Friday, August 11, 2017

Single Fights Vs. Tournaments

The advantage with fighting single bouts is that you can focus on one person. You google and Youtube your opponent and get fixated on him. Tournament fighters show up and fight multiple matches not knowing who they are going to fight. They might think that they are going to fight a specific opponent and then that guy might lose to someone they've never seen or heard of. Tournament are better for the development of a fighter. You adapt to the situation and you don't focus on one person.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Shidokan MMA

The unique thing about Shidokan Karate as a style is that it is a mixed system. It incorporates techniques from several styles to make one well rounded. Shidokan was started in 1981 and continues to evolve. It is where traditional martial arts meets mixed martial arts. Here is a clip of Shidokan Atlanta's senior members competing in a mixed arena (MMA, Triathlon, etc.). Through years of competing and exploration, we continue to grow and expand.

Shidokan MMA

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Self Discovery Through Martial Arts

In learning the martial arts, you will be guided by your instructor. After you learn the basics you will have look within to further improve. As a fighter, the best teacher is experience. After you have years of training and competing you know what you need to do to get better. You can't depend on your coach and training partners for success. You have to make it happen. You can't rely on others to motivate and inspire you, you have to be the motivation and inspiration in your life. You have to accept nothing but the best in how you approach your goals. In today's time, I see a lot of young people looking for outside guidance in everything they do. Many years ago, when I walked in a gym I simply had to watch the veterans in the place train and I saw what was necessary. They didn't wait for anybody to tell them what to do. They came in and got to it and worked hard. These days, students are not as focussed or self-driven. In a time of instant gratification they want things with out paying their dues. They want it to be laid out for them. The haven't been forced to learn from inside. Because they have come up in a time where the mind has not be creatively challenged to do so. For you to be a champion in whatever you do, you will need to study and practice hard. You will need to look within yourself and push your past your limits to improve. Study champions and the process to accomplishing things not the end result. Get to work!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Fireman's Carry

I came across a really cool video on Kata Guruma (fireman's carry) from Judo. Grabbing the legs is currently prohibited in Olympic Judo. Competitors have modified the throw to fit current rules. This is some old school footage showing this dynamic technique.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqwaibq5u4M

Friday, July 7, 2017

Most Import Weapon

What is a fighter's most important weapon? I would say his conditioning. In a match where you have 2 trained athletes, who both have a foundation of techniques, usually the victory is determined by who is in better shape. Once a fighter is tired, nothing works like it should. Defense is difficult, reaction is slow, and power is depleted. Being able to apply techniques under stress takes conditioning and experience. The first thing to go in fight is usually the legs. They get heavy and movement becomes difficult. The will usually get tired before the lungs. There are many theories on the best way to get in shape. I am of the believe that you must do your particular activity as the primary form of conditioning. Everything is is supplementary. If given a chance to spar extra rounds or do more reps on the bench press, I recommend the extra rounds. Sticking with the theory of specificity, one must practice what one is going to do. Everything is should be worked around the activity you are going to do.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fighting A Giant

How would you fight an opponent who is 100 plus pounds heavier than you? Do you go toe to toe? Well here is an MMA fight of Shidokan Atlanta's Vinny Balsamello fighting a man that weighs over 340 lbs. This fight took place June 10, 2017 in Metzingen Germany on the Shooto IV MMA fight show which aired on fite.TV. Vinny weighed in under 230 lbs for this bout. He gives up several inches in height too. You will see how to use low kicks, movement and the clinch to keep his larger opponent from being on top of him should the fight go to the ground. Watch and learn.

Vinny Balsamello MMA Fight

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Gloved Karate

Gloved Karate is a style of kickboxing that features your standard kickboxing techniques (punches, kicks, knees, clinch, and throws). This is a clip with up and coming Karate and Kickboxing fighter Adrian Weathersby. You will a blend of several martial martial arts displayed in this video.








