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SimonSutherland's picture

Hi, I'm Simon and currently living in France. We might move back to the Uk but only if it stops raining.

I first met karate when a friend and I decided to go in for the Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme (you'll have to look this one up), way back when neither of us or our parents knew what to do with us. All I remember now is that I had to find several "subject"s off an official list and do some work to get points towards an award. On the way back from another class I stumbled upon a karate class (shutokai ?) in the same building and found it was on the list of things we could get points for. So I persuaded my friend to join with me. He stopped after the first lesson and me after the second -  my stamina wasn't great back then.

Later, at University I found out they had Shotokan classes, did about 18 months worth, got a green belt then a cracked sternum from an overly enthusiastic, none-controlled black belt and stopped (they only allow you to stay so long at University anyway).

Moved to London, found a weapons training class (nearest I could find). First lesson, got my bo broken in half by the instructor when he was explaining a basic overhead blocking technique and didn't go back. I think I was lacking in motivation or something or I was running out of things to get broken.

Over 30 years later my son started karate as an extra-school activity, liked it and joined the instructor's Shotokan club. I picked him up after class, got talking with the instructor and she persuaded me to take it up again, which I did. Highly embarrassed as I was allowed to keep my green belt but don't remember doing any of the Heian katas for my gradings. (I have kept my grading card with the same comment at each grading "Kiai !"; reminds me of "could do better" on my school report cards).

That was nearly 10 years ago. Now I am preparing for my 3rd Dan.

We have people in the club (one in particular) who comments that things that we do aren't realistic and wouldn't work "in the street". At the time, I tried to explain that we weren't a self-defense club but finally realised what he was getting at and now I also realise that I wasn't explaining it to him correctly either.

Like with my other hobby, genealogy, I like researching and understanding and teaching and when I finally found Iain's videos, this forum and everyone else out there, I suddenly realised that I could continue to learn and enjoy karate with a new focus. I continue to attend our club, I maintain the website and occasionally take the class. [the other day I was asked and as it was the last day before the school holidays - 10-13 year olds treat, learning Bassai Dai and an Iain Abernethy drill (shuto). The only other adult in the class suggested that I should be correcting their stances etc but I persisted with the kata (easier to learn Bassai Dai than correct their stances). We didn't finish it before the end of the lesson, but a white belt 10 year old came to see me at the end to ask whether he could stay longer to learn the end of the kata. Its moments like these that make teaching worthwhile.]

Since I've been involved in teaching (usually technology but mostly people) for many years I also look for opportunities to share what I've learned and decided to see whether any of my friends who had stopped coming to the club wanted to learn with me. I have managed to drag two along with me and so we learn together, try things out, but without the cracked sternum and focus on competition, which seems so prevelant these days. We are having fun and I hope to persuade others to have fun too.

We've been doing this for about 8 months now, on and off, but I'm only just getting around to joining this forum.

Living in the south of France, our work area is my front terrace but the other week (during the storms) it was the garage. We've bought some mats and I have pads, now its just a case of getting stuck in. I think hitting the pads will be worked more enthusiastically than falling on the mats, but thats one of my challenges, helping people by adapting the work to their needs, whilst really trying to adapt them to the work.

You've all given me loads of ideas. Keep up the good work, its great.

Heath White
Heath White's picture

Hello everyone, 

I am 1st dan in Tang Soo Do, training for my 2nd, which typically comes with  instructor's license.  I'm particularly interested in using bunkai to tie instruction closer to the forms.  

I'm 45 now, so no longer as young as I  used to be.  But it is fun learning new things, staying  in shape, and hopefully being able to pass the art on.

Linville's picture

Hello.  I’m Kris Linville; I’m from the U.S. Midwest.  I was first introduced to Karate at the age of 7 but after suffering an abdominal hernia I left class and didn’t return to formal training until over 10 years later.  At the age of 19, I enrolled in a semi-private Karate class taught by Sensei Ron White (at the time, the state director for kickboxing) who was well-known for teaching both full-contact amateur cage fighters and “traditional” karate classes.  After about a year of training, my wife and I moved back to our hometown which lead to a change in schools.  I started attending a primarily sport-based Shotokan school, under Sensei Vic Stanley, where I progressed to purple belt (3rd kyu) over the course of the next three years.  During that time, I also competed in two sport-based tournaments in adult male kata and sparring (years 2000 and 2001) in which I placed 1st and 2nd in kata and 2nd both years in sparring.  I also graduated college in 2001 and began the search for a job position in my field of study, Computer Information Systems.

