A LETTER FROm
Dear Budo Fam,
We are honored to be featuring Kyoshi Dave Kovar in this month's issue. In addition to being an elite martial artist with black belts in 10 Martial Arts styles, Kyoshi Dave Kovar is recognized worldwide as an innovator of best practices for martial arts school operation. He oversees the operation of eight Kovar’s Satori Academy schools and he founded ProMAC, the Professional Martial Arts College. Kyoshi Kovar is also the Lead Instructor for MAIA and he has published over 100 online business and teaching videos for the Educational Funding Company (EFC). He was named the 2010 recipient of the Martial Arts Industry Association’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kyoshi Kovar put together some great drills for the "The Skills of the Month" section with three separate instructional videos that blend Escape, Control, and Neutralize techniques. Each individual skill is then woven together into a repetitive training drill that is a lot of fun.
This month's issue is another double feature with Sensei Rodney Uhler who shares his story and shows some awesome Kobo skills worth trying out. Sensei Uhler has been training Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu and OnoHa Itto Ryu for close to 25 years, nearly 17 of which was spent in living and training in Japan. He currently resides and teaches Aikijujutsu in Lansing Michigan and is Japan's representative to 6 US-based Dojos & study groups, as well as routinely giving sword and empty hand seminars.
We also have a special treat from Century Martial Arts at the end of this issue, and hope to see you down at MASS'18 next year :)
capitalism with a cause
The Budo Youth Fund
A legally formed, independent, non-profit entity whose sole purpose is to make martial arts more accessible for youth across North America.
We announced the launch of The Budo Youth Fund in last month's issue, and we are just finishing up jumping through all the final hoops that will allow us to be able to accept donations, run fundraisers, and kick off corporate sponsorships.
Here's what The Budo Youth Fund is all about:
Our goal is to raise $10,000
And use 100% of the proceeds to fund youth that deserve a chance to begin their martial arts journey!
Thank you for helping us make this initiative possible :)
Do You have any great ideas for fundraisers?
Want to get involved somehow?
shoot us an email!
Featured Budo Brother
Kyoshi Dave Kovar
Trying to Live the Warrior Lifestyle
By: Dave Kovar
Several years ago, I read a book written in the early 17th century called "Hagakure". It was part of my black belt test in Iaido under Shihan Mikio Nishiuchi. I had heard of it before, but had never taken the time to read it. Since then, it has worked its way into my book rotation. Much like "The Book of Five Rings" and "The Art of War", it is filled with timeless wisdom. If you ever get a chance to read it, I strongly recommend it. It is filled with gems of knowledge regarding the warrior mindset. With that said, it was written in entirely different time and is politically incorrect by today standards, so you will probably want to use a filter while reading it. One of the quotes that I love was:
In this book, Author Yamamoto Tsunetomo, talks about living the warrior (samurai) lifestyle and the importance of applying these principles in everyday life, not just on the battlefield. The book got me thinking about things that I can do daily that are in line with living a warrior lifestyle in the modern world. After lots of thought and experimentation, I came up with 6 words/concepts that I try my best to apply in my life every day. Here they are:
Posture - Good posture is important for several reasons. To begin with, it is very martial. Good posture projects confidence making you look less like a victim to any potential predator. Secondly, when your posture is good, you are working with gravity not against it, causing less wear and tear on the body and lowering your risk of injury. I guess my mother knew what she was talking about when she would tell me to sit up straight. Also, having good posture allows for better breathing which is our second concept.
Breathing - The type of breathing that we are referring to here is abdominal, or diaphragmatic breathing. This is done by taking deep breaths through the nose and into the belly. This type of breathing is most healthy and should be practiced daily. Diaphragmatic breathing is generally associated with being calm, centered, and alert. The other alternative is chest, or thoracic breathing, which is generally associated with stress, fear, and anxiety. Although we start our life breathing correctly, somewhere in our youth, most people switch to chest breathing. For this reason, it is important to consciously work on diaphragmatic breathing at least a couple of times per day for a minimum of 10 breaths.
Stride – There is some research that points to the fact that people with a longer stride are healthier and live longer. The question is, are they healthier because their stride is bigger, or is their stride bigger because they're healthier? I don't know the answer, but I do know that it makes sense to try to increase your stride. An easy way to test your stride is to measure how many steps you take over a given distance. Next, simply try to go the same distance with one or two less strides. On top of getting places sooner, someone with a longer stride projects more confidence and will draw less predatory energy.
