Results – Get Some

ktadmin Posted in Awareness, Questions, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
0

The image says it all.  Think about it and then truly ask yourself if you are doing the work to get the results you want?

Round House Kicks

ktadmin Posted in Technique, Training notes,Tags: , , , , ,
0

The Round House Kick is perhaps the most difficult kick to master.  There are several reasons for this, the most obvious is the need to trust yourself and commit to the movement of the kick.  Whether it is a standing, jumping, front or reverse round house kick the commitment is the same.  In any round house kick there is great power but also significant exposure.  IF the kick is not executed with excellent technique and extreme speed your opponent will have ample time to slide in close where the round house kick is useless.  That truly is the only defense against a round-house kick other than getting out of the way.  Since the round house kick delivers a force that leverages almost all of the attackers weight plus the momentum behind that weight trying to block a round house kick is often foolhardy.  The best defense is to not be where your attacker thinks you are going to be!  Move!!  The second defense I already mentioned which is to get in close, slow dance close to your attacker.  If you succeed their round house kick will be ineffective, you will make them lose their balance, surprise them and typically be behind them or to their side with ample of targets to exploit while they recover from the surprise.  If you fail, then the fight might just be over…for you…

Master Cat executing a flying round house kick to the head of this young Sumo wrestler!While the round house kick is a beautiful kick, I always caution my students to only use it after they perfect it.  When practicing the round house you should work with a heavy bag.  You need to learn to commit to the kick and follow through without hesitation.  This is best accomplished with a heavy bag so you learn proper control.  Once you are skilled with the kick you can work with a partner using a arm/target bag, this way you can add the dynamics of trying to execute a round house kick on a moving target.  The more you practice the better you will get.  Have your partner move in and out, try to evade, etc.  This will help you judge if your speed is sufficient to make the round house kick and effective sparring/fighting tool.  If you your the round house in a fight, remember to help your opponent find medical attention after the fight!

Train hard, Train often.  OSU!

I couldn’t resist posting this picture of a cat executing a flying round house kick to the head of this young Sumo wrestler!

Hard Work ≠ Exercise

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Fitness, Training notes,Tags: , ,
0

Don’t take the title wrong, I am not making light of hard work.  I have engaged in hard work most of my life, real hard work.  I’ve work construction pouring concrete for 10+ hours a day, raising houses, roofing in the middle of summer and digging ditches.  Real hard work not the kind you hear about at the water cooler!  Hard manual work can be physically exhausting.  Hard work can make your body stronger.  Hard work can be very rewarding.

But… Hard Work is not Exercise.

As someone who has done hard physical labour for most of my life, this was a hard pill to swallow.  The more I meditated on this thought the more I realised the truth of it.  Hard work can make you strong.  Hard work can give you endurance.  But still, hard work is not exercise because it isn’t usually beneficial to your whole body.  Not saying I want to arm-wrestle with a steel worker!  But even the steel workers (I had one for a student) need exercise.  Exercise is about more than strength of a specific muscle group, it is about fitness.  The downside of hard work is it often leaves you to exhausted to exercise.  Any good exercise program will help you accomplish 3 main things, elevate your heart rate (aerobic), work your muscles (strengthen) and most importantly and often forgotten improve your agility (flexibility).  No hard work is going to do all three of these.  Add a balanced diet of appropriate portion sizes and you have yourself a recipe for good health and happy thoughts.  Make your exercise a part of your daily life by spreading throughout your day and night, it makes it harder to skip and will improve your mood and day.

People think exercising is hard work, if they do tell them they are doing it wrong, because Hard Work isn’t exercise!

The funny thing about exercise, is most people view it as a chore, but no matter who you are, you always feel better afterwards…

Does Age Matter?

ktadmin Posted in Articles of Interest, Fitness, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
0

I’ve been asked this question many times. Invariably I respond with, No. But does it? On some level, of course it does, but what does that mean?

Interestingly I started to write this post back in November of 2007, a little over 4 years ago!  Guess I needed some time (and age) to gain the right perspective!  So what do I think, 4 years later?  I still stand by my above statement, No.  But I will add, your age doesn’t matter if you are willing to put in the work.  We all age differently, some of this is genetic, however some of this depends on the lifestyle we choose to live.  Do we eat regular healthy meals, get proper rest, exercise regularly and manage our stress correctly?  Those are your lifestyle choices.  Now I am a realist and not all of us have a choice about all the items in that list.  Often our jobs don’t allow us to eat healthy meals or get enough rest and too often the rocket our stress levels to unhealthy heights!  After all we live in the real world.  If you are living in a McMansion with two Mercedes in the driveway then these factors are your chosen lifestyle.  If you are supporting a family and getting by these factors are called life.  That doesn’t mean we can’t do things differently to reduce the negative affects these factors can have on our life and our training.  It does however take a choice and the will to act on that choice.

