EP36 The Art of Martial Arts Teaching, With Shifu Jonathan Bluestein

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In this interview, Plum Dragon's original founder, Josh Walker, is speaking with Shifu Jonathan Bluestein, an accomplished scholar, martial arts teacher and author. He is the head of Blue Jade Martial Arts International and has been practicing martial arts for the past 17 years.

Josh Walker currently works as a software engineer manager and runs the central U.S. chapter for the Tabimina Balintawak Group, a combative style of martial arts that originated in the Philippines. He is also the author of Materia Medica For Martial Artists, a comprehensive reference on Chinese herbs for Dit Da Jow.

Show Notes:

1:30 Jonathan explains his martial arts lineage.

6:00 The martial arts scene in Israel where Jonathan lives.

14:00 Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, an iconic person of the 20th century, was taught to do a yoga pose of standing on his head by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais.

17:30 Capoeira has gained popularity with Israelists, particularly with the younger generation.

20:00 The stringent forms of Southern Mantis compared to the more playful forms of Capoeira.

27:20 Brazilian jiu jitsu has also grown in Israel.

32:30 Jonathan Bluestein prefers to teach his class using a traditional Chinese method.

39:00 Holds class in a park, open house style, where students can come when they can. Jonathan adjusts his instruction to the individual needs of his participants.

50:45 Some of the countries that we think as being the most free, are sometimes the most inhibiting to martial arts.

56:00 Cultures and governments play a significant role in shaping martial arts schools. For example in the U.S., you’re insurance costs may affect whether your gym allows full-contact training or not.

107:45 From the Analects of Confucius, Jonathan shares the teaching that, “A gentleman’s errors are like an eclipse of the sun or the moon: when he errs, everyone notices it, but when he makes amends, everyone looks up to him.”

110:25 In Jonathan’s book, The Martial Arts Teacher, which covers the core essentials of what would be required of a decent teacher of traditional martial arts, he profusely quotes Confucius, whose teachings resonate with Jonathon’s moral compass.

111:00 Another point that Confucius makes is that you can punish and coerce people to do what you want for obedience's sake, but you will not get that person's respect. If you lead by example, you will earn respect and people will feel shame for their wrongs.

114:20 Traditions allow us to perceive standards. Jonathan’s book covers the physical and professional standards a teacher might uphold.

123:30 The student who is interested in discipleship would not only be held to certain technical standards but also be given a personal challenge to show their exemplary character.

131:15 It's quite important to invest in living or at least studying the culture from where a martial arts form originated.

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