Around that time, I learned of a non-sport teacher, Sensei Norman Beck, in the area teaching Judo/Jiu Jitsu, Karate, Kung Fu, and Asian Weaponry.  I found myself attracted to that form of training and therefore parted ways from the sport school and began the process of “re-learning” with the new instructor.  Belt requirements included a mix of learning basic techniques and forms in each of the four areas up through their 6th kyu before being allowed to choose a singular system to focus on to continue through Shodan.  Karate was naturally my path and after a little over 2 years, I was ready to test.  I achieved my Shodan rank in late 2004.  Unfortunately, a few months after receiving my Shodan, I had multiple life-changin events that pushed me to step away from training in favor of family and career.  Though I never lost my love for the martial arts I allowed my trainnig to take a back seat to other priorities.

Fast forward to 2015, unbeknownest to me, my instructor had stopped teaching for about 5 years due to some medical issues and was now looking to revitalize the class again.  After establishing a new group and training location, he reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in returning to my formal training and perhaps assist with building a foundation for the new school to build on.  Timing was right and I wanted to be able to get my son into Karate also so... we both joined the class.  Much of the concepts and knowledge was still in my head, though it was rather dusty so it took a few months before I felt like I was back at a level to where I could begin growing and learning new techniques and concepts once again.  I attended class about 6 hours a week over the course of the next two years working on refining my techniques, studying new biomechanical power source concepts, and closely working with the instructor to develop 7 new kata that would highlight the Shorin and Shorei styles of fighting.  During that time, I also assisted with teaching newer students through Kihon, Ten No Kata, and Heian Shodan while encorporating all of the new body mechanics that I had been studying.  In July of 2017, I was awarded Nidan rank in what was now being referred to as Koseiryu Bujutsu (having combined the four previsouly mentioned systems into a singular methodology of teaching and training).

I have recently discovered Iain Abernethy and have started back at podcast episode 1 in an attempt to absorb as much wisdom as I can.  I wish I would have known about Iain 10 years ago!  I can’t describe the joy I have gotten thus far through the podcast and website articles.  I very much look forward to the time when I can fit the purchase of the cost of the Bunkai Jutsu paperback into my budget.  In the meantime, I’ve been working my way through Karate-do Kyohan and Patrick McCarthy’s newest edition of the Bubishi from the critical perspective that I’m developing from Iain’s podcasts.

Many thanks to Iain for the quality (and quantity) of material that is shared for anyone interested to find and grow from.

- Kris

p.s. You can find some of my own musings at bunkaido.blogspot.com though they don’t hold a flicker of a candle to what Iain provides here.

niekyvanveggel's picture

Nieky van Veggel, hailing from the Stansted, Essex, area. Currently wado ryu karate, previously aikikai aikido and judo. Interested in the more traditional approach to karate rather than competition, and lover of a thoroughly executed kata.

Brooks's picture

Hello, I'm Brooks from the US. I have been training in karate for a few years though I've changed schools due to moving. I quit karate for a few years, but came back because I find it quite interesting. I thoroughly enjoy training, reading about it, and learning self defense. I am very interested in other systems too, but I have a strange attraction to karate. It can be very frustrating at times, but finding an application, reading another article, and having fun make it worth while.

Dylan Tucker
Dylan Tucker's picture

Hello there!

I'm Dylan from the US (Illinois). I've been practicing karate (Shorin Ryu, Goju Ryu, & Shito Ryu) and Japanese jujutsu for around 15 years directly under Hanshi Roy Hobbs of the Dentokan organization, but only in the last few have I really delved into the practicality of bunkai and 'piecing it all together'. All of Iain's work as well as this forum have been great sources of direction and information, so I figured it was high time to join the discussion (on topics to which I can knowledgeably speak).

Gabriel Suarez
Gabriel Suarez's picture

Greetings from the Old West.  My name is Gabriel Suarez.  I was pointed here by my training colleague Brent Yamamoto (trained with Iain in the past).  My staff and I conduct combat training in the US for police, military and private citizens.  We all have some type of Karate background.  My own is San dan in Kyokushin (although I have studied various systems and styles through the years).  It is a pleasure to see real karate being studied and developed as it was intended.  I hope to learn and perhaps even contribute once in a while.


