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141 The Tactical Wheel Part 1

Jeff discusses a traditional tactical paradigm from sport fencing.

140 This is Sparta? Part 4

Jeff completes his 4 part series on ancient Sparta with the story of Epaminondas.

139 This is Sparta? Part 3

Jeff continues his mini-series on the movie “300.”  This time the topic is the poorly concealed racism of the film.

138 This is Sparta? Part 2

Jeff continues to discuss misconceptions that watching the 2006 film “300” might create.  This week he gives a more historically accurate description of the Battle of Thermopylae, and how the military skills of Spartans, Persians, and non-Spartan Greeks differed from the way the movie depicts.

137 This is Sparta? Part 1

Jeff begins a new miniseries on the topic of the 2006 film, “300,” which had a strong impact on lots of young martial artists.  In part one he discusses how the film over-idealizes the Spartans, and over-demonizes the Persians.

136 Profile of a Victim

Jeff discusses parallels in the way both violent predators and con artists select their victims.

135 Come to the Dark Side Part 4

Jeff wraps up his mini-series on the controversy regarding leg locks in competitive grappling by making the case for embracing these maligned techniques.

134 Come to the Dark Side Part 3

Jeff tells the modern part of the story of the evolution of the leg lock game.

133 Come to the Dark Side Part 2

Jeff continues his mini-series on the controversy surrounding leg locks in submission grappling training and competition.  This week he tells the Russian part of the story.

132 Come to the Dark Side Part 1

Jeff begins a four-part series discussing the controversy regarding the relative safety of leg locking techniques in submission grappling training and competition.  In Part One he tells the “Brazilian Story.”

131 Athena Vs. Ares

Jeff discusses his fascination for the Greek goddess Athena, and what that has to do with the martial arts.

130 The Art of Not Getting Hit Part 3

Jeff wraps up his three-part discussion of striking defense, doing a deep dive into the subject of counter-attack.

129 The Art of Not Getting Hit Part 2

Jeff moves his discussion of developing your striking defense from passive defense to active defense.

The Martial Brain Podcast

“The Martial Brain” is Jeff Westfall’s podcast series on the intersection between the martial arts, science, critical thinking, scientific skepticism, and that wacky organ that floats between our ears.  Each episode is a small nugget of thoughts on how these things relate to a particular element in the life of a martial artist.

Episodes are available on iTunes and Stitcher!

 

141  The Tactical Wheel  Part 1

 

140  This is Sparta?  Part 4

 

139  This is Sparta?  Part 3

 

138  This is Sparta?  Part 2

 

137  This is Sparta?   Part 1

 

136  Profile of a Victim

 

135  Come to the Dark Side  Part 4

 

134  Come to the Dark Side  Part 3

 

133  Come to the Dark Side   Part 2

 

132  Come to the Dark Side  Part 1

 

131  Athena Vs. Ares

 

130  The Art of Not Getting Hit  Part 3

 

129  The Art of Not Getting Hit  Part 2

 

128  The Art of Not Getting Hit  Part 1

 

127  Techno-phobia and the Martial Arts

 

126  Believing is Seeing   Part 5

 

125  Believing is Seeing  Part 4

 

124  Believing is Seeing  Part 3

 

123  Believing is Seeing  Part 2

 

122  Believing is Seeing  Part 1

 

121  Death by Ideology

 

120  First Allegiance

 

119  There’s a Box There For a Reason

 

118  Looking for Sensei Right

 

117  Easter Eggs and Rabbit Holes

 

116  The Red-headed Stepchild of Striking

 

115  The Beast With Two Backs?

 

114  Nerd Up!

 

113  It’s a Natural Fact

This is a re-posting of an archive episode.  See episode #21 below for the original sound file.

 

112   Oh, How We Danced!

 

111  You Say Placebo and I Say Nocebo

 

110  You Are Not the Punisher

 

109  A Study in Studies

 

108  The Punching Order

 

107   This Technique Always Works…Well, Except for When it Didn’t.

This is a re-posting of an archive episode.  See episode #37 below for the original sound file.

 

106  The Tao of the Tao of Jeet Kune Do

 

105  Battling Bartitsu Babes

 

104  Fortune’s Fool

 

103  The Low-hanging Fruit

 

102  The Strange Tale of Howard Boone  Part 2

 

101  The Strange Tale of Howard Bone  Part 1

 

100th Episode Extravaganza!

