Posts Tagged ‘self defence in Basingstoke’

What’s in a name?

Written by bryan. Posted in Martial Arts

I’ve been asked many times over the years, what style of Karate do you do? Too many people get too hung up on styles, particularly those that have done some prior training.

Black Judo, Black Belt Karate in Basingstoke

Black Judo, Black Belt Karate in Basingstoke

To a great extent Karate is Karate whether its Goju, Shito-Ryu, Wado, Shotokan, Uechi Ryu, Kyokushinkai or whatever (see for more information on styles). Each style has something to offer, but at the end of the day, there are only so many ways to kick, strike, block, throw and punch. Of course an individual practitioner might tell you…….. that their style is better than style x because ……well generally there are lots of different reasons and most of the reasons given aren’t usually genuine in the sense of being correct.

All the styles that I’ve ever seen or trained in work at long (kicking) range, medium (punching) range and close (elbows/knees) range. They all teach front punch, reverse punch, upper block, round kick etc etc. Okay there may be some stylistic difference between them. For example how they generate power in performing a reverse punch you can use your hips (amongst other parts of the body) to generate power, but double hip, single hip or no hips? Consider a Roundhouse kick, do you impact with the ball of the foot, instep, shin or even big toe? Linear or circular, hard or soft, Kime or no Kime…….I could go on, but you probably get the idea, that’s are some differences between styles, but what’s necessary to keep in mind is that If you watch two exponents from different styles fighting, there is very little to choose between them in terms of repertoire of techniques, nor in terms of which style wins most enough at an international competitive level.

What is more important is the individual teacher and their ability to impart knowledge with some substance behind it. If we take one style or lets narrow it down to an association within that style and then further to a single club within that association, there are and should be differences down to the dojo level, let alone as you investigate across a cross section of different clubs in an association. Its not rocket science really to figure out why. As individuals we are all different; – weight, flexibility, strength, co-ordination, age, body type, fitness levels etc. Given this fact, why do some instructors insist that we have a vanilla flavoured Karate style.

I remember Kanazawa Sensei at a grading saying to someone grading for Sandan (3rd Dan,)  okay your way is different to mine, but at your level you must change your Karate to suit you. Karate should be different its not meant to be a one size fits all Martial Art, its meant to be personalised by the practitioner, rather than developing clones of a particular instructor. Heaven forbid that people look different when training in class, it makes the dojo look so untidy. I found myself out of favour at a course once, when the instructor moved my punching a fraction. I asked him during a break and with no-one else present, why? His answer was because it looked better, not that it was more practical or more effective, but because of aesthetics, so that I’d look the same as the rest of his students. It’s sometimes confuses visiting students when they train with us to see a Kata being performed in different ways by different students. For example is a particular leg movement a crescent kick, knee stomp, knee block or step? Does it really matter which of these moves is used as long as the practitioner understands why they do the application? I don’t believe that it does, of course I’m open to being persuaded, but as far as I’ve seen so far the study of Karate and in fact Martial Arts is a personal thing. I’ve trained with many of the most respected instructors both from within the UK and also from overseas and the quality that they share is their individuality, regardless of which style they are meant to be practicing.

Don’t worry about the name of a style, the approach of the instructor is the most important thing.

As the pop group Bananarama and Fun Boy Three sang many years ago “It’s not what you do, but the way that you do it.”


Distance against a Knife (Self Defence 101)

Written by bryan. Posted in Self Defence

Knife, Knives, Self Protection, Self Defence,So you know Karate right! 

Hey you’re safe then, all those hours, weeks, months and years of practising against a partner means you can block and take away the attackers knife. You’re invincible, you’re a superhero, you might even be a Shaolin Monk, if you’ve work hard enough.


Just like this.


Think again!

Have a look at this video, and see how fast a situation can go  bad and how many times trained law enforcement professionals can get cut in mere seconds.


Knife fighting isn’t precise, it’s frantic, it’s messy and it’s dangerous as hell. The difference between the two clips is obvious, the first shows knife defence in a clinic manner where the ‘nice’ attacker only attacks once and then lets the defender ‘duff him up.’ The second shows a much more realistic approach from a knife fighter with multiple unrehearsed attacks ‘killing’ a resisting partner.


Use distance for safety. American Law Enforcement Officers tested distance needed for a LEO to be able to draw a gun and shoot a knife wielding attacker. Generally they found that the officer with the gun needed 21 feet of distance to be able to draw and shoot. Note the use of the word generally, some people are faster and some are slower.  In many respects, it’s semantic, the key message is, whatever you think of as being a safe distance, probably isn’t.


Key messages

Therefore in order to reduce the chances of being cut or stabbed:

Manufacture distance to reduce the accuracy of an edged weapon (take flight – not fight).
• Where possible use man-made features or natural obstacles to act as barriers (i.e. shields).
• SHOUT for help and use whatever is close for defensive measures.
• If you end up fighting, expect to get cut.





Are you getting what you want from your training?

Written by bryan. Posted in Coaching

Karate club Basingstoke, Kickboxing BasingstokeWe may all have different reasons for taking up Martial Arts but we should all have goals and aspirations for what we want to achieve from our training.

It may be that you want to learn how to defend yourself, make new friends, achieve a black belt, be successful in competition, lose weight or get fit. It may be that you have more than one goal and your goals will quite often change over time.

Goals are good – they keep us motivated and give us the drive and determination to work hard and be successful but they do have to be realistic, this is the difference between a dream and a goal. I can dream about being an Olympic runner but given my age and current lack of skill this is not a realistic goal! However if I set myself the target of improving my current running skill and took sensible steps to putting a training plan in place then I have an achievable goal.

Quite often people become disillusioned with their training because they feel they have not achieved their goals and will then give up on their training, or alternatively achieve their original goal and instead of setting a new target for their continued development they give up. Therefore it’s really important that you both set good goals for your own training and also encourage others to be realistic in terms of what they can achieve for themselves, both now and on an ongoing basis.

With this in mind, think back to why you started Martial Arts. What did you want to achieve? If you have achieved that goal what is your new goal? If you haven’t achieved your original goal are you still working your way towards it and how are you going to get there?

To help you plan your goals and achieve the desired results from your training you have to think about the following:

  • Set goals which are realistic and achievable, both in terms of time frame and outcome.
  • Breakdown how you are going to achieve those results into practical steps which you need to take.

If you feel you’re not achieving what you want from your training think about the following:

  • Do you know what it is that you want to achieve from your training or are you just ‘going through the motions’?
  • Speak to your senior coaches or someone else who has already achieved what you are working towards. Seek advice on steps you can take to help you get there.
  • Your training is your training – whilst coaches can advise you as to what to do and how to do it, only you can apply the right attitude, determination and effort to make it worthwhile and successful.
  • You get back what you put in – the harder you work, the more you succeed.
  • Listen to the advice you are given – we can help you achieve your goals but only if you take on board any advice you are given, act on it and practice it.
  • Re-assess your goals and look to make amendments in terms of time frame and steps needed to achieve, but don’t give up.

  • If it’s important to you, you will find a way to make it happen. If it’s not, you will find an excuse.
Martial Arts Standards Agency British Judo British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – National Governing Body The World Union of Karate Federations Shi Kon Martial Arts British Council for Chinese Martial Arts – National Governing Body Safeguarding

Contact Us

Telephone (01256) 364104.


Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy,
The Annex @ ITT Industries,
Jays Close,
RG22 4BA