Senshin: The Enlightened Mind

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What makes a person a Sensei? There are a lot of factors involved but what gives a person the ability to call themselves Sensei? Ok, first what does the word mean? Sensei translates to “one who has gone before” or “one who has walked the path ahead”. It synonymous with the term “teacher” but in […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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This happens often, a student or parent complains that the outcome of their testing was not what they expected. The student isn’t successful or gets a low level pass so they blame the results on the examiner or the instructor. Then they either give up, change to a different dojo or different style. The problem […]


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Achieving a goal is something that is to be celebrated but don’t fixate on it. As a white belt the main goal is to become a black belt. This is true but each beginner should start off with basic goals, learn how to tie your belt, memorise the first kata and learn all of the […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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In 2 weeks, the IKD will hold the 6th IKD World Honbu Camp. The organisation has grown with leaps and bounds over the past few years and recently expanded into Australia. Each year at Camp there has been a theme, last year was kobudo, weapons. This year will have two themes. The Science of Karate […]


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Too many times are students showing disrespect in the dojo. They may not even know that they are doing it. The biggest thing recently has been getting out of line to get a drink. This has been very disruptive. The students doing it are younger and relatively new. It is interesting that a teenager has […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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When we attend a karate class, are we doing a workout? To me the answer is no but it has become a common term used among many karateka. The term “workout” is defined as “a session of vigorous physical exercise.” Okay, Norm, what is your problem!?! Well, let’s look at the definition of class. “Class” […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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For me, weapons was not part of karate training. I was always taught that Karate, which translates to Empty Hand, meant NO WEAPONS! I know that other styles did have a weapons component and I didn’t have a problem with this. It was just not our thing. Shotokan Karate did not have a weapons component […]


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From the start of my karate training when we were part of the JKA/ISKF, I heard the stories of Master Camp and the 6 am runs. Two thoughts would come to mind; would I get that high of a rank and good enough to go and how scary it would be. I would never do […]


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First I want to apologise for not being able to supply a daily post. The camp had limited access to the internet and I had limited data on my phone. Traveling to Ontario IKD World Honbu Camp began on Friday but the trip started early Thursday morning for my wife and I. Jolene left our […]


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Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we leave for IKD World Camp. A group of karateka from the Maritime IKD will be hitting the road before 7am (AST) to drive from Amherst, Nova Scotia to Haliburton, Ontario. This will be a long trip but I know it will be a great weekend of training. This year, […]


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Every year, the International Karate Daigaku holds a karate camp. The camp usually is held in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada at the picturesque Camp White Pine. The site is a boys and girls summer camp that is famous in its own right. In 1979, it was fictionally renamed, North Star, for the comedic film, Meatballs, starring Bill Murray. It was […]


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The 4th Dojo Kun, is “Reigo o omonzuru koto!” This translates to “Honour the Principles of Etiquette!” We short form it even more to simply, “Respect Others!” Respect is a very important thing in the martial arts. We are supposed to respect our Sensei, respect our seniors and respect our juniors. Sometimes this is overlooked and […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Some people take the summer off from their training. This is a common thing since many people travel during the summer months. This is great for the soul, giving you the chance to recharge your batteries but it is not good for your karate training. Gichin Funakoshi wrote “Karate wa yu no gotoshi taezu netsu o […]


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Dojo Etiquette is something that we all seem to forget at times. I am not talking about the little things like bowing while entering and exiting the dojo or which direction your shoes should be facing after you remove them. I am talking more about your actions on the dojo floor. First off, let’s talk about what it […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Recently, I purchased Shihan Yokota’s second book, Shotokan Mysteries. As with his first work, Shotokan Myths, he takes the reader on a journey trying to figure out some of the things in Shotokan Karate that are different from other related styles. His writings will make you think about the reason we perform certain techniques in […]


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“Uke” is translated to mean block in karate schools World Wide but what does Uke really mean? The true translation of Uke is to receive. When you are performing an uke waza (blocking technique) you are not truly blocking the blow but receiving it. You are attempting to receive the energy from the strike and […]


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It will take all of your life to learn karate – Karate no shugyo wa issho Master Gichin Funakoshi wrote this precept almost 100 years ago and it is probably the most ignored of all the precepts. Everyone wants to become a master overnight. Putting work and effort into something is not a trait that […]


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Bunkai is an essential part of karate training. Many groups do not practice bunkai and therefore do not truly understand the meaning of the kata (forms) that they are practising. The biggest reason for not practising this part of karate is that people do not understand what bunkai really means. Bunkai literally translates to analysis […]


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NOTE: I am not claiming this as my own work. It is actually from an organization based in Nevada. I discovered it during a web search and loved the explanation and historical information. It has been slightly adapted to fit the Shotokan Karate ranking structure.   Karate Belts: Colors, Origin, and Meaning The Karate Belts Ranking System […]


