8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use Gloves by Jesse Enkamp

1. Striking with a glove is easy. Striking with an unprotected fist is hard.

You have to know how to punch correctly when you don’t wear gloves. Understanding exactly how to align your wrist, how to twist your forearm, which part of the fist to strike with and how to squeeze your fingers together is just the tip of the iceberg.

2. Even extremely skilled fighters tend to break their hands in street-fights.

World famous MMA fighter Fedor Emilianenko displaying his broken hand. Not the first time.

Many fighters get so used to wearing gloves that their hands get more prone to injury when they happen to not wear gloves.

Often they’ve never even practised how to make a proper fist without a glove on. After all, wearing gloves and wraps is alot like wearing shoes and socks for the hands.

It makes you soft.

3. Gloves throw off your distancing.

Most gloves are so padded that they extend anywhere from one to three inches from your fist. This will make your strikes come up short when you take off your gloves as you’ll be more used to another striking distance. Can be a really bad thing in the wrong situation.

4. A gloved fist turns a punch into a push.

Since the padding of a glove can be very spongy as you hit your target, you’ll sometimes end up pushing through the glove as you make contact. Even more so when you’re tired. One does not have to a genious to realize that this isn’t optimal.

5. Gloves allow you to get away with hitting areas you would never hit barefisted.

When you’re training with gloves on, you tend to not pay much attention on exactly where you are hitting. You might occasionally hit an elbow, top or side of the head or maybe even somebody’s knee and not think anything about it; after all you’re wearing gloves and wraps to protect your hands from such inconveniences.

But do that bareknuckled and you will think twice.

6. Gloves produce lazy hands and wrists.

World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao shadow boxing. Notice the half open hands.

When you train exclusively with gloves and wraps, you end up relying on them more than you know. For example, you often forget to tighten your fist on contact, due to the fact that your wrap and glove don’t allow for your fist to clench properly.

Have you ever seen a boxer do shadow boxing without gloves? Their hands are half open all of the time, just like they are inside a glove.

You also end up relaxing your wrist since the wrap is supporting it.

Of course this is a recipe for disaster, or an accident waiting to happen.

7. Target areas are bigger with a gloved fist.

Some gloves can be almost two to three times the size of your hand. Or even more. Depending on how much padding they have, that makes for a very large striking surface to hit with.

Not good.

Your bread and butter strikes won’t hit or impact the same when you land them bareknuckled, since the target area will be much smaller. In short, your accuracy will suffer.

8. Gloved fists make your strikes heavier, due to the weight of the glove.

Gloves can weigh up to one or two pounds per glove. It depends on the size.

This means that you will get used to hitting with that weight on the end of your wrist as you start to throw that leather around. But let me warn you it won’t be there when you have to throw those same punches bareknuckled. “Hey, where did all that mass go?”

Your fists will be lighter and will be carrying less mass to strike with, which will have many consequences. For example, your hooks won’t tend to pull away from you as you throw them, since the centrifugal force won’t be as strong (you do realize that’s why big hooks are easier to throw with gloves on don’t you?)

And that’s about enough, I think.

If these eight reasons won’t get you to abandon your gloves and throw away your wraps, then there’s really only one thing left to do:

Get yourself a makiwara and learn it the hard way.

By Jesse

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A TRIBUTE TO ANDY HUG by Chad Sanderson

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Thirteen years ago, today, the kickboxing world lost one of it’s greatest and most treasuredfighters- Andreas “Andy” Hug.

There is perhaps no kickboxer, besides maybe Masato, that embodies the “Samurai Spirit” of K-1 more than Hug. Born in Switzerland to a widowed mother, Andy Hug became a star inJapan when the Kyokushin Karate blackbelt (and one of the most well respected non-Japanesekaratekas of all-time) defeated the original K-1 Champion, Branko “The Croatian Tiger” Cikatic directly after his celebrated WGP win

Hug became an instant international star, well known for wearing his Karate Gi and blackbeltinto the ring, brutal Ax kicks, and the ever enduring “Hug Tornado,”- a lethal spinning kick aimedat the opponent’s thigh. The technique required such precision and timing that Japanese fansbelieved no one else on Earth was capable of executing such a move in high level competition.

Today, some might see Karate as a novelty. In the age of MMA, Boxing, Muay Thai, and otherbrutal stand-up sports, time honored traditions like forms and board breaking may seem out ofplace among hard-nosed full combat action. Back in the early days of K-1 however, Karate wasrepresented by a wealth of significant talent like Francisco Filho, Sam Greco, Nicholas Pettas,and Glaube Feitosa. Of them all, Andy reigned supreme.Hug was one of the most popuar fighters in the world, not only for his humility and cameracharm, but also because he represented the Japanese sport of Karate in the face of dangerousMuay Thai, Savate, and Boxing practioners. While not being Japanese himself, he wasembraced by his adoptive country for rigorously dedicating himself to the tradition of Japan’smost time-tested stand-up sport.

