Youth Judo club and summer activity days

posted May 28, 2018, 2:44 PM by Robert Nolan

Howdy everyone, its starting to heat up as summer settles in so come join us for some cool Judo running through the summer (normal judo course hours are available under course information). Youth judo club will be hosting activities throughout the month of June. If you and or your child would like to participate, learn about judo, or just enjoy or chilly air conditioning-- come join us June 19th, 21st, 26nd, and 28th from 1:30pm-3:30pm. 

Classes canceled week of 3/13/18, will resume next week

posted Mar 17, 2018, 12:19 AM by Robert Nolan   [ updated Mar 17, 2018, 12:20 AM ]

The building in which the Judo classes are being held will be closed from 3/13/18 - 3/19/18 due to building maintenance work. judo club will resume regular practice starting next week. See you all then,

Robert Dale Nolan
Cactus Sage School -  Founder

Phoenix JKD Gathering 2018

posted Dec 27, 2017, 11:02 AM by Robert Nolan

Phoenix Jeet Kune Do (JKD) Gathering

  • When: April 7th - 8th
  • Where: TBA
  • Early Registration: $140 USD, or 70$ non refundable deposit.
  • Door Price: $199 USD
Cactus Sage School is a proud sponsor of the 2018 Phoenix JKD Gathering, a 2 day event for martial arts enthusiasts, athletes, and beginners alike. Led by martial arts virtuoso Octavio Quintero, and hosted by Cactus Sage School's resident JKD instructor Ricky Harper. If you are interested in refining your trapping/striking skills and learning to generate explosive power with minimal effort-- then this is the 2 day event you don't want to miss! 

Judoka raising money for Arizona Youth by walking across America

posted Mar 18, 2017, 10:55 PM by Robert Nolan

Hey everyone,

2016 was pretty rough, broke my arm, almost died, all while going to university (which is sort of like dying, but much slower and more painful). But there was more to it than that. While undergoing surgery for my arm my lungs filling with blood due to freak pulmonary edema, all I remember is waking up essentially drowning in my own blood, thankfully hospital staff was there with me. They quite literally saved my life. I almost died that night and I decided that I wanted to see more and do more than I ever had before.  After that, I endured months of physical therapy while continuing to training and teach Judo in combination to working full time and putting myself through undergraduate school. With graduation looming and a near brush with death, I finally decided to bite the bullet and pull the trigger on another personal goal of mine: through-hiking from end to end the entire Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The PCT is a massive, beautiful and dangerous hiking trail the spans the distance from Mexico to Canada. Going through these difficulties has given me a renewed resolve not only to achieve my own goals, but also to be of service to the communities of which I am a part of. To do that I will be using a service called 'Hikefor' where supporters can pledge to donate money for every mile we walk on the PCT. Donated funds will be directed to two nonprofit organizations Phoenix based,  Onenten which provides services for LGBTQ youth of Arizona, and the United States Judo Association. Below are links to Hike for where you can make a pledge to donate money to these organizations for every mile we hike. In addition to that, I will also be accepting personal donations, serviced through Gofundme which will be used for food and water.

The Cactus Sage School is moving!

posted Dec 31, 2016, 5:16 PM by Robert Nolan

Howdy Phoenix Judoka and Cactus Sage students,

I'm excited to announce that the Cactus Sage Judo club will be moving to a new location (approximately on Vanburen and 19th Ave) as we approach the first few weeks of the new year. Definative scheduling and location details will be available by the end of the first week of January. Unfortunately this means that class will be canceled until equipment and our instructors relocate to the new dojo.

