Andi Kidd is one of the most practical minded Karateka that I know. He runs the Genjitsu Karate Kai, is an author and runs seminars all over the country. Like many of us in traditional martial arts, he had many doubts about the practicality of what he was being taught, so he sought out teachers to fill the gaps. He has trained with some of the top names in the Karate World as well as some of the top experts in reality based martial arts and the psychology of violence outside of Karate. He has re-structured his own training and the syllabus that he teaches, gearing it real life self protection rather than sport or simply to preserve tradition that he did not feel serve any practical purpose (from a self protection point of view). Continue reading “Interview With Andi Kidd, 4th Dan Karate & Author”
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 manner.
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.
It’s often been said that performing Kata/Forms/Patterns (Kata for convenience) is like moving meditation; but what exactly does that mean?
Well first let’s look at meditation then see how performing Kata can be similar. Meditation is a practice which (amongst other things) aims to silence the mind and help focus the intention. There are many variations, but (put very simply) one of the most common methods of meditation is simply to sit and focus all your minds attention on the breath so as to “distract” the mind from other thoughts. With time and practice, you get used to distracting the mind till it gets used to becoming quiet and absent of thought. Continue reading “Moving Meditation: Kata/Forms/Patterns”
“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? Continue reading “Karate Kime (Focus) & Tension At The End Of The Technique”
This clip above is now an iconic scene from the Bruce Lee movie, Enter The Dragon, where Bruce Lee is teaching a student. Continue reading “Emotional Content In Martial Arts And An Interesting Experiment”
First of all, my apologies for not having been active on this blog for a long time. I hope to resume normal service early next year.
This posting is not actually by me, it is by somebody who wishes to remain anonymous. Although the author is a Karateka, his story could equally apply to any martial art. The author suffered a debilitating stroke at just 6 years of age and this post chronicles his struggle to overcome many challenges; physical, emotional, mental and even just getting a perspective on life.
It’s longer than usual posting, but it is a fascinating read from a truly inspiring individual. It really does sum up what martial arts are all about. Well over the author in his own words: Continue reading “Alone with myself – How Karate changed my life”
For those not familiar with the term, Moksu it is Japanese for the kneeling meditation at the beginning and end of a martial arts class. It is often seen as just clearing the mind from the day’s ups and downs to prepare you for training. It does of course do that, but it can actually represent a lot more in the long term. Apart from just clearing the mind, when practiced regularly it can over time help to completely silence the mind. Silencing the minds usual internal chatter has a feeling of peace and tranquillity (a bit like the sudden quietness of turning off a factory air conditioning system).
This can sometimes be achieved quite quickly, but sometimes it can take years. How often have you knelt there thinking “my knees hurt”, “how long is this going on for”, “I hope we do sparring tonight” or “I hope we don’t do sparring tonight”, whatever! Continue reading “Moksu: Does It Actually Have A Martial Application?”
“The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of character of its participants”.
Master Gichin Funakoshi.
The above words by Master Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan/Shotokai have been widely quoted, but I wonder if that was what his teachers had in mind. Gichin Funakoshi had a number of teachers, but the main ones were Yasutsune Itosu and Yasutsune Azato. Both of these had (prior to teaching Funakoshi) been body guards to the King of Okinawa. In this role, they could have been faced with superior numbers of armed men, whilst they themselves were actually unarmed due to Japanese law.
If you had to face a superior number of men, they had weapons whilst you did not; which do you think you would be most interested in:
- Victory or defeat?
- Perfection of character?
This is something that has been discussed on my Facebook page before, but I wanted to go into more depth with it. Most traditional martial arts have been dumbed down. Karate applications (Kata bunkai) were dumbed down when the Okinawans decided to introduce it into their school system in the late nineteenth century. This dumbed down version was taught to the Japanese and from there to the Koreans.
Kung Fu too has suffered. The Chinese were at first very reluctant to teach martial arts to anybody who was not full blooded Chinese. Later it was realised that it could be quite financially lucrative to do so! However, in the main they still held back a lot from Westerners. It is known that when the legendary Master Ip Man was teaching Wing Chun to Bruce Lee, he held back some of the more advanced secrets because Bruce Lee was not full blooded Chinese. If Bruce Lee was not taught the full system, what makes any Westerners think that they have been? Continue reading “Kata Bunkai for Shorin Ryu Pinan Shodan (Heian Nidan)”
Diaphragmatic breathing is used in many traditional martial arts, but I don’t think that all martial artists completely realise the full extent of how important this really is. It actually helps us on a number of different levels.
But first though for anybody new to martial arts (or this concept) lets have a look at what diaphragmatic breathing actually is. Most adults breathe into the top of their lungs and as they do so their shoulders and collar bones rise slightly. But with diaphragmatic breathing, the diaphragm (which is a large internal muscle at the base of the lungs) is used. This pulls down on the lower part of the lungs, opening up the whole of the lungs and thus pulling in more air (hence more Oxygen). When breath is pulled in this way, the shoulders and collar bones do not rise. However, as the diaphragm pulls down it displaces the lower torso organs and the stomach area in particular is pushed outwards. Continue reading “Diaphragmatic Breathing In Martial Arts”