 

99  Dueling Concepts

 

98  Lesson Planning and Helmuth Von Moltke

 

97  She Blinded Me With Scienciness!

 

96  Everything Good Came From Us!

 

95  Martial Arts Literacy

 

94  A Potpourri of Fallacies

 

93  Age is Relative, and Boy Do I Have Some Old Relatives!

 

92  Whoa, Mule!

 

91  Made Ya Look!

 

90  What is the Secret to Good Comedy?

 

89  Go With the Flow

 

88  Courage is Easy, Discipline is Hard!

 

87  The Power of Doubt  Part 3

 

86  The Power of Doubt  Part 2

 

85  The Power of Doubt  Part 1

 

84  Stupid Chi Tricks Revealed  Part 2

 

83  The Big Student Bias

 

82  Child’s Play

 

81  One or Two Degrees of Dan Inosanto  Part 4

 

80  One or Two Degrees of Dan Inosanto  Part 3

 

79  One or Two Degrees of Dan Inosanto  Part 2

 

78   One or Two Degrees of Dan Inosanto  Part 1

 

77   My Sensei is Better Than Your Sensei

 

76  Howdy Pardner!

 

75  There Aint No Such Thing as a Free Sample!

 

74  Weird Tales of the Rising Phoenix Academy  Part 3

 

73  Oh No!  Not the CRUEL Sensei!

 

72  Taking a Stance on Martial Arts Stances

 

71  We Don’t Fight Like That Around Here!

 

70  Any Port in a Storm

 

69  Them is Fightin’ Words!

 

68  Taking Down the Dragon

 

67  Martial Nerds vs. Martial Jocks

 

66  For Worse or Better

 

65  Respect My Authority!

 

64  Stupid Chi Tricks Revealed

 

63   We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us!

 

62  I Don’t Think You Understand the Gravity of the Situation!  Part 2

 

61  The Sweet Taste of Emotional Candy

 

60   The Arrow of Time

 

59  The Misanthropic Principle

 

58  The Mathematics of Not Falling Down

 

57  I Don’t Think You Understand the Gravity of the Situation!

 

56  Honor in the Martial Arts

 

55  Trust Your Instincts?

 

54  The Price of Cruelty

 

53  If You Know What’s Good For You!

 

52  The Evolution of the Martial Human

 

51  Building Your Grappling Game

 

50  Weird Tales of the Rising Phoenix Academy  Part 2

 

49  Play is the Thing

 

48  Hacking Away the Unessential is Essential

 

47  Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

 

46  But Mommy, I Want There to be a Santa Claus!

 

45  Weird Tales of the Rising Phoenix Academy

 

44  Can Rocky Beat Rambo?

 

43  The Dunning-Kruger Effect

 

42  Martial Arts or Martial Science?

 

41  The Dark Side of Genius

 

40  The Five Levels of Commitment in Striking

 

39  A More Precise Take on Precision

 

38  The Tao of the Perfect Collision

 

37  This Technique Always Works

 

36  I’d Give My Right Arm to be Ambidextrous!

 

35  That’s Funny, It Worked on YouTube!

 

34  Drop and Give Me Fifty!

 

33  The Way of the Intercepting Myth  Part 2

 

32  The Way of the Intercepting Myth  Part 1

 

31  Zen and the Art of Revisionist History

 

30  How Dare You Question My Omniscience?

 

29  Stand Up Straight and Breathe, Grasshopper!

 

28  Logic is Like a Sword

 

27  The Golden Age Fallacy

 

26  The Student Shall Be the Teacher

 

25  Nobody’s Perfect, and That’s Unforgivable!

 

24  Defeating the Straw Man

 

23  Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock

 

22  When is a Technique Practical?

 

21  It’s a Natural Fact

 

20  Dude, That is Sick!

 

19  Realism in Sparring and the Scientific Method

 

18  What Belt are You?

 

17  What if Tokyo Never Rose?

 

16  The Elephant in the Room

 

15  The Last Samurai

 

14  The Myth of the Power of the Mind

 

13  The Martial Arts and the Monkey Brain

 

12  Essence and the Martial Arts

 

11  Technique Vs. Principle

 

10  What is a Martial Arts Style?

 

9  Is Grappling Training Necessary?

 

8  How Do You Know?

 

7  What is a Master?

 

6  Does Practice Make Perfect?

 

5  The Crane Kick Phenomenon

 

4  Are Martial Arts Seminars Worthwhile?

 

3  What is a Traditional Martial Art?

 

2  Martial Sports vs. Martial Combat Arts

 

1  How Long Will it Take?

 

128 The Art of Not Getting Hit Part 1

Jeff describes a way to begin building your defensive skills vs.  empty hand striking.

