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?” »

Do Traditional Martial Arts Really Work Under Pressure?

This is an old chestnut that keeps going around every now and again; do traditional martial arts really work under pressure in the street?

Many people argue that they don’t, after all, we’ve all heard of a story where a black belt in whatever style ends up getting beaten up by a street fighter.  There are also lots of stories of martial artists, some even quite low grade, who have used their martial arts to successfully defend themselves.  Which story you quote depends on which side of the debate you’re on.

Now when you consider that there are literally millions of people around the world who practice martial arts, just by the law of averages there are bound to be some who are successful in defending themselves and some who are not.  So until somebody can come up with some studies and statistical data (I’m not aware of anybody doing so yet) I think we have to be careful how much we read too much into such stories. Continue reading “Do Traditional Martial Arts Really Work Under Pressure?” »

Comparison Of Bare Knuckle Boxing/Pugilism & Traditional Martial Arts

I was a little intrigued recently when I came across the picture below on Facebook depicting a bare knuckle prize fight that took place in 1877.  What intrigued me was that the punch being delivered looks a lot more like a punch that we’d find in Karate/Taekwondo/some styles of Kung Fu, than it does a modern boxing punch!  The back is straight, head up, legs are practically identical to our forward stance, hips turned square on and shoulder not turned in as much as a modern boxers.  Continue reading “Comparison Of Bare Knuckle Boxing/Pugilism & Traditional Martial Arts” »

Kiai/Kihap/Chi Shout – Is It Really Necessary?

Many martial arts, especially the Oriental ones include the practice of shouting at certain points in training.  Japanese styles call it Kiai, Korean styles call it Kihap.  I don’t know what the Chinese word for it is, but I have trained with some who simply called it Chi Shout.  For simplicity, I’m just going to stick the Japanese notation of Kiai (as I’m primarily a Japanese stylist and it’s the version I’m most familiar with)!

First of all, what is it?  Very simplistically, it’s a Continue reading “Kiai/Kihap/Chi Shout – Is It Really Necessary?” »

Martial Arts Techniques As A “Shorthand” For Learning Principles

Some of the newer and more reality based martial arts which emphasise real self protection (as opposed to sport) such as Krav Maga and Systema argue that the strength of their system is that they emphasise principles of movement rather than techniques.  They argue that most of the older Oriental martial arts by contrast put the emphasis the other way round, on techniques more than principles.  They argue that this makes their arts better for learning self defence more quickly and effectively. Continue reading “Martial Arts Techniques As A “Shorthand” For Learning Principles” »

Repetition And Relaxation Of Martial Arts Technique

Every now and then, you get an “aha” moment, when something falls into place.  I had one recently so I thought I’d share it with you.  Although this was from a Karate instructor, it applies equally well to all martial arts. Continue reading “Repetition And Relaxation Of Martial Arts Technique” »

Striving For Martial Arts Perfection: Combat Effectiveness And Spiritual Development

How often have you heard the phrase “before you can overcome others, you must first overcome yourself”, or “your main opponent is yourself”.  If you’ve never heard these phrases, then take a long look at who’s teaching you!  You should have heard these phrases before as this really is one of the most central core philosophies of doing any traditional martial art. Continue reading “Striving For Martial Arts Perfection: Combat Effectiveness And Spiritual Development” »

Differences Between Boxing Punch vs Traditional Martial Arts Punch

This post looks at the differences and relative advantages/disadvantages of the a boxing punch compared with a traditional martial arts (Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu) punch. Continue reading “Differences Between Boxing Punch vs Traditional Martial Arts Punch” »

Front Kick Variations (Pros & Cons)

Any technique can be developed into a number of variations.  However, when it comes to the front kick, I would say that there are main variations (and many sub-variations).  These are hips side-on (FIG 1: hips facing about 90 degrees to opponent) and hips forward (FIG 2: hips facing toward the opponent). Continue reading “Front Kick Variations (Pros & Cons)” »

The “Corkscrew” Punch (The Devil In The Detail)

The “corkscrew” punch where we rotate the fist at the end of the punch is unique to Oriental martial arts.

Twisting the fist  is something that we all know about and take for granted.  And why shouldn’t we, we’ve been doing it since our very first class in Karate/Tae Kwon Do/most styles of Kung Fu .  The reason that I write about it here, is because I believe that it is something that though deeply ingrained into us, is still not done quite right by a good many people.

It may sound a bit strange to question something so basic, but bare with me.  Although many will be doing what I describe below, a good many others will not be. Continue reading “The “Corkscrew” Punch (The Devil In The Detail)” »