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Martial Musings: Aiki Energetics aka Dont Wage War On Yourself

Martial Musings: Aiki Energetics aka Dont Wage War On Yourself

Wham. Bham. Take some more punishment. Condition harder, sweat it out. Now to prepare for that one (a handful at most) encounter/s, most ardent practitioners put their bodies and minds through a lot of abuse. It is almost a cliche to hear of martial artists’ with bad knees, hurt backs, jammed joints etc.

Martial training usually has one focus - survival. This means doing maximum damage on your opponent while sustaining minimum impact on oneself.

Martial Musings: Aiming towards Championship or Proffesionalism?

Martial Musings: Aiming towards Championship or Proffesionalism?

Martial Musings: Champion or professional?

I was having one of my conversations with Uncle Jim (James Keating, the famed Master at Arms) on all things Martial Arts and life. The topic of many hardships in life came up and how “events will always happen to you and around you."

I told him about certain personal and work challenges that had lately engulfed me. He patiently heard me and then shared some of his own challenges in these times. However he then asked me a question: “Mahipal do you know what is the difference between a champion and a professional?"

Martial Musings: The Blessing is Next To The Wound

Martial Musings: The Blessing is Next To The Wound

These past two weeks have been rough in the dojo. One student has a herniated disk in the neck, another has hurt her foot really bad and the third hurt his back during a fall from his bike. One asked me if s/he should still train and what advise I would have for them. So I shared my own personal story.

I had abused my body for many years, pushing it to limits - someitmes in the name of performance, and sometime becuase I did not know better. Just the previous week I had hiked up Dana Peak on a shugyo with my boys.

This April come train  in the Warrior Ways among the ancient pyramids and pristine beaches of Veracruz

This April come train in the Warrior Ways among the ancient pyramids and pristine beaches of Veracruz

Training in different environments is a critical aspect of our training. It informs how we hold and change our structure, influencing how we move. Additionally we have sought to make the most beautiful places in the world our dojo - the place where we practice our ways. The aesthetic aspect of training trains a worldview which we believe to be imperative in becoming whole martial artists.About El Tajin: Located in the state of Veracruz, El Tajin was at its height from the early 9th to the early 13th century.

Secrets of the Pelvis For Martial Arts

Secrets of the Pelvis For Martial Arts

One of the Best Books out there for Serious Martial Artis

 5.0 out of 5 stars Save yourself years of learning by trail and error, March 12, 2015

By Mahipal Lunia "darlunia"

Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: Secrets of the Pelvis for Martial Arts: A Practical Guide for Improving Your Wujifa, Taiji, Xingyi, Bagua and Everyday Life (Paperback)

This book is pure GOLD is you are a serious Martial Artist.

Martial Musing: Randori as Warrior Dialouge

Martial Musing: Randori as Warrior Dialouge

Martial Musing: Randori As Warrior Dialogue Free sparring has long been a way to test ones skill and understanding in the warrior arts. A small shift in perspective in the goal of randori brings massive rewards. I will share my view and approach to it.

Randori (乱取り?) is a term used in Japanese martial arts to describe free-style practice. In the dojo we do emphasize randori as a means to test ones skill and create new understandings. We usually have one person get in the center, and from that point on everyone just attacks the person in the middle. 

Sometimes things get heated, and emotions flare. And its my job as Sensei to bring things under control. One one such occasion I was trying to explain the difference between "winning" the randori session and "learning in randori."

When the student views the randori session as a mere fight the objective is to win. And we begin to rely on our most trained attribute and favorite techniques to do the same. And that is quite all right yet something is forgotten. The literal meaning of Randori is "chaos taking" or "grasping freedom," implying a freedom from the structured practice of Kata (preset forms). 

What we do when we hit a brick wall is to stop the session and together find a way out of it. This to me is the essence of Randori or Kumite or free sparring. When this shift happens in the dojo everyone wins. No sacred cows here, and every option is explored. This is the beginning of true Warrior Dialogue, and for me captures the essence of freedom from the known. Also we all learn what works best.