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Karate is just like hot water; if you do not give it continuous heat, it will become cold – Karate wa yu no gotoshi taezu netsu o ataezareba moto no mizu ni kaeru This applies to anything that you do. Be it singing, dance, writing, etc. Once you slack off or take too long of a […]


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Staying hydrated is important when you are physically active. As you exercise, your body cools itself by sweating. This in turn uses up all of the fluid in your body that is critical to survival. Make sure drink often while you train. The heat of the summer is going to add to your dehydration. If […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Gichin Funikoshi created the Dojo and Niju Kun to help guide karate ka in their everyday life. Today, as I reflect on the happens of one week ago in the City of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, I think of what Funakoshi taught. Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada is approximately a half an hour’s drive from where I live. […]


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Recently, I saw a video on a Facebook group of one of our regional dojos. I watched the video, entitled, Funakoshi’s Nine Throws and was shocked. We usually associate throws with judo or ju-jitsu but not so much with karate. I have been practising and teaching shotokan karate for almost two decades and do not […]


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Your toughest opponent will always be yourself. For many of us, our bodies just don’t let us do things like high kicks or incredible leaps. Thankfully, that is not a crucial part of training. Karate is designed for all ages and all body types. Our goal is to reach a physical state where we do […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Martial artist strive to achieve new ranks in their respective styles. They work for months and years to prepare for their rank test but are they truly ready for the test? Over the time period between rank testing students and instructors work on the skills needed. An instructor’s job is to make sure you are […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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I have heard on many occasions, “I would do karate but I am not in good enough shape.” The statement is flawed. Karate is about getting into shape. Yes there are physical demands that are placed on you during training but you only can do what your body will allow you to do.  As an […]


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Mentally defeating yourself effects all of us at one point or another. It is a downfall that can cause you to not get the simplest of movements. And it all is because you think, “I can’t do that!” The problem lies in not understanding a movement or sequence and then not taking the time to […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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The World has not changed that much over the millenniums. We still have major conflicts, wars, violence against other, etc. It is covered daily in all forms of media. The World is a violent place we hardly see the love and peace of the World shown. Karate is about love and peace. Those that think […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Shugyo is a Samurai tradition. It is when a warrior is taken to the utmost extent of their physical capabilities. It is training for tomorrow’s challenges today. This is a ritual that some instructors take their students through once a year. They take them through there paces and beat them down to the point of […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Stevie Wonder sang, “Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand….” Music is like a language, all on its own, with or without words. Music has been described as “the language of the soul”. Music can be a stimulant to intellectual and cognitive development. If you can associate a piece of […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Most of you have heard the term Martial Arts but do you really know what it means? A Martial Art, by definition, is a codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, entertainment, as well as mental, physical, and spiritual development. Essentially, […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Society has always held violence in high regard. We say that it is a horrible thing and argue how much we detest it but it is in everything that we enjoy. Think of the last TV show you watched or the last feature film you enjoyed. Was their a fight, a car chase, etc? Even […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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If you are associated with a Shotokan style, then you have seen the Shotokan Tiger. This image has been incorporated in to many different organization logos to show that they are a shotokan style. First let’s start with the name of the style, Shotokan. Master Funakoshi wrote poetry and signed his work with his pen […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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There are many ways to get new students. My dojo is located at a University and we only have classes during the school year. At this time of the year, we are gearing up for a fresh group of students. The problem is that we are not always very successful at getting new students. We […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Tekki is a kata that is looked at by many as a transitional kata from colored belt to brown belt. We spend only a few months working on Tekki while we prepare for our brown belt test. This is an important kata but we have forgotten about it’s history. The kata has become something that […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Recently, this past Sunday, my family suffered the loss of our beloved dog, Snowy. As with any loss, a family grieves for their deceased loved one. My daughters and wife are grieving for a companion and a playmate, I also grieve for the loss of a training partner. Okay, you are thinking, Sensei Robitza has […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Okay so we have a big misunderstanding here. A lot of people think Kime means power. Well not quite. There is a difference. I am going to try my best to explain the difference and tell you what makes for good Kime generated power. First off, What is Kime? Kime is the power generated by […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Many people take karate classes and think that they are supposed to wail on the people that they are practicing with. Some believe that the only way to show that they are strong is to make contact with their training partners. Does this really prove that you are a good karate ka? If you constantly […]


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There are several ways to fold your gi and I am not talking about rolling it up and throwing it into your gi bag at the end of each class. In some organizations, a student must show proper care for their gi to pass their first belt. They must demonstrate both how to properly tie […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Every year around this time, I start to get the itch to teach karate. I spent about 7 months of the year teaching at the Mount Allison University Shotokan Karate Club in Sackville, NB. The club runs from September to April. During this period, I spend 6 days a week in a gi between teaching […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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A few weeks ago, I took an International Karate Daigaku Judge’s clinic and exam. During the class the Chief Instructor of the IKD, Shuseki Shihan Frank Woon-A-Tai explained what he wanted judge’s looking for in competitions. First the scoring system that is used for kata is as follows: 10-7 kyu (White -Orange) – 4 point […]


