Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How to execute a Block, Punch and Kick properly?

Uke waza (blocking techniques) , Tsugi  Waza ( punching techniques) and Geri Waza ( kicking techniques) form a major part of most martial arts. Techniques can be learnt but if not properly executed they are of no use practically. In my many years of experience I have seen many students of martial arts blocking, punching and kicking during class only by placing the hand or leg the way it has to be. Most don't execute a punch or block or kick the way it would be needed to be executed if one is required to use it on the road to defend themselves. No technique is executed properly if we do not focus our body, mind and spirit in executing the technique. We have to become one with the technique only then is it executed to its optimum potential. Am just amazed at the brilliance and profound knowledge of the great masters who have designed Martial Arts. They have covered all the aspects of life in these forms. From self defense to physical health, from increased immunity to healing powers  for internal and external injuries or ailments, from disciplined lifestyle to ideal characteristics and personality traits, from development of mind to spiritual growth. No wonder Martial Arts are called - "A WAY OF LIFE."  


Uke or block is very very important. It is the first and most important thing for self defense. It is a block that is used first when we are attacked and only if we block well can we counter attack. While practicing blocking techniques we must make sure that the block covers the area it intends to block and usually ends outside of our body. Always practice by blocking with full force as if you are actually being attacked. In most forms of Karate the face block or Jodan Uke can be modified a bit to make it more practically applicable. The Jodan Uke usually ends above the head in a slightly slanting position. I feel it could be moved outside so that we can continue to counter attack by holding the hand or stick or whatever we are being struck with on the head. Every block has to be scientifically designed so as to ensure that once we have blocked in a certain manner that particular attack is not only rendered useless but also cannot be modified into a new attack. 


Tsugi or a punch can be a very lethal blow if and only if it is properly executed. The punch is actually very scientifically designed using body mechanics and physics. Often practitioners only move their fists out without using the proper movement so the effect will be much less than 50% of a proper punch. To punch properly one should twist the body from the hip upwards. A punch generates more power if we implement a bit of physics to it too. Say we are punching with our right hand, if we pull our left hand into our armpit with great speed and force and twist that same force will multiply many folds as the right hand punches out. This is based on a simple physics principle " Every action has an equal and opposite reaction." Only amazing part is that a punch was designed many centuries before the great scientist who proclaimed this law of physics. A punch is usually executed by extending  the hand completely. Over a period of time the elbow could get injured due to completely straightening the arm with speed. Moreover an extended arm is an easy target for an attacker to break by striking on the elbow. I personally feel that a punch should be very very slightly bent at the elbow. Try it, when we punch in this manner the punch still has the same power in it but the elbow moves downward so making it impossible to be attacked or broken by an attacker and since the elbow is not totally extended there is no chance of injuring the elbow.     


Geri or a kick is a good form of attack if wisely and properly executed. It enables us to keep our attacker at a distance and yet strike him with a powerful blow. A kick is a lethal weapon but also can prove to be a weakness if wrong habits are set in. Very often I have seen practitioners rising up on their toes with the other leg while kicking. This is totally wrong. If we do rise up on our toes while kicking we are resting our whole body on the toes giving the body virtually no balance or firm grounding. A slightest sweep from the attacker and we will have a big fall. Never lift the other foot from the ground while kicking. The other common mistake I have noticed is that the kick is just extended with speed so it lacks the ability to give the impact it is designed to give. Unlike a punch a kick is more lick a whipping action. If we are holding a whip and just move the hand forward the whip will move but will lack the zing to it. Now if we thrust our hand with speed and pull it back the whip will lash the way it is supposed too. Similarly a kick needs to be executed by thrusting the leg forward with our hips with speed to get the whipping effect it has been designed for.

I hope that the above suggestions are put into practice and if there are any doubts or suggestions do write in to us.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Self -defense against a grab from the back

Today we are going to see one  technique that we can use to defend ourselves from a grab from the back.

Suppose you are walking down the street and someone grabs you from the back with his right hand. Turn towards your attacker from your left side and strike the attackers right arm with your left shuto ( knife edge strike) and hold his arm. Then with your right hand punch him in the solar plexus and let your hand move to his right shoulder. Pull his shoulder in a downward action and strike with your knee either to his nose or to the solar plexus. 

For any attack there are numerous techniques, we just show one of the possible ways to defend yourself from such an attack. For better understanding the techniques are shot at a slow pace. It is with repeatedly practicing the techniques that a person will be ready to face a real attack on the street at a much faster pace. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Training Session

Most martial arts are moving away from full contact kumite (sparring) to sports based kumite. Over the years many styles of Karate have also moved towards the sports aspect gradually leaving behind the conditioning that is required for full contact kumite.  A great master once said " I cannot punch and expect it not to cause pain, for if I do then it is not a punch but just placing my hand." I personally agree with this great and wise master. 