So try this next time you spar or do randori

1) Instead of testing your attributes and winning, begin to see it as an inquiry - begin to see each attack as a question posed to you. Now examine all possible answers, and most importantly the best answer for you

2) When you get stuck in a particular place or technique, return to your basics. I return to my Tai Sabaki (body positioning methods) and have discovered that most answers are there. When you do this particular method for a while you discover that "Advanced techniques are basics understood and done well."

3) Get into the mode of multiple attackers on one, and its ok to get knocked out or tap out. The moments of "failure" can become what the Nobel Laurette Bucky Fuller used to call "Great moments." Failures become great moments when you stop and learn from them in real time. Randori provides the best opportunity for great moments on the Warrior Path, when you approach Randori right. 

When the student gets this, s/he begins to see randori as "dialogue" rather than a test. This step is critical as now the student is no longer viewing the sessions as something to win, or show his might. Rather s/he begins to understand that is is an opportunity to truly make this an inquiry into what works best. It becomes about finding the right way together with other students and the Sensei. In short everyone wins. 

As always I remain open to your thoughts and constructive criticism. Until then train hard, and enjoy the chaos taking.

Mahipal Lunia


Aikijujutsu Shugyo - Martial Arts on High Peaks & Forgotten Lands With Mahipal Lunia Sensei

Aikijujutsu Shugyo - Martial Arts on High Peaks & Forgotten Lands With Mahipal Lunia Sensei

This is the personal expression of Mahipal Lunia Sensei & an important teaching method of Mountain View Aiki Kai (MVAK) Dojos in the arts of Kaze Arashi Ryu 

Quaterly Shugyos (Astute Training usually in Nature) are an integral part of our syllabus and in learning the arts of Kaze Arashi Ryu at our dojo. This form of expression is in the spirit of the Samurai Warriors of the old days and Mahipal Lunia Sensei's ideal of finding a life of balance,as best expressed in his litany for the dojo

"Living A Life that embraces

Civilization and the wild

Present and infinite

Warrior and Scholar

Strength and compassion

Tradition and Self Expression"

This is a video montage created from about a dozen (quarterly) shugyos the dojo has conducted since late 2009 for its serious students. It is meant to share the goal, ideal, and attitude (High Intensity, Tenacity, and the Ferocious Resolve) of this form of training. In our opinion this form of training is very unique to us in the martial arts community. It's high adventure, deep discipline, a personal quest, search for beauty and meaning all rolled into one while using the body proper to experience the arts we study.

I would like to express my gratitude to my teachers who opened the doors of the art to me and guided me through. Srini Sastri Sensei (Menkyo Kaiden) for being my first teacher in the tradition, guiding me through the ranks as a wonderful Sensei, a cherished mentor, a reliable confidant, and above all, as family. Henri Robert Vilaire Sensei ( Menkyo Kaiden, Shinan) for being a martial arts genius and for generously teaching me what what is possible in the Martial Arts at the highest levels. To both my teachers, I have nothing but deep respect and gratitude!

I also want to thank all of the students of MVAK, esp. the advanced students for having the faith in me and my methods, and for constantly challenging me to newer levels of growth. 

For more information on Mountain View Aiki Kai go to

Twitter/Instagram @aikiarts #aikiarts

Mountain View Aiki Joint training in India 2014

Mountain View Aiki Joint training in India 2014 Location - Bangalore, India
Dates - Last week of June 2014
Dojos represented - Bangalore, Mumbai, California and Texas

It was amazing to work pretty much in the same dojo floor where many of us got our initial grades and remember old time stories. We (Ramesh and Mahipal) still constantly say "Damo Arigato Sastri Sensei" for the gift of laying that strong that spirit two branches of Kaze Arashi Ryu - Wind Storm Aiki Jujutsu (Kaze Arashi Ryu) - Bangalore, Indiaand Mountain View Aikijujutsu got together for a few sessions of both private classes and group classes in Bangalore recently. Two branches of the same tree - a foundation laid byClaire Sastri / Srinivasan Sastri Sensei, Menkyo Kaiden, head of the Indian League and Sr. Advisor to the Kita Yama Dojo.

