Kevin O’Hagan, 7th Dan Combat Ju Jutsu and author of numerous books is undoubtedly one of the very best Reality Based Martial Arts instructors in the UK. On Sunday 2nd Sept, I attended one of his seminars on the Anatomy Of A Street Assault. As per usual, Kevin’s seminar was very informative, practical and thought provoking!
The first section looked into the different types of assault, perpetrators motivation behind each type of assault, how to identify them and how to avoid being selected or how to defuse a situation once you have been selected. This is the part that this review will cover. There was a very pragmatic physical side to the seminar as well, but that is not covered here. Continue reading “Review Of Kevin O’Hagan’s Anatomy Of A Street Assault Seminar”→
Having recently attended the Traditional Shotokan Karate Association (TSKA) Residential Course (12th – 14th May), I thought I’d share my experiences with you.
Being my first time at the TSKA residential course, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect, though it was well recommended by my club-mates. So I turned up with high expectations and I have to say that I was not in slightest bit disappointed. The 3 main instructors for the course were Sensei Pete Manning 6th Dan, Sensei John Euden 5th Dan and my own instructor, Sensei Paul Mitchell 5th Dan. Continue reading “Traditional Shotokan Karate Association: Annual Residential Course 2012”→
The following video clip is taken from the Practical Shotokan: Beginner to Black Belt Course taught by Sensei Paul Mitchell, Chief Instructor of the Wells Traditional Shotokan Karate Club earlier on today. Sensei Mitchell is talking about stand alone karate kata bunkai which could be fight finishers by themselves. As Shotokan Karate puts a lot of emphasis on multiple assailants, there are many techniques which can incapacitate an opponent very quickly, although they are not always obvious and have been dumbed down a lot over the years for many social and political reasons.
Kaki Waki Uke (Reverse Wedge Block) is usually seen as breaking somebody’s grip when they try to strangle you. However, if they have both of their hands on you, why not just punch/strike them? It is much quicker, they have nothing to defend themselves with (as they’ve committed both of their hands to your neck) and it could finish the fight then and there. If you use Kaki Waki Uke to separate their arms and release their grip, then you can both continue the fight on an even basis.
So what is Kaki Waki Uke more useful for? Well one of the most common street attacks of all is a swinging haymaker, which as Sensei Mitchell demonstrates here can be easily stopped with one side of the Kaki Waki Uke. Note that when he does this, that his opponent head is jerked slightly downwards and onto the other arm with is attacking to the neck.
In this instance Sensei Mitchell quite lightly attacks a specific point on the opponent neck causing him to almost pass out straight away. Had the blow been delivered with any real force, the opponent would have out cold.
Now if you’re thinking multiple opponents, you want techniques which give instant results and doesn’t waste a lot of your own energy (which you’ll need for fighting the others). Sensei Mitchell demonstrates how this can be done very simply using a common technique which most people happily overlook on a regular basis.
Sorry for short notice, but this course is being run my very own Sensei, Paul Mitchell, 4th Dan. Any course by Paul is always worth attending. Sadly, I’m not going to be able to make this on myself due to work commitments, but I highly recommend it if you can.
The course will be held on Sunday 29th January from 11:15am to 2:15pm.
As usual with Sensei Mitchell, this course will teach Karate bunkai including practical locks, take-downs and throws as well as the more obvious strikes and kicks. These defences will be geared against ordinary everyday street attacks, rather than traditional Karate Lunge Punches and Front Kicks. The techniques and principles taught will come from basic techniques through to complex kata.
All Karateka of any style and grade are welcome, though there is a minimum age of 12 for anybody below 4th Kyu.
Many people do online classes, but these are usually pre-recorded videos. If you have questions, you have to type them in on your key board and wait on the teacher getting back to you. And if you don’t fully understand their answer, you have to send another question and wait again.
Furthermore, the teacher can’t actually see how you are doing things yourself, so can’t pick up on fine details that you may not even know to ask about.
This is why I was quite intrigued when I heard about Shihan Kousaku Yokota’s idea for an Interactive Cyber Dojo.
So what is an Interactive Cyber Dojo?
I’m glad you asked me that!
Basically, it’s a lesson over Skype with video, one on one with Shihan Yokota himself. A private lesson with a genuine Japanese 8th Dan, author and direct student of Asai (10th Dan) himself . . . . . well I just had to give this a go.
