10 Aug



Yoshimura Hiroshi Sensei

I was emailing my Kobudo teacher, Yoshimura sensei, this past weekend to work out the details for his visit this coming November. Suffice it to say, I am both nervous and excited about seeing him, but I really shouldn’t be. He is a very relaxed individual, “easy-going” quickly comes to mind when I think about him. “Humble” would be another word; you would never catch him referring to himself as “shihan” or some other ridiculous title. He definitely doesn’t suffer from “shihan-itis.” Read More

06 Aug

No, I’m not practicing a martial art!

martial art, Amami, Yoshimura Hiroshi, Kobudo, Vancouver, BC

With Yoshimura sensei & students in Amami 2014

A term that I’ve always disliked is “martial art”. It’s ubiquitous and is used (IMO) indiscriminately not only among students and teachers, but also by the public to describe any sort of combative practice; from Tae Kwon Do to Karatedo to MMA to Tenshin Katori Shinto-ryu. It seems to be a “catch-all” phrase, at least in the English language anyway. From an Okinawa Karatedo perspective using the term “martial art” is problematic for a couple of reasons which I’d like to discuss. Read More

19 Jul

Upcoming Seminar

Gokenki Students

This Saturday I’ll be hosting Fred Lohse (www.kodokanboston.org) and Russ Smith (www.burinkan.org) who will be teaching a session on the connection between Feeding Crane and White Eyebrow Kung fu to Karate-do. If you’re interested in attending, please do. Or if you have any questions, email me at: kowakandojo@gmail.com

When: Saturday, July 23, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Where: Vancouver Mind Body Centre: 4364 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BC

This will be a no-gi event. Just wear some comfortable clothing and bring some water.

Suggested minimum donation for the seminar is $25

See you there!

11 Jul


I’ve been very lucky to have had good teachers in my limited study of Karatedo and Kobudo. As I’ve said before in earlier posts, I’m still amazed at the patience each one of them showed me despite my level of understanding and competency with their respective arts. In talking about how they taught, I think it reflects how Okinawan martial arts are taught – at least into the 1980s and 90s. Read More

04 Jul

Stances aren’t natural


I think that many Okinawa Karatedo teachers secretly look at foreign “Kudrodee” and inwardly mumble to themselves, “what the he!@ is that?” Its true, most of these students’ kata is weak or at times downright terrible. Their backs are rounded, knees knocked inwards, elbows flaring away from the body, shoulders rolling forward, just to name a few. Why are they moving this way? Read More

29 Jun

BJJ & low back pain

BJJ, injury, research, low back pain

Photo from Jujitsu Mania

Injuries in Karate-do, unfortunately, are part of the training. For the most part they are minor and Karateka grudgingly accept them. However, occasionally they can be quite serious and can force a student to stop training for an extended period or even permanently. Most of these more serious injuries seem to occur in younger Karateka especially those that engage in competitive sparring. The more a Karateka spars then the more likely she is to become injured. But what about grappling arts like Judo, Wrestling and BJJ? Read More