The first martial art I ever took, as a child, was Shotokan Karate. As a teenager, I began seriously practicing and teaching a karate based system with a heavy self defense emphasis. The school was in a rough area of New Orleans and this was during the height of the worst crime there, in the early 90s. Half of our practice was defense against gun, knife, and stick attacks. Students used the techniques in self defense, and they did work, despite the fact that there were/are more efficient and effective options.
I noticed during that time that the karate I was training was different from what I saw being trained in other schools. It was harder, rougher, more direct, and more painful. I also bought as many karate books as I could find, including on a couple of extended trips to Japan. This was before the internet and YouTube, so information was limited. I discovered in the books that there was a real difference between modern karate or karate-do and the older, combat oriented karate-jutsu. For a while I started calling the karate I practiced karate-jutsu, or the older name, to-te.
I moved on to other styles, techniques, and training methods, and for the most part I haven’t specifically practiced karate ever since. But many of the principles I learned and many of the qualities I have are a result of that training.
What I trained in karate and what I learned from the older books aren’t actually “secrets” in the sense that they’re purposefully hidden. But they are unfortunately either unknown by most practitioners I’ve met, or at least ignored and not practiced. So I recently decided to add a section to my website on functional karate, hoping to shed light on some of these things…to demonstrate functional usage of karate techniques.
As I wrote on the karate page, karate isn’t for everyone. The techniques are pretty hard core if practiced in a functional way. But if you feel comfortable with that type of technique, if it suits you, then give the ones in my video a try. I’m confident you’ll find them to be effective.
I’ve also added a new page to my site with images and details of the gun threat defense I demonstrated in the video, here.
If you’ve practiced karate yourself, are you aware of these “older applications”? Have you practice them? If not, why not? And for all of you, do these techniques look like techniques you’d like to see more of? Let me know in the comments.