Age doesn’t matter if you are willing to put in the work.  This is true for a student of any age, however, as we age more work is typically necessary!  Yes, there always is a catch.  As we age we lose two things, strength and flexibility.  Everyone focuses on strength OR flexibility but few focus on both.  Flexibility is actually the more important of the two since many stretching exercises will also increase your strength.  IN this type of article it is nearly impossible for me to tailor the proper regiment since (especially as we age) everyone’s needs are different.  By that I mean there are many factors to consider, like your body type, what your bodies strengths and weaknesses are (they may not be what you think), and what your current lifestyle is like.  If you can’t make a program fit into your lifestyle then you might as well not even try because you are setting yourself up for failure.  Harsh, blunt, yes, but true.

If you haven’t workout in a long time here is what I suggest.  If you have been “in shape” (not obese) most of your life AND you have never been in or had any traumatic injury then I can pretty safely bet you could use most well rounded fitness programs with great success.  If you don’t fall into that category and you are over 30-35 years of age I strongly suggest you go to your nearest Physical Therapy clinic and ask for a free assessment.  Most PT clinics will give a free assessment which will give you some guidance on your bodies strengths and weaknesses.  If you are willing to pay for one or two visits most Physical Therapists will give you customized exercises to get your body “stable” thus reducing your chances of injury.

Notice above I did not say get yourself to the nearest Dojo or Yoga studio!  If you already attend, great but if you are serious about being the best martial artist you can be, then you need to start with a strong foundation.  I do not offer this advice lightly, I am speaking from experience.  I have had several significant traumas to my body, however I have always been “in shape” and very active (aside from trauma recovery times).  Even though I consider myself a competent trainer and martial artist I believe in always seeking help where needed.  I spent one and a half years in physical therapy and it was worth the time and effort.  Alone I now know that I would have continued to damage my weak points and strengthen my strong points, which in an exaggerated sense leads to a Quasimodo state of fitness; strong, functional yet not well rounded and balanced!

To wrap this up, if you are willing to put in the work make sure it is the right work.  If going to a PT isn’t an option test your own range of motion and reflexes.  No one is usually aware of their blind spots and that includes physical blind spots because we learn to compensate for them.  If you are going to go it alone just make sure you get an diverse mixture of flexibility and strength training, heavy on the flexibility training.

All this is worthless if you aren’t taking in a diet of healthy food and appropriate portions.

Board Breaking

Sensei Posted in Fun Stuff, State of Mind, Technique, Training notes, Video,Tags: , , , ,
0

Let’s start with a laugh, I like to say I’ve never met a board I didn’t like…
[zdvideo]http://karatetraining.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/terry-gantner-family-workout.flv[/zdvideo]

Well anyone who has attempted to break a board has experienced this at least once!  Lose your mental focus, feel fear or uncertainty, lose your physical focus and that will probably be you jumping around screaming!

Focus, this is the real trick in the Martial Arts or any fighting art, to much focus (see above) can be a bad thing.  While you may gain power you lose your situational awareness.  Instead of focus you need to train to stay relaxed, aware of your situation and fluid, this will give you the ability to react without the time delay of planned movements.  When I spar I rarely look at my opponent, in other words I do not focus on the person I am fighting.  Instead I relax my focus and heighten my awareness of the entire sparring situation, taking in their whole body or multiple attackers.  This is almost the opposite of what most students are taught when breaking boards.  Yet relaxing your focus can accomplish the same thing with the benefit of not getting tunnel vision.  You are simply putting your fist or knife hand strike to a defined spot, past the object, regardless of the object.

However I’d like to end by saying I have never met a board I didn’t like…

Perhaps I need to rethink that!

Kyokushin Katas

ktadmin Posted in History, Styles, Technique, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
0

Kata (forms)

Kata is the synergy or technique and skill.  Kata is a form of ritualized training in which patterned or memorized movements are done in order to practice a form of virtualized combat.  Several kata are also done in “ura” denoted by the ura at the end of the Kata name.  Ura indicates a different pattern of footwork that produces a spin on one foot for almost every move.   The ura versions of the Kata were developed by Mas Oyama to improve balance and agility.

Northern Kata

The northern kata have their origins in Shotokan karate, which Oyama learned while training under Gichin Funakoshi. The URA, or ‘reverse’ kata were developed by Oyama as an aid to developing balance and multi-direction combat skills. (some areas now phase out the prefix “sono”).

