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!

March 10

Book Review: How to Win a Fight


As provocative as the title of this book is – How to Win a Fight: A Guide to Avoiding and Surviving Violence – there’s so much more to this book than just that.

A key point for me, and what I hope to get across to our students, is in the subtitle – “A Guide to Avoiding and Surviving Violence.”

Kane and Wilder, two of my favorite martial arts authors today, spend the entire first third of the book discussing what happens before violence even occurs. They talk about the importance of awareness, a key word throughout in probably every single chapter. Be aware of what’s happening around you, and what you could be doing to add gas or water to the fire.

From the authors:

Self-defense really isn’t about fighting like most people think. Self-defense is about not being there when the other guy wants to fight. Fighting is a participatory event, which means you were part of the problem. Even if you think you were only “defending” yourself, if your actions contributed to the creation, escalation, and execution of violence, then you were fighting. And fighting is illegal and a really bad idea.

This collection of chapters is excellently assembled, almost as if the authors had kept a blog and edited that content for this book. The chapters are pretty short and have catchy, “listicle”-style headlines, such as “Know How to Perform First Aid” and “Seven Mistakes to Avoid in a Fight.”

Broken into three sections – before the fight, during it, and afterward – How To Win a Fight brings up legal questions constantly, a poignant reminder that, first, we live in a litigious country, and second, the martial arts moves we practice and teach to a fault (meaning we don’t fully execute the technique unless we’re hitting a pad or performing in the air) actually do have consequences when applied to people. Don’t overestimate that.

If the book boiled down to one simple takeaway, though, it would probably be this:

Even though the books were published under different companies, I view this book as a precursor to Scaling Force. That is a much more detailed book discussing each of the levels of force – presence, voice, empty-hand restraint, non-lethal force and lethal force – that are only briefly outlined in How to Win a Fight. (Kane and Miller also add a sixth level in Scaling Force).

I’m happy to add this book to my “Recommended Reading” for my lower ranks.

December 14

Starting in January: Adult Martial Arts Classes in Metamora

About 4 in 1,000 people in Illinois report being a victim of violent crime, according to my analysis of FBI crime statistics from 2011 and 2012.

Luckily, these statistics show a general decrease in violent crimes such as murder and non-negligent manslaughter, robbery and aggravated assault – all down between 2 and 5 percent. However, forcible rape saw a noticeable uptick – nearly 18 percent.

Men and women alike need to learn self-defense to protect yourself from these types of attacks, and my karate class will help you do just that.

For the first time in our nearly 12-year history, Metamora Martial Arts will offer a class specifically for adults starting Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 6 p.m. at the Metamora Community Center.

Here are four reasons you should learn martial arts

1. Avoid Conflicts

It’s said that “there is no first strike in karate.” You’ll get the resources you need to avoid becoming a victim in the first place.

2. Defend Yourself

The statistics support the idea that you very well may need to defend yourself someday. In fact, overall, the FBI statistics show that violent crime increased slightly last year. I’ll show you how to escape from grabs, block incoming attacks, and how to safely return home to your family. We’ll also discuss Illinois law related to self-defense.

3. Earn a Black Belt

Unlike the trophies you earned playing sports in school, a black belt stays with you for life. It’s not an easy task, but one that is worth the effort given all of the ways it pays off in your life.

4. Get Fit and Stay in Shape

Condition your body to withstand and effectively deliver attacks! I’ve witnessed several martial artists who have completely transformed their bodies and minds as a result of the exercise involved in martial arts.

If you’re interested in learning more about joining our adult karate class, contact us!

March 26

What Students Will Learn at Metamora Martial Arts

I come back to it time and again, but I’m often asked why people should learn martial arts when they can just buy a gun.

What those people are missing is that the martial arts aren’t just about self-defense. They’re a culture, an attitude, a way of life.

In this post, I’ll give you three reasons that are benefits of martial arts training. I’d encourage you to add more to this list in the comments below.

How To Defend Yourself

The most important thing you can learn from a self-defense class is how to defend yourself.