While Hug is often passed on the Greatest of All-Time list of kickboxers, few remember that theSwiss fighter holds one of the most impressive records in the sport, with wins over ErnestoHoost, Mike Bernardo (x2), Peter Aerts (x2), Stefan Leko, Stan Longinidis, Sam Greco, RaySefo (x2), Cro Cop, Jerome Le Banner, and Musashi.

Another forgotten piece of trivia about Hug is that he was a natural middleweight. Even with hissignificant size disadvantage against fighters like Aerts, Le Banner, and Bernardo, Hug’smovement, power, and ferocity was so high that he could break even the most talented K-1 starin their primes.

Despite all his other fantastic performance, there is perhaps, no greater moment in Hug’scareer than his defining K-1 WGP win in 1996.

Andy had been struggling with depression after losing by KO to South Africa’s Mike Bernardo,and dropping a decision to “Mr. Perfect” Ernesto Hoost earlier in the year. He felt at odds withthe sport, and questioned whether or not he had it in him to take home the WGP title. After arejuvenating win against a younger Jerome Le Banner to qualify for the 1996 K-1 WGP, Hug put on three classic fights: A vicious first round KO against an outlcassed Bart Vale, a hard fought double extra round decision win over Ernesto Hoost, and one of the greatest knockouts inhistory against Hug’s greatest rival, Mike Bernardo, to cinch the coveted K-1 crown, and the title of greatest kickboxer in the world.

You can watch Hug’s WGP winning battles with LeBanner, Hoost, and Bernardo below.

Andy Hug won his last kickboxing match against Nobu Hayashi by KO in the very first round. A

month later he was diagnosed with leukemia. Less than a day after the news was made public,

Hug succumbed to the illness. His death was a national tragedy in both Switzerland and Japan,and the iconic Karateka was laid to rest in Kyoto’s Hoshuin temple.

There will never be another fighter like Hug. While Kyokushin is still represented in kickboxingthrough budding superstars like Davit Kyria, the charisma, talent, and Bushido spirit Hug possessed was unparalleled, and has been etched into the annals of K-1 history forever.

 

What Every Karate-ka Should Know About “Kiai!” by Jesse Enkamp

Can you teach someone “fighting spirit”?

Tricky question.

  • Some people would say that you can’t teach it – it has to come from “the inside”.
  • Other people say that we don’t need to teach it – it’s such a “natural thing”.
  • And lastly, some people would say that we shouldn’t even teach it – there’s no use for it in “modern society”.

Oh yeah?

With that sort of mentality, perhaps we should just stop teaching Karate altogether? Self-defense is such a “natural thing” that it will automagically come “from the inside” if it’s ever needed in our “modern society”, right?

Right.

Except, here’s the problem with that:

We, as human beings, are such crazily complex animals that we often need to be taught even the most basic, natural things.

We actually need to teach people how to run barefoot – even though it’s how we were born!

I mean, we teach kids how to brush their teeth – even though putting one’s hand to the mouth is natural.

In the same manner, people make loads of money teaching athletes how to run, deadlift and squat – even though running, squatting and lifting things are 100% natural movements.

And in Karate, of course, we regularly teach people how to cultivate their innate “fighting spirit” – even though survival is the very first law of nature and should come automatically to everyone.

Well.

It doesn’t.

Because modern society has lulled us in to a Disney-like sense of constant security; where our biggest fight each day is the internal Starbucks struggle of whether to have a regular caffè latte or decaf.

But here’s the thing, compadre:

If there’s one single thing that my years of traveling so far has taught me – through interviewing, training with, competing against and observing some of the very best Karate people on earth – it has to be this: The best Karate-ka all possess a die-hard fighting spirit of incredible proportions.

And this unyielding sense of grit always manifests itself in one phenomenon:

The dojo is on of few places in everyday life where adults are not only allowed, but even encouraged, to scream out loud. Maximize this.

Their kiai.

Hence, in my opinion, the quickest way to teach fighting spirit – to anyone on any level – is as brutally effective as it is surprisingly simple: Reverse engineer this process. Learn the kiai. And don’t only learn it, but study it. Watch it. Think about it. Practice it. Re-discover it.

Then let it transform you.

Because not only will a kiai make your throat sore, but more importantly it will kickstart your fighting spirit like nothing else can. And that – to me – is the real purpose and value of kiai:

A veritable litmus test of your fighting spirit.

