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Showing posts from July, 2010

Northern and southern kung fu, karate and the question of range

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"Southern fist, northern leg"

It was at the very beginning of my martial arts "career" that I first heard the expression: "southern fist, northern leg". The concept, as I understand it, is that southern Chinese martial arts emphasise hand techniques rather than leg techniques, while northern systems have the reverse emphasis.

This is not to say that southern systems do not use kicks or that the northern systems do not use hands; it is just a matter of degree. And more to the point, it has less to do with the use of actual body parts, and more to do with range.

What I take the saying to mean is this: southern Chinese martial systems are designed for fighting in close quarters, while northern Chinese systems are designed for fighting at a greater range.

It is important to note that by "greater range" I do not mean to imply "distance fighting". Distance fighting is commonly seen in sports combat - where fighters will predominantly laun…

An award for "The Way of Least Resistance"!

I'm very pleased to announce that I have made the list of "50 best karate bloggers you can learn from" on the Physical Therapy Assistance Schools site.

I'm number 18 on the list, and the first entry under "Best Martial Arts Karate Bloggers" (as opposed to "Teacher Karate Bloggers", "Student Karate Bloggers" etc.).

I'd like to thank the Physical Therapy Assistants Schools for this recognition. It certainly makes a change from the feedback I've had via certain merchant bankers!

Copyright © 2010 Dejan Djurdjevic

More about the "Clayton's gap"

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Recently a fellow sent me an email concerning my article "The karate "kamae" or guard".


My original video relating to the karate kamae in which I discuss the "Clayton's gap"

In that article I discuss how the old bareknuckle guard and the karate kamae (guard) are basically the same, and for good reason: if you are fighting ungloved, it makes little sense to hold your clenched fists close to your face as having them rammed into can be almost as bad as taking a punch full-on. Rather, with the fists held out at a distance you can not only avoid this problem, but you are also in a position to use what are called "blocks" (better termed "deflections") to intercept an attack closer to its source (rather than when it has almost reached full extension and is travelling at its full speed).

I also described how one of the benefits of the bareknuckle guard is that it incorporates a subtle gem I call the "Clayton's gap". For those …

Youtube, the web and merchant bankers

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I get lots of comments on the web, some good, some bad, but rarely are they so full of vitriol that they make me react. Mostly I just brush the bad ones off.

A particular "merchant banker" (rhymes with...?) calling himself "12THEANVIL1" decided to post needlessly nasty comments on my bagua montage, and then went over to (of all things) my video about the striking surface of the uraken, voicing his "disgust" at my "lack of internal power" and saying that I "should not be teaching".

Ironically he speaks of "internal power", which I suspect he envisages as some kind of mystical force that is the centerpiece of his delusional belief system. That I wasn't trying to demonstrate power (of any kind) in either of the videos he watched seems to have escaped his pea-brain.

Granted, my technique is not ideal (especially considering my arthritis which had flared up very badly just before this seminar, making me feel like I was walking on…

"Bullshit martial arts": it's time to come out of my corner

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In my previous post I referred to an episode of Penn's and Teller's television show in which they concluded that "martial arts are bullshit". In that post I mention the comments of Marc MacYoung to the effect that we martial artists should not "wilfully ignore" that which is flagrant nonsense but which passes (in some quarters anyway) for effective martial arts.

I normally don't do this kind of thing, but I though I'd highlight some examples of such nonsense - partly to deflect any suggestion that I am "wilfully ignoring" bad martial arts, but principally to distinguish martial arts that are not imbued with such nonsense.

Consider the video below (click on the picture to view).


George Dillman stops a kick using a kiai or "spirited shout"

It is my view that this sort of parlour trick is precisely the sort of thing that gives martial arts a bad name. Dillman uses a highly compliant student (who is completely out of range anyway) to e…

"Bullshit martial arts": frauds, exposers and conjurers

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I recently came across the video below on the Traditional Fighting Arts Forums:


The first segment of Penn and Teller's episode on martial arts

In this episode of their "Bullshit" series, Messrs Penn and Teller examine martial arts and conclude that they are all "bullshit".

I must confess that the show angered me: not because I felt personally insulted - but because I felt that my intelligence (and every other viewer's) was insulted.

First: why assume that everyone who does martial arts does it for "fighting"? Most people I know in the martial arts do it as a form of exercise and/or as an artform or means of physical expression. What's wrong with that? Penn and Teller start their show by arguing that giving money to criminals is cheaper than taking karate lessons. Sure. But I and many others don't do karate expecting to "save money". We pay money for lessons because we enjoy the activity, not because we expect to "get our money&#…