Tag Archives: gichin funakoshi

Gichin Funakoshi, Dark Alleys, and Gloopy Aliens!

Gichin Funakoshi Self Defense for the Masses!

Speaking of Gichin Funakoshi…let me first say good morning.

Good Morning USA, and world, and, uh, guess I’ll throw in the universe. Never can tell, some gloopy alien with three eyes might be keeping track of those strange critters on earth. Might be reading this article right now making sure we’re not being contentious and guilty of sedition to the alien galactic empire.

Hello, Gloopy Alien. I wonder if he knows what this here finger of mine is for? Hah.

gichin funakoshi

Where is that Gichin Funakoshi guy?

Speaking of weird and Gloopy Aliens, the founder of modern Karate, Gichin Funakoshi, was about 80 years old, and was out for his nightly walk. The night was ominous, Japan was in an unsettled state, and he saw a mugger waiting on a street corner. Gichin knew, deep in his heart, that that mugger was going to try to mug him.

Hey, you think a mugger’s going to risk picking on somebody who is big? Nope, muggers want to get on with their work with the least amount of personal risk, you know? Smart guys, these muggers are.

Anyway, Gichin keeps on walking makes sure he looks feeble, and as he passes the mugger and the mugger leaps at him he whirls and grabs the mugger. Now, you might be wondering where he grabbed the mugger. A death lock on the carotid–a specialized nerve center that immobilizes totally? Well, uh, he didn’t do any of those things. He grabbed him by the, um, cajones. The apples, you know..the coconuts.

He grabbed him by the children he might sire some day, by the future, by his only source of fun on those long, lonely nights that frustrate a mugger when he is all by himself and can’t find anybody who even remotely likes him.

Now the founder of modern Karate has a mugger by the embarrassment, and what is he going to do next? Does he flick a set of knuckles to the throat and crunch the Adam’s apple…cause it to swell up and stop the mugger from breathing? Does he launch a spear hand thrust to the chest and yank the mugger’s very heart out and take a big bite while the terrified mugger watches in terror? Or does he just start to close his hand. Close his hand slowly, and watch the life blood drain out of the mugger’s face, and the very life right out of his quaking and pain infested body, and the happiness out of his future? Squeeze, until the nutty pulp runs out from between his gnarly, old fingers. Squeeze, until a loud popping sound fills the night air. Squeeze, until the mugger screams like a little girl and falls to the pavement, never to enjoy the feel of loving again.

Gichin Funakoshi called for the cops. Yep, he stood on that corner and held that man and called for help. And the mugger was totted away to think about his crimes, and the terror of having his manhood held by another man.

An interesting lesson for a mugger, eh? Another interesting lesson would be if you looked up the real meaning of the word testament and where it comes from and all that.

Anyway, the point of all this is this don’t walk down that dark alley.

Yep. My students have heard me say this, and they know what I mean. When you have a choice of a long walk down a lit street, or a short trip through a dark alley, take the long way.

You can tell you’ve made it, that you do understand what the martial arts are all about when you can see a dark alley before you reach it.

Hey, a sunny street in the heart of town might be a dark alley if there’s some idiot waiting for you. And you should have developed the extra perception, through those endless hours of practice, to know the difference between a dark alley and a well lit street.

This has been a page about Gichin Funakoshi, and here’s another page about the Martial Art behind his shotokan.

This piece on Gichin Funakoshi was reprinted from Matrix Martial Arts 2009/06/04.

Karate Throwing Techniques to Make You Grin!

Finding and Define Karate Throwing Techniques!

When this writer first learned Karate, there weren’t any Karate throwing techniques. There was just kick and punch, and so much of it that there wasn’t much interest in how to throw somebody.

Heck, if you wanted to throw, you took Judo, right?

karate throwing techniques

He could punch…and he could throw!

But, as time played out, and arts were learned, the subject of Karate throwing techniques kept popping up again and again.

Interestingly, there were throws in Karate before that art became a mass produced method of making money for US teachers.

I’m not trying to diss anybody here, but the US teachers were all saying ‘My art is the only Martial Art!’ And they were concerned with pushing their tournament fighting, which had no room for throws.

But Gichin Funakoshi was once taking lessons with Jigaro Kano, and suddenly Gichin did a throw that Kano didn’t really know. And when Kano was surprised, Funakoshi passed it off with, ‘Oh, there are a few karate throwing techniques.’

A few throws, indeed! Karate is LOADED with takedowns and locks and all manner of manipulative grappling techniques!

Finding Karate Throwing Techniques in Kata

My favorite example of a karate throwing technique is the move at the end of Pinan Three. You poke over the shoulder and elbow, and slide to the side. Absolutely perfect grab art, if, instead of poking the eyes, you grab an encircling arm and throw on the slide.

Anyway, we could get into a lo-o-ong discussion about the placement of throws in almost every single move of every single kata, but I will leave that up to the reader to explore on his own, and merely say: ‘the throws are there, you just have to learn how to look.’

I will say that the throws in Karate tend to be all over the place. Karate wasn’t organized logically, and the things are placed in haphazard arrangement. That may make your job of finding them harder, but it will also make it more interesting.

I will also say that, in the end, while this writer loves throws and locks, there is greater efficiency in one punching an opponent. I know that some people may disagree with this, but I recommend practicing the punch until it works, and exploring the throws and locks so that you don’t get trapped or fooled by them, and so that you may have options. An option, for instance, in the event that it’s only your drunk cousin…don’t punch him! Just do one of your Karate Throws, over the shoulder and into the trash can…he he!

Here’s a great article about Karate Throwing Technique. You can also check out Matrix Kung Fu at Monster Martial Arts, which is the bible of Karate Throwing Techniques.