Iain Abernethy - The Practical Application Of Karate show

Iain Abernethy - The Practical Application Of Karate

Summary: Iain Abernethy has been involved in the martial arts since childhood. Iain holds the rank of 6th Dan with the British Combat Association (one of the world's leading groups for close-quarter combat, self-protection and practical martial arts) and 6th Dan with Karate England (the official governing body for Karate in England). Iain's popular monthly podcasts cover all aspects of practical martial arts and realistic self-protection.

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Podcasts:

 Kata-Based-Sparring Revisited: Structure | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 32:53

This month’s podcast sees us continue our discussion on kata-based-sparring (KBS). Last month we covered the broad principles of KBS and established how it relates to kata and fits into karate as a whole. This month’s podcast moves on and covers the structure of KBS and looks at some specific KBS drills. This podcast is divided into two sections. The first part covers the key ideas that you need to be aware of when structuring your own KBS drills. These ideas will help ensure that your drills are related to kata and will develop true self-protection skills. The second part of the podcast gives examples of specific KBS drills that I make use of in my own teaching and grading syllabus. It is obviously not possible to cover every single drill, but it is hoped that the combination of the discussion on structure and the examples given will give you the broad picture and enable you to develop your own KBS drills. The combination of this month’s and last month’s podcasts will help listeners to gain a good understanding of the KBS concept. It is, after all, a remarkably simple way of training which generally only seems to be complex if misunderstandings exist about the nature of kata or the nature of live situations. The podcasts directly address the most common misunderstandings. Through the study of these podcasts the listener will be provided with the fundamental information needed to begin the practise of KBS. Kata-based-sparring is a very practical and enjoyable way of training that I feel all pragmatically minded karateka should be engaging in. After all, nothing develops combative skill in the way that live training does. WARNING: All sparring is potentially dangerous and must only be practised under the close supervision and guidance of a suitably qualified and experienced martial arts instructor. On the subject of the podcasts generally, we’ve now had more than 50,000 of them downloaded! Thanks to all our regular listeners and particularly those of you who have been enthusiastically spreading the word on the podcasts! I’m delighted that they are proving so popular and there will be many more to come! I hope you enjoy this month’s podcast and I’ll be back with another next month. All the best, Iain

 Kata-Based-Sparring Revisited: Principles | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 16:53

In this month’s podcast I wish to return to the very important, and frequently misunderstood, subject of kata-based-sparring. As many of you will know, kata-based-sparring (KBS for short) is a term that I use for live training drills that are based on the techniques and concepts recorded within the traditional kata. I feel it should be obvious to all – but often is not – that if we wish to be able to apply the methodology of kata in live situations, then we need to practise that methodology in a live environment. It is my view that solo kata, bunkai study and compliant drills are nothing without live practise. This live practise should not be confused with common dojo sparring; which often has no connection to kata and is almost always based on the rules of modern competition. Kata was created to record the civilian self-protection system that was the original karate. Our karate sparring will therefore have genuine relevance to real situations if it is based on the kata and the original methods of the system. In this podcast we will be covering the principles of KBS and next month we will be discussing specific KBS drills. This podcast begins by exploring the nature of kata and the various stages of it’s study and practise. It is vitally important that people do not confuse the manner in which information is preserved and presented by kata with the manner in which that information should be trained. This podcast discusses solo-kata, bunkai (application), variations, and live practise; and also how those elements should link together to form a coherent whole. The information covered this month will explain what KBS is, how KBS is different from common “karate sparring”, how KBS relates to kata, and how it sits in the greater scheme of things within karate. If listeners ensure they are familiar with the information in this podcast they will be well placed to make use of the specific KBS drills we’ll be covering next month. I hope you enjoy the podcast! All the best, Iain

 Kata-Based-Sparring Revisited: Principles | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 16:53

