The Zen of Archery

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Even when troubled

Maintain the spirit

Of the Bow and Arrow

And it will heal 

Your sickness!

Awa Kenzo

If your emotions are channeled properly, perverse thoughts disappear. When perverse thoughts are gone, you are in a state of sincerity. In a state of sincerity you will perceive the light of the gods.

— Awa Kenzo

Dhanurveda (Vedic Archery Science)

Then having covered the object aimed at with the gripe , the archer , with his neck held firm and steady and his  head poised erect as that of a peacock , and with his chest bulged out and shoulders drooping down , and his  whole frame bent in the shape of a triangle , should discharge his arrow , his temple , nose , face and shoulders  being  made like those of a horse ( A Prose English Translation of Agni Puranam, pg 896 ) 

In the dojo, aim for truth. 

At home, aim for harmony. 

At work, aim for progress. 

Among friends, aim for trust.

 In the world, aim for sincerity.

Awa Kenzo

Elite Warriors – Wolf Ethos

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In many cultures, from Persia to Japan, wolves are acknowledged as ferocious warriors. This ethos of a wolf may seem strange to our modern culture, wolves in the Hebrew Bible and in European fairytales (Such as the brothers Grimm Fairytales) were seen as anything but an ideal to look up to. In this blog post I will go over natural science and behavior of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, looking at keystone species, natural alpha males vs business ideology. We need to become our own leaders and follow our own intuitions. Enter the forest:

A Wolf Protects the Forest

How Wolves Change Rivers

Human Application:

A Wolf Warrior is Spiritual – Forest Cathedrals

In Native American culture, a wolf is considered a very intuitive and spiritual animal, as stated by Liz Rayen:

Within the Native American culture, there are many traditions that consider the wolf to rank the highest among all the spiritual teachers, including the eagle and the hawk.

Ted Andrews, author of Animal-Speak states, “Wolves are the epitome of the wild spirit. They are friendly, social, and highly intelligent. Their sense of family is strong and loyal, and they live by carefully defined rules and rituals.”

Church Forests of Ethiopia

The Church Forests of Ethiopia

Are you a REAL Alpha Wolf?

“The main characteristic of an alpha male wolf is a quiet confidence, quiet self-assurance. You know what you need to do; you know what’s best for your pack. You lead by example. You’re very comfortable with that. You have a calming effect.”

– Richard McIntyre, Wolf Researcher
Real Alpha Leader Wolf – Frans de Waal

Wolves are Misunderstood

Wolves are a keystone species. Without them the entire ecosystem falls out of balance. In human parlance; whether in the economy, false priest, abusive churches, violence in society, bad politicians, political warfare etc. True leaders are needed. Be a real Alpha wolf, not a false one.

Some animals are more equal than others:

Keystone Species and Trophic Cascades

Where you remove “urchins” and regulate their populations, this is where the kelp forest flourish. Where we remove the keystone species, the ecology falls apart. We need to keep the balance in society, with true alpha wolves, true leaders and true warriors, not just violent men. Society will flourish if we do this.

Will You answer the Wolf’s Call?

Enter the path of the wolf. The true Alpha wolf. The others are waiting.

On Becoming Your Own Leader

We need to return to the harmony of real alpha wolves. Return to the forest and take care of the community. As Graham Hancock explains we have lost this harmony. We need to wake up and get back into natural biorhythms, we are creatures of the earth. Return to being keystone leaders. Family leaders. Think for ourselves.

Various styles of Russian Systema (The system)

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Systema in russian literally translates as the system. It is no more and no less than a systematized grouping of self preservation and defense techniques that was originally taught by the great Aleksey Alekseevich Kadochnikov.

There are many styles of the system, just as there are many styles of Chinese kung fu. Most of them trace their roots back to Kadochnikov in modern Russia, but there are a few that are more or less just made up from bits and pieces of traditional styles and slathered in nostalgia sauce to seem authentic.

