Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.


Sochin Drills (video)

This video looks at some drills for the first half of Sochin kata (Shotokan version). The clip starts by looking at the kata’s illustrations of principle (i.e. example techniques). We then move on to drill the skill of moving past the limbs by applying those principles in a more free-flowing way. It’s important to understand that what is shown at that point is a drill for clearing the enemy’s limbs out of the way of the target. We therefore isolate that skill and extend the time practicing it. This is not meant to be a realistic recreation of combat.

Continue Reading

Thoughts on Fighting Dirty

This video is an extract from a recent seminar in Germany. In it, I discuss the role and limitations of “fighting dirty”. If you want a more detailed discussion on this topic, this podcast will be of interest:

The footage comes from a seminar covering the bunkai of Wanshu / Empi. Footage of the full seminar can be found in the “iain abernethy” app.

All the best,


Continue Reading

Fundamentals are Fundamental!

In this video I discuss a problem I see forming on the fringes of the practical karate community. While the community continues to go from strength to strength, with more and more people adopting a practical approach, we have to guard against overlooking the need for high-quality technique. I don’t see this as a huge problem at the moment, but I see enough of it to warrant making this video.

Continue Reading

Some Old School Karate Throws

In this video we look at some “old school” karate throws. These throws were included in karate texts during the 1920s and 30s (along with many others):

“Topple a Folding Screen” – Funakoshi, 1935

“Half Wheel” – Funakoshi, 1935

“Throat Press” – Funakoshi, 1925

“Stomping Throw” – Itoman, 1934

“Leg Pick” – Itoman, 1934; Mabuni, 1938

Continue Reading

Unsu Bunkai: Turning Sequence (Heito to Gakuzuki)

This video looks at the one-legged turning sequence in Unsu kata that starts with a ridge-hand and ends with a reverse-punch. The karate of the past had a significant throwing component. Because many modern karateka don’t appreciate that throwing is a part of their art, many throwing actions in kata are misinterpreted. This sequence is a good example of that. What is clearly a throw, gets misunderstood as turning “block”, delivered on one leg, with the hands on the hip for no apparent reason!

Continue Reading

Close Range Hook Drill (Kagi-Zuki)

In this video we look at basic drill for close-range hook punches i.e. hooks were the hand is around 6 inches / 15 centimetres away from jawline. It’s very important to introduce restrictions and move away from ideal scenarios in training.

All the best,


PS The YouTube link can be found HERE


Continue Reading

Chinto Gankaku Flow Drill for Crane Stance Sequence

In this video we look at a flow drill for the one-legged sequences in Chinto / Gankaku kata. It’s important to understand that this drill is one of many. The methods in the drill also need practised singularly, in alternate sequences, and in both semi-live and live drills. We covered all of this during the two-day event at which this clip was filmed. It’s obviously not possible to cover all of that in this short video clip and therefore viewers are cautioned against making assumptions based on their own training paradigm.

Continue Reading

Jion Bunkai Opening Sequence and Drill

This short video shows bunkai for the opening motions of Jion kata:

1) The “salutation”

2) The simultaneous gedan-barai and soto-uke (aka kosa-uke)

3) The 45-degree kakiwake-uke, mae geri, sandon zuki sequence

Continue Reading

Six of Morinobu Itomans Karate Throws

Here is an older video recapping some of the throws (and variants) found in Morinobu Itoman’s 1934 book, “The Study of Karate Techniques”. Itoman was a police officer and wrote the book with a view to helping follow officers:

“I was a police officer and my life was focused on keeping order in the streets … I made use of my karate when on patrol and realised my follow officers could benefit from it”

Continue Reading

The Role of Kata (video)

There are three main roles that solo kata has within karate and similar systems:

1) Continuity and Organisation of Information

Continue Reading