Friday, October 28, 2011

Change of Direction

Just a quick note to let all of our regular visitors know about some website changes to Shotokan Sensei.

Until recently there were three different sites associated with Shotokan Sensei - this blog, the YouTube site and then our main site was hosted on a Word Press platform. Due to some technical difficulties with the Word Press platform, we are now in the process of designing a new homepage and site for

Also this blog is now hosted under the URL. The YouTube site is unchanged.

In the coming months we will be releasing the new Shotokan Sensei website that will try to organize all of the content that we offer in an easy-to understand and easily accessible format.

In the meantime, please enjoy the many articles and video posts on this blog and also our YouTube channel.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Updated Website at

Check out the new and updated website at  This website brings together the best aspects of this blog and the Shotokan Sensei YouTube channel.  Currently there are 75 uploaded videos on the YouTube channel and this blog has numerous articles.  By bringing these two sites together at I can put both the written and the video content together in one place in a more coherent and systemized manner.

Initially, there is a free basic membership on the new site that includes many of the videos and articles that have already been posted on both sites.  It is easily searchable through the convenient categories and the site will have many updates as it grows.

This blog will still be updated with new articles and posts as a complement to the main Shotokan Sensei website.  Please check out the new site at

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Karate Spirit

I once asked Master Kanazawa, "What is the most important aspect of karate?"  He answered, "Seishin".  "Seishin" means 'spirit', not in the religious sense, but in the sense of personal identity and of what we represent in life.  This video tries to explain the concept of spirit and how it relates to karate.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Gankaku-sho is an advanced kata that has been introduced into the SKIF extended syllabus content by Master Kanazawa.  Two of the interesting aspects of this kata are the multiple stance changes, and the diagonal embusen (performance line) of the kata.
I have included a couple of presentations of the kata in this post - the first video demonstrates the kata as a whole, and the second video breaks down the movements with a commentary of what is happening.  I hope you enjoy the content.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Three Ks of Karate

The education system often talks about the ‘Three Rs’ of Reading Writing and Arithmetic.  To a casual observer, one might say that the education system was flawed from the very beginning by the fact that it can’t spell!  In Karate, however, we can spell and the three Ks really are three Ks – Kihon, Kata and Kumite.  Let’s look at each one and explain what it is.
Kihon means Basics.  Basics are the fundamentals of our art or style.  In Karate, basics are our punches, our kicks, our blocks, our strikes and our stances.  In order to build a strong foundation for our karate we must drill and practice basics constantly.  The honing of our basic technique is the very essence of our training and must be taken seriously in order to progress to a high level of skill.  If we compare karate to learning a language, our karate basics are our vocabulary.
Kata means Form.  Forms are sequences of movements that are put together in an overall pattern that we must memorize.  Kata training includes the elements of direction, technique, speed, power and rhythm.  On a deeper level the analysis of kata can lead to many useful discoveries for practical self-defense, as hidden within the different forms are many useful sequences of movements that can be directly applied to different scenarios.  Going back to our language analogy, kata can be likened to the grammar of our karate.
Kumite means Partner Work or Sparring.  Basic partner work introduces pre-arranged training drills that help us get used to using different punches, kicks, blocks and strikes.  Through these set training drills we are able to directly apply our defensive movements and counters against actual attacks.  As we progress in our skill level the drills become harder with a bigger element of surprise that is gradually introduced until we are able to deal with random attacks from multiple opponents.  For our language analogy our kumite training is therefore how we express ourselves by using our vocabulary and our grammar appropriately based on any given situation.
By breaking down our karate training into the ‘Three Ks’, we are able to focus on each core training element individually and consequently improve our overall ability with a very systematic approach.  Our ultimate goal is to combine these three elements seamlessly so that the ‘Three Ks’ become one K.  And that K of course is Karate.
When this seamlessness takes place, you begin operating from a level of what is sometimes referred to as unconscious competence.  You don't have to think of the individual pieces and parts.  Everything fits together and works in harmony, almost totally without any direction from the conscious mind.  This is the level from which the masters operate and that is why observing them is like watching poetry in motion.
Keep training hard on the three Ks and they will gradually begin to merge into one over time.