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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Funakoshi Throwing Technique - Komanage

Click here to see video

Here's a demonstration of a new technique that we've started practicing in class called Komange. We attempted to slow the technique down so that you pick it up which made it look a little choppy in the video, but try to perform it more smoothly and let it flow.

Komanage or spinning top is from Funakoshi's Master Text, Karate-do Kyohan in the Throwing Technique or Nage Waza section. Most modern karate practitioners don't realize that throwing techniques were part of the old karate curriculum.

Komanage is an effective self-defense technique that can also handle a number of other self-defense situation like single hand lapel grab, cross wrist grab, overhead knife attack, overhead club attack, and a single or double hand push. With practice, these applications will become obvious.

Because of it's effectiveness in handling so many different acts of violence, Komanage is a extremely important technique to learn and understand for ever karate student.

Komanage is also an effective counter move for an attacker struggling against Tsubamegaeshi or V-turning Swallow.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to Do a Kip-up

Click here to watch the video

Did you ever watch a karate movie and the karate master gets knocked down to the ground? Split seconds later... they spring back on their feet like Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee. This is called a kip-up. Anyone can learn this karate trick with a little practice. Where it lacks in practicality, you'll impress your friends with it's coolness.

1. Lay on back
2. Roll back on your shoulders and tuck your knees into your chest like a ball. While rolling back place your hands next to your ears with fingertips pointing towards your toes.
3. Keep rolling back until your feet are pointing up in the air.
4. Kick hard in an upward direction.
5. Finally, whip your leg downward to the floor. This causes your upper body to magically snap into an upward position.

Bonus tip: To practice this move, you can perform the rollback and kick upwards and finish with a bridge. The kick up into a bridge is a great way to practice for the really thing.

With a spotter: You can also practice with a spotter. The spotter kneels in front of your head with each hand under your shoulder blades. The spotter lift up on your shoulders once you kick upwards. It takes only a little effort by the spotter to get you on your feet.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532

Monday, April 19, 2010

Manicotti with Spinach

Once you taste this meatless Italian recipe, you will want to make it often. 

10 Manicotti shells
2 shallots, chopped
1 tbsp butter
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
5 eggs divided
5 ounces Havarti cheese, shredded divided
1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 tsp salt divided
3/4 cup milk

Cook manicotti shells according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a skillet, saute shallots in butter for 1 minute. Add spinach, cook and stir 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

In a bowl, beat 3 eggs. Stir in half the Havarti cheese, ricotta cheese, the basil, and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Add the spinach mixture and mix well. Fill the cooked shells with the spinach mixture. Place in a single in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. In a bowl, beat milk, remaining eggs and salt until well mixed, pour over stuffed shells. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The tragedy of life... we wait so long to begin

"The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it."
~W. M. Lewis

The other day, two different people complimented me on how well I can walk four dogs and inspired this post. What most people don't realize is the major of the time is spent preparing and beginning the walk correctly that makes the rest of the walk go well.

If I was not patience enough or worse yet, didn't even bother to walk them, my dogs would behave totally different.

The start of any endeavor is usually more difficult than the actual journey. At the beginning of February, I decided to challenge myself to live for a year like a karate master because I thought that it would provide valuable insights for my own karate.

Before I announced the challenge, I could have delayed or never began, but I decided to go for it. Now, I am so glad I did. The 100 punches and kicks into the bag every day is easy to maintain. Because of my diet improvements, I lost 7 lbs. so far. I am easily exceeding the 5 minute meditation requirement. I've found it very enjoyable. In addition to these, I've increased my flexibility tremendously through a daily stretching routine. My goal is to reach a full split.

The kata requirement of 20 kata per day is a huge commitment of time. I continue to maintain this regimen which means I've performed well over 1000 kata already. It's worth the effort because I've come to some extraordinary realizations about the kata and karate in general in this two months.

The above quote is so true. Many times, we wait for the perfect moment to begin and never get around to it. It's so easy to let things like the kids, lack of time, the pressures of work, and lack of money become barriers to working towards the life we truly want.

Sensei Tim Rosanelli
Maximum Impact Karate
(215) 249-3532

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rules of Bunkai or Kata Applications

Since the fall, I got into deeply research the kata and their applications for practical self-defense. My Live Like a Karate Master Challenge has me performing all the advanced kata once a day which has me thinking constantly about each of the techniques found in the kata.

In researching Bunkai (Kata applications of self-defense), I discovered that many of the applications provided for kata moves are either strange or ineffective. In my studies of videos, books, experimentation with students, and constant practice, certain rules or ideas arise. I call them the Rules of Bunkai that I'll present below.

Rules of Bunkai

1. All Bunkai Reference-able  - All bunkai should be currently used techniques that can be referenced. This is the biggest error that most karateka make. I don't think the applications are secret techniques. It's more likely that they are currently used techniques or self-defense in other styles like Judo, Aikido, Ju Jitsu, even Military Techniques, etc.

2. Variations - Most moves include many variations, for example turning into manji uke could be interrupted as a hip throw or shoulder throw. Evidence suggests that karate masters looked at these techniques as variations of the same move. Japan established the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai in 1895 to organize all traditional Martial Arts. They required each Martial Art to classify of each technique of their technique for entrance into the organization. At that time, these variations became separate and individual techniques.

3. Waldrow Principle - One of the best books on Shotokan that I've read in a long time is Shotokan Secrets. He describes this principle, coined by Shihan Beth Waldow of Mariposa, CA, in 2004: "Itosu never did anything harmless." If you don't squint, squirm, or feel squeamish when you think about how deadly the technique is then the application isn't good enough. Think about the techniques in Rule #1 and figure out how to add some teeth to them.

4. Best techniques work if attacked by right or left hand - Does the bunkai work whether you are attacked by someone right or left handed? In many cases, you can do the same motion in the kata and the self-defense will work whether it's the opponent's left handed or right handed although the technique is different. The book, Warrior Speed, talks about Hicks Law. Hicks Law states that reaction time increases dramatically with a decrease in options. Hicks proved that we react about 58% faster with one option compared to two. When defending yourself, you will not want to think whether your opponent is a righty or lefty so you can perform the technique correct.

5. Dream like Distortions - Kata are similar to a waking dream of a self-defense sequence and like a dream, some of the parts just don't add up. Because of the divergence and changes of kata for purposes that don't relate to self-defense (Click here to read more a about divergence), some dream like distortions appear in the katas.

Here's some quick examples...
Shadowing - A technique performed standing up but in application would be performed on someone on the ground.
Transposing - Transposing is a technique that would make more sense if performed opposite of what appears in the kata. It's like looking in the mirror.
Grouping - Simultaneous techniques performed at the same time that are actually two separate possible follow-ups for a self-defense move.
Misstepping - Some moves work better stepping back instead of forward.

6. Practicality - Is it practical? I've seen bunkai presented as a self-defense that a novice could think of five better ways to defend against the same act of violence. Do you really think some of the greatest karate masters of all time would create awkward self-defense techniques? Really think about the bunkai and determine if it is simple enough to pull off in the heat of combat. Can the technique work against slight resistance?

7. Technique illegal in competition - If it's illegal in a competition because it's to dangerous this is a perfect application for self-defense.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Annie Leonard's "The Story of Bottled Water" make a big splash

Annie Leonard, the animator of the Story of Stuff, release her next video in her series of environmental animations. The Story of Bottled Water describes the bottle water problem in Annie Leonard unique fashion. You might be surprised to find out that most bottle water is filtered tap and in blind taste test, people consistently choose tap water over bottle water.