Martial Arts School Owner and Teacher Advice:

Don’t give up. Don’t give up on trying to teach better classes, times 10. Don’t give up, either, on helping those around you to be better leaders, mentors, and citizen-teachers. Don’t give up and accept the past as better than today —or on the idea that the way so many of us teach today is The Way, the only way, and that you can’t be a part of a genuine revolution in ideas, methodology, and practices in what we do.

Don’t give up on studying the art of school management, or better curriculum design, of marketing that isn’t “marketing,” but simply a natural extension of your mission in the world. Don’t give up on being a student of the art of leading a school that isn’t just a business, but an institution in your community —and an example we can all learn from.

Don’t give up on trying to be one of the martial arts teacher heroes you and I used to read about in the magazines. Don’t give up on trying to be a Lee or a Kano or a Gracie or a Ueyshiba or a Lewis or a (name your favorite martial arts hero here).

Don’t give up on representing —on the opportunity to join forces with the best and the brightest and to make all of this stand for something amazing, something shocking, something akin to the best of the best outcome we can imagine. Don’t give up on making the teaching of the martial arts a noble profession, a profession filled with purpose and passion and intent and courage.

And don’t give up on making the journey as rich and deep and purposeful and ego-less and contributive as you have the intellect and perseverance to create. Let’s all go down fighting like real warriors for a kind of martial arts that isn’t just about technique or competition or commerce, but that is a thing of the spirit, something that truly, deeply, and genuinely matters in the world.

Tom Callos (via strongoftheblade)

(via sonsoru)

26 notes
  1. synysterpope said: I would love to see a breakdown, or at least a partial one. I am considering starting karate, since I can’t continue on my previous path ( I moved away from my old dojo), and I think seeing multiple layers from the start would help me keep an open mind to the…

.. to the…? =]

replies are limited in characters, as you can see. =]

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What stepnsteph​ is saying is very true.

Masters, back in…

This is why we often hear that it takes many years to develop and understand things like techniques, character, spirit, and humbleness. Most people tend to hear a concept, and because it’s clearly explained, they think they understand and that they know everything about it.

But like I’ve said before, knowing is one thing, understanding is another. And if a person who’s been there tells you it takes 30 years, just because you get the concept in 10 years, doesn’t mean you understand the true meaning within.

Think about it like when parents say “you’ll understand when you’re older” and it’s not until you’ve passed that age when you thought you’d have everything you wanted, a house, a car, marriage, kids, etc, and you’re just barely scraping by, that you realize, and you start to understand what your parents were saying. Or for those of you who have kids, when your parents said  ”you’ll understand when you have kids” and then when you’re kids turn 13, you start realizing how true your parents words are.

But even then, you still haven’t grasped at the deeper meaning, you’ve just started to understand, now you spend years developing what you’ve learned from that understanding.

And here’s the kicker. Though it’s always similar, it’s never the same.

Same thing with martial arts. Even when you finally really understand something, it still takes more time to develop the newly found understanding. But again, while it may all be similar (from person to person), it’s never the same. At some point, the path is yours alone. Situations are yours to deal with, and students become yours to fill.

This is why there is never one single technique for one move. This is why, as much as I respect them, I never agree with teachers that say “No, this move is this technique, and that’s that”, “No, that’s not a punch, it’s a knife hand, and that’s that!” 

There are many techniques in kata that may look simple and may seem like it’s doing one thing, but with some thought and some training, you can realize that maybe, if you move this way, and tate, instead of gyaku, you get a whole new technique from the exact same move, without really changing the kata at all.

That’s when you start to realize and understand, there lies more within each kata, than we thought.

But now it’s gonna be at least ten more years of practice to develop and grow with each kata.

This is also why I don’t agree with styles that teach a set of 50+ kata,

It takes long enough to truly master just one. Imagine 50.

Of course there are styles that teach just over 48 kata, but then after, 3rd dan, I believe, a lot of them have a set of just two or three to develop, chosen by them from the rest, that’s actually good, and defines the practitioner’s personal views and style. But when it’s a style that you need to simply memorize set patterns without real development, then I question the point of so many kata, sets, patterns and steps, if all you’re being taught is that it’s a simple block and a strike.

And stepnsteph, if your teacher tells you to not worry about the money, don’t. That means he cares more about your development as a martial artist, than he does about your money. If you feel you must pay him somehow, pay him by doing your best, always be there early, absorb all that you can, develop it, and after or before class, help clean up. Pay him, by showing the sensei that you are his student.

9 notes

What stepnsteph​ is saying is very true.

Masters, back in the day, purposely hid many techniques within their kata. They passed them unto their students, and while most may have learned the movements well, few understood what was hidden within.

Many of these hidden techniques include, grabs, strikes (less obvious than the ones clearly being performed), throws, unbalancing, redirecting attacks, avoiding/ dodging, skeletal manipulation, chokes, bone breaking, pressure point striking and even killing techniques.

They wouldn’t teach just anyone, so of course, only those who became experienced after years of practice and development of character and spirit, would begin to understand these hidden techniques. Of course, over the years, kata have been changed, simplified or re-invented, therefore, a lot has been lost in that process.

An example kata of these hidden techniques is, believe it or not, the kihon kata (heian shodan/ taikyoko sho/ ichi kata, etc. whatever you prefer to call it), the very first kata that we learn.

A very simple kata to learn.

Most people will say that the bunkai to this kata is you simply block an incoming kick and then step in to punch.

While that bunkai is perfectly ok for a beginner, it completely misses the point at intermidiate and advanced levels. Yet, this is what most will teach as a bunkai for this kata.