But of course, there’s an art to kiai. And even some science too.

With that being said, here’s a couple of things every Karate-ka should know about kiai:

First of all, what is “kiai”, exactly?

To put it super simply; kiai is that scream you hear in most Asian martial arts.

(Not to be confused with grunting).

Although many people think kiai means something along the lines of “battle cry” or “spirited shout”, the truth is actually a little bit different. A quick look at the kanji (Sino-Japanese ideograms) that make up the word should give you a hint as to what the term really means:

  • Ki = Energy
  • Ai = Join

In other words, kiai is the convergence of your energy.

Simple as that.

Nothing mysterious or magical about it.

Thus, when you scream kiai, you are not only “screaming”, but more importantly compressing and delivering an instant release of your stored energy.

(Of course, there exists heated debate among people in the martial arts community regarding the whole “ki/chi/qi” energy thing. Most of those people live on fluffly clouds. Here’s what ki really is.)

So…

When should you use kiai, then?

Here’s when you should use kiai:

  • When you want to channel your energy.
  • When you need to kick your fighting spirit in the ass.
  • When you’re attacking or countering an opponent.
  • When you do a kata.
  • When you want to demonstrate your power.
  • When you need to breathe.
  • When you want to startle your opponent.
  • When your friend’s dog poops on your Oriental carpet for the third time in a row (note: stop screaming when the cops arrive).

Simple enough.

So how exactly should one perform a proper kiai?

Well, there’s more to it than screaming.

Check it:

Here’s how to do a pretty awesome kiai, mate.

  • Open your hands.
  • Put your hands by your sides, standing like a boss.
  • Push hard on both sides of your belly (below your ribs) with the inner ridges of your hands (the space between your thumb and index finger).
  • Now cough.
  • (You heard me.)
  • Cough again.
  • Feel that? That was your kiai muscle.
  • Congratulations!
    Hold your hands here.

The intra-abdominal pressure you’re experiencing with your hands is exactly where your kiai should originate.

(That’s right – not in your throat!)

However, at this stage you’re just letting your body work subconsciously. The next step is to do it consciously, with your mind (using a shout instead of a cough), and then in conjunction with a technique.

These three steps are known as “shin-gi-tai” (lit. “mind-technique-body”), and together they represent the very glue that holds your kiai together.

Fighting spirit.

Now, let’s top this off with three commonly asked questions:

First one:

“I think kiai is pretty silly. Do I really need to scream just to “re-discover” my fighting spirit?”

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

More likely, you’re probably just afraid of looking silly. But the only one who looks silly in a dojo is the person who doesn’t scream. Also, even if you think kiai is “silly”, don’t underestimate the value of placebo, closely related to the secret of reigi.

Second question:

“I can’t find “my” kiai. How should it sound?”

Imagine the dark sound of rolling thunder. Then, suddenly, a crack of lightning viciously strikes down!

Now copy that sound!

Many people try to articulate the word “kiai” with their lips, not knowing that this is just the name of the term – not the actual thing you shout.

So how should a great kiai sound, then?

It’s 110% personal.

Some scream “eei!”, some scream “yaa!”, some scream “ooh!”. But the sound coming out of your mouth is actually secondary.

Focus on the breathing and fighting spirit parts first.

Last question:

“But Jesse-san, I’m too shy. I can’t scream!”

Shy? Oh please.

If somebody held a gun to your head and told you to scream at the top of your lungs, you would scream without even blinking.

So use that imagery and

Let.

Go.

You’re not shy.

You’re just undermotivated.

Now, to really bring this point home, let me end with a story – as told to me directly by one of my old-school sensei back when I used to live in Okinawa:

Interview: Shihan Cameron Quinn by Evergrey Joy Lokadottr

Shihan Cameron Quinn

Shihan Cameron Quinn

Shihan Cameron Quinn, author of “The Budo Karate of Mas Oyama,” Uchi Deshi, translator, and friend of Sosai Mas Oyama, is well known in the Kyokushin world. Highly knowledgeable about all things Kyokushin, intelligent and well-spoken, I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview him, and I hope that you will be equally delighted by his answers. OSU! -Ev

Ev: OSU, Quinn Shihan! Thank you for agreeing to this interview!  It’s an honor. For those who don’t know your history, can you please give me a brief summary of your Kyokushin career? How you came to start training, where you trained, your time with Sosai and beyond?

Shihan Quinn: I began as a 12 year old, mainly because I felt a little bullied and wanted to get stronger. I was also quite small for my age so wanted to do anything that would help me grow. I looked up at my instructor, Sensei Frank Everett, and thought, “Wow, if I train really hard one day I’ll be as big and strong as him.” He was 5’ 4”.

