How To Improve Your Balance When Kicking

I recently received an email from a new subscriber saying, “I struggle a lot with balance when I kick, especially high kicks”.

I like messages like this.  When I’m sitting here thinking, “hmm; what shall I write/make a video about next”; emails like the above help me out twofold.
Firstly they give me ideas of what to write/make videos about; and secondly I know that I’m talking about things that people are actually interested in (rather than what I’m interested in and assume others might be too 😀)!

So, here’s a little video on the 2 main things that I think people sometimes get a little bit wrong when kicking which will adversely effect their balance.  It’s basically just good technique, the devil in the detail.   But as usual small adjustments can sometimes make big differences, and one of the things that I consider to be one of my strengths is the ability to break things down into fine detail, it’s just how my mind works. Continue reading “How To Improve Your Balance When Kicking” »

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” »

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” »

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)” »

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)” »

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” »

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!

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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