In this month’s podcast I wish to return to the very important, and frequently misunderstood, subject of kata-based-sparring. As many of you will know, kata-based-sparring (KBS for short) is a term that I use for live training drills that are based on the techniques and concepts recorded within the traditional kata. I feel it should be obvious to all – but often is not – that if we wish to be able to apply the methodology of kata in live situations, then we need to practise that methodology in a live environment. It is my view that solo kata, bunkai study and compliant drills are nothing without live practise. This live practise should not be confused with common dojo sparring; which often has no connection to kata and is almost always based on the rules of modern competition. Kata was created to record the civilian self-protection system that was the original karate. Our karate sparring will therefore have genuine relevance to real situations if it is based on the kata and the original methods of the system. In this podcast we will be covering the principles of KBS and next month we will be discussing specific KBS drills. This podcast begins by exploring the nature of kata and the various stages of it’s study and practise. It is vitally important that people do not confuse the manner in which information is preserved and presented by kata with the manner in which that information should be trained. This podcast discusses solo-kata, bunkai (application), variations, and live practise; and also how those elements should link together to form a coherent whole. The information covered this month will explain what KBS is, how KBS is different from common “karate sparring”, how KBS relates to kata, and how it sits in the greater scheme of things within karate. If listeners ensure they are familiar with the information in this podcast they will be well placed to make use of the specific KBS drills we’ll be covering next month. I hope you enjoy the podcast! All the best, Iain

 Canadian Radio Interview | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 17:01

As many of you will know, I recently taught a series of seminars in various parts of Canada. Without exception all the seminars were great fun and I’m very grateful to all who attended for their warmth, their enthusiasm and their ability to digest the information we covered. I had a blast! Whist I was in Canada, James Freeman (organiser of the events) and I were interviewed on a morning radio sports show. This month’s podcast includes that interview in full! Topics covered in the interview include my martial background, why I took up karate, the nature of kata, my thoughts on MMA and self-defence, the current state of martial arts, the true nature of self-protection, what the seminars in Canada covered, could I kill someone with my thumb (!), and had I ever kicked someone’s head clean off?! Seriously, I was asked those last two questions! I thought the mix of serious and tongue-in-cheek questions made for a fun and informative interview and I hope you enjoy listing to it. Thanks to Scott and Elliot Knowles for arranging this interview and getting a copy for me. The podcast also includes details of the next issue of Jissen (the free online practical martial arts magazine); the answer and winner of last month’s competition; and news of a totally free online book that we’ll be making available in the not too distant future! A quick note to those listening via i-tunes: Whilst i-tunes only lists the last few podcasts, a full back catalogue of all our podcasts is available from the blog of iainabernethy.com. All of the podcasts are completely free and can be downloaded and listened to online. All the best, Iain

 Canadian Radio Interview | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 17:01

As many of you will know, I recently taught a series of seminars in various parts of Canada. Without exception all the seminars were great fun and I’m very grateful to all who attended for their warmth, their enthusiasm and their ability to digest the information we covered. I had a blast! Whist I was in Canada, James Freeman (organiser of the events) and I were interviewed on a morning radio sports show. This month’s podcast includes that interview in full! Topics covered in the interview include my martial background, why I took up karate, the nature of kata, my thoughts on MMA and self-defence, the current state of martial arts, the true nature of self-protection, what the seminars in Canada covered, could I kill someone with my thumb (!), and had I ever kicked someone’s head clean off?! Seriously, I was asked those last two questions! I thought the mix of serious and tongue-in-cheek questions made for a fun and informative interview and I hope you enjoy listing to it. Thanks to Scott and Elliot Knowles for arranging this interview and getting a copy for me. The podcast also includes details of the next issue of Jissen (the free online practical martial arts magazine); the answer and winner of last month’s competition; and news of a totally free online book that we’ll be making available in the not too distant future! A quick note to those listening via i-tunes: Whilst i-tunes only lists the last few podcasts, a full back catalogue of all our podcasts is available from the blog of iainabernethy.com. All of the podcasts are completely free and can be downloaded and listened to online. All the best, Iain

 25 Minute Solo Workout | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:43

This month’s podcast is a little different! Instead of giving you some information, we’re going to give you something to do. This podcast provides a 25 minute workout which includes shadow fighting, traditional basics, conditioning exercises, aerobic drills, anaerobic drills, punching combinations, slow kata, normal kata, and more! The idea is that you download the podcast to your MP3 player, mobile phone (cell phone for our friends on the other side of the Atlantic), laptop or burn it to a disk. You then listen to the podcast and do as instructed. It’s an ideal “bit of everything” workout for those days where you don’t have enough time to train as you would like. It also requires no equipment and very little space; making it possible to use the podcast in your home or a hotel room. At the foot of this blog post you will find the link where you can download the podcast (right click on “download”). You can also find a video clip that explains how to use the podcast (visit www.iainabernethy.com if you are reading this on i-tunes or a similar website). You can view the clip online or download it to your computer. When you have watched the clip, you are all ready to go! A word of warning: This podcast assumes that you are physically and technically capable of training in this way. If you have any doubt, please be sure to take the advice of suitably qualified and experienced person before engaging in the routine. Be sure to adequately warm-up and cool down and work at your own pace! I hope you enjoy this podcast and find it useful! All the best, Iain