Sensei Ramesh Rao flew down from Mumbai to spend time with the MVAK students ( Jeevan C. Gowda and Allan Johnson) and Mahipal Lunia Sensei. Ramesh and Mahipal Senseis spent time alone working on Kaiden level forms and worked in group settings with others.

In group settings advanced Oku Iri forms were shown by Ramesh Sensei to the visiting students, while Mahipal Sensei worked with the Bangalore students on Yawara Holds and Self Defense principles. Later Mahipal Sensei also shared knife work and advanced Taisabaki with the MVAK students privately.

Lastly some older students visited with us privately, and were shown some kokyu ho methods.

Thanks Wind Storm India for hosting us and allowing us to share some of our methods too.

MVAK/Mahipal Lunia Sensei

7 Year old "Karate Masters" is not a possibility! Its delusional thinking

7 Year old "Karate Masters" is not a possibility! Its delusional thinking



A recent video of a 7 year old  “karate Master” has been making rounds. A friend posted it, another sent me a link and then a student sent me the same link. My student’s note also said how amazed and envious he was of this “young master.”  I decided to engage, and either be educated or perhaps shed light on the subject of mastery.

My flight was delayed a few hours, so wanted to invest this time wisely. Made a few phone calls and finally called my student who sent me the link. And after the usual pleasantries we got into the 7 year old karate master.

“She is so impressive Sensei, makes me very envious” he exclaimed with true admiration in his voice and he continued “don’t you think she is great?”

I paused for a second as the line at the airport Jamba Juice inched forward “What I think is that people posting this nonsense at best are doing the kid and the arts a great disservice and are grossly misinformed, and at worst are sheer liars.“  A few heads in the line turned trying to access what’s going on. I smiled and waited for a response.

“What? You mean to say she is not good? Look at her kiai and the picture perfect kicks. Sensei, perhaps you are being too harsh.”

 “Does she look impressive – Yes! Does she understand what she is doing – I highly doubt it. And is she displaying mastery – Absolutely NOT.  What I am saying is you are mixing a good performance of some coordinated moves – in this case a Kata (could have been a dance) with mastery.”  I said, and continued looking at the options at Jamba Juice somewhat amazed at how mainstream juicing seems to have become, They have at least 10 juices (not smoothies) though quite expensive.

“hmmm, I don’t know Sensei, it still looks like she has mastered those sidekicks which are my big struggle. Look at how her leg snaps in and stays in the air” he continued to idolize her form.

“Her form looks good, no doubt, but is it functional?”

“She is too young to test it out Sensei, if that’s what you mean.”

It was painful waiting behind this blonde as she wanted all details of the in/organic, sugar content, juice v/s smoothie details from the young cashier.  I was grateful to be having this conversation to keep my calm, “So what she has doing is a battle form, passed down as crystallization from an old master. And while she seems to appear all powerful doing it, does she have the understanding and strength to make it functional? I would say NO!”

“But she looks powerful and would be a great ambassador for martial arts, I think” he said hesitantly.

“Maybe or maybe not, just because she looks good does not meant she should have the center stage” and as I sad this, the blonde turned around and gave me a look. I smile and continue my conversation “looking good should not be the reason one should be given the center stage. This only makes them feel entitled, and is the absence of humility. True humility is also the hallmark of mastery.” And at this the blonde turns around and says “excuse me.” And then I realized she thought I was talking to her/about her, and told her, to take her time as I was enjoying my conversation with a friend.  I could tell she was not used to being ignored - She frowned and got back to taking her time to order the perfect juice or give the appearance of it.

“Let me ask you this question, would you say she stands a chance defending herself or transmit this knowledge to the next generation. Do you think she would be better ambassador as you say, to an art or someone like say my Sensei?” It was a trick question but wanted to get into the heart of the matter. I now paused, and looked at the Blonde girl ahead of me trying to decipher her decision strategy and let the pause work on the mind of the student. She turned around again; I smiled and asked if I could help her choose? She says no thank you and finally orders an orange juice. 10 minutes to get to an OJ.  I quickly ordered a green citrus juice for lunch, paid the $4 and get back to my call.

