Saturday, 28 May 2016

I was going to write a post about changing height and posture, but then I found this article by Jesse

Jesse's articles have always been really informative and straight to the point. If you have read his article on Ki you would know that he is not really one for the esoteric aspects of martial arts. His down to earth, no-nonsense style of writing is something that I have gotten used to. Also the fact that, as who is probably Karate's biggest promotor I came to expect him to write about- well... Karate.

This article is about a topic that came up a week ago in our dojo as well- Pressure Points!

Now- I'll be honest. I have once seen a chart like this-

and told myself- this will take far too much thinking for a quick response in a fight so- let me NOT get involved with that.

Nonetheless- there were people who stake their lives on it.

Well- it got me thinking. It happens too often that we get taught HOW to hit, but how many times do we get taught WHERE to hit? And NO! The groin and breasts are not the answer to every self defence problem that comes up! I don't think we as citizens will appreciate a policeman grabbing suspects by the nuts just to make an arrest.

Situations vary. We do not always need to maim or kill an adversary. We don't only get attacked by evil criminals, but often it happens that the assailant is an out of control relative, a spouse or a friend who just is not him/ herself. Diffusing the situation then requires a response that is quick, efficient and doing the least amount of harm.

I am a huge fan of joint locks in situations that require minimal violence. I know, however, that they do not always work.

Now- this is a field that I currently know very little about. So- I am going to start studying it. If any of you who see this post actually have something to share about it, please do.

Hope to hear from you guys- and girls (have to mind the gender equality...) soon.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Now I know 14 katas!

I have been working a lot on my speed lately. At the dojo Sensei has told us that competition fights are now being won by those who can cross long distances the fastest to deliver a gyakuzuki.

Having taken it upon myself to give spectators a bit more to watch than just a gyakuzuki contest I have taken it to heart and streamlined my kicks as well. Fact is- there are some pretty fast people out there. Nonetheless- timing beats speed anytime, so we wil not get obsessed about it.

Amidst the hustle and bustle for the last tournament I have managed to learn 2 new katas, though. Having left karate all those years ago and having moved through 12 katas when I joined the other dojo in 2014 before leaving again have not really enabled me to settle down and learn new katas. Besides- I have been busy working on WSKF basics for the last couple of months since my joining, since it needed a lot of tuning up.

Nonetheless- the fates were kind. Now I have Gojushiho Sho and Kanku Dai. This gives me 2 katas for every day of the week now as I aleady know 5 Heian kata, 2 Tekki kata, Hangetsu, Jion, Enpi, Bassai Dai and Meikyo! 

Sometimes I do kata at the start of my workout- to warm up. At other times- at the end. I do make sure that I do each one often enough, though.

That's it for today.

Enjoy the video!. The song is GJ by Babymetal. 

Stay well!    

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Found a new lever!

Working on my first book I focussed a lot on the basics of grappling, but have far from exhausted the subject.

Most techniques I have explained used a manipulation of the wrist or leg. One other lever I did give brief attention to was the philtrum- the spot right at the bottom of the nose.  

In Judo our opponent wears a gi with a belt, sleeves and lapels that can be grabbed. In actual fights outside the dojo (which you should of course not actively pursue) we do not have those handholds. We dn't have rules either.

Last night- surfing Youtube- my attention was brought to the head. This is how it happened:

I have recently learnt Gojushiho Sho from my Sensei. For those of you that don't study Japanese Karate this is a kata that is taught at senior level. It is officially the most advanced kata I know. I have supplied a link to a video of this awesome kata below:

You will notice the quick open hand thrusts that make up a large part of the kata. I got told that these were 

spear hand strikes and a quick escape from having your wrist grabbed while attacking. 

I have come to take explanations like that with a pinch of salt. A guideline I use in analyzing kata is that a situation or application that is not likely to appear in a real fight should get excluded. When developing or uncovering bunkai, in other words, you have to find a real problem that is likely to occur to which the move is a practical solution.

Not able to come up with answers on my own I have consulted the most reliable source of Bunkai I know in this day and age. No- Not Youtube!

Sensei Iain Abernethy!

Now is this move badass or what?!!

I was excited, scared, in awe and respectful all at once when I saw this application!

Back to my topic now. In Aikido and Judo you may get to learn a lot of wrist holds, locks and throws that start with grabbing a limb, but the head can actually turn the whole body. 

As the kata application shows you would of course have to clear all hazardous limbs out of the way, but once the stance is broken- by either causing the opponent's hips to get pushed out to the rear or by having the opponent bent over backwards like Iain shows we apply pressure to the side of the jaw while pulling the other side or back of the head towards us. Pressure against the mandible in this way is sure to get the head to turn.

Although I love kicking and punching a grappling move like this is definitely not to be refused. 

Now I have yet another kata for morning practice and an awesome move to work on with the next self defence class.

That's what is cooking over here. Keep posting and train well!

Today I have copied a whole lot of pages from my book. Who has been collecting the other pages so far?


Saturday, 7 May 2016


 Long ago I have read the story of Musashi Miyamoto who at the age of 13 killed a much older opponent by unexpectedly stalling the confrontation by unexpectedly stalling the confrontation. First he arrived late, then he took time to remove his shoes, then he first warmed up...

By the time he did get to fighting his opponent was already furious and made that last fatal mistake of eagerly rushing in.

Jesse Enkamp (we all know him, right?) told a story of himself getting out of a confrontation by telling a really hostile individual about the height of a wall.

In the art of fighting we become aware of the nature and course of events. We know what is in place, what is to be expected- and from there we find the opportunities to do the unexpected.

When working with your enemies you will use these tactics to prevent them from functioning properly.

At present I have a feeling that employers and managers in the workplace often use these tactics on the people that are actually on their side! Just as a disruption of an enemy's rhythm can be used to confuse him and to prevent him from carrying out his plans so frequent disruptions of a worker's routine can prevent important work from being done.

If you are an employee I can understand that you cannot really choose to have an employer who knows the Way. If you ever are an employer you can use this knowledge to be more efficient than your competitors.

During sparring it may appear at first to be chaotic and without rhythm, but with experience we become more knowledgeable about "what comes next". The next step to mastery of rhythm is to change the course of events by doing something that is not expected to come next.

Combinations get copied and taught a lot in different styles. I make a point of practicing different follow-ups to different opening attacks. Changing to different kamae (fighting postures) during a tournament fight helps a lot too.

That is all I have to say for today.

Stay well and keep on training!