Instructor Resources Musings Scholarly Pursuits

Chang Moo Kwan: Taekwondo or Tang Soo Do?

Taekwondo or Tang Soo Do?

What is Tang Soo Do?

What does Tang Soo Do have to do with Chang Moo Kwan anyway?

Arnis black belt

To clear up some common misconceptions about Chang Moo Kwan (and TKD in general), hit that “more” link!

Clips Media Musings Scholarly Pursuits

Style Highlight: Pencak Silat

In my last style highlight, I talked a little bit about the “origin” of martial arts. Basically, I said that forms of combat, armed and unarmed, have existed as long as human conflict has existed.

Last time, we looked a bit at Kalaripattayu, an Indian martial art. Pencak silat, or just silat, is considered an umbrella term for Indonesian martial arts. Meaning that there are a lot of styles which fit into silat.

Musings Scholarly Pursuits

Karate Bunkai: Seipai Applications

I just watched a *fabulous* karate bunkai video on Youtube, so I wanted to share it with NWSMA readers and students! Bunkai, are, of course, “applications” for forms. Studying karate bunkai means trying to interpret the form. The goal is to use the moves against an attacker.

The video shows karate bunkai for Seipai in action. Seipai is the form learned at advanced green belt in Seito Shito-ryu Karate (our system). The bunkai is for the Goju-ryu Karate version, one of the sources for Shito-ryu. The Goju version isn’t different enough to make it unusable for us, so here it is.

Pretty cool stuff, huh? Here’s a pic of our students doing Seipai:

karate bunkai
Karate black belts doing Seipai.
Benefits of Martial Arts General Musings Scholarly Pursuits

Speed vs. Power? Speed IS Power!

Have you ever seen “tension” moves in a form? They’re often slow, and the martial artist’s body vibrates as they execute them.

Sempai Jasmine at a demonstration. (Credit: Bec Thomas Photography,
Sempai Jasmine doing a “slow” move in a Karate form. Whats the difference between “slow” and “tension” moves? Read on to find out!!!


Have you ever wondered why they’re there?

Mental Requirements Musings Scholarly Pursuits

What is Provisional Black Belt and Why Does It Exist?

A provisional black belt is a probationary rank. It falls in between the highest colored belt and a full-fledged 1st degree black belt. In other styles of Tae Kwon Do, this rank may be called “poom belt” or “recommended black belt.”

Sempai David
Receiving a black belt is a great honor.

Poom is a junior black belt rank, used in Korea for holders of black belts who are under 15. “Recommended” gets closer to the idea of “candidacy for black belt.”

As for why it exists, it’s very, very complicated, grasshopper.

Musings Scholarly Pursuits

Why Being a Multi-Stylist is Awesome: Shito-ryu Karate History

Karate vs. TKD: Each of these pairs contain one Karate and one TKD student. They are doing sticking or splashing hands--originally a kung fu drill! Credit: Bec Thomas Photography (
Multi-stylists: Each of these pairs contain one Karate and one TKD student. They are doing sticky hands, originally a Kung Fu drill! Credit: Bec Thomas Photography (

There’s a lot of debate in the martial arts world about which style of martial arts is best. With the surging popularity of UFC and MMA, it’s not surprising that we have these debates.

There are some who demand that you stick to one style, one art, one school. There are also those of us who cross train and learn to find value in different styles.

Reading this article recently about the history of Shito-ryu Karate (NWSMA’s style) taught me something really cool.

Clips Media Scholarly Pursuits

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.