self defense


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 […]


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 […]

Myself with Eddie Bethea Sensei after the test

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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 […]


Ed Sumner’s Review of the Ryukyu Martial Arts Friendship Gasshuku

The following review was submitted to me by Ed Sumner (Kyoshi, Nanadan, Goju-Ryu under the late Chinen Teruo Sensei). I have added photos, and done some minor grammatical editing. I had the opportunity to attend the Ryukyu Martial Arts Friendship Gasshuku this last weekend, hosted by Noah Legel at the Peaceful Warrior Dojo in Scottsdale, AZ. ┬áNoah had attended our […]

Ed Sumner working one of Chuck Merriman's footwork drills

Chuck Merriman Sensei and I

2015 Brotherhood of Veteran Warriors Gasshuku

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 2015 Brotherhood of Veteran Warriors Gasshuku. The BOVW is an organization that was founded by US Military veterans with decades of martial arts experience, for the purpose of providing settings where martial artists from different backgrounds could come together to share and learn. They do not have any sort of curriculum, […]


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

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The Specializations of Styles

  Over time, it is natural for a martial artist to narrow their focus of study to specific aspects of their art–I mentioned this in my recent article on the development of martial artists. There are also some martial arts which are narrow in focus, to begin with. It is rather likely that those arts and styles are specialized because […]