5 things you should never say or think…

ktadmin Posted in Karate, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , , , , , ,

We live in a sensitive world. That doesn’t make it right. Below are 5 things people say almost daily that most people find “acceptable”. That doesn’t make it right. I was raised in a sticks-and-stones household. I went to a sticks-and-stones high school. For some the term sticks-and-stones may be a foreign concept, that is sad. For you, it means that “sticks and stones” (and fists and feet) will hurt me. Words only have the power I assign to them. It means be a Man and get a thick skin, actions speak louder than words. It also means be truthful, honest and responsible or you will be called out.

Sadly this is a nearly dead culture in America today, I would guess in most of the world too. Still not understanding what I am getting at? Here are 5 things you should never say or think, but they are very prevalent in society today. If you are a Karate practitioner, you should be familiar with this list, if you aren’t your training may not be complete or your Sensei finds them acceptable.

“I can’t do that.”

If somebody had said this he would’ve found himself challenged and forced to the attempt and success. Unless a physical handicap is present, replace your “can” or “can’t,” with “will” or “won’t.” There’s always a way. Find it.

“Sorry I’m late.”

You don’t hear this in a culture of accountability because expectations are set, and if they’re not met then there are repercussions. Not to say that expectations don’t change, but it’s not for a lack of effort in fulfilling them.

“I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.”

Seriously, Feelings? What’s that?

“I don’t know.”

While admitting uncertainty is perfectly fine, the statement alone leaves much to be desired. Instead, try saying “I don’t know yet, but I’ll find out and get back to you.” This latter part is what demonstrates a proactive mindset and a willingness to work, rather than leaving your ambition open to interpretation.

“Let’s talk this out.”

stop-be-a-manThere is nothing like the camaraderie. Nothing else even comes close to paralleling the tight bond, unity and cohesion found amongst men you train with. Having said that, some people just need a good whoopin’ once in a while to keep egos in check, and fellow students and friends are no different. Confronting difficult issues and learning from them is what turns mediocrity into greatness.

Thanks to this article for giving me the basis for this post.

Get Karate Fit!

ktadmin Posted in Fitness, Karate,Tags: , , , ,

We are all looking to get in and stay in shape.  If you want to get serious practice Karate!  Karate combines core, cardio and stretching to give you the best workout available.

fitness facts for karateOSU!

Fighting Rules

ktadmin Posted in Karate, Training notes,Tags: , , ,

They really are this simple…

However, some times easier said than done!

The 11 Motto’s of Mas Oyama

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Sosai Masutatsu “Mas” Oyama summed up his entire Martial Arts philosophy in his Eleven Motto’s, known as the “Zayū no Mei Jūichi Kajō” 座右の銘十一個条, which are central to his teaching.  Many of these hold very practical application even today.

11 Motto’s

  1. The Martial Arts way begins and ends with courtesy. Therefore, be properly and genuinely courteous at all times.
  2. Following the Martial Way is like scaling a cliff – continue upwards without rest. It demands absolute and unfaltering devotion to the task at hand.
  3. Strive to seize the initiative in all things, all the time guarding against actions stemming from selfish animosity or thoughtlessness.
  4. Even for the Martial Artist, the place of money cannot be ignored. Yet one should be careful never to become attached to it.
  5. The Martial Way is centred on posture. Strive to maintain correct posture at all times.
  6. The Martial Way begins with one thousand days and is mastered after ten thousand days of training.
  7. In the Martial Arts, introspection begets wisdom. Always see contemplation on your actions as an opportunity to improve.
  8. The nature and purpose of the Martial Way is universal. All selfish desires should be roasted in the tempering fires of hard training.
  9. The Martial Arts begin with a point and end in a circle. Straight lines stem from this principal.
  10. The true essence of the Martial Way can only be realized through experience. Knowing this, learn never to fear its demand.
  11. Always remember: in the Martial Arts, the rewards of a confident and grateful heart are truly abundant.

Kyokushin: Topic Katas

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Kyokushin Kata

The word ‘Kata’ means shape or pattern. The ‘Kanji’ Kata is composed of the following characters:

kanji_katachi     Katachi Katachi meaning “shape” or “pattern”;

kanji kai cut     Kai Kai means “cutting”;

kanji tsuchi     Tsuchi Tsuchi meaning “Earth” or “Soul”.

