Announcement MAY 1st 2020. Re-Opening

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We are working on procedures to safely re-open next week.

We are currently reviewing Green Co health recommendations. We are allowed to open next week but not to have group fitness classes.


We are looking at providing personal classes at a distance for the foreseeable future. One a week per student 20 to 30 minute classes.

We may be able to teach three students per class and maintain the recommended space and focus on basics, sets, katas, and all the movement we can practice without contact. We are still in discussions with our staff and other school owners. It looks like wearing masks would be a good idea. (Yeah! New Ninja Uniforms!) And classes outside may be possible soon.

Martial Arts reminds us to see problems as challenges to overcome. Let’s turn our obstacles into an obstacle course.

What can we do to help others in this difficult time? It there a neighbor who needs their yard mowed? Could you connect with friends and bake bread together online then donate it or gift it to the local Kitchen or community food pantry?

Soon we will organize some outings, nature walks, perhaps some star gazing, things we can do together at a safe distance.

Be well, get informed, and stay safe!

We are working hard to continue to provide a quality experience for our students, hang in there, we are all in this together!

Virtual Classes for Dynamic Edge Martial Arts

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Announcement: Our school is closed but classes are open!
We will begin online virtual classes Monday, March 30th. We will start with 20-minute sessions as we learn the ropes and overcome technical challenges. Youth class will be from 6:00 to 6:20 pm and Adults will be from 6:30 to 6:50pm.
We will repeat this same schedule on Wednesday eve.
We are working on adding a student only section to our website with a working virtual classroom. You will be able to log on with a password and participate.
We’ll also do some more FB live for our FB community. We will send out more information once we have login and password information.
For Monday we will be using ZOOM. Get the app : Send us a direct message and we’ll send you the login. We’ll use Zoom until we’ve fully integrated the virtual classroom on our website.
Until then check out our videos on

Thank you for your patience and support.  We hope you are all safe and well during these challenging times.   While we’re apart, we’ll get through this together! 

Closing Announcement

Dynamic Edge will be closed until April 3rd. Be smart, be safe, be alert.

The A,B,C’s of Self-Defense apply
A-Awareness and Avoidance
B-Boundary Setting and Defending
C-Control and Combat

Dynamic Edge Will be implementing Isolation Protocol as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Greene County Health Department.

Greene County has 3 confirmed cases with potentially many more people with no symptoms roaming around (we have no testing available to know).

The new CDC guidelines just released say no gatherings for more than 10 people, down from 250 last night and 500 on Friday. Springfield Public schools are now closed until April 3rd. So, with an abundance of caution, we too will follow the recommended closing schedule.

During the crisis, we will offer online instruction through at:

We are looking into offering personal lessons through the Zoom App. We’ll keep you updated for Facebook live events and youtube live videos as we explore more online instruction options.

We are also looking at offering outdoor classes at our backlot and local parks when the weather is good and we can meet safety precautions. All suggestions and input are appreciated.

Mercy vs The Punisher

Three of my favorite quotes about MERCY:
Karate Kid, Sensei Kreese: “You meet a man on the street he is your ENEMY! Strike First, strike hard, NO MERCY!”
Sensei Kreese appeals to the primal need for power, aggression, and violence as a means to achieve personal power.

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One day, we’re bound to evolve a better way of settling disputes.

In the new series Cobra Kai, the tenacious Sensei Laurence takes a more nuanced approach and re-frames the No Mercy philosophy of the domineering Sensei Kreese to one of perseverance.

Cobra Kai, Sensei Laurence: “You’ve all learned to strike first. To be aggressive… and not be losers. I taught you to strike hard. To put every ounce of your power behind everything you do. But I haven’t taught you the third rule of Cobra Kai: No mercy. The older you get, the more you’re gonna learn… that life isn’t fair.

You wake up one morning feeling great, and then life throws a spinning heel kick to your balls and takes a big steaming shit in your mouth. You get an F on a test. You get suspended. You fall in love with a girl, but some other dude comes and steals her away. Your car gets set on fire.

