You know those gems of brilliant advice you get from time to time in the Dojo or in a passing moment from your teacher or instructor?  And you can't remember them when you get home?

Well, now you can as we are starting an insights section so that you read. listen to or watch a variety of interesting  observations and opinions from Masters, Teachers and Dojo Leaders over a wide range of subjects within Japanese Budo, thus benefitting from decades of their collective experience.


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Mike Clapham

Mike Clapham

I believe that through the practice of Budo and Shikantaza (just sitting) that with time you start to strip away at the Ego. Which is not true of all martial arts. Some encourage the boosting of Ego through the concept of competition and being a winner.


I think that through my own experiences of meditation that sometimes when l sit l become introspective and think back on my past, and my present and compare the two and would like to think that l have managed to strip away at my Ego and become more humble and compassionate as a result. Ofcourse sometimes when l sit my mind is so full of rubbish l feel the session was a complete waste of time. Which ofcourse draws a direct parallel with my budo training when I feel that at some training sessions that lve achieved nothing and it was a waste of time turning up. But ofcourse in both cases you have to be there to improve, you have to have patience and you have to have trust.


I think for some people to develop compassion and humility is easier than for others, it depends on your innate nature.


David Passmore


The basic method requires a conscious effort to allow the breathing to be managed from the lower abdomen which the Japanese call the Hara.

And the exact spot Japanese Budoka need to focus on is the Tanden - the single point in the lower abdomen.  Place you left hand fingeertips on your left hip and you right hand fingertips on your right hip.  Draw them together towards and under your navel.  Thats the Tanden - about an inch to an inch and a half directly below your navel, depending on your height.

It is your absolute centre of gravity.




This method of breathing has been handed down over thousands of years, by masters of meditation and yoga and once mastery of it has been attained, which is not difficult, you will enjoy the way you breathe each day of your life, from then on.

The reason for this is that only through the correct breathing mechanism will you be able to relax, deeply relax.  

Only when you are able to relax properly, will you be able to become more aware of how you breathe during your training.

And only then will you be able ot release the full power of your energy.

Rob R:27Mar21

Rob Rohrey

Twist punch.    (Seiken Oi-Tsuki).

The fist (Seiken) is the most used weapon in Karate, and therefore it must be very solid.

The first and second knuckles of the fore and middle finger are only used for contact and must be in a straight line with the forearm, the wrist perfectly straight.

The basic punch from the hip to the target must be in a straight line, as we know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.


Full twist or 3/4 Twist punch.

The 3/4 punch rotates only 3/4th’s of a turn, to increase the transfer of energy into the target.

The 3/4  punch is skeletally stronger.

The full twist punch rotates the two bones of the forearm, the ulna and the radius, criss-cross each other witch weakens the punch.

The 3/4  punch, the bones aligned straight above each other.

In the full twist punch, the muscles of the forearm (the extensor carpi radialis longus and the branchioradialis) are stretched passed the point of maximum efficiency therefore weakens the punch, and the fist is more likely to buckle.

In the 3/4  punch, the muscles are at the point of maximum efficiency, and more capable of transferring energy into the target.  



Street fights usually starts where (young) people get together and follow a set pattern.

Understanding this pattern can be useful for spotting trouble before it starts. Street fights do not just happen, they occur, because someone is looking for a fight. That person looks for somebody he thinks he can intimidate and defeat.

Since the goal is to beat you up, he might bump into you saying “Hey watch out”, or if you are looking at him he might say “What are you looking at”. At this time he checks you out to see if you could become a victim and tries to intimidate you with a loud and aggressive speech.

He tries to frighten you, which makes him feel stronger before he commits himself to a fight.

At this point; be calm and control your breathing, make your breathing constant and be ready to fight. Do not show this to him as he might takes this as a challenge. Talk to him, and try to calm him down to undermine his ability, robbing him of the “right” to act violently.

Two things may occur, he walks back to his friends and still feels a hero, or the situation escalates towards violence, starting to push you around.

Be ready to fight, slowly take steps back or sideways and find cover for your back, maybe a wall or a car and don’t lose him out of your side, also look around if he has friends, if so, watch them. If you have to fight, the fight should not take longer than 90sec, because after that time you have about 30% of your power left, this does not depend upon the size or strength of a person, but will be constant across the whole range of body types and conditions of fitness. The supply of oxygen is essential to keep on fighting, remember “no oxygen, no fight”.


Aerobic = presence of free oxygen, anaerobic = absence of free oxygen, this means that the oxygen demand is greater than the oxygen supply and can’t keep up with the energy you body is demanding


The actual breakdown is as follows:

At 0 to 5 seconds the activity is 96% aerobic, 4% anaerobic.

After 30 seconds the activity is 55% aerobic, 45% anaerobic.

After 90 seconds the activity is 35% aerobic, 65% anaerobic.

This means that, if a fight takes longer than ± 30 seconds, the loss of power is tremendous and that fine motor skills are utilized, after this time you can only rely upon gross motor skills, which must be simple and effective.

Rob Rohrey

Budokan Zealand