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” »

Is Preserving Traditional Martial Arts A Good Thing?

It is not uncommon to see martial arts adverts to the effect of “authentic such-an-such martial art”, or “we teach traditional such-an-such style, true to the teachings of the 34th Grandmaster of the whatever Shaolin temple”.

There is a certain logic to it. If something has been established to be effective, then by preserving it, theoretically you pass down something that continues to be good! If for example something has been tested on the battlefield (as many traditional arts have) and has been proven to be successful, then on the surface it would appear to make sense to preserve what has been proven to work rather than risk changing it to something that is unproven! Continue reading “Is Preserving Traditional Martial Arts A Good Thing?” »

Interview With Rob Jones, 5th Dan Karate & Founder Of Zenshin Dojo

Rob Jones & wife Kate
Rob Jones with his wife Kate

I first met Rob Jones round abut 2009 (I can’t remember the exact date/year). I’d been out training for number of years due to various domestic reasons and looking to get back into it. With the club that I’d previously been training with closed, I tried a couple of clubs in my area. During that search, I met Rob Jones and his club, Zenshin Dojo.

I didn’t end up training with them permanently as I was looking for a Shotokan club and Zenshin Dojo are Shotokai based. I’ve nothing against any other style of Karate and believe in learning from others; I just wanted to continue with my own primary style which was Shotokan.

However, I found both Rob and his members at Zenshin Dojo to be an extremely friendly group and very good at what they do. We’ve kept in touch over the years, I’ve been included in several of their functions both training seminars and social and I’ve even been invited to give feedback on one his students going for her 3rd Dan.

Continue reading “Interview With Rob Jones, 5th Dan Karate & Founder Of Zenshin Dojo” »

I first met Rob Jones round abut 2009 (I can’t remember the exact date/year). I’d been out training for number of years due to various domestic reasons and looking to get back into it. With the club that I’d previously been training with closed, I tried a couple of clubs in my area. During that search, I met Rob Jones and his club, Zenshin Dojo.

I didn’t end up training with them permanently as I was looking for a Shotokan club and Zenshin Dojo are Shotokai based. I’ve nothing against any other style of Karate and believe in learning from others; I just wanted to continue with my own primary style which was Shotokan.

However, I found both Rob and his members at Zenshin Dojo to be an extremely friendly group and very good at what they do. We’ve kept in touch over the years, I’ve been included in several of their functions both training seminars and social and I’ve even been invited to give feedback on one his students going for her 3rd Dan.

Continue reading “Interview With Rob Jones, 5th Dan Karate & Founder Of Zenshin Dojo” »

Ideas For Training At Home (Part 7): Mokuso (Meditation) In Martial Arts

It’s often said that the most important thing in self defence is the mind. Mokuso (meditation) is often skirted over in martial arts training, seen as just something to clear the mind before training and calm you down again after training.

But meditation is a method of developing the mind which has martial applications as well as being for self development and health. It allows better connection between the conscious and sub conscious minds, enabling better instincts and intuition to develop. This can carry into all areas of you life, but having a improved intuition has obvious applications for self defence. Continue reading “Ideas For Training At Home (Part 7): Mokuso (Meditation) In Martial Arts” »

Ideas For Training At Home (Part 6 – Breathing: Isolating The Diaphragm)

Diaphragmatic breathing is something I’ve covered in detail before, but it seemed a good time to revisit it with a lot of people self isolating and training from home at the moment. Correct breathing is very central to keeping you relaxed (hence fast) and generating high levels of impact. Some of this video may go against conventional wisdom, but give it a try and you’ll see it really works.

Ideas For Training At Home (Part 5 – Turning The Hip/Waist More Efficiently)

In most styles of martial art, many techniques involve turning the hips/waist one way or the other in order to transfer the body weight into the striking limb. This in turn adds power and speed to the technique being performed.

In this video we look at enhancing that hip/waste turn by maximising the way we use the legs.

Ideas For Training At Home (Part 4 – Learning To Engage Your Fascial System)

Part 4 of ideas for training from home. This looks at a simple modification to your technique for more efficiently engaging the fascial system in the arms to make them faster and more powerful. After you’ve seen this, you’ll realise what’s been there all along in plain sight; yet most people never realised!

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