Tag Archives: Karate

Old School Core Training

Old school seems to be back in vogue, crunches are on the way out and real core strength is on the way back in, hence the popularity of Kettlebells and Jim Smith’s excellent work www.CombatCore.com

Here’s an exercise that’s been around for generations in the martial arts world. Fighters need a strong core, both for generating and for absorbing power. To this end kata’s/form’s such as Seisan and Sanchin were devised, I demo seisan here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW3knrDSw_A&hl=en]

Fans of Dragon Door will recognise the first section of the form is based around “Power Breathing”, the second section is more about releasing the pent up tension. Oh and you get to practice your fighting techniques while you’re at it, how’s that for functional training?

Wild Geese
www.wildgeesema.com
www.WG-Fit.com
any cause but our own

The importance of hitting things

I was covering a Kenpo class there yesterday, I wasn’t too familiar with the student as he belongs to another instructor.
The lad is dedicated and bright, but when I asked him to show me which Kenpo techniques he wanted to go over, I was frankly gobsmacked!!

One of the things that I have always loved about Kenpo, since I first came across it in 2001, was the speed, power and efficiency involved in it’s movement. I’ve always disliked the overly complex syllabus, but we can’t have it all our own way.

Now watching this lad show me a few of the techniques from the green belt, i could barely believe what I was seeing. Now just to clear this up, the lad is able and dedicated, he does what he’s been shown. So the mistakes he was making are purely down to the instruction he has received.

Here’s a fella, comes in 3-4 times a week, is in the intermediate stages of the syllabus and has no concept of body mechanics, power, moving from the hips, pushing from the ground and poor balance. How did I remedy this, simple, introduced a thing called contact.

I took the fella over to the bags, broke the techniques down to simpler combinations and had him spend about an hour repeatedly executing these combo’s with power on the bag.

The result.

1 a greater understanding of the techniques
2 the ability to balance
3 moving from the hip
4 strength delivered from the legs
5 no longer leaning away when striking
6 a big boost in confidence

This lad, like countless other around the world has suffered due to instructor laziness and lack of imagination.
Traditional martial arts already take enough of a slagging because we spend our time waving our arms in the air doing forms and kata. And to a degree it’s deserved. If you teach a class invest in some strike pads, focus mits, punch bags, whatever you have the funds and facilities for and have your students spend some time hitting things, the founders and fighters from your style/system certainly did.

Your students will thank you for it.

Wild Geese
www.wildgeesema.com
www.wg-fit.com
any cause but our own

80% of Fights End Up On The Floor

True. But don’t forget that 90% start on the feet.

The truth is, if you’re awareness has failed and you find yourself in a situation that you can’t talk yourself out of, the chances are you’re on your feet (as are the antagonists).

This is where preemptive striking, power and accuracy will come into play. You want to know that when you make contact, it counts. The ground is the last place you want to be.

For this reason the majority of traditional martial arts are all stand up based, including kenpo and eskrima. Many Filipino’s have a very simple viewpoint of ground fighting, if you see people doing it, go over and stab one of them, or kick a few heads.

Does this mean we shouldn’t learn grappling, absolutely not. It is a very valuable skill, and great conditioning, but it is far from being the be all and end all I often see it touted as.

You won’t see finer grappling than in the octagon of the UFC. But on many occasions I’ve heard discussions with various mma’ers that go the way of “but most fights go to ground……”, “submissions are best….” etc, please note I hold mma in the highest regard and have a few of my own students actively involved in mma. But on the street these arguments are highly flawed.

My personal favorite UFC fighter is the former champion and UFC legend, Chuck Liddel.

Why?

He fights similar to a street fighter, avoiding going to ground and instead preferring to knock out the majority of his opponents. That and the fact that he’s also a Kenpo man. Chuck has great takedown defence and awesome striking power.