    Taikyoku – (one translation: Beginners Mind

  • Taikyoku sono ichi
  • Taikyoku sono ni
  • Taikyoku sono san
    Pinan – (one translation: peace and relaxation

  • Pinan Sono Ichi
  • Pinan Sono Ni
  • Pinan Sono San
  • Pinan Sono yon
  • Pinan Sono Go
  • Kanku-dai – (translation: to view the sky)
  • Sushiho – (translation: 54 steps)

Kyokushin unique Northern Kata

  • Sokugi Taikyoku sono ichi (all leg work)
  • Sokugi Taikyoku sono ni (all leg work)
  • Sokugi Taikyoku sono san (all leg work)
  • Sokugi Taikyoku sono yon (all leg work)
  • Taikyoku sono ichi ura (with spins)
  • Taikyoku sono ni ura (with spins)
  • Taikyoku sono san ura (with spins)
  • Pinan sono ichi ura (with spins)
  • Pinan sono ni ura (with spins)
  • Pinan sono san ura (with spins)
  • Pinan sono yon ura (with spins)
  • Pinan sono go ura (with spins)

Southern Kata

The southern Kata have their origins in Goju Ryu karate, which Oyama learned while training under So Nei Chu and Gogen Yamaguchi.

  • Sanchin (translation: three points or three battles)
  • Tsuki no kata  (Translation: punching Kata)
  • Gekisai Dai (Translation: Attack and Smash)
  • Gekisai Sho  (Translation: Attack and Smash)
  • Tensho   (Translation: Revolving Hands)
  • Saifa  (Translation: Smash and Tear Down)
  • Seienchin (Translation: Grip and Pull into Battle)
  • Seipai (Translation: 18 or 3×6 (has significance in Buddhism)
  • Yantsu (Translation: Keep Pure)

Kyokushin unique Southern Kata

The kata Garyu (translation: Reclining Dragon) is not taken from traditional Okinawan karate but was created by Mas Oyama and named after the village where he was born in Korea. The kata Yantsu is also often believed to be an original Kyokushin kata but there is enough evidence to suggest it finds its roots in Okinawa before Oyama created Kyokushin.

Put a little Jump in it…

ktadmin Posted in Fitness, Technique, Training notes,Tags: , ,
0

Just put a little Jump Rope in your workout today…Stamina, Strength and Jump Strength!

 

The 3 K’s of Kyokushin

ktadmin Posted in Styles, Technique, Training notes,Tags: , , , , , ,
0

I train in and teach Kyokushin Karate. One of the things that I love about my style is the simplicity of it all. Yes you read correctly. At its core Kyokushin training consists of three main elements: (1) technique, (2) forms, and (3) sparring. These are sometimes referred to as the three “K’s” after the Japanese words for them: kihon (technique), kata (forms), and kumite (sparring).

Kihon (technique):

Technique is everything in Karate.  Some may disagree with that but without technique you can not gain perfection.  Masutatsu Oyama, once said that after 1,000 repetitions one could say that one could perform a given technique. Only after 10,000 repetitions could one say that one had mastered it. Some students may think that they master certain move more quickly however the premise is correct.  To many student rush their training, like a race to the black belt, of course they could not rush their training if they did not have a willing Sensei.  Part of the mastery of technique in the martial arts is a mastery of self, which leads to perfection of form.  If someone tells you they attained their black belt in 2 years (730 days) or 3 years (1095 days) ask how often they trained.

Kata (forms):

Kata is the synergy or technique and skill.  Performed correctly the student will visualize his/her opponents for each move and execute each step with the appropriate power, speed and focus.  Masutatsu Oyama was slightly more generous with forms; saying that after 1,000 repetitions one could say that one had mastered a given form. Since Kata is technique in motion and if we focus on technique first this statement makes sense.  I equate Kata to dance or moving meditation, like either the movements must be fluid and natural, which can only be accomplished with a quiet mind.  When we first begin to learn a Kata we must think to learn the succession of movements but with continued practice the moves should become instinctive, second nature.  Only then can the Kata begin to flow as an expression perfect technique in motion.  Many discount Kata because they don’t see the immediate benefit of performing Kata, yet those with patience learn from Kata, clarity of mind, new applications of old techniques, and gain muscle memory for most situations.  Kata is the core of training the Martial Arts mind and sense.

Kumite (sparring):

Kumite or Sparring is the goal for some students and the bane of others.  Regardless of your motivation for practicing the Martial Arts sparring is critical to maturing your skills.  Some students and instructors believe in full-contact sparring from the beginning, if you are in the Military or live in DC then I would agree, but for most students this can lead to very bad habits and flinching.  Like training in Kihon and Kata training that progresses is better.  I prefer to start students sparring with defined rules, including light contact, defend only, hands only, or feet only.  In this way students are provided a safe environment where familiarity and trust is built with themselves and their fellow students.  Trust is important.  Most students have day jobs or classes and are ill served with facial bruises or broken bones.  Control of one self means having the ability to inflict equally a light strike or rib crushing blow.  While students need to understand what it feels like to get hit and how to take a hit, they need to be ready for it both physically and mentally.  Sparring should be frequent and fun.

