Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Martial Arts Gi

Did you know that the first martial arts uniform was the judo uniform? Kano Jigoro, the creator of judo, created the gi in 1907. The gi was designed with long, billowy sleeves for movement, as well as long, billowy pants.

Funakoshi mimicked the Jigoro design, only he used a lighter fabric than the heavy judo gis. Thus the uniform of martial arts was born!

As you've noticed most gis look the same. The design is similar; what changes is typically reflective of the school. Kenpo students will typically wear a black gi.

This gi is of kenpo style made by Piranha Gear. It's a heavy weight karate gi, made of 100% cotton canvas dyed black. Tournament length sleeves. Make sure to check your size; these run a little big, so you may want to go a size below.

This is your standard karate gi, also heavy weight made by Piranha Gear. 100% cotton canvas with tournament length sleeves.

These are both gis for the professional/serious martial artist. Beginners will want to stick to the uniforms that their masters sell. Though those gis are good, these are heavy duty awesome gis. These are ridiculously durable as well as breathable. A uniform that is comfortable and practical for the instructor or tournament junkie.

Follow the links for customer reviews.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I've been reading a lot of posts lately on the issue of bullying and I think that there are still too few. What I mean by this is that though it may seem like a simple issue, it really isn't. Kids are killing themselves because of the torment that they receive in school.

 I used to think that I was bullied when I was in school, but I've never been pushed to the point of hurting someone or taking my life. So I can't say for sure what is going on in these schools, but I will say that it isn't the school's fault.

I feel that often parents don't spend enough time with their kids. They don't share with them lessons of kindness or generosity. But this isn't always the problem. Parents are busy; both of my parents had to work to provide for a family and times now are even harder. 3 or 4 jobs split between two people is hard. These times are hard on all of us. No it really isn't the parent's fault, not entirely.

Somewhere the child was never taught respect. They never understood the concept of restraint or empathy, so they understood when they were hurting someone. Or maybe the fact is that we are just cruel on the inside.

I honestly don't know what to say here. I don't understand why some kids bully and others get bullied. I felt like I had to say something. And if you want to join the cause to stop bullying, try these places:

I personally believe that it starts at home, teaching our children that picking on others, singling them out and joining others in harassing them is wrong. Teasing is OK; teasing is a sign of love, but there is line that is crossed when it comes to bullying. Bullying is cruel and malicious. It has no love, only animosity.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kenpo Karate: Humility

I actually posted this on my hub account, so go check it out here. Other than that, I will be gone this weekend so there will be no postings.

: (

 I know you are sad, but hey here's a video of a goofy TV show from the 90's! It's relevant! It's relevant!

Have a good weekend! : )

Oh power rangers!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kenpo Karate: Drive

To defend yourself, you need drive. You can't just hope that you will be able to pull this shit right out of your ass, you need to be motivated to learn all you can to do it.

Drive (not sure why I'm explaining this; if you don't know, you live in outer space) is the passion to go without stopping until you are satisfied. Drive is what makes us human. Have you ever seen a person without drive? They are uncomfortable furniture. They lay around and aren't even useful to sit in.

Kenpo karate teaches student to strive for more. As with any martial art, kenpo karate challenges students with breaking and memorizing techniques. As time progresses, the techniques become second nature and with enough experience they will be able to defend themselves with ease. It takes drive to defend oneself, no doubt about it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kenpo Karate: Guts!

So before I proceed, I wanted to add this video that brings back fond memories of old-school nickelodeon...

Mush like the TV show of the same name, a martial artist needs guts in order to defend himself. What are guts? You know beside the organs that allow your body to function properly? (Yes, I had to). Guts are a little bit of confidence as well as what makes strong leaders. Having guts can sometimes mark weather you win or lose.

Have you ever heard the term "gut feeling"? Where you have an inkling and act upon it? Well that is half of what guts is. Being able to discern a right move. This is how mushin no shin, a state I wrote about in a previous post, begins.

Gut feelings become more and more prevalent as an artist gains more experience and as they age, they will be able to enter the mushin no shin state. The other part of guts is a little less complex, and that is the courage to act on those gut feelings.

