For most traditional karate-ka, kata is the foundation of karate.

What is the purpose of kata in karate? For most traditional karate-ka, kata is the foundation of karate. But why is that? . The trouble with determining the purpose of kata, is that the purpose you find in kata is directly related to your understanding and your training focus. The key to the purpose of…

You have to factor in your opponents reaction.

The martial arts require demonstration to supplement the whole teaching process. I get it. I demonstrate to my students. However, I always incorporate some level of failure into my demonstrations. Why? Because a real life attack is unpredictable, chaotic, vicious, and brutal. Your techniques will probably not go as planned and you may have to…

You have to pressure test your application practices.

Most practitioners today do not have to face real violence which is unscripted and random. Any application practice, which is pragmatic in nature, should include many variations in technique and movement, using varying levels of resistance. . There HAS to be resistance, with unpredictability and failure demonstrated and practiced. You have to show what would…

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

Is it accurate to say that no martial art is necessarily better than another? . To provide an answer, you need to first complete the question. Define “better”. A martial art is better at what? Cardio? Sparring? Ground-work? Winning trophies? Self-defense? Street combat? etc. etc. . I think it is safe to say yes, that…

Common misconceptions in self-defense.

Fighting ability is just one aspect of self-defense. It exists alongside other skills such as situational awareness, verbal de-escalation, escaping, weapons, protecting others, the law, etc. which many people unfortunately overlook. . Also learning to recognize and avoid, or verbally de-escalate potentially hostile situations, these are hugely important skills if your interest in practicing the…

A hands up guard may not be useful in self-defense.

In boxing we were taught the importance of a good, tight guard. When you put up a guard you’ve just consented to a fight. . Self-defense is different. In self-defense if you lift your hands and wait in your perfectly aligned tight guard, you’ve lost the initiative, the ability to surprise, and control the enemy’s…

Your Karate isn’t working!

“Karate doesn’t work”…… I hear this all the time. This is a meaningless statement without a qualifier. . Works for what? You have to define the goal and from there seek the solution. . For you, is it a martial art (culture, health, personal challenge, etc). Is it fighting, competition, tournaments (consensual). Or is it…

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…