Systema Kadochnikov- (The original) Sytema Kadochnikov was invented by A.A. Kadochnikov and is based on the Kadochnikov family style. It has many elements of western boxing and Russian sabre fencing. This is a modern take on a very old style. Kadochnikov said that he was taught in the Army the basic combat sambo style of the 1930s but he said none of it stuck. This is a family Cossack style that has been reinterpreted for the 20th and now the 21st century. (His son Arkadey is still teaching this style in Russia but is not the best teacher for this system)

The Master in Action

Systema Cadets in action

Systema is actually for highly trained warriors and special operations operators in tough survival situations and is very technical. Based on biomechanics, physics, levers, military survival, body’s pain points and vulnerable points and is designed to work. Most of the training is done with real weapons, real kalashnikov rifles, real knives, real asphalt with real results. With even a little clinical hypnosis thrown in for good measure. This is not for the light of heart, or even really for hobbyists. This is made by Russians for the Russians. This is real systema:

One of Kadochnikov’s top students, Vinogradov S.S.

Now the good news is that since Kadochnikov is based on scientific principles of mechanical physics, biomechanics and kinesiology that the principles can be modified for a Western mentality and have been taught in Europe for a number of years by Russians who live there. They have grafted in and acclimated to the western understanding and have been successful teachers of the Kadochnikov System.

For Russians: I recommend the teachers Belousov (Белоусов) , Retyunskikh ( Ретюнских ) ROSS system, and also Vladimir Martynenko (Владимир Мартыненко). They were actually taught by A.A. Kadochnikov and are genuine holders of the system for Russian speakers/ Russian mentality. They have also kept the cultural movements which make systema Kadochnikov so hard to learn for westerners and are genuine veterans, so they know what they are talking about.

For Westerners: I recommend Evgueni Matkovski who is an amazing Kadochnikov teacher and seems to reside or teach a lot in France. One of his students. Anastasia Nila Kvan is an excellent teacher of Systema as well, and also resides in Toulouse France.

Evgueni Matkovski (In French and Russian)

Muddled Origins: Systema Pretenders

There are a lot of pretenders out there or people who just can not understand the movements, science or cultural aspects enough to teach systema in North America (This goes both ways as the Western mentality and understanding is not the same). These include Pramek as taught by Matthew Powell (excellent planning and success coach though), Systema Vasiliev (which has very little to do with ROSS system anymore) and other Kadochnikov-like teachers in the USA.

Systema Vasiliev/ Ryabko – Vasiliev originally learned ROSS in Russia and taught it when he first immigrated to Canada sometime in the 80s or 90s. There was a lawsuit though from the Kadochnikov group and he eventually came to associate with Michael Ryabko, a Russian Orthodox Christian and military official. This history is a little hard to trace because Vladimir Vasiliev’s system is shrouded in mystery, machismo and lawsuits.

I’ve pieced it together as best as I can, but they really try to make it cool and drench it in special forces marketing, almost as bad as Vadim Starov (Even though he used to work with Kadochnikov). I’ve spent far too much time tracing their methods and teachings and it was very disappointing that they don’t cite original sources or say where they get things from. Their fist fighting comes from Buza (old Russian Fist fighting), the breathing from the 4 Cossack breathing styles (Cossack Spas Breathing as taught by Sergei Danilov) styles and (not from Russian Orthodox Hesychasm Jesus Prayer as they say in let every Breath), their water dousing from a Russian Mystic named Porfiriy Korneevich Ivanov (Порфирий Корнеевич Иванов) and basically everything else came from various Russian styles of which there are real tradition holders to this day(Like Igor Karmanov, Knaz Boris Timofeev- Golitsin, Victor Pavlyuchenkov among others.)

It isn’t from the Russian Special Forces as they teach combat sambo or Systema Kadochnikov, and it isn’t from King David either . It’s neither here nor there, nor is it scientific, as their breathing style isn’t the Buteyko Method that is taught in Kadochnikov System to real special forces, and it isn’t the Cossack style either. It’s just a mess.

