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Nijushiho (an impromptu bunkai exploration)

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This was actually a much requested topic from my countless followers, so I finally gave in and started the project.
As my elders told me, Nijushiho is a Naha(te) kata that somehow made it into the Shotokan system, but probably it was when Funakoshi Sensei sent his best students to train under Mabuni Sensei to expand the scope of his Karate. In Shito Ryu it is called Niseishi and if you compare both versions you will see that Nijushiho has been "shotokanized", as many others.
Well, exploring a Naha kata that is present in the Shotokan system but not in the Goju Ryu system presents some challenges and we expected some wonderful outcomes.
So, here it is: My bunkai
Now, my own criticism:
My opponent is a girl who is half my size, half my age and half my rank, so all the techniques work flawlessly on her because I was overpowering her, she was not resisting and because of a language barrier she did not know what was coming next. Your bunkai techniques should work regardless of wh…

Some Kumite

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Yesterday I went to see my good friend Chen Sensei and after a grueling hour of Sanchin we did some bunkai and also some kumite.
Showing off my newly acquired video editing skills: Jiu kumite Here I have some light kumite with (the other) Chen Sensei (they are not related).  Karate Box Dojo is Shotokan based so we just messed around a bit under Shotokan "rules". The video came out wonderfully!
Then I challenged Chen Sensei (the owner) to a Kyokushin match: First time Yes, his first time under this "rules" so he seems a bit confused at the beginning but he fought back in no time.
Then it was me who was challenged by one of their students! First time Second time That was really fun! I hope we both learnt something from the experience!



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My seal

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Following advice from my beloved ones I have purchased a stone seal to stamp the certificates I give to my students.
Here is it:

So from this day all my certificates, kyu and dan, will be wet stamped with this seal to prevent forgeries.
Here is an example:

Did I just promote myself to Tenth Dan? Oh, well...

...now I will need a frame!


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Escaping a RNC: Kanku bunkai

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Yes, today I practiced some Rear Naked Choke escapes and thought to post them here.

Just in case you don't know, the RNC is the most successful technique in MMA, with the highest chance of ending a fight. And it is so easy to do... that you better be ready to survive it, right? Because you could be tangled up in one in a street fight too.
First, the first one: Escape 1
What? You didn't like it? I learnt it from a 11th Dan Master!!
Never mind...
Let's try option 2: Escape 2
Better?
The sequence is: cover your neckbump your behind forwardroll to one siderotate to the other side and put the inside shoulder on the floorstiff-arm the legjump over and finish him! Easy!


So, how does this relate to Kanku kata? Well, option 2 can be done while standing:
bring your hands uplower your bodyrotate to the sidestrike! Can you find it?







Well, just before the nidan tobi geri.
Yes, I know!! A bit of a stretch! But now I am getting fun of the inverse process: instead of finding a meaning of a se…

Coaching no-gi BJJ

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Here, guys, you can see me demonstrating some moves that you should know. Not what I would call self-defense but if you are in a combat sports environment you could actually use these in sparring/rolling.
Kimura from guard
Spinning guard pass
Well, I lied: I was just posing for my coach's video hehe.  Why me? Easy choice: only two guys showed up that day... and because I have a gift for spinning around. I knew all those Ura Pinan in Kyokushin could not be for nothing!
Why not for self-defense? First one: what are you gonna do when (if) you can get the Kimura right? Break the arm? Make him tap? Second one: if the guy is on the ground you will be crazy if you follow him down. 





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Kyusho / Vital points

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Did you hear about them? Do you know some of them? Are they key to your practice?
There are different people who treat the vital points differently. An excerpt of my book will explain my view on them: what they are and how to use a few of them.  You still can purchase it for the original price of zero.
But let's say that they are spots on your body that will hurt like hell if "manipulated". They are nerve knots and other anatomical structures that are easy to access and create a lot of pain.
Dim mak, delayed death, five steps death and light touch knockout are subjects we are not going to discuss here because I am not sure if I believe in that, but getting compliance from an attacker using pain is a good thing to get good at.
Chapter 7

Not, finally I got to record myself sparring, not only rolling. It was a light flowing sparring with my team mate and he got (accidentally) a limp leg when I put my knee on his shin:

If you really want to see some of my non-orthodox Karate…

Bunkai on a movie?!?!?!

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I just found this clip on Youtube featuring Michel Jay White winning a MMA fight using his kata bunkai:
Movie
This was quite a finding!


I like his movies. He always carries himself with pride and his Karate values shine at all times. And yes, he has some cool moves. Yes, movies, but you think you could beat him?





Okinawan Karate: the original MMA

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Look at these guys:

Karate MMA

They explain it so well!!!



Non-contact Karate

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Now, what is your reason for making your Karate "non-contact"?