I don’t necessarily want to hammer the gun control issue here again, but guns are only part of the answer (or problem, depending on your perspective). Guns only work if you know how to use them, have enough time to use them, and are within reach of one. The same can be said of knives, pepper spray, pipes, broomsticks, or any other item that can be used as a weapon.

You always have your body parts available at your disposal, no matter if you’re sleeping, walking, driving, in a school, bar – the list goes on.

How To Think Differently and Effectively

One of my personal favorite martial arts benefits is that I’m able to think differently and effectively to solve problems.

In our kata, we work applications (bunkai). We take the series of techniques that comprise a series to dispose of a would-be attacker. In The Pinnacle of Karate, Master Trias describes each attacker’s moves, and the defender’s techniques to save himself/herself. In other words, Master Trias outlines our problem and gives his solution to it based on his knowledge.

You might be asking yourself at this point: “But Mr. Bockler, if we know the problem and the solution, aren’t we just doing rote memorization exercises?”

Actually, you’re not.

Using the same series of moves that you do in the kata, you can come up with an almost infinite amount of self-defense applications. Generally, these interpretations (extensions) are reserved for advanced ranks who are familiar enough with the moves and know the basic applications in order to expand upon them.

“Kata is our library of movement,” Mr. Hawkey often says.

How to Persevere

I was told recently that our requirements for promotion might seem too intimidating. My response was that becoming a black belt is not easy.

Karate teaches people how to persevere.

Though it depends entirely on each person, style, and instructor, the general rule of thumb is that it takes three to five years to achieve a black belt.

Think about school. High school takes four years (generally) to earn a diploma. College takes four more. Graduate degrees take longer.

Neither diplomas nor black belts are guaranteed. Some take longer to graduate than others. Some don’t even make it to the finish line.

When I think about that statement, I think about all the martial artists that have passed through Metamora Martial Arts since Mr. Chianakas opened the program in 2002. Hundreds, I would say, came to check it out. No matter what rank they achieve, only 11 students in 10 years could say they earned a black belt as a result of taking part in this program. Only five of those students were promoted to 2nd-degree black belt, or nidan.

Only one – me – is actively pursuing promotion to third-degree.

I don’t say that to brag or with any bitter intent geared toward to my martial arts brothers and sisters. Eleven of us have a special bond that we’ll carry with us as long as we live.

I say that to show that black belts and subsequent ranks are not easy to earn. It takes time, dedication, practice – and most importantly – perseverance.

Contact For More Information

Metamora Martial Arts is a karate and self-defense program for students children 8+, teens and adults. Contact Mr. Adam Bockler for more information>>

March 1

Forget Guns For a Second: Learn How to Use Your Natural Weapons (For Free!)

With all of the discussion and debate about gun control in this country, I wanted to invite you, the reader, to envision a world in which we are able to take our weapons wherever we go. On the bus. On the plane. In movie theaters. In schools and universities. In a hospital or doctor’s office. Grandma’s house.

If you’re thinking of a world in which we’re packing heat, you’re thinking too hard.

The human body has so many natural weapons: fingers, fists, knees, elbows, feet, arms, shins.

The most important weapon, though, is your mind.

These are the weapons you take everywhere you go. Don’t worry about checking them in any luggage or setting off any metal detectors. Don’t worry about not being able to take them into your favorite restaurant. No matter where you step foot, you’ll always immediately have these weapons to back you up.

You might be asking yourself, “How can I use these weapons?”

For those who have missed it, I have reopened Metamora Martial Arts, a nationally recognized karate program that has served the village of  Metamora, Illinois, for more than a decade.

In your first (free!) class, you’ll learn a number of ways in which you can protect yourself with one of your natural weapons. Come to the Metamora Community Center any Thursday at 6 p.m. in March to take your first karate class. Students ages 8 and up are welcome. I have more than eight years of experience teaching kids, teens and adults.

When you decide that just holding a gun isn’t a complete self-defense, come to me and I’ll help you learn how to engage in unarmed combat through the use of strikes, throws, chokes, grapples, sweeps, breaks and more.

Let me show you how to not only win the battle, but to avoid it completely.