Saturday, October 18, 2008


Congratulations to Renshi Craig Sargent and to Zachary Helm.  Both earned their yellow belts in class Thursday.  Zach looked a bit under the weather, but managed to hold it all together.  I would also point out that Renshi Craig is actually overcoming what can be a distinct disadvantage for some students: he comes with an advanced Black Belt in a hard style of karate.  These are two very different styles, with markedly different approaches to self-defense.  Congratulations to both of you.

This week's video features deashi harai.  Note how the instructor sweeps at the foot crossing the body's centerline just before all the weight is committed to the foot.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New Students! YAY!!

I want to welcome our new students, Zach, Sue, Lauren, and Craig.  Its great to see fresh faces in class.  

Also, congratulations to Christopher, who received his green belt a couple of weeks ago.  His classes in Portland are going well.

Craig and Sue both come to the class with experience in the martial arts elsewhere (Sue in aikido, and Craig, being also know as Renshi Craig Sargent, the instructor for Club Naha).  As a result, they both blew right through the beginner list for the class and earned their first stripe on the first night.  Already working on Yellow Belt.

Harai goshi video of the week

Joey and I were working on harai goshi quite a bit last week, so I thought I'd feature a video on that throw this week.  Note how tightly the uke is held and how much leg gets swept.  

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Video of the Week

I'm gonna get back on the Video of the Week routine.  This one shows a pretty good breakdown on the rear naked strangle.  Enjoy...

Big Changes

I want to start by mentioning an event that happened two weeks ago, and expressing my thanks.  Chris Charlebois, Amy Forbes, and Katie Gallant helped me set up for, and teach a jujitsu clinic at Camp Tracy, The YMCA's campground in the Belgrade region.  We had a great time teaching two groups of young people about our art.  It gave the students an exposure to something different, and provided us with a platform to roll out our new class at the Boys & Girls Club, and YMCA at the Alfond Youth Center.  We got great reviews, according to Renshi Craig Sargent.  Thanks for all the help folks!

Our move the Alfond Youth Center has gone over without a hitch.  I moved the mats out of Champions and over to the AYC with Chris's help.  We had our first class on Thursday.  I was very happy to see Aaron Saucier back.  He is playing football, and came to class after a 26-0 victory over an opposing team.  I appreciate that commitment Aaron. 

Sensei Tracey Charlebois plans to attend the Thursday night classes.  She brings her years of experience in jujitsu with her, as well as her new love of Tae Kwon Do.  She studies that art with Master Julienne Begin, in Skowhegan.  

The new dojo is beautiful.  I very much appreciate the welcome we have received from Renshi Craig Sargent, and Renshi Ken Walsh.  Let's make this class grow!  

I hope to see you all Sunday.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Joseph Larsen, Amy Forbes, and I just returned from California, where we attended Reunion 2008.  We had a great time.  Joe and Amy participated in clinics all day Saturday, taught by some of the best that Danzan has to offer. 

There were three mats running most of the day, plus an additional classroom for subjects like massage therapy, legal aspects of teaching the arts, weapons as an extension of the body, and medical aspects of teaching martial arts.  Clinics included all the basic boards (nage, yawara, shime, and oku), the advanced boards like Shinnin and Shi
nyo, and some sessions on blended arts and fighting strategies.  Amy liked all the classes.  For her, the highlight was the Medlin Brothers class on effective fighting techniques.  For me, it was enough to learn that Roger and John had another brother!  He looks a lot like them, but he talks funny.

Sunday was all about the contest in the morning, and then the banquet in the evening.  Joseph Larsen entered the 5th kyu division and took First Place!  Congratulations Joe.  His scores were excellent.  He had a good uke, though.  Joe was very nervous going in, but overcame it to perform like a pro.  For me, I had the privilege of a front-row seat during the Black Belt
 divisions (I was judging).  I love watching my art done with such expertise.  It is a humbling experience.

The banquet opened with a Hawaiian show featuring music, Hula, and Bryan Stanley's stirring rendition of modern jazz dance set to sweet Hawaiian tones.  I did take some video, but Bryan assures me that, if I publish it, he will face lifelong derision and humiliation befo
re his high school students.  So, I won't.

The highlight of the evening was the keynote address by Dr. H. Bruce Stokes.  Reverend Stokes has known Prof. Chubb for over thirty years, and recalled his path through these arts, and with these people in touching detail.  It had most of us reaching for our dinner napkins to dry our eyes.
The Reunion did exactly what it was supposed to do.  Joe and I got to reunite with old friends, and Amy
 got to meet some new friends.  I'm already looking forward to next year's Reunion in Central California.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Series of Fortunate Events

I have a meeting scheduled with the administration at the Alfond Youth Center next week.  The purpose of the meeting is to finalize moving our class from Champions to the Alfond Youth Center.  Charlie Giguere and Champions have been very gracious hosts for us.  They have allowed us to practice the art we love in a safe and clean environment.  Now, they are ready to use the space differently, and we are very ready to grow.  

