links of the week!

there are an amazing number of karate resources on the web, some better than others, and it can be exhausting sifting through to find things that are worth seeing. from time to time (and certainly not weekly!), the 'link of the week' feature on the site will be updated with links to videos, pictures or article that stand out as being informative, or just interesting. please feel free to submit suggestions to webmaster@kenmeikarate.org if you see anything you would like to share! below are the previous links, collected as they appear.

date: 2017-03-28
connection to partner
sensei rick hotton showing connection of the partner, which is a common concept in aikido but which equally applies to karate

date: 2016-05-18
connection to partner
sensei rick hotton showing connection of the partner, which is a common concept in aikido but which equally applies to karate

date: 2015-12-17
junro shodan
from the last training of the year; junro shodan shows that there is more in shotokan outside the grading syllabus. a different 'feeling' is required for this kata.

date: 2015-08-26
KUGB grading format
just to revisit my tediously long and detailed article regarding the format of kyu gradings, and how to get everything right that isn't your karate technique.

date: 2015-07-22
your breathing should match your technique
a great explanation of the variety in-built to every technique, but more commonly seen/discussed for uraken and mawashi geri. excellent!

date: 2015-07-03
elements of wankan
hope everyone enjoyed the 'alternative' lesson on wankan, due to the excessive heat in the dojo! there's always more to learn in shotokan! here's some points of technique, from the estimable sensei rick hotton, in that kata.

date: 2015-06-23
the pleasures of chess
or: in defence of shobu ippon
new article up!

date: 2015-05-21
brennan vs. naka
short clip form the 1992 shoto world cup. excellent clarity in technique from both fighters.

date: 2015-04-08
team kata unsu
to tie in our recent look at unsu with the upcoming KUGB kata masterclass with garry harford sensei, here is the manchester team of stuart gordon, vicky phillips and dean field winning gold at the nationals for an unprecedented 11th consecutive year, coached by sensei harford.

date: 2015-03-23
kakuyoku shodan
a link for all those who attended the advanced kata course; sensei asai performing his kata and demonstrating bunkai.

date: 2015-03-08
kakuyoku shodan
a link for all those who attended the advanced kata course; sensei asai performing his kata and demonstrating bunkai.

date: 2015-03-02
turning in kata
in readiness for the upcoming special kata class, an article looking at the different ways turns can be performed, and how it gives an insight into the scope and 'essence' of kata.

date: 2015-02-09
kata come in threes
ever noticed a "three-ness" about some kata? an article about the possible reasons for why this might be.

date: 2015-01-18
the end of a dry month
if you are able, please consider sponsoring the members of kenmei taking part in the 'dry january', raising money for charity.

date: 2015-01-12
kanku sho, JKA 1960s video
an old video of kanku sho; the timings are taught a little differently now, but the techniques remain almost unchanged, which is rare.

date: 2014-12-30
trapping to hit
always lovely stuff from guro bob breen; here trapping on the front hand to gain access. note the timing on the second one is very fast from the trap to the hit, it is not a long pause as we might often see with oi-tsuki.

date: 2014-12-09
back stance throw
an interesting application of back stance, entering inside and going for a throw after a failed shoulder throw attack. thanks to avi for the tip!

date: 2014-11-24
ram's mo
a link to help ram raise monies for cancer research, by virtue of his (impressive) facial hair! please donate anything you can!

date: 2014-11-05
shodan kumite article
new article is up; some thoughts on the common types of fighter you might expect to encounter during shodan grading jiyu kumite, and some advice on how to deal with them.

date: 2014-09-30
sensei garry harford
a short clip that epitomises the instruction sensei harford gave at the recent masterclass. an understanding of distance allows the opponent to be drawn in, and finished with a punch that due to its timing and attitude earns ippon instead of waza-ari.

date: 2014-09-20
kanku dai video
newly completed videos for kanku dai, showing the full kata and then discussing individual details.

date: 2014-07-28
empi, kawasoe sensei
a fascinating look at empi (slow and fast); while the western competition style over the last few years has emphasised dead stops and stillness, here we see some clear movement and an almost casual nature running through the kata. note, however, the ability of kawasoe sensei to deliver a moment of focus that is perfectly on the point of application, and then to immediately relax. everything delivered, and nothing wasted! superb.

date: 2014-04-10
grading format
in anticipation of the next kyu grading, an article (intended for everyone, not just novice grades) giving full details of what to expect, in what order, and how best to link your experience of gradings to the pursuit of karate as an art.

date: 2014-04-02
top 3 kata details
to follow on from some of the discussions about details in kata, and to augment the (older) heian kata videos, i have added a series of short notes that outline the 'top 3' points to pay attention to in the performance of heian katas.

date: 2014-03-10
slow vs. intention
following from discussions in recent advanced classes, and arising from training with sensei amos, a comment on the performance of slow moves in kata, and a need to make sure the movement is connected to intention.

date: 2014-03-01
the shifting earth
new article, discussing how fundamental training and basic technique reconciles with the fluidity inherent to advanced training.

