September 5

Kim Aldus Performs Self-Defense Routine and Slip Set

Kim Aldus is a tremendous martial artist.

She’s thoughtful, patient, and she operates with precision.

But in this video, she shows her vicious side.

Mrs. Aldus performed this series of self-defense techniques as part of a routine at the Martial Arts for St. Jude demo held in August. In it, she shows defenses against chokes and grabs, and she even demonstrates some cane techniques.

A few weeks later, she demonstrated a slip set of various locks and holds on Mr. Landrew Olson at the Share the Martial Arts camp.

Martial artists around the country have taken note of Mrs. Aldus’s skills, having performed demos and seminars in Wisconsin and Florida, among other places. I’d definitely like to get her on The Martial Arts Podcast sooner rather than later.

If you dig the videos, share this post! Give them a thumbs up, while you’re at it!

May 17

Info Packet: 2014 Douglas Grose Memorial Martial Arts Tournament

2014 Harrison Dorris AJKAI IOBK Tournament packet

Download the full tournament packet, including rules for each event

The Douglas Grose Memorial Martial Arts Tournament takes place Saturday, Aug. 9, once again in Peoria at First English Lutheran Church, but with some minor tweaks.

For the first time and to eliminate crowd congestion, karate and tae kwon do events will take place at different times. These events have traditionally been divided in the past. However, divisions have run concurrently until this year.


Karate (or similar style) events – forms, point sparring, tag team and masters’ divisions – will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Combined events – breaking and weapons – take place starting at 12 p.m.

Finally, tae kwon do events (or similar style) events – forms, Olympic sparring (continuous), tag team and masters’ divisions begin at 1:30 p.m.

No-gi grappling begins at 9 a.m., and the special events division begins at 11 a.m.


Competitors participating in 1-2 events can enter for $50, plus an additional $10 per event up for a total of $90 for all 6 events.

Tag teams are $60 per team.

Spectators pay $6 if they are 10 or up, $4 for children and senior citizens, and children 3 or under can get in for free.

Friday Night Seminar

Ms. Harrison’s “Slam, Bam, Wham” seminar features two sessions.

Master Jim Hemphill will cover grappling techniques in session 1 from 4-6 p.m.

Masters Kim Aldus and Erin Lehman will present self-defense techniques in session 2 from 6:30-9:00.

The seminars cost $30 each, or $50 for both, with a $5 spectator fee.

Sensei Bockler’s Thoughts

You should attend this event, whether you’re one of my students or you stumbled on this website through a link your friend posted or through a search.

Honestly, I’m pretty bummed that I have a commitment already made for this weekend because I would love to compete against Peoria’s finest black belts, leaving me unable to attend any event listed here.

Last year’s event was fantastic. You can read about some of my thoughts from the seminars and watch some videos, too.

April 13

Karate Black Belt of the Year: 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame

Martial arts seminars are like family reunions. At least, that was the atmosphere at the 2014 Martial Arts Hall of Fame in Indianapolis, Ind., this past weekend.

Sensei Bockler with the signatures of all 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductees

Sensei Bockler with the signatures of all 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductees

I myself felt like that significant other being introduced for the first time to the family. You feel like an outsider at first, because they have years of history with everybody and you’re getting to know them for the first time.

But I know at the end of the day, I’ll have walked away with stronger relationships. And that’s what keeps me going to things like this.

After a list of thank yous, I’ll give you a sneak peak at just one of my weekend’s highlights.

Coming soon, I’ll post more pictures and video in new blog posts specific to the seminars I attended. You’re going to love it!

Thank Yous

Since we didn’t get much mic time because of the scores of people receiving awards, I wanted to thank some people for this significant award.

Thank you to Steve Aldus for nominating me as the Karate Black Belt of the Year. His support and guidance is invaluable. Receiving an award is nice. But to me, the bigger rewards for what I do as a martial artist, and now as the proprietor of my own school, are twofold.

One, being recognized by an esteemed martial artist like Mr. Aldus is incredible. With all of his knowledge of martial arts and the things he’s done throughout his life, it’s a real honor for me that he thinks highly enough of me to bring me into this group.

Sifu Steve Aldus, Mrs. Aldus, Sensei Bockler

Sifu Steve Aldus, Mrs. Aldus, Sensei Bockler

The second – and most important – reward is that my students come to class every week to learn from me. As somebody mentioned in their Hall of Fame speech last night, we can’t be instructors without students. I go to things like the Hall of Fame seminars, like the a Chinese martial arts seminar, like Iain Abernethy’s seminars and more because I learn so much about my own art and style from visiting others. As a result, the students get a well-rounded martial arts education.