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The International Karate Daigaku (IKD) held the 32nd Canadian Championship tournament this past weekend (May 17-19, 2013) in Dieppe, New Brunswick. This years event was hosted by the Maritime IKD which is a combination of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The City of Dieppe welcomed competitors and officials from across Canada. The […]


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Gichin Funakoshi is known as the Father of Modern Karate but he did not create the martial art that has spread around the World from the small island of Okinawa. Funakoshi is the founder of Shotokan Karate but he never named the style himself. The name Shotokan was applied to the style by his students. […]


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The nerves are starting to set in with less than 2 weeks to the 2013 International Karate Daigaku Canada Cup. I will be testing for my 4th Dan that weekend as well as competing in the tournament. Funny thing is I am not nervous about the Dan exam or competing. I am more worried about […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Guest instructors are common within many karate organizations. I know that the JKA, ISKF and IKD use guest instructors for clinics and gradings. Some organizations rarely have visitors come to perform gradings but I find this to be wonderful. In my opinion, it gives you a different perspective on techniques. It allows you to learn […]


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The countdown is on. There is exactly 4 weeks until the International Karate Daigaku Canada Cup takes place in Dieppe, New Brunswick. Four weeks until I test for my 4th Dan and D Level Judge. The weekend will be full of excitement with great competition. Preparing for the exam has been in the forefront of […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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I have been asked about the titles that are used for different level of karate instructors. There are several terms given to karate instructors of different levels. I will try to clear up some of the confusion over these names. Let`s start with the obvious, Sensei. The term literally means, “one who has gone before”. […]


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Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of modern karate-do. Born in 1868 in Shuri, then the capital city of Okinawa, Gichin Funakoshi would become the man who popularized karate in Japan and eventually around the World. He started training when he was in primary school but his mission to spread karate outside of Okinawa did not […]


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In life we have to say goodbye all the time. It is a difficult thing to do. People become a part of our lives and when they leave, it can be a difficult time. It is the same in karate. We lose students all the time due to relocation, a job change, loss of interest, […]


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Martial Arts have taken a roller coaster ride over the last century. Many martial arts styles have been around for 100’s of years but in the late 1900’s, everyone wanted to be a Martial Artist. You can trace many martial arts back centuries but only in the latter part of the 1900’s did it really […]


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Do not cling to the idea of winning; it is the idea of not losing that is necessary – Katsu kangae wa motsuna; makenu kangae wa hitsuyo Karate in essence is a inner conflict. We are at odds with ourselves more than anyone else. 95% of the time when you face a conflict, you will […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Tomorrow will be the first time in years that I have competed in a karate tournament. I have attended events as a judge but have not entered as a competitor. Personally, I would rather help younger karateka prepare for tournaments and let them compete than do it myself. I am getting older and slowing down. […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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The other day,  a few of us were talking about a video of Master Tanaka on youtube. We didn’t notice our instructor was listening then asked who we were talking about. One of the students started to talk about some of the techniques that were demonstrated on the video. When he mentioned a mawashi geri […]


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Recently, I walked into a locker room full of young boys changing after their class. The room was chaos. Gis and belts everywhere. The boys were running and jumping around the room all over their clothes. They were screaming and yelling and carrying on. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” I yelled. I told the boys to […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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When you or your family are involved in the Martial Arts, one thing that is common is getting t-shirts or jackets that have karate imagery on them. When you purchase the clothing, you think that this is going to be a nice thing to wear to show that you are involved in the sport. It […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Put karate into your everyday living; that is how to see its true beauty – Ara yuru mono o karateka seyo; soko ni myomi ari This is another of Gichin Funakoshi’s Twenty Precepts. This precept speaks of making karate part of your every day life. The art of karate is not just about being in […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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It is the time of year when people make New Year’s Resolutions to loose weight, get fit and be active. What a better time to start training in karate. Karate, or any Martial Art for that matter, is designed to help you get healthy and be happy. Why not take the initiative to visit your […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Today I want to look at one of Funakoshi’s Twenty Precepts. Karate is not only Dojo Training dojo nomino karate to omou na This is very important to remember and to practice. At first glance a person will think this means that what we practice in Karate class can extend to the street. This is […]


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When do you get into the holiday mood? At the end of November? As soon as the Christmas shows start on TV? Do you have to watch a certain holiday movie? There are many different triggers that get people into the holiday mood. For me it is the Holiday Cheer Class that is held at […]


