KarateLovers Website Launches

Karatelovers logo

KarateLovers.com is a new network for, as the name says, lovers of karate. The brainchild of Jesse Enkamp of the KarateByJesse blog, KarateLovers.com is an online community exclusively for practitioners of Okinawan and Japanese karate.

KarateLovers.com is described on the site with the following blurb:

KarateLovers.com is a social community for likeminded karate enthusiasts all over the globe – with the ultimate goal of sharing, discovering, connecting and exploring all aspects of karate, in an intelligent and respectful manner.

Despite being a forever free and open online community, Karatelovers.com is a platform based upon the original values of traditional offline karate: respect, honesty, self-control, harmony, justice, propriety and awesomeness.

In KarateLovers you can enjoy friendships with fellow enthusiasts in the Community section, watch Videos, peruse various Karate Blogs and keep up to date on the latest News in the karate world. There is also a live chat facility. There is an Ask Sensei section, and I am already becoming a fan of the Bunkai Wiki.

One of the premises behind KarateLovers is to provide an opportunity for karateka to share in an open community of like minded people, without the criticism of form or the constant slanging match of “karate sucks, MMA is better” so often found in open networks. Any Karateka who has ever posted a video to YouTube will appreciate the opportunity to share kata, bunkai and other videos with other Karateka, rather than the whole world!

At the time of writing, KarateLovers is relatively small. Like any community, it will certainly only get better as the community grows, and as one of The Founders of the site, I look forward to this! I can certainly see that there is great promise for KarateLovers.com, and encourage all open minded Karateka to join in and share!

Become a member of KarateLovers.com today!

Ground Fighting and Bystanders…

A criticism often pointed at karate and other empty handed arts is that they don’t cover enough ground fighting. This has lead some to the conclusion that MMA is “better”.

Its perhaps a reasonable criticism, but ground fighting is also something that should be avoided, especially outside the ring (or cage), for the simple reason that when you’re on the ground, your vulnerable. Friends of the opponent, or sometimes bystanders, can throw in a cheap shot that you may be unaware of and/or unable to defend.

This video is doing the rounds on Youtube and Facebook, and illustrates this point precisely.


New Website on Okinawan Karate Launched


The Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau has announced the launch of their new website Karate and Kobudo at the Source: The Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau at http://okkb.org. From their press release:

Karate is a cultural heritage of Okinawa. It is characterized by the importance of developing a proper spirit and valuing martial attitude.

Established in July 2011, the Okinawa Traditional Karate Networking Executive Committee, headed by Nashiro Masaichiro, intends to promote Okinawan traditional karate to the world, reaffirming and establishing the international status of “Okinawa, birthplace of karate”. So doing, we aim at contributing to the further industrial development of Okinawa through tourism activities and related business.

Aiming at promoting Okinawa Karate and kobudo worldwide, the website “Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau ?okkb.org? was released November 28, 2011. Information is available in English, Spanish, French and Japanese.

Already the site has quite extensive information on the various styles of karate (sorted into Shuri-te, Naha-te, Tomari-te and Uechi-rty) and kobudo schools in Okinawa. There is information on events and seminars, and access to interpreter services.

Sponsored by the Okinawa Prefecture Government, this website is aimed at assisting karate and kobudo practioners who may not have existing connections with Okinawa karate circles but wish to train in the birthplace of karate. The site will also provide regular news updates and daily information about Okinawa and its most valuable cultural asset, karate.

The Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau has also established a dedicated phone line for matters related to karate. The number is +81-98-934-4334 from outside Japan. The new website is located at http://okkb.org, and you can email their office at desk@okkb.org.

I applaud this initiative of the Okinawan Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau, and look forward to the growth of this potentially valuable web resource.

Shin Gi Tai: New Book By Mike Clarke, Kyoshi


Shin Gi Tai: Karate Training for Body, Mind and Spirit (aff.) is a new book by Mike Clarke, Kyoshi (guest on Episode 4 of The Applied Karate Show podcast).

Mike Sensei is a classical karateka of the Okinawan Gojuryu line who emphasises the complete development of the individual, looking at aspects beyond the physical skills emphasised in many dojo. In his own Shinseidokan Dojo in Launceston, Tasmania (Australia), Mike Sensei accepts and trains only a small handful of students who focus on traditional karate methods.

Shin Gi Tai follows on from previous books, the latest of which was the excellent work The Art of Hojo Undo: Power Training for Traditional Karate (aft.).