Rolling on the ground is great training, but do so for more than a second or two outside and you’ll have people putting the boot in on you from all sides. Submissions on the street are dangerous, it is much safer to strike with all you have and get the hell out of dodge.

Spend time on the heavy bag, incorporate power training (kettlebells are great for this), learn to hit from any angle with all your natural weapons (hammer fist, palm, knuckles, forearms, elbows etc..)with no wind up and full hip and body involvement. Train to strike from compromised positions where you have no space to swing, no leverage from your legs or one limb disabled.

And train to be accurate and relentless.

Wild Geese
any cause but our own

Itosu’s 10 Precepts of Karate

The following blog is a translation commissioned by Iain Abernethy, the original can be found here: http://blog.iainabernethy.com/?p=81

_________________________________________________________

Karate did not develop from Buddhism or Confucianism. In the past the Shorin-ryu school and the Shorei-ryu school were brought to Okinawa from China. Both of these schools have strong points and I therefore list them below just as they are without embellishment.

1. Karate is not merely practiced for your own benefit; it can be used to protect one’s family or master. It is not intended to be used against a single assailant but instead as a way of avoiding injury by using the hands and feet should one by any chance be confronted by a villain or ruffian.

2. The purpose of karate is to make the muscles and bones hard as rock and to use the hands and legs as spears. If children were to begin training naturally in military prowess while in elementary school, then they would be well suited for military service. Remember the words attributed to the Duke of Wellington after he defeated Napoleon, “Today’s battle was won on the playing fields of our schools”.

3. Karate cannot be quickly learned. Like a slow moving bull, it eventually travels a thousand leagues. If one trains diligently for one or two hours every day, then in three or four years one will see a change in physique. Those who train in this fashion will discover the deeper principles of karate.

4. In karate, training of the hands and feet are important, so you should train thoroughly with a sheaf of straw (#). In order to do this, drop your shoulders, open your lungs, muster your strength, grip the floor with your feet, and concentrate your energy into your lower abdomen. Practice using each arm one to two hundred times each day.

5. When you practice the stances of karate, be sure to keep your back straight, lower your shoulders, put strength in your legs, stand firmly, and drop your energy into your lower abdomen.

6. Practice each of the techniques of karate repeatedly. Learn the explanations of every technique well, and decide when and in what manner to apply them when needed. Enter, counter, withdraw is the rule for torite.

7. You must decide if karate is for your health or to aid your duty.

8. When you train, do so as if on the battlefield. Your eyes should glare, shoulders drop, and body harden. You should always train with intensity and spirit as if actually facing the enemy, and in this way you will naturally be ready.

9. If you use up your strength to excess in karate training, this will cause you to lose the energy in your lower abdomen and will be harmful to your body. Your face and eyes will turn red. Be careful to control your training.

10. In the past, many masters of karate have enjoyed long lives. Karate aids in developing the bones and muscles. It helps the digestion as well as the circulation. If karate should be introduced, beginning in the elementary schools, then we will produce many men each capable of defeating ten assailants.

If the students at teacher training college learn karate in accordance with the above precepts and then, after graduation, disseminate this to elementary schools in all regions, within 10 years karate will spread all over Okinawa and to mainland Japan. Karate will therefore make a great contribution to our military. I hope you will seriously consider what I have written here – Anko Itosu, October 1908

(#) – Translator not a martial artist and hence translated the word “Makiwara” to “Sheath of Straw” when leaving the word un-translated would have been fine.

________________________________________________________

Iain Abernethy has been involved in the martial arts since childhood. Iain holds the rank of 5th Dan with both the British Combat Association (one of the world’s leading groups for close-quarter combat, self-protection and practical martial arts) and Karate England (the official governing body for Karate in England). Iain regularly writes for the UK’s leading martial arts magazines and he is a member of the “Combat Hall of Fame”.

Find out more about real karate at his website http://www.iainabernethy.com/default.htm

Wild Geese Martial Arts
any cause but our own