At our dojo we give equal importance to development of technique, as well as endurance ( cardio ) and full body conditioning.

One of our recent training sessions was awesome. That particular day most of our senior students were present so decided to have a high intensity cardio and conditioning class. We started with a complete body warm up from toe to head and moved on to some cardio based routines combining some basics along with sets of push ups, squats and abdomen workouts. The energy levels of the students was high even though most of them were sweating a lot.

After half an hour we moved onto some conditioning in a shifting partners format so that everyone gets a chance to train with all. We started with Chudan tsugi (stomach punch) and approximately we all took 30punches from each hand from each of our partners then moved on to conditioning the thigh with approximately 30 mawashi geri's (roundhouse kick) to each thigh from each partner. Moving on with various other techniques of conditioning for an hour or so. We got so engrossed with the training that we lost count of time and ended up training for half an hour more than our usual sessions of 1.5 hours. It was nice to see the improvement and readiness to train hard by all at the dojo.

Martial arts cant and never should be made or changed to be a sport. I dont think an attacker on the road attacks you for points to win a match. I understand that the transformation towards sports has taken place to reduce injuries in competition or in kumite. Well in my reply to that logic all I can say is that protective gear can be used but if an opponent doesn't attack with power then both of them are being cheated of the actual experience they would face on the street. The Kumite practice was started to simulate and improve fighting or defense skills in a real life situation, if we dilute this the complete purpose of kumite is lost.   

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Self defense against a grab from the front

Today we will be looking at what we could do to defend ourself against some one grabbing us from the front.
The most important thing in any situation is never panic nor do feel helpless for both of these will make you easier targets for your attacker.

Suppose your attacker holds your shirt near the collar with his right hand. The first thing we do is block his hand with our left hand and hold the attackers right bicep with the left hand. This will stop him from pulling and pushing you with his grip on your collar. Now with the sole of the left foot kick straight to the right knee of the attacker. As soon as you kick step forward and with your fingers squeeze the neck of the attacker just below his jaw bone pushing backwards. This will choke the attacker and the pushing action will make him loose balance and he will fall to the ground giving you enough time to walk away to safety.

Friday, September 24, 2010


With every passing day people are getting more fitness or health conscious but unfortunately most do not get guidance or get misled in doing wrong workout routines and scary diet plans. Most start working out but are not patient to wait for time to get the results. It may have taken 1year to put on 15kgs but we want to loose it in just a month, this is where we go wrong. Yes it is possible to loose 15kgs in a month but not without immediate or slowly surfacing damage or injury to our body.With there being a gym or studio at every corner there is increased competition, in the zeal to get more clients often even some trainers get carried away and make their clients train excessively or put them on starvation diets to get the results (which is very very harmful).

The secret to exercise is to compare our body as a balance weighing scale. Our exercise regime and our rest or recoup period should be balanced. If we exercise and do not give the body the adequate time it needs to recoup we are over - straining our body, similarly if we rest a lot or give very very long breaks between our workouts then we will not get the results. So it is essential to strike the right balance. 
Whenever we exercise wrongly or excessively without adequate rest our body goes into shock our nervous system gets overloaded with messages from numerous muscle groups of our body which are strained this in return makes our complete body work over time to rebuild the wear and tear. If before the body has recouped completely we keep straining it again and again and again we end up causing an immediate injury and many times a slow surfacing ailment or injury (say in the next 2 -6 years) also takes birth. Just like Rome was not built in a day it is foolish and hazardous to attempt to chisel our body the way we desire it to be in absurdly short time spans. 

If after a whole nights sleep you still feel the strain or pulling sensation or even tiredness and fatigue then this is the best sign of over exertion. While climbing the steps at times do you feel that your knees are buckling or does your calf, thigh, biceps or abs go into spasm at times even though you are not using that muscle at that particular moment. These are some common symptoms among many people who workout. We do not pay attention to it and just consider it to be nothing but this very same symptom if neglected and not given time to recoup will come back one day to haunt us in the form of Joint related or muscle related ailments and injuries. Another myth which often gives rise to people over exhausting themselves is - The more hard I train the faster and better the results. Well this is wrong as only if the body is well rested, not stressed and completely recouped from the last workout will it benefit from the next workout. So going to the gym in the morning, swimming and playing a sport in the evening with the hope that in a week the family pack will get replaced by a 6pack is like walking on a tight rope without any safety gear across two mountain peaks.    