 25 Minute Solo Workout | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:43

This month’s podcast is a little different! Instead of giving you some information, we’re going to give you something to do. This podcast provides a 25 minute workout which includes shadow fighting, traditional basics, conditioning exercises, aerobic drills, anaerobic drills, punching combinations, slow kata, normal kata, and more! The idea is that you download the podcast to your MP3 player, mobile phone (cell phone for our friends on the other side of the Atlantic), laptop or burn it to a disk. You then listen to the podcast and do as instructed. It’s an ideal “bit of everything” workout for those days where you don’t have enough time to train as you would like. It also requires no equipment and very little space; making it possible to use the podcast in your home or a hotel room. At the foot of this blog post you will find the link where you can download the podcast (right click on “download”). You can also find a video clip that explains how to use the podcast (visit www.iainabernethy.com if you are reading this on i-tunes or a similar website). You can view the clip online or download it to your computer. When you have watched the clip, you are all ready to go! A word of warning: This podcast assumes that you are physically and technically capable of training in this way. If you have any doubt, please be sure to take the advice of suitably qualified and experienced person before engaging in the routine. Be sure to adequately warm-up and cool down and work at your own pace! I hope you enjoy this podcast and find it useful! All the best, Iain

 Beginning Bunkai | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 24:38

In this podcast we are looking at Beginning Bunkai! One of the most frequent requests I get via email is for advice on how to get started with the study of bunkai (kata application). So I thought it was about time we did a podcast on that topic! The podcast covers finding regular instruction, setting up training groups, making the most of seminars, dealing with any negative reactions from your instructors and peers, studying the works of the past masters, what your study should include, developing your own unique approach to bunkai, etc. If you are one of those people who is keen to make practical bunkai part of what they do, but you are not sure how to get stared, then this podcast should help. This podcast also includes a free to enter competition! We have received quite a few emails about my accent over the years and I thought it would be fun to run a related competition. I have therefore included a short martial arts related phrase in board Cumbrian (my local dialect). One lucky winner – which will be whoever gets closest to understanding what I said! – will win a free book or DVD for their choice. I hope you enjoy the podcast! All the best, Iain

 Beginning Bunkai | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 24:38

In this podcast we are looking at Beginning Bunkai! One of the most frequent requests I get via email is for advice on how to get started with the study of bunkai (kata application). So I thought it was about time we did a podcast on that topic! The podcast covers finding regular instruction, setting up training groups, making the most of seminars, dealing with any negative reactions from your instructors and peers, studying the works of the past masters, what your study should include, developing your own unique approach to bunkai, etc. If you are one of those people who is keen to make practical bunkai part of what they do, but you are not sure how to get stared, then this podcast should help. This podcast also includes a free to enter competition! We have received quite a few emails about my accent over the years and I thought it would be fun to run a related competition. I have therefore included a short martial arts related phrase in board Cumbrian (my local dialect). One lucky winner – which will be whoever gets closest to understanding what I said! – will win a free book or DVD for their choice. I hope you enjoy the podcast! All the best, Iain

 Karate Grappling: Did it really exist? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 21:01

This month’s podcast is called “Karate Grappling: Did it really exist?”. The podcast begins by asking if karate really did include grappling in the past. Was grappling part of old school karate or is “karate grappling”, as many modernists suggest, just a modern invention in response to the popularity of MMA? What about the traditionalists that say grappling is not a part of karate? Do either of these views have a case? We’ll also look at the evidence for grappling within kata. If grappling is in kata, what kind of grappling is it and how should be training in it? To explore all these issues, the podcastexamines what the past masters had to say on the subject of karate grappling in their writings. In addition to looking at grappling within karate, the podcast also includes a brief examination of the related Okinawan art of Tegumi. This examination is based upon Gichin Funakoshi’s description of his involvement in these bouts and how he believed such training to be of great benefit to the karateka. I feel the podcast contains a lot of information that will be of interest to the pragmatically minded karateka and I hope it will be bit of an eye-opener. All the best, Iain

