Tag Archives: karate

Antidote To March Madness


“Always be able to kill your students.” – Masaaki Hatsumi (Bujinkan Ninjutsu)

Did he really say that?  – TheMartialArtsReporter

“A good martial artist does not become tense but ready, not thinking but yet not dreaming. Ready for whatever may come.” Bruce Lee

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” Muhammad Ali

“Courage is being afraid, but then doing what you have to do anyway.” Rudy Giuliani

“The one who has conquered himself is a far greater hero than he who has defeated a thousand times a thousand men.” The Dhammapada

“Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

“Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.” – Winston Churchill

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” Napoleon Bonaparte

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.” Navy SEALs

“Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win.” O Sensei Ueshiba

“The measure of a man is not in how he gets knocked to the mat, it is in how he gets up.” Unknown, but could have been me. Really.

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” -Mahatma Gandhi

“You carry on no matter what the obstacles. You simply refuse to give up … and, when the going gets tough, you get tougher. And you win.” Vince Lombardi

“If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.” Vince Lombardi

“No one can defeat us unless we first defeat ourselves.” Dwight Eisenhower
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Why Kick High If You Can Kick Low?

I know that well executed high kicks can get people’s attention and admiration. When competing in certain styles such as Tae Kwon Do, Karate etc.  that’s how you get the points, right?! I also know they have their justification, so just hear me out.

Speaking from my personal experience, it’s very exhilarating to execute a yodan-kizami-zuki (upper jab), a chudan-gyaku-zuki (cross to solar plexus) and then finalize with a yodan-mawashi-geri (upper roundhouse kick) to an opponent’s temple. Hmm, was just strolling down memory lane.  Yeah, baby (was supposed to sound like Austin Powers!).

Now, many years later, for me the first two techniques no problem. The final mawashi geri to the what? Let’s get real, will ya? I am not 20 anymore, so I will simply adapt to circumstances which means I am going apply a Muay Thai round kick to my not so friendly opponent’s upper thigh by using my shin.

Listen up, even without going to the gym or dojo for years and years most people can acquire the skills for this kick fairly quickly. I also believe it’s a pretty neat self-defense technique for women. We all know that legs are more powerful than arms. So let’s just put that knowledge to work in our favor.

This combination and especially the final technique is really fast and really effective. Really!

To give you a better idea of what it looks like, check out this clip and try it. You’re gonna like it.

One Of The World’s Highest Ranking Karate Masters Just So Happens To Be A Member Of Mensa

Thanks for stopping by again today.

So what does Karate have to do with Mensa?

Well, if you happen to be Grand Master Sam Pearson that would be a whole lot to be proud of.

First off, you might have heard of Mensa, but so far didn’t really know what they are all about. Let me enlighten you:

Mensa, the high IQ society, provides a forum for intellectual exchange among its members.

There are members in more than 100 countries around the world.

Activities include the exchange of ideas through lectures, discussions, journals, special-interest groups, and local, regional, national and international gatherings; the investigations of members’ opinions and attitudes; and assistance to researchers, inside and outside Mensa, in projects dealing with intelligence or Mensa.

Mensa is open to persons who have attained a score within the upper two percent of the general population on an approved intelligence test that has been properly administered and supervised.

One of their members is Sam Pearson.

And I will be honest with you:  Until this morning I hadn’t heard of him myself.

Grand Master SamPearson is THE man who brought martial arts to the East Carolina town of New Bern in the early 70s.

You have to know that even at the age of 74 he is still a force to reckon with and still works out at the Twin Rivers YMCA.

Sam Pearson was born in 1936. After being raised by his granny in Florida, he was returned to his mom, who according to his own recollection, was on her third husband by then.

His father didn’t play much of role in his upbringing and so as a 17-year old he looked for direction in the outside world.

Thus, in 1953, wanting to change his life and find that direction he was missing, Sam Pearson joined the no-nonsense U.S.  Marines who are known till today for promising their recruits a rough time. A promise made is a promise kept.

Nobody else from his high school at the time joined the Marines. His USMC career would last 20 years.

During a tour in Vietnam he was exposed to the devastating Agent Orange which was used to kill the vegatation so the Viet Cong couldn’t hide in it. Only problem was that our guys were affected by it which was denied by government authorities for way too long.

Like what happened to so many servicemen, the exposure broke down his immune system, causing all kinds of debillitating ailments.

Sam Pearson has battled numerous ailments such as PTSD, diabetes and high blood pressure and even Parkinson’s disease.

