Posts in Karate
My Favourite Karate Gi: Shureido (Part 3 of 3)

Last in the series of posts about what I consider my favourite Karategi is none other than Shureido.

The Seishin is light, airy, and has great snap; ideal for the hot Okinawan conditions.

The Kamikaze is heavy, hard wearing, and I know to be long lasting so it will be with me for a long time, giving me the best cost per wear.

The Shureido is something special however; from the birthplace of Karate the K10 is a heavyweight 100% cotton keikogi that comes unwrapped in a signature blue hue.

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The Most Important Part of a Sensei

They are your taskmaster, drill sergeant, fitness coach, guru, technician and teacher.

They teach you etiquette, prepare you for your grading, coach you through competitions, test you regularly in the Dojo and teach you the skills to train by yourself and to pass on your knowledge to others.

Most importantly, however, they have been trying to do their best before you even thought about taking up a martial art.

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My Favourite Karate Gi: Seishin (Part 2 of 3)

The Seishin brand is arguably the fastest growing karate sensation. It is a venture into the modern era utilising crowdfunding, social media and public endorsements to spread it’s awareness.

Created in part by Jesse Enkamp, internets famous Karate Nerd™, the Seishin Gi seeks to push the positives and reduce the negatives of a top quality Gi.

Unlike other companies, which perhaps only change the fabric or cut, the Seishin Gi sought to also innovate be adding extra parts that perhaps you wouldn’t consider.

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Life's a Beach(ball)

Whilst I worked in Hospitality in my previous life I was at times in attendance to various customer service training days.

Aside from the free food and coffee involved there was generally a lot of training around delivering the best service, learning about drinks, food, ingredients and best practices for serving.

One training which I remember well and which I know to be an important aspect in the martial arts world is what’s known as the beach ball principle.

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My Favourite Karate Gi: Kamikaze (Part 1 of 3)

When I began to get serious about my training attire in Karate I moved on from my easy wash elasticated waisted Blitz and was introduced to Kamikaze brand via my Sensei.

My decision on which of their Gi was based on getting the heaviest that I could afford, with it also being 100% cotton. It was then that I bought the Kamikaze America Gi.

It lasted so well for so long that recently I decided to upgrade to a top of the range Monarch Gi. Here is why.

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Aiming for the Next Grade

In Karate we are seeing a renaissance so to speak of the disregard or downplay of achieving grades.

Some schools are reverting back to keeping simply a three belt system, White, Brown and finally Black.

This is the same belt grading system as was devised by Jigoro Kano and subsequently adopted by Gichin Funakoshi.

However, since the introduction of coloured belts in 1935 by Judoka Kawaishi Mikinosuke onwards there grew a desire to increase testing and therefore increase belt colours.

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Karate Communication

We as humans have perhaps the most diverse range of methods to communicate compared to any other animal species on earth. We can use physical gestures, sounds, facial expressions, bodily reactions and even smells!! (Queue fart jokes...)

It is only natural that we would utilise some of these methods to transmit knowledge in Karate.

First, we introduce the technique - auditory, then we show the technique - visual, then we correct the technique – kinesthetic.

Simple, right! Then why do we not see everyone doing techniques exactly the same?

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The Ugly side of Beauty

In many aspects of life there exists that which is pleasing to the eye, and that which is not.

Often that which is deemed the most "beautiful" is held to a higher regard than that which is considered "ugly".

Beauty is of course something which is dictated by the society in which we live in and no culture can claim to have more beauty than any other.

Now, I want to turn my attention to the dangers of practicing Karate only for pure aesthetics.

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You Must Balance the Yin and the Yang

If, like me, you practice Karate you will have at many points in your training heard the term to “relax”. Sometimes unresponsively so, sometimes frustratingly reminded.

I was to only fully realise this whilst in Okinawa that being as relaxed as possible was critical to maximising your power in your technique.

Physical softness and flexibility with inner strength is the key.

Yoga, however, is the opposite of this - here me out.

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Who put the 'Bu' in Karate-Dō? Part 2 of 2

In last week’s article I explored some of the history of the development of Karate and of Budo culture in Japan.

In part 2 I hope to get to the point in why I began writing such a body of text by exploring the matter of what we understand as "traditional" karate practice, where it fits into the changes made in Okinawa, and what we perceive as being Japanese.

But firstly, a little clearing up to do.

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Who put the 'Bu' in Karate-Dō? Part 1 of 2

The Bu in question is the term for Warrior, as in Budō - Way of the Warrior. If you have trained in a Japanese style of Karate, even some Okinawan styles you will have heard this term at some point.

It is often associated with a sense of learning “traditional” Karate. I use these quotation marks for reasons that I will go into.

But first, let us take a step back in time….

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A Very Okinawan Dojo Experience

I spent over 20 years practicing Shotokan at various Dojo across the UK and Australia, and many were similar in their breakdown of practice. Line-up, bow, warm-up, Kihon, Kumite, Kata, warm-down/stretching or simply sit, meditate and bow to finish.

Having experienced a few different Dojos I'd like to give you my experience of practice in an Okinawan Dojo.

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