punching


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 […]


Orthodox vs. Southpaw

If you frequent many online martial arts forums, then you will be familiar with the “Orthodox vs. Southpaw” discussion. It usually begins with someone who is relatively new to the martial arts, or someone who has a boxing background. The question can vary, a bit, but it always has the same general theme–trying to figure out what the benefits are […]

Peterjackson-jamescorbett-small

blog-opposing-forces

Opposing Forces

Karate kata contain many movements that travel in opposite directions. Although it is quite simple, this concept of opposing forces is one of the signature methods of Okinawan karate. It can be seen in kihon practice, as well as in advanced kata, because it is extremely versatile. In application, this concept can defend, attack, clear obstructions, dislocate joints, and increase […]


Compound Movements and Cutting Lines

Karate is often described as being a linear art, especially when looking at modern karate, but it is actually more circular than it gets credit for. Both linear movements, and circular movements, work together in karate to function as compound movements. These compound movements allow us to do more than we might otherwise, because they exert force in unusual ways […]

Funakoshi Gichin, founder of Shotokan, demonstrating Naihanchi Shodan

sensei makiwara punch

An Introduction to Makiwara Training

The makiwara (“wrapped straw”)–or machiwara, as it is called in Uchinaguchi (the native language of Okinawa)–is a traditional hojo undo kigu (supplementary training tool) that is used in Okinawan karate. A makiwara is a wooden post used for striking, and its name comes from the padding that was traditionally used for the striking areas, which was made of bundles of […]


Using the Elbow Defensively

When people think of elbows in martial arts, they usually think of them being used as strikes, or being the target of joint locks. Those are certainly the two most common uses for the elbows, apart from their natural uses as a component of moving the arm. Personally, I love elbow strikes and joint locks, but I also use elbows […]

figure 8 elbow grayscale

Punch-2BCenter-2BComparison

Punching: To Center, or Not to Center?

Centered Punch by Hironishi Motonobu (L), Off-Centered Punch by Funakoshi Gichin (R) When practicing kihon (basics)–which carries over into kata practice–there tend to be two schools of thought on where to aim punches. One says that you should aim to the center, as if your opponent were standing directly in front of you, so that you can work on your […]