These are my thoughts and experience with the 3 Ks, be flexible and adaptable in your training for tunnel vision is something you want in your opponent not yourself.

To Serve & Protect??

ktadmin Posted in Awareness, Control, Law Enforcement, State of Mind, Technique, Training notes,Tags: , , , ,
1
Here is a story that will make you feel safe…unfortunately it is an all to common event.
In ENFIELD, CT (as reported here)

Two female officers were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries Tuesday afternoon after responding to a reported domestic violence incident, police said.

One officer was struck repeatedly in the face and the other’s arm was injured while she was trying to protect herself, police said. Both were taken to Johnson Memorial Hospital, treated and released.

The two officers were at a house on Garden Drive around 5 p.m. when the altercation began, police said.

One person, a 15-year-old male, has been arrested. His charges have not been released because of his age.

There is very little discussion about cases like these because the violate the politically correct environment society wants.  In the comments on this article someone mentioned that there was no mention of the size of the 15 years old assailant, his size shouldn’t matter.  Police Officers are well equip and even if they are not should be sufficiently proficient at defending and subduing someone, especially two to one!  Any Martial Artist or self-defense instructor can show multiple ways for any situation to over power bigger, stronger opponents.   Of course experience counts for a lot, you can practice a technique all your life but until you try it in a live or realistic simulated environment it is untested.  The biggest problem with the above story is it demonstrates that the officers lost control of the situation, a luxury no Police Officer can afford.

Another commenter stated “Police Officers DO NOT receive hand-to-hand combat training.  They have not for almost 25 years, since a female officer was injured in training and sued over her injuries (and won).  I love what the public is willing to believe about those elected or hired to protect them, based on common sense yes, facts…no.”  Most people will not believe that first statement it is true, (which proves the third sentence), at least in Connecticut.  Some Officers seek their own training however while they should it is no replacement for training common to all Officers, where they can test and challenge each other.

Perhaps the next time you think about your safety you’ll remember this story and realize you are on your own more then you realize.  Perhaps it is time to get back to that Karate Class and hone your skills!?

Can’t

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Articles of Interest, Quotes, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , , ,
0

Words spoken by others are powerless unless we give them power.  “Sticks & Stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you”.  I’ve spoken and written on that in the past.  That is not the topic today but it is an important backdrop.  While we should be thick skinned when people speak hurtfully or hatefully towards us, this is only half of the equation.

Words do have power.  Words can define our being and our existence.  The words we use, think and in some sense feel can affect us both mentally, physically and spiritually.  Can’t or Can Not is just such a word.  One of my students reminded me of this last night.  We were working on a new block drill which he was having a hard time with.  In trying to correct him he got frustrated and said “I Can’t”…and that was the end of it.  You see, “I Can’t” turned into he couldn’t because he believed it and more importantly he quit with that proclamation.  It didn’t matter that I knew he could.  It didn’t matter that he knew how to do the block already.  Through his proclamation, “I Can’t” he made the possible, impossible.  He changed the state of his mind from positive effort to negative reservation of defeat.  I spoke to him about this and having no affect had him sit out the rest of that drill to reflect.

Later in the class we were doing bag work, a standing side kick to be specific, and I corrected something he was doing wrong.  After a couple of corrections he began to say ” I c…” I was ready for him and abruptly cut him off and admonished him to not finish that statement.  I then helped him focus, reminded him of the correct technique, distracted his mind and within three attempts he was doing it correctly!  Unlike the first drill, I had stopped his negative statement before it became his truth and in doing so helped him succeed.

Hopefully all of my students learned from that event.  I commented on it to drive the point home.  The power of “I can’t” or “I don’t know” or negative statements like them are underestimated by most.  Often people use them as an excuse, for it is easier to say “I can’t” then to try and fail.  Some are so afraid of failure that they would rather never try then to admit they are lacking, in that way they can always fantasize that hey could have, would have or can ‘when they are ready’.  This is perfectly normal among children, it is part of growing up, dealing with fear and personal limitation, however left unchecked it can handicap the adult they will become, leading them to a life of mediocrity filled with missed chances.  ‘Should of, Could of, Would of’ is what they will see when they look back on their life.

Words are powerful.  But the power resides in ourselves, what power we give them, how they affect what we believe about ourselves.

The following quote isn’t in perfect alignment with my above thoughts, but it does speak to staying positive and always giving everything your best effort, regardless of how things seem or the opinions of others.  It may take you more attempts then others to accomplish something but I guarantee if you stay positive and keep trying you will accomplish more then most.

If successful people have one common trait, it’s an utter lack of cynicism. The world owes them nothing. They go out and find what they need without asking for permission; they’re driven, talented, and work through negatives by focusing on the positives.
– Mike Zimmerman