Thank you to Joe Chianakas for starting Metamora Martial Arts for hooking me into the martial arts back in 2003, and thank you to Dave Hawkey for continuing me to push me to get better all the time.

And thanks to my family for their support of my endeavors, and especially my parents for coming to Indianapolis for the ceremony.

The Peoria Martial Arts Scene Rocks

Sensei Bockler and Sifu Parker

Sensei Bockler and Sifu Parker

There’s no question about this. The level of martial arts talent that is in Peoria is unrivaled.

There were no less than three tables full of Peoria-based martial arts instructors and students at the Hall of Fame banquet.

One, Mr. Eddy Parker, even represented Peoria by presenting the most fun seminar of the day. I say that despite not attending about half of the events since they took place in different rooms.

However, Mr. Parker’s session kept growing and growing. It was fun, and I think people really learned something, too. I always enjoy seeing Mr. Parker’s demonstrations and seminars, and I can’t wait to share videos and some of my thoughts from his session this weekend.


August 9

Stances and Body Unity Key at Summer Seminar 2013

A theme I’ve picked up on in the martial arts over the last several years is that, despite the differences between styles and systems, many martial arts leverage similar principles. In other words, the movements may look different, but when you really boil them down, they’re using mostly the same ideas.

The two principles that have stuck out the most to me today are the importance of stances and body unity.

Douglas Grose Memorial Seminar - 8/9/13

Stances Aren’t Just for Kata

Perhaps this stuck out to me because I’m planning on writing a more detailed blog on stances in the near future. But I couldn’t help but notice how today’s instructors were leveraging stances.

It should be noted the stances weren’t the classical, deep karate stances. They were modified so that they were higher up, but throughout many of the techniques that we practices today, we needed to use mainly front stances and horse stances.

For instance, I was struggling with a technique when another instructor familiar with the move came over to help my partner and me out. I noticed in this particular arm bar that he was in a horse stance – he had sunk his body weight by widening his legs, and his back was straight. If he’d leaned forward, he would’ve been completely off balance. Because his back was straight, though, he was able to apply the technique. “There’s your kiba dachi,” I told him. He said, “That’s exactly right.”

If beginner students wonder why they practice many of the basic karate stances over and over again, it’s because you’ll use them as your skill set increases.

Body Unity Is Everywhere

No matter what you do in karate or any martial art, you should do it with your entire body.

In other words, we don’t use just the arms when we punch. We use the full body by getting our hip into the technique, and we use our mind to give that punch “intent.” We’re imagining breaking through a break wall, penetrating the spine, or whatever it takes for you to get a stronger technique.

An example from today would be a move Shihan Terry Wilson referred to as “drawing the bow,” and other instructors would also interchangeably call the “bow and arrow.” Old Yang style tai chi chuan has this move in it, so it was great to see some practical applications for it.

Anyway, if an had a two-arm grab on you, you would pull one arm down while pushing up the on the other. When done properly, this weakens the group. Then, you would pivot into essentially a front stance (read above) and step forward, and the person will fall.

These movements utilize the entire body. It’s not a matter of strength (though strength should never be discounted). It’s a matter of knowing where your position is solid and his or her position is weakened.

Thanks to Shihan Terry Wilson, Col. James Gifford, Sifu Steve Aldus and Hanshi John Chatwood for their informative sessions throughout today, as well as Ms. Vera Harrison for hosting the event. She’s very appreciative of her martial arts family, and I appreciate her friendship and gratitude toward me over the years.

And thank you to Mr. Aldus, Mrs. Aldus, Hilton, Chaz, Derek, Phyllis, Matt, and anybody else who was my partner today. We help each other get better.

January 17

Women’s Self-Defense Seminar on March 3 in Peoria

Kim AldusMrs. Kim Aldus – along with her husband, Mr. Steve Aldus – will be hosting a women’s self-defense seminar from 10:30-3 Sunday, March 3, 2013, at the Contemporary Art Center in downtown Peoria.

Throughout the class, Mr. and Mrs. Aldus will teach self-defense awareness and techniques that could save your life. You’ll learn how to use your hands, elbows, and knees as weapons in order to avoid or escape a predator.

Attorney Joseph Borsberry will also be on hand to outline the legal aspects of self-defense according to Illinois law, after which will be a Q and A session.

Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes to work out in, such as sweats and a T-shirt.

The cost of the seminar is $40 per person if you register and pay by Feb. 22, or pay $50 at the door. Call Mrs. Aldus at 309-648-4528 in order to register. Space is limited.

The contemporary Art Center is located at 305 SW. Water St. (2nd floor), Peoria, IL.