In the many years of my experience in martial arts and fitness routines I have personally seen the benefits and results multiplied manifolds when a balance is struck. Infact with appropriate and authentic martial arts training I have seen students getting rid of asthama, those with regular shoulder dislocation have ceased getting them, higher and better immunity levels, students with high or low blood pressure, diabetes or cholesterol have seen changes which they could never even dream of,  even people with hormonal imbalances have had their hormone levels balanced and so many more. 

So what matters is not how much you train but how wisely and appropriately you train.    

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Self - defense against a grab from the side.

Today we will show how or what one should do to defend oneself if someone comes and grabs you from the side or tries to pull you from the side. I would once again like to mention to only try these techniques under supervision of a well trained instructor and always use caution while practicing as our aim is to train and not cause injury to our partners.
Suppose the attacker comes and holds our left hand with his right hand. Hold the right hand of the attacker with your right hand and twist your left hand out of the grip of the attacker. Then strike with the Bango (hammer fist) or Shuto ( knife edge of the palm) straight into the ribs of the attacker. As you strike the ribs push the sole of your left leg into the right knee of the attacker. The kicking of the knee will injure the attacker and make him loose balance and he will fall down. The strike to the ribs will incapacitate the attacker and prevent him from trying any other attack.
It is a simple technique but practice it slowly and with care.  

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Why is Martial Science called - A WAY OF LIFE.

The oldest form of science known to man is Martial Science. Even before man started staying in big groups or communities or even had a language he had started developing and evolving Martial Science. The knowledge of Martial Science was very vital for man’s survival as he depended on it for protecting himself as well as to hunt food. It is the training in martial science that is and has been responsible for the kind of civilization that came up in a certain area and in some cases even developed various branches of medicine for eg – the medicine forms of acupressure and acupuncture owe their birth to martial science. China has always faced numerous battles and wars throughout history. In those days soldiers would end up having hand to hand fights this resulted in striking at various parts or points on the body, many a times on being struck at a certain point an old ailment of the soldier would get healed. These records of all such points gave birth to the system of acupressure and acupuncture. Similarly many developments and evolution of civilizations have actually revolved around martial science for eg – The martial sciences of China, Okinawa and Japan have had great emphasis on a code of life and discipline this emphasis on the code is very evident even today among the people of these countries. They come across as a very disciplined culture. Similarly Egypt which was called as the gift of the Nile flourished and prospered only as the knowledge of martial science enabled the traders to safely cross the barren desert to trade with other countries.  
Martial Science is often associated as – “A WAY OF LIFE”. There are basically three concentric circles that form our life’s – 1) Our physical self – The Body, 2) Our thought process – The Mind & 3) Our spiritual growth & maturity – The Spirit. Lets look at all these three in brief with context to how martial science develops them.
The Body –
With centuries of evolution and refinement martial science is not just a training form to protect oneself but is one of the most advanced systems to increase longetivity of life, trigger self – healing in our body there by negating the advent of ailments, strengthening joints and muscle structure in such a manner that injuries are virtually nil. Thereby making our body as fit as our creator itself built it to be. I can personally vouch for this as in the 24years of my training I have never succumbed to any muscle or joint injuries and can count a maximum of 5 – 6 times in the last 24years that have got even a common cold, flu or any ailments.
The Mind –
Martial Science is often misunderstood to be responsible for making a person aggressive or violent. However this is very wrong. Martial Science is a very disciplined and focused science.  Only disciplined soldiers or generals can form a disciplined army. Training in martial science works on, builds and develops our mind and character just as it makes our body fit. The training requires concentration and discipline. Giving the format or process of training just a few years makes a practitioner manifolds more tolerant, patient, calm, alert, with lightening reflexes, sharp memory, very high concentration spans and totally stress free as compared to any person not studying this science.
The Spirit –
The training in this science takes one beyond the physical where the practitioner is constantly in a meditative state even with the eyes open and the body in motion performing various daily activities. This is also often called as a state of Zen or also of No Mind. A king, general and soldier all needed to be of good character and conscience for this they would be made to live by a code of conduct not only in the battlefield but in all the aspects of their life. Over time and generations this code of conduct became a way of life itself for the people of that country. They were taught meditation – the language of the soul. After one has dedicated a number of years to studying martial science the training moves towards the development of our KI or CHI or Spirit. Uniting us with the universal energy.
This is why martial science is called – A WAY OF LIFE. I am always amazed at the indept understanding of the founders to have designed a complete way of life which enhances and promotes growth of body, mind and soul. This is something that completely transforms a human being. I personally believe in and follow the code of a Samurai which is called BUSHIDO. The code consists of 7principles by which a samurai lives his entire lifetime. The principles are :-
1)      Rectitude
2)      Respect
3)      Benevolence
4)      Loyalty
5)      Honesty
6)      Honor
7)    Courage
 I am sure if we all live by these 7principles in all aspects of our life our world will be a much better place for all of us to live in.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Self defense against a PUSH

In India Teacher's Day is celebrated on 5th September every year. I would like to pay my deepest respects and regards to all the Teacher's that I have come across in my life. I am truly blessed to have had so many exceptionally wonderful teacher's in just one lifetime. The person I am today is because of the nurturing and moulding by my teacher's. I believe that every person we meet or interact with in life has something important to teach us, so ideally all those around us in our life's are our teacher's.

