Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body

Course No. 9468
David-Dorian Ross, International Master Tai Chi Instructor
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Course No. 9468
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What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Discover an introduction to many styles of martial arts, including kung fu, karate, tae kwon do, judo, jeet kune do, and krav maga.
  • numbers Learn about the physical and mental aspects of martial arts, from the proper form for blocks, kicks, and punches to the necessary self-discipline and focus to succeed.
  • numbers Study with eight world-class experts to discover the proper techniques so you can perform these techniques at home and beyond.

Course Overview

Martial arts. This phrase conjures up images of peak physical and mental fitness—speed, flexibility, and strength married to meditation, focus, and self-discipline, an image amplified by everything from elegantly choreographed Hollywood movies to mixed martial arts (MMA) cage matches. But the reality is that “martial arts” serves as an umbrella for an amazing range of beneficial and highly specialized practices, from kung fu to tai chi to jeet kune do.

One of the most intimidating aspects of pursuing martial arts is learning enough to understand what works best for you. What is the difference between practicing the quick jabs and furious kicks of karate and tae kwon do, the grapples and rolls of judo, the flowing forms of tai chi, or the street-fighting grit of Krav Maga? These forms of fighting have certain things in common, yet each practice has its own unique philosophy as well as a physical and mental approach. And yet, too often, students and prospective students never get to explore first-hand, and benefit from, the range of opportunities in the martial arts.

Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body offers an immersive introduction to nine leading examples of martial arts. Hosted and brought together by tai chi Grandmaster David-Dorian Ross, these 25 interactive lessons (one more than a typical course) give you a solid grounding in the different philosophies, styles, and techniques of the major martial arts families. For this course, Master Ross has hand-selected seven guest instructors who are award-winning experts in their fields. Whether sensei, sifu, or champion competitor, your teachers are drawn from the best of the best.

You don’t have to be a cross-training warrior or MMA fighter to benefit from exposure to a variety of martial arts. In fact, with suitable guidance, practicing martial arts offers invaluable physical and mental benefits to people of all ages, at all levels of physical fitness. From self-defense to the physical benefits of a disciplined exercise regimen, to the balance and harmony that studying martial arts can bring to all aspects of your life, Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body is an ideal place to begin, resume, or deepen your practice.

Survey Nine Families of Martial Arts

David-Dorian Ross has designed a survey of the martial arts, offering a unique foundation for improved physical and mental training, all of which can help you identify specific practices and traditions that may be especially beneficial for you. The course lets you experience, albeit far more efficiently, the same sorts of explorations Master Ross undertook as a young practitioner, when he set out to find the right style of martial arts for himself. With seven guest instructors to accompany him, Master Ross takes you on a tour of:

  • Karate: The way of the “empty hand” is perhaps the most well-known Japanese martial art in the West. From kicking to kata, learn the physical and mental techniques that make it such a formidable practice.
  • Tae Kwon Do: Like karate, tae kwon do is known for lightning-fast high kicks and the breaking of boards. Find out how this form became so popular quickly after its development in post-World War II Korea, and what makes it unique among martial arts.
  • Kung Fu: Beginning in China as far back as the 5th century, this practice has influenced most other forms of Chinese martial arts, and been codified into dozens of variations, many named after animals. Gain insight into the history and basic techniques of kung fu, as you explore the white crane style for close- to medium-range interaction, and then sample a long-range style for maximizing your reach known as praying mantis.
  • Tai Chi: Martial arts are not only about speed or vigorous combat. Tai chi has that option but has famously developed practices to cultivate slow, graceful movements, with innumerable benefits for well-being. Tai chi (taiji quan) traces its origins to China in the 17th century.
  • Judo: Known for its grappling, flipping, and throwing techniques, judo is an art of surprising grace from Japan. Practice the drills and techniques of “the way of gentleness.” Judo was the first martial art to use the belt system to classify fighters by skill level.
  • Jujitsu: Akin to judo, Japanese Jujutsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are “the pliable fighting art,” and make use of groundwork and wrestling holds to take control of the opponent. Get ready to stretch into new forms!
  • Muay Thai: Originating in Thailand but often known simply as kickboxing in the West, Muay Thai is unique among martial arts for the way it incorporates shins, elbows, and the clinch into its fighting style. See why Muay Thai is a favorite among MMA practitioners.
  • Jeet Kune Do: Developed by Bruce Lee as a hybrid of traditional Asian martial arts and more modern, global styles, jeet kune do is fascinating for the way it can be adapted and transformed by every individual practitioner.
  • Krav Maga: Blending elements from jujitsu, boxing, wrestling, and more, Krav Maga forms a type of street fighting about what to do in situations with no rules. First developed as a way for Polish Jews to defend themselves from fascists, Krav Maga is the signature fighting style of the Israeli Defense Forces.