This week, we will be working out at the same time as usual, and still at Champions.  We will be in the glass-fronted racketball court.  I will keep everyone posted on developments as they become clearer.  

Lastly, I am adding a link to the official website for the judo portion of the Beijing Olympics.  Check your cable listings for broadcast times.  Don't miss this chance to watch world-class judokas play their sport.  Its great fun to watch, and usually very hard to find between Olympic games.

Video of the Week

This is a montage of very good judo throws.  Just turn the volume down, because the music is terrible.  Let me know what you think.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Video(s) of the Week

This week, I'm actually gonna post two videos, sort of.  They are really just the same video, but the second has been altered to show the throws in slower motion.  

Remember this is Kodokan judo; this is sport judo which comes from roots in jujitsu.  Lots of the throws are very similar to what we do, but some reveal significant differences.  
These videos highlight our shared heritage.  Kodokan does a great job teaching people to throw at real speed against resistance.

Enjoy and feel free to comment.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Best martial arts flicks of all time...

I am looking to make this blog a bit more interactive.  As such I would like to ask each of you in the group to suggest your personal favorite martial arts film, and why you think that film is the best ever.  Add it to this post as a comment.  I want to see how well this works out.

I will start with my own personal favorite:

Above the Law, starring Steven (I'm gonna waste you **s) Seagal.  This movie features a lot of hard hitting, directly to the floor jujitsu.  It also provides a bit of history on aikido and its relation to jujitsu.  That, and Stevens hair at the time looked a lot like mine.  I felt tough by association!


Video of the Week

I am starting a new feature for this blog.  I will highlight a video each week--one that relates to our jujitsu class.  This week, the video will be a formal judo kata.

These guys are godans (5th dans) in kodokan judo.  Many of the throws they do will look very familiar as they come from jujitsu.  Think of this kata as comparable to a karate kata.  That is the exercise the single karate students perform to learn techniques.  In judo--and jujitsu--so much of the emphasis is on manipulating the opponents momentum that is virtually impossible to perform solo katas.  

Welcome Aaron

Aaron Saucier, a really strong, really athletic young man joined our class tonight.  It was nice to see Aaron back.  He wandered into class with his Dad the night before we started our hiatus.  I worried I might have lost him, but, thankfully, not so!  Can't wait to see that boy in a gi!  (Aaron, that's a uniform, in case you didn't know.)

Monday, July 7, 2008

Welcome back...

I remember watching Welcome Back, Kotter when I was a kid.  Well, I feel like I'm watching a whole new bunch of Sweat Hogs come back for their third try at passing 8th grade!  

Yes, I have changed the lists.  Get over it!  

No, I'm just kidding.  Everyone seems to have responded very well to the changes I made over the month-long hiatus.  The new rank requirements will make us all more adaptable, effective martial artists.  Remember, I have added absolutely nothing.  I have removed dozens of techniques from the requirements, and rearranged many more.

Peter came back sporting his new orange belt.  I could just hear his brain thinking, "Boy, I'm glad I got promoted before the change in requirements!"  Pete was in rare form, reversing Christopher's throw with a nice sume gaeshi (I'm betting he didn't even know this technique had a name) to take Chris down for the pin.

Joe Larsen had Chris's number tonight as well, putting him away with a guillotine choke after Chris followed my instructions about going for Joey's leg with more than just his arm.  Joe had some great jokes tonight tonight as well.  Great to see him back.  Overall, I would say Chris did an excellent job leading most of the class in spite of being greatly distracted by Brionna, who was watching for part of the time.  I'm sure I have a gi that fits her, too!

Ian Klane wandered in tonight as well: the return of the Prodigal Son, so to speak.  He was pleased to know he wouldn't have to surrender his rank as payment for his absence.  He worked very patiently with Katie Gallant, though I suspect his sunburn contributed to his tolerance for simpler techniques.  Truth be known, Katie is a stud!  She rocks like Journey on the Escape album, like Van Halen in Jump, like, like, like Donny Osmond in Puppy Love!  I'm looking forward to Katie's promised gymnastics demonstration on Wednesday.  She is going to do a reverse apple turnover!

