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Total Karate

Total Karate

Published: Tue, 09 Jul 2013 05:57:13 +0000

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Pinan Nidan, Shodan, Sandan

Fri, 07 Jun 2013 13:43:20 +0000

Just a placeholder for some videos (you know who you are...)

Pinan Nidan:

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Pinan Shodan:
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Pinan Sandan:
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Martial Arts for When You're Over 40

Sun, 21 Apr 2013 11:19:00 +0000

A timely article well worth reading (I'll be 44 this year) - link below.

I often discuss the "why" as in "why do I keep doing this stuff after so long?" After all, I'm not out looking for fights, I just want to train and I don't want any hassle. From anyone, anything, anywhere. That includes thugs, muggers and corporate entities!!

Life begins at 40, they say. I reckon by 40 we learn to be more efficient. And that can only be good for our martial arts.

Here's the article:

Push Hands sitting down!

Sun, 21 Apr 2013 10:52:11 +0000

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Martial Arts on the Internet

Thu, 11 Apr 2013 21:29:52 +0000

Can you use the internet for learning martial arts? Yes, of course you can.

People who are already training can use the internet to help them remember that new kata they are learning. Instructors can look for interesting new variations or training methods to enhance their own understanding and to share knowledge to bring about positive change in the martial arts.

Kata bunkai is a big topic on youtube as well as general training. Many people have gone out of their way to provide quality free information.

The old idea of keeping things in the family, instructors telling their students not to train elsewhere "or else..." should be long gone. It's not traditional to do that!  Even back in the day teachers would send their students to other masters to hone their skills.

I don't think you can  learn martial arts from scratch without already belonging to some kind of group. Having real experience and tuition is a big help, but anyone with the right mindset and a sensible level of intelligence could do well.

Don't try to learn a "style" from going online because you will hardly scratch the surface. However the internet can give you information on applications, training drills, improving performance, coaching methods, and live situations - whether on the mats, in the ring, in the cage or on the street.

Sensible use of the internet by martial artists who have their wits about them is fine and should be encouraged. For people just messing about I suggest you either form a group with others or joint a club that suits your goals.

Blocking in one move

Wed, 10 Apr 2013 20:32:40 +0000

Here's a video on the subject of blocking (or as we prefer, receiving - uke!)

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Wed, 10 Apr 2013 16:35:11 +0000

There was a glitch in the Matrix. But it's fixed now and we're back online.

Imagination in Training (Visualisation for Karate)

Sat, 06 Apr 2013 22:53:28 +0000

You may already know about the importance of visualisation during kata practice. Imagine and feel your movements receiving and redirecting various attacks. Respond with strikes, locks, throws and so on.

It is easier with a good knowledge of oyho (applications). If you don't know any applications for a move, just imagine yourself using the movement to defend and attack with. Let your imagination run free. Slow down the kata if necessary.

Visualisation in kata isn't just about combat. Sometimes you may want to nail the performance or get a tricky sequence right. Other times your focus is on posture or breathing. How can you use visualisation and imagination in those circumstances?

(No answer here, it's up to you to try it and see!)

We must use imagination in other aspects of training too - whether working  with a partner or in basics or hitting focus pads. Good visualisation is about making the training 'real' on the inside (your mind won't distinguish between the imagery and the actual experience).

Be careful that you don't start getting into the realms of fantasy. You're not on the set of the latest Kung Fu blockbuster. This is about using mental imagery to enhance the feel of your training.

When I say "imagery" I don't just mean pictures. Use all your senses particularly the ones that work best for you.

You should have a goal in mind prior to any training exercise, including visualisation. Your instructor should explain this before you begin any work. Analyse the results after the activity has completed. Has your understanding of the skill improved? Has your performance improved? Are you able to grasp a particular technique better or execute it under increasingly stressful circumstances?

Keep training!

Self Defence and English Law

Sat, 06 Apr 2013 14:38:34 +0000

I found some information in the link below which you might want to read. It is thought-provoking stuff and you might want to question certain practices in your own training (such as the perennial "finish him off" blow often taught as part of a take-down technique).

The link relates to English Law - you should be aware of the laws as they apply  in your own locality. The principles might be similar, but the execution might well be different.

Disclaimer: I am not offering legal advice here. I am not qualified to do so. I am simply sharing a publicly available link for general knowledge purposes. If you have any specific legal issues please seek the proper professional advice.

And another useful link:

Why have flow drills such as hubud or push hands or chi sao

Sat, 06 Apr 2013 11:24:16 +0000

This is a short video which nicely explains just some of the reasoning behind doing some kind of flow drills. At our club we use both push hands and hubud (the two work together rather well).

Some very good points are made here...

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Ultimate Bartitsu! Stick Kata

Sat, 06 Apr 2013 07:09:55 +0000

Now *this* is training...

