Yep, our Youtube channel is slowly growing. Today we passed 7 million views, and more important, many loyal subscribers.
The same is happening on a smaller scale on the akban.org site. My dedication to the AKBAN wiki documentation project is rewarded by a larger body of readers, more then 15,000 unique viewers a month and growing.
I am actually surprised that the old school perspective and dedication get such a large audience. For me, this website is an extension of the AKBAN dojo, and I give it the same respect and attention to professionalism.
Keith and I are working on an update to the site that will make mobile browsing better and get rid of several bugs we discovered. This will probably take few weeks. Meanwhile I still enjoyed finding the time to write and update several articles, mainly in Koto ryu. Here they are:
We had a tough but wonderful Fudo Ryu Daken taijutsu seminar. Just Seven Kata were explored and out of these the combat applications of two kata were practiced in sparring situations.
I’ll upload the videos of the seminar later this month, but Avinoam S. from Tel Aviv Akban dojo took wonderful intense images. Here’s the gallery.
Two months ago we set, two code kings: Keith Harris, Yehuda Gilead and me at Yehuda’s cozy living room, drowning in PHP code. After trying some jquery script I suddenly asked Yehuda and Keith one question: “How can we tell new visitors all the complex facets of our academy?”. Yehuda had an idea: “show them” he said, “tell our story”.
In the years that passed since the founding of the Akban traditional MMA school we did countless training sessions in various terrains and weather situations. We did want to record, on video, a typical in-dojo training.
On this very big website we have countless videos of martial art techniques we created and uploaded for our martial arts encyclopedia, we do not have many videos depicting a training session. We figured that the challenge is to capture both the silence, the beauty and the down-to-earth approach we have here, in Akban.
Instead of boasting we chose to understate the randori, kata and all the other stuff. Did we do it well? The question of how to video accurately our martial art is a big one. Even though we love Bruce Lee we are quite sure day to day training doesn’t look like a movie. Well, enough said, here it is.
When looking at the academical part of the Akban project there is always the question: Why did we, Akban veterans, invest so much time and effort in building and maintaining a martial art wiki when there is an alternative, namely Wikipedia?
A recent Hebrew article in Akban’s journal delves deeper into the reasons. Wikipedia deals with existing fields and articles. You can write a Wikipedia article only when the knowledge and facts about this article are already known. An author wishing to publish original academic work has to publish it in a scientific journal, not in the Wikipedia.
Apart from the Wikipedia focus on publishing existing textual and numerical data, Wikipedia has an unsolved problem with the copyright of non textual media types, a hurdle we solved by videoing and editing all the Akban-wiki techniques.
Martial arts research is either adjacent to physiology , psychology and anthropology or deals with comparative backgrounds in the emerging field of Hoplology. There is almost no Martial arts research that is endogenous and deals with the techniques as an investigated entities.
We are still in the beginning of this comparative research and so far we have little more then 1000 techniques from different disciplines in the Akban-wiki. A growing part of these techniques have textual and semantic data attached and more information is added in English and Hebrew weekly.
After several years of being online we are somewhat disappointed that no one has started a similar effort. That, for us, means the independent scientific investigation of martial arts is a niche subject. It also means that we will have to continue with this effort on the current pace. At this pace we will have 5000 videos of techniques that are articles, not how-to clips, only 6-7 years from now.
We are committed to lifelong training, committed to our community and committed in this endeavour.
Most of the discussion is going on on the Hebrew part of our site, but if you have insights or feedback we would love to hear from you, send us an e-mail.
There is no immediate cure for the gap between our growing user base and our small budget.
I guess that this means we will have to deal with periods of downtime due to peak demands. Since the non-existent business model behind our project is just “Serve our community” with no consumerism involved it’ll probably stay this way.
Here are some links to Akban martial arts University on the www: Akban YouTube channel – Hundreds of martial arts clips Akban’s Facebook page Akban on Twitter
Initially we weren’t prepared for so many visitors, bandwidth and database functions – so last month we had several hours of downtime due to server overload.
We migrated servers to one lightly better. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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