In addition to these major families, you will also learn about qigong, a system for understanding and working with energy, or Qi, that is frequently practiced alongside other martial arts like tai chi. You’ll also learn meditation techniques and other aspects of the mental and even spiritual side of the martial arts.

Learn Stances, Blocks, Kicks, and Chops

While Master Ross and his colleagues discuss and personally embody the theory and ideals of their respective practices, this is very much a participatory course. Set in a unique dojo-style studio, each of these lessons gives you the chance to work out alongside the instructors, giving you a true immersion in the martial arts. Workouts include warmups, drills, shadowboxing, combos, and partnered exercises. For instance, you will:

  • Try an extended “horse stance” exercise to improve your mental toughness.
  • Learn kata with Sensei Akira Fukuda, the Team USA Olympic coach, and master of all five styles of karate.
  • Improve your physical and mental well-being with Master Ross’s TaijiFit flow workout.
  • Participate in a series of one-step sparring exercises with Grandmaster Dave Wheaton.
  • Perform a pattern of closed fist and open palm kung fu punches, followed by a combination drill.
  • Explore the “why” of Muay Thai kickboxing combinations with five-time world kickboxing champion Kathy Long.
  • Find out how to defend against chokes, shirt grabs, and attacks from behind in the Krav Maga style of street fighting.
  • And much more.

Physical Mastery, Mental Practice

Master Ross’s approach in this course is to pause and give pointers for each technique. Special camera angles and 3D modeling show you all aspects of each move, and Master Ross's deep understanding of how to help anyone reap benefits from martial arts ensures that you are able to join in and participate safely from lesson one. With this unique approach, you will be ready to punch, kick, block, and grapple your way into improved physical fitness.

But of course, practicing the martial arts is about more than physical fitness or self-defense. Training regularly, with exposure to more than one martial art, benefits all aspects of your life, giving you greater focus, confidence, and self-discipline. The unparalleled experience of nine styles in this course will give you fresh insight into what martial arts are all about, and greater clarity about your own life and goals. Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body is here to show you a way to your best self.

