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.
Halloween is fast approaching! The barrier between the worlds of the living and the undead is growing ever thinner. On the 31st of October that barrier will be torn asunder as legions of terrifying beings spill into our world to wreak havoc upon the unprepared. Thankfully this special podcast contains the ultimate martial arts guide to staying safe this Halloween! This podcast details all the creatures you may face on All Hallows Eve and explains how to use your martial arts skills to come out the other side in one piece! You will learn how to keep yourself safe from ghosts, vampires, werewolves, zombies, witches and more! Listen to this podcast to learn: - How to befriend poltergeists and use them to advance your martial reputation! - How to use Kobudo weapons when facing werewolves! - How Tai Chi can protect you from Zombies! - What to do if you are turned into a frog! - Why evil spirits avoid McDojo members! - The truth about vampires and the three simple things all martial artist can do to avoid them! - And much more! Listen carefully, prepare wisely and share this information with all those you care about. If you do that, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll make it through Halloween unscathed! Yours Fangtastically, Iain VonSpookCaster (a.k.a. Iain Abernethy) NOTE: As you’ve probably guessed this is a light-hearted podcast full of attempts at Halloween, pop-culture and martial arts humour! It does however contain lots of spooky music and creepy sound effects! You probably should not let younger, more sensitive children overhear it just in case. We want everyone to have a fun Halloween! Music: Spooky Ride (background music main section) and Midnight in the Graveyard (background sounds in introduction) by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Source: http://www.twinmusicom.org/song/250/spooky-ride Source: http://www.twinmusicom.org/song/252/midnight-in-the-graveyard Artist: http://www.twinmusicom.org
In this podcast I discuss the future of karate. While some like to think that “traditional karate” is an unchanging entity; a quick look at the history shows us that is totally untrue. Karate has never stopped evolving and changing. Indeed, the past masters recognised and encouraged this. In his book, “karate-do: my way of life”, Gichin Funakoshi wrote: “Times change, the world changes, and obviously the martial arts must change too. The karate that high school students practise today is not the same karate that was practised even are recently as ten years ago, and it is a long way indeed from the karate I learned when I was a child in Okinawa”. While Funakoshi did not use modern computer terminology to reflect this ceaseless evolution, he would certainly recognise the sentiment that there are many versions of karate; with each building on what went before. In the podcast I discuss what I feel have been the two main types of karate that have gone before, the history of their development and passing, and what I feel the karate of the future needs to look like if the art we love is to thrive. The core of the podcast looks at the key components of Karate 3.0 and includes discussions on modern bunkai, practicality, context, styles, karate for life, karate myths, the role of sensei, and more besides. I hope you enjoy it! All the best, Iain PS The download link can be found under the player.
The second new podcast this month! While the first podcast is a workout, this one is information based. As you may remember, I recently put out a podcast which discussed the need to be able to think like criminals if we are to be able to effectively protect ourselves from them. That podcast focussed on wider self-protection issues, whereas in this podcast I want to focus on the physical side of things. In particular, I want to quickly discuss two key elements of the criminal’s approach to violence that make them more effective than most martial artists. The criminal experiences and uses violence on a much more frequent basis than the vast majority of martial artists. It is a “tool of the trade” for them. They know what works! Any method which seeks to render ineffective the violence of criminals needs to be at least as effective as that violence. Failing to learn what makes criminal violence effective, and failing to make use of that knowledge to ensure we can effectively counter criminal violence, is sure to lead to disaster. I hope you find the podcast interesting. All the best, Iain PS If you have not yet emailed (firstname.lastname@example.org) me your pick for the top podcasts from the last decade (10 years in October!) then please do so ASAP.
