Joint Lock Practicality

While many joint locking techniques (kansetsu-waza) exist within karate, there are still karateka who are unaware of them and, frequently, people look at the joint locks of karate from the perspective of other arts. We know that such techniques exist within karate, not only because of karateka who kept them in their curricula into modern times, such as Uehara Seikichi […]

Cameron Kessner applying ude-garami to me during technique drills

Teaching Pinan Sandan application at our Waza Weekend at Mires Martial Arts in 2017

On Teaching

As much as I love training and researching, I also love teaching, and it’s something that I have been doing, in some capacity, since I was a yellow belt. I’ve gone from helping a white belt learn the most basic aspects of a block, to teaching classes and seminars, and it’s been a wonderful adventure, as well as a learning […]


Power Generation Methods

Karate is not a single, homogeneous practice, but rather is made up of a wide variety of styles, all of which are eclectic blends of native Okinawan arts, Japanese arts, Chinese arts, Indochinese arts, and more. While the human body only functions in so many ways, there are actually quite a number of approaches to doing most things, including generating […]

Nishiyama (Shotokan) breaking boards

nagamine kusanku

Why Doesn’t Kata Look Like Fighting?

This question comes up, often, with new karateka, disillusioned karateka, and people who practice (or at least closely follow) combat sports, and they have a fair point–kata does not look much like what most people consider “fighting.” Really, it doesn’t even look like what most karateka consider fighting, which is competition-style kumite (sparring). Kata teach you to use strong, rooted […]


Basic Sabaki and Tenshin – An Evasion Primer

Sport karate has long been known for its fast in-and-out approach to fighting, largely because of the way points are assessed–you want to get in and touch your opponent, and get away before they can touch you. Lately, though, the kumite used in the increasingly popular World Karate Federation (WKF) competitions seems to involve the “in” component, but not so […]

A spherical diagram of happo no kuzushi

motobu makiwara ipponken

Makiwara Exercises for Skills and Variety

The makiwara, or machiwara in Uchinaguchi (lit. “Okinawa mouth,” the native language of Okinawa), is a popularly referenced, albeit often misunderstood, traditional karate training tool. It has fallen out of favor with many karateka, either because they feel it is antiquated and less-useful than modern equipment, or simply because it is uncomfortable, painful, and sometimes boring to work with. As […]


The Parry-Pass Method – Karate’s Universal Defense

Uke-waza¬†(receiving techniques), as has been discussed before, are much more than just blocks, but they often incorporate defensive methods in their movements. While karate has a wide array of methods for defense, the most universal is probably the “parry-pass” style of blocking. Essentially, this is a method of blocking where one hand parries the attack to the side, and passes […]

Morote-uke (double receiver/"block")

how-to-bunkai

How to Bunkai

Bunkai (lit. “take apart, analyze”), in the context of karate, is the practice of breaking down kata and working on developing applications for their movements, but sometimes it can be hard for karateka to figure out how to apply kata movements on their own. This is compounded by the fact that many instructors still only teach basic “block-punch-kick” applications for […]