Coming to the technique that we have today. Whenever a brawl or fight breaks up on the street the chances are very high that it will begin with some pushing or grappling. Today we will see how or what should be done if we are being pushed. There are many ways of defending an attack we are showing just one of the ways here.

The attacker pushes you and is coming to push you again with his right hand. Step back with your right leg and as the attackers palm comes towards you block his palm between both your palms turning into the attacker. As you have his palm trapped between your palms turn your left hand in such a way that you have the attackers elbow locked by  placing your left hand, then you can strike the back of the head of the attacker with a back fist strike. Here you would have the attackers wrist as well as elbow locked and plus you can strike his head or spine with your left hand. The technique is simple but perfection come only with practice so keep practicing it again and again.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Self - defense against a punch

Today we will look at how should one go about defending oneself if punched on the road. Before we go ahead in explaining the technique shown in the video I would like to mention that there are many many ways to defend oneself from any particular attack and there are numerous counter attacks too. To be adept with self - defense one needs to train regularly under a proper Sensei. Lets go about seeing one of the ways to defend oneself from a punch.

Say the attacker punches with his right hand. Take a step back with your right leg and block the punch with your left hand pushing it towards your right hand. As the attackers hand is being pushed by your left hand swing your right hand towards the elbow of the attackers punching hand. Take your right palm to the back of the attacker while you bend his hand with your left hand and move your body till you reach almost behind your attacker. Once you have reached behind your attacker and have his arm bent on his back you can apply pressure on his wrist with your left hand as well as by pressing down on the shoulder with your right hand and lifting the right elbow you will even lock the attackers elbow causing him excruciating pain.This would be enough to defend oneself if attacked on the street. However please do not try it at home or on the street without proper training. Moreover go slow while applying techniques during practice as we do not want to injure our partners or ourselves. Do write in with your suggestions or comments or any specific technique you would like us to put up on our site.

Friday, August 20, 2010

How to go from FAT to FIT

In today's ever increasing sedentary lifestyle compounded with high intake of junk food and soft drinks the battle against fat is common for all. Many work out for hours to maintain themselves others try all sort of diets and finally just give up. Is it so hard to loose weight? How should we go about shifting from FAT to FIT without harming our body in any way? How to train? How to select a trainer?

Loosing or gaining weight is very simple. When our intake of food is more than our workout or daily activity we gain weight where as when our workout or daily activity is more than our food intake then we tend to loose weight. It is so simple yet most people and trainers with half baked knowledge complicate things. When I say less intake of food I don't and never do recommend going on any sort of diets that put certain foods or food groups out of your menu for weeks or months. Never do this as subconsciously the body starts craving for those foods and the day you feel happy with the weight loss and stop the diet unknowingly we start eating more of the food groups we had stopped ending up putting on more weight than we had lost. The simple and right approach is eat everything in moderation and even binge on any food that is your weakness eg - pastries, chocolates, fried foods etc but binge only say once or maximum twice a week. Workout daily for an hour, initially if you are just starting to workout you can train 4- 5 days a week so the body recoups but after a period of say a month one can easily train daily. However this will vary from person to person as everybody doesn't have the same fitness levels.

I often see trainers setting up routines for their clients and for a month or more and they follow that routine. Well sadly this is a wrong approach, the system of setting routines was started mainly for weight lifters and body builders so they have a system of working out the different muscles on different days to give time to recoup and avoid injuries due to excessive training. It is also common for trainers to make one diet reducing his work by almost 60%. The right approach to having your training routine specially if one is training to either loose weight or just maintain themselves or get fitter and leaner would be to make your workout filled with as much change and variation as you possibly can. When we train in a set routine initially you will get results but once the body gets used to it then you will reach a plateau and at times even start getting bulkier. When our workout is filled with change and variation the body is always challenged the muscles are always facing a new kind of exercise so the results are 100% faster and better than a set routine. Moreover an ever changing workout even kills the monotony of doing the same thing again and again. Just imagine going to gym daily climbing on to the treadmill then the cross trainer then doing some weights some floor exercises daily could get very boring after sometime. On the other hand imagine the excitement you would have when you don't know what your trainer is going to make you do today or tomorrow. Moreover never do some exercise or routine because it worked for someone else, every body is different with different fitness levels, endurance levels and so on. So what may work for someone need not work for you. In my opinion Martial Arts is the only kind of routine which can be generalized and get results for anyone irrespective of age, gender, fitness levels and so on.