“So you want to study with her?” I continued

“Err no sensei, that’s not what I meant.” He protested

“I know, am messing with you but hoping that we both learn something in the process. She looks good doing a performance. But that’s not mastery. To me mastery is a lifelong striving, not a performance. Mastery is the ability to absorb, integrate, transform and transmit a particular intelligence. Here we are speaking about martial arts. So mastery is the ability to quickly ABSORB (learn the material), then INTEGRATE (meaning make it a part of your very being), TRANSFORM (bring your own expression of it, and have the knowledge change you as well) and finally have the ability to TRANSMIT (teach this to others elegantly) this martial knowledge. Mastery is the ability to keep shrinking this cycle with every new learning. That is MASTERY! You feel me?” and I walked and picked up my green juice, which magically showed up before the Orange Juice for the Blonde. She displayed her anger and asks the lady behind the counter why is her order not out yet even though she ordered before me. I could not contain myself, I blurted cheekily “Know what you want, go for it, and move on.” And I walked away to get back to my conversation on mastery and have my green lunch.

“I understand Sensei mastery is process and not a destination. And appearances can be deceiving.” I could hear him be precise in how he now communicated. He continued “How do you define mastery in when there are so many forms and so many expressions of the art Sensei? I tend to get lost in all the forms that exist, leave alone know who true masters are”

“Think about it this way – draw a two by two matrix. On the x axis have old and new, and on the y axis have form and function. So what you have is 4 boxes – old form, old function/application, new application and new form. Now you have people who have made religions of each of these our boxes, and see them as mutually exclusive. The old form people claim to preserve the way things were done for example during the 1500s. The old applications have found their niche is being the bunkai or applications experts. They tend to look for secrets in how the forms were applied back then; you will see this in the Dim Mak or Pressure point experts/seminar circuit. The new applications box is filled by personal combative experts who will help you draw your own best way to respond to situations. And the new style box is essentially a set of personal combative methods that are becoming established as a style.” I paused, and drank my juice as I checked the flight status. The flight was delayed another 2 hours. Oh well!

“I think I am following you Sensei, so there are 4 ways of doing MA, and you can have mastery in each box?” he enquired.

“No – to the contrary, these are four boxes to understand phases – though IMHO people overspecialize and get stuck in a stage. To me the old form box is about ABSORB the knowledge – be it a set of forms or ways of doing your strikes.  The next box of Old function/applications, one learns how those moves were used by old-time warrior or teachers. This is INTEGRATION of the knowledge, and as you gain proficiency in this, you start to make new connections. And your own genetics and personal learnings start to inform your own new interpretations – this takes you to the third box of New function. You find to ways to adapt and bring your unique expressions to the moves, styles etc – to me this is true TRANSFORMATION. Finally as your expression finds more ground, and people start wanting to learn how you do it – you begin to teach this and gain a small following. This is TRANSMITTING of your truth. A new way of doing things emerge. “

I walked around the airport to find a place to sit, and noticed quite a few people were getting agitated with the delayed flights. I found a quiet corner, booted my laptop. I wanted to give the student a few moments to absorb this and waited for him to say something. Things had begun to click for him, and he said “aha it makes sense – so you are saying that mastery is process, it’s almost cyclical. You may start in an old style like ours, and learn the applications. Over time I may find new ways of doing things based on the same principles. And then I share that with others, we might find a new style of doing things. So this is mastery – a whole cycle.”

“Yes, to me this is the cycle, and when the new findings infuse the old ways as well, the new ways becomes standardized. Think about JKD – Bruce Lee started this as a personal expression, over time it became a style of sorts, and now is almost a system. You tend to hear things like SIgung Bruce or Guro Inosanto does this etc. In other words, new becomes old and old becomes new. This is the cycle. All personal expressions that made sense /survived became systems. And new teachers came along infused old systems and created new styles. This will go on forever. “


Another 90 minutes before I fly to the Sin City. My old-time student was excited at learning this. And in this discussion I opened up new distinctions. To sum it up – true mastery for me is the ability to Absorb, Integrate, Transform and Transmit elegantly. And as mastery increases the time between absorb and transmit shrinks drastically. I signed off with the student, read a novel for a while until it was time to board the plane. Once boarded it was time to capture this conversation for some other students along the way. And the seat next to me was now to be occupied by the same Blonde who was agitated with me throughout. This will be an interesting flight! Enough, for today.