Oh, yes, I know all tournaments around you are non-contact, but that doesn't mean you need to keep contact out of your training. If you don't get hit on a regular basis you will not know how you react under stress, fear and pain, and stress, fear and pain is what you will feel if attacked on the street.
This people seem to survive without big injuries, so a couple of punches won't kill you: Parkour fail compilation






About food and nutrition

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Because they are the same thing, aren't they?


Well, almost.
Let me start by saying that I am an expert Psychologist, but not an expert nutritionist. Ok, just a graduated Psychologist with a ton of experience in dealing with human nature (did that make any sense?).
So, what should you do to improve your athletic performance? Yes, athletic. You are not practicing a sport, right? You are practicing a Martial Art, right? Right, but your body still needs to be treated like an athletic machine: feed it right and it will improve, feed it wrong and it will degrade.
Now, some common sense: -Fried foods, fats, salt, sugar, bread, candy, coke, alcohol, snacks and so on will make you fat and will provide few nutrients.. -Fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, water, eggs, milk and so on will provide more nutrients, more energy and will help you loose weight and live longer.
But we all knew that, right?
There is no need for nutrition advices, we all know the truth.
We will not talk about supplements t…

Sanchin 三戦

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Today I want to talk about Sanchin, that kata where you keep your whole body under full tension and you breath like a T-Rex. 

Sanchin is a signature kata of Goju Ryu, although is present in other systems. It does not look like any other kata, as breathing and tension seems to be the only important consideration.
Here you can see Omoto Kancho performing Sanchin:  Omoto Kancho Sanchin
Well, it is my understanding of Sanchin (Sanchin meaning "three battles", but I will not enter in philosophical discussion at this moment) that one of the benefits of it (and the one that benefits me the more) is that really helps to connect breathing with technique. Using the hara for launching the punches and neurologically linking striking with exhalation.
Yes, many other benefits if you ask people who practice it and many health dangers if you ask people who don't.
Oh, what are those other benefits? Improved muscle tone, stronger tendons and ligaments, massaging the organs, body more resi…

Kick-boxing drill

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Oh, do I do Kick-boxing?

Well, there is a free class on my place that I join about once in a month, when I have time. Always good workout.

Yesterday we did an interesting exercise: Noodleing
Well, the point is to slip and avoid to be hit while you keep your head still over your center of gravity, that needed a few corrections. I am afraid to say that my video is after the corrections, but... have faith in me my friends! I will get it right, eventually. 
Funny how it differs from common Karate kumite and kata, where you are supposed to keep your head and spine erect and straight.  Didn't the Okinawans know about head movement?
I suppose they do...







Japanese vs Okinawan Karate: enter Goju Ryu

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After my long experience in Goju Ryu (exactly 4 days) I became aware of a fascinating fact: I never trained punches or kicks in Goju Ryu. Not in Japan, not in Okinawa.
Surprising, because my previous experience in Karate (Shotokan and Kyokushin) was focused, 95%, in punching and kicking as hard as you can. 
In this intensive Goju Ryu crash course (the 4 days were in the same week) I trained throws, locks, weapons, vital points, small joint manipulation, breathing, attacking the eyes, breaking necks and other ways of incapacitating an attacker and leaving him (or her) maimed on the ground.
How is this divergence of training objectives so big? After all, they were all Okinawans those who took Karate to mainland Japan...


Please, excuse my generalizations. I am talking only about my reduced experience. Yours may be different. Please, let me know in the comments!!



Ji'in

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I just (re)learnt this interesting kata in my afternoon home session.
It has been 5 solid years since the last time I did it... what makes sense since I am reducing the number of kata I am working on, but I do not want to completely forget all the old kata that took me so much effort to learn, so from time to time I try to remember one of those. Last month was Nijushiho, today was Ji'in. I attempted Hangetsu yesterday but we better forget it ever happened.
Just in case you want to know my opinion about these kata: -Hangetsu is, allegedly, Funakoshi's take on Seisan. And I still want to learn Seisan, a more traditional kata.  -Nijushiho is one of, at least, two Naha kata that made it into the Shotokan curriculum (three, if we include Hangetsu/Seisan). -Ji'in is Jion, but somebody forgot the correct order and we ended up with two really similar kata that show almost exactly the same.
Well, I checked Ji'in in this video: Ji'in Kanazawa
This collection of videos is gre…

Surviving on the ground 101 for Karateka

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Let's start by saying that "surviving on the ground" is not the same as "winning a fight on the ground".
For countless reasons that I am sure you have already read elsewhere fighting on the ground is not the best of the strategies when your life is at risk. If you had the bad fortune of ending on the ground, be it on top or on the bottom, then your main goal must be to regain your feet.