Only 3 years ago during a short period, everything seemed to be breaking down, including severly painful shingles across his face.

Things looked very bleak and robbed him of his joy of life. But somehow things turned around and he is doing a lot better today.

Way back in 1974, he introduced martial arts to New Bern, NC.

The current head instructor is his former student and New Bern policeman Ronnie Lovick who is a 7th degree black belt.

During the early 70s, karate and other martial arts started to become really popular in the United States after  many servicemen returned from Asia.

The school was operated at several locations. During the daytime Sam Pearson worked as head of security of a shopping mall.

He ensured that all of his students were worthy of pursuing the martial arts. He looked for honest and dedicated individuals who also did not smoke or drink.

Counting the years that he instructed in the Marines, Sam Pearson has probably taught more than 2,000 students over almost 50 years.

Besides all his great accomplishments, Sam Pearson is most proud of the fact that he is a member in Mensa, the international IQ-society.

Semper Fi, Sam Pearson!


Can Autism Be Overcome By Martial Arts? Just Ask Monique Sciberras.

I’m not sure when I first heard about autism. I’m not even sure that I had even heard about it  before watching the Oscar-winning movie “Rain Man” starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise way back in 1988.

I guess you can say that autism got quite a bit of exposure through the film and Dustin Hoffman’s character, Raymond Babbitt.

Autism is a disorder of neural development. It is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior.

According to studies, these signs all begin before a child is three years old.

Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood.

Autism has a strong genetic basis. In some cases, autism is strongly associated with agents that cause birth defects.

It is controversial when it comes to proposed environmental causes, such as heavy metals, pesticides or childhood vaccines.

The global prevalence of autism is about 1–2 per 1,000 people, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports approx. 9 per 1,000 children in the United States. The number of people diagnosed with autism has increased dramatically since the 1980s.

And then there’s 10-year old Monique Sciberras from Australia who was diagnosed with mild autism several years ago.

According to her parents, Monique has been able to thrive through her martial arts training and overcome her disability.

She has become a force to reckon with in karate, kung fu, boxing, Muay Thai and weapons.

I came across some video footage that deserves to be shared with you, wherever you may be right now:

For more about Monique Sciberras, click here.

Grandmaster George E. Mattson, Uechi-Ryu Karate Legend

Today’s post features another great martial artist who looks back on more than 50 (fifty!) years of training and teaching Uechi-ryu karate.

Uechi-ryu Grandmaster George E. Mattson is rightfully considered a martial arts pioneer and I am sure you will agree with me after reading today’s post.

Uechi-ryu karate  is a powerful, hard style, which even though it is considered Okinawan, originated in China. It was brought to Okinawa in the very early 1900s by Kanbun Uechi. It offers a lot of similarities with Goju Ryu karate. Uechi-ryu is characterized by upright stances, circular blocks, grabs, open hand and one knuckle techniques plus low kicking, often using the big toe.

As a 19-year-old stationed with the U.S. miltary on the island of Okinawa in 1956, Sensei Mattson was the first American to be taught Uechi-ryu karate and consequently the first American to be given a Black Belt Certificate.

Just several years later, in 1964, he was caught on film as a member of a distinguished group of other martial arts legends during Ed Parker’s Long Beach International Karate Championships.

Most of these martial arts greats have been featured or at least mentioned here before.

Check this out:

 How many do you recognize?

Front Row Left To Right: J. Pat BurlesonBruce LeeAnthony MirakianJhoon Rhee.

Back Row Left to Right: Allen Steen, George Mattson, Ed Parker Sr., Tsutomu Ohshima,Robert Trias.

For a true martial arts enthusiast, this is a truly epic photo.

I just think of how many millions of people, young and old, have been positively affected by these masters’ teachings. Nothing short of amazing!

But back to 9th Dan, George E. Mattson:

Master Kanei Uechi, the son of the style’s founder Kanbun Uechi, asked him in 1958 to introduce and spread Uechi-ryu Karate in America. Sensei Mattson complied and over-delivered.  He proceeded in opening a Dojo (school) in Boston and published the very first textbook on Uechi-ryu Karate “The Way of Karate” in 1963.

Since this time Sensei Mattson, who has led the North American Chapter of the international Uechi-Ryu community, has continued to teach  countless students from all corners of the world.  Many have gone on to become accomplished masters in their own right.

Turning the backs on the cold winters of New England, Sensei Mattson and his wife retired in sunny Central Florida.