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Pad work when you're back's against the wall

Thu, 04 Apr 2013 22:25:15 +0000

In tonight's training session we did some exercises with the focus mitts. The pad holder throws a variety of techniques, the hitter has to avoid the techniques and counter with a range of blows on the focus pad. The hitter trains with his back to the wall reducing mobility and engendering a sense of pressure. There's no retreat except forwards or sideways (and  we'll fix sideways next time when we have multiple pad holders!)

There's a number of key points here. Aside from the restriction of direction and feeling of being hemmed in, reduced space to train requires a much greater reliance on body movement. This is real close-range stuff. Even the small amount of footwork available can make a difference, along with timing, angles, evasion, hitting from unconventional positions, balance and recovery.

Give it a try and see how you get on. It can get distinctly uncomfortable if you are used to the airy space of the centre of the dojo.

Try it with the lights dimmed too. That will increase the psychological pressure and make you really work.

Kuntao Silat

Wed, 03 Apr 2013 14:37:10 +0000

Well, to the  best of my knowledge Kuntao is the result of a fusion of Chinese martial arts with techniques from Indonesia.

A bit like how karate is Chinese + Okinawan arts combined!

Here's  a cool video of Kuntao Silat applications. Ad another quiz... how many  are recognisable from your own kata and training?

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The Revolving Door (Wado Ryu Kihon Kumite and Gumite Kata)

Tue, 02 Apr 2013 09:59:57 +0000

No, not a rant about McDojos, more to do with receiving  attacks and returning them to their owners.

When someone pushes on a door and you try to stop them, the  stronger person will win. The trick is, when the other person shoves the door  you get your timing right and swiftly open it for them and they fall through. The old open-door  gag has provided material for slapstick comedy for years.

Make the door a revolving one and the person pushes and they end up back at square one (outside).

When receiving an attack do so softly, blend with the direction of force and turn your training partner so you have a position of advantage. You can yield to their attack so your counter attack has more power (power isn't about the strongest punch, it's about hitting the right places at the right  times with sufficient force to do the job). Anyway, the one liner - soft doesn't mean weak.

A soft or yielding defence does not imply a weak posture. Indeed to make this work you need to have a strong, stable base to work from, not some useless excuse of a guard just stuck out there. Intention, timing and good posture all need to work together.

Wado Ryu;s kihon kumite number 1 is a good example, although as always you have to feel it rather than watch a video. Kihon Kumite are taught from brown belt onwards and are used to explore fundamental skills. They have their origins in classical jujutsu and should not be confused with ippon kumite and similar exercises.

Push hands and other flow drills are also good methods for training the revolving door.

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Here are more examples of wado ryu jujutsu training...

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Some more panantukan and stick

Mon, 01 Apr 2013 09:45:03 +0000

This  is a good video demonstrating a range of skills - footwork, trapping, boxing and single stick. Considering some of the  old school English martial arts videos I've posted recently - and putting it into the context of kata application - I continue to believe this is how karate should be trained too.

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Some ideas on Naihanchi (Tekki Shodan) Bunkai

Mon, 01 Apr 2013 09:06:36 +0000

Here's a video showing some applications to naihanchi shodan making use of the 'meodote' (husband and wife hands) as explained by Choki Motobu (in which both sides work in harmony to achieve an outcome). Similar to the use of the "live hand" in kali/escrima.

It is my view that kata applications should be trained in a dynamic context once they have been learned - not just as some kind of  ippon kumite type of drill. Hence the use of push hands, flow drills and "self defence sparring"

But first you have to discover the applications...

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And the flow drill...

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Sai Bunkai

Mon, 01 Apr 2013 08:47:51 +0000

Here we have the One Minute Bunkai guys demonstrating sai applications. The bit about pinning the attacker into the ground is a nice touch.

Have a look at the receiving and counter moves - can you modify this for an unarmed response against a  straight punch or push?

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Canne de Combat

Sun, 31 Mar 2013 00:02:44 +0000

French stick fighting, excellent display of skill. But  look at the footwork.... and stances. Familiar?

Here's the link. For some reason the blog thing won't embed this one.

Karate Weapons

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 15:53:51 +0000

Karate originally referred to "China Hand", later "Empty Hands". Empty hands had a philosophical meaning, but it could refer to the fact that karate is an unarmed art, and no weapons are used. However, weaponry is not outside the remit of karate.

Being able to defend against armed assailants is a worthwhile skill, but to train in that way you need to have partners who can handle a weapon (and not attack with silly unrealistic knife thrusts and  so on).

But traditionally karate people did train in weapons. The traditional weapon art is kubudo and includes sai (a three-pronged metal thing), tonfa (side handled baton), nunchaku (flail), yawara (small stick), eku (boat oar) and bo (quarterstaff). Classical Japanese weaponry is generally not considered to be kobudo. The practice of katana (sword) is sometimes found in modern karate, but isn't canon to the  art (with the possible exception of wado ryu which is mostly jujutsu any way, and the founder happened to be skilled in swordfighting too).