Shidokan Gloved Karate

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Shidokan Is The Strongest Karate

I personally feel that Shidokan Karate is the strongest style of Karate. Now, I enjoy and appreciate all styles of martial arts. Shidokan adopts the concept of being a well rounded fighter. Outside of fighting it provides a traditional, cultural experience. It encompasses all of the elements to help one become a complete fighter and a better person. My student and good friend, Jaral Bowman demonstrates in this clip what I call, Karate Complete. I say complete in the sense that punches, kicks, knees, grabbling, clothing (Gi), etc. are involved. The concept of Karate is one blow kill. So imagine developing the ability to take an opponent out quickly and efficiently. This can be done by concussive force or submission. These fighters have the ability to do both. This style of karate answers questions that theorists cannot because you can see it.
Shidokan's Jaral Bowman

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

U.S. Shidokan Fighters 1st Class

Here's a clip that features some of the 1st generation Shidokan fighters. These guys come of the U.S. Shidokan Hombu Dojo. I've met all of these guys and they are talented life long martial artists who have contributed greatly to Shidokan and martial arts in general. This clip will show them competing in the Sabaki Challenge and the Shidokan Open. They paved the way for the sport that would become the "Triathlon of Martial Artists". There are a few other key individuals that I did not have clips for, but will get show them in the future. I will be in Germany this weekend for the European Shidokan Open. Team USA consist of 5 fighters from the Atlanta Dojo. I call them the 3rd Class. Look for the write up next week. OSU!

Shidokan Fighters 1st Class

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

20 Points on Kickboxing From 80s to Present

Times have changed a lot since I started training in the sport of Kickboxing. I would like to share some of the changes I have seen and/or experienced.


  1. There were no official kickboxing gyms. You learned at a boxing gym or a Karate school. 
  2. There were no kickboxing or boxing classes. You went to a gym and a coach would show you the basics and you would watch the veterans train and figure it out yourself, using the "School of Hard Knocks". 
  3. Hand wraps did not have velcro. They were laced at the ends. You either had to have someone tie them for you or using one hand and your mouth. 
  4. Sparring gloves did not have velcro. You hand to have someone tie them for you and you used sweat wrist bands to keep the bows. 
  5. Nobody stood over you and told you what you were supposed to do. You were accountable for yourself. You studied the pro fighters and figured out what you were supposed to do by watching them and through trial and error.
  6. Kickboxers came from a traditional martial arts background. Most fighters had black belts or experience in Karate, Taekwondo, or Kung Fu. It was rare that one had no martial arts background to start with. 
  7. One went to a Boxing gym to learn how to punch not martial arts Dojos. 
  8. Amateur Kickboxers did not wear headgear in the 80s. 
  9. Americans were dominating the sport of Kickboxing. 
  10. American Full Contact Karate, aka above the waist kickboxing was the most popular style of kickboxing. 
  11. PKA Kick of the 80s (aired on ESPN weekly).
  12. We bowed to the Ref and to our opponents before fighting. 
  13. We had to wear pants and black belts.  
  14. Low Kick or International rules was mostly done by WKA. 
  15. By the 90s Muay Thai and K1 became popular. 
  16. Kickboxing Gyms started popping up. Cardio Kickboxing came about too. 
  17. Kickboxing as a martial art was established (meaning students did not necessarily come from a traditional martial arts background). 
  18. Fighters started wearing shorts of trousers. 
  19. The Europeans were dominating the sport of Kickboxing. 
  20. Kickboxing (K1 or Glory) rules is the most popular style of Kickboxing. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Holzken Vs. Daniels Glory Kickboxing

Here's a video of tournament Karate Champ, Raymond Daniels fighting multiple time Thai Boxing and Kickboxing Champ, Nieky Holzken. Daniels is an accomplished sport Karate fighter (point and continuous sparring). He fought for the World Combat League (Chuck Norris' organization the aired several years ago on TV where fighters fought on Kickboxing Teams). He has demonstrated an unorthodox style that has served him well. But when going up against the likes of Nieky, you will a foundation of strong basics. Watch this video and see how Nieky walks Daniels down taking away his space and not allowing him to build momentum on techniques that would serve him well on a mat  without ring ropes. You will see Daniels be worn down methodically by pressure, low kicks and body shots. Despite Daniels abilities and accomplishments, he simply doesn't posses the experience to take on a fighting like Holzken (with over 100 kickboxing fights).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8Jt-emPx9c

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sparring

Sparring is the best way to find out if something works. You develop timing, reaction, learn to read your opponent, and learn what works best for you. In all my years of training in martial arts, I feel that my years training in boxing gyms influenced my outlook on martial arts in general. I took the method of learning in boxing and have applied it to the other combat sports I have trained in. Here is a video showing some training with pro boxers at Doraville Boxing Club in the 1990s.