This new podcast is a workout! The actual training takes just over fifteen mins and it a mix of conditioning exercises and martial motions. It is ideal for days where you are short on time and want to train in a way that stimulates technique, endurance, strength, and mind-set. It consists of thirty seconds of a given exercise, technique or martial combination, followed by 10 seconds of rest. The workout can be quite intense and, as always, you should check with a doctor if you have any doubts about your ability to train in this way. You also need to ensure you know how to do all the exercises and techniques safety. The video below shows the methods, but it is not instructional. Consult your trainer / sensei if you have any doubts. The exercises are timed (not a prescribed number of repetitions) so you can work at a pace appropriate for your current fitness level. The fitter you are, the more repetitions you should aim to do. You should aim for a pace that allows you to complete the full thirty seconds; where the last 5 seconds or so are a push. There is a mental component to the workout too. Because it is intense, there will be the internal battle to quit or continue. Be sure to discriminate between your weakness asking you to stop or slow down so you avoid discomfort, and your body telling you that you need ease off to avoid overtraining and injury. You should try to push past the former, and always listen to the later. Please watch the video so you understand the exercises and techniques used on the workout. Download the podcast to your MP3 player so you can train along with it when needed. Check with your doctor and trainers that this is suitable for you. As always, we sure to warmup and cooldown before and after the workout. I hope you enjoy the workout and find it useful. All the best, Iain PS You can find the video on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/X5Lro5oBlfk Download the MP3 file: http://iainabernethy.co.uk/sites/default/files/podcasts/15_Min_Warrior_Work_Out.mp3
WARNING: This podcast discusses the use of banned techniques in real world violence. It therefore may not be suitable for younger and more sensitive listeners. In this edition of the podcast we discuss “banned techniques”. This is a topic I’ve wanted to cover for a while as I personally feel there are many myths and illogical statements presented as “accepted truth” within the various sub-sections of the martial arts. We start by analysing the prohibited actions of MMA and draw out a list of the techniques banned on safety grounds. We then look at each of these techniques in turn and ask how effective they would be in self-protection, and when used against a trained fighter. We also ask how effective the banned methods are when compared to legal methods, and if we realistically need to worry about using these methods and making our enemy mad as a result (as has been suggested by some). The podcast also discusses the “rules paradox” which suggests that prohibiting certain methods permits more vigorous live practise, and that such practise can develop attributes that are more effective than the “dangerous” techniques that have been prohibited. While not the main thread of this podcast, we also touch on some of the differences between consensual combat sports and non-consensual criminal violence. It’s a nuanced topic with lots of avenues to explore! Agree or disagree, I hope you find this an interesting and entertaining listen. Thank you for the support of the podcasts! All the best, Iain
This isn’t an Iain Abernethy podcast … but it is a podcast featuring yours truly! Just before Christmas I was on the Karate Café Podcast (check it out!) and we had an enjoyable and wide ranging discussion! The folks at Karate Café have kindly let me share it here too and I hope you enjoy it! In the podcast we talk about training methods, street fighting vs. self defence, my regular dojo training, my seminars, my process of kata analysis, and quite a bit more besides! Be sure to checkout the Karate Café Podcast if you are not yet a subscriber (they have been going for ten years too!). Speak soon! All the best, Iain
One of the biggest problems I see when it comes to modern self-protection is the failure to understand just what we are protecting ourselves against. If we don’t understand the question, there is no way that we can give an adequate answer. In the classic text “The Art of War” Sun Tzu famously wrote: “If you know your enemy and know yourself, you will not know defeat in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemy but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemy and do not know yourself, there is grave danger in every single battle.” From a self-protection perspective, our enemy is the violent criminal. It is the violent criminal that we need to understand if we are to be keep ourselves safe from them. We need to understand their motivations and their methods if we are to be best placed to deal with them. I would suggest that we martial arts types have a bad habit of assuming criminals will act like fellow fighters and martial artists. We are therefore don’t “know our enemy” and hence are ill-prepared to keep ourselves safe from them. The podcast discusses some of the key differences between fighters and criminals. We also look at some of the more common myths / false arguments made by fighters and martial artists when they try to ignore these differences and impose a “fighting solution” onto self-protection. In other news, the podcasts will have been going for a decade next year! I therefore have a plan to mark that anniversary, and I need your help to do it. I’m trying to determine the listen’s top ten favourite podcasts over the last ten years. In the introduction I explain the process and your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all your support in 2015, have a great Christmas, and I’ll be back with another podcast in the New Year! All the best, Iain