I’ll let McDojo break it down for you

Warriors Can be Healers Too

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Athelas – Kingsfoil
Aragorn Heals Eowyn LOTR: The Return of the King

Modern day soldiers of fortune, killers, mercenaries as well as magical Kung fu fighters fills the screens of our smartphones and theaters. Men of no mercy, no healing and no kindness. Revenge, slaughter and bloodlust are filling up the collective-unconscious about the warrior way or budo in modern society. What is a warrior if not only a man of violence?

This is the modern soldier, MMA and Jedi knight mentality. This is based on sending men off to war, instead of a warrior being a position in society. In our hyper specialized society, we don’t comprehend the value of knowing multiple skills. Any modern soldier will need to know basic first aid before a medic arrives – and before the invention of the radio, mp3 players and streaming music, they used to have to entertain themselves as well with song and dance. We’ve forgotten our songs, we’ve forgotten how to dance. We’ve forgotten, or have never known, how to heal.

Here are a few lesser known healing methods for PTSD, long term health, gunshot wounds, headaches etc. Modern day warriors need to know how to take care of their mental health, longevity, extreme first aid and on the job applications to help their warrior-brothers (or sisters)

Natural and Modern healing methods:

Mental Warrior

Ayurveda, Siddha, or Allopathy

Cayenne Dr. Christopher – Herbalist

Herbs for gunshot wounds

Airman Battlefield Accupuncture

Alternative to narcotics, stay alert and do your job

Warrior Brahmins: an oxymoron?

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Mahatma Gandhi

All my life I was surrounded by images and mythology of the warrior brahmin or priest. I thought there was no qualms with this claim that a priest and a warrior was the same thing. The more I researched true varnas (the four personality archtypes of Hindusim) I began to realize there is a huge divide in the personality types of the four varnas.

Somewhat like the five factions in the Divergent Series, the four varnas (not castes, this is a later corruption of the four varnas) the natural order of society and personalities keeps a healthy society running. Warrior Kings or Chiefs, Priests or Brahmin, Merchants, Sellers and Farmers and last but not least Laborers[varnas wikipedia].

It won’t make sense to our western sensibilities, but if you take almost any modern personality tests and run them through the higher, more ancient varna system, you will discover that there is a natural harmony and order of things. I like how Divergent (2014) demonstrates, in a very modified version, the basic varnas in a science fiction environment (seemingly based on the later more corrupted caste system):

So you can see in this simple movie’s words, that people tend to accel or their personalities fit more or less a general mold. So are you an abdication or a dauntless; a giving bhramin or a protective warrior?

A Warrior or a Brahmin?

Quakers are a classic example of conscientious objectors to serving in the military. The non-violent revolution of Ghandi, the ascetic, another good example. So can a priest or church leader be also a true warrior? I think not. There are too many personal examples I have talking to priestly people who are more ascetic and spiritual, that I don’t think they can. They should not harm any life in combat, they choose hunger strikes instead of violence, a life of asceticism to sports and combat. In fact they are polar opposites. This is why it is important to distinguish real martial arts from sport and from more natural and scientific martial arts that have no reality in combat.

Can a priest/pastor do martial arts?

A pastor when protecting his flock may muster some kind of self defense, but taking the example from Yeshua of Nazareth, we can see he chose to turn the other cheek, and to be crucified, instead of fending off his attackers. In fact when Simon Peter cut off the ear of the guard, Yeshua chose to heal him instead. This is the way of self sacrifice and healing; and not of protecting.

The Lamb of God – Clip starts at 9:01 in the Garden

He was also a son of David however, and King David was a Warrior-King who unified Israel and fought off its attackers. So Yeshua chose his path, but I’m not saying there is a hard set rule, we could learn from their choices. Is there a way to do martial arts as a more spiritual peaceful type? Yes, however the choice has consequences. It’s not really meant as a martial path, but more of a health and fitness way.

