A few month's ago, my friend Warren Graham from the US sent me a copy of his new book, Eye of the Storm. I have known Warren since we met on Okinawa back in 2010 - a trip that was to hugely influence both of our lives. I deeply regret not spending more time with Warren during that stay and it was only really after our return from Okinawa that we started swapping messages. An incredibly interesting guy, Warren is also a very accomplished martial artist and one of the top professionals in his field as a sought after security, safety and customer service consultant. I'm certain that our paths will cross again in the future and it is my pleasure to write a little about what I found to be very inspiring read.
This book is about helping readers explore whatever may be keeping them from being happy and fulfilled. Warren draws from his own personal experience to lay bare some of the trauma he's endured in his early life, highlighting the challenges he's had to face and overcome along the way. Not an easy subject to write about, but one that he's made a sterling job of. He also shares stories from his martial arts training with some of the greats, including the likes of Joe Lewis and Ted Wong. He even devotes a chapter to that influential trip to Okinawa in 2010.
What really strikes me about this book is that it is genuine, honest and straight from the heart. It touches on subjects that may sometimes be hard to face and provides insight into how one may break free from what Warren calls, 'personal tyranny'. It shows how the energy caused by the negative aspects of our lives may be channelled and converted into a positive force for growth.
It is obvious that Warren holds a real passion to share what he has learned so that others may benefit and use his experience to help enrich their own lives. The fact that I already know Warren and can vouch for his character made this book even more enjoyable for me. And those who don't know Warren will feel as if they do after reading it.
All in all, I honestly think that this short but incredibly stimulating book may well have the capacity to change lives.
A few weeks ago, I was sent a spring loaded dummy arm for makiwara by its inventor Braulio Mira (Dimira) from Portugal. His website www.ronin777.com features lots of great training aids and having already made great use of one of his dummy arm sets in my dojo for over a year now, I was excited to see how his newly designed makiwara arm would hold up.
I've been incorporating this product in my training routine now for around a month or so and wanted to share a quick review for any interested karate practitioners who may be thinking about purchasing one. I know how important it is for martial artists to find good quality training equipment, so I hope my honest views below may help readers make an informed decision about this, or similar products.
Here's a short video clip of the product in action...
Within the chapter that focuses on the percussive impact in my upcoming book on the exploration of civilian combative methods found in Naihanchi Kata, I mention the 'Hierarchy of Impact' and how this important principle may be utilised in the practical application of traditional karate.
The components of 'distance' and 'time' are luxuries seldom enjoyed in the realm of civilian self-protection, so it stands to reason that any system that relies heavily on these is fundamentally flawed when aligned to this specific context. And in my opinion, due to extended ranges emphasised in many of the more contemporary karate systems in order to meet other goals, the hierarchy of impact is not often given the attention it deserves.
In this blog post, I'd like to write a little about the hierarchy of impact and why I believe any self-defence based karate dojo should look to embrace this principle throughout a variety of training protocols.
If you are practising karate for civilian self-protection then it's important that an initial framework is put firmly in place before embarking on any sort of extensive exploration. This framework should be simplistic and versatile for the contextual analysis and application of fundamental techniques, included within a holistic personal safety game-plan and exercised through an overlapping training methodology that aims to minimise the impact of inherent flaws, whilst developing the essential attributes to help maximise objective function. My upcoming book in the Seed of Shuri Karate series will focus on this process with respect to Naihanchi Kata and aims to provide content so that anyone who practices this form may have a practical core basis to work from.
Pulling the non-striking hand back to the hip is a common motion found in karate and although there are numerous practical applications for such an action and indeed, different reference points for hikite, I think it's important to consider why the hip position may be principally emphasised in most fundamental techniques (kihon-waza) found in classical kata. Following on from my recent posts on this subject, I'd like to discuss two key reasons, based on the assumption that the 'hiki-te hand' has something in it when being employed (i.e. the opponent's arm, head, clothing etc.) and not performed simply for the sake of conformity.