August news


Less than two months until the grading, which will be held on Saturday 27 August. If you are unsure of anything in your grading syllabus, please be proactive and ask me – or a higher belt – to help you learn it. Much of the grading syllabus is also now available on video if you bring me a USB. Good luck with your preparation!



Lets also celebrate Sobukan’s 3rd birthday!! Boy, time has flown! What would you like to do to celebrate? A dinner? Movie night? I am willing to hear ideas, my only stipulation be that it is family friendly. Previously we have had parties at Himeji (Japanese) Gardens.


Australian Kudo Championships

I will be travelling to Brisbane and the Gold Coast on the weekend of August 23/24 to attend the Kudo Australia Championships to research the art/sport, meet the other Shibucho and learn how to hold competitions here in Adelaide.



Thank you to everyone who participated in the SurveyMonkey survey, the results are very interesting! The most striking result is how even the responses have been!

But which art have most people listed as their favourite? Hakkoryu Jujutsu!

And what is the favourite skill to learn? Striking!

Yes, I realise that these results appear to contradict each other, but they are very close…


Movie competition

Competition? Well, I guess you have to be fast – Thank you to the generosity of Universal Pictures, I wil have 5 double tickets to give away to see LUCY. This action movie is not for kids. I have seen the trailer, and it looks great! Just send me an email to First in best entertained. Current members only!

From La Femme Nikita and The Professional to The Fifth Element, writer/director Luc Besson has created some of the toughest, most memorable female action heroes iLucy_1sht_Key_Art_LoResn cinematic history. Now, Besson directs Scarlett Johansson in Lucy, an action-thriller that tracks a woman accidentally caught in a dark deal who turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

Lucy also stars Academy Award® winner Morgan Freeman and is produced by Virginie Besson-Silla for EuropaCorp.

Release date: In Cinemas July 31



2014 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved


AsiaFest demonstration

A brand new 3-day Asian festival hits Adelaide in this year, and it is complete with Sumo wrestlers and all! They as10557282_295010750677495_8931970354894632900_nked us to demonstrate each day, but I understand that sort of commitment is not easy for families, and have agreed to demonstrating on Sunday October 6 only. We had such a great turnout and demonstration at the Expo in May, and I hope we can do something very similar for AsiaFest. Please confirm your availability via email so that I can start planning.


Fight for Life

Come and train with SA’s elite instructors and raise money for cancer research – sounds like a win-win to me! Last year was a lot of fun and for a very good cause. My own father is battling cancer, so this has special significance to me. Your support will be highly appreciated.


Important dates

Saturday September 27 – 3rd anniversary and grading test

Sunday October 6 – demonstration at AsiaFest

Sunday October 13 – Fight for Life training day raising funds for cancer research


imagesKotowaza 一刀両断

Ittou ryoudan

Translation of characters:

一 one

刀 sword

両 both, two

断 cut, refuse, sever, absolute

You might guess that this kotowaza means ‘double-edged sword’, but means to take decisive action without hesitation – an essential skill in self defence. So how can we become more decisive? Action is quicker than reaction – one of the best techniques is to visualise yourself in various self defence scenarios until you can see yourself winning. Regular visualisation will help you build a bank of contingency plans for defending yourself or your family.

Confidence in your skills is also essential for decisive action, and this only comes through regularly challenging yourself outside of your comfort zone. For children we do this by facilitating a series of successes in progressively difficult conditions, which the belt system provides the ideal framework.

Finally, maintaining awareness of your situation is essential to proactive action. We talk about the Cooper Colour codes, which is a universally accepted standard of alertness levels. Walking around listening to loud music on headphones while playing games on a tablet or smartphone is asking for trouble. Don’t be an easy target! Be aware, act decisively and keep safe.


Technical lesson

Train to hit, train to be blocked, train to miss.

To know is not enough. You must do it – and do it regularly enough to develop muscle memory. If a technique is not second nature, you will waste micro-seconds considering a move before using it when it really counts. Repetition, while it can be boring, is truly the mother of skill. 

Most people in the martial arts train to hit a target, or at least intend to. Many do not realise that they are actually training to miss – which is also an essential skill. Some forget to train to be blocked. All of these are essential – and in proportion. A great many modern karate schools almost soley practice punching the air. Their primary training tools are the 3Ks – kihon, kata and kumite. There is nothing wrong with this approach, but I take issue with the training methods. They train kihon (basic techniques) purely by punching and kicking imaginary targets. They only practice kata (pre-arranged patterns) against invisible opponents. And they practice pulling their punches and kicks an inch short of the partner’s face in kumite (sparring). This actually programs the mind and body to miss. Practising to miss is important, but must be done in context. If all of your striking practice was against a heavy bag, you would likely throw yourself off balance and expose yourself to a counterattack the first time a real opponent avoided your strikes. Practicing kihon in the air trains us to maintain balance and guard in the inevitable event that 100% of our strikes do not connect. You learn to pull the power at the end of the strike and quickly prepare yourself for your next move. In a one hour class, I think it would be prudent to spend 10-15 minutes on ‘missing’. 

The first time an opponent blocks your punches or kicks, the impact may take you by surprise. Okinawan karate-ka spend hours conditioning their bodies for the impact. So do Thai boxers, judoka and every other combative athlete. If your purpose for training is self defence, you don’t need to condition your body to that level, but you do need to have a certain level of preparation for the impact you are likely to receive. If professional fighters like Anderson Silva break bones when their techniques are blocked, then so may ours. Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo Jutsu two person drills and medium contact sparring are great for teaching your body to safely absorb impact and maintain the composure to continue to defend yourself. Lets spend another 10-15 minutes of the hour training this. images-2

Finally, the ultimate goal is to make contact when we hit, and therefore we must spend the most time training this. Any Okinawan karate master will advocate the utility of the makiwara, or punching pad. Decades of pounding a cushioned, yet solid object turns soft hands into deadly weapons. What is more important that the toughening of the hands though, is the ability to safely generate power and deliver impact to a target. Fortunately we don’t have to rely on straw targets anymore, we have far more effective and safe training tools available to us: focus mitts, Thai pads, kick shields, heavy bags, speed balls and floor-to-ceiling balls all move and absorb impact in different ways, enabling them to replicate the human body much more effectively than the stationary makiwara (which is still a great training apparatus). We also need to practice hitting people, in order to develop our ability to select and strike targets and to address the psychological components of hitting another human being. We do this in a controlled environment using boxing gloves, shin pads, Kudo headgear and other safety equipment. The remaining 30-40 minutes of the hour should be dedicated to practicing hitting.

Of course, I have only discussed striking in this article. At Sobukan we also throw, sweep, wrestle, choke, submit, arrest, lock, disarm etc. However, the concept remains that training the body and mind requires significant repetition. In an emergency situation, you will recall what is in your short term memory first, and in a violent conflict, every microsecond is precious, so regular training in relevant skills is essential.


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