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Karate 3.0

In this podcast I discuss the future of karate. While some like to think that “traditional karate” is an unchanging entity; a quick look at the history shows us that is totally untrue. Karate has never stopped evolving and changing. Indeed, the past masters recognised and encouraged this. In his book, “karate-do: my way of life”, Gichin Funakoshi wrote:

“Times change, the world changes, and obviously the martial arts must change too. The karate that high school students practise today is not the same karate that was practised even are recently as ten years ago, and it is a long way indeed from the karate I learned when I was a child in Okinawa”.

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Two things criminals know about violence that you should know too (podcast)

The second new podcast this month! While the first podcast is a workout, this one is information based. As you may remember, I recently put out a podcast which discussed the need to be able to think like criminals if we are to be able to effectively protect ourselves from them. That podcast focussed on wider self-protection issues, whereas in this podcast I want to focus on the physical side of things. In particular, I want to quickly discuss two key elements of the criminal’s approach to violence that make them more effective than most martial artists.

The criminal experiences and uses violence on a much more frequent basis than the vast majority of martial artists. It is a “tool of the trade” for them. They know what works!

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15 Minute Warrior Workout (podcast and video)

This new podcast is a workout! The actual training takes just over fifteen mins and it a mix of conditioning exercises and martial motions. It is ideal for days where you are short on time and want to train in a way that stimulates technique, endurance, strength, and mind-set. It consists of thirty seconds of a given exercise, technique or martial combination, followed by 10 seconds of rest.

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Banned Methods!

WARNING: This podcast discusses the use of banned techniques in real world violence. It therefore may not be suitable for younger and more sensitive listeners.

In this edition of the podcast we discuss “banned techniques”.  This is a topic I’ve wanted to cover for a while as I personally feel there are many myths and illogical statements presented as “accepted truth” within the various sub-sections of the martial arts.

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Iain chats with Karate Cafe

This isn’t an Iain Abernethy podcast … but it is a podcast featuring yours truly! Just before Christmas I was on the Karate Café Podcast (check it out!) and we had an enjoyable and wide ranging discussion! The folks at Karate Café have kindly let me share it here too and I hope you enjoy it!

In the podcast we talk about training methods, street fighting vs. self defence, my regular dojo training, my seminars, my process of kata analysis, and quite a bit more besides!  Be sure to checkout the Karate Café Podcast if you are not yet a subscriber (they have been going for ten years too!).

Speak soon!

All the best,


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Thinking like a Criminal (podcast)

One of the biggest problems I see when it comes to modern self-protection is the failure to understand just what we are protecting ourselves against. If we don’t understand the question, there is no way that we can give an adequate answer.

In the classic text “The Art of War” Sun Tzu famously wrote: “If you know your enemy and know yourself, you will not know defeat in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemy but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemy and do not know yourself, there is grave danger in every single battle.”

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Understanding Kata and the WCA (podcast)

This month’s podcast is a mix of topics! The first part examines the nature of kata, and many of the misunderstandings surrounding kata, using the following quotation from Gichin Funakoshi as a jumping off point:

"Like textbooks to a student or tactical exercises to a solider, kata are the most important element of karate.”

This line contains two great analogies that really get to the heart of things! It is the ramifications of these analogies that we explore in the first third of the podcast. Kata is NOT a solo re-enactment of a fight! Instead, kata is a repository of knowledge that, when correctly approached, can be freely and flexibly applied in the ever-changing world of conflict. This was the viewpoint that was clearly expressed by the masters of the past.

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Martial virtues and warrior ethics

In this new podcast we cover martial virtues and warrior ethics! The podcast begins by discussing character development in the martial arts and how that relates to effective combat skills. We then move on to cover martial virtues and warrior ethics as found in the writings of the past masters and others. We also look at the relationship between virtue and valour, and show how virtue is not passively adhering to a tick list of prohibited actions, but instead requires critical thought, bravery and positive action.

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Your Questions! (podcast)

Welcome to one of the longest podcasts we’ve ever done! It’s been a while since I last turned the podcast over to listeners and asked for questions and topics; so in this one I put that right! I asked for questions via Facebook, Twitter and the newsletters and got way more than I could possibly answer! Thanks to all who contributed!

I printed them all off and did my best to answer as many as I could in the time available. Here are just some of the topics covered:

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The Case for Kihon (podcast)

In this podcast we discuss basic kihon training. For practitioners of arts other than karate, “kihon” generally refers to the practice of techniques without a partner or equipment. Typically it’s done in lines where the karateka goes up and down the room.

While kihon practise forms a significant part of modern karate training, it would be fair to say that many now question its value and, on my travels, I even see some abandoning the practise all together. It is my view that kihon is a vital part of the mix, but it needs to be the right kind of kihon and be part of a holistic training matrix.

In this podcast I’d therefore like to explain the role I think kihon training should have, and then elaborate to explain how it can be most efficiently and effectively practised.

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