Two prime examples of martial arts for pastors/ spiritual people/ yogis:

ISAI Natural Martial Arts:

ISAI The Martial Art of Formless Flow

Monya Gorelik studied Tai chi, Yoga and human natural biomechanics for a number of years. This style is a great foundation for natural human movement, which can be built upon with actual functional self defense, but in its current state it is more of a basis for natural human movement and a healthy lifestyle. This is a great practice for Brahmin, priests, yogis and the ascetics’ lifestyle a.k.a. Varna personality type.


Play-fight is an exploratory play-fighting style, great for self exploration, getting to know your environment and having fun.

Play-Fight Practice by Formless Arts / Bruno Caverna

So do you abhor violence? Take punches rather than give them? Roll with the punches and prefer a life of hippies, yogis, quakers, ascetics or peace loving people? These are a couple of choices for you when it comes to martial arts; although minus the marital.

Warrior or Brahmin Dharma?

Dharma or righteous paths for Brahmin or the priestly scholars and of the protecting shepherd chiefs is very different. One is a life of giving and assisting others spiritually, the other is protecting and administering them, in otherwords keeping them relatively out of harms way, and ensuring liberty. It’s time to choose, are you a Kshatriya or a Brahmin?

Choosing her faction in Divergent clip:

Ancient Temple

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What is the ancient temple like?

From a Lecture by noted Historian Hugh Nibley:

In ancient times the world was covered with temples. What was done in them? Surprisingly, all followed the same general pattern. Over sixty years ago I wrote a paper on the subject, comparing a score of temple rites at the great ceremonial centers throughout the world from the remotest times to the present. They were astonishingly alike; many scholars had to check over the lists of their common traits again and again to realize that we may be dealing with one single worldwide institution. Thus Samuel Hooke listed five main elements that “constitute the underlying skeleton . . . not only of such seasonal rituals as the great New Year Festivals, but also of coronation rituals, [and] initiation ceremonies.” “In extremely diverse cultural contexts we always find the same cosmological pattern and the same ritual scenario,” writes Eliade, and as “man progressively occupies increasingly vast areas of the planet, . . . all he seems to do is to repeat indefinitely the same archetypal gesture.” He pointedly observes that “man would not know these tales if they were not revealed to him. Consequently, a myth is the story of what happened . . . at the beginning of time.”

Hugh Nibley Abraham’s Temple Drama

He further goes on to write:

The Temple Drama

The ancient state or nation was hierocentric, focused on one sacred place of power and authority; such places were sometimes referred to as “places of emergence,” that is, of contact between the Upper and the Lower Worlds, where at the New Year all the people met to rehearse the creation. Regarding this practice, Mircea Eliade writes, “It was the . . . sacred place, . . . the celestial prototype, . . . the act of creation which . . . brought the ordered cosmos out of chaos, . . . the sacred marriage, . . . the ritual confrontation with evil as the dragon and the victory of the King, whose triumphant coronation inaugurates the new age of the world and the cosmos.” There is an “atoning sacrifice” to “restore the primal unity between God and man and enable the latter to regain the Divine presence.” In this, “Reality is conferred through participation in the ‘symbolism of the Center’: cities, temples, houses become real by the fact of being assimilated to the ‘center of the world.’ . . . The temple in particular—preeminently the sacred place—had a celestial prototype,”39 the holy mountain, “the mountain of the Lord’s house” (Isaiah 2:2).

But does all this singing, dancing, dramatizing, and preaching really make it happen? The performance at the temple was a preparation, a training, a school, and a theater, teaching by precept and example. They knew it was not the real thing. Shakespeare apologizes repeatedly in his great superspectacular Henry V, begging the pardon of the audience, “Can this cockpit hold / The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram / Within this wooden O the very casques / That did affright the air at Agincourt? / O, pardon!”43 He excuses himself for the sheer gall of daring to stage a great battle with “four or five most vile and ragged foils / (Right ill dispos’d, in brawl ridiculous).”44 Still, he is performing a service as he concludes, “Yet sit and see, / Minding true things by what their mock’ries be.”45 The whole thing is just a mockup, as a stage is, a make-believe, frankly, a mockery. But still it will give you an idea of the “true things” it is supposed to represent.

