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:

 The Martial Map (Free Audio Book) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1:00:22

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. In the audio book I put forward a simple model to help refocus people on the distinctions and similarities between various areas of study. It is my view that this will lead to more efficient training. As you may have guessed, I call this model “The Martial Map”. The Martial Map is not the definitive solution to the problem of unfocused training (and there are other solutions too), but I think The Martial Map is a very useful way of framing the question. I firmly believe that those who apply this way of thinking to their training will become better fighters, better martial artists and better able to protect themselves from society’s violent minority. The Martial Map will also be useful for instructors by helping to ensure their teaching is objective driven, their students remain clear on the purpose of all forms of training, and there is no confusion on when any given method is applicable and when it is not. The Martial Map is around 1 hour long (10,000 words approx) and I hope you find it a thought provoking and enjoyable listen. All the best, Iain PS Thanks to all on the forum and elsewhere who have helped me to clarify the thinking upon which The Martial Map is based.

 Pressure Points! (Podcast) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 54:31

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” ;-) We also address quite a few listeners’ questions including bunkai and compliance, the gap between kata and self-protection in many dojos, training outside the dojo, how to teach bunkai to children and at what grade bunkai training should begin. The podcast also has links embedded in the “comments” with links to related books and an online video. This is something I will continue with from now on to ensure the podcast is as useful to you as possible in your studies. We also embedded a little “pressure points” picture to give you something to look at when listening to the podcast on your i-pod or MP3 player! I hope you enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back with a new one in the New Year! All the best, Iain

 Pressure Points! (Podcast) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 54:31

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” ;-) We also address quite a few listeners’ questions including bunkai and compliance, the gap between kata and self-protection in many dojos, training outside the dojo, how to teach bunkai to children and at what grade bunkai training should begin. The podcast also has links embedded in the “comments” with links to related books and an online video. This is something I will continue with from now on to ensure the podcast is as useful to you as possible in your studies. We also embedded a little “pressure points” picture to give you something to look at when listening to the podcast on your i-pod or MP3 player! I hope you enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back with a new one in the New Year! All the best, Iain

 My Stance on Stances (Podcast) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 32:27

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. The podcast looks at common misunderstandings about stances, the relationship between stances and the effective use of bodyweight, how the approach to stances should change as a martial artist advances, why stances have nothing to do with strengthening the legs or improving balance, and how our approach to stances can help or hinder optimum performance. We also have the latest news and in the question and answer section of the podcast we look at competition sparring and its relationship to self-defence and the value of the “sho” versions of various kata. I hope you enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back with a new one soon! All the best, Iain

 My Stance on Stances (Podcast) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 32:27

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. The podcast looks at common misunderstandings about stances, the relationship between stances and the effective use of bodyweight, how the approach to stances should change as a martial artist advances, why stances have nothing to do with strengthening the legs or improving balance, and how our approach to stances can help or hinder optimum performance. We also have the latest news and in the question and answer section of the podcast we look at competition sparring and its relationship to self-defence and the value of the “sho” versions of various kata. I hope you enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back with a new one soon! All the best, Iain

 Bonus Podcast: 10 Books for the Pragmatic Karateka | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 23:15

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 ;-). This is not a “top 10” or anything like that because there are loads of other books – which may be discussed in future bonus podcasts – I would also strongly recommend. In this podcast I simply discuss 10 books that I feel all pragmatically minded traditionalists should read. They are a mix of classical books and books by modern authors and in each case I explain why I recommend the book and what can be gained from it. It was a case of hit record and off I went! I hope you enjoy this bonus podcast and that it encourages you to check out some of the books. I’ll be back with the scheduled “official podcast” very soon! All the best, Iain PS The books discussed are listed below. All of the books above are available from Amazon with the exception of  Neptune Publication’s Karate-Do Kyohan and Karate-Do Taikan translated by Mario McKenna. For those two books, direct links are provided. Karate-Do: My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi The Way of Kata by Kris Wilder and Lawrence Kane Streetwise by Peter Consterdine Dead of Alive by Geoff Thompson Meditations on Violence by Rory Miller Karate-Do Kyohan by Gichin Funakoshi (Neptune Publications edition – click here) Karate-Do Taikan translated by Mario McKenna (click here) Four Shades of Black by Gavin Mulholland The Bubishi (as translated by both Patrick McCarthy & George Alexander) Pavement Arena by Geoff Thompson

 Bonus Podcast: 10 Books for the Pragmatic Karateka | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 23:15

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 ;-). This is not a “top 10” or anything like that because there are loads of other books – which may be discussed in future bonus podcasts – I would also strongly recommend. In this podcast I simply discuss 10 books that I feel all pragmatically minded traditionalists should read. They are a mix of classical books and books by modern authors and in each case I explain why I recommend the book and what can be gained from it. It was a case of hit record and off I went! I hope you enjoy this bonus podcast and that it encourages you to check out some of the books. I’ll be back with the scheduled “official podcast” very soon! All the best, Iain PS The books discussed are listed below. All of the books above are available from Amazon with the exception of  Neptune Publication’s Karate-Do Kyohan and Karate-Do Taikan translated by Mario McKenna. For those two books, direct links are provided. Karate-Do: My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi The Way of Kata by Kris Wilder and Lawrence Kane Streetwise by Peter Consterdine Dead of Alive by Geoff Thompson Meditations on Violence by Rory Miller Karate-Do Kyohan by Gichin Funakoshi (Neptune Publications edition – click here) Karate-Do Taikan translated by Mario McKenna (click here) Four Shades of Black by Gavin Mulholland The Bubishi (as translated by both Patrick McCarthy & George Alexander) Pavement Arena by Geoff Thompson

