Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Reminder

No class on inclement weather school closure days! See you Thursday. Please enjoy the workout space with adult supervision and workout on your own. No free fighting unless assistant instructor present. Thank you.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

České přátele

V pořádku! Dobře, že některé české lidi návštěvě. Vypadá to, že můžeme mít trochu učit děje ve vaší zemi velmi brzy.  2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Tao of Martial Arts. And Coffee.



The Tao of Martial Arts.  And Coffee.

                Have you ever seen a real pro coffee drinker?  Someone who can four wheel drive, dodge traffic, park, shift, pass, and occasionally jump small import cars while holding a cup – not a drop spilling onto the console or their pants?  This is a remarkable thing to witness and an art I am starting to achieve some small level of skill in.  The expert grasps the cup not too hard, not too soft.  They give and sway with motions cancelling out the violent changes in vehicle direction and speed.  The body acts as a shock absorber not so much by responding to every change but by simply staying fluid and relaxed.  By allowing movement stillness is achieved.  Setting the cup in a strong, stable, fixed position spells disaster.  Even in the best of cup holders the hot bean-tea will be splashed about making a mess, burning occupants and worse, wasting coffee.  It is the motion that allows safety, and security does not come from strength or anchoring. 
                This of course got me thinking about what Bruce Lee referred to as the tree of martial arts.  The tree has leaves, all of which have value, but neither leaves nor branches should be regarded as the thing itself.  While each branch is an expression of the tree, the tree comes up from roots.  And these roots are of great concern to the martial artist.  You might call these Universal Principles.  The principles manifest in the many branches of study, with some branches becoming specialized in a certain expression.  A rooted understanding allows freedom and humility that benefits all who study.  One of these Universal Principles must certainly be; Mobility.
                By contemplating mobility at the root, trunk, branch, or leaf level we come to understand it more fully and see how mobility is an asset.  At the leaf level one might train how to get up from the ground.  Standing up in a scientific, protected, defendable, balanced way under duress is a technical endeavor.  It must be practiced.  Mobility might be related to footwork, how to move quickly into opportunity, or escape harm.  Mobility might be using a horse to cover ground or knowledge of the landscape.  For each principle that is an asset there is an equal and opposite effect which is limiting that asset for the enemy.  Limiting mobility is something to be considered and is exactly what my coffee taught me about today.
                By placing a lid on my coffee I was able to confine the mobility of the good stuff to a small outlet, the sipping hole, and put one finger on it as needed for my rough mountain roads.  Thus I could anchor the cup in the console and mostly free up that hand, except as needed, for other tasks.  All of the coffee was forced to enter a constricted space which made dealing with the entire mass possible with less resources (one finger).   
                With a bolt of light from cloudy skies over Cold Mountain I thought of Spartans holding the Hot Gates!  I remembered running a soccer ball up the field with players blocking each other from getting to me all at once.  I thought of the bathrooms at Cataloochee Ski Resort, one toilet available for a squad of would be squatters not so patiently praying profanities for the endurance to make it a few more minutes.  With this in mind a great drill came to mind and we tried it that very day.  It is well worth recreating if you have a class.  Slow sparring; grabs or strikes, grappled and attacks done safely against a defender or each other is a good way to analyze technique, build creativity, gain attributes and reinforce principles.  After warming up by making sure students know how to remain under control and respectful, allow a student to defend against multiple attackers in slow to medium motion.  Get them moving, protecting, aggressing, changing levels, and of course getting hit.  In our class we arranged large pads to make a corridor that simulates an entry way or hallway.  The attackers are coffee, the corridor is the spout!  Start in the middle of the room and notice how the fight feels; the overwhelming numbers, the chaos, the difficulty.  Have students work towards the entry way being especially destructive to anyone that might slip in before them.  Step over and on said persons making use of the step as a final crippling blow.  As the defender moves into the corridor the fight energy changes.  The effect of numbers begins to dwindle and incredible damage can be inflicted by a student now fighting against one single angle of attack.  In reality the horrible violence that occurs to the first few people into the corridor, who quickly become floor mats for their friends causing tripping and stumbling, a further decrease of mobility, has an effect on the mind of the mass. 
                Like the coffee, the multiple attackers while superior in strength and number, become manageable with less resources; even for a time, stoppable.  In effect this drill teaches an individual the value of limiting enemy mobility while maintaining personal mobility to some degree. Watch out for goat paths.  Being surrounded in a constricted position is a weak position.  Be aware that a closet may limit attacker effectiveness but also limits mobility.  The trade-off may be worth it for temporary survival; consider Helms Deep!  In general as mobility comes to a stop the battle quickly tips in favor of the more agile contender.  This is a Universal Principle and can be applied to tank warfare, naval strategy, small team tactics, the propagandist, nuclear arsenal survivability and individual combat. 
                Limiting mobility is not physical only.  I once handled a potentially dangerous situation by talking a group of attackers into one on one confrontation, starting with the tallest member – it was an offer he could not say no to.  It also stopped the group from killing me.  I was able to walk away from that episode because their numbers were blocked at a choke point; a psychological corridor, built by ego.
               Think how your martial art addresses mobility and honestly ask if you have emphasized it in some way as a study in itself.  Think of stances, evasions, and even body conditioning to keep you going as your opponent slows down.
                And next time you order your favorite beverage sit for a time and consider what wisdom it has to teach.  But don’t sit too long.  We are like a car; idleness is the enemy of our own flesh and blood.