This month’s podcast is a mix of topics! The first part examines the nature of kata, and many of the misunderstandings surrounding kata, using the following quotation from Gichin Funakoshi as a jumping off point: "Like textbooks to a student or tactical exercises to a solider, kata are the most important element of karate.” This line contains two great analogies that really get to the heart of things! It is the ramifications of these analogies that we explore in the first third of the podcast. Kata is NOT a solo re-enactment of a fight! Instead, kata is a repository of knowledge that, when correctly approached, can be freely and flexibly applied in the ever-changing world of conflict. This was the viewpoint that was clearly expressed by the masters of the past. Having discussed the nature of kata, we then move on to discuss the link between kata and live practise. This includes a discussion on the nature of the secret practise of the past; as described by both Funakoshi and Motobu. I also put forth a case for the traditional view that it is the live application of a kata that shows an understanding of that kata, as opposed to the aesthetics of solo-performance. The third and final part of the podcast looks at the history, goals and ethos of the World Combat Association (WCA) from both the perspectives of Peter Consterdine 9th dan (Chief Instructor) and myself (Chief International Coach). The WCA is the international home for pragmatic traditionalists and it’s about time I explained a little more about it in the podcast. Lots of topics covered in this one and I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for the support of the podcasts! All the best, Iain
In this new podcast we cover martial virtues and warrior ethics! The podcast begins by discussing character development in the martial arts and how that relates to effective combat skills. We then move on to cover martial virtues and warrior ethics as found in the writings of the past masters and others. We also look at the relationship between virtue and valour, and show how virtue is not passively adhering to a tick list of prohibited actions, but instead requires critical thought, bravery and positive action. In particular we look at Sokon Matsumura’s “7 Virtues of Bu” (1882) and Nitobe Inazo's 1899 book on Bushido (the way of the warrior). We then discuss all eight of the virtues of Bushido in turn: Righteousness, Courage, Benevolence, Respect, Sincerity, Honour, Loyalty and Self-Control. As part of this discussion I draw on such diverse sources as Captain America, Nelson Mandela, Confucius, Sun Tzu, Rob Roy and Heraclitus! We also discuss the value of virtue to the individual, the groups the individual belongs to, and wider society. From there, the podcasts also looks at how martial arts can, and don’t, develop character. We also discuss the need for effective introspection and I suggests the approach of Benjamin Franklin to virtue and introspection as being a logical one that is well suited to martial artists. It’s a fairly long podcast – as the subject matter dictates – and there’s a lot of information within it. I hope you enjoy the podcast and find it of value! All the best, Iain
Welcome to one of the longest podcasts we’ve ever done! It’s been a while since I last turned the podcast over to listeners and asked for questions and topics; so in this one I put that right! I asked for questions via Facebook, Twitter and the newsletters and got way more than I could possibly answer! Thanks to all who contributed! I printed them all off and did my best to answer as many as I could in the time available. Here are just some of the topics covered: How many kata should we learn; individual expression and kata; how the differing versions of kata complement each other; how karate has changed and my predictions for the future; the role of stances; heel down or heal up when punching; karate for the older practitioner; kumite vs. kata; kakie exercises; throws in self-defence; my favourite kata; seminar teaching; developing a bunkai-based syllabus; kata and multiple enemies; how to validate bunkai; stretching; kyusho Jitsu and kata applications; karate in schools; kata in the Olympics; fitting training into a busy schedule; is karate still Japanese; what most people disagree with me on; and more! Whether you agree or disagree with my take on the various subjects covered, I hope that you find it an interesting and entertaining listen. To break the podcast up also I recorded some “fake sponsor announcements” which are interspaced every 15 mins or so. I could have just used some music, but this amused me more :-) Whether they amuse anyone else remains to be seen. I’m aware that at this time of year many listeners will be traveling for their holidays and I hope the increased length of the podcast helps pass the time on various road tips and flights. Many thanks for all your support of these podcasts! All the best, Iain PLEASE NOTE: In the podcast I got little confused! This October see the start of the 10th year of the podcasts … whereas when recording I said it was the 10th anniversary (which would the end of the 10th year and not the start). Still a great achievement which is entirely down to the support of listeners … but we need to keep the champagne on ice for a little longer :-)
