STRENGTH AND MARTIAL SKILLS Feed

THE VALUE OF KATA There are guys that will roll their eyes and mumble about "dead patterns" when someone brings up Kata, as if they sprang from their mother's nether regions with a full and complete understanding of all things martial. Just as successful point shooting (real world close range handgun killing not range masturbation) comes from a thorough education in the use of the sights and accurate shooting, so does mindlessness, comes from mindfulness, and patternless movement - you guessed right - comes from patterns and paradigms of movement. And Kata provide that. I suppose I could go into a long dissertation on that but I will not now. Maybe later. Definitely later. I will need to discuss this because modern people think everything that came before their own birth is irrelevant. In my early years I trained with guys that had killed more people than action heroes in the movies...and they studied Karate Katas. My parent system is Kyokushin and that has its roots in Goju Ryu, so I tend to favor that type of movement pattern. I... Read more →


I was at Starbucks, getting the a quadruple espresso. I was watching a man buy four of those blended drinks. He skips the cardboard carrier they offer and walks out balancing one cup atop another in each hand. It is interesting to watch and so I keep an eye on him as I sip my high octane. He walks up to the passenger side of an SUV and hands one stack to the female passenger. It is at that point that he loses control of the other stack and one Frappucino begins to topple toward the pavement. But very quickly, the man lowers his body and hand, reaches down and catches the falling cup before it spills of hits the deck. Fantastic! What a save! I did not stop to interview him, but I suspect he did not think too much about what he would do, nor is it a move that he has practiced countless times either. Yet there it was...perfect execution and timing. Action without thought. Later in the day, I was driving home with the "Shield Maiden".... Read more →


Any field of study is based upon the traditions of its founders. The world of the gun is no different. And the generation of men who founded the art of American Gunfighting, did not hold physical fitness in high esteem. It is not to castigate them, but simply to point out that we are a product of our parents and they of their grandparents. Nobody gives birth to themselves. All that said, we certainly do not live in the world of our parents and grandparents. And we are also not limited to the information of their day. We have far more data than they did, and thus after the head start we received, we can now drive the art forward into the future. And that is true as we are making far better technical shooters today than was possible in the 1930s, or 1960s. And while men like Jordan and Bryce may have had much more experience at killing, I doubt they were better shots than the students we produce today. As well, I suspect, if Fairbairn and Applegate, and... Read more →


Most students of personal combat today have some understanding of ground fighting and the mechanics of taking down an adversary. Its not a hard thing to learn, and anyone who has a little athletic ability and a partner to work some basic moves can develop some pretty serious skill sets in short order. Most shooters already have a disdain for physical combat of any sort, but bring up the notion of wrestling around on the ground with someone and you will probably be asked to leave. Ignorance is bliss and few people want their bliss upset. These blissful shooters may not like the idea of fighting on the ground, but ignoring the situation is as silly as pretending that knife assaults won’t happen either. Any gun guys who think they are so fast and alert that they can never be taken down to the ground, please send me an email. I have some Brazilian gents I’d like to introduce you to and I will bet you $1000 they will put you down before you can clear leather. I will begin... Read more →


I got back to the station and my uniform was in shreds. My knees and elbows looked like I was some little kid that fell off his bike. In short, I looked like crap. I had just concluded a nice little ground fight with an MS-13 gang member. In retrospect, I should have simply stabbed him in the neck...but we learn and live…thankfully. He was brought in beaten up bad, and choked out...but very much alive. In my experience, fights do not always go to the ground. They do if you lose your balance, or if you go to a clinch and both guys lose their balance (or one decides to lose the other guy's balance). The big problem with all of this is that you will never be fighting just one guy. There will be others waiting to kick you in the face when you are tied up with their "carnal"...their homie. So my focus on learning to fight on the ground is not to apply arm bars, or submit people, but rather to get the f*ck back up... Read more →