 Just when you think things are going good, everything falls apart. That’s how it goes. Life shows no mercy, so neither do we. We do whatever it takes to keep our heads above water. We do whatever it takes to keep moving forward. We do whatever it takes to win!
Remember who you are. You’re badass. You don’t give a shit.

    You kick ass. You’re Cobra Kai.”

Johnny is beginning to transform his aggression towards others into a technique used to overcome life’s challenges.   This is the right direction.  Consider the true value and responsibility of personal power as it comes with your martial arts skills and your power to harm others within your own lives.

—“I’ve always found that mercy bears richer fruit than strict justice.” Abraham Lincoln
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    Lincoln reminds us that mercy can lead to growth.  But what about justice? Humans have a visceral emotion of justice founded deep in our sense of fairness.  We share that with our primate cousins. Tia Ghose, Senior Writer of Live Science describes how a new study shows, “In a classic test of fairness called the ultimatum game, apes will dole out an equitable share of their bananas — and when they don’t, their partners will complain.”

Fairness forms the basis of ethics and law.  The guilty will be punished and fairness will be enforced.  We celebrate superheroes as the means of balancing the equation between the oppressors and the oppressed.  Marvel’s character the Punisher is admired.  His white bullet-laden skull is flown as a flag of justified hyper-masculinity in the frame of might will make right.

I’m a long time fan of superheroes and specifically the Punisher not because he gets the bad guys to pay rather because he gets me to think.  What does it cost him to exact his form of “justice”?  He pays for revenge with his humanity while it costs his targets their lives.  He trades aggression for the potential of a better future.  His violence leads to more violence and he remains trapped in a forever war, a hell of his own making.

His ultra violence is an insanely exaggerated expression of seeking fairness.  His fans cheer him on, reveling in watching the bad guys get their come-uppence while the man diminishes behind a prison of hatred.  It leads to the question central to the character, how can he escape himself?


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Until he escapes his desire for revenge he will never know peace.  His war will continue to rage, his hell will continue to hold fast.  Humanity is in a similar situation but there is hope.  Even though wars still rage and they are big business for the merchants of death their frequency and scope continue to diminish.  In our personal lives, we too face the dilemma of re-active anger or restraint.  Resentment or forgiveness.  Punishment or mercy.

As a teacher of modern martial artists, I often encounter these revenge fantasies of young students seeking power to rebalance the fairness equation of their lives.  What I endeavor to teach is that real power is the power to change one’s self and the world in a way that builds rather than destroys.   We don’t change people for the better with our fists of fury.  However, we can change circumstances when we open our fists and extend a hand to help those in need.

The greatest challenge comes to the young student who has developed the power to enforce fairness and must decide to use aggression or restraint,  to seek revenge or forgiveness.  This is something we all deal with in the relationships we have in our everyday lives.

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The power isn’t in using the fist, it’s in choosing not to use it.  True power is overcoming your primal emotions in order to break the cycle of anger, hatred, violence, and abuse. Teaching our youth that personal power is about developing compassion, forgiveness, and awareness despite the desire to harbor resentment or exact revenge.   Mercy is a suspension of justice.  It is forgiveness of a debt owed but not paid or even recognized.  So why should we value mercy and forgiveness? Why should we honor the merciful and the forgiving?
By honoring the merciful we honor their sacrifice. It is those who forgive that pay the debt of mercy.   They bear the weight of forgiveness.  It takes strength to forgive, to let go of hate, and to move beyond the evolutionary drive that pushes us towards aggression, dominance, and revenge.

The value of mercy comes from forgoing aggression in pursuit of what one is owed for the higher value of peace.  The utility of peace frees the forgiver from an invisible prison,  it requires sacrifice, commitment, and suffering in exchange for freedom,  serenity, and the special qualities of peace that transform individuals, raise people up and build nations.

