supplemental


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 […]

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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 […]


Interview with Chris Denwood

Chris Denwood is a karateka, fitness expert, researcher, and the author of “Respecting the Old, Creating the New,” and “Naihanchi (Tekki): The Seed of Shuri Karate Vol. 1.” The latter is easily the most comprehensive book on Naihanchi Shodan fundamentals that I have ever read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who practices Naihanchi kata that can be traced back […]

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Unarmed Combative Training as a “Prep”

Author’s Note: This article was originally written for a disaster preparedness newsletter from the Arizona chapter of Zombie Squad–a non-profit focused on educating people about disaster preparedness–and I recently re-discovered it in my archives. Upon realizing that I had never publicly shared it, I decided to share it, here. Unlike most of my articles, which are geared toward martial artists, […]


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 […]

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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 […]


Reflections on the First Ryukyu Martial Arts Friendship Gasshuku

This past weekend was our Ryukyu Martial Arts Friendship Gasshuku, which was an event I put together with the intent of getting martial artists together to learn and train in a variety of martial arts from the Ryukyu islands. The idea actually came from the Ryukyu Martial Arts Facebook Groups that were set up by Ryan Parker Sensei. There are […]

Ryan Parker teaching a kakidi drill based on Pinan Godan

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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 […]