Beyond Memorization (updated)

I have listened to many instructors over the years tell me, with absolute conviction, that if I practice drills and kata enough times, they will become second nature and, subsequently, movements I can rely on in a fight. How many times is enough? In my style (RyuTe RenMei) we have 10 guiding principles and one … Read more

Time to get hit

Three weeks ago I posted a video about making your own makiwara and discussed the importance of hitting stuff. Since then, a related idea has taken hold of my thinking. Those of us who train alone not only need to make time to hit things; we need to get hit as well. This may seem … Read more

Karate is boring, it’s all the same

“Karate is boring, it’s all the same”.  I tell students this all the time. Of course I am being facetious. Karate is far from boring but we often associate boredom with repetition and karate does have a lot of repetition. Anyone who has made a movement second nature has done so by practicing it thousands … Read more

Location, location, location!

On the last day of the last millenium I sat in a lawyer’s office, signing my name over and over as I closed on my first house. After a decade of renting apartments, I was a home owner. And, as exciting as the house was, the two-car carport and third of an acre were an … Read more

The Trouble with Karate

The trouble with most traditional and classical martial arts is that they are taught one step at a time. Each skill is learned in isolation and then slowly added to the others. Hand techniques are first learned in static stances, and only later combined with footwork. Lower and upper body movement is learned separately. Even … Read more

Keep that glass half full.

A student of mine recently accompanied me to a training session out of town. We each went with different expectations, but also a shared sense of excitement for this opportunity to learn. Much that was taught was new to him; review and refinement for me. However, amongst the new material, there was an exercise that surprised us both, and … Read more

Condense and Expand (part 2)

A few weeks ago I wrote about condensing time in kata. Click HERE for a recap of how that can be done. In this second post of the series, we are going to look at an entirely different approach to creating realism in your kata training. Rather than condensing a sequence of moves to take up less time, … Read more

Slow it Down (updated)

Cue the music from “Chariots of Fire.” We all have to admit that there are times when we are not feeling 100%. On one such occasion, instead of skipping my usual medium-to-fast-paced training, I chose to slow things down, way down. In the process I was reminded that, whether you are sick or not, slowing the pace of … Read more

75 watts of bright white light.

My sensei often speaks of experiencing “light bulb moments;” times when you suddenly get something right, and it makes so much sense that you wonder how you didn’t figure it out before. I recently had such a moment and now I can’t find the switch to turn the blasted thing on again. My wife and … Read more

Come on feel the Noise

Music get’s a bad rap (no pun intended) in traditional martial arts circles. And, let’s face it, training to defend your life is a serious business and not a place for distractions. With the advent of musical kata competitions, and the mixing of breakdance moves with martial arts, it is no wonder that traditionalists get … Read more