Tournament Sparring vs. Street Fighting

Today, I’d like to talk about the difference between sport martial arts and street martial arts. Sport sparring and street fighting are not the same, and today’s martial artists must be aware of the difference.

There are all kinds of people with opinions about tournaments. They range from those who dedicate their lives to the competition to people I’ve heard say that padded gloves were the worst thing to ever happen to martial arts. Strong stuff.

Kicking high at a sparring tournament.

Kicking high at a sparring tournament.

My personal opinion is that tournaments are a great motivator.

They promote friendly competition, give us a chance to practice sportsmanship, and create a sense of a wider community. They also make us more well-rounded martial artists.

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Tournament Forms: It’s All in the Details

Tournament forms are all about the details. Check out this video of Rika Usami (a world tournament forms champion). She’s doing Kosokun Dai. She does a few of the moves slightly differently than in our Seito Shito-ryu Karate version, but that’s not important for now.

What is important is to watch her presence in the ring and sense of timing. This is a form that is performed at a very high level, with 100% attention to detail. Nothing is out of place and there is no wasted motion. She is totally focused on her imaginary opponents, and you can tell that she’s winning the imaginary fight. Continue reading

What is Open Floor?

We’re trying something new this month; you may have seen it on March’s calendar, “Arnis/Open Floor.” We’d like to do 1-2 of these classes every month if the first few work out.

Open floor sessions will take place during normal class hours on Saturdays, 10-11am, and everyone is welcome at them! Continue reading

Karate Bunkai: Jion

One of the things I do a lot (probably too much) is watch martial arts videos on YouTube. I watch a lot of form tournament competitions, but I also really like to watch Karate bunkai videos.

Karate bunkai (or bunhae in Korean) means analysis or application. Bunkai partner drills involve using moves from a form to defend against an attacker.

I’d like for our students who read the blog, as well as whoever is interested, to take a look at this video. It is bunkai (bunhae in Korean) for the Shotokan-ryu Jion, and it is a very good video with useful information.

Then I have a few notes on Jion for those of us who are interested in and research forms lineage. Continue reading

Success through Visualization

With the upcoming tournament, many of my posts this month will be focused on preparing for competitions. Today we’ll take a look at one of the key ingredients of success: mental practice and visualization.

Visualization, or image training, is something many athletes (and other successful people) use to help them hone their mental focus, boost their confidence, and add to their performance. Image training aids your ability to believe in yourself and makes you more likely to perform for success.

Additionally, practicing for a competition  in your head may also help with performance/test/competition anxiety. Continue reading

Conscious Effort, Instinctive Response

“Cognitive Secret: It takes long-term, conscious effort to hone a skill before the brain assigns it to the cognitive unconscious.” –Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

Wired for Story was a book I read recently (Little-known fact about Sempai Yudanjanim C: she is an aspiring writer). It focuses on the relationship between brain science and writing stories based on brain science.

I found those words in one of the chapters, and was struck by how much it applies to martial arts training, not just writing. Continue reading

Preparing for Your Next Tournament: 6 Tournament Prep Tips

Tournament prep tips–with the tournament coming up on March 30th, I’ve had a lot of students asking me what they can do to train and prepare for it. The most basic thing is to be in class as much as possible, so the instructors can help you get ready and give you specific tips. Continue reading

Monday Musing: The Martial Artist Outside the Dojo

What does a martial artist look like outside the dojo?

This is my question for my youth students this week.

It may seem like it has an obvious answer, but it can sometimes be a challenge to get youth to translate from dojo to home. They know that focus and respect and trying your best is important while they’re in class, but what do those things mean when they argue with their siblings at home or are given a challenging assignment at school?

A true martial artist should look the same inside and outside the dojo.

Outside the dojo, the situations are different. You don’t have to bow to your mom or your boss, or perform forms in order to get an A in math class, but the attitude you should take towards those activities is the same. Continue reading