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Solo Kata for Solo Training (Podcast)

This month we cover Solo Kata for Solo Training! In these podcasts we frequently discuss how kata records the combative techniques and concepts upon which karate is based. Kata provides the combative syllabus around which we should structure all of our training. Kata should be central to our pad drills, partner-work, sparring, and all other forms of training. In this podcast we discuss the solo kata itself and how it can be used as an enjoyable and effective method of supplementary solo training.

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Occam's Hurdled Katana (Podcast)

This month’s podcast is called “Occam's Hurdled Katana”; which is my favourite title of all the podcasts we have ever done! In the podcast we look at the three most prevalent approaches to kata (and kata application) and analyse them using a logical principle called “Occam's Razor”. All historical and practical pros and cons are temporarily put to one side as we look at things from a purely logical perspective.

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The Martial Map (Free Audio Book)

I wanted to start the year with something a little special, so here is a free “audio book” (i.e. a long podcast! :-) called “The Martial Map”.

In the audio book I look at martial arts, fighting, self-protection and their relationship to one another. Many martial arts instructors see martial arts, fighting and self-protection as being one and the same with all distinctions between them being completely lost. Personally I think this lack of clarity to be highly problematic and it is arguably the biggest problem we face today.

We train most effectively when we clearly define the objective of that training. However, it is my view that most practitioners and instructors are unclear what they are training for. That uncertainty leads to ineffective and unfocused training.

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Pressure Points! (Podcast)

This month’s podcast covers the always controversial subject of pressure points! In the podcast I give my own take on pressure points including my thoughts on chi, acupuncture theory and its relationship to pressure points, modern medicine vs. a traditional Chinese medicine approach, the relationship between power and accuracy, my five key places to strike, and my own “zone approach” to striking areas.

In order to thoroughly explore the above issues the podcast is a little longer than normal (55 minutes) so we can count this one as a “Bumper Christmas Special” ;-)

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My Stance on Stances (Podcast)

Welcome to the latest podcast! This month’s podcast is called “My Stance on Stances” and as you can probably tell … it’s on the subject of stances! I feel that stances are widely misunderstood to be something static, fixed and preparatory. I don’t see any of that as being true and in the podcast I’ll explain what I see as the purpose of stances and their practical function.

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Bonus Podcast: 10 Books for the Pragmatic Karateka

This new website makes it so easy for me to add new content that I’ve been able to put out this “bonus podcast”! I’ve called it a bonus podcast because this is not the scheduled “official podcast” – which will be on stances and be out in a week or so – but an extra podcast on 10 books that I recommend you read (not one of which was written by me … I’m assuming you’ve already got all those ;-).

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Knowledge is NOT Power! (Podcast)

Knowledge is not powerHere is the latest podcast! It’s been a little while since the last one due to all the time being spent on getting the new website up and running. We are back on track now though and I have a few podcasts ready to record and roll out as we go.

This latest podcast is called “Knowledge is NOT Power!” and it discusses various issues surrounding “knowledge” and how “knowing” a technique is a long way away from being able to apply that technique. We also compare “theoretical knowledge” vs. “practical knowledge” and “experiential knowledge” vs. “non-experiential knowledge”. Finally I give my formula for power and the basic training cycle needed to ensure combative function.

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What A Black Belt Should Be (as Iain sees it!)

Welcome to the longest podcast we have ever done! This month’s podcast follows on from last month’s on the grading system and the black belt. I received a lot of requests for more information on what I felt a syllabus should include and what a dan grade should be. So I picked up a copy of my syllabus and clicked the record icon on my laptop. The resulting “stream of consciousness” is this month’s podcast.

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The Black Belt and the Grading System

In this month’s podcast we discuss the always controversial subject of the grading system and the coveted black belt. On internet forums, message boards, and in the letters pages in the martial arts magazines we frequently find discussion on how standards are falling, the black belt does not mean what it once did and that there is no uniform standard anymore. So in this podcast I’d like to give my take on the black belt and the plusses and pitfalls associated with the grading system in general.

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How A Kata Records A Style

In this podcast I’d like to explain how an individual kata can record a complete fighting system! There is a common view that individual kata are for specific circumstances, and it is only when all the kata are combined that we have a complete style. I think this is an incorrect and mistaken view; both from a practical and historical perspective. Surely, one kata can’t record a complete fighting system though? Well, in my view it can!

You may be asking how a relatively small number of techniques can ever be considered to be a full system? Well if you are, listen to the podcast and I’ll do my best to explain my thinking to you! Kata are a lot deeper and much wider reaching than many people suppose.

As part of this discussion we will also cover the nature of kata, how kata should be practised in order to realise its full potential, what some of the past masters had to say about kata and its application, and how and why kata were created in the first place.

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