Not really, because in Mount Dora, not too far from Orlando, you can still watch this Uechi-ryu karate legend teaching at his Shubukan (“House of Warrior Training”).

Linda Denley, Karate Superwoman From Houston, Texas

I am really excited to talk about today’s featured martial artist!

During the 70s and 80s while living in Germany, it was a real challenge to get my hands on American karate magazines. But whenever I did, it sure felt like Christmas and I devoured every page of information and inspiration. Especially articles and reports on Linda Denley.

For those of you who have never heard of her, let me warn you in advance. After this post you will be impressed. Very impressed, with this true living martial arts legend.

A native of Houston, Texas, Linda Denley grew up one of 12 children and as a teenager she excelled at just about any sport she took up, such as track and field, in which she even qualified for the Olympics in 5 events!! She couldn’t go to the Olympic Games simply because of her professional karate winnings.

Basketball was another example of her natural athleticism, in which she could have played semi-professional for the Houston Angels, but didn’t because of her karate career.

Linda Denley was THE female competitor to beat for many years.

Her aggressive fighting style earned her the nickname “Texas Terror” and boy, did she back that up with a record that is unheard of.

Starting with Tang Soo Do karate in 1973 under Master Robert Torres, she earned her black belt within 5 years, all while collecting trophies at tournaments.

Get this: Linda Denley was the top rated female kumite competitor from 1973 until 1996. That’s right, for 23 years. I am in awe!

She fought for nine years and did not lose a match. That’s just crazy stuff.

If you’re at all familiar with prestigious karate tournaments in the U.S., then you will appreciate this piece of information, too:

Linda Denley won the Battle of Atlanta not once or twice, but eleven times. Yes, that’s right, eleven times!

The other big-time tournament on the West Coast, simply known as the Long Beach Internationals, she won an impressive four times.

She really left “a path of destruction”  in countless other tournaments. At least that’s what it probably felt like for her competitors in those days.

For all her accomplishments on the karate circuit, Linda Denley has been acknowledged in so many remarkable ways such as “Competitor of the Year” and not surprisingly “Instructor of the Year 1999″.

In 1980, she was the very first female to be inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame!

Her fighting skills did not go unnoticed by the TV and movie industry either:

Linda Denley worked with Jackie Chan in “The Armour of God” and Chuck Norris in an episode of “Walker, Texas Ranger”.

Today, 6th dan Linda Denley owns the Texas Black Belt Academy in Houston and has dedicated her time and energy to helping kids reach their full potential not only inside the dojo, but in whatever they do in life.

And here, I believe Linda Denley, Karate Superwoman from Houston, Texas, is paving “a path of inspiration” for many.

Girl Power Expressed Through Karate Kata Perfection

If you have been following this blog lately you probably have noticed that I like to mix things up between different martial arts styles such as Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu aka BJJ aka Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Western Boxing, Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun Kung Fu, just to name a few.

Today, I’m in the mood for some really impressive Karate moves. The kind of moves you see when true artists are at work or better performing a kata.

For those of you not familiar with kata, here a short description:

Kata is a Japanese word for choreographed patterns of movements that can be performed either solo or in pairs or even groups.

Kata is commonly known in the Japanese martial arts such as Aikido, Judo, Karate, Iaido and others.

You come across patterns of movements in other non-Japanese martial arts such as Tai Chi Chuan and Taekwondo. They just use Chinese and Korean words instead.

To get a better idea of what karate kata perfection looks like, have a look at this video clip of the Japanese Female Kata Team competing in 2008.

Amazing! But I will let you be the judge.

“Is This The Holy Grail For Martial Arts Competitors?” Part 1

I came across an article that I would like to share with you and I sincerely hope that it benefits you, whether you are a martial artist or not.

I firmly believe that some of my own personal experience in point karate competition would have presented itself differently had I had the access to some of the information that Morty Lefkoe shares.

“How the Mind Determines Athletic Success”
By Morty Lefkoe

In order to make this blog post personally valuable to you, I’d like to start by asking you a couple of questions.

First, whatever sport you play, how often do you play up to your potential, in other words, if you rate your best performance a 10, how often do you play at a 10? …

The next question I’d like you to answer is: If you can play at a 10 sometimes, why can’t you do it more frequently? You obviously have the physical skills and ability or you wouldn’t have been able to do it that one time. …

I’d like to suggest that the reason your game isn’t consistent and you don’t play up to your potential most of the time is strictly mental—specifically, your beliefs, attitudes, and feelings—all of which are within your power to change.