Literally translated , kata means “shape which cuts the earth.” Sounds intimidating and some of them can be!

A Kata is a sequence of defensive and offensive moves executed from various stances and positions.  The defensive and offensive moves consist of the appropriate blocks, kicks and punches for the given situation.  Kata are a 360 degree activity requiring movement in many different directions. The number of movements and their sequence are very accurately recorded.  The balance between offensive and defensive techniques, postures, direction and execution of the movements give each Kata its own specific character.  In beginning katas there is typically a symmetry of the left and right sides.

The performance of Kata helps in teaching the traditional fighting techniques.  Balance, coordination, breathing and concentration are developed by practising the Kata.  If done well, Kata not only provides excellent physical exercise but also an effective form of total mind and body workout. Kata know the “Ren Ma” principle which stands for “always polishing”.  This means that mastery through concentrated practice of the Kata’s movements increases understanding of the Kata meaning and use in real-life situations.

Concentration, dedication and practice ensure that a higher level of learning is achieved . A level that Kata is so integrated into the subconscious mind that a good performance of a Kata is a matter of course.  This is what the Zen masters “Mushin” or “no mind”.  What once was deliberately trained is now spontaneous.

Mas Oyama said that one should “think of karate as a language – the Kihon 基本 (basics) can be thought of as the letters of the alphabet, the Kata 型 (forms) will be the equivalent of words and sentences, and the Kumite 組手 (fighting) will be analogous to conversations.”  He believed that it was better to master just one kata than to only half-learn many.

Mas Oyama also emphasized the three fundamental principles of kata:

kanji_waza_kankyu   Waza no Kankyu (Tempo or Technique): The relative pace of technique.  The tempo of the kata varies – some techniques are performed quickly, while others are done more slowly.

kanji_chikara_kyojaku    Chikara no Kyōjaku (Points of Power and Stress):  The Relative Force of Power or the intensity of execution varies. The effectiveness and power of the techniques derive from a good balance between strength and relaxation.

kanji_iki_chosei    Iki no Chōsei (Control of Breathing): Respiratory Control.  The correct timing (inhaling and exhaling) and force of the breaths (Kiai 気合, Ibuki 息吹 or Nogare 逃れ) are essential for proper techniques.

The practice of traditional kata is also a way for the karateka to pay respect to the origins and history of Kyokushin Karate and the martial arts in general.


Kyokushin Kata are often categorized according to their origin: Northern or Southern Kata.  This designation is based upon the origin and development of the kata and the style of its techniques.

The Northern Kata are similar to those found in Shōtōkan, Master Gichin Funakoshi was one of Mas Oyama’s teachers.  Master Funakoshi derived the kata from the Shurite system of Okinawan karate, which originated from northern Chinese kempo (Shaolin).  The Northern kata generally involve longer movements and a greater fighting distance between opponents, based on the broad, open terrain of northern China.  These kata utilize powerful stances and strong blocks and attacks.  Techniques are generally longer and straighter than those of the Southern kata.  The Northern Kata include:

Taikyoku Sono Ichi, Ni, San                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOEgRrWZh48
Pinan Sono Ichi, Ni, San, Yon, Go           http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rock1v3ywcM
Yantsu                                                               http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYFP3vZK_jc
Tsuki no Kata                                                 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rOr84IIIJ0
Kanku                                                               http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QztMXiUtuF8
Sushi ho                                                           http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw2ENWVD1Jg

The Southern Kata are similar to those found in Gōjū Ryū, since they were developed from Mas Oyama’s training under So Nei Chu and Gogen Yamaguchi.  Master So was the top student of Gogen Yamaguchi, the top Goju practitioner in Japan.  Chojun Miyagi developed Goju Ryu from the Nahate system of Okinawan karate, which originated from southern Chinese kempo.  The Southern kata generally involve shorter movements and a closer fighting distance between opponents (Maai 間合い), based on the slippery, wet terrain of southern China.  Techniques are generally tighter and more circular than those of the Northern kata.  The Southern Kata include:

Sanchin no Kata                   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FOK2TKXouQ
Gekisai Dai, Sho                   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXwWRqFiTfY
Tensho                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czJnxjixF-w
Saiha                                       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nck49lR-6to
Seienchin                               http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHUon0-bfP8
Garyu                                     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1EBueJPDCw
Seipai                                       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx6aTtJkxdY

