Saturday, June 13, 2009


I attended a seminar about 20 years ago at the urging of a friend to see this "master" who knew secret technique passed on to him by the last grand master of the system.As soon as he mentioned the word "secret"I should have passed on it as I normally would then and now.

Most of these "secret" teachings have no relevance to modern environmental conditions or are outright useless garbage that no other system would consider teaching.

1st indication was his having his "attacker" start from 2 forward stances away the typical hand cocked at the hip gedan barai lunge punch posture and his directions not to throw "smart bombs" or in other words as he moved out of the line of fire the"attacker" was not to adjust and follow him even tho he had all the time in the world to do so.

This is unrealistic in the extreme misleading and dangerous to anyone who thinks this is a viable effective method of learning self defense .Sparring maybe self defense NO.

What is a realistic range ?Stand normally raise your arms out to the side and draw an imaginary circle by turning at the waist.This is the attack range usually experienced in self defense .Being attacked suddenly and hard from this range both of you standing in a natural stance has other benefits than merely learning physical technique.You learn to control and use the adrenalin "dump" that occurs during sudden violent attack and erases all that lovely training you have had since day one.Some interpret this as fear and are uncomfortable with the feeling or even the idea that they would experience fear after all that training.Actually it's just primordial instinct and natural body chemicals preparing you to experience violence or the fight or flight reaction .It will add power to your technique if you stand and fight and wings to your feet if you chose to run .It is natural unstoppable and has little to do with what we see and think of as fear.True fear is a panic state where you can not do anything fight or flight.

What made the whole seminar so pathetic was he was demonstrating supposedly ancient secret methods using a practice that didn't exist until the late 1920's and designed purely for sport play.
Then he made the claim that best way to escape a throw was to do a back flip while in mid air and land on your feet. Have you stopped laughing yet ?Looks good at demos where the action is known before hand and the one being thrown can adjust his posistion before the throw is attempted.No experienced grappler would risk severe injury to his spine trying that in a real fight or contest that is why they practice ground grappling.
Anything you don't see being done by highly skilled participants on a regular basis probably doesn't work.

Above I described the best range for developing self defense reactions .That is just for starters.Once they are good at it have the "defender" stand with his back to a wall .They now have 4 options go left go right go forward go underneath ( tackle)they can't step back. .The best option in 99 out of a 100 cases is the last two.

Have fun .


  1. If he does not understand simple fact that named floor technics are not for actual fighting/self-defense but simply to teach 100's of elements that we use in fighting, or even in non-fighting daily challenges, his life will be a lot less embarrasing.

    The first Japanese senseis in US really goofed, I hate to say. They taught only the surface of what karate is all about. Because it was easier to teach.

    How could they teach such deep intagible deep thoughts in English the reasons why they taught what we call now "technics" that simply would not work? These technics are not designed to use for physical fighting but more important issues.

    "Uke" is not "block", "tachi/Dachi" is not to teach how to stand on.

    Unfortunately they did not teach the names of technics are simply names, just like John, Mark etc. which have literal meanings however.

    But at least if they had taught "Uke" as "Receiving" as the Japanese word means, it would have a better chance to avoid what todays common practice (not meaning training practice but just meaning "doing") and karate world could have stayed more like before. And we would never have seen a eight years old 3rd degree blackbelt.

    My Two Cents Worth.

  2. U.S. service men who trained on a 2 or 3 year stint in the military compounded the problem .

    Language problems that led to incomplete or no explanations left them groping for the answers or they just "winged it"and made up stuff or relied on quotes from books that sounded good but only served to further confuse the situation.
    In his book HIDDEN KARATE MASTER HIGAKI states "the names of techniques were deliberately misnamed " and "there is only one opponent".
    The influence of sport has led to the the idea of stances e.g. ready stance fighting stance etc.which in turn has led to practioners developing a comfort zone in which they perform best but taken out of that comfort zone their efforts are confused at best and useless at worst.Stance appears when technique is applied not before or to put it in other words until it becomes a hands on situation nothing is given away thru stance.The best self defense responses are hindered by being locked into a stance.


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