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Standing Choke and Throw (video)

This short clip covers a “game play” standing choke and takedown. The footage was filmed in our dojo during a training session in June 2014. It’s very important to understand that these techniques are part of “grappling play”. They are “fighting techniques” and must not to be confused with “self-protection” methods. There is a place for “martial arts”, “fighting” and “self-protection” and all have their inherent value. They key is to not mistake one for the other. I hope you enjoy the clip!

All the best,


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Final shuto-ukes of bassai-dai bunkai (video)

This video looks at the last three shuto-ukes (“knife hand blocks”) as found in Shotokan’s Bassai-Dai, Wado-Ryu’s Passai, etc. A comparison with other versions of Bassai / Passai will reveal that the second shuto (the one where you are “not looking”) is not there in most versions. It therefore seems to me that the “push” we see in other versions of the form has been stylistically over formalised into a distinct shuto-uke in the versions of the kata that posses that movement i.e. it is an “error” in transmission.

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Advanced Kushanku / Kanku-Dai Drill (video)

This video was filmed at a three day seminar in Chicago, USA in May 2014. This short clip is a summary of a flow drill that covers, in order, the bunkai of Kushanku / Kanku-Dai from the opening to the drop to the floor. This drill can be easily adapted to fit all styles, but the version shown is in keeping with the Shotokan version because the vast majority of attendees had a Shotokan base.

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Flow drill for the first quarter of Kanku-Dai / Kushanku / Kosokun (video)

This 25 minute video was filmed at a closed residential course in April 2014. In the film, I instruct the group in a flow drill for the first quarter of the Kanku-Dai / Kushanku / Kosokun. It is my view that the first quarter of the kata instructs the karateka in the basics of limb control and manipulation so that the karateka has the skills to employ the methods found later in the kata. This drill is a time efficient way to practise those skills.

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4 bunkai based finishes from behind the enemy (video)

In this video I show four bunkai based finishes from behind the enemy. This was filmed in the dojo in March 2014. The main theme of the whole training session was gripping drills; so this was a way to get the students to repeatedly practise the same initial pass. The changing finishes give the illusion of something new and hence prevent the boredom of lots of repetition (“repetition by stealth”).

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Posture and Ikken Hissatsu (video)

This short video was filmed at a seminar on the 15th of March 2014. One of the topics I taught at the event was drills for hook punch. This snippet looks at some general thoughts on posture and Ikken Hissatsu (one blow, one “kill”).

There are quite a few misunderstandings around the Ikken Hissatsu concept. One of the most common is that “one blow” infers we only hit once. In truth, the concept is that we have full intent to finish the situation in any given instant.

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Thoughts on Sanseru (video)

At a residential course in early 2014, we decided to take a look at bunkai for the Goju-Ryu kata Sanseru. It’s not a kata I personally practise, but we had fun applying the process and using bunkai principles to analyse the kata.

We did not look at the entire kata, we did not film all of it, and it was not filmed with the intention of sharing it. The resulting footage is therefore a little disjointed and is far from being the in-depth analysis that the kata deserves.

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Unsu / Kanku-Sho Jump Bunkai (video)

In this video we look at an application for the jumps in Unsu & Kanku-Sho. These two jumps are very similar. The difference is that Unsu turns 360 degrees, whereas Kanku-Sho turns 180 degrees (when using the direction of the preceding look as the reference point). I interpret this motion as a last ditch attempt to free a trapped leg. In Kanku-Sho, the enemy remains static … hence the 180 degree turn (as demonstrated in this clip). In Unsu, the enemy is thought to catch the leg and then circle 180 degrees in an attempt to throw.

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Practical Kata Bunkai: Unsu Ippon-Nukite (video)

In this video we look at bunkai for the downward ippon-nukite (“finger pokes”) found at the start of Unsu kata. While people analysing this motion tend to focus on the extended index finger, it is my view that that finger is largely inactive. The three bent fingers dig into the back of the jaw, the thumb goes into the eyes, the index finger has nowhere to go other than run down the side of the face. The arching foot movement moves behind the enemy’s leg as the jaw and eyes are attacked using the ippon-nukite hand positions.

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Seipai Throw (video)

This video shows a simple throw from Seipai kata. One thing that is key is the use of the elbow under the arm to impact and break balance. Without that, it can be much harder to pick up the leg and execute the throw.

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