Mercy is much harder to dispense than justice or revenge.  Mercy requires someone to transform the power to punish into the power to forgive.  Watching this season of the Punisher lead me to conclude that a prosperous future grows from the fertile soil formed by forgiveness rather than the soil watered with the blood of one’s enemies.

5 Fascinating Facts of Martial Arts History

5 Interesting Facts about the History of Martial Arts

The history of Martial Arts is a vast subject involving thousands of years of history and that may be the most interesting fact about Martial Arts itself.  For now, let’s take a brief look at some unique perspectives regarding the fascinating history of Martial Arts.

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Zen Kick by Theron Sturgess 2014


  1. Not all Martial Arts Traditions Originated in Asia 

    One of the first depictions of Martial Arts combat was found in Africa, during the 21st to 17th  centuries BCE (Middle Bronze Age) in the cemetery site of Beni Hasan in ancient Egypt. Those hieroglyphics are evidence of African codified methods of combat dating back at least 3,700. 

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    Hieroglyphics of Beni Hasan

  2. Mixed Martial Arts was one of the first Combat Sports
    in the Ancient Olympic Games
    Many people that think that MMA started in 1993 with the first UFC.  The history of MMA is much older.  Pankration (Greek No holds barred fighting that involved warriors that would strike, claw, bite, grapple, choke and or submit their opponents) has roots dating back to 440 BCE. 

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    Modern MMA has roots that date back over 2,600 years.

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    Pankration athletes fought gymnos (From the ancient Greek, meaning to train naked.)




  3. Much of what people think about Martial Arts comes from fiction, movies, and books that glorify knights, warriors, samurai, and fighting monks.
    Take Ninjas for example.  What we think of Ninjas derived from old Jedai (Japanese Samurai movies similar to Westerns) that took their cues from old plays where the evil spirits were manifested on stage by stagehands wearing black uniforms to blend into the shadows.Much of the shadow warrior myth comes from these old plays and movies and then became reborn in modern movies and T.V. The Shinobi, shadow warrior’s famous straight sword the Ninjago, and shuriken/throwing stars are cinematic creations that furthered the shadow warrior myth.

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    The Hollywood version of Ninja didn’t exist as dramatized.



    As with much legend and myth, there are shards and slices of history within the shattered patterns of an entertainment spectacle.  The truth of the ninja lives beyond a deep dive through history with few records lost in the mists of time.

    These tales have been passed down for centuries. Many teachers have exaggerated the myths and misconceptions of ancient practices, their own personal history, and the utility of certain techniques, traditions or training methods.


4. There are no new Martial Arts techniques.
New techniques aren’t invented, they are rediscovered.  The span of history and exploration of technique and their application in dueling, war, and sport for thousands of years indicates that people have been experimenting with a massive variety of techniques and methods.  Methods of challenging a warrior’s skills refine those skills through a filter similar to natural selection. The most successful methods survive and are passed on until the contest method changes. With new rules of engagement, old ways are reformed and adapted in an effort to secure a victory.

5. What makes modern martial arts unique is our interpretation of the past along with the application of the present.  The usefulness of practicing ancient combat technique isn’t limited to self-defense or sport as most people define it.  The usefulness emerges from the pursuit of personal and communal development through testing one’s ability to learn, persevere,  while facing and overcoming challenges. We all need self-defense every day. However, it’s not because we must engage in combat to safely navigate our way through our environment.  Martial Arts training in our modern world can help us combat fear, apathy, and toxic lifestyle choices. We must learn to fight the sedentary death of our spirit in the glow of our digital demons.  In the time following the Meiji period in Japan, a shift occurred from Bujitsu, Bu meaning War and Jitsu – technique, to Budo meaning  The Warrior’s Path, Do – path or way.