date: 2014-02-13
empi kata video
recently completed kata video for empi; showing important points to consider.

date: 2014-01-28
thoughts on the belt system
following from conversations recently, some thoughts on the use of the coloured belt system, and the pros and cons thereof.

date: 2014-01-04
mechanics of karate gradings
for those unfamiliar with gradings, an article that lays out in detail what to expect in terms of the mechanics of KUGB kyu gradings. and not just for beginners - forewarned is forearmed!

date: 2014-01-04
mechanics of karate gradings
for those unfamiliar with gradings, an article that lays out in detail what to expect in terms of the mechanics of KUGB kyu gradings. forewarned is forearmed!

date: 2013-12-17
double interesting: jiu-jutsu, aikido
a fun video with two guys showing different throws and locks from their styles. some really nice applications here, and well worth watching a few times. watch to the end and you'll see that they are not 'fighting' each other, just having some fun training together, and there is no animosity between them. then, for fun (and i don't recommend this generally), read some of the comments to see how ridiculous and precious people get in defence of 'their' art. the video is great, with some great skill and attitude on show. something to aspire to. and the comments? entirely the opposite. double interesting!

date: 2013-10-26
jion video
following having spent some time on this kata in class, i have added a video to the kata videos page going over some of the details.

date: 2013-09-24
new article on kicking
following on from discussion of lifting the knee when preparing a kick, a short technical article that shows how the line of the kick can be considered as a connection between centres of mass.

date: 2013-09-18
the white orange belt
an opinion article about what the white/orange belt means; both to a beginner, and to myself as 4th dan and instructor at kenmei. ever heard of the white/orange belt? you have now!

date: 2013-09-18
the white orange bely

date: 2013-09-03
assistant instructors
rob redmond's article (and podcast; highly recommended) on the role of assistant instructors, and what teaching in a karate class involves. a good read for senior grades.

date: 2013-08-22
senior students
rob redmond, of 24fc, on the role of senior students in a class, and how to train best with others in the class.

date: 2013-07-30
yahara sensei - spinning uraken
from monday's lesson. be sure to watch the slow-motion replay or you'll miss it.

date: 2013-06-21
kata wankan
from wednesdays 'alternative' lesson! the late enoeda sensei performing the kata wankan. note the beginning is slightly different. if you have time, looking for other videos will show up lots of other differences, mainly the cat-stance at the start which pre-dates the shotokan back-stance.

date: 2013-06-21
kata wankan
from wednesdays 'alternative' lesson! the late enoeda sensei performing the kata wankan. note the beginning is slightly different. if you have time, looking for tother videos will show up lots of other differences, mainly the cat-stance at the start which pre-dates the shotokan back-stance.

date: 2013-05-20
self defence tips
a useful discussion of armed opponents. top quality stuff!

date: 2013-04-15
thank you letter
pdf link to the letter received form the HMESG, to thank the club for the monies raised at our '1 vs 100' event in january.

date: 2013-04-04
retreating gyaku-tsuki
some clips of sensei frank brennan, and some competition kumite (from the time before mitts!). much to learn from this video, but specifically at 2:20 and 3:30 watch for the retreating kizami-tsuki from this week's lesson. the retreating distancing is early, and the opponent comes into range when the stance is stable. the execution of the punch is sharp, and not concerned with blocking.

date: 2013-03-23
team kanku dai
not sure about the soundtrack in this one, but a very nice (extended) team kata, with performance applications.

date: 2013-03-01
hip turn in mawashi geri
short clip from a seminar with yahara sensei, demonstrating use of the hips turning in mawashi geri (and also forwards in mae geri). hopefully some might recognise what i was trying to get across recently in class! also, note the full distance of the mae geri at the end, with compression in the front leg giving power forwards.

date: 2012-12-27
personal limits
christmas homework time - adults only please!
in the holiday break from physical training, a few minutes' thought about the psychology involved in what karate training - in one context - is actually for.

date: 2012-12-05
'secrets' of karate
what are the secrets of kata? how can you learn the forbidden techniques of shotokan? from the comfort of your own sofa? read on!

date: 2012-11-28
new article - sensei bertel
a brief report on the two-day seminar by sensei andre bertel that i recently attended. i have already been working in some of the technical aspects and posture drills to our lessons; i hope to write a more technical article to expand on some of the ideas presented.

date: 2012-11-13
support jakir's moustache
throughout this month, jakir is participating in movember, and is already sporting a good amount of moustache! please head over to his fundraising page and support his efforts for worthy causes.

date: 2012-11-13
support jakir's moustahce
throughout this month, jakir is participating in movember, and is already sporting a good amount of moustache! please head over to his fundraising page and support his efforts for worthy causes.

date: 2012-11-01
'This is Karate'
short film by Witold Kwieciński, featuring the Polish team. Visually very nice.

date: 2012-10-10
perspectives on shotokan
a well-made video, interviewing swain sensei of the ISKF, with some of his thoughts on what people might get out of karate.