What use is weapon study today? You are unlikely to be attacked with some obscure Okinawan weapon (well... maybe!) or a katana (but it does happen! In the UK it is quite rare which is why it makes the headlines)

Benefits of weapon training are increased upper body strength and flexibility, training for awareness and distancing, co-ordination, and of course general interest and recreation. You often find weapons practised in McDojos and "extreme martial arts" schools, but don't let that put you off.

Here's some video....

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Spirituality in Martial Arts - Karate Ommmmm!

Sat, 30 Mar 2013 14:06:04 +0000

If we read the history of karate it is obvious there is no relationship between the art and some kind of spiritual path. Karate is a civilian art designed to promote self defence and good health. All that 'zen' stuff is Japanese and didn't become associated with karate until recent times.Zen is the Japanese pronunciation of Chan, the school of Buddhism found at the Shaolin temple. Karate didn't inherit any spirituality from there either.The rituals of modern karate have their origins in the Japanese school system, which in turn is modelled on the Prussian system (Prussia is now part of modern day Germany). Military drill and "education" are not really the stuff of zen monks sweeping leaves.Here comes the "however"....Karate (and martial art in general) can be a spiritual activity if you choose to make it one. I don't know what 'spirituality' means to you. It could be religious, philosophical, personal development or anything else. Your spirituality is your business and how you integrate that into your training and every day life is up to you.The same applies to any activity including football, golf,  ballet dancing, art, engineering, cooking, cleaning or sweeping leaves. (They keep telling us zen is found in sweeping leaves and carrying water).So... if you want to integrate your spirituality into your training then you may do so. It's entirely up to you. Karate itself doesn't have any religious path or spiritual doctrine in and of itself. Isn't it interesting though, that arts from other cultures are tied closely to their spiritual systems? In the Philippines fighters are not adverse to the idea of wearing amulets for protection and courage.Marttial arts are also mentioned alongside "personal development" and "discipline". (We'll leave discipline for now, because I don't like the term with its pseudo military connotations and dubious instructors who shout too much).Personal development is, presumably, about making yourself "better" in some way. Training can do that physically and mentally though the simple expedient of hard work. So can any other activity. People don't sign up for football for some personal development or spiritual reason, so why martial arts? It's that perception again isn't it? Everyone wants to be a "warrior". A "spiritual warrior".I see nothing wrong with personal development as long as it is for you. Something that you want to do, not some mental manipulation by some guru or cult leader. You should, after all, take responsibility for your own education, your own life and your own aspirations. Isn't that what personal development is all about? You can choose any activity as a vehicle for this, but you chose karate instead and that is fine. If karate is a platform for your own development then use it.Remember I said karate was for self defence and good health? Does that not include mental and spiritual aspects too?The only problem with this is that it is easy to get caught by the snake oil sellers. It's easy to spot them though, so anyone with half an ounce of sense will pick up on that.If you enter into martial arts with a personal development viewpoint you will touch upon a whole range of subjects from history to culture to sports science, even to criminology and psychology. You will question what motivates you and you will challenge yourself in different ways. This activity is bound to have an impact on the rest of your life, so in a way it really is an art for personal development.As an example, you might begin training so you can feel better after a stressful day at work. Training will give you the [...]

Ohtsuka Kushanku (Wado Ryu)

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 22:30:39 +0000

And here's Ohtsuka Sensei demonstrating Kushanku.

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Wado ryu kata are about training for "Budo movement". They are not for show or for competition. On the surface they can look unexciting to watch - but kata are for doing not for watching.

Kanazawa Kanku Dai Kata

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 22:27:41 +0000

Kanazawa Sensei demonstrating Kanku Dai (Shotokan's version of Kushanku)

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Zanshin Kai Karate - Scotland

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 14:14:06 +0000

I've just found this great website, full of useful articles especially if you are interested in Shotokan.

Have a look.

Jack Dempsey: Championship Fighting (PDF book)

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 14:08:59 +0000

World heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey wrote a book on boxing. Published in the 1950s, it is freely available as a PDF file, complete with illustrations. Fascinating reference work and full of useful advice. Download it from the following link.

80s Karate Movies

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 10:13:57 +0000

Ahh yes, the 80s... big hair, make up and shoulder pads. The women were just as bad too! It was a time when video recorders became popular, opening up the world to all manner of Hong Kong movies, ninjas, bad exploitation movies, ninjas and more ninjas.Some clips...Remember Gymkata? (warning to those of a nervous disposition, this one is somewhat... creepy)We can't have 80s movies without Sho Kosugior for that matter Lee "Not Ron" Van Cleef....WTF???!!!!!I could go on forever, but I won't![...]

Vintage Karate Video Games

Fri, 29 Mar 2013 10:10:13 +0000

Just for some holiday fun, here's a look at some vintage karate computer games :-) When you've completed the game you can spend  the night watching Sho Kosugi movies!OK I'll stop now.IK+ on the Amiga was my favourite![...]