In today's day and age with a gym or fitness studio in every corner it is very important to select a proper trainer. The human body is well designed but misuse or wrong workout routine may not cause injuries immediately but a few years down the line could surface in the form of arthritis or spondylitis and so on. So choose your trainer wisely. With the sudden emphasis and awakening towards health and fitness there has been a huge demand for trainers. Most of the trainers are either just body builders or have theoretical knowledge about their specific fitness routine. This is not enough as it is someones body and health that a trainer is dealing with.A trainer must always be in perfect physical condition. Sadly today most trainers from any specific fitness routine or martial arts or at times even sport are not able to jog a small distance of say 10km at a stretch or do 300 squats or 300 push ups and walk straight the next day.  In my opinion an ideal trainer is one who himself is very passionate and committed towards health and fitness, one who has personally sweat and trained and trains even today in a number of fitness routines (aerobics,weight training, sports training, martial arts, yoga, cardio - kick boxing etc), a person who has personally done all the workout he makes you do, a person who makes you understand the reason behind a workout and it makes sense to you, a person who is always cautioning you on the right method of performing an exercise and explaining the injuries if done otherwise.

Well I can go on and on about fitness but to bring an end to this post of the battle with flab I would like to say sweat, sweat, sweat and sweat wisely under a qualified and realistic trainer. Eat in moderation don't diet and there is no and never can ever be a short cut or an easier way than working out to loose weight or getting lean.        

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Self - defense against a slashing knife attack

We will be looking at the self - defense technique against a slashing knife attack. The most important thing to remember when one is being attacked by any weapon especially sharp edged weapons like a knife is to take appropriate distance from the attacker and block and hold the hand wielding the weapon till the attacker has been disarmed.

Say you are walking down a street and the attacker suddenly pushes you and removes a knife with which he tries to slash you. As you get pushed take a few  more steps back to get sufficient distance as well as time to react to the slashing action of the knife. The attacker will surely come towards you slashing the knife. As he slashes with the knife say from his right hand, push the knife wielding hand with your right hand and then grab the hand at the wrist with your left hand. As you get hold of the hand with the knife strike with your right palm straight to the shoulder of the arm holding the knife, this will loosen the grip on the weapon. then slide the hand inward striking the neck with your shuto or knife edge of the palm. Further let your right hand go around the neck of the attacker and bend his head down. As his head is being brought down the right knee can be raised up which would strike straight at the face specifically the nose of the attacker.
This will disarm and immobilize the attacker. After completion of the technique kick the knife far from the attackers reach to prevent any further chance of attack and inform the police authorities. As everyone may not be trained in self defense and handing over such people to the police is the only way to ensure a safer city to live in for all.  

Friday, July 30, 2010

Stamina and core muscle strength and their connection with cardio

Now days everybody talks of the benefits of core muscle strength and exercises to strengthen them. What is the core muscle? How do we strengthen it? 

The word core means the base or the foundation. They are the muscle base which is the building block for healthy and strong muscle structure. It is a known fact that athletes and sports men who are into high cardio based sports have well developed core muscles. Why is it so?

It is the intensive training that goes into these sports specially in the area of cardio vascular exercises. The core muscles are the muscles that build on and strengthen with increase in levels of endurance. To improve the endurance levels one needs to stretch the body to its limits and every few days push the limit a bit further as one's fitness levels improve. This is also referred as stamina. The common mistake made by people working out is that they keep sipping on water through their workout. A hydrated body can give a better workout and even workout longer but a constantly hydrated body retards stamina build up and core muscle build up as these two can be improved only with increase in endurance. Many even have the wrong notion or belief that excessive cardio -  vascular workout is harmful for the joints specially the knees etc. This is true only and only if one follows or performs any exercise wrongly. Most exercises are designed keeping the body kinesiology in mind so if any exercise is executed the way it is supposed to there can never be any chance of injury ever. 

Stamina building is very essential it is the main aspect that improves ones skill in any sport or martial art. The better stamina one has the more they can train, the more one trains the better fitness levels they can achieve. 

So put on your running shoes and go for a jog, sweat, sweat and sweat even if you feel tired today as tomorrow once you have reached the top of the mountain it will seem just like a small hill.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Self - defense from a slap

In India the most commonly used first attack in a brawl or a street fight is a slap. So we will be looking at what we must do or how to effectively defend oneself from a slap.

Most fights or brawls on the street are in close range so one needs to be very alert and should have fast reflexes.

