Posts Tagged ‘training’

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!

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.

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.

Happy Thoughts

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Awareness, Quotes, State of Mind,Tags: , , , ,
2

To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral down into ever increasing unhappiness.
To think good thoughts, however, requires effort.
This is one of the things that discipline – training – is about.

James Clavell, in his novel “Shogun”

I read this book as a young man and have to say it is still one of my favorite novels.  At the time I was training very hard in Karate and this novel steeped me even further in the history and culture of old Japan, brutal, savage yet elegant.  Today I teach students in the art of Karate and hopefully Life.  I am an avid observer of the world and I see increasing negativity in general.  One of the aspects of how I train my students is control of themselves and their minds.  The above quote goes to the root of my teachings (though I never connected the two) in that we control nothing in the world without first controlling ourselves.  Negative thoughts are destructive to yourself, your world and those around you, it is like a disease.  Our thoughts are ours to do with as we please.  Yes our thoughts can be influenced by the things around us.  That is why it is a bad idea for an Alcoholic to hangout in a bar with his/her friends.  Ultimately though we have ourselves to deal with, the environment or situation we are in are only as influential as we let them be.  This all sounds so easy but it is a lifetime of work and practice and failure to become proficient at.  The world is dynamic but our inner world’s are infinitely more dynamic, to infinity and beyond!  But like any lesson it starts small, baby steps, with awareness.  We cannot change or control anything we are unaware of, become and observer of the world.  First we need to see the small things most people never see.  We can find perfection in the small things, the cut of sunlight through a cloud or the beat of a butterfly resting on a flower, or even the silence of being totally alone in a room.  Some of the things you will notice may make you uncomfortable in a strange way, that is your body fighting awareness the way you fight waking in the morning (if you are like me!).  What does this have to do with not being negative?  Everything.  You could start by focusing on not thinking negative thoughts, however your success would be short lived.  You have to have something to fill the void left by the negative thoughts you eventually will banish.  Why?   Because your brain never stops, it is always churning away, in the computer world we call that paging.  Paging is moving information into and out of usable memory, if you page to much you can’t do any useful computations or make any useful observations.  Observing the little things in the world require you to stop thinking so much, to quiet your mind or in computer terms to limit or stop paging so we can take in new information.  As you do this you are increasing your positive memories and thoughts and reducing your negative thoughts without trying to force it.  You will eventually get to a point where you will be able to control what your brain is processing positive or negative and more importantly know when you are paging negativity because you are more aware.  Awareness is one of the keys to good thoughts with its byproduct, happiness.  As an observer you often find yourself in a calm state of acceptance like someone watching a play…but that is a topic for another discussion.
‘Stop and smell the roses’ are words of supreme wisdom which few of us ever understand until it is to late.  Stay positive, train hard, train often.

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

10 Minutes to Get in Shape!

ktadmin Posted in Diet, Fitness, Recipes and Health Facts, Technique,Tags: , , , , ,
0

We all have busy schedules and to be honest there often isn’t enough time in the day to get a good workout in.  All the exercise programs, DVDs and clubs make it sound so easy, well honestly when it is your job it is easy!  But I am assuming most of us are not getting paid to workout and stay in shape!!  So what is a busy person with a real life to do?  How are you supposed to go to work, take care of the kids, clean the house, cook the meals, shop for the essentials, do the laundry, find a few minutes to relax, and still find the time to workout and get in shape?!

Well I am tired just thinking of all those mundane chores that need to be done, but that is part of the solution…stop thinking!  Seriously you are wasting valuable energy thinking about the daunting list of tasks you need to attend to.  Baby Steps.  Now that your mind is clear, you should be able to find roughly extra ten minutes you use to spend thinking (worrying) about all your responsibilities.  What to do with that ten minutes?

Get in Shape of course!  In ten minutes?  Yes, it is your first step towards getting in shape.  It is best if you can use do your ten minutes first thing in the morning, before the demands of the day start to give you excuses for not having ten minutes!

Ten minutes of exercise per day can get rid of extra pounds, but you have to be committed to giving ten minutes per day (every day) for three months.  Doing this will yield stronger muscles, weight loss and a more relaxed body.  Ten minutes a day can get rid of those extra pounds you are carrying.

Remember you have to do this for three months, not just a week or two.

The first thing you want to do is warm your body up.  Do this by performing 4 minutes of cardiovascular exercises.  (Run/Walk fast on treadmill, run in place, briskly climb the stairs, stationary bike, jumping jacks, jump rope, etc).

