bunkai-jutsu-Blog

Best Street Fighting Style Vs Self Protection

How often do you see an advert or website claiming something like, “Best Street Fighting Style”, “Ultimate Street Fighting System”, “Scientific Street Fighting”, “The Art of Street Fighting”; or words to that effect.

Many martial arts, and I would say especially the more modern arts, like to emphasis how practical and effective they are and give themselves more kudos by emphasising “street fighting” over all other aspects of martial arts.  Some routinely position themselves as superior by deriding traditional martial arts; emphasising how they’ve taken out ritualistic movements, don’t waste time with Kata/forms/patterns, don’t march up and down punching/kicking the air, don’t train for scoring points at competitions, etc; they just (allegedly) get straight to the real 100% practical, functional, better than anything else that’s ever been street fighting system.  It’s amazing how many best systems there are out there  🙂

But one of the things that often makes me cringe, is the emphasis on “street fighting”!

Simply put, street fighting is illegal. Continue reading “Best Street Fighting Style Vs Self Protection”

Is Stretching Important For Martial Arts?

There has been some debate over the years about stretching before training in martial arts and also for exercise in general.
I’ve heard some martial artists say that they don’t stretch before training as they’d rather train with the body that they have than the body they’d like to have!  Meaning, if you were to get involved in a physical altercation, you won’t have chance to warm up and stretch; so your body will not be in the same state for that altercation as it is when you’re training and you’ve had chance to conveniently warm up and stretch out!  They continue that if you want to stretch to improve your flexibility, do it when you get up in the morning, so that your body gets used to being like it all day.

To quote the UK National Health Service website: Continue reading “Is Stretching Important For Martial Arts?”

Interview With Colin Wee, 6th Dan TKD Master, Blogger, Youtuber And Soon To Be Author

I’ve had the privilege of doing this interview with Master Colin Wee, 6th Dan, who has his own unique and practical approach to Taekwondo. He first come to my attention as a fellow blogger and has organised some blogging carnivals that I’ve taken part in. As well as being a great martial artist, he’s a natural leader and communicator; co-ordinating projects and organisations around the world.

He’s also opened minded to other styles and like the best martial artists is happy to learn from anybody who has something to teach, not just ring-fencing his style and shutting the others out. He’s equally happy to share his knowledge in an open and friendly manner without any ego. So I was very happy when he accepted my invitation to do an interview with me. His answers are quite detailed as Colin typically likes to give his best to whoever he is dealing with, be it a reader or student and it makes very interesting reading.

I was also able to find out more about his new book due to come out Continue reading “Interview With Colin Wee, 6th Dan TKD Master, Blogger, Youtuber And Soon To Be Author”

Mind, Body & Spirit! What Does That Actually Mean?

The inspiration for this post was actually a page on my website for my own martial art classes in Midsomer Norton.  I have a “Why Karate?” page.  Admittedly this page is a bit biased towards Karate, but then it is my school that I’m trying to promote, not anybody else’s.  However, much of what I wrote on that page applies to all traditional martial arts, so I thought I’d expand upon it and share my thoughts here with the wider martial arts community!

Apart from the obvious need for self protection throughout history, there are many good reasons why martial arts have been around for thousands of years and are now practised by millions of people all over the world today.  They’re a great tool for development of mind, body and spirit!  But what does that actually mean.  “Mind, body and spirit” is a phrase that we often hear associated with martial arts, but it is not often defined in any depth.  It’s often a throw away line on promotional material, then seldom talked about again after somebody actually joins up! Continue reading “Mind, Body & Spirit! What Does That Actually Mean?”

Comparison Of Bare Knuckle Boxing/Pugilism & Traditional Martial Arts

I was a little intrigued recently when I came across the picture below on Facebook depicting a bare knuckle prize fight that took place in 1877.  What intrigued me was that the punch being delivered looks a lot more like a punch that we’d find in Karate/Taekwondo/some styles of Kung Fu, than it does a modern boxing punch!  The back is straight, head up, legs are practically identical to our forward stance, hips turned square on and shoulder not turned in as much as a modern boxers.  Even the non-punching hand is back on the hip (hikite) like a Karate/TKD punch.


Here is the description that came with it! Continue reading “Comparison Of Bare Knuckle Boxing/Pugilism & Traditional Martial Arts”

Kiai/Kihap/Chi Shout – Is It Really Necessary?

Many martial arts, especially the Oriental ones include the practice of shouting at certain points in training.  Japanese styles call it Kiai, Korean styles call it Kihap.  I don’t know what the Chinese word for it is, but I have trained with some who simply called it Chi Shout.  For simplicity, I’m just going to stick the Japanese notation of Kiai (as I’m primarily a Japanese stylist and it’s the version I’m most familiar with)!

First of all, what is it?  Very simplistically, it’s a shout that comes from contraction of the diaphragm and feels like it’s coming all the way from belly.  A shout that comes just from the voice-box, sounds more like scream.  I have a simple way of teaching this, especially to kids.  Though it’s not the nicest of explanations, it does make it Continue reading “Kiai/Kihap/Chi Shout – Is It Really Necessary?”

Criticisms Of Karate

Having recently posted about why Korean martial arts are held in low regard, it seemed only fair to look at the criticisms levelled at my own primary art of Karate, and Shotokan Karate in particular.

Me, at 17 when I first started. Try not to laugh!

Back when I started in the late 70’s, there was nowhere near as many styles, associations or clubs as there are today and there seemed to be even more rivalry as people stuck more rigidly to their own style with less cross training then there is today.  It was a bit more like little empires!

Anyway, Karate was one of the most popular martial arts of the day and of all the different styles, Shotokan was the Continue reading “Criticisms Of Karate”

The Art Of Not Giving A S***! (Or . . . Accept As Is)

Many Oriental philosophies talk about mind, body and spirit; as they recognise that the 3 are all intrinsically connected.  For the sake of this post, I’ll be mainly focussing on the mind and body.

If one tenses, the other tenses.  You tighten your mind, your body will start to tense; you tighten your body, your mind will start to tense.  Conversely, you relax one, the other will relax.

So when you make a mistake, or don’t perform a technique/kata/pattern the way you want to, or you get corrected by your instructor; don’t get upset about it.  If you do get upset (even if its just with yourself), your mind will tense, then your body will tighten and the whole thing gets progressively more and more difficult.  I have one student in particular who gets exasperated with himself every time I correct him.  It’s not that he resents the correction in any way, he very desperately wants to get it right and his frustration is aimed at himself (rather than me)!  Then it becomes even more difficult.

You have to try to the best of your ability to do it right, but when you don’t, you have to learn how not to Continue reading “The Art Of Not Giving A S***! (Or . . . Accept As Is)”

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”