Bruno Chagas
Bruno Chagas's picture

Hi everyone!

My name is Bruno Chagas. I am shodan at the Tanaka Karate-Do Association, a Karate school based in São Paulo, Brazil. In the 60's, our organization was the first representative of Kyokushinkai in South America. In 1974, my master Tsunioshi Tanaka left Kyokushin and our organization followed independently with a methodology derived from Mas Oyama's Karate, as did other organizations such as Seido Juku, World Oyama Karate, Ashihara and others. I try to be a studious person about Karate and explore as much as I can about this art, especially after my master passed away, after almost 60 years dedicated to Karate. So I try to read, attend seminars and train in other dojos as much as I can.

Within Karate, I am especially interested in the history of this art, the cultural aspects and bunkai. My profession is journalist, which in a way influences how I try to delve into the topics of my interest.

AndreaO's picture

New member here: Andrea, a German living in Finland on the country side. I practice Aikido and Karate.

Josh Pittman
Josh Pittman's picture

Hi, everyone. This isn't my first post, but I've only been a member for 4 months.

I have trained in Tae Kwon Do since I was 7 (which makes 21 years now), and in Tang Soo Do since I was 20. Because I moved around a lot after achieving first dan, I hold a first dan in TKD but a third in TSD. I became disaffected with my traditional training a year or two ago and started looking to Sensei YouTube for more practical training. That's how I found Iain's work, which renewed my appreciation for the traditional training I had done.

I'm interested in adding stand-up grappling to my arsenal, so when my back stops hurting, I will join a BJJ gym here in my city. Until then, I have no official training space except for my basement, where I teach/learn with a friend. I have strong ties to my previous instructor in TSD, but since I left our federation, I don't see him or train with him very often.

I currently live in Texas, where I am a PhD candidate studying medieval English literature. I am married and have a three-year-old son.

Ian Haynes
Ian Haynes's picture

My names Ian and i'm a nidan in shotokan karate. I have trained in traditional jujitsu and did about 4 years of muay thai in my younger days. I'm a massive fan of Iains work and have apent the last couple on months binge listening to the last decade of podcasts (so much food for thought) I had the pleasure of attending a seminar on Sunday with Iain and it has only increased my interest in the practical side of kata bunkai. Ian

Chad T
Chad T's picture


I'm Chad, currently 2nd kyu in shotokan karate. I'm working on my requirments for 1st dan and came across this forum during my research. I have been watching Iain for a while on youtube and have really been learning a lot. I have 3 children, 2 of which are also in karate and the third one will be soon.

T_Annan's picture

Hi all! I'm a relatively new Karate practitioner, having only started roughly a year ago. I quickly came across Iain's resources and of others like him. I would like to meet and train with you all one day in order to bring Karate back to it's practical and effective use. Regards - Tyler

AlexDP's picture

Hi Everyone - I'm Alex. I live in Gatineau Quebec (across the river from Ottawa, Canada). I'm also really new to martial arts. Back when I was a kid I got a yellow belt in Shotokan and quit after I got beat up by two older kids at school because none of the moves worked :P 

I'm 34 now.  But really my introduction to martial arts came back in Sept 2017 while living in Winnipeg. I started training in Northern Shaolin kung fu and dabbling in sanda kickboxing and shuai jiao 4-5 times a week. I trained there for a year but got forced into moving so my partner could go to school here in capital city.  I stumbled upon Iain and TW Smith pretty early on in my martial education - roughly 5 months really. So its provided me invaluable context for grounding my training early on, and especially as I learn more. I also ended up lucking out and training under 2 Canadian National wushu champions and one chinese provincial champion at Ching Wu Athletic association right from the start and got grinded into decent fitness really quick.  Since moving to Ottawa/Gatineau its been a struggle to find a solid training group that practices a practical traditional martial art. I ended up starting to attend a couple kung fu clubs and they were really disappointing. For the last 7 months I've been working out with a Shorinjiryu Kenkokan training group called Zen Fight Club. It's kinda midstream between Japanese and sport karate - buts its full contact - so its fun. Unfortunately, I haven't found a place that trains as hard as my old club in Winnipeg.  Nonetheless I haven't ever found a place that does practical tradtional martial arts.  I'm going to check out a Wado Kai place that claims to do practical Karate next week. So here's hoping I'm impressed and have found a place I can really work hard for the next few years.   

