training


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 […]

nagamine kusanku

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 […]


Is Karate a Grappling Art?

Lately, my friends over at Karate Culture have been posting videos, like the one above, that connect kata to techniques found in mixed martial arts, and various grappling arts–something I have also done, although on a smaller scale. This has brought with it some argument as to the nature of karate. As with most such arguments, this one is not […]

hanshi-perry-takedown

Miyagi Chojun overseeing students doing hojo undo

Essential Karate Equipment

These days, karate is often practiced without the aid of any training equipment, but that has not always been the case. Hojo undo (supplementary training) has long been a vital component of martial arts training not just on Okinawa, but also China and India. While it is certainly possible to develop a great deal of knowledge and skill without using […]


The Shodan Slump

As of the writing of this article, I have only been training for a little over 8.5 years, and I only just earned my shodan (1st degree black belt) last Summer. Even so, I’ve seen and heard of so many instances of the “shodan slump” to know that it’s real, and I feel grateful that I have managed to avoid […]

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wrist grab

Wrist Grabs in Karate Training

  Traditional martial arts are often criticized–and rightly so, in many cases–for training against unrealistic attacks. Most often, the attack that gets the most complaints is the infamous straight lunge-punch in a long front stance that comes from 10 feet away, and wouldn’t hit the defender even if they stood still. A close second to that is the wrist grab, […]