Kata Meanings:

kanji_taikyoku Taikyoku (First Clause) is literally translated as “Grand Ultimate“, from the characters Tai 太, meaning big, and Kyoku 極, meaning extreme, conclusion or end.  In Chinese, the kanji characters are pronounced Tai Chi.  The word Taikyoku can also mean overview or the whole point – seeing the whole rather than focusing on the individual parts, and keeping an open mind or beginner’s mind.  The beginner’s mind is what we strive for during training and in life.  The beginner’s mind does not hold prejudice and does not cling to a narrow view.  The beginner’s mind is open to endless possibilities.

kanji_pinanPinan (Peaceful Mind, Peaceful Safety): Pronounced Heian in Japanese.  Pinan is the Okinawan pronunciation of the characters Hei 平, meaning peace, and An 安, meaning relax.  Though the physical moves of kata involve techniques used for fighting, the purpose of kata is to develop a calm, peaceful mind and harmony between the mind and body.

kanji_sanchinSanchin literally means “three battles” or “three conflicts”, from the characters San 三 (three) and Chin 戦 (war, battle or match).  It is the principal kata in certain Okinawan karate styles, such as Goju Ryu and Uechi Ryu, and it is likely one of the oldest kata.  Legends tell that Sanchin was developed by Bodhidarma in the early sixth century.  Sanchin kata seeks to develop three elements at the same time:

  • The mind, body and the techniques,
  • The internal organs, circulation and the nervous system, and
  • The three Ki 気, located in:
    •  the crown of the head (Nōten 脳天),
    •  the diaphragm (Hara 腹), and
    •  the lower abdomen (Tanden 丹田).

Sanchin is an isometric kata where each move is performed in a state of complete tension, accompanied by powerful, deep breathing (Ibuki 息吹) that originates in the lower abdomen (Tanden 丹田).  The practice of Sanchin not only leads to the strengthening of the body, but to the development of the inner power (Ki 気) and the coordination of mind and body.

kanji_gekisaiGekisai (Conquer and Occupy) means conquer and occupy.  The name is derived from the characters Geki 撃, meaning defeat or conquer, and Sai 塞, meaning fortress or stronghold (literally translated as “closed”, “shut” or “covered”).  The word Gekisai can also mean demolish, destroy or pulverize.  The katas teach strength through fluidity of motion, mobility and the utilization of various techniques.  Flexibility of attack and response will always be superior to rigid, static and inflexible strength.

kanji_yansuYansu (Safe Three) comes from the characters Yan 安, meaning safe, and Su 三, meaning three.  The name is attributed to that of a Chinese military attaché to Okinawa in the 19th Century.  The word Yansu also means to “keep pure”, and to strive to maintain the purity of principles and ideals rather than compromising for expediency.  The oriental version of “the means justify the ends”.

kanji_tsukinoTsuki no Kata (Punching Kata) by its very name is a kata of punches (Tsuki 突き), and there is only one kick and just a few blocks in the entire form.  The word Tsuki can also mean fortune, luck and happiness.  Good fortune and luck does not come by waiting.  For every punch in this kata, envision that a personal barrier is being broken down.  Strong, persistent effort directed at problems will bring good fortune.

kanji_tenshoTensho (Turning Palms, Changing Hands) means rolling or fluid hand, literally translated as “revolving palms”, from the characters Ten 転 (revolve) and Shō 掌 (palm of hand).  Tensho is the soft and circular (Yin 陰) counterpart to the hard and linear (Yang 陽) Sanchin kata.  Not only was Tensho one of Mas Oyama’s favorite kata, he considered it to be the most indispensable of the advanced kata:

Tensho is a basic illustration of the definition of Karate, derived from Chinese kempo, as a technique of circles based on points.

Tensho should be a prime object of practice because, as a psychological and theoretical support behind karate training and as a central element in basic karate formal exercises, it has permeated the techniques, the blocks and the thrusts, and is intimately connected with the very life of karate.

