My uncle constantly talks about making your movements “first nature” because second nature is too slow.
As a martial artist, I ensure that I am always switched on. Fear is an inevitable part of combat. Fear of looking foolish, fear of failure, and fear of defeat. What separates a true martial artist from the rest is their ability to continue challenging themselves in spite of that fear. Every accomplishment in my martial arts journey, which I am most proud of, terrified me beforehand.
A colleague of mine once asked me what my goals are within my training. I was unable to answer. After a few more years of study and much contemplation, I was able to answer. My goals are to train harder than the next person. To constantly challenge myself in the face of fear. To push through all barriers regardless of my failures. There will always be a person out there that is tougher and faster. You will not always win. You can, however, ensure that whomever you face, will always remember the day they met you. Your commitment to your training will guarantee this outcome.
Nana Korobi Ya Oki is a Japanese proverb which translates into; Seven times fall down, Eight times get up. This applies to so much more than just performing techniques. The majority of your time as a martial artist is spent outside the dojo walls. Your budo is always with you. There is no difference between tying your obi (belt) on and buttoning your suit. Your budo is within you. You are the most significant opponent you will ever face. My training has taken me to other counties and has awarded me recognition, yet I am only getting started. Of the thousands of skills within your given art, you are only trying to master one. You are striving to master yourself. Strive to be the fastest, strongest, toughest, and most determined version of yourself. Never stop attacking. Always get back up. As I tell my sons, “Ninjas never quit.”
Skills Of THe Month
By Sensei Jeremy Creasey
SKILL #1 - Hotecki
SKILL #2 - OGYAKU
SKILL #3 - DAKENTAIJUTSU
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