Showing posts from September, 2013

Reflections On The Development Of Sensei Gregory C. Lewis' Modern Karate.

Like many of my generation,  when I started my martial arts journey in 1978, I wanted to be Bruce Lee.

At that time, I was a shy, often bullied 3rd grader. My mother enrolled me in a local Boys Club Boxing program. I did that for four years.

Later, I would study Traditional (ITF) Taekwondo for 10 years, attain a high red belt (1 stripe before black belt), only to find myself rejecting the rigid forms and stances as stiff, unrealistic, never used by me (or any of the black belts) when we sparred, and thus a waste of time. I dropped out of Taekwondo to pursue Thai-rules Kickboxing for 5 years. In that time, I also briefly studied Wing Chun Kung Fu (both 'classical' and 'non-classical'), and Arnis.

Yet, I missed both the aesthetic and family atmosphere of a traditional martial arts school. And the after-work commute to Kickboxing had me consistently missing the first 30 minutes of class. I found a Enshin Karate dojo in Seattle and studied there for 8 years under 1990 Sabaki…

Meaningful Kata Practice

When I was young, I used to struggle with kata (prearranged forms, 'shadow boxing' of a type; or as they were called when I was studying Taekwondo, hyung). 

We had many prearranged forms. Some had functional techniques and movements one could use while sparring, the majority did not. I eventually discarded them from my practice completely after I found myself using only my boxing skills, a lead-leg front kick, and a random roundhouse kick when I actually had to save myself from some two-legged predator at school.

Later on, while I was learning Thai-rules kickboxing, my coach told me that shadow boxing was in fact a type of “kata”. I could wrap my mind around this interpretation of kata, because it directly applied techniques and concepts I would utilize in the ring (and on the street).
Years later, as part of earning my black belt, I had to learn all 5 katas created by Enshin Karate's founder Joko Ninomiya. I enjoyed his type of kata also, because it too directly applied tech…