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Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture
The three biggest mistakes in Kung Fu

A while a go I wrote an article (and podcast) called “Karate’s Three Biggest Mistakes” (you can read it here: http://iainabernethy.co.uk/article/karates-three-bigest-mistakes).

Wallace Smedley used the article as inspiration to write a related piece called “The three biggest mistakes in Kung Fu”. I really enjoyed the piece and you can read it via this link:


As is normally the case, the issues are not unique to kung fu and all the observations would certainly apply to certain quarters of the karate world too. I hope you enjoy Wallace’s article and it gets you critically thinking about the way our arts are frequently practised.

All the best,


Harald's picture

Dear Iain,

just to give a short response:

ad environment/context: The question ´does it work´ can apply only to two types of scenarios (on my opinion). Either it´s a sports affair or it is self-defecne situation (ultimately a matter of live or die).

This is conncted with the second point(mistake) which deals with "effectiveness". In a real figth that´s waht counts. In a competition this is not necessarily the case (to say the least).

It´s a pity. I saw it last weekend at a seminar in Berln. There were kata champions. You could recognize that they do not use sand bag in their training. Their techniques were not  always effective. Kata bunkai contradicted fighting principles. etc. It was a useful gymnastics!

The insights and technique you owe the  ryu and our senseis. Nevertheless, ultimateley your ability to defend yourself is just up to your personal experience (training).

A good Everyone can win against a lazy and bad boxer, karateka, judoka,... (whatever)!

These points I find (and have found always) very important!