Balance – There is an excellent quote that says, "Concentrate on your balance, lose you're upset. Concentrate on your upset, lose your balance.” It is important to remember that physical balance and emotional upset are like oil and water. They don't mix. When you are upset or angry, your balance suffers. So the key is, the next time you find yourself angry, irritated or upset, try standing on one foot. One of two things is going to happen: The first is that your balance is going to be terrible and you're going to have to put your foot back down quickly. The desired outcome however is that you focus on your balance and you become less upset. I practice this while waiting in line at the grocery store, before I do a presentation, or when I find myself irritated with a person or a situation. The results are remarkable.
Agility – I haven't yet quite come up with the exact word to describe what I'm referring to, but agility is close. Think about the grace and suppleness of a cat or an eagle, or a parkour master for that matter. Everything they do seems smooth, relaxed and effortless. I try to apply this concept when going up stairs, doing the dishes, or getting groceries out of my trunk. I continuously think about how can I practice agility, grace, and economy of motion during my daily routines.
Intent – What I'm referring to here is the mental energy we bring to any situation. This concept is about being present-focused in all that we do. It is about bringing the spirit of friendship and contribution to every interaction we have. Intent is about giving your best to any situation or challenge. Whenever I find myself distracted or not paying attention, I try to remember the quote, "Wherever you are...Be there.” That often helps to bring me back into the moment.
After 45 years of martial arts training, my body is different than it was when I was 12 years old. In some ways, it is a lot better but in other ways, not so much. Age and injuries have put a bit of a damper on my training. I can still practice pretty much every art I've learned and I can still do most everything I ever could. I just can't do it for as long or as hard as I once did if I want to continue training. With that said, one of the things I like about practicing these six concepts is that it allows me to train in martial arts virtually all day, every day.
I challenge you to apply these concepts in your life as well. Or, come up with your own list if you don't like this one. I believe the key is to live and train "on purpose" and these six concepts will help you do just that.
To learn more, check out:
- Web: https://thesatorialli
- Web: http://www.kovarsystems.com
- Insta: @thesatorialliance
- FB: @thesatorialliance
Skills Of the month
KYOSHI Dave Kovar
Skill #1 - Over arm pass to escape
Skill #2 - over arm pass to control
Skill #3 - over arm pass to nutralize
Skill #4 - combining into a drill
By: Sensei Rodney Uhler
My name is Rodney Uhler. In January 1994, I went to Japan with an open plane ticket and a thousand dollars. The reason for going was specifically to find Daitô Ryû Aikijûjutsu. I was very lucky and found a dojô within a month. I taught English as a foreign language to support my budô habit, and by the end of March I was training three times a week - Tuesday and Friday mornings, and Saturday evening. Good times.
Later I learnt that there was a sword portion to the art, but it was kept separate. I begged my sempai to be able to participate, and by October of the same year I was finally allowed to train in sword. The sword style is the Aizu Clan version of OnoHa Ittô Ryû as taught by Takeda Sôkaku. In my first class, I sucked so bad that my teacher, Okabayashi Shogen, told my sempai that I looked like Donald Duck with a sword. It hurt my feelings and my pride, but it also made me work hard. In those days sword training was only once a month. However my sempai agreed to meet me when we were both free, and we would train in a park.
Now after more than 20 years of training, I have a Godan and a Shinhan license in Daitô Ryû, and a full Menkyo in OnoHa Ittô Ryû. (As a side note, in the early 2000’s someone in Japan bought the name Daitô Ryû. To avoid any legal problems my teacher changed to the name to Hakuhô Ryû Aiki Budô. However, Okabayashi Sensei was a direct student of Soke, Takeda Tokimune, so we are as direct line as you can get. A rose is a rose no matter what you call it.)
In June 2001, a man jumped the wall at Ikeda Fuzoku school complex. This is a place where students start in elementary school and go through high school. It is an elite school and difficult to get into. Anyway the man killed several children with a knife, and injured many others. Then, some copycat knifings took place on train stations and shopping areas.
I decided to start carrying a weapon. I mean what are the martial arts for if you aren’t going to use it to stop violence. If you aren’t willing to step up, it’s time to take up a new hobby. The weapon I chose was a Jutte. It fit nicely in the outside pocket of the kind of shoulder bag briefcase I was carrying to work.
The knifings stopped and I stopped carrying a jutte. I didn’t need the extra 390 grams in my bag, and I couldn’t just slide it in my belt loop and walk around Osaka like that. In our system we do have a our own hanbô. It is not the normal 3 shaku hanbô everyone is familiar with. Our hanbô is just a little longer than your forearm, and it is conveniently hidden as the handle of our dôgi bag. There are nine kata for this bô that techniques can be extrapolated from. However, it was my dôgi bag not my everyday carry bag. (Although before 9/11 I did carry it on an airplane several times, and no one was the wiser.)
