You know, Karate sometimes gets a bad rap these days. You see all the MMA guys trashing their opponents, and you wonder why, if Karate is so good, you don’t see it in the octagon. The reason, of course, is the problem with Classical Karate training methods.
In traditional karate classes students are lined up in a mass, and they kick and punch and do everything as one unit. This is fine, for beginners. The sad fact, however, is that one rapidly travels through being a beginner, and then needs to have a different teaching method.
Class exercises are fine to warm up, but there is no real exchange of information going on between teacher and student. Oh, you think that everything is in the forms, that you just need to do the forms and enlightenment will burst upon you? Well, true to a certain extent, but there is also the fact that if you hold to this opinion too hard you are saying that karate is for stupid people.
Oh, I’m serious. Look, Karate, be it goju or shotokan or uechi ryu or whatever, depends on physics. And, once a person has mastered the first set of physics, there is a second set of physics pertinent to the mind and the spirit. But, because of antiquated training methods, methods that were used to control unruly children (not teach them) nobody in the martial arts really knows what the second set of physics is.
Let me take one point and blow it up a bit. I had a student who had the most terrible form, and he had taken a year of classical martial arts training. He was terrible, but-smile in the eyes of his teachers-he was rigid.
So his shoulders overextended, his body was always turned the wrong way, his punches wouldn’t hurt a six year old girl, but he was deemed good because he was rigid. All his muscles locked into place at the execution of technique. And, you can see this same tendency on any number of youtube Karate videos.
Now, one of the first rules of combat is, ‘a sitting duck is a dead duck.’ Heck, the reason that bully told you to stand still and face him was because he wanted a stationary target. And this goes against the real karate somebody would learn if they could get past the rigid, no information instruction that is offered in nearly every karate class in the world.
Real Karate is liquid, and the focus points are so short they can’t be perceived, and the karateka is able to move in any direction without preparation or telegraphing. True Karate is like a whip, and only the fist tightens, and that momentarily when it smacks through some fool’s face. Karate is a study in motion, not in rigidity, and that is just one of the problems with Classical Karate Training.
If you want to see some excellent karate, check out my Temple Karate DVDs. I’m old, I’ve been doing classical karate for over forty years, but I’ve still got some liquid left in me. There are eleven forms, with TONS of self defense applications.
I was watching Karate on the youtube last night, and I was struck by how little people know about the correct form of the martial arts. Check out the vid snip right below, This is how I explain how you get good form, then continue with the article.
They turn their feet out at the wrong time, they separate their body into pieces, they do so many things that dissipate energy and lessen intention.
And I am not talking beginners here, I am talking about people with decades of experience.
Now, it wasn’t always that way. When I started the martial arts were fresh to the shores, and we bought everything we could, read everything we could, and were thirsty for day.
And, we thought about what we were learning.
What has happened that has destroyed the martial arts is the fanatic desire to have ritual.
If I do what teacher says, I don’t have to think, and then I will learn.
Do you see the corruption of logic here?
How can you learn if you don’t have to think?
Why do you think colleges are turning out people who can’t learn?
Because they memorize in ritual, instead of learning how to think.
Question, man, you have to have a question.
And not a questino as to the next piece of the sequence of the kata, but a question as to how it works, why it works, what’s the best (better) way to make it work.
That’s all I can say, Argh!
Frustration for a society that prefers to go blind.
Well, the way to not go blind is to ask questions, demand answers, and not be satisfied with what you are taught.
I tell you this,
your teachers have already bought into it,
so be careful of your teachers.
If they can’t give you good reasons for what you are doing,
good scientific, sound, logical, technical reasons for why the form is constructed the way it is, the best way to make a technique work,
all the secondary techniques off the first technique, and so on,
then you are following the blind.
And, don’t believe me.
Check out my sites, see if I make sense, and then you will know whether my words here can be believed.
Monster Martial Arts is one site. Got oodles of stuff on it. Articles, courses, everything.
Or, check out Learn Karate Online. Got an actual free lesson or two on it.
Go on, see if I make sense.
I understand why people are leery of the net, there’s so much crap out there. It’s the same old same old. Well, I tell you, this is the brand new brand new, but you aren’t going to see it if you don’t take a look, and you won’t get it if you just shut your mind up and stop asking questions.
To practice this you should loop it and do it in sequence maybe ten times. Don’t do it just once, keep doing it.
Concentrate on the moment of focusing energy down, and letting yourself float sideways to the next position. Have the differences between these two things firmly in your mind.
Have a partner and mirror each other. Critique each other, and get lower and longer and more explosive. Be twins in motion and structure.
Practice just standing in the horse stance (called Kiba Dachi in Japanese). This is called Horse Meditation, and if you can hold the pose for just five minutes, you will have an immensely strong stance, and you will be generating tons of pure, raw power.
Above all, do it every day.
And, most important, look for applications,a nd practice those applications until you can make them work against anybody, and in situation or environment.
Remember, when you do the horse stance you are gripping the ground, enabling yourself to move over slick surfaces, and this could mean on wet grass, oily cement, or even through puddles of blood, and yet still hold your balance and footwork.
Drop by my site, Monster Martial Arts, and check out Temple Karate. I’ve got ten forms plus the one you see on this page, fully broken down and set for combat.
Do you know how much you can get done in Karate in a half a year?
The reason I say this is because the year is half over. So if you can remember what you were doing at Christmas, or New Years, and any resolutions or things, then you could have made a lot of things happen since them.
If you are studying a classical art, you could have gone through a belt rank or two. You could have a couple of martial arts forms, had a ball doing lots of kumite, and generally be fit and healthy, and your mind would be calm.