Please take this opportunity to enjoy the New year holiday by relaxing, meditating and resting. See you all in 2017,

Robert Dale Nolan 
USJA Shodan and Coach 
Cactus Sage School

The three jewels of Judo: Empowerment of the Mind, Body, and Spirit

posted Sep 26, 2016, 9:51 PM by Robert Nolan

August 26'th 2016 -

     In Phoenix, the morning and evening air is finally starting to cool off and children are back in school. With the return of the cool autumn air and children to schools, I often find myself in contact with parents attempting to utilize this delicate window to better their child. This means an uptick in attendance by families wishing to participate in the sport and art that is Judo. One fascinating secret of martial arts training can be seen in how it benefits the mind, body and spiritual and development of children implicitly while they have fun and most importantly - learn. I myself was not always a paragon of discipline. In my youth, I was angry, depressed, unrefined and unchallenged. These problems very well could have persisted into adulthood had it not been for the intervention of Judo into my life. Through Judo I found a physical outlet for the frustrations of the day, a destresser if you will. Judo also provided a difficult task and discipline that required and taught concentration and fortitude. Children can also gain their first experiences interacting with a foreign language and navigating a foreign culture, which in our emerging global community is more important than ever. In fact, martial arts training has been observed to have a counter effect to Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). 

    The conventional wisdom behind martial arts training has always been that martial arts training also helps curb childhood aggression, and while that still holds true to some extent particularly in Judo and Karate training in young boys -- there is a caveat. As articulated in by Reynes and Lorant in their research titled 'COMPETITIVE MARTIAL ARTS AND AGGRESSIVENESS: A 2-YR. LONGITUDINAL STUDY AMONG YOUNG BOYS', martial arts practice does show minor decreases in verbal and physical aggression but with an important distinction in certain conditions. Reynes and Lorant's findings indicate that "the idea that the practice of competitive martial arts in which kata and meditation are absent or downplayed could deter acquisition of self-control", that is to say, non-traditional martial arts may actually not help curb childhood aggression or may even encourage it. Traditional martial arts that utilize meditation seem to play an important role in which martial arts programs are helping curb aggressive action. This is an important distinction in a time period in which non-traditional martial arts institutions run rampant in the "industry". With (Mixed martial arts) MMA or (Brazilian Jiujitsu) BJJ very popular at, time of writing, this should be cause for concern and pause for parents choosing a martial arts program. But Judo and traditional martial arts training do much more than just affecting the mental components of developing children. 

    In addition to the psychological and mental benefits of Judo, the martial art and sport has historically espoused beneficial growth physiological development.The founder of Judo gave equal credence to the benefits of Judo as a form of physical fitness, separate from the benefits of a self-defense system that empowered the mind and spirit. As minister of education, Dr.Jigoro Kano helped establish Judo as a fundamental part of the Japanese education system. In 2012 this was made official in educational reforms which designated Judo, as compulsory physical education. In the title of the 2010 study 'Judo training is more effective in fitness development than recreational sports', conducted by the University of split in Croatia. Kinesiology analysts found that Judo was showed "significantly better results in the shuttle run task used to test agility, the sit-up test for abdominal muscle endurance, the sit-and-reach test for flexibility, and flexed arm hang for muscular endurance" in children (Krstulović, 2010). In short, Judo is a better alternative to achieving physical fitness goals and fostering fitness development in children in comparison to basketball, handball, or volleyball. 

    The third and arguably most important benefit of Judo training is of spiritual benefit. It must be prefaced that 'spirit' or spirituality in the paradigm of implicit Zen Buddhism is not to be confused with overt concepts of religion and spirituality prevalent in the west. As I will discuss 'spirit' of this nature permeates the many facets of philosophy and culture throughout Japanese (and other) societies in the same way western society could be viewed as Platonic, Socratic or Aristotelian. Judo, as a Japanese martial art, is imbued implicitly with many of the core concepts of Taoist and Zen Buddhist Philosophy. In fact, the very notion of implicit education (or enlightenment) and the storied origin of martial arts is descended from one of the enigmatic figures of early Buddhism; Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma is the legendary and historically argued founder of the Shaolin monastery and creator of what we recognize today as gung-fu. Upon arrival to China from India, Bodhidharma was dismayed at the physical condition of the Chinese Buddhists and introduced a set of physical exercises that would form the basis of gung-fu and a form of meditation sometimes translated as "wall-gazing" akin to zazen meditation in modern zen meditation, but the method of this instruction is what was important. Bodhidharma simply sat, meditated for hours and left to perform his exercises all in total silence. Eventually chan or zen would leave a lasting impression on Japanese society on a fundamental level. Exercise and meditation form the basis of implicit instruction in the philosophical concepts of Zen Buddhism. This distinction of implicit transmission drives individual growth, education through doing, and benefit through a process of self-discovery. In short, the spiritual benefits of Judo: mindfullness, respect, mental fortitude, selflessness, awareness of thought and actions, arise organically simply from the practice of doing judo, doing meditation, embracing the mundane and eschewing esoteric religious practices. This notion has become popularized among American Buddhists like Brad Warner who penned the title "Sit Down and Shut Up". The following is an excerpt of "Ch'an, Taoism, andWittgenstien" from the Journal of Chinese Philosophy by Thomas T. Tominaga: 

