The Best Way To Use Your Supporting Foot To Generate Power As You Step

Anyone who has followed BunkaiJutsu for a while will know that I’m a stickler for fine detail.  Or as some people say, the devil in the detail!

When we train our basics we can focus a lot on detail and accuracy.  But in the melee of a real confrontation with the pressure of somebody seriously trying to hurt you, plus the adrenaline kicking in which adversely affects fine motor control of your movement; it’s never going to be that tidy.  So why do we try to be so accurate and precious in our basic movements when we know full well that we’ll never achieve that in real life?

Well lets just say that for the sake of argument that under pressure our technique is 50% efficient.

50% of a really fast, powerful and accurate technique is going to be a lot better than 50% of a weak, sloppy technique!  So it’s really worth working on as arguably any improvement in a technique will only translate to 50% improvement in a real altercation!  As we get more and more advanced, the level of detail required to improve technique becomes finer and finer. Continue reading “The Best Way To Use Your Supporting Foot To Generate Power As You Step” »

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!” »

The Secret To Hangetsu (Seisan) & Nijushiho (Niseishi)

In all styles, we learn our basics and from that most of us get to understand the theory of generating power in our own martial art.  Quite often we later learn katas/forms/patterns where we sometimes have to move in a completely different way to how our basics (and hence method of generating power) were explained to us.

Hangetsu kata (also known as Seisan) and Nijushiho kata (also known as Niseishi or E Sip Sa Bo) are such katas where there are a lot of movements that are completely different from our usual basics.  Or at least that is the case in Shotokan Karate – my primary style; though I suspect most styles will be able to find similar examples.

The usual idea in most Karate & Korean styles of moving the body mass rapidly forward, generating powerful forward momentum does not apply to large sections of these katas.  Instead, the legs and torso sometimes have very little visible movement at all whilst the arms do move very rapidly. This clearly contradicts the conventional wisdom of forward momentum of the body mass creating inertia.

It also contradicts the conventional wisdom of many Chinese Kung Fu styles which uses much larger rotational movements of the torso to generate centrifugal force.  In particular some of the double punches in Nijushiho has no hip/waist rotation at all and no forward momentum.  So how is power generated? Continue reading “The Secret To Hangetsu (Seisan) & Nijushiho (Niseishi)” »

Interview With Ms Louise Reeve, 4th Dan Tae Kwon Do, First Woman FAST Defence Instructor & Author

Ms Lousie Reeve, 4th Degree TaekwondoMs Louise Reeve is a very progressive martial arts teacher.  A 4th Degree at Tae Kwon Do (aiming for her 5th Degree).  Although her early martial arts career saw her enjoy a lot of competition success, she has developed into a more martial path, embracing reality based training.  This includes being one of the first people from the UK (and the first woman in the world) to go to the USA and qualify to the teach the Fear, Adrenaline, Stress Training (FAST) Defence system and introduce it here in the UK.

Having done a FAST Defence course myself with one of her colleagues, I’ll vouch for what a straightforward and effect method it is; which fits hand in glove with any martial arts system.  I’ve passed on the teachings to my own students and out of everything that I’ve taught, the FAST principles have been used much more than anything else.  I’d highly recommend it.

Yet despite embracing this reality training, she still teaches to high technical standards; all things that I consider necessary to a complete and rounded martial artist.

On top of this, she is a great humanitarian who looks into safeguarding children in training, has supported her associations charitable work in Ghana and thrives on teaching children with physical difficulties, (something which many teachers shy away from).  I was therefore delighted when she agreed to do this interview with me and share her insights:- Continue reading “Interview With Ms Louise Reeve, 4th Dan Tae Kwon Do, First Woman FAST Defence Instructor & Author” »

Generating Power From The Hara (Japanese) / Dan Tian (Chinese)

Many of the old Okinawan/Chinese masters talk about moving from the Hara (as it’s known in Japanese) or the Dan Tian (as it’s known in Chinese).  It’s just behind and slightly below the belly-button.  Yet in many martial arts, especially Japanese and Korean styles, we are taught to focus on moving from the hips.  Although the Hara is very close to hips, it is not quite in the same place and when we train to focus on moving the hips, we are not moving from the Hara as the old masters described!

How could this anomaly come about?

Well I’ve been saying for years that many martial arts have been dumbed down.  It’s very easy for a master who wants to teach the public, yet not give away hard earned secrets; to make a small adjustment to the way they teach so that it looks the same but is not.  The students see how fast and powerful the master is and hang on his every word, accepting without question.  Why would you question somebody who is obviously so good!  The student get good results.  Not as good as the masters (even after many years of training), but it’s easy to dismiss that as the master is . . . . well . . . . the master!  Then you get a new generation of masters who have only been taught the dumbed down version; and so it goes on. Continue reading “Generating Power From The Hara (Japanese) / Dan Tian (Chinese)” »

Save 10% On Century Martial Arts Equipment & Uniforms

 

100lb Muay Thai Kick BagCentury is a world leader in providing high quality martial arts equipment and uniforms.  I have one of their 100lb Thai punch/kickbags and a wall mounted makiwara in my loft so I’ll vouch that they provide high quality equipment.  I especially love the bag!

Anyway, for readers of the BunkaiJutsu website; if you click on the image below it’ll take you to the Century website.

If you then use the promotional code:- “SAVE10“; you can save 10% on your purchases.

Disclaimer:   If you purchase anything through this link I may earn some commission, but that won’t effect the price that you pay!

 

 

3 Forearm, Wrist & Knuckle Alignments To Improve Punches & Strikes

Below is a 3 part video looking at alignments of the bones in the forearm, wrist and knuckles that are seldom (if ever) explained in martial arts.  Occasionally some techniques do not use the best alignments simply due to style dogma . . . . . . . “we do it this way in our style” . . . . . without critically thinking it through.  Yet big differences in the effectiveness of your punches and strikes can be made with very small adjustments.  If we take the attitude that we are a martial artist first, and whatever style(s) we practice second; then we can keep an open mind to learn from anybody and everybody.  When we identify ourselves by style first and foremost we risk shutting ourselves of from learning better ways. Continue reading “3 Forearm, Wrist & Knuckle Alignments To Improve Punches & Strikes” »