date: 2012-08-31
new facebook page
for members and friends, our facebook page can be for formal discussions, or your own thoughts/links etc. please stop by!

this week's proper 'link of the week' is therefore on the facebook page, to get people started out. what truly is the ultimate martial art? dare you find out? (beware: mild swearing, extreme awesomeness)

date: 2012-08-13
improving kata
some thoughts on how kata improves over time, and the critical type of practice to avoid becoming stagnant.

date: 2012-07-25
100 push-ups (pdf link)
anyone fancy a summer challenge?

for those who feel like trying something extra this summer, you are invited to join me in the (strictly after-class) experience of the 100 push-up challenge! click the link to download the scheme booklet. sessions are voluntary, and not part of the class. we will begin soon!

date: 2012-07-04
sensei sims, jiyu kumite
some footage from the recent KUGB southern regions competition. in this fight, sensei jamie sims of the rising sun academy in woking is in red, fighting jack somers of chelmsford. sensei sims is friend of and an occasional guest instructor at kenmei. he went on to win 1st place in the competition.

date: 2012-06-11
bruce lee, in close
a couple of clips with bruce lee (and yip man), with some wing tsun drills. here, note the distance is already closed (in contrast to shotokan distance), with emphasis on speed, control of the centre line, and use of the hands. in this 'trapping' distance, constantly shifting all-out assault on multiple targets overwhelms the opponent (rather than a single, powerful, penetrating strike).

date: 2012-03-26
mawashi geri
following from discussion in a recent lesson, here is a clip showing the ability of jodan mawashi geri to stop an opponent without being a full-power follow-through kick. accuracy trumps power.

date: 2012-03-13
something a little lighter
pepe the king prawn. enough said.

date: 2012-02-28
sensei randy williams
the KUGB nationals, kumite final, from 1995. sensei randy williams shiro. some excellent kumite and representative of the shotokan style, with emphasis on control: look for the number of punches vs number of kicks, and number of clashes that result in torimasen (no score). also important is to note the initial (and continual) assessment of the opponent; almost a minute passes before the first clash.

date: 2012-02-07
asai-ha karate
a style of karate developed by asai sensei, now carried on by andre bertel. inspiring as well as quite distinctive.

date: 2012-01-25
finishing quickly
a neat video, with a wing chun exponent discussing the advantage of 'finishing quickly' in the style of karate. a very clear idea of how not t get caught up in the flashy points of an art, but to retain a focus on the purpose. a reminder that all arts have things to offer.

date: 2012-01-06
shotokan masters
some footage of senseis yahara, asai, tanaka, kanazawa, and enoeda. some lovely demonstrations here; note the different styles of movement and technique.

date: 2011-12-05
england team, ESKA 2011
short compilation of point-scoring from the england team european championships (courtesy of sendai kushiro). this is (shobu ippon) competition at a very high level; note the proportion of points scored with gyaku-tsuki, reacting forward in response to an attack. look out also for combination punches moving forwards.

date: 2011-11-30
be sharp for the grading
a clip of some relatively young kids during their dan grading; excellent levels of control, discipline and focus. something for us all to strive for, and a reminder that determination, rather than talent, is the important factor in acquiring skill, and it is independent of age.

date: 2011-11-22
TKD 7th dan grading
this video offered without comment

date: 2011-10-30
reflections on the WKF
did you ever wonder why karate isn't an olympic sport? read this note from a member of the Karate England board, examining the main source of division in the karate association world, and the way in which the politics of the few act to the detriment of the larger karate world.

date: 2011-10-09
iain abernethy on angles
iain abernethy talks about the use of angles in kata, referencing them to yourself rather than where the opponent is, and his idea as to why kata often presents techniques in threes. thought-provoking stuff; have a further look around the website for much more.

date: 2011-09-26
the 2-metre sprint
a new article, giving an explanation of the idea of the two-metre sprint, and 'following through the target'.

date: 2011-09-08
bassai dai - katana
interesting interpretation of bassai dai to include a sword; shows how thinking about kata in a flexible way opens up lots of applications. 'blocks' are not always blocks!

date: 2011-08-27
bob rhodes demonstration
a clip of sensei bob rhodes in a demonstration with his leeds club. look out for high kicks and throws!

date: 2011-08-20
kizami tsuki
sensei frank brennan uses kizami tsuki to great effect in competition, both attacking and retreating. the correct use of timing and distance make this simple punch very effective.

date: 2011-08-08
the waterboy effect
the most important shotokan karate link ever? well, possibly not, but certainly food for thought, and well worth half an hour of your time. a podcast from rob redmond and kevin hawley, via 24fightingchickens

date: 2011-07-30
the use of kiai
an interesting article on the kiai, what it means, and the need to practise at full intensity in the dojo.

date: 2011-07-21
'unsu' bunkai
the italian national team, demonstrating some flashy applications for 'unsu'. performance karate at its best!