Suppose we are being slapped by the attacker with his right hand in that case lift your left hand to block the slap, as you  block the slap grab the slapping palm of the attacker with your right hand in such a way that your thumb is between the knuckles of the index and middle finger of the attackers hand. Twist the attacker’s wrist ensuring that his wrist and elbow both are locked. Hold the attackers wrist with both your hands applying the lock better and can be followed up by a kick to the face or stomach or even the knees.

Any techniques involving joint manipulation need to be practiced with caution so as to avoid any sort of injuries during practice.

The secret to any person’s skill is only in the hours of practice and dedication they give to an art. So please do keep on practicing it again and again and again till you can perform it even when you are blindfolded.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Self - defense against a gun put to the head

I hope our videos are easily understood but I would like to once again specify that do practice them under the watchful eye of an instructor and please do not try it at home or on the street if you are not trained.
Today we will show a situation where you are entering your vehicle and an attacker threatens you with a gun to the back of your head.
First and most important let your attacker believe that you are complying with what he wants that will ease him down. If you agitate instantly out of sheer nervousness or fear the attacker may squeeze the trigger of the gun.
Slowly take your hands up. This will ease the attacker then with a swift twist lock the gun weilding wrist of the attacker between your left and right palm. This will cause his wrist to lock there by releasing his grip on the gun. Grab the gun with your right hand and at the same moment strike with the knife edge (shuto) of your left palm straight into the ribcage of the assailant. The strike will cause the attacker pain as well as distance him from you. 

However in my personal opinion if you are not well trained and are not an expert at unarmed combat it is wise to comply completely with the attacker unless you feel that retaliating is the only option you have left. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Body Conditioning.

Preparing the body through training for improving in any form of martial arts, sport or to achieve a good fitness level is Body Conditioning. So the conditioning would vary from activity to activity and also as per the goals we set. 
In martial arts like Boxing or even Muay Thai stamina is very vital as in boxing a fight could go on upto 15 rounds, so they start their training daily with a good long jog varying from 10 -20km and then follow it up with lots of skipping. After this they go ahead with other training. This is also a form of body conditioning preparing the body to be able to fight for 15 long rounds.
Similarly in Kung - fu there are lots of various means and equipment for body conditioning, two of the more widely known ones are the plum blossom poles and the wing chun dummy. The plum blossom poles are an assortment of wooden poles of varying heights fitted into the ground and the practitioner stands on top of them improving his stances, balance, co- ordination and perfect flow in leg movements. While the wing chun dummy is like a striking post of wood, which gives the practitioner a chance to simulate a real fight situation from blocking to striking the wood improving his speed, power, technique, strength and conditioning the bones and muscles of the knuckles, palm, forearm and even the feet.
Being more fond of the Japanese martial arts lets look into them too. In Okinawan karate training there are numerous equipment all aiming at strengthening muscle and bones, improving technique, skill, speed and co-ordination. Some of the equipments are Makiwara (striking post), Kongoken ( this is a heavy man sized iron ring which was brought to okinawan by Master Chojun Miyagi after observing wrestlers of Hawaii using them), Makiage Kigu (wrist roller), Kami (they are jars to improve gripping and techniques of the hand), Tou (this  is a bundle of bamboo sticks tied together used to condition and strengthen the fingers and palm) and so many more. All of them aim at toughening flesh and bones into forged steel. In Judo which is basically a grappling art form the practitioners whole body gets conditioned by the numerous falls and throws they execute in practice. The body gets accustomed to breaking falls without any injury even if they are thrown on a tiled floor or the road. In the art of Aikido though they also use lots of break falls but since the techniques are based on joint manipulations their joints like the wrist get conditioned with repetitive practice of the various locks easily able to sustain a lock many times more than an untrained person can.

Body Conditioning is very vital in martial arts training since it improves ones skill, stamina, technique, co-ordination, speed, power, strength, stances, balance and so on. Moreover conditioning the body reduces the scope of injury. Even if one area of the above qualities is underdeveloped it would hamper the martial artists ability and his skill. Many masters get so engrossed with the constant quest to improve that from their breathing, walking style or any daily routine activity is changed in such a manner that they are constantly training for eg :- walking in sanchin dachi or striking the walls while climbing up the stairs and so on. 
I personally am very fond of Body Conditioning and am sure it has helped me improve as a martial artist.   

Monday, June 7, 2010

Defense against circular punch/ jab or slap

I hope you all are able to comprehend the techniques and am sure the videos are of great help to understand better.
Today we will look at defense against a circular punch / jab or slap. Always remember to train only under supervision of a qualified instructor. Those who are not regular martial arts practitioners should avoid trying the techniques as you may injure yourself.