Now that your body is warmed up you will perform 3 minutes of strength exercises.

Here you want to do push-ups (wall push-ups for the beginner), squats, lunges, arm squats (hands on the seat of a chair, feet on another chair, lower yourself and then back up).  Whatever exercises you choose should give work to the various areas of your body want to target.  These need to be resistance based exercises, if you have weights you can use them during this 3 minute period.

We are now 7 minutes in to our ten minute workout!

Next we will spend 2 minutes working on your abdominals and core muscle groups.

Here you can do sit-ups, planks, upward leg lifts (lying on your back).  Again the exercises you choose are fine just make they focus on your abs and core muscle groups.

One minute left and we can get back to our busy lives!  We will spend this last minute stretching and breathing, yes stretching and breathing!

Perform deep breathing exercises while you stretch while sitting on the floor.  With you legs spread, your back straight and arched, stretch your arms above your head, palms up.  Next stretch your arms, finger pointed directly in front of you.  Now stretch down the length of each leg reaching as far as you can.  Finally stretch your arms, fingers interlocked, behind you raising your arms as far as is comfortable.  Remember to take deep slow cleansing breaths with each stretch.  Proper breathing increases the blood flow thereby helping in the remove of the fat and toxins your exercise just released.

That’s it, you are done.  Now you can start your day feeling invigorated, stress free and relaxed. Now all those things you needed to do also don’t seem so daunting.  Stay Safe and Have Fun.

Burning Stomach Fat – Work that Core

ktadmin Posted in Fitness, Recipes and Health Facts, Technique, Training notes,Tags: , , , , ,
0

There are many exercises we can employ to help us burn fat, but as we discussed in this previous post we need to build muscle if we really want to burn those fat cells off!  Many people think they need to work their abdominals to get their six-pack abs but the forget the curtain of fat that is sitting in front of their stomach muscles.  We need to strengthen our whole body, not just our abdominals and in the process of getting stronger we will be reducing that padding that is hiding our six-pack abs.  As a Martial Artist you need to make sure you are also strengthening the muscles supporting your abdominals, this will give you more power and help you to better “take a hit”.

Here are a couple exercises to get us started as we work into a stronger body.

Bicycle Crunch:

This exercise like so many is all about having the proper form.  Bicycle crunches were deemed the best ab exercise by the San Diego State University.  This exercise will work all the muscles in your abdomen including those supporting your six-pack.

  • Start by lying on your back on the floor or mat
  • Lie on your back with knees bent and calves parallel to the floor
  • Cup your ears loosely with your hands
  • Move your legs in a bicycle motion (elbows to opposite knees)
  • Keep your heels four inches off the floor
  • Every knee touch equals one repetition

Don’t try to do these really fast, keep a steady pace, remember you will only be cheating yourself.  Remember to alternate sides so you get a balanced workout.

It is important that you do not pull your head forward as this can cause injury or stress to your neck. Notice in the image that the hands are not interlocked, they are touching the side of the head to prevent you from accidentally pulling on your neck.  You’ll feel this one working right away.


This next one always makes me smile because it reminds me of a toddler throwing a tantrum!  When I was first introduced to this exercise I have to admit to mocking the value of this exercise, then I tried it…I’ve been a believe ever since!

Alternating Superman:

This exercise gets its name from the initial position because you lie on the ground like Superman flying in the air, minus the cape (hopefully).  Now you are ready to start…

  • Lying face down on a mat with your arms stretched above your head (like superman)
  • Raise your right arm and left leg about 5-6 inches off the ground (or as far as you comfortably can).
  • Hold for 3-15 seconds and relax.
  • Repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Notice that you keep your head down during this exercise. Do not raise your head and look up, this will potentially injure or strain your neck.

If you find this to difficult you can modify this exercise by doing it on all fours (knees and hands).  From this position raise your opposite arm and leg out as straight as possible.  You should form a straight line from foot to hand.  Eventually you will get strong enough and can switch to the lying position.  As the exercise becomes easier, increase the amount of time you hold the position until you reach 60 seconds.

This one is great for your abs and your lower back.  While this is easier on your lower back then some exercises, if you have back problems start slow and see how your body handles it.


Keep reading as I will be posting more exercises to help you build muscles and burn fat.

Some of these exercises to reduce abdominal fat may make you wish that you had never set out to learn how to burn stomach fat in the first place, but the results will make it all worth it in the end!

Please check with your doctor before beginning any health and fitness program.