If you have a gentleman like this on top of you preventing you from standing up, then I have some recommendations that, surprisingly, I forgot to include in my book (you got my book and sent me a donation via Paypal, right?).
-Cover your face/head at the best of your ability to avoid taking heavy shots that can knock you out. -Keep your neck covered to avoid being chocked out or strangled. -Keep your arms and elbows tight to the body to prevent being caught in armbars and such. -Keep the other guy close to you to disrupt his striking, but, -Create space between the other guy an…

What does "practical Karate" mean? 実戦総合唐手術 勇善會

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I should have started with this one, right?

But first let me tell you the name of my dojo:

実戦総合唐手術勇善會
Jissen Sogo Tode Jutsu Yuzenkai



My Japanese friends suggested I am creating a new ryu-ha, but that it is not my intention. I just tried to name what I do in a way that explains mi ideas about physical self-defense.
Jissen means real fight, live or death situations, meaning that I want to develop my Karate in a way that is useful when a fight arouses and martial skills become an urgent need. Sogo means comprehensive, or mixed, like in mixed martial arts. I want to explain with this that I am not afraid of using techniques or strategies from any source as long as are helping my goals. Tode, also pronounced Karate. I like to use the old kanji 唐 instead of 空 because it is the one that was used in Okinawa before Karate migrated to mainland Japan (they still use it in Okinawa nowadays, but not everywhere). It was also the title of Funakoshi Sensei's first book, and also the name of Sosai…

We're on Facebook and Youtube

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This is the kanji "kai", as in Shotokai, Kyokushinkai and Yuzenkai. I am sure you know it means something along the lines of group, organization or community. And that is what I to create, a community of linked people with the same interest on mind: keeping their Martial Arts practical, as they should be.
You can find the accounts creating synergy with to this blog here:
Facebook
Youtube




What does "rank" mean?

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The rank on your belt means how much you have improved since you started. 
Well, at least ideally. Yes, many greedy and corrupted McSenseis sell ranks and belts, but let's focus on legit ranks: their meaning and repercussion.

I believe that once you have "substantially" improved since your last promotion you should get promoted again.  How much "substantially" is? Well, I don't know. I can't explain it with words. Also the amount of improvement must be different between different ranks, right?

So, the higher the rank the better one must be (yes, ideally). That means that in you are a Nidan and I am a Shodan then you must be better than me.

I have met people with 2 years exerience who were black belts and they deserved it and other with 20 years experience that still were brown belts (and also deserved their current ranks). As everyone progresses at different rates then the rank system should allow for different rank advancement rates, shouldn't it?

Why kumite does not resemble kata?

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Yes, I heard many people saying that kata and kumite are disconnected. Training one will not improve the other. Competitors focusing on only one part of Karate at the expense of the whole...
What do you think?
Well, as you may have realized, no, kata and kumite look like two different animals, but, why is that? Why can't you (you actually can) use the kata techniques to win a kumite?
Let me explain my conclusions:
1) As you may have also realized, kata is an ideal sequence of different battle situations. It is stylized, idealized and tweaked to adjust itself to the standard.  You must perform the techniques and stances following your style's ideas and parameters. 
2) Most dojos and tournaments have kumite with rules. Read that again.
Yes, different places have different rules, making the kumite different.
If you fight with rules (example: only punches to the body are allowed but kicks to head, body and legs are legal, no grabs or pulls) then there are many parts of the kata t…

Morning kata practice

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Everytime I see a 型 kanji on the street I need to take a picture. It always encourages me to practice kata. Yes, the kanji means "kata", but here in China they are not called kanji, they are called hanzi.
Anyway, after delivering the young karateka to the kindergarten I practiced an hour of Empi, Suparimpei, Seipai, Gojushiho-sho, Nijushiho, Sanchin and Hangetsu. Yes, a few times each. I just developed a new love for Nijushiho. My Sensei always said it was a kata for 3rd Dan. I recently discovered it is a Naha kata, so I am researching it. More about it in future posts.








Updated links for download

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I am sorry for all the people who entered the blog trying to find the books and left disappointed. I had a beginner's mistake and didn't check the links in other computer.
Now, I have uploaded the whole book and the bunkai chapter on https://archive.org for better sharing.
Please, check them on the updated entries:
Bunkai Bunkai, direct link
Practical Karate, Again Practical Karate, Again, direct link
Sorry again for the time loss. I will make it up to you with more contents!!







Naihanchi / Tekki Shodan bunkai

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For all of you that don not like reading but love bunkai, self-defense and fighting applications I have extracted a chapter of my book that is only that.
Please, find it here:
NEW LINK
I have skipped even the pictures of the kata, that I am sure everybody knows.
I want to thank Omoto Kancho for pushing me to start writing again, and my Sensei Celedonio García for teaching me that kata, that I used to grade for Shodan some years ago.