Often we rely too much on our analytical minds to decipher everything around us. We easily dismiss anything that can't be measured by a yard stick, so gut feelings have little to know baring. However, aside from the mind and the body, a human being also has a soul and the soul is also capable of sensing, we are just not tuned into it.

It is these radical ideas that sound so silly when spoken aloud (or written in a blog). So that's the reason why many choose not to listen to their gut; it is not the eyes, nor the ears, nor hands, tongue or nose and therefore it is uttery erroneous.

Sarcasm... sarcasm... I have experienced these myself and I can appreciate the need for further study before you take me seriously. However that is what guts are to me.

In the matter of defending yourself, it is hard to listen to this feeling all the time. You'll want to ignore it at first and when you do, things won't typically work out that well. When you do listen, often times they work out fine. Not always but usually.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Kenpo Karate: Leadership

Leadership is a crucial skill in the world today. Without it, it can be extremely hard to succeed in business or in just about anything. Leaders lead the way into the future. They do not just follow the path that of those before them, they are constantly learning and creating new things.

They are also great examples and inspire their friends, family, subordinates with their charisma and their take charge attitude. It may seem hard to believe, but kenpo teaches students this too. Students often are chosen to lead classes and teach new students. This helps them remember and also learn how to articulate what it is they have learned in class.

Now when it comes to defending yourself, leadership comes from confidence. A leader is born when he/she has the confidence to accept the duties that they have in becoming a leader. As a martial artist, your duty is to defend yourself and others, preferably for a just cause (personally, if it is not a just cause then you are not a martial artist). And in that respect you become the leader that you were taught to be through the training in your dojo.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kenpo Karate: Confidence

When it comes to defending yourself, you need to have confidence to do it. It you act meek in a hostile situation it means one of two things: 1, you are misdirecting your opponent to catch them by surprise or (and mostly likely) you are in fact a meek minded person who is easily trampled.

Can you defend yourself with kenpo karate? Yes! ...That is if you believe that you can.

Often we compare ourselves to the greats. We watch movies with Jackie Chan and Jet Li and see how amazing they are and we immediately think that we could never perform at that level, beat all the bad guys and win the girl at the end... Well of course you can't if you don't even try!

I'm not saying that by "believing" you can, you will be able to defeat three assailants at once without any training, I'm saying that with the training that kenpo karate gives you, you can defend yourself.

First off, those tricky moves in the movies, though they are flashy without proper practice, you could not pull those off. Unless you trained like Jackie and Jet. If you believe you can do them and practice them everyday and some how magically get into such a sticky situation, then yes you could. But you don't need to. What you want is to take out your opponent in one move. Too much energy is wasted on making the stunts they do interesting. Not really practical in a real fight.

So now you understand that comparing yourself to the greats is dumb, you need to realize the power inside yourself. Training in kenpo karate develops much of the young martial artist. As a student progresses through the ranks, they get stronger, faster, more agile, longer stamina and, of course, more confidence in dealing with a life threatening situation.

The martial arts, as I've said time and time again, is not so much about building the body as it is about building the mind and spirit. As you progress, you learn timing, your reach and also you find the inner tiger within you that can stand up against anyone.

Confidence can be attained through other methods as well. However, there is no fast way to do so. It takes a lot of effort on the part of the student. But if you really want it, you can strive to find it within yourself.

If you have good self-esteem, you typically have good confidence. How you view yourself is key. If you keep comparing yourself to the greats like Chan and Li, you will always be seeking their confidence and not your own. Start with you first!

  • Compliment yourself when you do something well. You don't have to do it out loud; people might stare... But take some pride in the good work you do (will talk more about this later).
  • Maintain a positive attitude. This is the most played out saying in the history of the world... but it's true. No matter what, if you decide you are going to have a good day or believe that you can do anything and take down any opposition the day throws at you, you will have a great day.
  • If you fail, try again. Failure is only a means of finding the way; it is not a end all situation where if you fail life ends. We often forget this. Especially teens... You can't take life too seriously or you won't be able to get over the hurdles that are constantly there. Remember that life isn't hard, it's how you use the gifts you got and kick the world's ass. DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU DIFFERENTLY! :)
If you're an avid reader (I'm guessing you are if you read this far) there are a lot of books that can give you more tips on building self-esteem and confidence. I'm an avid reader myself and enjoy self-improvement reads (I know not everyone is), but if you want to give these books a try, I've found them pretty useful in terms of confidence building:

As somewhat of an introvert, I found these to be pretty helpful for me. So I hope you enjoy them too. Well, thanks for reading and I will continue this series tomorrow. Till then...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Kenpo Karate: Can I Fight Back?