Ev: I have been lucky enough to read your book, “The Budo Karate of Mas Oyama.” It is a very unique book, and I think it’s a good read for everyone, but it’s very very hard to come by a copy of it- it tends to sell for anywhere from $400 to $850 USD. I know you’ve been planning to publish a new expanded edition for quite some time now. What needs to happen to get it published again, and do you have an idea yet when that might be?

Shihan Quinn: Anniversary edition will be the same, so not an expanded edition. I am doing a limited, numbered print run. We are in the process of sorting out a printer now. So the main challenges are technical, relating to reproducing and republishing. Shouldn’t be too long.

Ev: What do you now consider to be the highlight of your Kyokushin career?

Shihan Quinn: Hard to say any single event or experience is THE highlight because my career is a sum of all the beautiful parts I have been blessed with. And I think the value of each experience was because of the experiences that came before it. Having being able to go and live for a year in Japan to train as a 17 year old was a real blessing. I met Sosai. I trained at Honbu. I studied Japanese fairly diligently. I toughened up. Then developing a close relationship with Sosai that lasted 17 years affected my life profoundly. The people I have met through Kyokushin is wonderful. Training and competing against strong opponents then channeling that experience into teaching and seeing what effect Kyokushin had on students was a blessing. In fact that transforming power of Kyokushin shall always remain a highlight for me. Kyokushin is a vehicle that opens doors to perhaps previously unconsidered possibilities. It transforms anyone who makes it their own through hard training and focused attention. That is the gift Sosai left us. So with the highlights come the responsibilities of ensuring that opportunity is passed on.

Honbu, 1976, aged 17.

Honbu, 1976, aged 17.

 

Ev: If Sosai were here today, when MMA is so popular, do you think he would be changing Kyokushin, and if so, how?

Shihan Quinn: MMA is not new but it has become popularised, yes. Don’t forget that when Sosai was accepting challenge matches in the 50‘s it was against top level grapplers and with very limited rules, very MMA. 

All fighting arts and systems have fluency and value. They are fluid in the way they have been developed technically and have value according to the needs they were developed to meet. MMA has changed. In the early days it was all BJJ because they were used to the vale tudo no-holds-barred rules. The whole UFC notion of MMA in the early 90‘s was designed to market BJJ. And it was extremely successful. Every art that challenged it was used to ending the fight when the opponent was on their back. Karate knocks them down and wins. Wrestling pins them and wins. Judo throws them or holds them down for 30 seconds and wins. But with BJJ they are the best at fighting off their back so for them often the game begins there. And you can argue that is far more realistic in terms of a real fist fight. So the whole martial arts world was put on notice. Some had the courage to embrace the own art’s shortcomings. Some denied it and went back to their lah-lah land of make believe. Others, the Gene LeBells of the world, said, “What have I been telling you all along!?” 
These days you have MMA fights that don’t even go to the ground. It is very often all stand up. Fighters and fighting arts have addressed their weaknesses and learned from their mistakes and with a new confidence they are more comfortable to go back to doing what they do best or in some cases going forward to what they do better. So you have Olympic medallist wrestlers preferring to stay on their feet and knock their opponents out with a punch or BJJ black belts winning with head kicks. It is very interesting and very confronting if you have any doubts about your abilities you are not willing to expose. And everyone who is honest with themselves has benefited.
So every martial artist who gets it knows that it is outside of their comfort zone that optimal growth and development occurs. Not too far out; just far enough so that the extending beyond your limits doesn’t force you to completely lose your balance. Too far out is as bad as too far in.
In a way Sosai did the same thing to mainstream martial arts in Japan in the 60’s. It forced people to question the validity of what they taught in terms of a practical fighting art. Sosai taught us that if we want to be a Martial Artist we cannot be ignorant of other arts. So he would have acknowledged MMA for sure. He even said his strongest student was Jon Bluming, who happened to be a world class judo-ka before he was even doing Kyokushin.Ev: My Sensei taught me that it is important to have a strong core martial art that one becomes very proficient in, and then it is a very good idea to cross-train in other styles to fill in the gaps. For example, Kyokushin is a stand-up style, and does not really go into grappling, so he says that it is good to learn a grappling style. Can you give me your thoughts about cross-training? How important is it? At what point should one consider starting to cross-train?

Shihan Quinn: That’s what MMA is all about, yes. Cross training is healthy if for no other reason than it forces you to face your own weaknesses. How important is it? That is up to each person. Some people don’t even fight outside of the comfort of their own dojo. They don’t embrace a strong tournament career but have a few hard spars and think that is Kyokushin. So even in Kyokushin you have people who can’t face their own truth. For them really hard and confronting kumite against someone who is trying to knock them out is cross training. For others that is a standard part of daily training. How much cross training you do, what you do it in and where you do it depends on your own goals. Everyone is different.