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25 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Strengthen Your Mind, Balance Your Body
    Open with five-time world champion Kathy Long in a brief warm-up demonstration, after which David-Dorian Ross leads your first lesson, with an overview of martial arts and some fundamental moves. Although there are many styles, martial arts all rely on our hands and feet as weapons. Explore a few basic techniques and stances broadly common to all forms. x
  • 2
    Karate: Fighting Stance and Mobility
    Step into what may seem like the quintessential Japanese martial art, with its emphasis on powerful physical techniques, from punches and chops to how to train your legs. Join U.S. Olymic team coach, Sensei Akira Fukuda in this introduction to karate and its history. Learn the fighting stance, the front kick, and a series of punches. x
  • 3
    Karate: Anticipate but Never Strike First
    Reflect on karate’s philosophy of “never strike first” and the implication that you must be able to anticipate and counter your opponent's move. After a survey of defense and counter-attack concepts, Sensei Fukuda teaches a class around the anticipatory skill levels of “Sen no Sen,” “Go no Sen,” and “Sen Sen no Sen.” x
  • 4
    Karate: End the Fight with a Single Blow
    Round out your study of karate's "empty hand” with an overview of a karate “kata.” Find out how practicing the kata can help you perfect your techniques and strengthen your body and mind. Sensei Fukuda demonstrates the Shiho Zuki (punching in four directions), and Master Ross breaks down the techniques so you can participate. x
  • 5
    Tai Chi Solo: Find Your Flow
    While many of the martial arts in this course are about speed, strength, and intensity, tai chi is known for the fundamental idea that “softness overcomes hardness.” Here, Master Ross introduces you to the history and philosophy that underlies tai chi, as well as the importance and practice of “flow.” x
  • 6
    Tae Kwon Do: Power Is Speed plus Intensity
    Although it didn't officially emerge until the early 1950s, tae kwon do has already become one of the world's most popular and commercially successful combat sports. Known for lighting fast, head-high kicking style, there is much more to this fascinating martial art. Here, Grandmaster Dave Wheaton teaches the horse stance and introductory kicks. x
  • 7
    Tae Kwon Do: Seeking Perfection of Form
    Like the karate kata, the tae kwon do forms—or “poomse”—are the key to practicing technique. After Master Ross introduces these patterns of attack and defense, Grandmaster Wheaton leads you through the first poomse, Chun-ji, which you can then try yourself. x
  • 8
    Tae Kwon Do: One-Step Sparring, Breaking Boards
    Focus, speed, power: perhaps nothing demonstrates the tae kwon do way as vividly as gearing up and sparring with a partner. In this interactive lesson, Grandmaster Wheaton leads you through a number of kicking drills as well as an introduction to one-step sparring techniques. Bring a partner if you have one, who can also help if you want to break a board. x
  • 9
    Qigong: Martial Meditation for Energy
    Qi is the Chinese word for “energy of life,” and qigong is the science of understanding the flow of Qi. Because the ability to manipulate Qi is at the heart of many Asian martial arts, this lesson takes a break from the physical systems of martial arts and explores the history and mental practice of qigong. Learn a variety of meditation techniques that complement your physical study. x
  • 10
    Kung Fu: Stances and Moving Drills
    kung fu influenced almost all martial arts in China, including dozens of varieties of kung fu, and Chinese martial arts in turn formed the foundation for martial arts throughout Asia. Join Coach Johnny Chang as he provides an overview of the white crane style of kung fu and demonstrates the major stances and punches. x
  • 11
    Kung Fu: Building a White Crane Routine
    Intricate “forms” are a hallmark of kung fu practice, which allow you to refine your physical skills and control. As you continue your study of white crane kung fu, Coach Chang breaks down the essential moves of a routine. He then turns to some exercises to help you increase your mental focus and discipline. x
  • 12
    Kung Fu: Reaction Training and Combos
    Begin to bridge the gap between individual practice and sparring with a partner by learning how to combine forms and anticipate your opponent’s responses. Coach Chang explains the “trigram” of defense and demonstrates basic blocks and kicks, showing you how to “follow the limbs in” to find openings in an opponent’s defenses. x
  • 13
    Kung Fu: Longer Range with Praying Mantis
    Round out your practice of kung fu with an introduction to praying mantis, a complementary style of kung fu that emphasizes bigger moves over longer distances. Sifu Joshua Grant takes you through this exceptionally graceful way to combine a variety of skills, as you literally cover a lot of ground. x
