The Quest For Karate’s Original Kata – Iain Abernethy

Although this post is primarily referring to Karate, I think a lot of it will also apply to other traditional martial arts that practice kata (forms/patterns) just as much.

Iain Abernethy is a world renowned teacher on the practical application of traditional Karate.  I’ve trained with him several times, found him to be really good at what he does and a really nice approachable guy with no ego at all.  He’s very knowledgable both in terms of practical application, the history of Karate and is a truly inspirational teacher on many levels.

So when Iain talks, people should listen and learn.  Below is a recent video that he made on the Quest For Original Kata.  Iain makes the case that many people often search for the original version of a kata on the assumption that it will contain the most combat effective version of the techniques (being closest to the originating Masters intention).  I will admit to having been a little bit guilty of that myself in the past. Continue reading “The Quest For Karate’s Original Kata – Iain Abernethy” »

How To Generate More Punching Power Using The Chest & Lats

I’ve always been a stickler for detail in many areas of my life.  But that attention to detail has helped to understand martial arts much better and to be able to analyse the movements and applications in a lot more depth.

This is why I do these videos from time to time to try to help others.  In the video below, I look at using the chest and lateral muscles to help generate more punching power.  Most traditional Eastern martial arts keep the shoulders down, relaxed and engage the lats, whilst Western fighting systems like boxing and kick-boxing tend to raise the shoulder and turn it into the punch.  In the West, broad shoulders and a narrow waist is seen as a powerful build.  So if big shoulders are powerful, it would seem sensible to use them and turn them into the technique.

Yet in the East, big hips are more often seen as a powerful build and this is reflected in their fighting systems focusing on moving the hips/waist to generate power. Continue reading “How To Generate More Punching Power Using The Chest & Lats” »

Are Traditional Martial Arts So Formal & Stylised So As To Become Obsolete?

One thing that traditional martial arts are often accused of, is being too stylised and formal to be effective in the chaos of a real street free-for-all.  Those precise movements, the deep stances, the big long steps, the pulling back of the reaction hand, the pre-arranged exercises; all we’re told won’t work in the melee of a messy fight where an uncooperative partner is trying to hurt us!  So many of these critics have got a “I know of a black belt who got beat up” story.  We are seen by many as being not effective and even obsolete!

Yet most of these traditional martial arts go back to times when they were a matter of life or death, not scoring a point.  So how come these arts that people once used to rely on to save their lives are now held by many in such low regard? Continue reading “Are Traditional Martial Arts So Formal & Stylised So As To Become Obsolete?” »

Improve Your Kicks – By Starting At The End And Working Back!

When we first start martial arts, learning to kick can be difficult as with some kicks we move in ways that we would not naturally move.  It can take considerable training.  Front kicks are relatively easy, but kicks such as the side thrust kick or round-house kick (also known as turning kick) take a lot more learning.

It can be difficult to learn, especially if you don’t really know for sure what it’s supposed to feel like at the end of the kick.  No amount of instruction can give you that “feeling”!

So what if you could find a way of getting the feeling of the end of the kick first; then work back so that you know exactly what you are aiming for at the start of the kick?

Checkout the video to see how you can do this:- Continue reading “Improve Your Kicks – By Starting At The End And Working Back!” »