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)” »

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” »

Internal Power Seminar With Dan Harden

In the fullness of time, I expect this to be the most life changing seminar I’ve ever attended with respect to my martial arts.  It was a 2 day seminar on 21st/22nd July 2018, covering a lot of material, which for a newbie, stretched the mind as well as the body.  As such, this is review is my initial impressions and I do not pretend to be an expert or have all the answers.  This post is just to share my own personal experiences on this seminar, nothing more.

Now first of all, I want to address the “Internal Power” bit.  This was not the usual, use your chi Continue reading “Internal Power Seminar With Dan Harden” »

Interview With Daren Sims, 5th Dan Aikido

I first met and befriended Daren Sims, 5th Dan Aikido and 1st Dan Combat Ju Jutsu in 2010, when I was organising a multi-style martial arts festival.  It was to raise funds for 2 charities that had helped my and my family through some particularly difficult times.  I selected 12 different martial art schools who had about 15 minutes each to demonstrate their system.  Daren was the contact point and organiser of the Aikido Continue reading “Interview With Daren Sims, 5th Dan Aikido” »