The following text from the back cover of Shin Gi Tai provides an excellent overview of what the author is emphasising in the book:

Prepare to have your beliefs challenged about what karate really is.

Within these pages, you will discover traditional karate; along the way, perhaps many of your own beliefs about karate will be confronted. You might have a body capable of mastering karate’s physical techniques, but do you have a mind with a level of awareness that is able to grasp the true spirit of karate?

For adults only. Regardless of how many people you can defeat in combat, the deeper aim of karate has always been to conquer your own ego, and by doing so, you increase the likelihood of avoiding conflict. When you can control your ego, you have a chance to establish peace in your life: this is the tradition of budo karate.

Shin Gi Tai has a literal translation: mind–technique–body. A karate-ka’s mind (shin) must be developed ahead of his technique (gi) if he is to discover a sense of balance within his body (tai). While the mental and physical aspects of karate are daunting and causes many to stop training, if you can just endure the early years, say–the say – the first decade–then there is opportunity for real and lasting benefits.

Budo is a concept more often discussed than put into practice, and yet, as part of traditional karate training, it has the capacity to dramatically change lives for the better, but only if you are prepared to move past the obvious and strive to understand the philosophy and the morality of budo.

Your life is yours, your karate is yours, accept ownership of both and reap countless rewards.

The concept of Shin Gi Tai is a personal favourite of mine, as I believe that what separates karate (and other classical forms of budo) from pure sport-oriented fighting systems is the emphasis on developing a strong general knowledge and knowledge of the theories and principles of the art, and an open-ness towards introspection and self-discovery.

Shin Gi Tai: Karate Training for Body, Mind and Spirit (aff.) is available now from Amazon and other sources in paperback. I am not sure if it will be released as an eBook, although there is a Kindle Edition of The Art of Hojo Undo (aff.), so I am hopefully we will see this soon.

Bunkai of the Month by Chris Denwood Sensei

Chris Denwood Sensei (guest on Episode 14 of The Applied Karate Show podcast) has released his final episode in the Bunkai of the Month series on his ESKK YouTube channel.

This episode sees a bunkai taken from one of the grandest of kata from the Shuri-te lineage – Kusanku.

Its sad to see that this series has come to an end, but I applaud Chris for running them like clockwork for 12 months, along the way sharing some great insights into his interpretation of karate.

Chris Sensei is the founder and chief instructor of the Eikoku Satori Karatedo Kyokai.

Book Review: How To Win a Fight by Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder

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Prolific martial authors Lawrence Kane & Kris Wilder (guest on Episode 3 of The Applied Karate Show podcast) have done it again, with a brand new book targeted to young people (actually young men) helping them to win in physical conflict.

How to Win a Fight: A Guide to Avoiding and Surviving Violence (aff.) is purposely written and illustrated with a tone and layout that the authors hope will get the message through to a large audience who needs to hear that fighting and violence is hardly romantic, is generally not “fair”, and rarely resolves the issue.

To get their message across, Kane and Wilder teamed up with veteran DC Comics artist/illustrator Matt Haley. The comic-book style imagery engages the mind and tells the story clearly and succinctly. With the popularity of comics in recent story telling (see TV shows like The Big Bang TheoryHeroes, and even NCIS for examples), I applaud this approach, and really enjoyed the parallel approach with the detailed written descriptions.

I like it that How to Win a Fight takes a pragmatic view of violence, detailing how most seemingly random violence is unnecessary and is for the most part avoidable. The authors describe the pre-incident indicators that lead up to violence, and describe how to recognise these and (critically) avoid them!

The book continues into detail into escape and evasion techniques, then describes the mental and physical techniques that are vital if the encounter is unavoidable. Unusual for a self-defence book, the authors then describe what to do after a fight, including aspects of first aid and the need for first aid training, dealing with the police and possible legal problems and the post-traumatic stress aspects.

How To Win A Fight is a terrific book that tells a sobering and realistic story of violence, and is one that all karate and martial arts enthusiasts who study the defensive aspects of the tradition should own. It’ll be on the reading list for my students at the Kengokan Dojo in Sydney, Australia. The message is important, and I love how Kane and Wilder have worked hard to get the message through to the group of people that most needs it.

Messrs Wilder and Kane teach Goju Karate at West Seattle Karate, and are the hosts of the always excellent Martial Secrets podcast.

