Archive for May, 2011

10 Questions with Roy Elghanayan

Posted in 10 Questions, Krav Maga with tags , , , , , , , on May 29, 2011 by Combative Corner

Roy Elghanayan runs Krav Maga L.A. (website) and is an extraordinary martial artist.  His unquestionable skill can be seen by his very popular YouTube video (viewable below) [Currently over 2 million hits!].  The crisp and practical application of his techniques make his videos (and his instruction) a clear example/direction to aspire to.  Roy even makes an unlikely variation of a flying armbar look practical (well, maybe for him!)  For more information on Roy’s teachings, workshops, etc, please click the above image.

[Photography credit to: Cassandra Plavoukos]

What events brought you to where you are now (teaching Krav Maga)?

I have been doing Krav Maga for most of my life.  It’s my passion and my achievements throughout my career that brought me to teach Krav Maga.

How have other martial arts complimented your Krav Maga (or vice versa)?

Other martial arts that I have practiced with in the past have helped in Krav Maga.  (An example would be in my take downs)

Do you have a specific diet?

I only eat Kosher protein

What is your training regime like?

My training regime is different every month.  For example for April: Mondays and Wednesdays I run for at least 10 miles , after the run I stretch out my legs for about 15 minutes, and I work on the punching bags for about 20 min. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I hit the weights and for at least an hour I work on different Krav Maga and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) drills.  I also participate in different parts of my students workouts to motivate, push, and inspire them.  Whatever it takes to keep them going from white belt to black belt classes.   I also try to sleep for at least 6 hours a night so my body can recover.

What is your opinion about meditation and do you implement it in your training?

I believe there are many ways of meditation.  My meditation is to kick or punch something as hard as I can or spar for 20 rounds.  It is a great stress reliever!

What is your favorite thing about teaching?

Seeing the results in my students as they grow confident and develop self-defense and fighting skills that changes their life.  All thanks to hard training, endurance, and putting trust in their Sensei.

What is your least favorite thing about teaching?

There is no such thing for me.  I love teaching Krav Maga

Krav Maga is a tough martial art. Have you had any serious injuries in your career so far?

 Just like any fighter I have had a few injuries, but nothing too serious.

How does Roy spend his time when he is not training or teaching martial arts?
I enjoy the beach, BBQ , playing the guitar, and hanging with the guys (and the ladies).

What is one thing about Roy Elghanayan, that most people don’t know?
One thing that most people don’t know and would really like to know about me is my age.  They assume that because of my knowledge, achievements, and because of my looks I am a lot older that what I actually am.  A lesson to learn from this don’t ever judge your opponent for their looks because looks can be deceiving.


If you could test your skills against any athlete in the world, whom would it be?

Bruce Lee.


Roundtable Discussion 011: Notable Influences

Posted in Discussion Question, Roundtable Discussion with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2011 by Combative Corner

“Who’s one person that has inspired/taught you in the martial art(s) and who may never be considered ‘well-known’?”


This guy was just another student like myself, but he is Master Chen’s (Zhonghua) most senior disciple (seniority – not age).  Ronnie Yee lives and teaches in Regina, but was able to travel to our camp for Hunyuan World 2002.  I learned a lot from my time in Edmonton, but what really stood out was how easy it seemed for Ronnie to put complicated Taiji theory and concepts into a form that was more ‘palatable’ to our young minds.  He was a fellow wushu practitioner (so we had that background in common) as well as being a massage therapist.  He knew magic and played with some of the youngsters there (including myself- I love magic!) and introduced me to the rope dart… a weapon that is now my favorite to play and perform.  In just one weekend, Ronnie Yee had a pretty huge impact – and I feel very fortunate to be there at that date and time.  He didn’t MySpace, and he certainly doesn’t Facebook or Twitter (maybe one day in the future), but there is no doubt about it, he’s a fine martial artist and is somewhere working his “magic” ways on his students.

[Video]Ronnie pushing hands with Master Chen]


For me it is Arden Cowheard 6th Dan Kodokan Judo. He is almost 91 years old and still teaching. I still attend and teach there but Aikido and other arts are my true calling.  He opened his Dojo and heart to me. I grew up without a father but I had so many great father figures in my life and he is one that changed my life.
After my first class I never had to pay for a class from that point. But He knew my heart was into the study of Aikido. So I talked to him and said. ” Sensei, there is a very powerful Aikido teacher coming to topeka to teach for a weekend. May I go and train with him?”
He said ” Yes Robert!!! Go where your heart leads you.”  From that point I never left Aikido. I found my love. I still trained Karate and Judo. But without my Judo teach helping to raise me up and not holding me back he helped me to bloom into the person I am today.
He may not be well known. But he is a hero to me. A real Budoka. My family and countless others. Rei Sensei!!


