bunkai


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

A spherical diagram of happo no kuzushi

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 […]


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 […]

motobu makiwara ipponken

Morote-uke (double receiver/"block")

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 […]


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 […]

how-to-bunkai

Myself with Eddie Bethea Sensei after the test

Testing for Nidan

On Wednesday, July 20th, 2016, I tested for Nidan, along with another Nidan candidate, two Shodan candidates, and several brown belt candidates. The testing panel consisted of: John Dominguez, MD, Shodan Jim Mitchell, Shodan Richard Poage, Renshi, Godan Michael Newland, Renshi, Rokudan Jeff Allred, Renshi, Rokudan Eddie Bethea, Kyoshi, Hachidan The Shodan candidates had to complete a written exam, which […]


Book Review – Bubishi: The Classic Manual of Combat

The Bubishi is considered, by many, to be required reading for any karateka. It is a collection of essays, recipes, and diagrams transferred to Okinawa from China–most likely in small sections over time–and it is believed to be related to, or part of, a Chinese war manual called the Wu Bei Zhi, which was written in the 16th and 17th […]

bubishi book

Kojo Hideki demonstrating the fudou-gamae (immovable posture) of Kojo-Ryu

Kamae Bunkai – Static Postures or Active Techniques

Most traditional martial artists who practice styles from Japan or Okinawa will be familiar with the word “kamae,” which literally translates to “posture” or “pose,” in the context of martial arts. It is typically used to refer to either specific arrangements of the arms, or of the entire body, as a whole–not to be confused with “tachi,” or “stance,” which […]