-Spencer


New Class in Clyde NC

New Covenant Church in Clyde, Wednesday night 530pm, soon to move up to 5pm.  Donation based only! All ages

Friday, January 23, 2015

Be My Valentine

Valentines Couples Special

Self defense training, topics of choice, private lesson with your romantic partner.
$45 for two people, one hour course; learn partner drills and exercises that are fun, effective, keep you fit and flexible and build awareness, sensitivity to one's environment and the ability to deal with unexpected events.  (ends February 21)

Email lotswilderness@gmail.com for reservations

Thursday, January 22, 2015

General Update; Tabata, Camp, new classes, upcoming clinic

LOTSWild general update!

Probably the coolest recent development is in the form of Tabata, High intensity timing training, thanks to Rob Hunter - dad of a student, buff crossfit trainer and also world champion contender in full contact western weapons fighting (swords etc). We downloaded an iPhone app and have incorporated the 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off as an example, into our sparring practice. It has radically changed student excitement, focus, intensity and overall fun in class. It also allows us to keep resistance/contact training a regular part of almost every class now even if short duration. Sparring can be done; one handed, no hands, no feet, distance regulated, defending only, grappling, weapons, multiple people, and a thousand other variations.

SUMMER CAMP SCHEDULE IS UP at www.lotswild.com

New Class at New Covenant Church in Clyde NC went great last night, we had 10 or 11 students. This class is more focused on spiritual development and character. For example we are looking this week at 1 Timothy 4:8 "For bodily exercise has some value, but godliness has value in all things", and close each class with prayer for every student who has a need. AWESOME!

Black Mountain and regular Canton classes continue to integrate Tang Soo Do with spontaneous and creative responses using IMA compliance techniques. We are drilling gi and no-gi chokes, using flexible weapons and clothing to perform techniques, and then flowing into them from basic Tang Soo Do strikes and one steps. Thanks Jonathan Orbach for visiting this week and bring some of Master Travis Ginn s excellence to our school.

February 6-8 is CHOAS 2015, the rawest most intense survival training from multiple teachers, many disciplines, perspectives, and a hearty dose of FUN. Swannanoa, $160. Contact me for details or visit www.ashevilleninjas.com

Don't forget snowboarding - students get free gear rentals, and we have schoolwide passes available so you can go for FREE!

Most common questions searched about me

I can see what people type in search engines when then are directed to and find this website.  It's amazing what you all are looking for! To save you some time I'm going to answer a couple of them because, obviously, the questions continue to exist.

1.)  What is Spencer Bolejack's Net Worth?

LOL! Really?  Well, imagine you are a middle school teacher after almost a decade of trying to finish school.  Things are great, you buy a house, have a kid and then boom get laid off.  Since you are adept at survival you promote martial arts classes and buy bulk foods, don't have tv or cable, and put mental power into saving gas $, electricity, and recreational fun comes from playing outdoors as usual.  A TV show comes along, but being a smaller network, it's more of a wonderful bonus for the year rather than a retirement hope.  TV show helps boost knife sales and adds a couple of summer campers but in general life continues.  I play drums in a couple of bands, teach Martial Art 5 days a week, run a summer camp that is creative in covering bills and turning a small profit, and raise THREE KIDS! Whoever you are searching for my net worth best find something more exciting to go after in life.  I still live without TV, heat with wood, hunt, fish, and try to conserve so that I can spend what cash I do have on cool stuff.  Like motorcycles, a snowboard, and another trip to the Caribbean. 

2.)  Is Hillbilly Blood Fake?  Or, is Hillbilly Blood Real?

I have decided that a culture that has been raised on and sustained by television in general has lost some part of the brain that used to be a vital component of the human experience.  I guess if you've never been around productions you might not realize that there are cameras recording the whole thing, sound guys with microphones, lighting experts, producers, assistants running errands, and a slew of technical professionals who's job it is to make a show come together within budget, on time, and of adequate quality to air on a respected network.  All of these people have timelines and priorities, stay in a hotel nearby, and send footage to another small army who pieces it together, looking for problems to reshoot and making sure it all makes sense.  So no, Gene and I aren't secretly planning a scheme to hide underground when OUT OF NOWHERE pops a huge crew and cameras to film a day-in-the-life-of . . . 

That being said, the information presented, building projects, and tasks are very real.  Eugene and I put our heads together and plan, execute, often at great risk, the various things you see done on the show.  We are both professional, experienced, survivors who want to give the viewing audience both entertainment and also real life skills that we've learned through cuts, scrapes, burns, failure, family mentors, friends, books, travels, adventures, and so on.  Many of the shows are based on our real life events although I will say the real life version is often much more dramatic and exciting; just, there weren't any cameras around.  For example, you may have seen a vine raft constructed with a tarp used to cross a river.  Eugene has been intercepted off the US coast trying to sail to the Bimini islands in one of those, as well as attempting to cross one of the great lakes.  He regularly paddles around Fontana in such a vessel.  And you might see us walking through the mountains, surviving off the land for a couple of days.  Well, I did that once.  And the trip lasted 3 years all together.  You can't even imagine the events that took place during that time, and a show could hardly capture even a small part.  BUT, we can demonstrate some of the skills and knowledge, for REAL, and put it in a show that folks can enjoy and learn from.  It's always VERY HARD to pull off an episode within the time frame we are given, make things work, and power through injury, personal issues, sickness, and all the stuff that is TV.  In the end, it has been awesome.


OK that's enough for today, off to make knives, karate chop some kids, split firewood, and check on a solar panel -

Spencer 2 Dogs