In this podcast we discuss basic kihon training. For practitioners of arts other than karate, “kihon” generally refers to the practice of techniques without a partner or equipment. Typically it’s done in lines where the karateka goes up and down the room. While kihon practise forms a significant part of modern karate training, it would be fair to say that many now question its value and, on my travels, I even see some abandoning the practise all together. It is my view that kihon is a vital part of the mix, but it needs to be the right kind of kihon and be part of a holistic training matrix. In this podcast I’d therefore like to explain the role I think kihon training should have, and then elaborate to explain how it can be most efficiently and effectively practised. The podcast also covers my “3Ts” and “3Ws” models of what the effective application of a technique requires. There are lots of aspects to this topic and, agree or disagree with my personal take on things, I hope you feel the podcast does a good job of articulating the relevant issues around kihon training. Thanks for listening and I’ll be back with more soon! All the best, Iain
Put on your horned-helmets and pick up your battle axes … it’s time to look at self-protection: Viking Style! This podcast looks at a Viking wisdom poem (which is well over 1000 years old) and discuss the bits that relate to personal safety, self-protection and success in battle. As I hope you will agree, much of it rings true today and has quite a bit in common with the advice and guidance we find passed down to us in the traditional martial arts. The poem covers awareness, dealing with difficult and potentially violent people, the causes of conflict, good personal safety habits, martial focus, what is worth fighting for and what is not, the difference between the wise use of discretion and cowardice, and a lot more! I must confess that the TV show Vikings was part of the inspiration for this podcast! I have combined my interests in martial arts, self-protection, history and mythology into, what I hope you’ll agree, makes for an interesting and entertaining way to discuss many of often overlooked, and yet vitally important, aspects of modern day self-protection. All the best, Iain PS I’m aware that that Vikings never wore horned-helmets in battle :-)
If you’ve been in the martial arts for more than five minutes you can help but be struck by the vast number of animal names associated with techniques and styles. We have cat stance, horse stance, the anaconda choke, gator rolls, white crane kung fu, “crane on a rock” (Gankaku kata), Enpi (Japanese for the Swallow), and so on. We have lions, bears, tigers, cranes, snakes, monkeys, leopards and many more. However, I feel we are missing one animal. It’s an animal that accurately reflects the state of much of modern martial arts. The animal in question is a bird called the “Kakapo”; which is why I’ve called this podcast “Kakapo-do” or “The Way of the Kakapo”. The ancestors of the Kakapo could fly, but the Kakapo itself evolved in an environment with no predators, and all was well, until predators were reintroduced. The Kakapo does not recognise its predators, engages in behaviour that puts it at risk, it can’t fly (but tries to when threatened), and it should come as no surprise to hear it is critically endangered. I can see many parallels between the Kakapo and much of modern martial arts (as I’m sure can you). The podcast is therefore essentially about the state of modern martial arts and some of the pitfalls we need to avoid. Thank you for listening in and I hope you enjoy it! All the best, Iain PS Checkout the new music! Four new tunes provide the background and interludes and I hope they add to the listening experience.
Happy new-year everyone! In the first podcast of 2015 we look at “10 things the martial arts should have taught you about life”. I’m a great believer in the ability of the martial arts to both enhance as well as preserve life. Gichin Funakoshi’s 10th precept is “Put Karate into your everyday life and you will find its subtle secrets.” There are lessons that are learnt in the microcosm of the dojo that we can apply to the macrocosm of everyday life. So for this podcast, I thought we’d look at 10 lessons that you should have learnt from your time in the dojo that apply to everyday life and, if you take them to heart, they can help make the next 12 months more productive and enjoyable than they may otherwise have been. These 10 lessons as not meant to be a definitive 10, and they are presented in no particular order. These are simply 10 lessons that came to mind when I sat down to write this podcast. I hope these 10 lessons give you pause for thought, help you to underline some of the non-physical benefits of martial arts training, and help you get you into the right mind-set to make 2015 a great year for you and yours. All the best, Iain
In the final podcast of 2014 we discuss the requirements of a moral, healthy and effective approach to violence. The mix of effective self-protection skills and the development of character is the common goal of most martial arts. In this episode I use the model of the three As (Appreciation, Ability and Attitude) to ensure our approach to unprovoked criminal violence is both effective and in keeping with the morality of the martial arts. As part of this discussion we touch on many topics including: the two core goals all martial arts should achieve; the nature and myths of violence; healthy precautions vs. unhealthy paranoia; when using physical skills is appropriate; the criminal attitude to violence (hate based) as opposed to the martial artist’s attitude to violence (love based); what the past masters had to say on the issue (Funakoshi, Mabuni, Motobu, Otsuka, Takamura, etc.); martial arts and pacifism; and quite a bit more! It’s impossible to cover all aspect of this issue in a thirty-minute podcast, but I think the podcast does a good job of framing the issue and will hopefully prompt further thought and discussion. I hope you enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back more early in 2015! All the best, Iain