Ev: There seems to be a lot of bad blood and animosity between the different heads of a number of different knockdown organizations, especially within Kyokushin itself… differences that seem irreconcilable. Do you think these divides will continue as these people eventually step aside, and a new generation of karateka take the reins? Is there hope for a more united Kyokushin community, despite there being so many factions?

Shihan Quinn: Who knows. I have no crystal ball but human nature is fairly predictable. Some nations and families war for generations, to the point where they don’t even know what they are warring about. The only way it will change in Kyokushin is if we behave in a way that encourages forgiveness, reconciliation and unity. If people place their own personal agenda ahead of that it will be difficult to find resolution. Whilst there is always hope there are many challenges and the irreconcilable difference between the heads is only one of them. Greed has a lot to do with it. Jealousy too. That and living a Kyokushin life that is not in sync with Sosai’s teachings. I have, and continue to, train with students from many of the groups. This year alone, 2012, I have trained at IKO Matsui dojos, IKO Matsushima Dojos, Kyokushin-kan dojos, IKO Sosai dojos, independent Kyokushin dojos, Rengokai Union dojos, dojos of Kyokushin breakaways, the academies of two dozen different BJJ organizations and non BJJ grappling schools, boxing gyms, kickboxing gyms and wrestling gyms. And when you train hard and do your best, the energy is the same. Every Kyokushin organization loves Sosai and does the best they can with what they have to express that. So those who train get it. Those who train with humility and focus get it even more. Those that train with gratitude and love and mutual respect get it best. So in some ways the united Kyokushin community already exists. The only thing that stops it is in us.

Ev: Where do you see Kyokushin in 20 years?

Shihan Quinn: Hard to say. I know I’ll still be training and teaching. Sosai said there is no Kyokushin Karate. There is Cameron karate, Ev karate, our own karate. That’s what matters because that is where Kyokushin will be in 20 years: where we take it on a personal level.

Ev: What, in your opinion, was Sosai’s vision for the future of Kyokushin?

Shihan Quinn: Before he died he was talking about the new Genesis of Kyokushin. I think he had achieved a lot with the full contact tournaments and showing the world the spirit of osu through his karate. He was multi-faceted so I am sure he would have continued to grow Kyokushin in the depth and breadth of what it offered. That is not an invitation to free interpretation though, as some have done. So what Sosai’s vision was is not as important right now as what our own vision is. We have to be the example of where we would like to see it go and make sure it goes in a constructive, righteous direction that serves.

Translating for Sosai, 1988 British Commonwealth Titles

Translating for Sosai, 1988 British Commonwealth Titles

 

Ev: So what defines Kyokushin? What is the heart and soul of it?

Shihan Quinn: For me, it’s honesty. The courage it develops in full contact fighting. The honesty in consistent training. The spirit of osu. The dojo kun. Sosai’s saying, “Without the experience of real fighting, there is no proof. Without proof there is no trust. Without trust there is no respect.” When I travel to different dojos in different countries Kyokushin has a certain blend of realistic hardness and traditional values of respect and humility. Every one has different balances of that yin and yang, which for them is their truth. No one who lies to themselves in training can ever understand that. They may have the gi and the belt with all the gold bars and the certificates on the wall but none of that means anything really if there is no humility, honesty in training, self awareness. But when that honesty is there, you can walk into any school of any style anywhere and they will recognize that for what it is. That is the real thread that connects us.  

Ev: When does it stop being Kyokushin?

Shihan Quinn: When it crosses over the line of violence, unkindness and inconsideration. Being considerate of other starts at home, the filial piety that Sosai loved so much, and Sosai said no one who has not developed that is welcome as a student of his.

Ev: How do you define budo?

Shihan Quinn: The way of cultivating the warrior within. One must become a warrior. That’s why I don’t mind bullies in the world. They’ve always been there and always will be and trying to get rid of them does little more than cultivate an imbalance of weakness. We need bullies to remind us to toughen hard. You have to be a warrior. You have to be tough. The world does not suffer fools, victims and losers kindly. Everyone has it within and budo is one very good way of bringing it out. Until one embraces the mindset of a warrior, it’s really just running around in circles. Budo means the courage to look within at ourself when no one else is around. It means the courage to keep the promises you made to yourself and if you fail, get up, dust off and try again, without an ounce of feeling sorry for yourself in the process.