The iconoclastic attitude [ of silence ] stems from the conviction that written and spoken words, because they are an integral part of the rules and conventions of language, tend to reify and obscure the immediate quality of the enlightenment experience. The catalytic use of silence is not so much to communicate non-verbally as it is to overcome or transcend spontaneously and unconditionally the conceptual constraints imposed by language, knowledge, and thinking in the conventional sense, whether or not we are made aware of the limitations and inadequacies of our language, knowledge, and thinking.

    These two pragmatic strategies give rise to the third and fourth factors characteristic of the practice of Ch'an and Taoism. Both regard the quest for enlightenment as not requiring the performance of any special or super-mundane activities in addition to the daily activities or tasks that people perform naturally and spontaneously. This means that the Ch'an and Taoist aspirants do not opt for enlightenment as if it were a state external to, or separate from all other activities of everyday life or the mundane world including the world of Nature. Rather they try to attain enlightenment through a tactical, undistracted, and alert performance of diversified but harmonized activities of everyday life familiar to everybody, This also means that the Ch'an and Taoist aspirants are able to perform their usual taskswith strategic advantage because they are conceptually liberated from external constraints and the yoke of conventions.

    In summary, Judo, in a myriad of way benefits the mind, body, and spirit. Although the methodology of instruction has changed, Judo remains a cultural fruit born from Buddhism. When instructed in a thoughtful and traditional way incorporating meditation Judo outshines other modern martial arts as a therapeutic art form that can channel aggression if not lessen it to an extent. As a pedagogy, the physical fitness derived from judo yields better results than most conventional recreational sports. The implicit spiritual benefits of Judo enrich student's moral and ethical life cannot be understated. all while learning the art form and self-defense system that is Judo.

Krstulović, S., Kvesić, M., & Nurkić, M. [2010]. Judo training is more effective in fitness development than recreational sports in 7 year old girls. Facta universitatis - series: Physical Education and Sport, 8(1), 71-79.

Reynes, E., & Lorant, J. (2004). Competitive martial arts and aggressiveness: a 2-yr. longitudinal study among young boys. Perceptual and motor skills98(1), 103-115.

Tominaga, T. T. (1983). Ch'an, Taoism, and Wittgenstein. Journal of Chinese Philosophy10(2), 127-145.

Team Cactus Sage brings the heat to freestyle invitationals! Brings home the gold!

posted Aug 22, 2016, 7:22 PM by Robert Nolan   [ updated Aug 22, 2016, 7:51 PM ]

August 20th, 2016 - 

    This tournament season has been a blast with the Arizona Freestyle Association holding 2 invitational tournaments, at the end of spring and summer respectively. Each tournament has been chocked full of judoka and jujutsuka from around the southwest-- each vying for control in stand-up and ground grappling. For those not in the know, Arizona's Freestyle Judo invitationals occur seasonally, and Cactus Sage School sent a small but skilled team to meet out these challenges. At this spring's invitational tournament Senior student Ben took 1st place in his division, winning with amazing use of hirai goshi and ude garami! Senpai Ducky & Jake also placed 3rd each respectively in the heavy weight and super heavy weight categories. This of course could not have occurred without Sifus Sean Thompson and Arizona State Judo championship 2nd place winner Ricky Harper, for coaching our competitors. 