 Knowledge is NOT Power! (Podcast) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:13

Here 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. This new podcast also includes some news and a new section where I do my best to answer questions from listeners. In this podcast we cover whether the changes to karate initiated in Japan were beneficial or detrimental to karate and what art I’d like to formally study but have not yet done so. The new website means we don’t have to compress the file so you should also notice an increase in sound quality. We’ve also had to change our i-tunes feed, so i-tunes subscribers will need to switch to the feed that includes this podcast to get all future issues (old feed soon to be switched off). Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back with more soon! All the best, Iain

 Knowledge is NOT Power! (Podcast) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 28:13

Here 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. This new podcast also includes some news and a new section where I do my best to answer questions from listeners. In this podcast we cover whether the changes to karate initiated in Japan were beneficial or detrimental to karate and what art I’d like to formally study but have not yet done so. The new website means we don’t have to compress the file so you should also notice an increase in sound quality. We’ve also had to change our i-tunes feed, so i-tunes subscribers will need to switch to the feed that includes this podcast to get all future issues (old feed soon to be switched off). Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back with more soon! All the best, Iain

 What A Black Belt Should Be (as Iain sees it!) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 46:01

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. The podcast is split into two halves. In the first half, I discuss the topics that I feel a holistic and pragmatic syllabus should include and why they are so important. I think it would be fair to say that the majority of martial arts syllabuses omit these things so I hope it provides some food for thought. The second part of the podcast discusses how my personal syllabus (which I keep private) is set up and the podcast also breaks down what we do for 9th kyu and 1st dan; and a little bit of what we cover as students make their way from one to the other. As I hope I made clear last month, I personally don’t believe that a universal and standardised criteria for dan grades is a good idea (listen to the podcast for the details of why I think that). So in that vein, I am not suggesting that what I do is what others must also do; nor am I suggesting that all syllabuses adopt the criteria I personally use. I do, however, hope that this discussion on what I personally do is helpful to you in structuring what you do. I hope you enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back with a standard length podcast next month! All the best, Iain

 What A Black Belt Should Be (as Iain sees it!) | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 46:01

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. The podcast is split into two halves. In the first half, I discuss the topics that I feel a holistic and pragmatic syllabus should include and why they are so important. I think it would be fair to say that the majority of martial arts syllabuses omit these things so I hope it provides some food for thought. The second part of the podcast discusses how my personal syllabus (which I keep private) is set up and the podcast also breaks down what we do for 9th kyu and 1st dan; and a little bit of what we cover as students make their way from one to the other. As I hope I made clear last month, I personally don’t believe that a universal and standardised criteria for dan grades is a good idea (listen to the podcast for the details of why I think that). So in that vein, I am not suggesting that what I do is what others must also do; nor am I suggesting that all syllabuses adopt the criteria I personally use. I do, however, hope that this discussion on what I personally do is helpful to you in structuring what you do. I hope you enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back with a standard length podcast next month! All the best, Iain

 The Black Belt and the Grading System | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:33

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. I cover the origins of the black belt; how the grading system can encourage the pursuit of things that have no bearing on combative function; how the grading system can both encourage and discourage the inappropriate rise of ego; what could happen if we got rid of the grading system; the lack of standardisation in grading criteria (which I think is a good thing); what grades are legitimate; and many more of the issues surrounding the grading system.   This podcast also has a little bit of information on some of the exciting changes that will be coming to iainabernethy.com in the next few weeks! I hope that you enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back with a new one next month!   All the best,   Iain   PS The picture associated with this podcast is drawn by Lauren Fast and is of myself strangling Scott Knowles (the “official uke” of my recent Canadian trip) using a technique from Pinan Yodan. I’ll share high resolution versions of these with you in coming weeks, because they are amazing works of art! Thanks to James Freeman for arranging these pictures, to Lauren for drawing them … and to Scott for being happily strangled for a fortnight!     

 The Black Belt and the Grading System | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 26:33

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. I cover the origins of the black belt; how the grading system can encourage the pursuit of things that have no bearing on combative function; how the grading system can both encourage and discourage the inappropriate rise of ego; what could happen if we got rid of the grading system; the lack of standardisation in grading criteria (which I think is a good thing); what grades are legitimate; and many more of the issues surrounding the grading system. This podcast also has a little bit of information on some of the exciting changes that will be coming to iainabernethy.com in the next few weeks! I hope that you enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back with a new one next month! All the best, Iain PS The picture associated with this podcast is drawn by Lauren Fast and is of myself strangling Scott Knowles (the “official uke” of my recent Canadian trip) using a technique from Pinan Yodan. I’ll share high resolution versions of these with you in coming weeks, because they are amazing works of art! Thanks to James Freeman for arranging these pictures, to Lauren for drawing them … and to Scott for being happily strangled for a fortnight!

 How A Kata Records A Style | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 23:14

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. I hope you enjoy this latest offering and I’ll be back with a new workout podcast and online video next month! All the best, Iain

 How A Kata Records A Style | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 23:14

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. I hope you enjoy this latest offering and I’ll be back with a new workout podcast and online video next month! All the best, Iain

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