colby's picture

Hello everyone! My name's Colby and I live in the middle of Florida. I've been Practicing Seibukan Shorin-Ryu Karate for about 23 years of which I have done some Arnis, jiu-jitsu, Kobudo, and played around with aikido and Kenpo in college for just a quick minute as well. I found Mr. Abernethy's videos on YouTube and currently have been bringing his podcasts for the last couple days at work. I have a lot of questions and hope to learn a lot. :)

Dbryan's picture

Greetings from Fort Worth Texas!

Love the forums and the endless amount of information available. I have been involved in all forms of martial arts since 1986 and I am so glad to accidentally stumble upon Iain Abernethy, and Peter Consterdine. Keep up the excellent work and where in Gods name you get the time to post so many things between podcasts, apps, and seminars is beyond me!!!!!  :)


We need some of those t shirts you wear in your videos to be available in the store section of your website!!!

Ricardo S Garcia
Ricardo S Garcia's picture

Hey Friends,

Im Ricardo Garcia. I've been training martial arts since i was 8 and haven't stopped. Along the way I've always found my way back to training. Unfortunatly none of my instuctors knew much when it came to practical bunkai, but it was always a massive intrest to me. I began instucting about 6 years ago and that really gave me the option to begin pursuing practical application. 

Fortunatly, there was the internet and youtube. That is how i finally found some convincing bunkai in Iain Abernethy's work. and i was so happy to see the community that has developed around him and now i see great bunkai all the time! I come from a background in American TKD under the Jhoon Rhee and Jeff Smith. I grew up with the Chang Hon Hyungs and have had the best time ever working to unlock the "secrets" of the forms. I'll be working on putting up video material soon to share my ideas with all of you. I can honestly say that i would have spent another 20+ years to gain the understanding of the forms that i have now if it hadn't been for this great community. 

Best wishes from Colorful Colorado,

Ricardo S. Garcia

Knut Erik Landgraff
Knut Erik Landgraff's picture

Hi, my name is Knut and I live in rural Norway. I'm 60 years old and I've been interested in martial arts, self defence and combatives since I was a teenager. Off and on. Nowdays I mostly do kitchen kata, punch the garage heavybag once in a while and enjoy the revitalisation of kata and practical karate movement brought forward by Iain Abernethy and others. My formal background is in taekwondo, before that sports kumite and in later years some krav maga. Today I regard styles as almost obsolete, and I'm quite frankly sick and tired of martial politics, combat sports, martial inbreeding, badges, belts and combat masters of the universe. I work as a freelance journalist most of the time. I'm here because I like learning new old stuff and to get some inspirational kicks from all the great goodguys on this forum and even suffer some well deserved kickbacks myself! :-)

Keep up the good work, folks! :-)


Oliver K.
Oliver K.'s picture

Hi, my name is Oliver living near Augsburg in Germany. I started practising Shotokan as a student in 1994 as a member of Karate Zanshin Augsburg. Unfortunately I had to stop around 2008 but re-started again in 2015.  I already watched and tried to learn from several youtubes but a friend of mine who already regularly participates in Iain's seminars and workouts recommended me to register on your site and participate directly as well. So, I really look forward to become part of this community and practise and develop my Karate as well! Best regards Oliver

Trinitymartist's picture

Good day to all,

My name is Christian, I'm in the Southern U.S..  I've been training martial arts about 31 years.  I'm at the point where I'm looking for more efficient application of techniques, instead of relying on athleticism to carry the day. All of my Dan rankings are in Korean styles, but I've trained in numerous Japanese/Okinawan systems over the years.  I've always been interested in the practical application of forms/kata.  My primary problem has always been the instructors that I've trained with, have not been able to explain any actual application of technique for the forms.  The instructors have generally fallen into two categories, those that really only practice for the sport aspect and those that fall into the "copy me exactly" with no questions or deviations allowed.  I've explored various approaches to application over the years and learned some interesting things.  I'm just hoping to continue learning new and interesting things and hopefully find some ways to pass that information along to students.