Buy How to Win a Fight: A Guide to Avoiding and Surviving Violence (aff.) on Amazon.com now. On sale from 4 October 2011.

Book Review: The Detachment by Barry Eisler

I posted the following review of Barry Eisler’s latest thriller, The Detachment, on Amazon.com.

Gripping from End to End

The Detachment is the latest of Barry Eisler’s series of thrillers featuring four gritty characters coming together for the first time as a single detachment (hence the outward meaning of the title). Rain, Dox, Treven and the particularly evil Larrison join forces to use their special “skills” to prevent a coup in the US government. When they find out they might unwittingly have become aiding the coup, things get murky.

The four members of the detachment each have their own issues and agendas, and before they can achieve the final goals, they need to survive working with each other.

From start to finish, The Detachment is a gripping tale. Author Barry Eisler brings realistic fight scenes to the story line, based on his own experiences as a martial artist. The spy craft is supposedly equally real-world, given Eisler’s 3 years of experience in a covert role for the CIA. He marries all this together with his interest in politics and sociology to weave a story that is compelling and believable. 

I have read all of Eisler’s previous thrillers and 2 short stories, and now can’t wait for the next instalment.

I also really liked the fact that Eisler is now writing with a contemporary audience in mind – The Detachment was released first as an ebook and audiobook, and will be released later as a printed volume. I somehow think the wait for instalments will be shorter with Eisler likely to release short stories in ebook form more regularly.

Buy The Detachment at Amazon.com (aff.).

The Applied Karate Show Episode 14 – Chris Denwood Sensei

Applied Karate #014 (mp3 – 27MB – 60 mins) DOWNLOAD EPISODE 014 OF THE APPLIED KARATE SHOW

Kicking off our new monthly schedule of podcasts in The Applied Karate Show podcast series is episode 14, featuring Chris Denwood sensei of the Eikoku Satori Karate-do Kyokai (E.S.K.K®).

Chris has been practicing martial arts since childhood, having started under the watchful eye of instructors like Doug James sensei of the British Karate-Do Chojinkai and Iain Abernethy sensei (guest on Episode 9 of The Applied Karate Show podcast), and currently holds the rank of 4th Dan with the English Karate Federation. He is Founder and Chief Instructor of the E.S.K.K® and a senior instructor with the British Karate-Do Chojinkai, one of the most respected and successful associations in the UK. He is also a nationally qualified fitness coach and advanced level kettlebell lifting instructor.

A columnist and key writer for Combat, Traditional Karate and Jissen magazines, as well as a regular contributor to a number of other martial arts/fitness periodicals and online publications, Chris has written over sixty pieces on subjects including the technical and pragmatic aspects of traditional karate, functional fitness, kettlebell lifting and general motivation/positive thinking.

Chris is also author of the internationally acclaimed two-disc kata bunkai DVD Acorns to Oak Trees and has recently published his first book entitled Respecting the Old Creating the New, which is an accumulation of around five years work, combining a selection of his articles on traditional karate for self-protection and personal growth.

Chris currently lives on the edge of the western Lake District in Cumbria, England, where he regularly trains with and teaches to a dedicated membership of karate practitioners and fitness enthusiasts. He is also active on the seminar circuit, where his courses and workshops have gained excellent reviews from martial artists nationwide.

I trust you enjoy this interview with Chris Denwood sensei, a karateka who struck me as being very sincere, thoughtful and dedicated to the pursuit of classical karate. Chris discusses his approach to karate and strength and conditioning training, his background, his 2010 trip to Okinawa and much more. You can get in touch with Chris sensei through the web links above.

We love feedback. Email can be sent to podcast@appliedkarate.com. For up-to-date info on the Applied Karate Show, follow us on Twitter – we’re @appliedkarate. Of course, you can leave a comment below, or join us for the ongoing conversation on The Applied Karate Show Facebook page at Facebook.com/appliedkarate.

I’d appreciate it if you could rate us and leave a comment in iTunes through the music store.

Movement by Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro

The following YouTube video shows an excerpt of a seminar by Hanshi Zenpo Shimabukuro, 10th Dan, of Seibukan Karatedo, the style founded by his father (Zenryo Shimabukuro sensei) based on the Shorinjiryu of Master Chotoku Kyan.

In various videos of Hanshi Shimabukuro, I’ve constantly been impressed by his masterful demonstration of power and economy of movement. A very interesting video.