Happy World Karate Day.

Happy World Karate Day. . “In 2005, the Okinawa Prefecture Assembly passed the resolution declaring October 25th ‘Karate no hi’, (空手の日) ‘the day of karate’. . Some 700 years ago, karate was born in this land, Okinawa. Coexisting with the beautiful nature and climate of Okinawa, our predecessors created karate, a traditional culture that Okinawa…

It’s not the number of techniques you know, but how well you know them. 

Some instructors teach their students “just enough” and often these instructors believe that they themselves have been taught all there is. . Learning is often taken to mean memorization, and advancing from one grade to the next as education, and passing that grade to mean they are competent. . If instructors just follow the curriculum,…

The wearing of the “Aka Obi”. The Red Belt.

Titles, belts and grades are often discussed in the martial arts, and is usually a topic of contention. . Often it’s people who don’t even know each other personally and decide to head off into a diatribe of hatred and abuse. It’s usually coming from people who are lower grade black belts that have never…

Do you want fries with that?

The martial arts are largely unregulated here in the US. There are seldom background checks carried out on teachers like there are in other countries. Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check or Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (UK), you don’t need anything special to open a dojo or school. . You don’t even need to…

Is traditional Karate just limited to imitation?

Change is the only constant in life and yet, it is the one thing we tend to resist the most, especially so when this constant is deemed to be traditional. . Okinawa is differentiated from the rest of Japan by its individual history and distinct cultural practices. One of the most recognizable products of Okinawan…

“The most important thing is the kata.”

The Pinan (平安) kata series, Shodan-to-Godan (Pinan is often translated as ‘peaceful/tranquil mind’), are widely taught to students in a variety of karate styles. They are attributed to Itosu Yasutsune ‘Anko’ (1831-1915) who is said to have adapted them from older kata. However from which kata is less than certain. . Itosu introduced karate into…

Not everyone is a true martial artist. Are you?

Someone once asked, why is it called ‘The Pit of Despair’? . It’s because we don’t want you to be under any illusions. This is where you will grade… and this is where we will try to break you. . l don’t mean physically – you will all be ready for that right? I mean…

Are your kata original?

If you have a true interest in the martial arts, I believe it is important that practitioners have some understanding of the history of our art. . Today, many practitioners and instructors state that they are practicing and teaching the ‘original’ kata as taught by Master… (insert name). . But what is original?….. The true…

What is tradition, or traditional, in the martial arts?

What is tradition, or traditional, in the martial arts? Who decides what it is? . Tradition can be described as; “an inherited, established or customary pattern of thought, action or behavior”. But what we refer to as “traditional” in the martial arts often isn’t traditional at all. . All of the past masters were innovators…

Naihanchi (ナイハンチ) Kata

Naihanchi (ナイハンチ) . The kata Naihanchi is said to mean ‘sideways fighting’ due to the kata’s distinctive embusen (floor pattern), but is also translated as ‘internal divided conflict’, it is practiced in many styles of karate today. . Gichin Funakoshi renamed the kata Tekki (Iron Horse) in reference to his old teacher, Anko Itosu, and…

Seisan. Karate’s oldest kata?

The kata Seisan (十三) (alternate names Sesan, Seishan, Jusanpo, Hangetsu in Shotokan) literally means ’13’. Some people refer to the kata as ’13 Hands’, ’13 Fists’, ’13 Techniques’, ’13 Steps’ or even ’13 killing positions’; however, these names have no historical basis. . Seisan is thought to be one of the oldest kata, and like…