Alasdair Strokosch
Alasdair Strokosch's picture

Hi guys, my name is Alasdair, i first started in martial arts as a child at a club run by my uncle. I worked my way to first dan in Karate (Shotokan) before a career in professional rugby made it impossible to continue training. I maintained my love for all martial arts throughout my career and even had the privelige of training with the great Rick Young as part of our pre season training for several years!. Since retiring from that sport i have come back to Karate and also taken up Judo and will continue to study all aspects of martial arts and self protection as it is something that i love to do! I'm looking forward to interacting with everyone and hopefully contributing in some way.



Phil K
Phil K's picture

Hi All, I'm Phil. My martial arts life started when I was 17 and my brother and I joined our local 3K Shotokan Karate club. We loved it, but eventually it became apparent that what we were learning was not practical when it came to self defence. I spent a couple of years working weekends as a bouncer in my early 20s, and not once did I use anything I'd learned in the dojo. Dabbling in other martial arts opened my eyes to some of what was missing from my instruction - particularly the close range limb control of wing chun, and the throws of jujitsu. I kept up my Karate training until after my 2nd dan, but moving around made regular training with others difficult, and other interests took over.

It's now been more that 5 years since I've done any formal martial arts training and I now live in Kendal (UK), a long way from my original dojo. I've recently discovered the world of practical karate and Iain's amazing work and I've got the karate bug again. I'm currently training on my own, but I'm looking forward to training with others this year. Are there any other practical karateka in the Kendal area who would like to meet up when it's allowed?

Kim P
Kim P's picture

Hello! My name is Kim, I'm from the United States, and I just started my 9th year of training taekwondo (we practice the Chang Hon patterns). I love the information shared on Facebook and YouTube and look forward to learning more. Thanks for having me!

Frazatto's picture

Hello people o/

My name is André, I'm from Brasil and practice martial arts since very young.

Hope I can add a little to the conversation!

shoto-shell's picture

Hello, my name is Erich and I am a stranded Shodan that is currently studying via zoom with a shihan in NYC.  I have been training and studying shotokan for 8 yrs now and have found my way here as Bunkai and self-defence that I was trained in caused me to be dissolutioned.  So.  While I am stil training I am starting a dojo based upon practical skills and going back to Funakoshi's philosophy so that it feels like I can find the roots of Karate.

Jesus Pineda
Jesus Pineda's picture

Hello everyone,

Name's Jesús Pineda, I'm from Caracas, Venezuela, currently living in Bogotá, Colombia. I've been practicing karate since '98 with some dalliances with Japanese jiu jitsu and MMA since '06. Currently I'm a shodan that gave up caring about rank a long time ago.

Around the time of my blue belt ('03) I found Patrick McCarthy's Bubishi and Enzo Montanari's Karate Sconosciuto and those two books started my questioning of the 'traditional' interpretation of kata. However, there was little material available and no one was actually that interested in practical karate around me (it was the height of the post UFC BJJ hype wave) so there was little for me to do other than cross train and wonder if kata was just for WKF tournaments.

After emigrating to Colombia in '16 and looking for a dojo, I had a less than stellar experience with a JKA dojo nearby (mostly due to differences in expectations in training) and found Iain's content by accident on YouTube... It was the shot in the arm my karate needed! (I'll show myself out) Since then I've been lurking in the forums learning from many of the posts and trying to adapt the ideas of the Practical Karate community to my style. So far it's been a really fun ride!

So thank you Iain, Noah Legel, Chris Hanson, Andy Allen, Christian Wedevardt... and those are just the ones I can recall writing this. Hopefully I can add a grain of sand to the mountain of knowledge in this forum.

DaveB's picture
Hello, I'm David, I've been researching karate kata since the 90s after I started training in Shotokan. Somewhere along the way I got Old-man ailments and don't train as much as I'd like. But I still like talking about the arts when I can.
Liam Wandi
Liam Wandi's picture

Hello everyone. My name is Liam. I am a maths teacher by day, based in London. My martial arts week is split between Gracie jiujitsu (2nd degree), judo (2nd degree) and karate (3rd degree). In other words, I love martial arts and I don't go out much wink.


I look forward to learning. Speak soon.