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In time, War-Craft shifted to the Warrior’s-Way.  Warriors approached the Monks in ancient times to make peace with death and to learn how to focus their mind in battle.  The monks taught them how to train their minds.  This fusion of mind and muscle emerged in several ancient traditions and is popular the world over in current times.  The Martial Way is a path that helps an individual develop the unity of mind and body along with humility, compassion and an appreciation of self=awareness.

In conclusion: The long history of Martial Arts reveals another interesting realization.  The fact that Martial Arts practice has such a long and diverse history is a testament to its usefulness.  The Warrior’s Way has been rediscovered, reformed and adapted to many cultures in many eras of human history.  Today, Martial Arts practice in the modern world can help the student to defeat the enemies of feeling inadequate, alone, worthless, or depressed by linking us to our primal past and showing us the promise of a stronger body and more peaceful mind.


The Way  by Theron Sturgess 2014

Incorporating the ancient warrior’s way in our modern lives helps us to learn to adapt and flow with the challenges of life. When life knocks a martial artist down they have already trained themselves to get back up, face their fear and persevere. Life is a journey and Martial Arts can help you to become safer, stronger and more aware along the way.

Theron Sturgess 2018


The Long Road of Mindfulness Practice

Our Minds can trick us into feeling trapped to walk the same road forever.  

RuralRoad.jpg Mindfulness practice reminds us to pay attention to our habits and routines.  Realize that even though you are familiar with the routine, every day is unique, every repetition exists in the now.

By paying attention you can free yourself from feeling stuck and realize that it’s never too late to choose a different path.

“There’s still time to change the road you’re on.” Led Zeppelin

10 Self-defense Secrets: Learning to Destroy threats to your personal Safety

The First of 10 Principles of Self-Defense


The First Principle: Self-Protection as a philosophy of life

Let’s focus for a moment on women’s self-defense.  Fear of violence has pushed many people to seek security in a chaotic world through Martial Arts training.  A core concept of the Dynamic Edge Self-protection is about identifying those threats in our life and environment that pose the most likely and harmful danger to us. The good news is that we have that information.

Now, we have to do something about it.  This search will lead to seeing that homicide accounts for 8% of the fatalities among women 20-24 (Center for Disease Control).  It’s a sad statistic that reminds us that we have much to learn about how to protect people from other people.  Violence is a terrible scourage within our modern society, however,  it’s not the most likely killer of women. So what are the most direct threats aimed to steal the life, health, and vitality from women in today’s world?

Cause of Death

1) Heart disease             



2) Cancer 22.2
3) Stroke 6.3
4) Chronic lower respiratory diseases 5.9
5) Alzheimer’s disease 4.5
6) Unintentional injuries 3.5
7) Diabetes 2.8
8) Influenza and pneumonia 2.3
9) Kidney disease 2.0
10) Septicemia 1.6

This data from puts it in perspective. The most common killers out there are lurking in cheeseburgers, cigarettes, stress, obsession, addiction, disease and unhealthy living.


So, self-protection isn’t just looking out for threats like abusive relationships, rapist, and murderers.  We are looking to fight all the enemies of our health, internal and external. Self-protection is learning to combat the threats that oppose our health, wellness, freedom, creativity, and happiness.  Self-protection must help us guard against unhealthy relationships, living in fear, and feeling a lack of confidence steal the joy in life as well as put us on a path to health and longevity. 

Self-protection is about making this way of thinking a path to learning,  from past traumas and how to move forward.  Self-protection is also about sharing what we’ve learned with the next generation to bring about change on an individual, community, and global level. Learning self-protection is a way for people to fight back against feelings of powerlessness, and against all the enemies of health and happiness.  

Please look into other threats to your health at the Centers for Disease Control: Continue reading

Why Martial Arts?


ks fk sunset copyEffective combat skill is essential for our students.

However, martial arts is more than a method of self-protection from an attacker. It’s self-protection from all those invisible enemies in life that can drag us down.  Those enemies take the form of negative emotions and poor decisions that affect the quality of our lives.  They may lead us to a sedentary or toxic lifestyle.  They may drag us down with anger, stress, fear, worry, perfectionism, apathy,  and discouragement.

