Master of Distraction

ktadmin Posted in State of Mind, Technique, Video,Tags: , , ,
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This video will blow your mind. It very well demonstrates how to maintain control of a situation and your opponent. But it’s most important point is in the use of distraction.

[zdvideo]http://karatetraining.org/weblog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/martialArtsExpert.flv[/zdvideo]

Enjoy!!

Kyokushin Katas

ktadmin Posted in History, Styles, Technique, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
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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: , ,
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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: , , , , , ,
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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!?

Amazing Aerial Split

ktadmin Posted in Fun Stuff, Technique,Tags: ,
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I was impressed and a little envious until I saw the other pair of legs…

10 Minutes to Get in Shape!

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

Tegatana (handsword)

ktadmin Posted in Technique, Training notes,Tags: , , ,
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Tegatana (handsword) better known as a knife-hand.

The knife hand is perhaps the best know/recognized and least understood of all martial arts basic moves. Often referred to as a ‘karate chop’ the knife-hand attack is powerful enough to render an opponent unconscious (knock out) when executed properly. In the movies we rarely see this move performed correctly or even that accurately, but it looks good! While it is always nice to look good when defending yourself it is truly more important to use the proper technique and end things quickly.

There are five basic steps to performing the knife-hand correctly:

  1. Ensure that your fingers are held together firmly and the thumb is held firmly against the side of the hand. Loose fingers will slap together on impact. Loose fingers also means a loose hand which will collapse on impact causing you injury instead of your opponent!
  2. Tense and slightly cup the palm during the strike to ensure that you deliver a solid strike to the target as well as protecting the hand. (cupping your hand slightly for all open hand strikes helps protect the fingers from bending backwards on a miss timed hit or finger strike.) Angle your fingers away from your hand edge slightly to pronounce the side of the palm and protect your fingers. This also helps you connect with the correct striking surface.
  3. Know appropriate targets. Initially you should only strike soft areas such as the eyes, throat, sides of the neck, below the ears, the bridge of the nose and underneath the nose. With practice and makiwara work you can hit medium targets like the collarbone, inner arm and ribs.
  4. Always be accurate! The knife hand relies on accuracy of technique and target to be effective.
  5. Stay flexible. Never fully extend your arm, this will leave you vulnerable and potentially hyper-extend your elbow. Keeping your arm bent aids in being prepared to alter your attack as the situation changes. With a knife-hand attack it is “easy” to transition to a block, grab or closed-fist strike.

The knife-hand attack has many variations and incorporated into various combinations. It is also easy to practice your knife-hand technique outside of the Dojo. Start slowly with soft items, the back of a padded chair or couch, a rolled towel and work to harder items like a broom handle, with each increase in hardness begin with slow motion and perfect your technique before increasing speed and power.

With enough practice you will soon be able to perform amazing feats with your knife-hand attack…

Using Yoga to Improve Martial Arts Skills

Sensei Posted in Styles, Technique, Training notes
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Note: This article was written by director_mitch A.K.A. the Window Manager and is cross-posted on his site.

Tae Kwon Do, probably more than any martial art, emphasizes kicking – a typical TKD match will be over 80% kicking. In order to win you need kicks that are high enough to hit an opponent’s head. After all, if all you can throw are waist-high kicks, you become pretty easy to defend against. The second thing you need is mastery of the spinning kicks – back kick, spinning-heel, and tornado kick – which help in misdirection and counter-attack.

And in order to kick high and spin, flexibility and balance are a prerequisite. As I advanced into the Tae Kwon Do “middle belts”, I felt that in order to progress into the upper ranks that these two areas really needed improvement. I was certainly developing these skills as a part of my regular TKD training, but I started to search for a way to accelerate their improvement.

For flexibility, yoga was an obvious field of study. I had heard about the popular Bikram “hot yoga” for some time and thought I would give it a try. But I entered the yoga studio with some trepidation, expecting to find a bunch of aging hippy vegetarians. Instead I found an attractive young lady sitting behind a computer. Not wanting to seem too granola, I immediately declared “I’m hoping to improve my martial arts skills and thought I would try some yoga.”

“Yes,” she replied, “we get one of you signing up about once a month. In fact, John is getting ready for our next class and is a martial artist. You should talk to him.”

Soon enough I was talking to John, a seven-year practitioner of Tai Chi. He extolled the virtues of yoga and how it improved his martial art practice, and encouraged me to join. Fifteen minutes later I was standing next to him for my first class. Four months later I consider yoga a extension of my martial arts training and go at least once – usually twice – a week. I consider it so much an extension of my TKD practice that I sometimes catch myself unconsciously bowing as I enter the yoga studio.

My flexibility has definitely improved, but the largest improvement has been in my balance, where the improvements have been considerable for such a short period of time. My back kick went from mediocre to very good, and my spinning-heel went from non-existent to something I am comfortable using in a sparring match.

Bikram yoga is a set of twenty-six postures that are done in the same order in every class. It is what I call the “balancing series” of poses that I think has helped my martial arts the most to date:

theposesBikram-Yoga-Poses-For-Your-Health-and-Wellness

Reference Bikram South Pasadena – Postures

These poses may not look that hard, but remember that you hold the poses. Twice. On standing-head-to-knee the first pose is for sixty seconds. If you can hold these poses for that long, throwing a back-kick and having your body extended in something that approximates the balancing stick for a fraction of a second seems easy.

Another difference in yoga is that when balancing on one leg, the standing knee is locked with the thigh contracted. TKD kicks are done with the standing leg slightly bent, improving balance and stability, so again I find yoga harder than the martial arts for balance, meaning mastery in yoga makes for ease in the martial arts.

The flexibility improvement promised in yoga is also apparent, but that improvement is coming more slowly and will take a longer period of time to master.But like martial arts, yoga is a life-long practice, with true mastery always being just beyond the grasp. I consider them complementary arts and highly recommend yoga to anyone who wants to improve their martial arts skills.