Now, if you had been studying my Matrixing program, you could actusally have your black belt by now. Serious. It’s a three month program, but it takes a lot of work. But six months is enough time to do a lot of work. So you could actually be there.
And, here’s something interesting, if you slacked off a little the last few months, maybe been distracted by the news or something, you can realize that every moment you live and don’t do what you love is a moment wasted.
Hey, if it’s not Karate, then what is it? Kung Fu? Yoga? Ballet? If you love it, then why aren’t you doing it?
Got a dream? You’ve had six months to pursue it. Didn’t do it? It’s not too late, so get yer fanny in gear and get going!
Don’t you understand? I’m telling you to ignore everything that gets in your way, everybody that slows you down or distracts you. I’m telling you that you should pick a goal, and having a black belt is an absolutely incredible goal, and GO FOR IT!
Now, do you want to go waste another night drinking beer, or do you want to be somebody? Do you want to be strong and fit and quick in the mind?
Okay, I’ve enjoyed this rant, and especially because I know it is so right and valuable. So spend the time between now and the end of the year working out and finding the real you. If I can help you reach your goals in Karate, if I can help you get to Black Belt, drop by my site, Monster Martial Arts. My email is there, and I answer all emails. See ya.
You see, the idea is to get more weight in a smaller area.
If you swing a mallet with a big head, maybe three inches across, you are putting weight to nine square inches. So if you put ninety pounds into your swing, and you get ten pounds per square inch. This dissipates the force, spreads it out, and weakens it. You swing a screw driver, and maybe put only thirty pounds in it, but the force is into an eighth inch square. That means 64 times 30 pounds, and you are striking with 1920 pounds per square inch!
That’s why a screw driver penetrates, while a mallet flattens.
Now, you think there would be more to it than this, and, you’d be right. You see, time also enters into the equation, and you’ll find that this has a lot to do with a punch.
The longer the amount of time a fist is in contact with a target, the more some of that weight will go back up the arm.
So, if you punch somebody and the punch is a thrust, and travels through, and is in contact with the striking surface (his face) for a long time–let’s say a full second, which is not real, but it is a good number to illustrate what is happening–then one second times 60 pounds of weight equals sixty pounds of impact.
But if you are in contact for 1/2 second, 1/2 times 60 = 120 pounds of impact! And if you get down to 1/8 of a second, then you have 1/8 times 60, which equals 480 pounds of impact! The force of the punch, you see, has less time to travel back up the arm, and more weight is left in your poor opponent’s ugly face!
Now, that is the physics, and that is the secret of the hardest punch in the world. All you have to do is understand these physics, and then do the exercises in The Punch (a book I wrote) and your punch is going to be able to knock down a freakin’ elephant! The physics are the secret, you see, but they are just the start. There is so much more to them, and so much you can do with them, once you understand them and what you are trying to really do with your punch. So check out The Punch at Monster Martial Arts. You’ll be glad you did.
There are three specific types of motion in the martial arts. Mind you, I am not describing energy manifestation, merely the flux of the body itself.
The first type of motion is fast motion. Karate, Taekwondo,Kenpo, these are explosive and fast. Not much middle ground here, just move fast and beat the other guy to the punch. The trick is, of course, to expand your awareness so you can see the other fellow coming. By going slower you can increase awareness.
I used to do my karate forms slow, I could see them and learn from them. Then I found Tai Chi Chuan and things really made sense.
The second type of motion is the slower motion. In this type of flux you inspect the changing of your body position, checking out the angles and making sure the energy flows just right. This causes much awareness, and this awareness will reverse engineer back into the harder arts. The softer (slower arts) are such as Tai Chi Chuan, Pa Kua Chang, and so on. Mind you, any art can be slowed and awareness inserted, and you will find amazing amounts of perception, which will grow amazing amounts of energy.
The third type of motion is no motion. Stopped. A held position. This is the gold mine from which all else comes. To take that posture and just look at it, to concentrate not on the motion, but the awareness, that is the key.
There is something people should understand about all this…life is motion, but awareness is no motion. And only by exploring all three motions with this in mind will the being awake, will the martial art come to fruition, will the martial arts enter the golden age of which they are on the cusp of. Check out my site, Learn Karate Online, and see if the free lesson makes sense. It is crafted with concepts such as you will find in this blog, and it is designed to lead you to other motions.
I often tell people about this, got reminded of it in a newsletter recently, and I want to talk again about the worst dojo in the world.
It was cold in the winter, and we had no heat.
It was hot in the summer and we had no air conditioning.
The bag was ripped and stitched together until it looked like a child of Frankenstein.
The mat was made of sail, and it was ripped and stitched and duc taped until it looked like Frankenstein’s rug.
The front windows had big cracks in them, and duc tape held them together.
There were no back windows, just bars and a shallow alley.
There was a hole in the corner of the ceiling in the changing room and rain poured in.
The toilet was slanted 30 degrees, and it was old and corroded.
Now, that was the bad. Here is some good.
The teacher knew his martial arts. There was electricity in the air when he taught.
He could get us to know his martial arts.
The students were all supremely dedicated.
Lot of hells angels, they made sure everything was kept real.
No girls or kids. They had separate classes.
No contracts, everything conducted on handshake.
The classes were so crowded we had to learn how to survive in a mob. (Imagine thirty people in a car and a half garage)
No talk about theory, just sweat until we couldn’t walk.
I frequently couldn’t press the pedals in my volkswagon, my shins were that bruised from blocking. I would drive home ‘clutchless.’
There was a golden glow to it all. This was chi energy, and it was pushed into every student there. It was irrefutable.
I stayed at that school for some five years. Got my black belt, and my life was changed.
If you want that art that I studied, it was Karate before Funakoshi came along. Check it out at Kang Duk Won.