Our reaction to those negatives can lead us to all the over-indulgences we use to distract ourselves from facing those invisible enemies.  We practice defending against an attacker when in reality 7 of the 10 most likely things to kills are controlled by what we eat, how we exercise and how we handle stress.  Heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney failure, cancer, Alzheimer’s, respiratory disease, these deathstyles are influenced by your lifestyle.

We might fight sadness with food and then become more sad because we made our body and mind sick and now aren’t in the physical condition we want to be.  We might withdraw socially to avoid facing our problems or self-medicate to avoid the pain of being in a place in life we don’t want to be.  So often negative mental states are places where you feel like you have no control over your life.

In Martial Arts training, learning how to control an opponent in a self-defense situation is the context that used to concentrate our focus but the benefits extend far beyond basic self-defense.  In learning how to control your opponent, you learn how to control yourself.

After experiencing an intense training session you’ve tested your skills and worked to out-think and outmaneuver your opponent.  Sometimes you are successful and sometimes your opponent is.  Martial Arts teaches us that there is no true defeat.  With the attitude of a Warrior-Scholar, we realize that within every defeat lives the opportunity to learn and improve. Mistakes become just another way to improve.  This attitude fosters fortitude and a strength of mind that cultivates harmony and emotional equilibrium.  It’s a state of mind that fosters peace.

Eventually, a new student changes their focus from attempting to defeat their enemy to learning from their enemy, from aggression to understanding,  from confusion to confidence.  We know that the real challenges in life aren’t so easily defeated and require practice, patience, and perseverance to overcome.

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For us, martial arts is more than a challenging, interesting, fun and enriching path to fitness that combines thousands of years of history, culture, and philosophy.  It’s a way of facing challenges, a practice that seeks but never achieves perfection.

It’s not about achieving a single victory or earning a black-belt, although those experiences are extremely rewarding, the true value exists in the practice that becomes your journey through life.


Enemies Along the Road: 7 ways to fight back against frustration and disapointment.

We have an idea of how we want our live’s to be and sometimes when those ideals seem far away or out of reach, frustration and disappointment creep in. These invisible enemies of frustration and disappointment hide along the paths we travel in pursuit of our most important endeavors. When they attack, fight back! Here are 7 tips for spiritual self-defense. 

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  1. Review your progress.  Take stock in the fact that you’ve set a goal.  Knowing that you want to make a change is a significant step forward.
  2. The path to realizing your objective is not a straight line.  Think of how we walk, drive, or ride a bike. Most of the time is spent making subtle corrections to keep you aligned with where you want to go.  Stop lights, slower traffic, and other obstacles will be in your path. Patience and perseverance will see you through.
  3. Break big dreams into smaller goals.  Losing 30 pounds is a project. Break that project into smaller, behavior driven goals.  I will strength train 3 times this week for a minimum of 45 minutes. Schedule it and track it.  You must measure your progress in order to manage your progress.Screen Shot 2018-07-17 at 12.45.54 PM
  4. Develop an attitude of appreciation.  Start with the small stuff.  The small stuff IS the big stuff.  In the morning and the evening take a moment to note 3 things you are grateful for and be specific.  That warm conversation you had with a loved one, a refreshing walk at the Nature Center, the healthy meal you just ate.  Take a moment to reflect on the wonders of the daily moments.  They are only ordinary if you don’t pay attention to them.
  5.  Reward yourself and plan something to look forward to.   If you know you are going to be upping your workout routine, tightening your budget, or eating more nutritiously,  reward yourself with a massage, an inexpensive day out or a healthy but tasty fruit smoothie.  Find something within your new discipline that makes you feel good and is in alignment with your pursuit.
  6.  Ask for help and give help.  Asking for help doesn’t always mean finding a mentor in person.  Find role models that have achieved what you are seeking to achieve.  Read their books, blogs, and watch their videos.  Become inspired.  Seek others that are on the same path and create a dialog about overcoming challenges.  Read, grow, learn, it’s a lifelong practice.  Realize that you too have something to offer.  Everyone is a role model for someone.  Never underestimate the good that can come by stepping out of your own head and your own problems to help another achieve their goals.  That’s the kind of fulfillment that becomes fuel for your own journey and reminds you to keep going.
  7. Re-connect with the deep psychological desire at the root of your goal.  Your goal isn’t really just about making more money, losing weight, having a more fulfilling relationship, or earning your Black Belt, it’s about being a happier healthier person.  It’s about joy, passion and having a goal worth pursuing because it makes you a better person through the striving for it.   Why do you want to lose that weight, get that new job or deepen your relationship? Connect the goal with something real and how you’ll feel.  You want more career success so you can have less stress, more time with your family, more security? You want to lose that weight so you can look good (it’s ok to say it!)  live longer, do more, date with confidence?


