Tag Archives: kata

Dancing Martial Arts…How Gay!

Better Martial Arts Movements

Happy New Year!
And happy work out…
every day for the next 365 days.
You deserve it.

Here’s something I realized,
which helped me,
hope it helps you.

karate training manualI was reading a forum the other day,
it was some offbeat subject
on some martial arts forum,
and this guy did a rant on old movie musicals.
We’re talking people like Fred Astair, Gene Kelly, and so on.

This fellow said something like,
“These old black and white movies are gay!
How could anybody watch a guy and a girl,
dance for five minutes!
And there’s even movies where two guys are dancing!
how gay!”

How interesting.
Art is gay.
And he was holding himself up as a martial artist.
Maybe he was too much martial?
And not enough artist?

To be sure, dancing is not martial arts,
there is not much in the way of fist and defense.
But dancing is motion,
and martial arts have motion,
so the two have common ground.
I have seen many martial artists who were good,
but could have been better,
had they a bit of the poise and grace.

here’s an interesting tidbit,
before I discovered martial arts,
when I was going to high school,
and then college,
I used to be a thespian.
That’s right,
an actor.
And I was in all the plays and musicals
that my schools had to offer.
Loved it.
Good looking girls there, too.
good looking girls aside
(can’t believe I said that!)
one time I was in the play
West Side Story.
I was one of the Sharks.
And we were choreographing the big rumble
between the Sharks and Jets,
and I picked out the biggest guy I could,
and I went to him with an idea.
I hit you,
you hit me,
then I hit and you duck,
and you pick me up and throw me over your shoulder.
it was great!
We rehearsed it,
went to the director and showed her what we had.
She loved it!
So the night of the play
the rumble started.
I swung and he acted like I had hit him,
then he swung,
and hit me.
Bingo…right on the jaw,
and I was out like a light.
In front of 500 people,
The audience didn’t realize what had happened,
but the director did,
and my partner did,
and somehow,
I don’t know how,
I managed to come to enough to stagger off stage.
But I was knocked out.
So much for dancing being non-violent.

the big hint I wanted to give you has to do with this.
During the holidays they sometimes play old movies on TV.
Find the ones with Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly,
look for some other names,
check out how the masters move.

There was a fellow name of Baryshnikov,
considered the best in the world at ballet,
and he said his favorite dancer was Fred Astaire,
wished he could move like him.

Fred would do things like dance with a standing lamp.
He would roll that thing around,
tilt it and catch it
until you thought the standing lamp was alive!
There is never a hesitation,
never a hint of a stall,
it is actually one of the ONLY examples
of perfection in motion
on this planet.

Now if only a standing lamp was a martial arts weapon, eh?
We’d all be practicing the Fred Astaire Kata.

not to leave out the gals,
Fred had a partner name of Ginger Rogers,
and one time some reporter asked her
if it was difficult to dance with Fred.
She replied,
“Heck, I did everything he did,
and in high heels.”

Now that is perfection of motion.

So drive safe tonight,
or just stay home and do your imbibing,
and check out some of these masters of motion
and see if you can pick up anything about balance,
grace and poise,
or anything else
that will help make your kata perfect.

Happy New Year
and have 365 great work outs!

Last day of the Two for One Special!
Read about it here!


Defining Tradition KarateKata

Traditional Kata Parameters

I’d like to talk about what makes a kata a “traditional” kata. I took Taekwondo for a short time, while I was doing so, the instructor told me that at one of the levels, the students had to create their own kata. I watched one of these student created katas, and I was amazed at the fact that they didn’t match any of the rules or conventions of traditional forms. When I asked about it, I was told that those rules don’t apply. I played the good student, and didn’t say anything further..

karate kata traditional

Click on the cover for the latest book in the Matrixing Karate series.

So what are these conventions and rules. Most items are conventions, but there are 2 hard and fast rules that can be counted on.

1. If done properly, you should end on the same spot you started. If you don’t, you screwed up.
2. No kata ever starts with a strike. It is always a block, or block and strike combination.

Conventions that can normally be counted out, include things like the following:

1. Generally symmetrical, this doesn’t mean that every technique is mirrored. Even in combat katas, like seisan, you will see a “balance” in the kata.

2. Will repeat some of the techniques, some times for no other apparent reason than simply repetition.

3. There will be a good mix of stance and footwork changes, and angles.

4. Generally you will not see entirely closed fists and spear hands especially in ancient kata, you will see many more techniques. Koi-no-shippo-uchi and bil-jee finger strikes are perfect examples.

But why does any of this matter? Remember martial arts are for defense, you can’t be on defense if you strike first, at least not for the most part. So blocking first, helps wire into your brain that you are being defensive. All part of becoming a better person.

