misconceptions


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 […]


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

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 […]


Using Examples of Karate Methods from Other Arts

Martial arts come in a wide array of styles and methodologies, but they are all connected by the human body and laws of nature, so even among wildly different systems, founded centuries and countries apart, there can be found many similar, related, or complimentary methods. While many martial artists prefer to segregate styles and promote the isolationist idea that each […]

genki sudo

hanshi-perry-takedown

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 […]


Fighting Dirty

Both traditional martial arts and reality-based self defense (RBSD) systems often talk about “fighting dirty” in self defense. By this, they are generally referring to doing things like gouging the eyes, striking the throat or groin, pulling the ears or hair, stomping the knees, etc. All of these are perfectly valid fighting methods, of course, but many people have a […]

green beret vs peruvian sf

Motobu_Choki_kamae

Motobu Choki and Stopping Attacks with “Blocks”

“One cannot use continuous attacks against true karate. That is because the blocks of true karate make it impossible for the opponent to launch a second attack” The above quote comes from Motobu Choki, as translated by Joe Swift, and is one of many somewhat enigmatic statements from the famed Okinawan fighter about the nature of karate. Some of his […]