exploringkarate

I've been a keen karate student for 16 years, Shukokai and Shotokan, but there still seems to be no shortage of things to learn and explore. I'm hoping this blog will allow me to share my experiences and hear other martial artists thoughts.

Archive for Pete Watson

Inspiration comes from many places…Azerbaijan!

I work on a computer at work so for a long time it just wasn’t a big priority to have a computer at home. But since getting online properly at home last year I’ve enjoyed having the internet available to me to find useful resources about Karate.

I’ve really enjoyed looking through the wealth of videos on YouTube from all styles of martial arts but particularly those about karate. I’m sure we’ve all seen videos that really inspire us to work that extra bit harder as we aspire to emulate the skills we see.

I found a video of kumite between Keinosuke Enoeda vs Hirokazu Kanazawa and it really seemed to show the full range of techniques available in karate being executed in a way I hadn’t really seen before. Sure I’ve practised the techniques in class or read about them in books but to see them being used so fluidly was a real lightbulb moment.

A couple of weeks ago a karateka I met and was fortunate to train with at a seminar called Pete Watson shared a link to one of his kumite bouts and again I found it really energising to see that fluidity of following the feints with the ura mawashi geri. Now if I can get even partway to executing that kick with the control and precision Pete does I’ll be very happy but seeing it done well makes me want to work harder.

Finally a few days ago Pete also shared a link to a video of Rafael Aghayev, a karateka from Azerbaijan, which I thought was fantastic. The speed of his attacks are just breathtaking and what I take away to want to incorporate more are the fluidity of his punching attacks and his use of takedowns and grappling and taking control of the bout in general. In a similar way to the Enoeda vs Kanazawa footage it’s inspiring to see the whole range of karate techniques being used.

At the moment I’m referencing Funakoshi’s Karate-do Kyohan in working on a combination to demonstrate as part of my next grading and it includes some great sections on grappling. It just seems to fit really well that I can see those techniques being used so effectively whether it be decades ago or now in the present, and be it by karateka from Japan, Azerbaijan or closer to home down the motorway from good old Liverpool.

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Senseis, senseis everywhere (and that’s a good thing)

I wrote a post recently about how I’d started to identify some of the karate masters who have played important roles in shaping the two karate styles I have studied, Shukokai and Shotokan. And in reading some of Gichin Funakoshi’s books you start to get a feel for the environment in which they lived and studied.

I contrast that with the availability we all seem to enjoy now of a wide range of different martial arts clubs and instructors often within walking distance. But we also have a rich feast of information from other martial artists to enhance our knowledge. I can listen to podcasts by Iain Abernethy and Kris Wilder, follow the tweets of Pete Watson (@pistolpetewato), Rakesh Patel (@KataCombat) & Steve Hodgkinson (@HealthandCombat), to name just a few and read blogs like needtostretch & ZZ Ninja to see how other martial artists are approaching their studies. And of course I have my pick of videos on YouTube of katas being performed and having their bunkai demonstrated.

The challenge I have at the moment is working out what to do with all this information. To find ways to incorporate it with my karate training and improve as student of martial arts. To take the time to work through new ideas and principles.

And also a question will some of the highly skilled martial artists we follow now in time become regarded as masters in their own right?