Verbal Aiki Over Coffee - A Personal Method of Finding Students who resonate with the Old Ways

Verbal Aiki Over Coffee - A Personal Method of Finding Students who resonate with the Old Ways

Potential students find me or the dojo and always want to "talk over coffee" before they commit. I try to weed them out early so I meet them. They have the same questions usually and I politely answer things about style, rank, belts etc. Every so often, just like earlier this month a student wanted to know what i am capable of doing, as though it would be potentially transferred to them. And it also highlights a fundamental difference IMO about two differing approaches and modes of being. I would be curious to hear any/all thoughts on this.

But first a little context and typical conversation (this one happened earlier this month). What follows is about 20 minutes into the conversation after the usual questions have been answered, and he inquires about my own training regiment.

The potential student " You are a Sensei, so why do you still train with different people?" Me "Because I can and it keeps me humble" Him "Is it also because you are not confident in your skills?" Me "I would like to think I can handle myself, but one must constantly sharpen the blade." Him "Have you been in real fights? Does this stuff work?" Me "unfortunately yes I have had to fight many times, and have had my ass handed to me growing up. Not easy being small, different and smart ass - trust me. When I could not take the beatings anymore I started training hard." Him "but have you used your training to fight and beat them up?" Me "who is them? And the purpose of the training is arriving at a place where you dont have to fight but if you ever need to then you have some skills." Him "so you have used your training, tell me more about it pls" Me "what is there to know, i am here in one piece, thats all there is to it." Him "I dont understand, what did you do? how was the fight?" Me "The outcome is I am here, and for the how - well you got to train for that and pay the price" Him "I dont understand what I will be able to do if you dont tell me" Me "I dont know what you can do and more importantly should do, unless I see you train consistently." Him "This is not going anywhere" Me "Where do you want it to go?" Him " I want to know in how many ways will I be able to kick someones ass if I train with you" Me "you just need to do it one way well, and besides thats not what its about for me" Him "Then what is it about" Me "Its about not having to ever fight" Him " What ? Then why go and train with different teachers and teach consistently" Me " One must embrace violence to be at peace, embrace it so you can transform it" Him " I am confused, why train if you dont want to fight" Me "I train in order to be at peace, and peace is the state of being. A state where fighting is NOT - atleast for me" him "I am still confused" Me " When you train hard enough, you become very conscious of the consequences of your skills, and are less prone to use them. This can become a deterrent for you and others. And the end result is usually peace. Heavens forbid, if a fight breaks out then the skills will kick in. Either way the result is still the same" Him " ok, so will I get hurt and be in pain if I train with you?" Me " Pain will become your friend, and yes you will have loads of it" Him "So I will be in pain no matter what.. weather I fight or not" Me "Well, yes thats one way of seeing things" Him "whats the difference?" Me "intention and consciousnesses" Him "I think Kenpo is better suited for me, but thank you for your time" Me "Yes I think so too, maybe we will see each other in a few years.." Him "To fight?" Me " Perhaps to fight the notion of fighting" Him "I am confused" Me "I know, enjoy the coffee and relish he Kenpo, it has some wonderful things to teach us all" Him "You are not going to tell me why your fighting is better than Kenpo?" Me " Styles are not better or worse, the practitioners are" Him "I dont understand" Me " Its ok, I speak funny sometimes. Enjoy the coffee"

My current student who listened in on the whole interaction laughed out loud and said "Sensei, you are chasing away prospective students" I responded "Am I? Or am I saving time for the students who are already paying the price? Besides there is such a fundamental difference between the students who truly want to learn and thosewho want to fight for the sake of fighting"

"What is the difference Sensei?" "Well those who want to truly learn seem to ask about the philosophy and transformations within themselves and those who want to fight ask about what changes they can do to their opponent. At this point I am interested in teaching the  former group. There are plenty of places that teach the latter. This is where I am right now. Ok lets train"