How To Correctly Align Hand & Forearm For Knife Hand Block/Strike

Anybody who regularly visits my website, will know that I believe techniques are not so important as a stand alone item, but are more important for the principles that they teach us.  Those principles teach us better body mechanics and structures to make our martial art more functional for real world self protection.  It’s not just about having a technique looking pretty or sounding good when we get a nice satisfying snap of our uniform.

Ultimately it should be about functionality or there is not much point.  Very often it’s just a small adjustment in alignment or positioning that can yield big differences in the effectiveness of the principles learnt from practicing a given technique.  So in this video we look at the correct alignment of the hand forearm when performing knife hand block/strike, known as Shuto Uke/Uchi in Karate.

All too often hand and forearm are completely straight, which means that when it actually strikes the target there is a chance that the wrist may buckle slightly, hence losing some power.  It might only be a very small bit, but hey, if you’re going to practice it you may as well practice to obtain the optimum efficiency.

By just pulling the hand back a bit in the direction of the thumb, the little finger side then aligns more with the forearm.  There is not much movement before this locks out.  This makes the whole hand and wrist structure considerably more stable when striking the target as there is nothing to give way.

You can see this demonstrated in the video below, please leave your comments and feedback.


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Why You Really Shouldn’t Tense Everything At The End Of A Karate Technique

When I first started Karate, back in the late 70’s (yes, I’m that old) we were taught by our Japanese masters to tense everything, the whole body, at the end of a technique.  I’ve spoken many times about relaxing the body as much as possible and I’ve also talked about how our limbs should be taut at the end of a technique not tense.

Some muscle groups are very central to a given technique, whilst other muscles are not. Read more

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How To Tie A Karate Belt

There are 2 main ways to tie a Karate belt.  There’s a traditional way and a more modern way.  The actual knot is the same in both cases, but the way that the belt is wrapped around the body is slightly different.  Looking on Youtube, I note that Judo and Ju Jutsu practitioners tie their belts the same as Karate’s traditional way; so this would appear to be a general Japanese way of doing things.

I’m guessing, but I think the more modern way has come across from Tae Kwon Do as you can also see on Youtube that they do it this way.  It is actually a little bit neater, but the choice is yours and it doesn’t really matter.

So here it is in the video below.  Enjoy:

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When Somebody Says, “But That’s Not Really Karate”!

This can apply equally to any traditional martial art, not just Karate.

Have you ever demonstrated a way to protect yourself (or seen somebody else do so), only to have somebody else say, “but that’s not really Karate”, (or whatever martial art you practice).  This can be particularly true when styles that are considered primarily striking arts (like Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, etc) start using grappling applications like throws, locks, restraints, escapes and the likes.  People can be quick to pigeon-hole what they consider to be part of a martial art or not to be part of it.

Are they right to do so?  Does this keep a martial art ‘pure’, so that they don’t all just merge into each other?

I’m sorry to say, but that kind of thinking is really missing the point.  Originally, the martial arts were to protect the practitioners life; so can you imagine somebody back then saying something like, “I’m not using that technique as it’s not from my style”!  Of course they wouldn’t; they’d absorb anything that might save their lives. Read more

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Shotokan Karate’s Legacy (Strengths And Weaknesses)

Shotokan Karate is a bit of a “marmite” style.  As the marmite advert says, you either love it or you hate it.

Before going into any discussion on any style at all, it has to be acknowledged that as it spreads throughout the world, approaches will vary and be altered.   Some teachers will add things, other teachers will take things out, some will teach it really well, others will teach it poorly.  So we are not really able to say “this is how it is” as it can vary quite widely from association to association or even club to club.  So as with any post of this type, we must acknowledge that there will be some broad generalisations and that there will be exceptions.

Also, the thrust of this post will be the strengths and weaknesses of Shotokan Karate as a form of self protection; not as a combat sport or form of self improvement so I won’t be talking about how well it does or doesn’t do in the cage! Read more

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How To Use Your Supporting Foot To Generate More 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. Read more

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