I began practicing Japanese martial arts in the fall of 1971, at the California State University, Chico, where I was introduced to Danzan Ryu (Kodenkan) Jujutsu. In the summer of 1973, I continued my study of jujutsu and restorative massage under Professors Lamar Fisher, 8th-degree black belt at the time, and Bud Estes, 10th-degree black belt (both now deceased), at the Nibukikan, a Danzan Ryu dojo in Chico. In 1987, I was promoted to 4th-degree black belt by the American Judo and Jujitsu Federation (AJJF). In the meantime, I trained regularly with the blacks belts of the AJJF, taught jujutsu for several years at the University, collected martial arts books and videos, and absorbed what I could from instructors trained in a variety of arts. In 2009, I was promoted to 5th-degree black belt by the Pacific Jujitsu Alliance.
Danzan Ryu Jujutsu includes several techniques with small weapons, such as the hanbo (the 3-foot stick) and the tessen (iron fan). From police tactics instructors in the AJJF, I studied the straight- and side-handled batons. I also learned the basic forms of Bokendo, a martial art taught within Danzan Ryu Jujutsu, from Sensei Bob Mckean, the senior instructor of Bokendo since the death of Professor William Montero in 1995. Bokendo uses a heavy wooden sword (a special type of boken) in a manner similar to that of a riot baton.
In 1973, I also began studying Aikido and later, Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido, with Sensei Don Zier. I trained regularly in iaido with Sensei Zier for more than 15 years, and studied a short while with the All Japan Kendo Federation’s iaido group in Southern California, from whom I received a 2nd-degree black belt in 1983. From Sensei Zier, I also learned several forms for the Japanese yari, or spear, as well as for the jo, or 4-foot staff. I trained in the Filipino martial arts under several instructors, most notably Mr. Tim Tackett of Redlands, California.
I have also written several books, manuals, and monographs the marital arts: The Kyusho of Ate Mi (the vital points of the body and the medical implications of striking them; a monograph published privately in 1976); An Introduction to Kodenkan Jujutsu (a text published privately in 1979); and a review article on Japanese resuscitation techniques (katsu or kapo) titled, Katsu: Traditional Japanese Resuscitation Techniques (Annals of Emergency Medicine 1984;1:40-4.) With Sensei Zier, I wroteThe Jo: The Japanese Short Staff (Burbank: Unique Publishing Co., 1985), and with Doug Musser, Jujutsu: Techniques and Tactics (Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1999). I also helped Sensei Zier prepare his text, Japanese Sword Drawing: A Guide for Instructors (Unique Publications, 2002. That’s me in the later photos).
In 2006, I published The Stick and Cane in Close Combat (Unique Publications/Action Pursuit Group, 2006). However, the book was published without my approval and contained major editing and design errors requiring careful reading to overcome. In response to the poor publication qualities of that book, I wrote Conveying Movement in Print: How to Present Martial Arts Techniques in Photographs and Text (Journal of Asian Martial Arts 2008;17:38-53).
I have continued to collect and develop stick and cane techniques and have now put this collection into what I call Essential Stick & Cane. Consisting of more than 200 techniques, Essential Stick & Cane will soon be available in a series of 7 DVDs, with an accompanying manual describing each technique in detail. In addition, I designed the martial arts stick-cane (or the MASC cane, hanbo cane, or Lang cane), a straight cane made of maple or Delrin plastic. Without a handle to get in the way, the MASC is an ideal training aid for many martial arts using a 3-foot stick.
I’ve always been a technical or medical writer-editor. Since 1999, I have been an independent consultant in written and scientific communications doing business as Tom Lang Communications and Training International. I specialize in preparing scientific publications, especially those reporting clinical research; medical writing and editing; statistical reporting; critical appraisal of biomedical research; documenting research to meet the needs of evidence-based medicine; displaying data in tables and graphs, and theories and research into written communication. My publications in this field include How to Report Statistics in Medicine and How to Write, Publish, and Present in the Health Sciences. (Both books are available from the American College of Physicians.) I also teach these and other topics to a variety of clients around the world. For more information on these activities and related publications, see: www.tomlangcommunications.com.