    At this summer's invitational, Richard Conway and Alberto Cuellar Jr fought hard and represented the Cactus Sage School. Both trained hard and as a result brought back a silver medal! Richard made fantastic use of his own personal strength and cardio training to enhance the judo training taken under the tutelage of instructors Robert D. Nolan and Wes Fukushima. Richard is a great example of a Judoka who balances the responsibilities of personal and work life with those of a dedicated Judo practitioner. Alberto, affectionately called Beto, jumped right into this tournament despite being the newest Cactus Sage Student ! Although ranked as a novice, Beto went toe-to-toe in the advanced division and went on to submit one of his opponents by Juji gatame (arm bar)! Both of these young men are fine examples for our community as to how men should conduct themselves on and off the mats-- resolute in the face of adversity, exuding grace and dignity! These young men prove that the strength of Phoencians does not come from fancy training facilities, cannot be measured in dollar signs, but comes from their unwavering dedication, resolute spirit, and good ol' fashion hard work! 

OSS! ‪#‎Teamcactussage‬ ‪#‎cactussage‬ ‪#‎fixthemats‬‪ #‎weneedabiggergym‬ ‪#‎yallneedyogainyourlife‬ ‪#‎phoenixcollegejudo‬ ‪#‎phoenixcollege‬ ‪#‎gobears‬ ‪#‎judo‬

Congratulations both of you for a fantastic performance, we are immensely proud of you!

Phoenix Shochugeiko 2016

posted Jul 11, 2016, 2:12 PM by Robert Nolan   [ updated Jul 11, 2016, 2:14 PM ]

Robert Nolan promoted to Shodan

posted May 22, 2016, 10:15 AM by Robert Nolan   [ updated May 31, 2016, 1:56 PM ]

April 2nd, 2016

Cactus Sage founder and head coach Robert Dale Nolan was promoted to Shodan following an excitingly turbulent year of  victories, losses, personal and community growth. Local Arizona Judo Yudanshikai (Association of Black belts) visited Cactus Sage to bear witness to an exhibition of the Nage no Kata. In attendance were, Emeritus professor Robert C. Corella, Anthony Enriquez, and Jacob Johnson Sr. In the Nage no kata Raja Interpreter acted as uke, while Robert Nolan acted as Tori.

Sensei Corella noted that promotion to Shodan comes with many responsibilities, and that one must act as a steward of Judo at all times. exemplifying the inherent benefits that come with its practice. More over Robert's promotion is the first to black belt of the newly established Cactus Sage Judo and the first black belt to come from Phoenix College Judo School since the Phoenix College Judo program was discontinued  in 1994.

Robert Nolan had this to say "I still have so much to learn and to improve on, but the journey has already begun. Shodan literally means the first step. This is first step in mastering the way of Judo. Thank you everyone."

Cactus SageJudo's first Nage no Kata

Cactus Sage School acts as cultural-ambassador of Arizona

posted Apr 5, 2016, 4:18 PM by Robert Nolan

March 23rd 2016

Judo, as an art, sport, and philosophy not only promotes positive qualities for individuals, but also for groups. Judo can and is actively used to promote peace, empowerment, and social inclusion all around the world. In Arizona, when the call came from Emeritus Instructor 4th Dan Robert Corella, Cactus Sage School took charge. In collaboration with Kenshin Dojo, Cactus Sage School founder helped give an educational and cultural tour of the Arizona's Mogollon Rim and Scenic Sedona to Araki Mujinsai Ryu Iaidokas, Akitaka Masui and Koji Masui. The Masui brothers (and a cousin) recently took 2nd place at the All Japan Kenbu (Sword Dancing) finals. While in Northern Arizona, Cactus Sage founder Robert Nolan gave brief lessons on local Native American (アメリカ先住民 戦 い) practices and culture as well as the local geography. Myself (Robert), Kenshin Dojo Iaidoka Morgan L. and the Masui brothers spent the afternoon hiking, conversing, eating and sharing good times before eventually making our way to the Devils bridge of Sedona

"Judo has helped foster in me a love of other cultures and languages, I learned Japanese slowly by learning Judo. This has helped me reach out to people with whom at first glance may not have a connection. Judo teaches you a to be compassionate and to try new things, meet new people, but most importantly that you can bridge gaps in culture and language." Robert Nolan 


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