Tom Kompier

This month I was lucky enough to attend a Tom Kompier course. I watched Tom take a children’s class and then I trained 2 hours with him during the Dan grade course. Tom is  a member of the small club of westerners to have taken the infamous JKS Instructor course. During his time in Japan he trained with Kagawa Sensei and he also trained with Richard Amos – both of who I have been on courses with.

Tom comes across as one of the friendliest sensei I have trained with, very personable, humble and very knowledgeable. We spent the entire two hours working on effective kicking by correct balance and hip position.  Tom has a great way of breaking things down into their component parts, building them up by use of relevant exercises. He was equally comfortable teaching children and adults. This no doubt comes from his time in Japan where he instructed Kagawa’s childrens class on many occasions. I watched as he coaxed children to go beyond what normally would have been their breaking point, past that wall and into the effort zone where the kids were really pushing themselves. Adults too will be walking with slight stiff hips after our session!

My kicks are not the best as my hips are really tight, but by the end of our two hour session I was kicking higher more accurate mawashi’s than I have ever done. I never thought I would ever enjoy a kicking class, but I really enjoyed this class with Tom.

Early MMA Match

An old article has recently been unearthed and translated describing what could be stated as an early Mixed Martial Arts competition. What’s special about this match up is that it features no less than Choki Motobu, karate master who shared the same sensei as Gichin Funakoshi, namely Ankō Itosu.

motobu

motobu

The article states that Motobu entered the competition with no knowledge of the rules or the martial arts involved, he just wanted to fight. This runs very much true to Motobu’s hard man reputation which was earned due to his willingness to engage in street fights at every opportunity.

The image that accompanies the article (shown above) is curious though. Although the background would indicate it is one complete image, the rendering of the Russian opponent looks distinctly hand drawn, while the representation of Motobu looks more like a photograph. Also, the article describes a fight in which Motobu raised his hands to his cheeks, and this is indeed what the image shows, indicating the first move from Hiean Yondan, however by all accounts, Motobu limited his kata practice to the Tekki kata, so it would seem unlikely he would attempt to utitlse moves from a different kata. It would seem reasonable to conclude this image is merely an artists representation of how the fight could have looked to spectators back in the early 1920s when it occurred.

You can view the full article by clicking in the following images.

motobu article

motobu article

motobu article

motobu article

An english translation of the article can be viewed here. What do you make of this MMA match up from days of old? Leave your comments below!

Shotokan Karate – Unravelling the Kata book Review

BACKGROUND

Shotokan Karate – Unravelling the Kata – by Ashley Croft, Paperback

Although the focus of this karate book review site is quality karate books, now and then we’ll be taking a look at books that perhaps may not be as highly regarded.   Shotokan Karate – Unravelling the Kata unfortunately falls into that category, coming up short on many counts.
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Nishiyama RIP

The karate world lost one if it’s few remaining true karate legends at the weekend with the passing of Nishiyama sensei.

 

Nishiyama

Nishiyama

Out of respect for this great sensei I’m going to put my current book review on hold and spend some time reaquanting myself with his landmark karate book and publish a review shortly.

Guiding Principle #18

If there’s one aspect of karate that seems to draw more ridicule and criticism than any other, while at the same time draws gasps of incredulity and heavy applause of appreciation, it’s kata.

It seems almost impossible to call up a kata performance on youtube without seeing at least a few comments ridiculing kata for being totally impractical and that people should stop wasting time and go practice MMA instead.

What these commentators are missing should be obvious to all serious karate practitioners….

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Kosugi Hoan

BACKGROUND

In my book review of Karate Jutsu, there is mention of “Hoan sketches”, that appear in 1922 Ryukyu Kenpo Toudi, but were replaced in a later publication with photographs of Funakoshi performing the moves. If you are intruiged about these sketches and are perhaps wondering who or what “Hoan” is, read on!

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Karate Jutsu

The Original Teachings of Gichin Funakoshi

AKA Rentan Goshin Toudi Jutsu
AKA Rentan Goshin Karate Jutsu

BACKGROUND
Karate Jutsu – Hard Cover

Written in Tokyo and first published in March 1925, Rentan Goshin Karate Jutsu was a revision and republication of Ryukyu Kenpo Toudi (AKA Ryukyu Kenpo karate) the plates for which were destroyed by fire in 1923. This book features basically the same information as the 1922 Ryukyu Kenpo Toudi, but rather than the Hoan sketches, features over 200 photos of Funakoshi (in his fifties) performing the kata, including six throwing techniques. It also contains the original calligraphy from the 1922 version.

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