Jamie Smith did come in tonight.  She is going to take a little time off from class as she adjusts to Jon's departure for the Navy.  We all miss Jon, but, I'm sure can speak for the rest of the class in saying that I know she misses him most of all, and that we love her very much and want to be a support to her through this.

Lastly, don't forget to download and print out the latest list from the link below to the senior lists.  Bring it to class to keep your notes.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Summer Fun

Ah, now that was a nice rest!  I've had some time off work.  I have recharged my batteries, and I'm looking forward to starting back up again on Monday, July 7th.  

I have some exciting changes planned for the class, as we start back up.  There should be some nice surprises.  I look forward to seeing you all there in nice white uniforms on Monday.  Make sure you bring your notebooks, please!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Special Night

Officially, class is on vacation until after the Fourth of July holiday.  However, at Sensei Jon's request, we had two special sessions this week so that Jon could test, and then promote Peter York.  Peter performed his techniques very well.  Congratulations on your promotion to Orange Belt (Rokyu) Pete!  

After class, a small group convened at Ruby Tuesdays to help celebrate Peter's promotion, and to spend some last minute time with Sensei Jon.  As noted in my last entry, Jon has joined the United States Navy.  I am proud as can be of Jon and will miss him very much as he ships out to serve us all in his capacity as Sailor.  Come home safe, my boy.

I hear, through channels, that Michael Doody's ribs are healing.  He looks forward to coming back to class in July.  I did hear from Tsai this week.  He is preparing for his internship in New Jersey as we speak.  Tsai was a visiting Judoka in our class in April and May while serving in a Rural Medicine rotation in my medical offices in Waterville.  

Monday, June 2, 2008

Take a break

After careful consideration, I have decided to take the class into hiatus for the month of June.  It will give us all a chance to recharge our batteries, and regain some perspective.  

I want to say that I have personally found great things in this art.  It has been a source of strength in times of weakness, peace in times of turmoil, and provided me with friendship, truth, and perspective.   I love this art.  

When we reconvene in July, it will be without Sensei Jon Michael Boudreau.  Jon will be leaving for his stint in the United States Navy.  Personally, I feel like I am saying good bye to a trusted friend and confidant.  I will miss him terribly.  I hope he likes really tight enclosed places.  

Friday, April 4, 2008

Sun and snow

It has been a very long winter in Maine.  

As I write this, I am attending a dermatology lecture in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  It has been raining, but not snowing.  

Sensei Jon is leading class in my absence.  I will miss two classes.  

The flu has mostly come and gone now.  Class is booming.  Soon, we will be getting ready for the September reunion.  That will include a kata contest.  Kata contests are an excellent way for jujitsu students to master difficult techniques.  I have always enjoyed them because they force me to perform a technique under pressure.

We have recently enjoyed Tsai-Lung Tsai's presence in class.  Tsai is a sankyu (3rd degree brown belt) in Kodokan Judo.  He is actually a visiting medical student in my practice at the moment.  His throws are absolutely a pleasure to watch.  Take advantage of his perspective on throwing.  

Jason Gogan has earned his belt stripe.  That is the first,  small step in a lifetime of martial learning.  Jason brings his intensity and experience to our class.  We all benefit from his participation.  

Megan Forbes earned her White Belt with Green Stripe last week as well.  Congratulations Megan!  We are all very proud of you.  Megan will agree that respect for parents remains the single most important characteristic I seek when promoting junior students.

Megan's mom, Amy Forbes recently received her Orange Belt.  Congratulations on finding your inner Tiger, Amy.

We had Tommy LeMieux back briefly last week.  It was great to have him back on the mat, even briefly.  I hope he will find the time in his busy schedule to work with us again.  Thanks, Tommy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Stupid Flu

Well, influenza has decimated our class tonight.  I came down with it Monday.  Sensei Jon is ill now, as are more than half of the cast and characters in class.
As a result, I have decided to call class off tonight.  No one of rank is well enough to teach.  We will reconvene on Monday.  Hope you all have a recuperative weekend.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

President's Day

I have checked with Champion's and they are indeed open tomorrow night.  I am once again going through withdrawals from jujitsu, and so would like to go ahead with class tomorrow night.  Anyone who feels this would be an act of disrespect to presidents, past or present, can stay home twiddling their thumbs, of course.
I am going to take the class over the knife defense list.  

Here is a link to the list by itself:

Print out a copy to bring to class for note-taking.