Lets say you are being attacked by a circular punch to your face with the right hand of the attacker. Move sideways into your attacker with your right foot. This gives you a good chance to block and yet be safe from the attack. Once you have moved in strike with your right palm (knife edge or Shuto) onto the forearm of the hand which is punching you. While you strike hold the punching hand with your left hand. The strike on the forearm will shake up the attacker. After striking the arm move your right hand sideways which will result in your elbow striking the attackers ribcage area. After striking the ribcage move out from below your attackers arm which you are holding. Catch the right wrist of the attacker with your right hand while your left palm pushes hard onto the elbow joint of the attackers arm. Keep practicing it again and again and again. Happy training.

We will be regularly updating videos of self defense techniques and their explanations and also videos on training sessions.

Kindly use caution while training as the idea is to learn and not injure your partner practicing with you. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Defense against over head knife attack

 I have always strived to make movements and combination's as realistic and practically feasible as possible. Most of us being right handed the chances are always high to be attacked by the right hand of the attacker, that does not mean we don't train for an attack from the left hand. Lets look at how to defend oneself from a overhead knife attack. Please note do not try this without supervision of a qualified instructor

Lets say we are attacked by a knife in the right hand of the attacker.
Fast movement is always vital in a good defense. So move out to your left side blocking the right forearm of the attacker with your right hand. Moving out of the range of attack is always safer in case your attempt to block is foiled. Once blocked catch the knife wielding right hand of the attacker. With the left hand give a powerful Ura Tsugi ( inverted half punch) to the rib section of the attacker. Then hold the back of his collar (near the spine) with your left hand. As you hold the collar strike with your left foot to the side of the attackers right knee. The foot should be struck with the sole area. This will bring down the attacker and causing him excruciating pain specially in his right knee and leg. Allowing you to walk away peacefully and unharmed. This is a simple and effective technique where in just 3 moves including the block we have our armed assailant immobilized and on the floor. Those who are not regularly training in martial arts may not be able to comprehend the technique easily, I request such readers to not try this with friends or if attacked on the road unless you have trained under a qualified instructor as half knowledge is very dangerous for both partners.   

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What is Self - defense ?

Being a martial artist am often asked by  people that  how soon can they learn self - defense. For many self - defense is just learning some techniques or points on the body. Many feel they can fight like Bruce Lee in just a month or even lesser. Well they are WRONG.
So what exactly is self -defense?
The ability to defend or protect oneself at the moment we are attacked is called self - defense. In order to defend oneself we need to train our reflexes. The movements, techniques, combination's need to be practiced many many times. When repetitive practice is done the movements get set into our reflex. Once the movements are set into the reflex then when we are attacked our hands and legs move out of reflex so we don't need to think and waste valuable time. This process is slow and the time taking for setting the movements into our reflex varies from individual to individual. For a person who is pretty fit and is into any kind of sport it will be faster. To be pretty good with say a medium level of self defense ability it would take a person minimum 6 - 8 months of regular training. Self - defense does not only depend on reflexes it also needs a person to be alert, confident, fast, use common sense and keep the mind empty. A combination of all these factors will enable perfect defending ability. Lets look at each of the other factors in brief. One has to be ALERT - if you are attacked and you are not alert or aware of the attack there are good chances that you will succumb to injury and may not be able retaliate back. 
CONFIDENT- Most robbers, thief's and so on that may attack you while you are on the road do not expect you to attack back. They use fear psychosis to their advantage shattering us. With due course of training our confidence levels increase enabling us to be calm and composed. 
FAST - Element of surprise is always an added advantage. Most attackers don't expect you to reciprocate, so the slightest movement to attack him instantly could not only shock the attacker but he may run away too.
COMMON SENSE  - This is something which is generally very uncommon. Many with little training feel they can fight with 20 people like it is done in movies. No matter how well trained you are the best option is always to avoid a fight on the road unless that is your only option. It is very foolish for a person with little training to try and fight with a robber holding a knife when you don't have lots of money etc on you. 
EMPTY MIND - While we are on the road we are constantly keeping our mind occupied with thoughts of tasks to complete or fixing our schedule for the day and so on. Well if our mind is busy with this then how can it perceive an attacker moving towards us. Making us less alert, taking us by surprise thus slowing our reaction to the attack. 
So a well balanced combination of all these factors enable us to defend ourselves. Don't fall prey to people promising you with the ability to defend yourself in short courses like say a week or month. Yes in the stipulated time of the course you may learn all the techniques and combination's but on the road the instructor wont come to show you the technique nor will you have time to think. Most street fights last for a few seconds, it is these seconds that decide whether you become a victim or you foil the attack and counter attack. To be able to respond without having to think is why the training needs time. In my opinion the time is well spent for in the worst case scenario your training will decide whether you get away unhurt or get seriously injured. So please don't reject a trainer or instructor who tells you he cant give you a fast course of self - defense.   

