Showing posts from 2022

Ideological shortsightedness: the story of Judo John

Some years ago, I bumped into a former senior karate student at the supermarket. I'll call him "Judo John" on account of his grappling expertise.  I‘d just been through all my tapes and had transferred the material to computer. I had heaps of student footage (kata, kumite, etc.) which I had burned onto DVDs for the students' posterity. Of course, I had made a video for Judo John. So I seized the opportunity to offer him his DVD (for nothing in return, obviously).  Judo John openly sneered and said “I have no interest in the external arts now that I do Yang style tai chi. What would I do with that video?”  I shrugged my shoulders. “Maybe show it to your grandkids?” I gave him my contact details and left. My computer hard drive with the backup videos failed spectacularly but I kept his DVD for years. He never collected it. Yesterday I threw it in the bin as part of a long-overdue cleanup. What a loss for him.  He really kicked ass, did Judo John. All those memories are

The importance of basics

Over the years, I have often written about basics but I don't think I've ever talked about them more broadly - in particular about their importance. Recently I have been watching excerpts of David Carradine in the television series "Kung Fu" (my YouTube feed has assumed I'm a huge fan and this is inevitably reinforced every time I watch another video). One thing I notice is just how bad Carradine's technique is. It's downright awful. In a way, it reminds me of young Ralph Macchio in The Karate Kid: as the movie series progressed I kept expecting him to get better. I thought: "Surely he's been training in the meantime?" Only he didn't get better. Ditto Carradine. With the latter in mind, rather than show you a bit of the series, I thought it would be more illustrative to show you David Carradine demonstrating martial arts  after  he finished the series and had (apparently) undergone much, much more training. It's hard to explain exact