Showing posts from June, 2011

"Attack, attack, attack!"

There's a Frank Zappa song called "Attack, attack, attack" that came to mind as I started writing this article. I suppose most kids today would probably be more inclined to think of the song by Ejectorseat, but that's a different story. Regardless of which song you prefer, it seems to me to sum up the tactics or mindset adopted in many martial systems. And I think it is something worthy of closer examination. Somewhat synchronously , I have had a couple of different conversations over the last week or 2, all on the same theme. In particular, a blogger who goes by the nom de plume of Ymar Sakar averted my attention to a martial system called TFT (Target Focused Training) . Then my esteemed colleague Victor Smith referred to this quote from “Motobu Choki – Karate My Art” translated by Patrick and Yuriko McCarthy at page 31: “The blocking hand must be able to become the attacking hand in an instant. Blocking with one hand and then countering with the other hand i

Low "blocks" against kicks - are they ridiculous?

Introduction Recently I came across this video titled " A low block is not used to block a kick, that's ridiculous ". I couldn't disagree more, and I'll explain why. A video titled "A low block is not used to block a kick, that's ridiculous" I'll start with a fundamental observation that I have used low "blocks" successfully against kicks for more than 30 years. And yes, I mean full-force kicks that are in striking range (more on range in just a moment). Bear in mind that when I refer to "blocks" I principally mean deflections or parries, not "blocks" per se. As I've often said (see my article " Why blocks DO work "), I only use the term "block" out of habit. It is a bad translation of the Japanese term "uke" (which comes from the verb "ukeru" - to receive). "Blocks" in kata can indeed be literal "stops". But more often than not, they intercept and

Dan on Twitter

Okay everyone - I've bitten the bullet. I'm not sure why, but I've created a Twitter account. Now I suppose folks can follow my mundane thoughts throughout the day ("Wow, that pasta was just marvelous" or "Phew, got to the toilet just in time" etc.). Alternatively, you can use it to get notified of my newest blog posts. My twitter account is!/dandjurdjevic .

Enter the front snap kick

I recall how, many years ago, an overseas visitor (with a kickboxing background) came to our dojo to train. After the lesson he went over the heavy bag and proceeded to kick it with a roundhouse shin kick. He kicked the bag so hard it swung up to the roof. If you know heavy bags, you’ll know how hard that is to do. The demonstration was nothing if not impressive. I knew very well that it was intended to impress. More than that, it was intended as a negative comment on our own (karate style) front snap (or "shock" as I sometimes call them) kicks - specifically that they are “manifestly less effective than these ‘ power ’ kicks”. Indeed, if you try to kick a heavy bag with a front snap kick you get a very unsatisfying result: the bag hardly moves and your kick looks rather insipid. I think this is the main - perhaps solitary - reason that muay thai boxers, kickboxers, and hence most modern combat sports practitioners, don’t invest time and energy into developing a fr