Some may teach that when the arms cross, before you perform the block, it means that you’re grabbing the hand of an opponent who is grabbing you. This, too is perfectly acceptable, but there’s still a lot missing. This kata can teach us many things, but most, after learning two or three techniques for this kata, they leave it there, because they move on to more advanced ones, thinking they already know all there is to know about the kihon kata.

However, within this kata we can find: an attack to the groin, an attack to the inside of the thigh, and a redirection of an attack, all with just the first move. We can find an unbalancing technique, using our knees, a grab as a set up for a throw, a grab for skeletal manipulation, allowing us to guide our opponent to the ground before the final strike, among others. That’s just basic and intermediate.

In Ishindo Zen Kempo, we have a third move on our Kihon kata, so there’s even more to add: a quick strike to the face, a defense against an incoming strike that quickly turns into the before mentioned strike to the face, and a strike to the side of the face.

At more advanced levels, we can learn a sweep, a strike with our knee to the back of our opponent’s, a strike to the back of the head, a throw, bone breaking, dodging!!

So let’s see, we have grabs, throws, strikes, skeletal manipulation, sweeps, possibly fatal blows, bone breaking, all on just the very first kata that we learn.

Most people think little of this kata, but in Ishindo Zen Kempo, we argue that this is the first kata that we learn, because it is the kata that takes the most time to develop and understand.


Because it is also the kata that teaches you the legendary karate technique. To finish the fight in a single attack. It is the kata that teaches you the legendary karate punch.

If you guys would like to see a demonstration of some of the techniques I’m talking about, derived only from kihon kata, let me know, and I might make a video for you.

9 notes
Q: Black belt attaining has been on my mind alot. I train in Hapkido in Korea and the standard time here is 1 year. But as my 괸장님 says 1st Dan is so easy kids can do it. So whilst I am a BB i don't place too much importance on it. Continued...


Couldn’t have

asked by traininginkorea

8 notes
Q: I think rank is given too much importance by many. Rank and whether or not what we do has lineage or is traditionally authentic. Personally i think MA is a personal journey and you should just rely on your skill to show others where you are. Cont...


said it

asked by traininginkorea

9 notes
Q: Whilst we learn from Black Belts we should never forget white belts and between can teach us things also. We should see all others as an opportunity to learn from. Rigidly ranking who you respect just holds you back.


better myself.

asked by traininginkorea

15 notes
Kuhapdo students / teachers?


I’m curious if there’s any kuhapdo students or teachers out there that might be able to give me some info. I know it’s similar to Iaido but that’s about the extent of what I’ve been able to find out. I’ve always been interested in learning sword. My BF has given me a few pointers about sword, due…

Kuhapdo, or Guhapdo, is basically the Korean counterpart of Iaido. To the point that even their exercises and some katas either look the same or are very similar. The first kata, for example, is exactly the same kata in both kuhapdo and Iaido, same actions are performed from beginning to end.

In Kuhapdo, though, the swing of the sword is wider, and there are many techniques in which you turn either to the side or behind you, as you are defending, and attacking (cutting/killing) more than one opponent in one fight.

In Iaido, the fight is usually against one opponent.

Usually, Korean arts have many techniques that are used against more than one opponent. This is the reason why a lot of Korean arts use spins and many turns during techniques, as opposed to going straight on, like Iaido would, for example.

What Kuhapdo is to Iaido, Gumdo is to Kendo.

Kuhapdo is drawing the sword from it’s scabbard, performing the kill, or kills, and returning the sword back to it’s home.

If that is not possible, then Gumdo can be used (basically head to head, swords drawn), so Gumdo and Kuhapdo can go hand in hand, just like Iaido and Kendo (or Kenjutsu).

Kuhapdo practitioners may sometimes also practice Hapkido as their weaponless art.

This is really all I know about the art.

I tried searching, but little details like ranking systems and levels of techniques can be found. Maybe I searched wrong? =P 

For a brief history and description of what Kuhapdo is, read thisthis and this. The first and third ones are nice descriptions as to what the art is as a whole.

Also found this little peace of info:

"This style was developed by Grandmaster Lim, Hyun Soo. GM Lim started training in Hapkido under Doju Nim Choi, Yong Sool in 1964 and after researching the meaning of Hapki he found written in an old Korean Mudo manual that Hapki meant the energy that is released when two swords come together in combat so GM Lim started training in Kumdo in the mid to late 60’s and after being promoted to 4th dan in Kumdo realized that somthing was missing in Kumdo so he began to search for someone to teach him the old traditional way of the sword. GM Lim trained in Japan with the 3 major headmasters of Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu an has been promoted to 8th dan by Komei Sekiguchi Sensei."

You can try asking here, here or here about the ranking system and/or any other details you’d like to know.

Good luck! =] 

3 notes
Q: Hey ! Just came here to say everything is going really good since i've started practicing karate, i have made some new friends and everyone has been kind in the dojo, everyday i like it more, i was also wondering if u have some advice for gaining some elasticity thanks by the way !

That’s awesome, I’m glad you’re enjoying it and making friends. =] 

You could go for a basic stretch routine everyday, after you wake up, before training, after training, and, if you want, before you’re gonna get ready to call it a night.

Nothing extreme, just basic stretches.

You can use the routine you learn at karate and/or add more if you like or as you learn more.

If you go for it at night, before bed, make sure you are relaxed, and that could even help you sleep a little better. In time, you should start to notice more and more elasticity.

You don’t need to do it like that, though. You can easily gain more flexibility by doing one good, solid 10-20 minute stretching session, every day.

Also, make sure you eat well and drink plenty of water. Believe it or not, that helps the body with flexibility.

Lastly, don’t expect quick results. It takes time, even if you do more one session a day.

Check out this post.

And give this a read, too.

Keep at it, man​, good luck. =]


asked by juanhenaob

2 notes