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Showing posts from April, 2010

Criticism, kiais and silly kata

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Those of you who regularly read this blog will know that I don't really get into criticism of individuals. I try to focus any criticism towards an approach, offering an analysis of why I feel it is incorrect (or not optimum).

Unfortunately it is almost impossible to criticise an approach without examining an individual's performance by way of example.

In the case below I will examine such a performance, however this should not be taken as a personal criticism of the performer: she is doing very admirably within the boundaries of her chosen sport. Indeed, some of her performances (particularly with weapons such as the bo (staff)) demonstrate nothing short of jaw-dropping athleticism and dexterity, and for this I take my hat off to the performer.

My good friend Narda alerted me to this blog post which I find very apposite. The gist of the article is that criticism has real value only if it explains why something is incorrect. The mere assertion that something is lacking is unh…

Punching: alignment and conditioning

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Choson Ninja and the question of "conditioned" knuckles

The other day one of my colleagues at the Traditional Fighting Arts Forums alerted me to a fellow who calls himself Choson Ninja. He has a series of videos on Youtube and in this particular one he tells you about the dangers of getting "ugly" knuckles from hand conditioning.

The general thrust of his argument is correct: conditioning can lead to deformed and ugly knuckles - especially so if you are doing it incorrectly. Certainly, even moderate makiwara practice will cause you to develop callouses. How "unsightly" these are will depend on how much and how "hard" you do your conditioning.

However I disagree with Mr Choson about much of what he says in his video.

To begin with, his knuckles are not really that conditioned. Rather, they appear to be damaged from breaks. Mr Choson certainly doesn't have anywhere near the kind of callousing one gets from regular conditioning such as striking…