My first hiccup was that I did not have a webcam on my PC. No problem, I borrowed my daughters Apple Mac, and we were off.
The lesson was on the kata, Junro Shodan. This is a kata created by Master Asai and is part of Asai Ryu version of Shotokan Karate. It is not in other versions of Shotokan, so this was of particular interest to me.
Master Asai introduced the Junro series for a couple of reasons. One reason being to put more emphasis on the Neko Ashi Dachi (Cat Stance). This stance was widely used in Shorin Ryu which was the main forerunner to Shotokan, but has been almost completely replaced in most Shotokan Katas by the longer Kokutsu Dachi (Back Stance). Master Asai felt that we should bring it back as it is a very practical stance from a combat point of view which we have nearly lost due to standardisation of Katas, largely for competition purposes.
Master Asai also felt that when it comes to spinning techniques, most Shotokan katas have a heavy bias to only spinning clockwise and wanted to address this imbalance. You can check out the Junro Shodan for yourself below:-
Master Asai is considered by many to be the greatest Shotokan teacher and practitioner that ever lived. This is why very many Shotokan Karateka from other organisations and lineage’s have been interested in learning his katas. Unfortunately many of these people do not have access to a dojo which practices the Asai Ryu version of Shotokan.
After a student in New York persuaded Shihan Yokota to try to teach him over Skype from California, Shihan Yokota realised that he could use this method to reach and help many other Shotokan Karateka (and other styles if interested) from all over the world. Those interested in learning Asai Ryu Shotokan and the Junro series of katas no longer had to be limited by physical location.
So having made the appointment, Shihan Yokota, he sent me the Youtube link to Junro Shodan (above) along with a step by step pictorial schematic so that I could prepare myself in advance. For a few hours before my class, I went through the kata, learning it from the video. By the time it came to the class, I was still far from perfect, but more or less had the sequence of movements. Throughout the class, Shihan Yokota corrected my stances and movements and picked up details that I would never have got from following the video alone.
As I reflected afterwards, this was a fantastic way to learn. Had I attended a seminar to learn this kata, firstly I would not have received the link to the video and step by step guide. OK, I could have used my initiative and Googled it, or searched it on Youtube, but you can never be quite sure how truly authentic the version displayed will actually be.
Had I gone to a seminar, I might have had to travel for several hours to get there and back. This time was much better spent pre-learning the kata from Youtube.
Furthermore, had I been at a seminar, I would have been one of many, moving at the pace of the rest of the class; rather than having one on one attention for an hour from an 8th Dan and the class moving at the right pace for me and me only.
Being at home, I was a bit limited for space and often had to shuffle around a bit to fit in all the movements. However, I felt that all the other advantages far out-weighed this minor disadvantage. As far as I’m aware, nobody else is doing this. I’m sure many will follow, but for now I believe that it is unique.
So how much does this one-on-one with an 8th Dan actually cost?
Well if you were meeting face to face, then the standard rate would be $150 per hour. However, through Shihan Yokota’s Interactive Cyber Dojo, it is a very reasonable $29.99. When you consider that sometimes you can pay almost as much to attend seminar and be one of about 50 or more people with no one on one, this is a really good deal. Plus you have no travel costs, no parking charges, no food or drink to buy while you’re out and being via Skype there are no extra computer/telephone costs either. For many people, this is actually cheaper all round then going to a seminar. I personally think that Shihan Yokota is being a bit cautious and setting his rate a bit low, so I’d recommend that anybody who is interested should book in quickly before he catches on and puts his rate up.
The article below was written by Paul Mitchell, my Karate Sensei and Tai Chi teacher. It’s a brilliant insight into the mental approach to your training whatever your style. Paul has always had a very practical approach to martial arts and teaches for real self defence, not just scoring points. Having said that, he is also a great believer that martial arts are a great form of self development. Practical streetwise martial arts (“Jutsu”) and self development (“Do”) do not need to be separated. In fact they each works best with elements of the other blended together.
The article below was written for the Lotus Nei Gong (Tai Chi association) newsletter, so it is primarily from the Tai Chi perspective. That said, it can just as well apply to any martial art.
Really, this article is just a few rambling thoughts of a martial artist that has trained daily for 30 years and yet still calls himself a beginner.
In Japanese martial arts there is a saying that came from someone who truly understood the martial way: Keep a beginners mind. Sounds easy enough but remember a beginner is always ready to take advice and is always enthusiastic. Day in day out, week in week out, year in year out and decade after decade to jeep training with this concept in mind may not always be so easy.
