Showing posts from March, 2017

Surviving on the ground 101 for Karateka

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

I should have started with this one, right?

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

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

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:

What does "rank" mean?

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?

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

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

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 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

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:
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.

PS: download the whole book here.

@practicalkarateagain in Facebook
josep_cla in Instagram

A thousand visitors!

I just started a month ago and already got 1000 visits!
Thank you guys all over the world!

It seems that I get most of my visits from the US and from Poland.
I am preparing an article in Polish in collaboration with my Polish fellow karateka. Stay tuned!
Oh! Finally someone from Spain decided to have a look lol. I'll write something in Spanish soon too.

Surprisingly, the most viewed post is about Ashihara. That was a nice evening...

I hope to get comments on my book too. As many as possible.

And please, subscribe!
Only my friend Karashira Sensei has done it so far...


The Facebook page is working well and helping a lot.
More than 130 visits in 2 days!

And some visitors from Japan. This is getting better by the day!

Update 2:
Oh, boy!
More than 3000 visits, peaks of 621 visits PER DAY and more than 700 downloads of my book and bunkai chapters.
I am a celebrity!

My take on bunkai

If you have finished my book (available on this blog, and also if requested by email) then you should have some ideas about what my ideas about bunkai are. Just in case, bunkai refers to the interpretation of the movements of the kata so they can be applied to defend yourself from an assailant.
From my learning, my reading, my research and my exchange of information with other martial artists I have come to this conclusions (list not exhaustive):
-The stances are there for a reason: a low stance means a body drop, usually carrying something (someone) down with you. A back stance means (usually) a defensive move and a forward stance an offensive action.
-An open hand means that you should grab something. A closed fist means that you should have something inside. Yeah, pretty contradictory but it shows the principle that both hands should be doing something at all times.
-Crossing the feet means that you are throwing. A 90º or 270º turn means a throw. A jump means a throw. You need to …

Too lazy for Karate...

Hi guys.
After this week's training in Japanese dojos, carrying my heavy dogis up and downs the rainy city, having to wash them after class (you also wash yours after class, don't you?) and them letting them dry I have realized how tiring going to train is. Not the actual class (that is also exhausting) but the process before and after the training session.
After 3 days of training my living room looks like this:

 I can not even feel strength to fold them when (if) they dry.

MMA on the other hand is easier to do.
You just need a couple things that fit inside a small bag.

Also, MMA allows you with a better (and cheaper) chance to show your individuality and other passions:

 Until the day that the unthinkable happens:


Kenshikai Shorin Ryu

Because, why not? You do not always have the opportunity to enjoy 4 hours of great Karate in less than 24 hours in two styles that are not yours, right?

Still sore from yesterday's Ashihara training I headed to join an International Kenshikai class. I saw one of their kids classes in one of their 20 dojos in Shanghai so I got myself invited to one of their trainings.
Believe it or not the training was exactly the same I did yesterday in Ashihara! How to tai sabaki out of a gedan mawashi geri and reposition yourself to counter with another low kick.  Ashihara is a Kyokushin offshot and Shorin Ryu a Kyokushin "father" but I wasn't expecting the two to be so similar, at least during normal class.

Other than body reposition the style is focused on natural breathing, speed and hitting on specific points, not using raw power, to overcome an attacker. Quite revealing.
As a Shotokan "father" (even if  Funakoshi Sensei never trained or taught Shotokan Karate, do no…

Ashihara Karate

I just arrived from a wonderful class and I am still excited!
I got invited to join Kobayashi Sensei's Ashihara class in Shanghai. It is my first time in Ashihara and I must say that I enjoyed the experience a lot. I mean, two hours of Karate under a Japanese instructor in a room full of Japanese-only gentlemen... what can go wrong!?
We did a lot of kihon (that I really needed), some partner drills based on footwork and evading low kicks (gedan mawashi geri) and then I got to spar with everyone! Yes, Sensei included.
That was great because in most dojos visitors are not allowed to do kumite with the regular members. Safety concerns they use to argue, but today I got to interchange blows with everyone, what was great.
For what I have seen, Ashihara is a lot like Kyokushin, but not so restricted by rules. In Kyokushin sometimes (most of the time) I feel constricted by the tournament rules but in Ashihara it seems to be a bit more relaxed. It may be only this dojo, but it was a wond…

The hand of Karate

If you got my book you can recognize this picture from the "how to use your body as a weapon" section. 
But I must confess that I am still learning and that yesterday I found a new way of hurting people, I mean, to defend oneself from an attacker.
In this screen capture you can see Yagi Sensei teaching Naka Sensei how a karateka should hit with an open palm strike.
So, how to do it?
You must agree that is (in)genius!

What I really enjoy of the great Naka Sensei, one of my top 3 favourite Shotokan karateka in this generation, is how he is always eager to learn new things and new perspectives about Karate and other Martial Arts. His videos in Okinawa really show how much he cares about improving continually.
Here is (the other) Yagi Sensei showing the thumb close up: Please, nobody use it during kumite with me!!!

Reducing kata to its essence

I read a lot of people excusing themselves of practicing kata while they are not in the dojo (at home, traveling, in hotels...) because they do not have enough space to practice a whole kata.
That, of course, is just a excuse for not practicing.
See: Jion in a square meter
As you can see, I do a loooong kata in a very reduced space. Yes, my performance is poor, rushed and uninterested, I can see that, but stay with me. The key to practice kata in a less-than-ideal environment is to change it. Yes, you can change kata. A modified kata is better than no kata. Read that again.
So, how to do it? Many kata have a repetition of the same technique 3 times. So you need to do the full step and the 3 techniques? No, you don't. Three techniques in kata are there for a reason. Study the reason and just mod your kata to fit your space. Change the directions. It doesn't matter. No, it doesn't. You are not trying to perform the whole perfect kata, you are just trying to get some training…