The raw techniques were taught to Okabayashi Sensei by Takeda Tokimune. Who then made them into kata. These techniques became public when my previously mentioned sempai was going to travel throughout central america for three months. Sensei wanted to give him a better way to defend himself. Sempai and myself stayed in a tent on a mountain in Kobe near Sensei’s house. In the morning Sensei hiked out to the tent and we worked the kata until we could remember them. I was honored to be among the first two people Sensei taught the kata to.
I still wanted to carry something in Japan and I knew Takeda Sôkaku carried a tessen- an iron fan. I found one in in a store in Kyotô. It was a bit smaller than I wanted but I bought it anyway and tried out some techniques and it worked fine. It became part of my everyday carry. It fit in my pocket and only weighs 180 grams. Anything I could do with a jutte I could do with the tessen. In many ways I could do more. As I improved in my jûjutsu I realized just about any technique I could do with empty hands I could do with a the hanbô or tessen. Although small weapons, they added leverage to jûjutsu techniques and became a force multiplier.
One of my first jobs when I returned to the states was for an armored car company. I heard some of the military veterans talking about tactical pens. To me it was just a smaller tessen. I could do any of the strikes and pressure point manipulations, but I couldn’t really do any of the joint manipulations. I needed something just a little bit longer. I also knew about the kubotan, and that it is based on a Kyushû style of karate. Using it as a flail and striking implement didn’t appeal to me. I’m a jûjutsu guy after all. Besides most kubotan are even shorter than a tactical pen. So I went to a hardware store and bought oak dowel rods and cut them to be a bit shorter than the tessen, but longer than the tactical pen. I gave them out in my home dojo and we did a few techniques. There was a good response, so I put a little more thought into it and in the fall of 2016 I taught a seminar at the Jumonkan Dojo in Indianapolis. I passed out some more oak dowels and we practiced a few techniques techniques. I also had a good response there. I started carrying the stick regularly from that point.
Then just last January (2017) we had a hatsugeiko at a branch dojo called the Akatsuki Dojo. One of the students is a public prosecutor, and he asked what he could do in court if attacked. Sometimes he is standing shoulder to shoulder with the defendant in court. Well he is a lawyer. Lawyers wear suits and use pens. So I recommended that he get a tactical pen. It wouldn’t be out of place and he could put it in the outside breast pocket- easy to get to. I could tell he thought it was a good idea, but could see he didn’t really have a sense on how to use one.
Then earlier this year we had a spring training (godo-geiko) at a different branch dojo call the White Oak Dojo. After we got through all the regular material, I again passed out the oak dowels and taught a few techniques.
In short, all the techniques come from Daitô Ryû Aiki Jûjutsu. Daitô Ryû is a very rounded school, and has been around since the 11th century. Martial schools don’t last if they don’t work. Weapons training is part a part of the system even when we train empty hand. For example, the premise is the opponent always has a bladed weapon. Therefore our study of the kobo, which we call the hanjakubo, is the result of of implementing traditional studies of Japanese weapons to a modern application. Our study of the hanjakubo is a drawing of our entire system. What I would consider as one of the main techniques to learn where you trap the wrist with a scissors move, comes from the jutte. All the pressure point manipulations come from jûjutsu. Other techniques were a combination of jûjutsu and hanbô.
If you know your craft, you should be able to use the kobo or any weapon for that matter following the rules, principles, and philosophies of your school. If you are a Karate guy, use the kobo as a striking weapon. If you are a Kali guy, use the kobo as you would in Kali. If you are a jûjutsu guy, well I’m biased, use it to strike, manipulate pressure points, and lock up joints and limbs.
We flew down to the Martial Arts Supershow in Las Vegas in July of this year and had an absolute blast! We met so many talented martial artists, got to train in a number of amazing seminars, and learned all about what's going on in industry.
In case you missed it in August's magazine issue, check out this little documentary we put together based on our experience:
This year, the Supershow is at the Bellagio and we are definitely going to be there!
We actually reached out to Century to see if they would be able to hook our subscribers up at a discounted rate and they said yes! If you are interested in going, you can get tickets for only $147/person by clicking this link:
(Expires Dec 31st when it goes up to $350)
Note: We are not being compensated in any way for this. We would just love to hang out with some of our subscribers down at the show next year! :)