Hugh Nibley Abrahams Temple Drama (Archived Here)

Sacred Theater

Sacred theater about the creation of the world . This type of reenactment can be found in most ancient cultures, but largely forgotten in ours. I was struck by the presence and mask artistry of the Noh Japanese sacred theater:

Dance Prayer Circle

From Greece to Korea, from North America to Israel the sacred circle dance was a vital part of ancient ceremony, the early Christian temple Ceremony had a prayer dance circle

The nature of the early Christian prayer circle may be described by letting the oldest documents speak for themselves, beginning with the latest and moving backwards to the earliest. The rite was depicted for the last time in a document read to the assembled churchmen of the Second Council of Nicaea in ad 787 and condemned by them to the flames. Their objection was to parts of the text that proclaimed the gnostic doctrine of the total immateriality of Christ; on the subject of the prayer circle, which was strange to them, they preserved a discreet silence (see sidebar on facing page).1 Actually that part of it was an excerpt taken from a much older writing, the Acts of John, being the earliest apocryphal Christian Acta, dating at least to the early third century. In reading this and other accounts of the prayer circles, we seem to enter, as Max Pulver expressed it, into “a strange space, a strange world—unlike ours—a world above the world that opens before us when we enter into the round dance of the disciples, led by Christ.” The passage from the Acts of John reads as follows, after a notice on the extreme secrecy in which these things were guarded:

Before he was seized by wicked men and by the wicked serpent of the Jewish authorities (lawgivers, nomothetoumenoi), he called us all together and said: “Before I am given over to those men, let us sing a hymn (of praise) to the Father and so go forth ready to face whatever lies ahead.” Then he commanded us to form a circle, taking hold of each other’s hand; And he himself taking up a position in the middle uttered the Amen (formula) and “pay attention to me (epakouete mou—follow my instructions).” Then he began a hymn, saying,

“Praise (glory, doxa) to thee, Father,” and we standing in the circle, followed him with the Amen.
“Glory to thee Logos, glory to thee grace (charis, love). Amen.
Glory to thee spirit, glory to thee Holy One; praise to thy glory. Amen (or be praised [doxasou] with glory. Amen).
We praise thee Father; we thank thee Light in which there is no darkness. Amen.
And while we (all) give thanks, I say (explain): I wish to be saved and I wish to save. Amen.
I wish to be delivered, and I wish to deliver. Amen.
I wish to bear wounds (titrōskō) and I wish to inflict them. Amen.

Hugh Nibley – The Early Christian Prayer Circle

Circle Dance as Part of Warrior Culture – Knights of the Temple

Armenian Kochari in front of ancient Christian Church – Warriors

Yarkhushta – Sevak Amroyan (again featuring an ancient Christian Church)

Traditional Martial Arts are an anachronism on the modern battlefield

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The soft foot placement, the agile drawing of the blade. Not tinging around in armor like an English knight but with full movement in silk and brocade, the ancient samurai were experts of movement.


Final Charge – The Last Samurai 2003 Tom Cruise

Yes it is beautiful, yes it is an art. It used to be used for survival, battle and hierarchy. Protecting their lords or using it to retain status as a Ronin. But it was highly ritualized and had very specific rules of engagement: You can see it here in the Samurai Classic : Seven Samurai

The End of Dueling

If you want to see what would happen in a more modern duel, here is my favorite scene from Indiana Jones: Raiders of the lost Ark (start at 1:59)

The modern colt revolver basically allows for many shots from one gun. Now modern high capacity submachine guns and automatic rifles have largely brought an end to the sword as anything more than a lost budo from masters past, a thing to may tough guys feel better about themselves, or a rapidly dying art from the past.

I personally see the value of discipline and self mastery that comes from practicing something like Iaido or Kendo or fencing, this is not to say they are not an art, and not true sports; but from a modern combat perspective they are lacking. If that is what you seek in the martial arts world then more power to you. If you find a true master and are doing it to overcome yourself, then fine. You can even gain speed and efficiency from training with the right coach or master.