Ev: Which do you think is more important in Kyokushin- the traditional karate aspect, the budo karate aspect, or the knockdown aspect?

Shihan Quinn: Without all three one’s karate is incomplete. The relative importance of those aspects changes with experience, age and current and long-term goals. It can even change from day to day. Also there are other aspects as well. Everyone is different. What’s important is that whatever facet holds the greatest value to us at present, we should embrace that fully and honestly.

Ev: What is the one thing that you hope your students come away with from their time training under you?

Shihan Quinn: To take what they learn of the spirit of Kyokushin into every aspect of their life and use it to face whatever challenge comes with confidence. And to share that with balance, love and gratitude. 

Ev: I know that you are a very spiritual person. How can Kyokushin help people advance spiritually?

Shihan Quinn: Anything that helps one to overcome weakness and become a warrior helps one to advance spiritually. Some paths advance faster than others, that’s all. But the danger is that if one is not prepared for the strength it brings, it can be a drawback too and cause a regression spiritually. Everything balances. Where there is potential for beneficial growth there is also the danger of detrimental regression. Many great souls have been blessed with great power and fallen as a result. Some people use the power they have gained through training in Kyokushin in a destructive and malevolent way. In that case, there is no advancing spiritually.

Ev: What is the biggest trap a person training in Kyokushin might fall into that would prevent them from advancing spiritually?

Shihan Quinn: Using the strength developed through training for selfish gain and malevolent intent. Kyokushin Karate is empowering. How someone uses that power is in them. That’s what matters. It’s like a gun. Guns can be a benefit or a drawback, depending on the intent of the shooter. 

Ev: How do you define enlightenment?

Shihan Quinn: It’s not really a word I use much so I have never given a definition much thought. Illuminated wisdom? It seems to be overly interchanged with ‘self-realization’ which is a very different kettle of fish.

Ev: Please tell me about something that has moved you lately.

Shihan Quinn: You mean on an emotional level? Not my car or the plane I flew back from Japan in yesterday? I get moved daily when I see even small acts of courage. Unruffled patience is very moving. And consideration. I don’t think it’s really the big things that count so much. It is very moving to see people going about their business with humility, patience, single-mindedness and kindness. That is moving because it shows great discipline. 

Ev: What is, above all else, the message you want to send to the world?

Shihan Quinn: I don’t really have any big message. Just be kind to one another. Be grateful for what comes or doesn’t come because it’s all part of the learning. Be aware, you know. Be conscious of what you’re thinking, saying and doing because it impacts on everyone else, in surprising ways. And be patient. That one quality is perhaps tied to mastery more than any other I think. As far as Kyokushin goes, be grateful to Sosai, your teacher and those you train with. And train consistently, above all else. It is the daily training that defines us as a karate-ka more than the big events. Even if you only have time for a single kata. By maintaining the habit when you are under pressure or don’t have time, you will build a tremendous consistency and willingness to train when you do have the opportunity. Your daily habits rule your world and define you more than anything else. 

When I was in Japan for the 5th World Tournament I went with the NZ team for a day in Kamakura. We had so much fun. And in the train on the way we met an interesting Zen monk. We chatted and he gave me two things. One was a bamboo stick, kind of like a walking stick. I still have it now, as a symbol of that monk’s serenity and renunciation. The second was a woodblock print he had made. It said, “Awaken each morning with a heart full of hope; live each day with a heart full of effort; retire each night with a heart full of gratitude.” Ev: Is there anything else you’d like to add? Anything you’ve always wanted to talk about in an interview but haven’t had the chance to?

Shihan Quinn: Stay above the line as best you can. That means being responsible. It means taking ownership of your outcomes, being accountable, being single-minded in your determination. It also means stop blaming your past experiences for your present inconsistencies, stop making excuses or denying that what comes or doesn’t come to you is not your fault. If it’s not you, who on earth is it? That kind of victim mentality is very destructive. We have that choice every day, every moment, to speak, think, act above the line as a leader, a victor, or below the line as a loser and a victim. People are incredibly good at rationalizing and justifying their behaviour. But if you are consistent you never have to do that. Just do your best to stay above the line and whatever you do, do it with joy.

Ev: Thank you very much for your time. OSU!

INTERVIEW WITH SHIHAN NIKLAS ALBRECHT

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Can I firstly say a big thank you for being so willing to do this interview with us; it’s a great honor to have an interview with you for OSU MAGAZINE. How and why you first started on your path in the Martial Arts?

Well this was a Bruce Lee Film I saw, and I was fascinated by the moves, punches and kicks – at this time I did not had an idea about the differences of Karate and Kung Fu – so I was looking for a Martial Arts school in my Area. The next one was over 15 Miles away, and with the age of 12 I needed to go with the bicycle or a little motorcycle. But it was fun and a challenge to.