He was my Krav Maga instructor in 2003, and he taught me how to teach kids martial arts. He taught me how to teach adult martial arts. He taught me how to be an excellent communicator. Above all, he was and remains to be an excellent friend. A finer man you would be hard-pressed to find.



He was my very first martial arts instructor when I began Tae Kwon Do when I was 13. He started my martial arts career. As a teenager he not only instilled in me the confidence and self respect that made me the man I am today, he also helped me discover something that I seemed to be naturally good at. As someone who was never great at sports that was a big deal for me.

Master Lee taught me to never hold back when it came to my techniques or how hard I tried in class. He expected a lot from his students and never let us get away with doing things half way. He was a great instructor and I’ve shared stories of my time training with him with my students on more than one occasion.


My father has taught me much about the ways of Tao and Buddha without saying a word, he just lives it. He goes on doing things without taking credit for all that he has accomplished. I was actually raised to live the Martial Way without even realizing it. I was born and raised living the Martial Way. My father will never be well-known because he has no desire to expose himself, he claims no titles, he is not a Martial Artist. He is a man of Gung Fu, but he does not realize it. He will never be “well-known” but if I am ever to be “well-known” then maybe my stories about him will be “well-known.”


My Karate teacher, Gilles Beaulieu, was my first martial arts teacher. Although he was teaching in a relatively small city, he still managed to have a thriving class for a while. I have memories of Gilles conditioning us by having us punch each other in the gut (which I don’t think is kosher anymore), running way more than I liked, and doing crazy things like 1000 crunches the day before I had a presidential fitness test at school. As a kid who was not in great shape and really hated the exercise conditioning, I still loved the class. Even though he was tough on us with the training, he was inspirational since he was doing all the work too and making it look easy. All the while, he maintained a positive energy, built up people’s confidence, and established a sense of community in the class.


Keep Your Noggin’ Safe with ‘The Trinity Block’

Posted in Day's Lesson, Discussion Question, External Arts, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic, Techniques, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2011 by chencenter

Our very own, T.J. Kennedy, gives us a new video on what he terms “The Trinity Block” [watch the video below].

It seems that whenever there is a discussion on blocking, in both martial art and self-defense circles, everyone has their own personal take on it.  And there are others that are down-right against blocking of any kind.  Some get hung up on names and origins and in order to stay true to tradition will remain – what I would call “bound/shackled” – to their system’s method.

Looking over the Facebook comments, I saw all the above.  Some even came out saying that, “This may work, if it won’t if….”.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, however, it is highly beneficial to understand one key concept and one that T.J. brilliantly puts forward in this video, and that is, that our actions must come from a natural, behavioral response.  The Keysi guys did not come up with it, the Krav Maga people did not come with it, nor did the Irish Stick Fighters (where T.J. adopted the name from)…

it comes from a natural response to guard ones head!

Let us know what you think, however in this (one author’s opinion) “The Trinity Block” of which I use a slightly different variation* of is the most natural and practical method of defense.  Obviously the key (like anything in the martial arts) is about timing, velocity, direction, and most importantly to consider, that every situation will be different.  The temptation will always be the guard the head, protect the eyes, nose, temples and throat.  By using “The Trinity Block” and having the mechanics become reflexive, you’ll find that even the hardest of strikers (watch the video below) stand little chance of getting in.

Michael Joyce


*I personally use a variation of this block that I call “The Fonze.”  Like Arthur Fonzarelli from the t.v. show Happy Days, one hand comes up along my top of my head, like I’m brushing my hair back.  The other hand comes across the forehead and assists the other.  Like the Trinity Block, the wrists are relaxed and are in direct contact with the head.  (more on this variation in a later article.)

The Martial Effectiveness of Wuji

Posted in Internal Arts, Internal Development, Qigong, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2011 by Combative Corner

“To depict the ultimate principles of the universal laws of no truth and no untruth state, the mind should be observed with awareness. To adapt to the vicissitude of time and to no present and no unpresent state, its force should be harmonized with awareness.” –The Art of I Liq Chuan

Much attention is given to the concept of Wuji as a component of Qigong and meditation and the practice of Taiji. Wuji may be one of the most important, yet least considered aspect of Neija. Beyond the spiritual and health benefits, Wuji has important martial implications. The above noted quote, from the art of I Liq Chuan, summarizes the ideal martial state. We need to be balanced and aware, to observe the mind with awareness and to harmonize force with this same awareness. This describes the power and function of the state of Wuji.