A man who has practiced Tensho kata a number of thousands of times and has a firm grasp of its theory can not only take any attack, but can also turn the advantage in any attack, and will always be able to defend himself perfectly.

kanji_saihaSaiha (Maximum Destruction) means extreme destruction, smashing or tearing, from the characters Sai 最, meaning utmost, and Ha 破, meaning rip, tear or destroy.  The word Saiha can also mean great wave, the source of the IFK logo.  No matter how large a problem encountered is; with patience, determination and perseverance (Osu) one can rise above and overcome it, or smash through and get beyond it to find a way out.

kanji_kankuKanku (View the Heavens, Gaze at the Sky) means “to look at the sky”, from the characters Kan 観 (view) and 空 (sky or void) (the same character as Kara in Karate).  The first move of the kata is the formation of an opening with the hands above the head, through which one gazes at the universe and rising sun.  The significance is that no matter what problems are faced, each day is new and the universe is waiting.  Nothing is so terrible that it affects the basic reality of existence.

kanji_seienchinSeienchin means conqueror and subdue over a distance, or attack the rebellious outpost. from the characters Sei 征, meaning subjugate or attack the rebellious, En 遠, meaning distant, and Chin 鎮, meaning tranquilize.  In feudal Japan, Samurai warriors would often go on expeditions lasting many months, and they needed to maintain their strength and spirit over a long period of time.  This kata is long and slow, with many techniques performed from Kiba Dachi 騎馬立ち (horseback stance).  The legs usually become very tired in this kata, and a strong spirit is needed to persevere, instead of giving up.  The word Seienchin can also mean to pull in battle.

kanji_sushihoSushiho means 54 steps.  Sushiho is derived from the words Useshi (54), and Ho 歩 (step), meaning walk or step.  Other karate styles call this advanced kata Gojushiho because the Okinawan pronunciation of the kanji characters for 54 (pronounced GoShi 四 in Japanese).  The number 54 is a sacred number in Buddhism.

kanji_garyuGaryu (Reclining Dragon) means reclining dragon, from the characters Ga 臥 (lie prostrate) and Ryū 竜 (dragon).  In Japanese philosophy, a great man who remains in obscurity is called a Garyu.  A dragon is all-powerful, but a reclining dragon chooses not to display his power until it is needed.  Likewise, a true karateka does not brag about or show off his abilities.  He never forgets the true virtue of humility.  Garyu was the nickname of Mas Oyama in his early days.

kanji_seipaiSeipai (Eighteen hands) derived from the Okinawan pronunciation of the kanji characters for 18 (pronounced Hachi 八 in Japanese).  In other karate styles, this kata is sometimes called Seipaite, or eighteen hands.  The number 18 is derived from the Buddhist concept of 6 x 3, where six represents color, voice, taste, smell, touch and justice and three represents good, bad and peace.


Kyokushin Karate Defined

ktadmin Posted in Karate, Styles, Training notes,Tags: , , ,


Kyokushin Karate is a powerful style of Martial Art, founded by the legendary Karate master Masutatsu Oyama.  Kyokushin combines both traditional and freestyle training methods into a practical and effective self defence system that is suitable for men, women and children of all ages.  The biggest difference with other styles is that Kyokushin Karate focuses on full-contact power and real-world applicability.  Karate is both an art and philosophy; it is not a religion.  Kyokushin remains traditional in it’s training methods, protocol and beliefs, yet avoids rigid guidelines to allow its practitioners to grow and progress, in turn contributing to the evolution of Kyokushin.


Kyokushin was founded in 1953 by the late Grand Master Mas Oyama (7/23/1923-4/26/1994). After studying the Martial Arts for two decades, training in many different forms; from Korean to Chinese and Japanese styles as well as American boxing and self-defense tactics (see linage chart below).  Mas Oyama created Kyokushin from what he believed to be the essential elements of each style, and contributed his own practical methods for the application of the ancient forms to suit 21st century practitioners.  Mas Oyama toured the world performing incredible physical feats to demonstrate the virtues of his new style.  Prior to his death; Mas Oyama failed to leave a clear successor leading to the fracturing on the Kyokushin style into various sects with each claiming their rights.

Word Meaning: Kyokushin

KYOKUSHIN, (Pronounced: “Co-Koo-Shin”) means Ultimate Truth.  Founded in the Bushido way; Kyokushin practitioners must be prepared to do or give everything in every situation; typically waging an internal battle of ‘Self’ to achieve your goal.  Only with Iron discipline and the correct mentality is this possible to achieve.  Practitioners seek the ultimate truth by confronting their self contrasted with reality; without shortcuts or false props, through humility and clarity of mind we find our strength.  The journey of Kyokushin (Ultimate Truth) bears the fruits of self-esteem, confidence, calmness of mind and mastery of body.

