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!

August 20

Team Forms from Share The Martial Arts

It’s been a busy several weeks for me, and I’ve got a lot of video coming your way!

We’ll start with this past weekend, when I was in Chetek, Wisc., for Brown’s Karate Academy’s annual Share the Martial Arts summer camp.

The weekend was filled with seminars (some footage will be available later).

On the last day, the campers split into four teams. Each team then had to compose and perform their own unique form in less than an hour.

Mr. Leland Brenholt combined techniques from all the members of his group, The Laughing Buddhas, to create Many Roots.

I was in Mr. Stefan Stein’s group. I learned he’s done mega team form competition, with dozens of people performing the same form at the same time. We stuck to a common form pattern and fairly basic techniques for many martial artists.

Mr. Aldus also stuck to a basic pattern for his students, and composed a fantastic blend of a variety of maneuvers into a form called “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Panda.”

Mr. Jeff Borchardt’s team performed one of the most unique and entertaining team forms I’ve ever seen, complete with Zumba moves and a backflip.

Each team won first in their division.

April 18

Master Ken Roasts the 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame

It’s ironic that I was awarded Karate Black Belt of the Year by the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame when just hours earlier I’d traded in my black belt for a white belt in Ameri-Do-Te.

Let me explain.

I love to laugh, and I love the martial arts.

So imagine how stoked I was to learn that Master Ken would be doing a presentation at the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

Master Ken is a character played by Matt Page on his YouTube show, Enter the Dojo (note: It might be considered PG-13 for mostly language).

The style of the show is perhaps best described as “The Office” meets “Karate Kid”. The show centers around an egocentric martial arts instructor named Master Ken, who teaches his own homemade brand of fighting called “Ameri-Do-Te” to a band of misfit civilians.


Master Ken and Sensei Bockler pose

Master Ken and Sensei Bockler pose

For nearly half an hour, Master Ken entertained the crowd of several hundred and provided evidence to support his claim that his martial art truly is “the best of all, worst of none.”

He dissected various martial arts, pointing out their supposed inefficiencies and calling them irrelevant and outdated.

“Krav maga? What a joke. They don’t even use the belt system. They give each other patches like a bunch of Girl Scouts.”

Then he turned his attention to roasting various martial artists in the crowd.

Master Ken confused Ed Parker, the father of American kenpo, with Eddy Parker, the kung fu stylist out of Peoria, before immediately turning to tai chi chuan instructor Steve Aldus.

“Tai chi is the only martial art to be officially sponsored by the AARP,” he ribbed.

Finally, Master Ken brought up some volunteers to demonstrate various Ameri-Do-Te techniques, which I’ve not included in the video.

Master Ken mentioned that his program was offering a black belt exchange, in which all the scores of black belts in the room could give up their belts for an Ameri-Do-Te white belt.

After this segment, I took Master Ken up on his offer.

“Sorry, sir,” I said. “I don’t have my black belt with me because it’s in my room.”

“That’s fine,” he replied. “Just promise to burn it later.”

Master Ken has officially accepted Sensei Bockler as a student of Ameri-Do-Te

Master Ken has officially accepted Sensei Bockler as a student of Ameri-Do-Te

What a fun gimmick. I would have loved to have chatted with Matt Page about the character and the show because I appreciate his DIY approach.

I guess if you’re an 11th-degree black belt, though, you only have so much time to give.

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 25

Steve Aldus Demonstrates Tai Chi Chuan at Peoria Martial Arts Seminar

A few weeks ago, I did an (almost live) blog from a seminar hosted by Ms. Vera Harrison in Peoria.

For the first time, I’m unveiling video from that event.

Here, Mr. Steve Aldus – with more than 40 years of martial arts experience – demonstrates “White Crane Spreads Its Wings” from the old Yang style tai chi chuan form. This move is just one of 188 in this form.

In this clip, Mr. Aldus talks about “push hands” or “push practice,” and demonstrates some striking as well as grappling techniques. At the end, he shows a great drill to practice.

Prior to uploading these clips, Mr. Aldus gave me permission.

My students have heard stories about my training experiences with my instructors.

Earlier this summer, after our grand re-opening demonstration, I invited Mr. Hawkey to introduce our students to sparring. The students were excited after that session to have learned from a true great.

At that same event, they also met Mr. Aldus, but he (and his wife) were there for support and not so much demonstration.

I hope that by working with my instructors directly, or by showing these videos, my students recognize the quality of instruction that I have received and that I intend to pass along to them.