  • 14
    Tai Chi Partnered: From Connect to Merge
    Partner up and get ready to participate in a lesson from tai chi to practice moment-to-moment adjusments during sustained contact. Master Ross and Sifu Joshua Grant team up to demonstrate the traditional Push Hands training routine (Tui Sho) as well as a new game called TaijiFit Connect. You'll also learn levels of sense communication: connect, follow, flow, and merge. x
  • 15
    Judo: How to Take a Fall
    Known for its grappling, flipping, and throwing techniques, judo is best summed up by a Japanese phrase translating to “maximum efficiency, minimum effort.” After a review of the history and introductory concepts of judo, Sensei Fukuda takes you through a series of exercises and drills. Master Ross returns to offer additional insight. x
  • 16
    Judo: Disrupt Balance to Gain Advantage
    In this second lesson on judo, Master Ross and Sensei Fukuda practice “uchikomi,” or repetition training. You’re invited to join in with a partner to participate in a series of judo drills that include gripping, throwing, and “kuzushi,” the Japanese term for unbalancing your opponent. x
  • 17
    Jujitsu: Pliable Grappling Methods
    Jujitsu—“the pliable fighting art,” originated in Japan as “jujutsu,” and later modifed in Brazil as "jiujutsu"—relies less on speed, flexibility, and strength. Instead, practitioners need patience and understanding. By participating in a series of drills that make use of ground work and wrestling-style holds, you will learn to use your body like a pliable reed for fighting. Then consider how to apply pliability to your daily life. x
  • 18
    Muay Thai: Kickboxing with Eight Limbs
    One of the most devastating Asian fighting styles originated in Thailand. In addition to using fists and feet, Muay Thai uses elbows, forearms, knees, and shins as weapons, making it a favorite among MMA practitioners. Join world kickboxing champion Kathy Long to discover the basic stances, footwork, and punching techniques. x
  • 19
    Muay Thai: Kicks and Combos
    Continue your study of Muay Thai, which (unlike many other martial arts) includes knees and elbows as distinct weapons in the arsenal. Survey combinations and variations of jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts, and other hand and foot techniques, and then examine the “why” of different combos. x
  • 20
    Muay Thai: Working in the Clinch
    Taking as her premise that fights are seldom won by a single technique, virtually undefeated champion Kathy Long focuses her final lesson on combinations that utilze the Muay Thai “clinch”—a move that allows you to take control of the action, and your opponent. After learning how to perform the clinch, you’ll put it together in a series of combinations. x
  • 21
    Jeet Kune Do: Why Bruce Lee Rejected Style
    Turn now to jeet kune do, the “way of the intercepted fist,” a martial art intriguing for the way it adapts to every individual practitioner. Developed and made famous by Bruce Lee, this style bridges both traditional arts with modern-day fighting techniques. Join Sifu Helana Cauliff for the Jun Fan method to practice this unique approach to training. x
  • 22
    Jeet Kune Do: A Way to Find Your Own Way
    See how Bruce Lee came to found jeet kune do—and how it came to change martial arts in the West forever. Here, Sifu Cauliff and Master Ross offer more insight into the fighting and defensive techniques of jeet kune do, and give you the chance to participate in a series of drills. You’ll also gain new understanding of some elements of Eastern philosophy. x
  • 23
    Krav Maga: Responding to a Street Attack
    Imagine a martial art designed for responding to situations where there are no rules. While not always pretty or elegant, there is nevertheless a strength and grit to the Krav Maga system of fighting, making it popular among law enforcement and security professionals world-wide. Dr. Tammy Yard-McCracken examines how to respond to common street attacks that don't adhere to the structured discipline of many martial arts. x
  • 24
    Krav Maga: The Problem Dictates the Solution
    Here, Dr. Yard-McCracken shows you how Krav Maga is set up so that techniques (or “solutions”) are separated into islands—and that different combat situations serve as bridges to those islands. After reflecting on the individual’s mindset, you’ll delve into the fundamental striking and attack techniques. x
  • 25
    Krav Maga: Taking Control of Attack Rhythms
    Conclude your exploration of Krav Maga, and the martial arts in this course, as Dr. Yard-McCracken leads you through a series of strike rhythms that will get your energy level up and give you a new sense of the power and discipline you have developed throughout the course. Master Ross sums up with a few concluding thoughts about how and why the martial arts matter. x

