Archive for July, 2010

July 28, 2010

Free-Styling Sparing

In Lion’s Roar Kempo, we do not practice any free styling sparing until the student has reached the rank of Brown Belt. And when we do free spar, we do it full contact wearing chest protectors, Kempo gloves, boxing head gear, mouth piece and cup.

The reasons are multi fold. First, I don’t believe a student is ready to preform free sparing until he has been practicing for several years. There is no way that they can correctly preform punches & kicks with any balance, power, technique or control in less then Brown Belt level. Most sparing done at lover levels of rank look like a slap fest of who tagged who first. Its sloppy and ridiculous! On top of that, none of the students have any confidence in themselves or in the techniques they are trying to apply when free sparing.

Most importantly, the reason we don’t free spar until Brown Belt is that Lion’s Roar Kempo is a true Martial Art and not a Martial Sport. All our techniques are geared towards self-preservation/self-defense. When we train, we have the attitude of seriousness knowing that  without focus in action, by not being serious, we could hurt our training partner or get seriously hurt ourselves. When we spar it is with technique and force. It is not done as a game of tag as I see in other schools.

What we do at the lower levels of rank is train in Kata, Bunkai of Kata and, Ippon & Gihon Kumite. In Lion’s Roar Kempo we have 20 ippon kumite and 10 gihon kumite to master. These 30 techniques  will take the student to Brown Belt level. They teach, proper technique, timing, distancing, control, and the proper way to interact with a training partner, something I see lacking in many American schools/dojo.

Lion’s Roar Kempo Karate & Jitsu feels the Ultimate in Self-Discipline, Self-Control & Self-Respect.

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July 3, 2010

Recommended Reading

When it comes to Martial Arts books, most aren’t good for anything except using for toilet paper. This is especially true for Martial Arts magazines. But there are a few that are the exception to the rule and in this case its a 3 volume set written by the late Donn Draeger titled 1. Classical Budo; 2. Classical Bujutsu; and 3. Modern Bujitsu & Budo.

These books are an excellent treatment of the major veins of Japanese martial arts in the post-Edo era to present (okay, well, mid-70s to be precise). Anyone participating or considering participating in Japanese martial arts should read this book to contextualize their practice and offer opportunity to reflect on their goals, expectations, and perception of their chosen form. Draeger constructs a seamless bridge between the war era, Edo Bakufu, Meiji, and present day evolutionary processes shaping Japanese martial arts. His history of the Meiji Restoration is brief and readable, yet detailed and obviously well researched. This is the first work I’ve read looking at the long reaching effects of the Meiji and Taisho political agendas on the Japanese own perception their martial arts heritage.