KARATE STUDIES Feed

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 →


At the Force on Force class we had one resistive student. I rarely get these guys much any more because you have to commit to come up here, beyond the wall, to train with me...its not as easy as having a convenient class down the street on what happens to be your day off. But once in a while... Anyway...his main complaint was that he did not believe a kata was a good thing and sent a tome of an email explaining why. I have found through the years that the more words you need to use to argue a case, the more emotional that case is and the less intellectual it is. The western student...specially gun people have a disdain for rote training. You will hear terms like "adapt to the situation", "build bad habits", "you can't predict the attack", "adversaries are unpredictable". At that point I simply shrug, and wave "bye" as I no longer need to bend over backwards to convince anyone of the validity of our work. If you agree, come and train...if you don't, don't... Read more →


The students at the recent Force On Force class will recall a vociferous student making an issue about the importance of controlling distance, and our response that distance was not something you could control in our study. Anecdote Number 1: The call was of suspicious circumstances…screaming and glass breaking at a house. On arrival, everything was dark and no answer when we knocked on the door. I moved toward the back of the house and moved quietly as possible as I scanned and tasted the air. There was something here…I didn’t know what, but I could sense it. As I moved toward the garage, my back up continued to knock on the front door. I could hear them announcing “Police Department…open the door”. I soft checked the garage door, and it opened. Suspect at three feet. As much as it would have been great to be thirty feet away, there was no way I could increase my distance…but I could change my angle. Problem solved…one single shot to the face. Anecdote Number 2: Someone was using the laundry at an... Read more →


Western students are often impatient and excessively skeptical. It is as if everyone since birth has been trying to fool them about something and if they do not get some sort of instant gratification, they dismiss anything that was said. The attitude seems to be a constant search for short cuts and anyone not validating that point of perspective is seem as a liar or charlatan. But few things in life can be attained via shortcuts and few things offer long term gratification without any effort. At the training social during the recent force on force class I was approached by several students commenting on how smoothly Brent and I moved through the drills. I humbly thanked them on both our behalf for the compliment, and pointed out that both of us have been training martial disciplines since childhood. None of this happened overnight by sheer will and hope. It is that "time spent" - the "work done" where the magic begins. There are all manner of new coined words and ideas that are merely the restating of age old... 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 →


People want to do what is fun. If it is not fun or entertaining, they tend to avoid it. As a result, they will get good at the fun thing only. That describes perfectly the state of gun skills in the world today. Shooters is how they identify themselves and the act of sending bullets downrange into cardboard or steel, sometimes for a score, is how their pursuit is measured. And there is nothing wrong with that if that is the end goal itself. But if the objective is fighting skill, that is a very incomplete process. It is like a race driver only turning left in a big circle and thinking he is a great pursuit driver, in traffic. Or a cardio kickboxing advocate throwing a flurry of punches into the bag (while the score from Rocky plays in the background) declaring himself ready for a street fight. Not quite. In fact, not anywhere close. What is missing? Let me make a list. 1). Context in relation to an enemy. A piece of immobile steel or stationary cardboard is... Read more →


Your training should lead to mindless execution. If it doesn't, then you are wasting your time. Think of what we do in class. Let's say for a contact weapon attack at ten feet away (just outside of hand to hand range). Our strategy for a contact weapon attack, assuming we are armed with a projectile weapon (pistol) is to maintain the distance while we draw and shoot the attacker to the ground. The tactic for doing that is the take off footwork to the 5 o'clock and 7 o' clock lines. So we train that tactic hundreds of times alone without any pressure and without any opponent until we understand how to physically execute the movements. Then we bring in a training partner and with minimal pressure, we drill the technique that supports our strategy in context of application an equal number of times. Once we have a contextual understanding, we turn up the pressure in force on force exercises. This brings physical memorization, understanding of context and combat application. It is what we do and have done for nearly... Read more →