But look at the speed of a gun slinger! What a blur! Two shots in under one second:

Bushido the Soul of Japan

Ancient warrior code, for a modern world

The 8 virtues of the Samurai that carry forward into the modern world.

The the book Bushido, the Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe publish in English in 1908, the Bushido was carried into our modern era. These warrior virtues still apply today:

I. Rectitude or Justice

II. Courage

III. Benevolence or Mercy

III. Benevolence or Mercy

V. Honesty and Sincerity

VI. Honor

VII. Loyalty

VIII. Character and Self-Control

Fakes vs Real Masters: Russian Systema

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Vadim Starov of “Systema Spetsnaz”

One of the worst systema instructors on the planet. He was associated with A.A. Kadochnikov for a while and uses the Kadochnikov family notoriety to his benefit. While his system DVDs cost hundreds of dollars, you can find genuine Kadochnikov Systema video course downloads for less than $50.

Editors note: One of the main things that the worst martial arts masters use is to cause pain. This makes people think this is legitimate.

“Systema Spetsnaz” Vadim Starov

No touch combat “master”

REAL Russian Systema Masters

The Real Systema Master Himself A.A. Kadochnikov

Systema Kadochnikov (Archival Footage)

Kadochnikov more Archival Footage (1994)

This is for demonstrational purposes only and isn’t true combat style as taught in the GRU school.

Steve Maxwell top 100 physical trainers in USA about systema kadochnikov

Kadochnikov Systema Simple Intro

Systema English

Another style is Systema Solovev. Reportedly he learned from his veteran family members about the traditional Russian combat style. His style is simple yet effective.

Systema Style Solovev

Systema Style Maksimstov

Steve Maxwell, one of the top 100 personal trainers in the USA, reviews Maksimstov Systema:

This style is heavily influenced by Systema Kadochnikov, but with some traditional Slavic movements incorporated. Check it out:

Sistema S. Polunin

He was also taught by A.A. Kadochnikov. He has developed theories based off of traditional Slavic/ Cossack movements, the golden spiral and other natural intuitive movements. He is a descendant of real Cossacks. His Sistema is based a lot on awareness theory. (This can be demonstrated in several ways like “expanded awareness and “car body” phenomenon.). Take a look. He incorporates a lot of smooth movements and is probably one of the best Cossack Shashka combat teachers in the world.

Sergei Polunin Sabre Work

Fakes vs Real Masters: Ninjutsu

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Grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi

The Men who killed Ninjutsu

Editor’s Note: These men suffer from The Dunning-Kruger Effect. These are people who in all intents and purposes believe they are as good as they think they are. This cognitive bias effects people who have little to no real knowledge of a topic; but think they do. This is why it is important to study a variety of arts. Do pressure testing and train for reality.

Dunning-Kruger effect explained:

The best worst Ninjas:

Ashida Kim

Stephen Hayes

Real Ninjas (Notice they are from Japan!)

Last Remaining Real Ninja Masters of the two ninja schools in Japan

Jinichi Kawakami

Grand Master of Bujinkan and Ninjutsu Masaaki Hatsumi

The Call to Adventure

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We, Too, Can Die

Wrestling with oneself

The battle in the sunset with the corn-god gives Hiawatha new strength—necessarily so, because the fight against the paralysing grip of the unconscious calls forth man’s creative powers. That is the source of all creativity, but it needs heroic courage to do battle with these forces and to wrest from them the treasure hard to attain. Whoever succeeds in this has triumphed indeed. Hiawatha wrestles with himself in order to create himself.⁵¹ The struggle again lasts for the mythical three days; and on the fourth day, as Mondamin prophesied, Hiawatha conquers him, and Mondamin, yielding up his soul, sinks to the ground. In accordance with the latter’s wish, Hiawatha buries him in the earth his mother, and soon afterwards, young and fresh, the corn sprouts from his grave for the nourishment of mankind.

Excerpt From: “Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 5: Symbols of Transformation” by C. G. Jung.

Jordan Peterson on the Call to Adventure

Go Out into the Unknown

Get thee out of thy father’s house…