Different Levels Of Training In Traditional Martial Arts

When real fighting/self protection can be really chaotic and messy, why are traditional martial arts so fussy about good technique with so much attention to fine detail and accuracy. It’s because traditional martial arts basics movements and kata/patterns/forms train us on several different levels simultaneously.  I have written about this before back in May 2017 so you can read more there if you like.

However, more recently I made a video on the same subject, so I thought I’d share it on this website again.  Sorry if I’m repeating content, but some people prefer to read, others prefer to watch and listen.  Anyway, here we go . . . . . Continue reading “Different Levels Of Training In Traditional Martial Arts” »

Martial Arts Body Mechanics & Structures Vs Fitness & Strength

Some martial art schools/associations/franchises put a lot of emphasis on fitness and strength training.  A good work out gets the endorphins going and people come out feeling good and happy, stress levels reduced and a general feeling of well-being.  Being fit always feels good.  Sometimes the fitness may consist of doing a lot of circuit type training and/or doing everything fast all the time.

Whilst I am definitely in favour of being fit and strong, I am not in favour of emphasising these aspects over good body mechanics and body structures (which I have seen in some places).

There is a general assumption amongst many people that to defend yourself effectively, you have to be really super fit as fighting is very physically demanding and intense. Whilst there are obviously definite advantages in being really fit, it is far better to be able to hit somebody once and be sure that they’ll go down then gear your self defence training to having to hit them 10 to 20 times before they go down. Continue reading “Martial Arts Body Mechanics & Structures Vs Fitness & Strength” »

How To Create More Impact In Your Martial Arts Technique?

It is often said that generating impact is mainly about applying your body-weight and moving it into the technique.  I personally think that this explaination is a bit simplified and that there is a bit more to it than that.  So some of what I am going say here goes against conventional wisdom, so please bear with me to end before accusing me of sacrilege!

Ok, so what is the main factor that generate impact in a technique? Continue reading “How To Create More Impact In Your Martial Arts Technique?” »

Correct Elbow Position For Punching

Following on from the last post on spinal alignment, here’s another video on the correct elbow position for punching and how it affects the shoulder alignment and fist position.  It’s a small detail that it often overlooked, especially as the elbow is often hidden by the gi/dobok (uniform).

This is something that I’ve written about before back in 2011, but I think sometimes it’s easier with a video.

So enjoy and please leave your comments or questions below.

Technique: Spinal Alignment

In most traditional martial arts the spinal alignment is maintained in a straight upright position.  But despite telling students over and over again, many of them still tend to lean forward.  In the video below, I hope to provide a demonstration of why keeping the back straight and upright helps techniques to flow more easily, fluidly and efficiently!  If you’re an instructor, it could be a good way to teach your own students.

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?” »

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” »

Techniques As A “Shorthand” For Learning Principles

Some of the newer and more reality based martial arts which emphasise real self protection (as opposed to sport) such as Krav Maga and Systema argue that the strength of their system is that they emphasise principles of movement rather than techniques.  They argue that most of the older Oriental martial arts by contrast put the emphasis the other way round, on techniques more than principles.  They argue that this makes their arts better for learning self defence more quickly and effectively. Continue reading “Techniques As A “Shorthand” For Learning Principles” »

Reverse Punch With Sliding Step

I have done a very similar video to this before about maximising the thrust in the reverse punch (gyaka zuki).  This time however, I wanted to take it a bit further by adding a sliding step, which is a very useful and powerful technique from both competition and self protection points of views.  It moves the body weight forward further and even more rapidly giving a lot of acceleration, impact and covers distance in a very deceptive maner.

In the video, I look at some of the details of the technique to achieve this sliding step more easily and efficiently.  It’s nothing new, it just goes a bit more into detail which I personally feel not people explain in much depth.  If you find it useful, please “like” it and leave a comment below.

 

Karate Kime (Focus) & Tension At The End Of The Technique

“Kime” is a Japanese word, roughly translated as “focus”.  It is where Karate derives it’s power from at the point of impact of a punching or striking technique.  But how well is it understood?

Most people loosely describe achieving Kime as moving with relaxation, then tensing the whole body very rapidly at the completion of the technique with a heavy exhalation.  But tension stops movement and do we really want to tense (hence not be moving or hardly moving) even be it for a moment?

Does it really add anything to the technique?

Is there another way?

Master Kousaku Yokota speculates in his book, Shotokan Myths, that as Kata (patterns/forms) competition become popular, the tension at the end of the technique became more and more exaggerated so that competitors could emphasis to the judges that they were actually focusing at the right places.

There is a story (which I’m not able validate) that Gichin Funakoshi’s son visited the Japan Karate Association (for many years the main driving force behind promoting Shotokan throughout the World).  Apparently one of his comments was, “where did all this tension come from”?

For many years, Karate (Shotokan in particular) has been criticised by other styles for being tense, stiff and wooden; because of this heavy emphasis on tension at the end of a technique.  It is called a “hard” style, despite it’s Okinawan roots being more akin to the “soft” Chinese styles from which Karate evolved!

Anyway, here are my thoughts on the subject.  Please let me know what you think and leave your comments below.