127 Techno-phobia and the Martial Arts

Jeff discusses the quirky relationship between humans and their technology.

126 Believing is Seeing Part 5

Jeff wraps up his miniseries about human vision.

125 Believing is Seeing Part 4

Jeff discusses how bad guys through history have figured out ways to take advantage of the perceptual weaknesses of humans, and what brain science lies behind those weaknesses.

124 Believing is Seeing Part 3

Jeff discusses the ways that your brain compensates for the time lag created when it must process visual information before presenting it to you.

123 Believing is Seeing Part 2

Jeff continues his discussion of the powers and the failings of our most valued sense.

 

122 Believing is Seeing Part 1

Jeff begins a multi-episode deep dive into how your brain manufactures what you think you see with your eyes.

121 Death by Ideology

Jeff describes the history of Lysenkoism and the dangers of allowing ideology to trump evidence.

120 First Allegiance

Jeff discusses the dangers of tribalism in martial arts academies.

119 There’s a Box There for a Reason!

Jeff discusses the payoffs and pitfalls of marching to the beat of a different drummer.

118 Looking for Sensei Right

Jeff discusses the pitfalls of dating at the martial arts academy.

117 Easter Eggs and Rabbit Holes

Jeff discusses the various ways instructors build a lesson plan or a curriculum, and the ways the quirky human brain can corrupt the process.

116 The Red-Headed Step-child of Striking

Jeff discusses his personal history with kicking below the belt, and it’s parallel history in the last few decades of the martial arts in the US.

115 The Beast With Two Backs?

Jeff discusses the importance of recognizing and seizing the mutual center of gravity in the clinch.

114 Nerd Up!

Jeff discusses the dangers of the recurring logical fallacy of anti-intellectualism.

113 It’s a Natural Fact

This is an encore posting of episode 21.  Jeff discusses the logical fallacy called “the appeal to nature,” how it applies to the martial arts, and the pitfalls of claiming that what is “natural” is better.

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112 Oh, How We Danced

Jeff discusses the various uses of footwork in the martial arts, and why you need to learn them.

111 You Say Placebo and I Say Nocebo

Jeff discusses the “placebo effect” and whether a single session of martial arts training has magical healing properties.

 

110 You Are Not the Punisher

Jeff discusses the ethical and legal dangers of following sport martial arts protocols in self defense.

109 A Study in Studies

Jeff discusses the importance of understanding the variety of quality of various scientific studies for martial artists and the general public.

108 The Punching Order

Jeff discusses the existence of primitive behavior among martial arts sparring partners.

107 This Technique Always Works…Well Except for When it Didn’t.

In this encore of  “The Martial Brain” #35  Jeff discusses confirmation bias and how it crops up among martial artists.

106 The Tao of the Tao of Jeet Kune Do

Jeff discusses the creation of the book “The Tao of Jeet Kune Do” and the controversy surrounding it.

105 Battling Bartitsu Babes

Jeff describes the history of an obscure martial art and its connection to the women’s suffrage movement.

104 Fortune’s Fool

Jeff reveals to his poor listeners that luck is an illusion.

103 The Low Hanging Fruit

Jeff explains why the pseudoscience known as homeopathy is among the easiest targets for skeptics in the world of woo woo.

102 The Strange Tale of Howard Bone Part 2

Jeff continues the story of his friendship with an old carnival fighter.

101 The Strange Tale of Howard Bone Part 1

Jeff tells the story of Howard Bone, an old friend who fought in the ring for carnivals.

100 The 100th Episode Extravaganza!

Jeff celebrates his 100th episode by explaining the insignificance of the number 100.

 

99 Dueling Concepts

Jeff discusses what happens when the right way to practice one martial art collides with the right way to practice a different martial art.

 

98 Lesson Planning and Helmuth Von Moltke

Jeff discusses the importance of developing the capacity for careful planning combined with skill at improvisation; both in the martial arts and in life.

97 She Blinded Me With Scienciness!

Jeff discusses the concept of ‘scienciness’ and how it is used to take advantage of the scientifically illiterate, including in the martial arts.

96 Everything Good Came From Us!

Hyper-diffusionism is the misguided idea that ALL the world’s important cultural achievements, indeed all the world’s CULTURES came from a single particularly superior civilization and then diffused out to the rest of the world.

95 Martial Arts Literacy

Jeff draws comparisons between ‘scientific literacy’ and what he terms ‘martial arts literacy.’

94 A Potpourri of Fallacies

Jeff discusses several logical fallacies, including one that is peculiar to the martial arts.

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