 Having practiced and taught karate for a long time, what would you say has been the most rewarding aspect of this path?

That you get your mind focused and your body gets fit, is sure a good thing! But this Art is bringing people together! Not just friends, not just that you can travel around and make a lot of experience. No, in my point it change everything! Until I was 34 or 35 I was absolutely sure, that I will never get married and I never have kids. But 5 years ago I met Sempai Marina in my Dojo – now we are married and we have a wonderful son. We were travelling, we met wonderful people and we made a new family thrue Karate – it can’t be more wonderful!

Knockdown karate “back in the day” is very different to the way it was practiced today. What kinds of developments have you personally seen that are for the better?

More Techniques! More Speed! Mare Agility! It looks better now! Lets say 20 years ago, the most seen Technique was a Gedan Mawashi Geri and Tsukis. If you look at the Tournaments now it is spectacular. The other Aspect I think is realy importend, is that Kyokushin People try to remember the meaning of the Kata. A lot of Bunkai in Kyokushin was lost, cause of the Sport Aspect. Tradition and the old Secrets of Karate was lost because of Tournament Rules. But now I think some good Karatekas want to remember and want to come back to the real Karate. Karate was not made as a Sport, Karate is an Art – a special kind of Art!

And for the worse?

I am a Karateka, not a politician.

In the new age of modern martial arts how can Karateka around the world ensure Traditional Karate continues and does not get too “Watered down”?

That is simple. Forget about the Tournament rules and Judges! You will automatically find back to the real Budo Karate. As well we should look at our Katas a bit better and try to understand what the true meaning is. Did you know, that you can use the Naihanchi Kata for Ground Fighting? Also when we look at a typical Kyokushin Kata like Seienchin, you will find different Judo throws in there like a Kata Guruma or in the Kanku you find Hip throws. Now maybe you know this, but have you ever really trained it? Karate was made to fight against people with sticks, swords, armor and knifes. Now when you get the right mindset, you sure train in the right way. Its for life, not for a Tournament.


 In your own personal teaching, what would you say, technically speaking, are the most important things to stress?

Study the Human body, understand all Katas, learn about Body Mechanics. Budo Karate in any Kind of way, is the best foundation there is, cause it is the most realistic way of learning Karate – just add some parts and some more know how to it.

How would you say it has developed you?

15 Years of being in Security and also worked as a Bodyguard, I sure used the typical techniques. The Result was a lot of destruction, splintered bones, bloody noses and real bad words. After understanding the Kata and now using Techniques I did not understand before, it made it all easier. I could knock people out, I could hold them and lock them down without breaking something or ripping out an arm or something. Let’s say it this way – it made me more peaceful and made me think of life in another way. As well I teach Karate also in another way!

  Who would you say has been your biggest role model in Karate and why?

I can not name one single person, cause my journey through all the countries and meeting all this great Karatekas. But sure Shihan Beat Näpflin from Lucern Switzerland inspired me a lot. He brought it all under one roof. Family, Karate and Friends. This is also my Goal. And People like Hanshi Dustin Seale (Chicago IL) and Shihan Antonio la Salandra (Rome Italy) are helping and supporting me to find the right way!

   What is your favorite kata and why?

Tensho! This Kata makes you feel good! And all the Techniques in there are great for pure Selfdefence! Just wunderfull to use them and people don’t get it, why they sit on the bottom within a split second. If you are tired – do Tensho. If your are out of breath – do Tensho. Go get a friend and let him hold you on the Gi – do Tensho – and you will see what there is happening!

Please tell us what styles you have studied and the specific characteristics of each style?

I always studied Kyokushin Karate, and I love it! Kyokushin Karate is a Budo Karate and it is real.

As well I trainied Krav Maga. Krav Maga Moves are Karate Moves in a kind of shortcut way. But very effective and very straight. So for Karatekas very easy to learn and the Techniques have only one reason – go in there and destroy it.

To complete it I study Kyusho. Presure Points are very usefull, to prevent violations. Well this stands against the way of Krav Maga, but Life is always a Yin Yang Situation. If we want it or not. As well Kyusho shows you the meaning of your Kata and it shows the real Bunkai we need to understand.


What is the philosophical basis of Tatsu Ryu Karate Do, and when did you develop this philosophy?

Tatsu Ryu Karate Do was developed January 2008 and is a pure Budo Karate. Our Focus is reality based Karate, what it was and what it always should be. The Tournaments are just a nice Add to it.
“On Ko Chi Shin” Means to learn from the past, to get new ideas

This is also the Philosophy. Karate is not Sport, Karate is an Art!