Goals are a means to achieve a higher state of being.  The real trick is you can create that state right now. Feel successful, more healthy, more confident, less stressed, right now.  Cultivate that awareness of being fit in your mind FIRST and then guide your choices and actions to align with that self-concept.  Keep at it.  Just like driving you will begin to drift off course, get lost, or stuck in traffic.  Make the necessary course corrections.  By facing those obstacles, with grace, poise, perseverance, and awareness they become the means of achievement.  The obstacles are the sharpening stone of your mind-sword.  They are the practice.  Accept them, understand them and use them to live an extraordinary life.


Our First Rodrigo Vaghi Seminar at Dynamic Edge!


Rodrigo Vaghi demonstrates a takedown with Rob Stone while Alan Smith and Aaron Mccarroll observe.

We were extremely excited to host Rodrigo Vaghi for our first Team Vaghi seminar. Vaghi is the kind of martial arts teacher whose reputation not only precedes him it’s part of the very fabric of modern martial arts history. He’s a 5th degree black belt under friend and teacher Rickson Gracie, the third son of Grandmaster Helio Gracie. He taught alongside the Gracies in the headquarter Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school in Rio. I’ve been practicing martial arts of one form or another for over three decades and you hear about these guys, you see the documentaries, you see their students, competitions and hear their story. In the martial arts arena these are legendary figures. I’ll admit I was a bit star struck and humbled to share the mat and learn from such a teacher and his team.

Team Vaghi stepped on the mat and brought with them more than experience and technical expertise they brought a camaraderie and a genuine love of the art. Vaghi’s teachings encompassed critical fundamentals and essential concepts for learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. His fluid relaxed motion was matched only by his focused pressure, control and clear objective of advancing positional advantage. From takedowns, to control, escapes and submissions we were assisted by Brown and Black Belts that were patient, attentive and skilled at teaching, often adding details and blending prefered variations to help the students customize their technique. By the end of the seminar you could sense the appreciation for all the teachings and personal attention extend throughout the room like a big family gathering.

For me it was like a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Thanksgiving. We feasted on technique until we were stuffed. Then after training spent some time watching intense contact sports but instead of football it was UFC. (So awesome to watch fights with guys that had taught, trained with or been in the cage with the level of fighters and jiu jitsu players that we were watching on T.V.) I could tell that all the students were genuinely thankful for this room full of Brown and Black Belts that took their time to drive down to Springfield from St. Louis and share their knowledge and welcome a bunch of beginners into their group as we start the Dynamic Edge BJJ club.

Vaghi and his Black Belt Mike Rogers, owner of St. Charles MMA also came to support their friend and 1st class Brown Belt student, Alan Smith. Dynamic Edge students and myself are very fortunate to have Alan teaching our BJJ classes. I knew that if his combination of technical skill, patience, and communication were any indication then working with his home team would be an excellent experience. Rodrigo and his team didn’t disappoint, rather they exceeded our expectations and we are already looking forward to our next opportunity to train with them.