 Karate Grappling: Did it really exist? | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 21:01

This month’s podcast is called “Karate Grappling: Did it really exist?”. The podcast begins by asking if karate really did include grappling in the past. Was grappling part of old school karate or is “karate grappling”, as many modernists suggest, just a modern invention in response to the popularity of MMA? What about the traditionalists that say grappling is not a part of karate? Do either of these views have a case? We’ll also look at the evidence for grappling within kata. If grappling is in kata, what kind of grappling is it and how should be training in it? To explore all these issues, the podcastexamines what the past masters had to say on the subject of karate grappling in their writings. In addition to looking at grappling within karate, the podcast also includes a brief examination of the related Okinawan art of Tegumi. This examination is based upon Gichin Funakoshi’s description of his involvement in these bouts and how he believed such training to be of great benefit to the karateka. I feel the podcast contains a lot of information that will be of interest to the pragmatically minded karateka and I hope it will be bit of an eye-opener. All the best, Iain

 Karate-Jutsu / Karate-Do | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 16:09

In this podcast we discuss the concepts of “jutsu” and “do” and the related benefits and shortfalls of “karate-justu” (karate for real fighting) and “karate-do” (karate for physical and mental development). In the podcast we examine both approaches and see where they differ and where they have common ground. These two suffixes are becoming more significant these days as the need to differentiate between the many activities that reside under the coverall banner of “karate” increases. In recent times, the term “karate-do” has become associated with ineffective karate that makes little or no attempt to train in a realistic way. The other side of coin is that those who tag themselves as practitioners of “karate-jutsu” are often viewed as dangerous psychotics who revel in violence and who are base individuals unable to appreciate the higher aspects of the martial arts. Are these views justified? Are we using the terms “jutsu” and “do” in the right way? We also look at what a number of history’s most influential martial artists had to say on this subject. This includes the thoughts of Gichin Funakoshi (founder of Shotokan), Hironori Otsuka (founder of Wado-Ryu) and Jigoro Kano (founder of Judo). I hope you enjoy this podcast and I’ll be back with more in 2008! Best Wishes, Iain

 Karate-Jutsu / Karate-Do | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 16:09

In this podcast we discuss the concepts of “jutsu” and “do” and the related benefits and shortfalls of “karate-justu” (karate for real fighting) and “karate-do” (karate for physical and mental development). In the podcast we examine both approaches and see where they differ and where they have common ground. These two suffixes are becoming more significant these days as the need to differentiate between the many activities that reside under the coverall banner of “karate” increases. In recent times, the term “karate-do” has become associated with ineffective karate that makes little or no attempt to train in a realistic way. The other side of coin is that those who tag themselves as practitioners of “karate-jutsu” are often viewed as dangerous psychotics who revel in violence and who are base individuals unable to appreciate the higher aspects of the martial arts. Are these views justified? Are we using the terms “jutsu” and “do” in the right way? We also look at what a number of history’s most influential martial artists had to say on this subject. This includes the thoughts of Gichin Funakoshi (founder of Shotokan), Hironori Otsuka (founder of Wado-Ryu) and Jigoro Kano (founder of Judo). I hope you enjoy this podcast and I’ll be back with more in 2008! Best Wishes, Iain

 Itosu’s 10 Precepts - New translation | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 18:52

