Secret To Internal Power With 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 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 “Secret To Internal Power With 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” »

Bruce Lee – Martial Arts Genius; But Were All His Ideas New?

Bruce Lee was an exceptionally accomplished and talented martial artist.  He was also very influential in popularising martial arts in the West, as well as making people already training in martial arts question what they were doing.  I have a huge respect for Bruce, but in all honesty, I can’t go along with the almost God like reverence that some people hold him in.  Bruce LeeHe is often quoted in a way that suggests his word should be the final word on all things martial arts.  But there are many very senior and knowledgeable masters out there who know just as much, yet have a different approach.  There is always more than one route.  Also, many of the things that Bruce Lee taught was common philosophy in the East, but he was just the first Asian master to open up that philosophy to the West (or at least, the first who had a media following to reach the wider public). Continue reading “Bruce Lee – Martial Arts Genius; But Were All His Ideas New?” »

5 Reasons Why There Is NO “Best Martial Art”

So often you see articles along the lines of “the 5 most effective/best ever martial arts”!  Of course you can read a dozen such articles and they’ll all disagree over which martial art they think it is best and their reason’s why.  It all comes down to individual prejudice and matter of opinion.  I’ve seen some say styles like Krav Maga are best as they are reality based whilst many of the others do sport; whilst other deride Krav Maga as they don’t do sparring and pressure test that way.  I’ve seen MMA criticise traditional martial arts as they don’t tend to do too well in cage fights; whilst traditional martial artists argue that cage fighting is a sport with lots of rules, which is obviously not how it happens in the street.  And so the opinions (rather than facts) carry on and on!  I will admit, I sometimes read them for amusement but the reality is, there is no such thing as one overall best martial art.  There is only, what’s the best martial art for a given individual. Continue reading “5 Reasons Why There Is NO “Best Martial Art”” »

How To Improve Lower Back And Knee Function When In Pain

I recently received a email question from a gentleman who practices Shotokan Karate and is challenged with lower back and knee pain.
He has already adapted his stance accordingly and no longer pushes his lower abdomen/pelvis forward as he was originally taught to do.

His question to me was, did I have any further advice on improving knee and lower back function?

I’ve given a full answer in the video below, so I’m not going to repeat it again here.

If you have a particular challenge to your own martial arts training, feel free to drop me a line and ask me!

Self Defence & The Law

Something that is not always taken properly into consideration when we talk about self protection is where do we stand legally.  It’s all well and good if we successfully defend ourselves against an aggressor, but what does the law say if we end up seriously hurting or even killing that person?  Should our response always be proportionate to the attack?  How do we interpret minimum force and is it the same for everybody?  What if we make an honest mistake and end up injuring somebody?  Do we have to warn a would be attacker that we’re a martial artist?

As martial artists, we regularly train to hurt and damage other people, and to use a corny quote from Spiderman; with great power comes great responsibilities! Continue reading “Self Defence & The Law” »

The Real Purpose Of Makiwara Training

Gichin Funakoshi on a makiwara

Personally, I like makiwara’s (padded striking post).  And I’m talking about the traditional post type which have a bit of give in them, as opposed to the wall mounted type which generally have no more give than the padding (though they can be good too).  Originally in Okinawa, a traditional “post” type makiwara would have it’s base buried in the ground for stability.  That is not always practical these days as your partner might not like the garden dug over to put a post in and here in the UK the weather isn’t very conducive for training outside much of the time!  I have one bolted to the floor in my loft which is more convenient.
Anyway, some people argue that as a makiwara has so little give in it when you hit it, your striking hand therefore is forced to stop very soon after impact.  So (it is argued) you don’t get the feeling of going through the target as you might when striking a punchbag or focus mitt and therefore you are training yourself to stop short.I respectfully don’t agree as I believe that if you Continue reading “The Real Purpose Of Makiwara Training” »