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Martial Arts can not be a sport?

Just yesterday one of my gekusai's (student) was discussing with me about how karate will benefit from being accepted in to the Olympics.
Well so that is what has made me decide to write this post to educate and inform people about the facts then decide. Karate may get more popular and recognized world wide after it enters Olympics but at the cost of losing its authenticity, its traditional training practices and so on.
Any fighting form is called Martial Arts. This is the oldest thing known to mankind. Even before man made languages he knew how to fight to defend and protect himself. Martial Arts specially the oriental ones are a way of life. In my honest opinion you cannot execute a punch or a kick properly and expect it not to hurt or injure. A martial artist spends years harnessing his skills, power, technique. If we just make all martial arts an Olympic sport am sure over a period of some years all the training that goes into making a martial artist tough will vanish. In today's day and age one of the main reasons why people take to martial art training is for self defense. Just imagine if all martial art schools teach sport sparring or kumite what will happen in a real life situation on the road. You are not going to get points or any protective gear like abdomen gaurds etc on the road. So the very purpose of martial arts is lost. In sport kumite it is basically about points about going in touching the opponent with the executed technique and coming out. Where as in full contact kumite both opponents have to be more cautious as the attack wont be just a touch but will be executed with power. This over a period of time and practice makes a martial artist more alert and faster with his reflexes improving his blocking abilities. I am not saying kumite should be about injury and pain but making it a sport kumite reduces the self defense aspect from the training. I have seen many sports martial artists their kumite styles are very defensive always guarding themselves in a way to save points. This makes these sports martial artists incapable of defending themselves on the street as for them fighting only means saving and getting points. Many of the schools that are into sports kumite dont even train their students in conditioning as in competitions they get complete protective gear. It is sad but have met a few black belts who have spent years training and have never taken a punch in the stomach or a kick on the thigh as they were never taught conditioning. Fortunately Boxing is the martial art that has retained its originality even after getting into the Olympics. Just imagine if a boxer gets disqualified because he knocked out his opponent or a penalty or warning for making his opponents nose bleed. How many people would train or follow boxing if this happened? I say less than half of those who are into Boxing today. Yes we do get injured at times training in Martial arts but if you will look into those injuries it is more our fault than that of the opponent. May be our technique was not properly executed or we blocked wrongly. So we just need to train better improve on our weaknesses and flaws and then the injuries wont be there even in full contact kumite.  At the end I would just like to request all the Sensei's (teachers) and gekusai's (students) of any martial art world wide to continue with the originality and authenticity of the training. Recognition is good but if it brings an end to what we are seeking to get recognized then the whole effort is futile.    

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Summer Camp 2010

We had a very amazing time at our summer training camp or Gashuku this summer. It is always a joy and pleasure to be with all of the Jukaado family. Am sure all of you from the Gashuku (camp) will agree to that. We had our training for five days close to a forest area far away from the pollution and noise of the city. Our daily routine or training sessions begin at 5am. After a good warm -up and some walking we go out for a good jog along the forests path. It was nice to see that the students have improved on their fitness levels. Daily we would jog about 15km. The second training session starts after breakfast at around 10:30am in this session training would focus on various aspects like makiwara (traditional punching and striking posts and bags), katas (set combination of basic movements in a sequence) , Kihon (basics), Kihon - ido (basic movements in motion), Kakie (pushing hands exercise) and Hojo undo (supplementary training). Then we would take a break for lunch and some rest till 5pm. During this break the highly energetic younger Gekusai's (students) would go about swimming or playing basketball, carrom, throw ball and so on while the others would just take a nap or read. At 5pm the training sessions would focus on grappling movements, Ukemi (break falls and rolls) , kote Waza (wrist locking techniques), Shime Waza (choke holds), Nage Waza (throwing techniques), Kansetsu Waza (Arm breaking techniques), Conditioning, kumite and self defense techniques. This session would continue till 8:30pm after which we would break for the day and after our dinner we would go to bed after an hour or so. This is just a brief of the daily training regime at the camp. We also had a midnight session on Sanchin Kata one of the days for the seniors only. Many first timers to the Gashuku seem to have been inspired and we all hope they train hard and wisely till they become Sensei's (teacher) someday. The training was hard and being as one big family it was fun too. Some have lost weight the others have decided to be fitter the next camp. We all have learnt a lot it is always a pleasure to be with people with the same liking or wavelength. Let us all make an effort to train better and lets hope we have more numbers of participants at the Gashuku every year.