If you have a plastic or wooden knife, preferably one that is unlikely to injure a student, bring it with you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Big Storm

We've had quite a storm over the past 24 hours.  The roads, as I write, are very bad.  I just made the drive from Waterville.  I drove at about 15 MPH--much of the time a little more sideways than I like.  (And, I like driving sideways!)
As a result, we will have no class tonight.  Also, please remember that Monday is a holiday, so we will not be getting together again until next Wednesday.  
Stay warm, and dry, and safe, please.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Welcome Jason

Today, we welcomed Jason as a new student.  He comes to us with a jujitsu background, and so has hit the ground running.  I look forward to working with him as he progresses.
Megan Forbes earned her blue and orange stripes today for learning her atemi techniques and constriction techniques.  Keep up the good work, Megan!
Amy Forbes, Megan's mom, tested for her orange belt tonight.  Her experience reminded me that these early ranks are actually the toughest because they require mastery of entirely new concepts.  Those concepts will be repeated over and over again in subsequent ranks.  It's a big step.  Sensei Jon worked some ground-fighting and constrictions techniques with the rest of the class while I tested Amy.  Thanks to Jamie for acting as uke for Amy's test.  Thanks also to Christopher for helping teach Jason the ropes.
During my thirty years in Danzan Ryu, I have noticed that my teachers have also always been students, and that my students always learn best when they are teachers. 
I have added a link to Camp Kokua, the grappling contest and clinic weekend in June.  Take a look at the site.  It changes frequently as more details become available.  Lastly, there will be no class on February 18th, due to the Presidents' Day Holiday.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cendana's promotion

Cendana Auger, 13, joined our class last summer.  She's smart, friendly--and now she is a Kukyu! She wears a white belt with an orange stripe the length of the belt.  Congratulations Cendana, you deserve it!  Cendana, and her family will be traveling to Asia later in the winter.  I wish them a safe trip.  

Of additional note, Joey's pants fit him, though they need a hemming. 

 I have also changed some of the photos of the class around a bit, so the slideshow on this blog should now see a bit fresher.

There is now a link on this blog to the complete junior and senior lists.  If you need a copy to use for notetaking, feel free to click the link and save a copy of the document to disk.  

Monday, January 28, 2008

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Class, tonight, was unique in a couple of ways:  Sensei Tracey came to class and worked with Amy and Jamie quite a bit--Tracey is expected to recover nicely.  We worked on some variations of seoi nage, some arm bars from the mat, and a unique version of the elbow reap.
We were honored to have Master Julienne Begin, Tracey's Tae Kwon Do instructor, as a guest this evening.  I have had the pleasure to watch several of Master Begin's classes.  She is an extremely talented martial artist, who teaches in both the Waterville and Madison/Skowhegan areas.  Master Begin joined us for coffee after class at the local Tim Horton's.  
I also had the pleasure of promoting my son, Christopher Charlebois, to the rank of Orange Belt this evening.  Chris was wearing neither his contact lenses, nor his glasses at the beginning of the promotion, and so was not sure what was going on as I called him forward to receive his orange belt.  "All I saw was this orange blur coming out of his bag.  I didn't know what he was going to do," said Chris.  Chris took his congratulatory throws in stride even though he had suffered a severe pummeling from both Sensei Jon, and Joseph Larsen earlier in the class.  "There's something about that "Mountain Storm" technique that I don't like, said Chris."
The class is anxiously anticipating the June contests in Southern California.  We will be starting to work on techniques for the kata contest in the next week or two, and will continue to work on our ground-fighting skills.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


This is my first entry for this blog.  Thanks for checking this site.
I'd like to use this entry as an introduction to my jujitsu class.
I teach a jujitsu class for both children and adults in Waterville, Maine.  The classes are held at Champion's Fitness, located at:

30 Elm Plaza
Waterville, Maine  04901

Classes are held on Monday and Wednesday evenings and run from 6:30 to 7:30 PM for junior students, and 6:30 to 8 PM for senior students.
The prices for the class are set by Champions, my host.  They currently run $29 per month for junior students and $39 per month for seniors (16 and older).

Shoshin Ryu Maine is a member school of Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai.  The Yudanshakai is a non-profit corporation with the mission of supporting instructors and schools teaching the art of Danzan Ryu Jujitsu.  The organization charges a small, yearly membership fee to help cover the cost of insurance for students, instructors, and schools.  

I do not make my living teaching the art of Danzan Ryu Jujitsu.  I'm a physician, and make my living caring for my patients.  I teach jujitsu because I love the art, and I love to teach.  At Shoshin Ryu Maine, we do not charge students to test for, nor receive promotions.  As a result, it usually costs much less to learn jujitsu at our school than other commercial academies.  A motivated student can begin learning jujitsu in our class for the cost of a three-ring binder (for notes); a uniform (usually less than $40); the annual dues for the organization (this year, $25); and the monthly fee charged by Champion's (as noted above).