Then of course we have to look at that concept of ‘following the martial way’. To a non-follower of the way it would seem quite likely that to train daily in a martial art, studying the philosophy and practice of combat would cause a person to become aggressive and confrontational. The truth is that (if studied correctly) martial arts make a person peaceful and well-rounded. The only true fight is internal, the war is against your ‘inner demons’ and lets be honest with ourselves, we all have some of those.
My favourite martial saying is: The fist and Zen are one. Still makes me smile, still just a beginner.
I sometimes say to my students that the only reason we have wars is because the world is run by ‘white belts’. If one truly understands conflict then one avoids it at all costs.
Up until this point I have not distinguished between external and internal martial arts. To me they completely compliment each other, they are indeed two sides of the same coin. Many people studying the martial arts refer to themselves in terms of one art: I am a karate practitioner, I am a Taijiquan practitioner etc. To me there are only martial arts, not styles. Although I have my core systems of Yang Taijiquan and Shotokan Karate I simply think of myself as a martial artist. To limit oneself in any other way seems to contradict the term ‘art’. An artist by my way of thinking should be a free thinking, free flowing, freedom loving individual. To limit the art is to stunt our personal growth in free flow.
I loved the article written by my dear friend Neil Lodge (editors note, see September 2010 newsletter) where he stated that he found Taijiquan so uplifting because it emphasised principles other styles simply touched upon. Principles such as meditation, breath control and Dan Tien rotation. I agree wholeheartedly and reading it made me once again…feel like a beginner.
I have currently studied Karate for 30 years and Taijiquan for half of this time. Although I love both arts I recognise that for me, Taijiquan starts where Karate left off…From the beginning in ‘external styles’ we are taught to be substantial. This means that you study to be strong and forceful. You train to become fast and strong, both physically and mentally. This can be painful, has its moments, but if done slowly, gradually and correctly this process is surprisingly enjoyable! As one progresses through the grades to brown and eventually black belt/sash the martial artist (as this is what the student is training to become) practices more technical, more subtle techniques which aim to make him more ‘insubstantial’. Instead of meeting force with force an advanced practitioner aims to deflect and neutralise incoming force. Eventually it becomes very difficult for anybody but other experienced martial artists to lay a hand upon you. Some good advice is to always assume your opponent has a knife. Good advice I feel as it helps to reinforce the idea of being insubstantial and avoiding an incoming force. This is the point in a persons training where Taijiquan needs to enter their martial path.
Every practice in Taijiquan and its related exercises in Qi Gong and Nei Gong, pushing hands and other two man drills is designed to help the martial artist become more insubstantial. Over time one learns how to lessen the use of their external force (generated by muscular power) and begin to use their internal power which, I feel, is such a complex subject that it warrants several more articles on this subject alone!
Obviously, as practitioners of Taijiquan our study is not just related to martial arts in their narrow sense but the study of conflict on every level. Realisation of this makes approaching resolution of fighting (literal, internal and cosmic) anything but narrow.
Final words of advice from this rambling beginner…Keep practicing…
My Sensei, Paul Mitchell, 4th Dan will be hosting a special Karate bunkai course looking at the principles & techniques of Shotokan Karate and applying them to realistic self defence. Along with the more obvious punches and kicks, this will include locks throws and takedowns utilising moves from both basics and kata.
The course is open to all Karateka regardless of grade – Beginner to Black belt. However, there is a minimum age of 12 for anybody under 4th Kyu
Basic details are:
When – Sunday 3rd April 2011, 11:00 – 2:30pm.
Where – Wells Blue Sports Centre, Kennion Road, Wells, Somerset, BA5 2NR
Having been to a couple of Kevin O’Hagan’s seminars, I can vouch that the guy is a great teacher and extremely practical. Most of what he teaches is simple, effective and can be easily incorporated into your own style. I certainly incorporated it into my Karate and into our DVD, Inside Bassai Dai.
Kevin and his son’s, Tom and Jake will be running a 6 month Teaching Diploma next year, which I would highly recommend. Apart from Kevin’s practicality, he is a real gent who is very approachable, humorous and makes time for anybody who has questions for him (on and off the matt). His son’s are the same. I’ve posted about Kevin before, so you have a look at the type of things he does HERE.
Anyway, for information about the diploma itself, here it is Jake O’Hagan’s own words:-
DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS……….