Stopping where you started serves 2 purposes. The first and most obvious is practicality, if you are doing the form over and over and over, it is nice not to have to re-adjust every single repetition. The second, more important, reason is far less obvious it is “the measured step”. Kung-fu will often explain this far better than other systems. Each step should have a mathematical precision, if you are moving forward and back in the same stance, your stance height, width and depth shouldn’t change. Thus, 10 steps in one direction, and then 10 back, and you should end in the place you started.

The other conventions are simply that, conventions, they are not hard and fast rules. For more understanding of what I have written watch and study the Pangainoon Katas Seisan, and Sanseirui.


Go to monstermartialarts.com and check out Temple Karate for the most evolved Karate patterns in the world. They are matrixed.

Ladies Buttons and the Martial Arts!

Good morning to you!
No matter what time it is…it’s good.
we need a little more world peace,
so would you guys mind doing an extra work out today?
The world loves you for it.

I have a little mind work for you.
See if you can follow me on this.

why do ladies button their blouse on the wrong side?
It was explained to me that ladies were dressed
by their maids,
so maids made blouses backwards,
because they were on the wrong side of the blouse,
if you get my drift.

I don’t totally agree with this.
I think it was more like
some lady was sewing her own blouse,
got upside down
or backwards
in her head
in trying to figure out the button arrangement,
and just got it backwards.
Probably claimed it was a plan,
and the world went along with it.
Makes more sense, eh?

it was explained to me
that many knife techniques
are arranged to slip inside the chinks
in a man’s armor.
A knife in the armpit would be classic.
I’ve had people tell me
that it is the seam in the armor
that dictates which hand a man trains to stab with.
The overlap of the material
makes it so a stab with the right hand
can slip into the folds easier.

I figured it was because 7 out of 8 people
are right handed.
it is something to think about.

Do you see where I’m going?
This is just a little mind exercise
to make people think about
why techniques are right handed or left handed.
Probably the fact of more right handed people
takes things to the stronger arm,
we all know,
a complete martial artist
will practice techniques on both sides.

So here’s something to think about.
I practiced my techniques on both sides.
I practiced my forms on both sides.
We all do that.
good stuff.
And maybe it does affect the functioning
of your right side/left side brain.

I started doing my forms backwards.
First I started just doing the individual techniques in the forms backwards.
But it was too easy,
so I started working my motion backwards.
A left outward block became an uppercut
with an off angle inward block.

It made me think about whether motions would work
if they were reversed, and then I started thinking
about whether the original motion would work.
It created doubt,
and this would have been bad,
except for one thing:

doubt made me critique the form,
critiquing the form made me analyze the form,
and I started to think.
Critical thinking.
So this idea of just moving the body backwards,
all the way through reverse motion backwards,
actually causes thought to happen.
how interesting.

So what?
You ask so what?

So what is that is when a fellow taught me push hands,
and I had no tai chi to feel what he was doing
I just reversed the motion of what he was doing
and he became my meat.

A karate form done backwards
enlightened me as to tai chi chuan.
how interesting.

I’ve decided not to get a Xmas tree this year.
They are just too forking expensive.
I’m going to get a burrito.
don’t misunderstand me,
I’m not going to get a Christmas burrito,
I’m going to get a Hanakwanmass Burrito.

I can hang it on the wall
and play pin the tail on the burrito.
when I’m done,
I can eat it.
Tell me that ain’t gonna taste better than a tree!

just to warn you…
the yearly rendition of
The Night Before Christmas
is coming.
Unwrap your concertina wire
and put on your body armor,
it’s coming.

do you have a copy of Matrix Karate
under your Hanakwanmass Burrito?
Twenty bucks,
and you’ll spend a few weeks learning the forms and stuff,
then you’ll have a few months of adapting your own arts
matrixing them,
and then, of course,
you can do it all backwards.
So Matrix Karate is going to last all year long.

forgive me my whimsical attitude,
it’s just that holidays are here,
and behind the frantic present throwing
people really do care,
and it’s nice to see.

we can have world peace.
Might have to knock off all the politrickans to get it…
but hey,
why not?


and have a great work out.
Here’s the URL for that inexpensive gift for yourself….

Hanakwanmass to you!

Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth. ~Samuel Johnson

Martial Arts is the art of uniting violence with truth. ~Al Case

What we actually learn, from any given set of circumstances, determines whether we become increasingly powerless or more powerful. ~Blaine Lee

What we actually learn, from our incessant and never ending practice of form, determines whether we become increasingly powerless or more powerful. ~Al Case

Life is but thought. ~Sara Teasdale

I do Martial Arts to find thought. ~Al Case

Send me your wins!