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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow……. So I am sitting here looking out the window at an abundance of white fluffy stuff falling out of the sky. And no matter what my young niece and nephew say, it does not taste like candy. Especially the yellow variety! (Shakes head) — So what […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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A few months ago, I suffered a knee injury, I injured the MCL and Meniscus. This caused me to have to stop attending classes. It was a tough thing for me, as I try to attend classes at least two times a week. As we get older, we will have issues with our mortal form […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Having your child in the martial arts can be a rewarding experience. You will notice the discipline, improved focus and increased level of physical fitness. A child will learn to defend themselves, broaden their mind and strengthen their body. They will experience triumphs and failures that will help build a strong character. But here is […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Over the years, I have studied many different martial arts. Some people recognize as a martial art and others I am told are not. Well to determine what is a martial art, lets look at the definition. First the term, Martial Art means: Any of several Asian arts of combat or self-defense, such as aikido, […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Here is an application for Heian Sandan. I have broken the bunkai into groups. This has been writing for someone that knows the kata. So if you are looking at these instructions and are not sure what to do, study the kata. If you know the kata, try to visualize this application. Practice the kata […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
Posted by normrobitza 3 COMMENTS

I know this time of year is crazy. It is the worst time of the year for a Martial Artist. All the food, candy and time spent visiting and traveling. WOW, that sounds like fun why is it the worse time of year for a Martial Artists? Well for starters over the next few weeks […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
Posted by normrobitza 2 COMMENTS

I haven’t posted anything for a few days. I have been busy with the grading and clinic weekend we just had here. Shihan Maureen Woon-A-Tai of the International Karate Daigaku came to teach at the special clinic and oversee several rank tests. Rank tests are very important and you will have several over the course […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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The Dojo Kun is something that a new student in karate will have to learn. It is an oath that is spoken at the end of each class. You should be able to find it written somewhere on a wall at your dojo. If you train at a YMCA, High School or some other location […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Traditionally, a student will be awarded a belt based on their skills at a scheduled grading. This is usually determined by a length of training time or reaching a certain level of skill. Most styles of Martial Arts use the belt system but what colored belts and how many belts are awarded are always different. […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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There are many ways to look at the Martial Arts. You train for health, fitness, self defense, sport and other reasons. There is also a mental aspect. When you go to your first karate class, you are unsure of what you are getting into and try to learn everything that you can. This is a […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Nearly every martial art have kata (or forms in non-Japanese styles). Kata is a detailed choreographed pattern of movements. Katas are usually assigned to levels of belts ranks. So in Shotokan karate to achieve your yellow belt you have to perform Heian Shodan and Heian Nidan for orange and so on. Students learn a new […]


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There is a huge difference between “real” karate and “sport” karate. If you are interested in training in karate to earn medals and win tournaments then you want to focus on a style that is more geared towards sports karate, Tae Kwon Do for example. There are many styles that focus mainly on Sports but […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Self training is an important part of any martial art. When I say that I train at home a lot of people ask me if they can do this too. I always respond with this question, “What style do you train in?” Then I get a strange look. What they thought I meant was that […]


Categories: Teaching/Training
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Proper body position is the key to power in martial arts. There are several ways to generate power but if your body connection is off your technique will be weak. To understand body connection, I have one of my students lay flat on their back with arms at their sides. Two other students will place […]


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This is a common questions and there are many variables in answering it. First, you need to check with the instructor and find out at what age they accept students. Some styles will take a child fairly young, 5 or 6 years old. While others don’t accept children at all. Some instructors believe that a […]


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Depending on where you live, you might not have a choice of what Martial Arts Style you pick. In a small town you may have a limited number of styles available but in the larger cities you could have countless styles to try. Here are some things to consider before choosing where to train. Here […]


Categories: Teaching/Training

Featured Posts

I’m a Sensei!

What makes a person a Sensei? There are a lot of factors involved but what gives a person the ability to call themselves Sensei? Ok, first what does the word mean? Sensei translates to “one who has gone before” or “one who has walked the path ahead”. It synonymous with the term “teacher” but in […]


It is my instructor’s fault!

This happens often, a student or parent complains that the outcome of their testing was not what they expected. The student isn’t successful or gets a low level pass so they blame the results on the examiner or the instructor. Then they either give up, change to a different dojo or different style. The problem […]


Achievements

Achieving a goal is something that is to be celebrated but don’t fixate on it. As a white belt the main goal is to become a black belt. This is true but each beginner should start off with basic goals, learn how to tie your belt, memorise the first kata and learn all of the […]


2017 IKD World Camp

In 2 weeks, the IKD will hold the 6th IKD World Honbu Camp. The organisation has grown with leaps and bounds over the past few years and recently expanded into Australia. Each year at Camp there has been a theme, last year was kobudo, weapons. This year will have two themes. The Science of Karate […]


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