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.

July 29

Adam Bockler Appears in Taekwondo Times Magazine

Taekwondo Times - September 2013

It’s true!

I am featured as an attacker in the September 2013 issue of Taekwondo Times.

Mr. Steve Aldus, my tai chi chuan teacher, wrote an article for this issue explaining in detail some of the applications of the art he’s studied for more than 40 years. In this issue, he demonstrates several tai chi chuan moves on me.

Many times tai chi chuan is mistaken for an art without any practicality. However, I can tell you they are for real, and this issue helps illustrate that.

I have trained with Mr. Aldus for three years. But if my regular practice isn’t enough,  being on the receiving end of these techniques during the photo shoot is enough, in my opinion, to understand just how effective tai chi chuan is as a martial art.

Take a look at the last application for “Pluck Needle from Sea Bottom,” and I’ll tell you it hurt just to breathe. Imagine that knee dropping at full speed and you’ll understand how damaging this art can be.

As Mr. Aldus talked to the photographer – Rock Tai, a transplant from Hong Kong whose dad is a revered martial artist – in between shots, he showed a few more applications. “Wow,” Rock said, “I can see the power.” I wasn’t hurt, but Rock was able to see the potential destruction tai chi chuan is capable of.

Select this picture to see more behind-the-scenes images from the Taekwondo Times photo shoot!

Select this picture to see more behind-the-scenes images from the Taekwondo Times photo shoot!

Students and parents are welcome to receive free copies of this issue of the Taekwondo Times. It retails for $7.00.

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.

October 10

Women’s Self-Defense Seminar in Peoria on Sunday, Nov. 4

Get a crash course in women’s self-defense!

Kim Aldus, a 25-year martial arts veteran, will be teaching a women’s self-defense class on Sunday, Nov. 4, from 10:30-2:30 at the Contemporary Art Center in downtown Peoria.

No experience is necessary for you to take part in this seminar. Come dressed in comfortable clothes. Sweats and a T-shirt will do the trick.

Save $5 before Oct. 31 and register for $40, or pay $45 at the door. Make checks payable to Kim Aldus.

Space is limited. If the class fills up, an alternative date will be available.

Questions? Contact Mrs. Aldus at 309-648-4528.

Contemporary Art Center
305 SW Water St. (2nd floor)
Peoria, IL 61354



April 2

April 2012 Newsletter – Seminar, Tournaments, PE Waiver Update, and More

I hope you’re enjoying your spring break. It’s always nice to have some time off because it makes me look forward to training even more.

While you’re off, though, please take a few minutes to read through the April newsletter.

Seminar: Steve & Kim Aldus Come April 28

The month is finally here! Mr. and Mrs. Aldus will perform an exclusive workshop for us on Saturday, April 28, from 1:30-3 at MTHS. The event is only open to high school students, adults, and selected grade school students.

In case you’ve missed the announcement, I have been practicing tai chi chuan and hsing-i chuan with the Alduses since 2010. I’m very excited for all of you to meet them, but more importantly, that we all get to learn from them. I think the connection is special – they practice arts that predated and ultimately led to the formation of Shuri-ryu karate.

One, Two, Three New Yellow Belts!

Congratulations to Samantha Barth, Andrew Nauman and William Bracero who earned their yellow belts on March 22! The rest of the students who were part of the stripe test earned an additional stripe. It was great to see so much energy, but there’s still lots of work to do to refine those techniques before earning the next full belt.

Competition Update: Adair Rodriguez Takes 3rd, Adam Bockler Takes 1st

Tournament season is underway! Joshu Adair placed 3rd at the Supreme Way Challenge in Pekin on March 10. This was Joshu Adair’s first competition as a black belt, an impressive feat in a group of five black belts who are some of the toughest forms competitors I’ve seen in this area.

I grabbed 1st place at Auvenshine’s Taekwondo 13th Annual Open Tournament in Springfield on March 17 in a division of 2nd-degree black belts ages 16 and up. This was a big goal for me to accomplish, as I’ve come up short the last three times I competed there. I did not, however, take the grand championship.

Coming Up: Moline on April 14 and Bloomington on May 19

We have two more opportunities for you to compete. Mr. Morrow hosts his Karate & Kung Fu Championships on April 14 in Moline, and Mr. Walker hosts Tournament of Champions IX in Bloomington on May 19. If you’re interested, please let Adam know as soon as possible to help guide you through registering and to help get you ready.

PE Waiver Update

Please make sure your high school student is attending class. If not, the student can only miss class for other school-related activities. If a student receiving a PE waiver is not attending class, I will make requests to Guidance for that student to be removed from the waiver. This does not mean I don’t want the student in our martial arts program. I want to make sure, however, that we are doing right by the school standards.

Additionally, I have requested that Metamora Martial Arts students not be given a PE waiver next year. I know how popular this aspect of the program has been for students over the years (myself included), but I’ve explained in detail why the PE waiver will no longer be offered on our blog:

June Schedule Coming Soon

Many students and parents have asked about our summer schedule. Because many of our instructors are in college and have jobs, we are only planning one month at a time at this point. Currently, we are planning on having classes Thursday nights. From 6-7 we’ll have grade school students, and from 7-8 or 8:30 we’ll have high school students and adults.

On two Wednesday nights, brown belts and above will be invited to Mr. Hawkey’s house for a special two-hour Wednesday class.

Please stay tuned to our website at to get the most up-to-date information about our summer schedule.

Quote of the Month

Bruce Lee headshot“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

I’d never studied much about Bruce Lee. But earlier in March, SpikeTV aired a really cool special called “I Am Bruce Lee” and I became hooked. There’s a lot to be said about his philosophy on the martial arts, bringing people together and finding the commonalities that all arts share, not to mention technique effectiveness.