The Strongest Karate

Kyokushin is known throughout the Martial Arts world as The Strongest Karate, not only for the reputation of it’s top fighters but also the rigorous and thorough training methods. Kyokushin famous for its powerful techniques leveraging physics derives its spectacular force from points and circles which create enormous strength.  It is this circular motion that distinguishes Kyokushin karate from other karate styles that rely on simple linear motion.

Kyokushin lineage chart:

Benefits Practicing Kyokushinkai Karate

ktadmin Posted in Karate, Styles, Training notes,Tags: , , ,

kyokushinkaiKyokushin Karate practice, provides a number of benefits that have a positive influence on the formation of character, and the strengthening of the personality.

In Kyokushin Karate students not only learn to respect elders, higher ranks, accept the corrections of his instructor; but also, gives the opportunity to the Karate practitioner to know their body, their motor skills, thereby develop and overcome their limitations.  The student will achieve self-discipline, since the instructor is just the guide, but the decision to change or not, is in every student.

There are cases that deserve Small soft corrections such as: channel excess energy, teaching concentration, self-control, and respect for others, or conversely, if you’re too shy, group work provides everything you need in terms of relationship with respect and discipline.  Kyokushin Karate contributes to the development of personality (self-esteem) and self-confidence; through physical work we achieve good muscle development, flexibility, reflexes; factors that significantly influence the correction of postural problems.

Kyokushin Karate is an excellent tool for children and youth to develop healthy, full, straight and enduring values; over time. courtesy, respect, discipline, physical development, self-confidence … Kyokushin is so much more than just a sport!!

These are some of the advantages provided by the practice of this discipline and unlike sports, in which the objective is to beat the opponent, the opponent in the Martial Arts is Self, the struggle is constant and restless, and the results can be seen in all areas of life.

Tie that Belt like a Pro

ktadmin Posted in Karate, Technique,Tags: , ,

Everyone seems to have trouble with this (except perhaps Boyscouts!) but it is really easy once you know how to do it (like everything!)

Here is the step-by-step instructions:


Taikyoku 1

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

Master Gichin Funakoshi (Shotokan) derived the three Taikyoku kata from northern Chinese kempo and Shorin Ryu, the Okinawan karate style based on Chinese Shaolin (i.e. “Shorin”) kempo.  Mas Oyama in turn adapted these for Kyokushin as he trained under Master Funakoshi.  The Taikyuko kata utilize long, powerful stances and strong blocks and strikes. The Taiyoku Kata set includes:

  • Taikyoku Sono Ichi, Ni and San

Meanings of Taikyoku is literally translated as “grand ultimate”, and in Chinese, the kanji characters are pronounced Tai Chi. The word Taikyoku can also mean overview or the whole point – seeing the whole rather than focusing on the individual parts, and keeping an open mind or beginner’s mind. The beginner’s mind is what is strived for during training and in life. The beginner’s mind does not hold prejudice and does not cling to a narrow view. The beginner’s mind is open to endless possibilities.

Taikyoku 1 (the details):

Contains: 20 Movements
Should take: About 40 seconds to perform (Kata Speed)

These next two images to help you understand the movements of the kata:

This next image shows the movement described below:
Taikyoku 1

Step-by-Step Directions:
As always, begin the Kata in Attention Stance, with feet together, hands at your side and eyes forward.  Every Kata begins and ends from this stance with a bow.  This kata starts from a open stance after the bow with hands in ready position.


Still not sure, here is a video to help:

Why we practice

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Karate, State of Mind, Training notes,Tags: , , ,

Often we forget why we practice so much.  When that happens we become complacent and that is when bad things happen.  To often we think we can put off our training until tomorrow.  We practice today so we are prepared today, not tomorrow when it might be to late.

I am reminded of this truth today as I anticipate surgery I will have this coming week.  I have been complacent lately mostly because of my injury; but that is no excuse.  We live in an increasingly dangerous world, tomorrow is not the time to prepare.  This graphic reminded me of that.  Even though I may be limited in my physical training over the next few weeks, I can continue to train and will strive to do so…