Hit Without Thinking

Sakamoto-Sensei once told me to stop worrying about hitting my opponent. After time and practice, I think I finally understand why. When you stop worrying about hitting your opponent and just do it, your body flows more naturally. As you make contact, the power is released more spontaneously and powerfully than when you force your…

Not by Any Stretch

Are “warming up” and “stretching” the same thing? Often people equate the two. But “warming up” and “long-term flexibility development” are really quite different concepts that have evolved over time. And our practice should reflect that. Faced with some sport or physical endeavour, most people want to jump right into it, but then that little…

Slow Down to Speed up

Many years ago, I studied percussion under a world-renowned teacher. One of the most important things I learned was to practise slowly – as slowly as I could possibly go. In his words, “If you can’t play it right when you play slowly, how can you expect to play anything other than rubbish when you…

Henshuho Pointers

For purposes of the following, the attacker can use either right gyaku-zuki or oizuki (reverse or lunge punch). However, as your practice of Henshuho advances, you should be able to deal with any kind of attack, from either side of the body. 1. Defender starts from right hangetsu-dachi (half-moon – the Ryusei front stance). As the…

Japan 2010

When I travelled to Japan last fall, it was my third trip there and my first time back since 2004. Things in my life have changed since then. I now have a beautiful daughter. I’m out of my 20s and in my early 30s, and lots of training has left me with some wear and…

A Study in Fusion

Tsuyoshi Chitose (1898 to1984) left a legacy in a karate method that he named Chito-Ryu. The name itself implies O-Sensei’s own historical view of the origins of Okinawan karate being rooted in Chinese kempo. The most notable feature of this karate method, though, is its claim to be a synthesis of the two main foundation…

Florida Winter Getaway 2009

On February 11, 2009, I traveled to Orlando, Florida, to visit James Acampora, an old friend and student of the late Chito-Ryu shihan Art Rott. In order to teach Chito-ryu karate, James has continued the dreams of his instructor by building a dojo and staying true to the way he was taught. I have always…

Illustrating Our Manual

In trying to create a kyu belt manual for Ryusei Karate-Do, we were faced with a difficult challenge in how to illustrate our kihon, kata and kaisetsu. We didn’t have the money to hire an illustrator, and no one in our organization had the requisite skills. So we were lucky when Kambiz Miranbigi and Rick Going joined…

A Path of Martial Training

I was born, in 1959, into a caring family. My father was from a modern Mennonite background and my mother from a city family. The big things in New Hamburg, Ontario, the small Canadian town where I grew up, were baseball, hockey and, to a lesser degree, lacrosse. I was not a sports-oriented kid, so…

Power To Your Technique

To get power in your techniques, whether it’s punching, striking, blocking, kicking or throwing, you need certain common components. But remember, all these different facets of applying power must come together in a fraction of a second, so you have to train yourself thoroughly in how to make these things work separately and as a…

Block the Line

Years ago, at a drinking party in Japan, I finally worked up enough nerve to pose a question that I was afraid would sound stupid. But it was something that had bugged me for a long time. Why do we have the separate basic exercises Kihon Dosa 1 and Kihon Dosa 2? These are the…

The Greatest Martial Arts Movie Ever Made

I believe the greatest martial arts movie ever made is Groundhog Day (1993), starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. In it, full-of-himself Pittsburgh TV weatherman Phil Connors (Murray) is sent with a producer Rita (MacDowell) and cameraman Larry to Punxsutawney, Penn., to cover its Groundhog Day festivities, on February 2. Phil talks the talk, but doesn’t walk…