In this podcast we will be examining Anko Itosu’s 10 precepts of karate! In 1908, Itosu – who was the creator of the Pinan (Heian) kata – wrote a letter outlining his views on karate and explaining why he felt karate should be introduced on to the Okinawan school system. It is this letter, and the 10 precepts recorded within it, that is the subject of this month’s podcast. There are many English translations of this important document; but unfortunately they vary quite a bit and in some instances express very different sentiments. There is a 1938 book called ’Karate-Do Taikan’ which contains relatively good quality photographs of Itosu’s 1908 letter. To get the translation discussed in the podcast, I scanned the pictures of the original Itosu document from the book and sent those scans, without any background information, to one of the UK’s leading translation companies. As non-karateka and professional translators I felt that they would be able to give an accurate translation. The translation company informed me that the document was written in “a very old literary style” and hence was difficult to translate accurately; even for professional translators. This may also help explain why the existing translations of the document vary so much? The translation company contacted a specialist based in the USA who would be able to accurately translate the document and the scans were sent to him. Not cheap, but worth it I feel. The translation was taken from scans of Itosu’s original handwritten letter. This translation was also done independently by a professional translator who is a specialist in this kind of work. The translator was not a martial artist and he therefore has no specific view to promote. I therefore have no reason to doubt its accuracy (copied below). This podcast discusses Itosu’s precepts and some of the ramifications they may have for how we should view karate. I hope that you enjoy it! Best Wishes, Iain Itosu’s 10 Precepts (translation commissioned by Iain Abernethy) Karate did not develop from Buddhism or Confucianism. In the past the Shorin-ryu school and the Shorei-ryu school were brought to Okinawa from China. Both of these schools have strong points and I therefore list them below just as they are without embellishment. 1. Karate is not merely practiced for your own benefit; it can be used to protect one’s family or master. It is not intended to be used against a single assailant but instead as a way of avoiding injury by using the hands and feet should one by any chance be confronted by a villain or ruffian. 2. The purpose of karate is to make the muscles and bones hard as rock and to use the hands and legs as spears. If children were to begin training naturally in military prowess while in elementary school, then they would be well suited for military service. Remember the words attributed to the Duke of Wellington after he defeated Napoleon, “Today’s battle was won on the playing fields of our schools”. 3. Karate cannot be quickly learned. Like a slow moving bull, it eventually travels a thousand leagues. If one trains diligently for one or two hours every day, then in three or four years one will see a change in physique. Those who train in this fashion will discover the deeper principles of karate.

 Itosu’s 10 Precepts - New translation | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 18:52

In this podcast we will be examining Anko Itosu’s 10 precepts of karate! In 1908, Itosu – who was the creator of the Pinan (Heian) kata – wrote a letter outlining his views on karate and explaining why he felt karate should be introduced on to the Okinawan school system. It is this letter, and the 10 precepts recorded within it, that is the subject of this month’s podcast. There are many English translations of this important document; but unfortunately they vary quite a bit and in some instances express very different sentiments. There is a 1938 book called ’Karate-Do Taikan’ which contains relatively good quality photographs of Itosu’s 1908 letter. To get the translation discussed in the podcast, I scanned the pictures of the original Itosu document from the book and sent those scans, without any background information, to one of the UK’s leading translation companies. As non-karateka and professional translators I felt that they would be able to give an accurate translation. The translation company informed me that the document was written in “a very old literary style” and hence was difficult to translate accurately; even for professional translators. This may also help explain why the existing translations of the document vary so much? The translation company contacted a specialist based in the USA who would be able to accurately translate the document and the scans were sent to him. Not cheap, but worth it I feel. The translation was taken from scans of Itosu’s original handwritten letter. This translation was also done independently by a professional translator who is a specialist in this kind of work. The translator was not a martial artist and he therefore has no specific view to promote. I therefore have no reason to doubt its accuracy (copied below). This podcast discusses Itosu’s precepts and some of the ramifications they may have for how we should view karate. I hope that you enjoy it! Best Wishes, Iain Itosu’s 10 Precepts (translation commissioned by Iain Abernethy) Karate did not develop from Buddhism or Confucianism. In the past the Shorin-ryu school and the Shorei-ryu school were brought to Okinawa from China. Both of these schools have strong points and I therefore list them below just as they are without embellishment. 1. Karate is not merely practiced for your own benefit; it can be used to protect one’s family or master. It is not intended to be used against a single assailant but instead as a way of avoiding injury by using the hands and feet should one by any chance be confronted by a villain or ruffian. 2. The purpose of karate is to make the muscles and bones hard as rock and to use the hands and legs as spears. If children were to begin training naturally in military prowess while in elementary school, then they would be well suited for military service. Remember the words attributed to the Duke of Wellington after he defeated Napoleon, “Today’s battle was won on the playing fields of our schools”. 3. Karate cannot be quickly learned. Like a slow moving bull, it eventually travels a thousand leagues. If one trains diligently for one or two hours every day, then in three or four years one will see a change in physique. Those who train in this fashion will discover the deeper principles of karate. 4. In karate, training of the hands and feet are important, so you should train thoroughly with a sheaf of straw (#).  In order to do this, drop your shoulders, open your lungs, muster your strength, grip the floor with your feet, and concentrate your energy into your lower abdomen. Practice using each arm one to two hundred times each day. 5. When you practice the stances of karate, be sure to keep your back straight, lower your shoulders, put strength in your legs, stand firmly, and drop your energy into your lower abdomen.

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