In a recent discussion at warriortalk a point was brought up that one did not need to have a "physique" in order to be able to fight. I countered that fitness and fighting were two separate matters and showed images of the UFC fighter Tank Abbott. Abbott is a huge man and can fight, nobody can deny that. But he is fat and not "fit" in the sense of what we want fitness to be. I then showed an image of Clarence Bass, a 75 year old bodybuilder who looks better and is probably healthier at 75 than most men at 25. If all we wanted to do was to "be able to hit hard and fight", we would be emulating the Sumo wrestler...getting as big and fat as we could, so we could bowl over lighter men. A sumotori would able to break a smaller man's wrist by simply taking his punch. But I will bet a health profile for a Sumo is hardly one promising of a long life. I will also bet a sumotori could not run... Read more →


This month we are proclaiming September as Crusader History Month. And in this piece we want to feature Jan Sobieski and his Hussars, and their role in breaking the siege of Vienna. Very few Americans study any history at all. It is as if they think that the only history of any importance is their own short history. But that is a shame because much of what we are seeing today was born hundreds of years ago, and the motivations of the players back then very much motivate the players today...even if the politicians fail to see it. Islam has been attempting to overthrow the western world since the 7th century. Nothing has changed. They want the entire world under their thumb. Their world is the world which is submissive to Islam. Anything outside their world is the world of the Infidel...that is us. It is nothing new. One may even say it is "history". This month of course, marks the anniversary of September the 11th, 2001. I think we could say without doubt that this date has had the... Read more →


It was Halloween Night...1972 or 73. I chose to go to Karate than to go trick or treating. I was twelve...I think. I had been dabbling in Karate as an after-school activity. This was at the Burbank YMCA mid-week, and Saturdays. It was fast becoming a passion...or an obsession if you listened to my grandmother. I liked it. The instructors were good...but they were what we would consider hobbyists. They had their regular lives and did this to stay in shape and to lose weight. Truth be told, none of those instructors would be considered physically impressive by our standards today. But they had knowledge we wanted, and it was only $30 per month...so we listened and overlooked the warts. Then one night we had a visitor to the class. As soon as the stranger walked in, the black belts recognized him and all came to attention. They called the class to attention. The call was "SENSEI". We all faced the door in a very military manner and bowed. The man was "Sensei Bob". He walked over and waved us... Read more →


One of my recent studies has been reading many of the quotes and life stories of the old Karate masters. Karate seems to have a mixed image here in the USA, much in part to the "Karate Kid", and David Carradine silliness, but the original masters were quite dangerous and rough men. In the next few weeks I will periodically post about some of these guys...guys that would likely never be welcomed at any navel gazing, American McDojo. One of these is Choshin Chibana the founder of Kobayashi Shorin-ryu Karate, an Okinawan system. He was the last of the pre-World War karate masters, also called the "Last Warrior of Shuri". There are some stories about these guys and we love to read about them, but many are already available in many places online. This quote below is telling of how karate - any martial system for that matter - should be studied. In the old days we trained Karate as a martial art, but now they train Karate as a gymnastic sport. I think we must avoid treating Karate as... Read more →


This is from late 1970s. I don't recall the exact year, but it was my 3rd Dan test. Sosai Mas Oyama had made a trip to the USA and was there. As is common in the very physical system Kyokushin, there was a good amount of breaking. This is not the silly stuff with little spacers broken by fat guys wearing satin like you see today. This was stack 'em up and break them...period. Anyway this was the eleventh board stacked. All of them broke but this one. I kept it and wore my bruises with honor. At the end of the day, everyone was getting their books signed. Advanced Karate, or This Is Karate by Oyama. I didn't know he was coming so I did not bring my book. One of my dojo mates suggested I get the board signed. I recall Sosai wrinkling his brow and grunting when I brought the board...but he signed it. It sat in storage for years and the dryness of the AZ back country finally cracked it through where I had hit it,... Read more →