Tag Archives: learn karate fighting

There is No First Strike in Karate

Hitting First in Karate

There is no first strike in Karate is an old saying. It s also, as plain as it seems, very misunderstood. To explain it people always say things like, ‘you have to let the other guy strike first,’ or, ‘we believe in non-aggressive behavior,’ or something like that. So here is the truth about ‘there is no first strike in Karate.’

Let’s say you’re driving your car home from work every day, and you learn what the community driving patterns are. There’s always a traffic jam at the Main Street light. Kids let out of school late onThursday on 4th street. If you turn left at Town street it is one way with almost no lights.

In other words, you learn to ‘know’ what the driving patterns are in your town, and you adjust your driving to take advantage of those patterns. In the martial arts, such as Karate, or for that matter, Taekwondo or Aikido or whatever, the same holds true.

You face enough students you learn that a shoulder dip presages a kick; a blink is an attempt to hide an attack; a subtle breathing inwards is a prep for a rushing attack. In other words, you learn to ‘know’ what your opponent is going to do.

The beginner, of course, doesn’t know anything. But he faces enough people, pays attention long enough, and these fighting patterns become obvious, and he learns to ‘know’ his opponent.

There are many things that can get in the way of learning to know your opponent. If you let emotion cloud your perceptions then you can’t see clearly enough to ‘know’ your opponent. If you study a system that believes in fighting, instead of developing awareness, you won’t ‘know’ your opponent. If you practice a system that preaches things like ‘adrenaline dumping,’ then you won’t learn to ‘know’ your opponent.

Things like emotion, the joy of combat, using adrenaline in your strategy and practice, these things all interfere with looking at what is happening, and being able to learn to know your opponent.

You see to know somebody you have to look at them, and the looking must not be distracted, and that means cultivating a stillness within, a stillness without such things as emotion or other errant thoughts or occurrences in the awareness.

If you learn how to achieve stillness within, which is to say if you learn to pay attention without being distracted, by emotion, by other things, then you look, and you learn to know.

Now, let me ask you a question: if you can look at your opponent, and if you ‘know’ that he is going to attack, would you striking first really be a first strike?

I hope you see the obviousness of the answer. But if you don’t, then simply continue with your practice. Look at your opponent, learn how to recognize, and to act, upon the twitches, the broken breathing pattern, the dip of the shoulder or the turn of the hip, and you will learn how to know your opponent, and then there will be no first strike in Karate.

The author has near 50 years of karate training. You can tap into his knowledge, learn how to know your opponent, by checking out the books and video courses he has written/produced. His website is MonsterMartialArts.com

Learn How to Fight in Two Days!

How to Fight!

I received the most interesting email the other day.

I have an interesting question for you. And I go to you because you fixed how I view karate and many other arts. Matrixing is genius. It’s simplistic way of thinking makes even the difficult seem attainable. Sometimes people need to learn how to defend themselves within a short period of time. They have been threatened, they have moved to a dangerous area. Domestic issues, etc. Whatever the issue, they need self defense fast. My task is: can you come up with a concept, strategy, or martial art one can learn in a few days or weeks? Just wondering?

Thanks Kyle,

it is fascinating

and right up my aisle.

When I was figuring matrixing out,

I was really trying to get a person to black belt fast.

Not how to fight fast,

I didn’t care about fighting.


of course,

I came up with several methods for fighting.

Check out the ‘How to Fight Course’

on the home page of Monster.

Check out the last newsletter.

Very interesting stuff.

The thing is,

I was always concerned more with

how do you keep a calm and aware mind

while training.

How to put the art into fighting,

or how not to lose the art.

how do you use fighting

to develop mushin no shin.


what if I didn’t care about that?

What if a cousin came to me,

said there were bullies who were going to beat him up on monday

could I teach him to fight over the weekend?



No prob.

There are two things to consider,


his basics.


enough actual fighting experience.

Depending on the situation,

I might focus on things like

poking somebody in the eye.


maybe it’s a school situation,

and I don’t want him to come home

with a felony on his record,


two days in which to train him

how to have a straight wrist when punching.

And I have to do it,

without wearing him out.

So you get a light ball

and throw it at him,

and have him punch it back to you.

Or kick it back to you.

If he punches it wrong it flies to the side.

So his timing must be


The other thing,

get him enough fighting experience.

So rhythmic freestyle

until it comes out of his ears.

That’s on the Matrix Karate course.

Get him used to moving,


hitting back.

Slow enough so he doesn’t tire out,

and you can keep going

and going

and going!


spice it up with hours of rolling fists,

right out of the How to Fight course.


those two things,


and actual fight experience,

and then spice it up with lots of little things.

Work him for 15 to 20 minutes of freestyle,

then practice hitting him on the body,

on the  shoulders,

in the head,

in the face.

Very light,

very controlled,

slowly giving him the idea

of what a hit is like,

and let him practice not getting flustered.


I don’t particular like what I am saying here,

because I am training to fight.

I am not training for the long view,

for the peace of mind

that comes with learning the true art.


this is the real world,

and somebody is not going to stick around

long enough to learn the real art,

if they are getting beat up on the street.

So it is valid

to make him survive,

and polish him up later.


it is a severe second choice

to training him from the ground up

as an artist.


you want to train somebody fast,


you have to train somebody fast,


here’s a good one,

you want to train somebody to stay aware

in the middle of a fight,

what I have told you here

is the start.


notice that on the front page of monster,

it is designated as second black belt material.

It is advanced,

on the fighting side of things,

very advanced,



But that’s the truth of your studies.

If it is simple,

it is going to be easier to remember,

and easier to make work,

to use in a fight.


I would prefer that you use it

to build on the classical.

As I said,

I don’t like it,

just teaching fighting,

but who cares?

Your life

is more important

than what I like.


Oinky dokey.

Remember the URL…



have a great week end,

a great work out,

and I’ll talk to you later.


zen martial arts