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How important is to have a black belt?

Very important! I hear you say. We work for it for many years and it's the mark of a Master, right?

The important thing is to learn, and to keep on learning.
See how one of the greatest karateka in Karate's history (Motobu Choki, 本部 朝基, 1870–1944)  didn't mind at all posing for a picture wearing a white belt:

Who cares what colour your belt is?

PS: Oh, yes, Naihanchi!!

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Back home

Last night I went to visit my Sensei, Celedonio García in his dojo Celvic.
Training was about Tai Sabaki combined with punches and kicks. Pretty good!

Thank you all my good old friends for a good training session, and thank you Sensei for all the years together!!

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My ribs

They still hurt, so I went (again) to the doctor to get x-rayed (again) and to be told just to wait (again).

Can you see anything wrong?
I can't go down to the ground now but I use my time to lift weights and do some HIIT.
Wanna see some contrast?

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Happy birthday to myself!

Yes, today is my (I don't want to disclose personal information) birthday and my sister gifted me this book:

It's the first time anyone gives me something about Karate (or any Martial Art) for my birthday, so I guess I was a bit surprised. I didn't know the book and I didn't know the author but it looks interesting: Kumite Superior, Kumite para cinturones negros.

Just a random pic of a random page, but you can see it is full of exercises to improve your coordination and reflexes. It looks a little bit weird because of the drawings (could be much better with pictures) but many many good ideas to use during class.
I can't recommend it yet as I still didn't read and/or analyze it but first impression is good.
Now, look at this:

In the philosophical view of Camps Sensei Karate is a multifaceted thing, combination of multiple points of view. This may help some people understand why we have so many different ways of practicing Karate in the world (including mine).



Today I want to thank my two friends Jourdan Chow and Skeven for visiting me in Spain during last week.
We spent some time together, we did some training together, we ate together... Thank you guys! Missed you so much!!

Here we are, in Barcelona, having brunch.

Far right we have Pedro Patón, instructor of Defenselab, another good friend of mine. Let's see if I can make him shoot a video for us someday.

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Uke applications (one option)

In this sunny day I used my brother Elies, part time karateka, to shoot a video I had in mind for a while.
He lives in France and came to visit, so I took the chance to take him to the roof under the mid day sun and make him part of this blog. We almost had to shoot the video wearing sunglasses!
Oss, brother!

In this video I must explain first that I am not saying that all the "blocks" in kata must be used like this. I am just suggesting one way of "reading" what the different uke techniques can mean in the context of a kata.
Of course, I forgot to explain shoto uke...
Well, first I show the common application to uchi uke. Then I (try to) show how this can be useless in a fight. You can see that my brother is not attacking with all his will so I can deflect quite easily, but you get the point, don't you?
I choose to explain a point of view that is similar to that of Aikido, but it also is something I use in MMA and while on the ground because I works for me.

My fight on video

First of all, thank you to all my partners in Budokan Castellón who helped me prepare for the fight, thanks to Pedro, David, Xufei and specially Sensei Josep Florido for coming with me and helping me on fight night. Also, thanks to VFL for having me in this event.
I would also thank my sponsors, but...

Coming in.

Spatial awareness run (thanks Ramsey!).

Waiting for an opponent.

Being introduced.

Moving my arms.

Thinking of the tactic.

Where are my gloves?
Well, the experience was amazing! I got to fight in a cage, in a nice promotion, against a very strong guy and then got to walk home unharmed, sure of having given all I had inside, that was not much. I gassed out too soon and could not play along very well.
But it doesn't matter. The other guy, Fabio Wellinton, was more experienced, stronger and did a better fight. He was a nice guy before and after the fight and that is important too.
Now, the fight:

Oh, yes, he won. I had a chance of finishing the fight on the first round when…

Getting ready

Tomorrow is the day, thank you everyone who has helped me prepare this fight.

Monday, time to put the gi on again and give some rest to my body.

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I'm gonna fight this Friday!

Yes, I have been offered a MMA fight this Friday and I said yes.

Am I becoming a MMA fighter? No, not even a Karate fighter.
I am a karateka, even if I crosstrain or push myself to try new (martial) things. My point is, how can I be sure how good my Karate is? Not how good my kime or how does my kata look or how fancy my bunkai is: am I ready to face violence?
Because violence (unexpected) is what we all train for (I hope!), to be ready if shit happens. This fight will be a reality check for me. Yes, "Karate is not made for fighting in a professional arena", I also read that, but that doesn't mean that I can not go. I am not sure how good were people in Okinawa at fighting when that sentence was uttered (by Motobu?)  but nowadays many people train Martial Arts or combat sports so I think the situation has changed.
In my quest for self-protection improvement I will face someone I have never seen before. All I know about him is his weight and that he has fighting experien…

Soshin, beginners mind

Yes, my friends, I am struggling to find my inner Soshin. Probably I am not humble enough (I knew that) but this week has been a challenge to my endurance. No, two months of inactivity and my injuries are not excuses for how bad I performed these days.
I just joined a new club in my hometown and had a couple of classes there. I am mainly a karateka but decided to cross-train for a while in something new. Well, they just played with me. ALL of THEM.
All the time.
And this is hard to accept for someone with so many years of martial experience. You defeated so many people under so many different rule sets that being manhandled by so many people in so short time hurts.  It is difficult to accept.

Yes, struggling to not give up.
My new training mates are expert grapplers. Really good. Better than 99% of other people I met in my life. And that made me think that all the crappy grappling that we see in most today's bunkai videos are just a joke.
Anyone with just a bit of grappling exper…

Bin Laden doing Karate...

I just came across this picture of Osama Bin Laden wearing a karategi and a black belt...
I am actually curious about who his Sensei is. Looks like he is from Taiwan (the flag) but I am not sure who he is. Anyone can recognize him?
Anyone has any footage of Bin Laden doing kata or kumite? That would be interesting to say the least.

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Japanese flag

One of my training mates gifted me with a Japanese flag on my BRAND NEW gi.

Well, life.

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Celvic, my first dojo

In this great selfie you can see my perfectly bent nose, product of a street fight when I was 10, that I lost against someone twice my size.  No, not a product of my courage but an attack. Well, kids...
This morning I went to visit my Sensei, Celedonio García to his dojo, Celvic, to remember old times. Fortunately (for him) he is on holidays so I could not see him, but I got inside to take some pics from the different rooms and feel some nostalgia.

The place is big (three stories) and Sensei is always experimenting and moving the weight room, the aerobic room and the dojo around almost every summer. I have trained in four different rooms in this place lol.
Oh, there he is:

Being caught in a wrist lock by his daughter.  Good job training her, Sensei!!
Next week classes start again and I will be there to polish my Shotokan, that is in need of an update.

Oss Sensei!!!

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