Another book on the Heian / Pinan kata? I wrote my first book on the Heian / Pinan kata in 2004. Between that and the publication of the book in 2007 lay transplant failure, dialysis, and the gift of a second transplant – all factors that slowed me down but increased my appreciation of how […]

1. Train against attacks to the head The head is an obvious target.  Not only can we be knocked unconscious through strikes to the head, our ability to hear, see, shout and even our balance can be damaged. We do have natural reflexes to protect the head which will be activated should our eyes receive […]

 A few weeks ago I discussed the value and importance of training alone, but solo training is only one part of the bigger picture.  There are very good reasons why you should always make the effort to train with other people. Timing and reactions Practicing a movement many times increases our ability to perform that […]

Environmental awareness is a crucial attribute in self protection. The majority of self protection lies in the assessment, avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation of aggression and situations where conflict is likely, but regrettably this is not always possible. Training your physical skills against habitual acts of violence increases your understanding and recognition of their telegraphs, an […]

Your instructor’s class isn’t designed to improve your skills.  That can’t be right surely?  Your instructor’s aim is to help you improve. Yes and no. In theory your instructor’s aim is to help you improve, but he’s also trying to do that for all the other students in the class, and their needs aren’t going […]

  Those of you that have ever moved house and had to find a new place to train, or advised newcomers to the martial arts on a forum, will be familiar with the need to ‘find somewhere good to train’.  What is often interesting, particularly when reading threads on forums, is finding out how other […]

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. Whoever came up with that particular saying might be shocked by how false it seems in the modern world.  I’m sure that every coach / instructor / teacher or businessman/woman reading that phrase is only too aware of how damaging  words can […]

I’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six. It’s a common dictum that I don’t like. I don’t like it  because it indicates a casual, often sloppy approach to training and rules of engagement, one that is bad for the trainee and bad for others in the environment they enter. To me the […]

Sometimes I wonder if the kata I’m seeing and practicing are the same as the near identical ones I see my fellow karateka doing and describing.  To sum up my feelings I’d like to play a little game. When I first began karate I learned a number of different forms.  I didn’t learn them all […]

I had some space cleared in my schedule today for some training at home.  Not a particularly unusual thing as I train every day, but rather than grabbing a few minutes here and a few minutes there, today I had one of those nice long stretches of unbroken time.  With that luxury I knew I […]


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