Author Archives: John Titchen

Making Karate Your Own

It is an oft-repeated maxim that as you train your karate should become your own. It is also, I feel, a much-misunderstood concept.

Going through the motions, on the pull, going nowhere

I really like to see positive innovation in training and teaching. I particularly like seeing exercises that help students develop the ability to move beyond single techniques, beyond combinations, into the ability to make seamless transitions to appropriate techniques. But sometimes I see things that while fun and popular appear to me to actually be […]

Brains saves both

This pithy analysis is attributed to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, but despite the clarity of his insight and his credentials as one of the greatest generals of the 20thcentury, this simple premise seems to be largely unknown or ignored amongst martial arts and self defence groups.

Failure, flow and complicated combinations

“I liked that drill. It wasn’t complicated like the other ones.”

How do you maximise your ability?

Most people realise that collecting tools does not necessarily make you an able, efficient or skilful tool user.

The Brown Belt Mentality

Anyone involved in the martial arts who uses social media will no doubt have seen many different memes purporting to inform them what a black belt is, and what a black belt isn’t.

Perceptions of Karate?

“Hi, I’m calling about a karate class for self defence, the Leisure Centre gave me this number, it’s for my nephew.” “Can I ask how old your nephew is? The youngest I teach are thirteen years old.” “Oh, he’s four.” Sigh. Despite my websites giving my minimum ages in several places, and having no photos […]

Multiple assailants, combative distance and escape

In any unsolicited violent or aggressive event our primary aim is to remove ourselves (and others if we feel responsible for them) from danger of bodily harm. The aim is not to ‘win a fight’ for this is not consensual violence; in most cases therefore (excluding for example threats on the doorstep of our own property) we are endeavouring to create an exit.

To escape from a situation we need space to run/barge or walk through, created by the absence or inability/disinclination of prior threats to engage or stop us.

The problems of Self Protection & Self Defence

As most martial arts clubs advertise themselves as teaching self defence, and only deliver physical training, is the end result that most people who start training with a martial arts club don’t really get what they need? Rather than improving their ability to avoid or deescalate situations they end up with fighting skills of varying quality and efficacy? Does this make people less safe?

Terms and terminology

The other day a respected friend of mine made an observation about the number of clubs, particularly the pyjama dancers (as I call them), advertising that they were teaching self defence, when at best all they were doing was giving their students fighting skills.