In Zhan Zhuang, which we also call Wuji meditation, we reside in primordial stillness, a state of balance preceding the birth of Taiji. Of course, with movement Yin and Yang are birthed into existence and we are put into a position of seeking balance. But we needn’t seek very far, because the previous state of Wuji is a state of balance. To take it further, we need remember that movement is born of stillness, but there is always a little stillness in movement and movement in stillness, a little Yin in Yang, and a little Yang in Yin. Therein are the martial benefits of Wuji; finding Yin and or Yang when we need it, and always seeking balance.

The postural alignments and techniques of Zhan Zhuang, the Fifteen Basic Exercises of I Liq Chuan, or the basic principles and practices of Qigong and Silk Reeling should stay with us as we transition into Form practice, Push Hands, Chi Sau, Trapping, or other two person drills, and as we further transition into free sparring or grappling, and of course actual self defense. The point is that we want a state of balance. Wuji practices give us a feel for balance that we can take into interpersonal interactions. If we should find ourselves off balance, we adjust back to the feel of Wuji. Thus, these foundational practices have deep roots and broad applications.

Experimental embodied exercises can and do support the concept of power in structure. The process of tilting the pelvis forward and filling the mingmen are empowering. It is similar to the latent energy in a drawn bow. In this posture we operate from a position of power. Our movements are more efficient, as our bodies are unified. At the same time we are loading the bow, to be released through the issuance of fa jin.

Additionally, there is much to be gained martially from mindfulness. Wuji Qigong is a form of meditation, and we experience the myriad benefits of meditation in these practices. Among these is getting beyond conditioning and the habits of mind. This plays exceptionally well in martial situations, as conditioning and mental habits are counterproductive to martial effectiveness. Instead the martial artist should strive to be aware and present in the moment to deal with what happens as it happens. Push hands and other sensitivity drills emphasize listening as potent martial skill. To effectively ‘listen’ to our training partners we must be aware, present, and balanced, both internally and externally. We strive to know our attacker, to feel our own latent energy, and to be aware enough to utilize it when needed. In a nutshell, effective action in motion is premised and developed by effective awareness in stillness.

As we put it all together we find no separation between movement and stillness. It’s all the same, as evidenced by awareness. This is the true state of Wuji.

Rodney Owen (Guest Writer)

His Website: Naqual Time


10 Questions with Sergei Golubitsky

Posted in 10 Questions with tags , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2011 by Combative Corner

Sergei Golubitsky is considered by many to be “The Best Foil Fencer in the World.”  It is certain that we will remain one of the best fencers of the 20th century, winning 3 straight world championships in Men’s Foil.  Sergei is a Ukrainian fencer with other notable achievements such as: writing an autobiography called Fencing Is My Life, helped to design fencing blades for the company Leon Paul, and is currently coaching his wife, Caroline (another champion in the sport.  Read a transcript of an audio interview with her : here ).  Fencing.Net did an interview with Sergei back in 2004 that is worth a look (here).  Besides Sergei’s biography (the best since Nadi’s, On Fencing), there is a dvd available in which he breaks down his performance from 3 world champion bouts (product review).  Now…. Sergei Golubitsky gives us 10 answers  –

What events in your life brought you to fencing?
My father was a fencer and foil coach. Besides I was going to the movies and watched many musketeer films (Zorro of course!).  On 31st of March 1980 my dad took me with him and after, when I was back home, talking to my mom, I decided to give my dad the news, that I was gonna fence.
What year (in your opinion) did you feel like you were at your peak?
1997 – World Champ for the first time (in individuals) and 1999, I became World Champ third year in the row, I won the World Cup.
What was your memory of the 2000 Olympics?
I was rather sad and unhappy. That didn´t help me at all for my fencing. I had private reasons for that.
—-(follow up to same question)— You placed fifth in the world! Were there no “pleasant” moments?
Almost none.
What was your training regime like?
It was different at different stages of life and age groups
What characteristic do you think make a top fencer?
Intelligence, ability to adapt quickly, ability to read oppontnt´s intention, ability to anticipate, hard worker, feeling of tempo, talent.
Are there any particular names that you follow in fencing today?
Caroline Golubitsky (my wife)
Is there, or has there ever been, anything that you did NOT like about fencing?
Non competent referee, sold referee, no fair play.
When you were competing, was there anything you did that (you felt) gave you “a competitive edge.” (i.e. meditation, music, exercise, etc?)
No, not really.
Can you tell us anything about designing your signature blade (i.e. what makes it different from others, what input you had on the process, etc)?
Leon Paul was making blades and giving them to me, in order to test and approve them.  They made necessary improvements to my requests up to the moment.   I was happy with the product.
How are you spending your time these days?
At the moment I´m training my wife for Olympics and travelling with her.  It looks like in the future I might work in the US.

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