What is your opinion of mixing styles?

Sosai Masutatsu Oyama said to his students – go to other Dojos, go to other Teachers, learn what ever you can. Kyokushinkai Karate is the personal Karate Mix of a Fighting Genius Sosai Masutasu Oyama.

I have it the same way. I can go to an BJJ Lesson and the worst thing which can happened is that I learn something! The Martial Arts World is so beautiful! Go out there and have a look at it!

What is the present state of knockdown karate in Europe?

It is very good! And we see a lot of  collaboration between the different federations. That is good, that is what we need. The Karateka at the End wants to train and some want to go to a Tournament. And the Tournaments are the Events which shows the public what we are doing. Now when we are doing something in the public, we need to do it the right way. Not a small little event in a garage. No, a big one maybe with a very nice Dinner and you come in a Tuxedo. And this is where we are going right now. The Officials think a bit more about the Ambients and think a bit more about the Audience. We need to stay away from the Cage fights and show sportingly high standard fights!

In Kata there we need to do a lot of Work. Here the Sport part is to deep in the Minds of the Karatekas. That needs to be changed. Bunkai is the Solution.

What are the most important characteristics of a successful martial artist?

Keep your head low, eyes high, mouth shut; base yourself on filial piety and benefit others!

If you think of this, it says it all. You can also go and read the 20 Rules of Gichin Funakoshi. But this says it all.

My son is now 1 year old, he also lets me look at the world with open eyes – there is a lot to see out there!

 

My hopes are, that my family stays healthy and that I can teach Karate for a long time! As well I hope my students learn Karate in the right way and that they meet also a lot of good Martial Artist out there. For example one of my students is going to Australia and he is going to train at the Dojo of Cameron Quinn – how great is that. Thousands of miles away, but the Karate Network is working! OSU!

Shihan thank you for granting us this interview 

 

Thank you for having me! And the best wishes from the Hard Rock Mountains of Switzerland! OSU!

Journey to the 100 MAN FIGHT – The Judd Reid Story

In mid 2011, Judd Reid was invited by the World Kumite Organization (WKO) to attempt the 100 Man Kumite to be held in Japan on October 22nd at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium.

The 100 Man Kumite is an intimate event steeped in tradition where a person attempts to fight 100 black belts consecutively for 1.5 minute rounds, taking almost 3.5 hours to complete. Very few people have ever attempted, let alone completed what must be the toughest mental and physical challenge in the world. It has been compared to doing the Hawaii Iron Man with competitors punching and kicking you throughout the entire event.

Judd is one of the most accomplished martial arts fighters of the past 20 years, being a former Kyokushin Karate Australian heavyweight champion and current WKO world heavyweight champion.

He is also the first foreigner to have completed the 1000 day “uchi deshi” live in student program in Tokyo, Japan under Kyokushin Karate Founder Sosai Mas Oyama from 1990-1993.
Sosai Oyama (1923-1994) pioneered the 100 man Kumite back in the 1950s. He was revered in the karate world as a martial arts legend with almost mythical powers and at the height of his following he had over 12 million students worldwide including the likes of Sean Connery, Sonny Chiba, Dolph Lundgren, Andy Hug and Francisco Filho, amongst many others.

Sosai Oyama used to tell his students that there are two things every great karate fighter should aspire to achieve in his lifetime:

1 to become a world champion and,

2 to complete the 100 Man Kumite.

Judd having achieved the first aim in 2010 and being the first fighter ever invited to do the kumite under WKO rules, decided to return to Japan after years of teaching and training in Thailand to attempt to fulfill his former master’s dream.

Journey to the 100 Man Fight tells Judd’s incredible story of life long dedication to martial arts and and his attempt at the 100 Man Kumite in the twilight of his fight career. It follows his training from the 5 storey WKO world headquarters in Thailand under current master Sifu Ian McInnes as he explains what lead him to decide to undertake such a difficult challenge. There are interviews with his teachers, colleagues, family, friends and training partners who paint a picture of just who Judd is and where he comes from.

How did a fresh faced kid from Melbourne, Australia end up living in Japan in his formative years training under his idol and then how did this lead to him living and training in a world class facility in Thailand, surrounded by champions from a variety of martial arts. How does Judd live, what are his inspirations and motivations and what is the real meaning of what he is about to attempt. And now that he has accepted this challenge, what sort of physical preparation and mental training is required to undertake such a dangerous and extreme martial arts event.

Watch Journey to the 100 Man Fight and follow Judd’s incredible journey and the amazing life he leads as he prepares to take on what is considered by many martial arts elders the ultimate challenge of the spirit.