Lecture Titles

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Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 25 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
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Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 25 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 85-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 85-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos and illustrations
  • Suggested readings
  • Exercises

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Your professor

David-Dorian Ross

About Your Professor

David-Dorian Ross, International Master Tai Chi Instructor
David-Dorian Ross is the founder and CEO of TaijiFit and the creator of the TaijiFit mind-body exercise program. He has a B.A. in Human Movement Studies from San Francisco State University, has completed graduate course work in Physical Education and Chinese, and is currently developing a project with the head of the Harvard Medical School research department to study the stress-reduction benefits of tai chi (taiji) in...
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Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body is rated 4.0 out of 5 by 30.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body Reasonably good value course if you get on sale, and don't expect too much. Some segments seemed more immediately useful than others (assuming you're not going on to take more professional lessons in person). I got DVD version to more easily watch on large TV.
Date published: 2019-02-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really very good explanations and demos I watch a segment almost every night. I am learning so much not only about the martial arts and how to execute but also the meaning and philosophies behind it.
Date published: 2018-08-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Daughter-in-law loves it I bought this as a gift for my son and his lovely bride. She texted me saying that she loves the course so far. :)
Date published: 2018-08-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great course great collection i wish more demonstration than explanation
Date published: 2018-06-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Don't waste your money on this course. One of the first elements that is described when you listen to the Great Courses is that they are university level courses. This course is anything but a university level course. In my opinion these lectures are for children or listeners with the most rudimentary knowledge and interest in the martial arts. I have been a martial artist for decades and expected much more from this course, i.e. history, relevancy, applications to modern society. Instead what I received was short classes in the most basic techniques of a few disciplines, which teaches...nothing.
Date published: 2018-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect title for the content This was exactly what I was looking for - a perfect blend of explanation and movement. I have always been interested in martial arts but in my area there are no adult classes and I don't want to take classes with kids.
Date published: 2018-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from martial arts for your mind and boby I have not look at it ,but i am sure it is well put together.
Date published: 2018-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Martial Arts Buffet I was actually really excited when this course came out. It is another great offering from David Dorian Ross. I have already taken "Essentials of Tai Chi" and "Mastering Tai Chi." This course is different, and you may/may not like the approach. I did enjoy this, but with a few caveats. There are a lot of different disciplines of martial arts demonstrated and guest teachers who are truly experts in their martial art. You will learn a few basics of a range of disciplines. Each lesson begins with a sort of "warm up" launch into the discipline and then a quick discussion and some more "hands on" demonstrations. I have taken tae kwon do in the past, three years of krav maga and have been a living room aficionado of tai chi and chi gong for many years. As a super fan of Bruce Lee, I was also intrigued to learn about jeet kun do, the martial art that he took from wing chun and other styles of combat. Really cool! All of the teachers were engaging and interesting. David Dorian Ross, of course, is a natural and really pleasant to watch. I like that he emphasizes enjoying yourself - in life and in your workouts. Where I think that the course could have been a bit better is that some of the lectures were pretty good stand alone workouts that I could follow along with, like the kung fu ones and tai chi, while some of the other lectures involved floor grappling or partner work or some combinations of movement that were not broken down enough for the lay person, so I maybe just ended up mostly watching those ones. What would have been really cool would have been a bonus dvd with 20 minute drills for each discipline. But, this is a small thing. I think the course was a lot of fun to watch and obviously was a lot of fun for David Dorian Ross to put together. I think it's a great course if you are looking for a martial arts dscipline to follow. If, like me, you like to play around a bit with a few different styles, this is good for you too. I found that I liked "Praying Mantis" Kung Fu quite a lot and plan on repeating those lectures to perfect the drills. If you are looking for this to be a set of 25 workouts, it's not. If you want to precede this with a workout or follow up lectures with a workout and play around a bit with martial arts, then this will not disappoint, except that you may want to grab a friend for some of the lessons, such as krav maga/judo/jujitsu. Thanks David Dorian Ross!
Date published: 2018-05-01
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