Interview With Mark Winkler, Systema Teacher & Self Protection Expert

I first got to know Mark Winkler back in 2010 when I was organising a charity martial arts festival.  I had 12 styles have about 15 minutes each to demonstrate their style and we raised about £2000 for charity.  Along with the usual well known martial arts, Karate, Kung Fu, Taekwondo etc; I wanted some arts that were less well known and not necessarily from Eastern Asia!  My search lead me to Mark Winkler and the Russian martial art of Systema, which up to that point I’d never heard of before.

Mark Winkler, System Teacher

I found Mark to be a very knowledgeable martial artist.  Before turning to Systema, he was a 6th Dan Karate.  Very few people get to that high level, then change styles.  Take up a second style maybe, but seldom do they change altogether.  So I was intrigued about this Systema and what a man such as Mark had seen in it; especially as he has over 40 years training and has worked in the security field so has real life experience.  In short, he knows Continue reading “Interview With Mark Winkler, Systema Teacher & Self Protection Expert”

Techniques Will Occur When A Void Is Found: Gichin Funakoshi

There are many quotes attributed to Gichin Funakoshi, but I come across this one the other day in his book, Karate Do Kyohan: The Master Text.  Near the back on page 248 (if you already have it), he says;

“Techniques will occur when a void is found”.

This is not often quoted, yet has very deep philosophical undertones.  A void is defined as, “completely empty” or “a completely empty space”.

Master Gichin Funakoshi

Master Funakoshi was an educated man and clever with his choice of words.  He was the one who initiated the change Continue reading “Techniques Will Occur When A Void Is Found: Gichin Funakoshi”

Question: Why Are Korean Martial Arts Held In Low Regard?

Before anybody jumps on me, this is NOT my statement, this is a question I received on the Bunkai Jutsu Facebook page, from Seth Boggs:

“I’ve practiced Tang Soo So and TKD in the past and am confused and dismayed by the lack of respect given to Korean martial arts especially when you consider that TKD was developed for the military besides Olympic TKD why are they held in such low regard”?

I can’t do the question justice with a short answer so I thought I’d do a full post and share my thoughts with you all.

Before going any further, this is going to be an emotive subject Continue reading “Question: Why Are Korean Martial Arts Held In Low Regard?”

Russell Stutely Pressure Point Defensive Tactics Seminar

Russell Stutely and I

A month ago (10/11th June) I had the pleasure (and pain 🙂 ) of attending a Russell Stutely Pressure Point Defensive Tactics Seminar, which I can thoroughly recommend.

First of all though, there has long since been a debate about whether or not pressure points work or not in real life, with arguments being made that:

  • They are ineffective if the opponent is pain resistant due to drink, drugs or being highly adrenalised.
  • They require a lot of accuracy which is not always feasible in the all out melee of a real fight.

This is something that I have Continue reading “Russell Stutely Pressure Point Defensive Tactics Seminar”

Coming Up: Goju Ryu And Shotokan Kata Bunkai, Plus The 5th Bunkai Bash!

Two great event coming up this month.  Sadly I can’t attend either as I have a very busy month ahead  🙁

Firstly, John Johnston, 7th Dan Shotokan and Max Beddow, 5th Dan Goju Ryu get together for a joint seminar on Saturday 8th July.  All the details are on the poster below so I won’t repeat them here, other than to say that I always like to see different styles train and share together.

What I think is going to be interesting is that these are probably Continue reading “Coming Up: Goju Ryu And Shotokan Kata Bunkai, Plus The 5th Bunkai Bash!”

If You Happen To Be Caught Up In A Terrorist Attack

As most people will know, there have been several terrorist attacks here in the UK over recent months, two of them involving vehicles running people over and following up with knife attacks.  Now the chances of actually being caught up in such an incident, I would say are very unlikely.  However, you never know!

On Facebook, several people have shared some well thought out advice from London based martial artist, Gavin Mulholland, for anybody who is unfortunate enough to be involved in such an incident.  I thought it was very good advice and worth sharing here too, so here are Gavin’s words re-produced below:-
Continue reading “If You Happen To Be Caught Up In A Terrorist Attack”

The Rise Of The McDojo

For anybody not familiar with the phrase, a McDojo is a school that teaches a watered-down and impractical form of martial arts in the name of making money.  The “Mc” is taken from “McDonald’s”, as in mass produced – low quality!  They usually have all the expensive designer gear too, which you have to buy from them of course.

Many real martial artists complain about the rise of the McDojo (myself included). Many martial artists complain that those who train with McDojo’s do so because they want to get easy belts without working hard! I don’t think that’s the case as those people don’t know any better, many of them haven’t seen proper martial arts before so don’t have anything to compare with!  In fairness, many of McDojo’s give a good physical workout and are fairly strict on the discipline; it’s just the martial content that is lacking.  And I’m not even talking about sport martial art here, as serious sport martial artists can really move with speed, accuracy and good technique.

Continue reading “The Rise Of The McDojo”

The Difference Between Social Violence And Asocial Violence

For anybody who is interested in real world self protection, it is helps to understand the difference between social violence and asocial violence, the motivation behind them and how to respond to them.

But first, what do they have in common?
The human predator is not unlike the animal predator; though motivation, environment and social circumstances may be very different.  When the lions hunt, they don’t go out to look for a fight with the biggest, toughest most meaty (muscular) bull in the herd.  They go out looking for the weak, the lame, the very young, the very old.  Basically, they don’t want a fight, they want a kill.  An easy kill! Continue reading “The Difference Between Social Violence And Asocial Violence”

A Forgotten Use Of Hiki-Te (Pulling Hand)

When I first started Karate, most people, especially our Oriental masters, would teach that the primary function of the Hiki-Te hand (the one that pulls back to the hip) was to increase the power of the other hand going out in a punch/strike/block.  This is undoubtedly a useful training method for beginners as it helps to teach them to rotate their hips and as such this explanation was not questioned very much in the early days.

However, with the advent of Mixed Martial Arts/Cage Fighting and the Internet, such ideas have come under more and more scrutiny.  Boxers, Kickboxers and other such stylists can generate powerful blows whilst still keeping the other high as a guard to the head.  When experienced Karateka (and other traditional martial artists) start to experiment, they find that they can too.  Hiki-Te is simply not necessary for generating power once good technique is established. Continue reading “A Forgotten Use Of Hiki-Te (Pulling Hand)”

The Different Levels Of Traditional Martial Arts Training

Training in traditional martial arts simultaneously trains you on several different levels.  Not properly understanding this can lead to confusion and trying to apply a given technique in an inappropriate manner.  So first of all, lets look at the different levels at which any technique actually trains you:

Self Defence Application:
Obviously each and every technique was at some point created for a some form of strike, block, deflection, throw/take-down, release, restraint; or (quite commonly) it can used for several purposes. Continue reading “The Different Levels Of Traditional Martial Arts Training”