Karate is NOT only a striking art.

When karate began to move across the world in the early to mid 1950’s the training emphasis was almost exclusively on striking. Kata was not properly understood. . Even today you can still find karate dojo that teach kata without ‘bunkai’ (analysis/breakdown). Those first generation Western practitioners then went on to perpetuate the bias of…

Does size give people an advantage in a fight?

I had a question from a potential student this week who was concerned over his (low) weight and how effective certain styles were for him. . Does size give people an advantage in a fight? . Size does matter in the martial arts, but not necessarily in the way you might think. . Generally speaking,…

What are the injury risks in karate?

For our students, fortunately injuries a rare occurrence at our Dojo. However, there are some injuries such as bruises, sprains and strains that can occur despite everyone’s best efforts. . Martial arts are a surprisingly safe form of physical activity, controlled training is statistically very safe. . Training injuries unfortunately do happen. If you train…

Knife attacks are complex.

Defense against knife attacks remains one of the most contentious parts of the martial arts. Very few instructors actually have any substantial experience of this type of violence and it’s a very difficult and complex topic. . Most of what is taught in martial arts classes is passed on by instructors who have never used…

Understand that your karate has some practices that are dysfunctional.

Mark Bishop(2) martial arts author and researcher, recounts that Shinpan Shiroma, a student of Anko Itosu, often admitted to not knowing the technical functions of some movements of kata, merely explaining that they were for show. . Itosu was in his 70’s when he finalized the Pinan kata and began teaching them within his school…

Bad guys don’t play by a rulebook.

Training in martial arts or self-defense only improves your chances in a real life scenario. A little training improves your chances a little. A lot of training improves your chances a lot. No amount of training will guarantee anything except to know that avoiding a fight is the best option, and you should have learned…

Only a rank novice would open with a double kick.

Kicks in kata are usually single in usage. However, there are a few kata that contain multiple kicks. So what use are these multiple kicks contained within the kata? . A kata that comes to mind is ‘Kusanku’ (there are others). The kick in question, often labeled as “Nidan geri” (二段). When I translate this,…

When is it appropriate to use a kick in self-defense?

There are many more hand techniques in kata than kicks, and when there is a kick, usually there is only one (there are a few kata with multiple kicks). . Kicking is probably the least effective of all the combative methods. Why? Because your motion and stability are severely reduced the instant you take your…