Obviously you need the appropriate skills for your sport but, as Jim Loehr (a sports psychologist who has worked with a number of successful professional athletes) points out, “the distinguishing trademark of great players in any sport is not so much their exceptional talent, but rather their exceptional ability to consistently play at the peak of their talent.”

Many others agree. For example, a story in USA Today pointed out: “For years, golf’s top players have agreed: little separates the physical capabilities of the world’s 100 or so best players. The difference between success and failure, they agree, largely depends on their approach, their handling of crisis situations on the course, their response to pressure, the ability to handle their emotions and fears and doubts. In short, it’s the mental side of the game.”

If you’re like most serious amateur competitors, you don’t complain very much about your physical limitations.
Here is a list of some of the most common complaints. Which sound familiar to you?

“It’s not that I don’t know what to do, it’s that I don’t do what I know.”
“The harder I try, the worse I seem to perform.”
“I know exactly what I’m doing wrong on my forehand (or my putting, or my footwork, or my swimming stroke, etc.), but I just can’t seem to break the habit.”
“When I concentrate on one thing I’m supposed to be doing, I flub something else.”
“I’m my own worst enemy.”

Notice that every one of these complaints is a mental one. Moreover, all of them are the result of pressure you put on yourself.

In fact, Loehr contends, “If you can take the pressure off yourself, then winning will take care of itself.”

Why? What’s the connection between pressure and your ability to perform?

Tony Schwartz points out in a New York Magazine article that “Thoughts about losing or playing poorly may lead to fear and anxiety, which prompt an array of physiological reactions such as increased heart rate, muscle tightness, shortness of breath, reduced blood flow to the hands and feet, and even narrowing of vision. All of these reactions make it impossible to play up to one’s potential. ”


“The emotional downfall for most players is mistakes,” according to Loehr. “Mistakes can trigger strong emotional responses (disappointment, embarrassment, anger, temper, low intensity) that can cause inconsistent or poor play. For some players, nearly every mistake represents an emotional crisis. But it’s interesting to note that everyone manages mistakes the same way when they’re playing well. They simply turn and walk away confidently, as if nothing happened. Ideally, the best emotional response to mistakes is to get challenged. A mistake is simply feedback to the mental computer that the shot wasn’t perfect, that some adjustment is necessary. And the simple fact is that without mistakes, the learning process would be permanently blocked. No mistakes, no progress. But negative emotion also blocks the progress and is a natural response to mistakes. So what’s the answer? The answer is that players must train emotionally so that mistakes produce the right emotional response.”

It might be possible to “train emotionally,” but ultimately emotions are the result of beliefs and conditionings.

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of this intriguing article with very useful insights at TheMartialArtsReporter.com

Source: http://www.recreateyourlife.com

Some Great Martial Arts Quotes

I found some quotes that begin with  Bruce Lee and end with Bruce Lee. Enjoy!

To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.
- Bruce Lee

You may train for a long time, but if you merely move your hands and feet and jump up and down like a puppet, learning Karate is not very different from learning a dance. You will never have reached the heart of the matter; you will have failed to grasp the quintessence of karate-do.
- Gichin Funakoshi

Aikido is not a defensive martial art. Being defensive is a terrible way to go through life.This means be proactive. It does not mean hit first.
- Dojo wall

The ultimate aim of karate-do lies not in victory or defeat,
but in the perfection of the character of its participants.”
- Gichin Funakoshi

A black belt is nothing more than a belt that goes around your waist. Being a black belt is a state of mind and attitude.”
- Rick English

The art of the sword consists of never being concerned with victory or defeat, with strength or weakness, of not moving one step forward, nor one step backward, or the enemy not seeing me and my not seeing the enemy. Penetrating to that which is fundamental before the separation of heaven and earth where even yin and yang cannot reach, one instantly attains proficiency in the art.
- Takuan

He who knows not and knows not he knows not, He is a fool- Shun him. He who knows not and knows he knows not, He is simple- Teach him. He who knows and knows not he knows, He is asleep- Awaken him. He who knows and knows that he knows, He is wise- follow him.
- Bruce Lee

Truth has no path. Truth is living and, therefore, changing. Awareness is without choice, without demand, without anxiety; in that state of mind, there is perception. To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person. Awareness has no frontier; it is giving of your whole being, without exclusion.
- Bruce Lee