For all beginners of kenpo karate, you may wonder if learning a martial art is helpful or a waste of time. Growing up, I wasn't sure about it myself. In fact I would say that I really didn't become a black belt until I got my 2nd degree.

I'm not very supportive of belt systems. I understand their function; they represent skill level. However, even if you have the knowledge doesn't mean you know how to use it. This may seem like a weird way to begin a pro martial arts shpeal, but just give me time. : )

There are some white belts out there that act like black belts and there are some black belts that act like white belts. Unfortunately I have been the latter. My sensei had a word for it: paper tiger. It may look like a tiger, but it is made of paper and is no more fearful than a mouse.

I was unfortunately a paper tiger for a long time. I was big; i had strength, but as far as being a black belt, I was not. It took a real kick in the pants for me to take training seriously... but that is a story for another time.

What I will say now is what we in the writing business call a thesis statement... So yeah, kenpo karate or any martial art teaches a student how to defend him/herself. Yes, you can fight back. That is not the proper question. The proper question is will you fight back.

Like anything else, the amount of time and effort you put into kenpo karate makes all the difference. You can just barely pass your tests and gain that black belt, but if you don't put in the real sweat to go above and beyond, you are not a real black belt. Becoming a real black belt takes guts and drive. You need to be a leader and you need to have confidence in yourself. And humility goes a long way too.

Those are the main components to make a black belt. Let me rephrase that: those are the components you need to be able to defend yourself. There are plenty of street fighters that can defend themselves and the only black belt they have, they got from wal-mart. What do they have? confidence, leadership, guts...

They don't have drive, because if they did they wouldn't be thugs. And they don't have humility because they are not eager to learn. That is the difference between being a black belt and being a street fighter.

I'm going to end this for now, because I have some good ideas for future posts from this one. Check back for updates, but let me repeat myself: by learning kenpo karate you can fight back, you can defend yourself and you can win.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mushin No Shin

Mushin no shin, something that I like to call the Void Mindset, is the state of mind that comes when you are not thinking at all. The Japanese call mushin no shin or mind without mind. The Koreans call it moo sim or empty mind, but they mean exactly what I was talking about in the earlier post.

Mushin no shin is hard to understand since we are all familiar with the “I think therefore I am” phrase, but it is in fact a state where the unconscious mind is at work.

In order to achieve mushin no shin, one must be free of all thought and by this I mean free from emotions and ego.

Emotions are typically reactions to interactions. These may be good or bad interactions, which will vary in results. For instance if a person angers you, you may find it hard to think about anything other than that person for the rest of the day. This of course also happens during a more positive interaction.

A list of common emotions that will impede mushin no shin are, but are not limited to:
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Joy
  • Guilt
  • Pleasure
  • Happiness
  • Amused and so many more.
Ego is also affects achieving mushin no shin. Ego is much more complicated because it deals with how you view yourself as well as what actions you should/would take in order to do/get what you want.

Our conscious thinking is what impedes mushin no shin. The unconscious mind is filled with all the knowledge that the conscious mind has as well as much more. In kenpo karate, mushin no shin would help you defend and attack effortlessly. Your body and mind fully understand the techniques and react accordingly to whatever stimuli applied.

This state is not just for martial arts, it is used in everyday life without you knowing. For me, a common example is driving. I often find myself in that state (not being conscious of it) while I’m on the road. I am a very comfortable driver and so I don’t need full consciousness (that sounds reckless).

Mushin no shin comes with years and years of practice in one area. When you are comfortable and enjoy what it is you are doing, you may find yourself slipping into mushin no shin. This is a good thing, because you will often accomplish things you didn’t think possible.

Now I’m not saying that you totally slip out of consciousness. It is just that you are not aware of consciousness at all. There is no you; there is only the action and usually success.