I am writing to you with a unique opportunity so that you can be first to pencil it in to your training calendar for next year.
At the start of 2011 Kevin O’Hagan is planning to host his first ever 6 month Diploma course to qualify the lucky few as an official instructor in the O’Hagan Total Combat System. This diploma will train you to a standard where you are able to incorporate and integrate parts of Kevin’s system within your arts where possible and pass on to others. It will be authenticated and signed by Kevin. This will be a unique and highly sought after credential. Kevin is a respected internationally in the world of reality combat so this diploma will carry some weight.
This unique training experience will occur once a month for 6 months and will require full commitment to every training session to complete the Diploma. You will have the chance to train through intense 4 hour sessions side to side with Kevin as he works closely with you to hone your martial skills.
The course will be split in to 6 modules which will be based around topics such as anatomy of a street predator, predicting violence, understanding fear, threat assessment, Manstoppers, combat ground fighting, adrenal response, mugging rituals, multiple opponents, control and restraint, weapon defence and much more!!!
As you can see from the subject matter the Diploma is bursting with information. Theory and practical hands on training make up the subject matter. Both aspects are as important as each other in Kevin’s system. The Diploma will help you understand the street predator inside and out then focus on verbal and physical ways to systematically defuse defend or attack back successfully.
Kevin will impart over 34 years of knowledge in these intense 4 hour seminars to a small group of applicants on a very personal basis. He will be sharing the essentials and fundamentals but also be letting you in on all his martial secrets and favourites that will distinguish you from the rest.
This really is a unique and valuable opportunity for anyone who is serious about martial art. This course will not be padded out or sugar coated; it will be fast moving, jam packed and no nonsense. Due to Kevin’s martial arts up bringing in the Japanese arts of Goshin ryu and Kodai ryu combat jujutsu under instructors such as the hard and infamous Mickey Upham, ’Mad dog’ Dave Vincent, SBS veteran Mike Marshall and the renowned self-protection guru Dave Turton, Kevin has brushed shoulders and shared mats with the very best in the self-protection, Jujutsu and MMA world.
Kevin is now one of the few active instructors in the UK teaching these dying arts. He wants to preserve and promote them for the future. Will you be one of the fortunate applicants to aspire to this?
This course will change your training perspective forever! As pre-mentioned Kevin has trained with the best and is excited to offer this Diploma after years of hard training. This chance will be limited to a small numbered group and will be very personally taught at a very reasonable price; for martial artists from any background. We want to provide this opportunity to as many as possible in the future so we will guarantee you get your money’s worth.
If you are interested could send a reply to this or respond via phone; we will give more details and answer any questions you may have. Again this will be a unique chance and only available to a small group; so register your interest ASAP.
Thanks for your time and I hope to hear from you soon
All the best
Jake O’Hagan O’Hagan Total Combat System Tear Up Promotions +44 (0)7789 865 284
PS: Please let Jake know that you heard about here!
I have recently had the pleasure of seeing Kevin O’Hagin and his two sons, Jake and Tom, performing a demonstration at the Rotary Martial Arts Festival in Bath. It was fast moving, dynamic and one of the highlights of the Festival. Kevin’s style of Combat Justu, based on his many years studying various froms of Ju Jutsu, and other related arts, is a no-nonsense brutal system for defeating an opponent quickly and efficiently. The people that Kevin has trained with is extensive and reads like a who’s who of reality martial arts.
Kevin is a former professional cage fighter as well as successful author – brawn and brain 🙂 However, he separates his teaching between the sporting MMA side and his Combat Jutsu street defence style.
He has recently been awarded his 7th Dan in Combat Jutsu and is a 6th Dan Senior Instructor in self protection with the British Combat Association, the most respected reality based self protection organisation in the UK. In short, Kevin knows his stuff.
I have inserted a few Youtube clips of Kevin teaching, so that you can see for yourself the type of training he gives. Furthermore, Kevin is running a course soon in Bristol (UK). I have inserted a copy of his promotional poster below. I would say to anybody from the Karate, TKD world etc., who may not think that this is anything to do with your style; think again. Many applications from our Kata’s/patterns/forms, are very similar (sometimes identical) to Ju Jutsu, so I’m sure that if you look carefully, you will find Kevin doing moves that you have seen before, but never thought of applying them in that manner.
(Note: This third video looks quite close to Kung Fu Tiger style with the raking fingers)