Old School Sparring

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fighting Stances

How you stand when you fight depends on the situation. In this video clip I will show different fighting stances depending on the type of match I am competing in. Depending on the sport and ruleset you will see what stance best suits that particular situation. Some stances will be angled and some sideways. Hand positioning for defense will depend on the weapons of attack. Some stances are higher (i.e. Kickboxing) and some lower (i.e. Boxing). So, review this video and see what positions and postures I use that helps determine strategies for attack and defense.

Fighting Stance

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Continue The Challenge

Now that I am in my 50s (the new 30s), I still train and challenge myself. In transitioning from 49 to 50 years of age, I was able to have a blast competing in Kata, Kickboxing, and Judo. Here's a clip of that period. So, if I can get it going, so can you. Don't let injuries, age, etc. stop you from attaining your goal. I am still in the pursuit of perfection in what I enjoy doing and that never ends so I get training.

Continue The Challenge

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

IJF World Veterans

Here is video of some of my matches from the 2016 IJF World Veterans Championships. This was my 2nd tournament of this kind. I competed in the 2012 Worlds, which was an incredible event too. In my first Worlds I wasn't on the level of the competition there. The international Judoka are on a higher level (number wise). This time I was better prepared and almost made it to the medal rounds. Here are some edits of 3 of my matches. Unfortunately I don't have match one against Brazil, but he was one tough dude. He broke his pinky toe and continued to play (with his toe sticking sideways).


Shidokan Atlanta At IJF Veterans Championships

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

My Favorite Judo Technique

My favorite technique in Judo is the Uchimata throw. It is a great for an opponent who is hunched over with their legs wide. In this clip I will share footage of me in Judo competitions. The throw can be done using several grips. I like to to use a Power Grip (over the shoulder or deep back) to execute this throw.
Shidokan Atlanta Uchimata Judo Throw

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Shidokan Atlanta Throws For Karate

In this video clip, I am going to share some tips on throws and takedowns for full contact Karate (of course these can be used in any art or sport that allows grappling). I find techniques that allow to face your opponent work best and Ashi Waza (foot techniques) are best. Sweeps, trips, etc. allow you to attack and you don't find yourself in a bad position if you miss. You will see me throw with an Uchimata (inner loin reap) in the video. The grip I use is around the head (like a head lock throw). Because of this grip, the opponent can hold your waist and use the momentum of landing to roll you over. So be careful if you use this grip. I would recommend a whizzer or under hook as this will allow you better control.

Shidokan Atlanta Throws For Karate

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Boxing Tips By Shidokan World Champion

Boxing Tips

The best way to improve you punching ability is by studying the "Sweet Science". Boxers have the best punching skills. Because punching is their specialty, they master the ability to deliver power blows and have the best methods of defending those blows. Footwork, body and head movement are vital skills a boxer must have. In the clip below, I will show some fight footage and give examples of offense and defense.
Boxing Tips

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Shidokan Atlanta's Spinning Back

The spinning back kick is one of the most powerful kicks in martial arts. With the right set up and timing, it is a very effective technique. In this video clip I share a few examples of when to use this technique. The most important thing to remember is that you want to throw it when your opponent squares up. Even if blocked, the opponent has to absorb the impact.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Can You Take The Punishment?

In combat sports we like to see punishment given. But, in order to give it one must be able to receive it. In fights, fighters don't just fall down and die because you hit them. Through training and conditioning one develops the ability to take a lot of punishment. Some can take more than others. This has to do with not just physical strength, genetics, mental strength, desire and heart. Sometimes you just want to win more than your opponent. You have to shun negative thoughts from your mind and never give up. In this this video clip, you will me on the receiving end of some punches, kicks, throws, etc. Throw the fires of blood and pain, champions will rise.

Take The Punishment

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Shidokan Full Contact Karate World Open I

In this video clip, we will look at the unique rules of Shidokan Karate. This is from the 2002 World Open, where I am taking on the tough and aggressive Ryo Sakai of Japan. This is the 3rd bout of the evening (won first match by KO and second by submission). During the bout 2, I tore my right ACL (or shall I say had it torn), so I had to reach down deep and keep it moving to make it through the finals. 

This is part one of the Triathlon, the Bare Knuckle Karate portion (two and three are Kickboxing and Grappling). During this phase all leg attacks to upper and lower torso are allowed. Hand techniques are allowed to the neck and bellow. Grabbing, clinching and throwing are allowed. During this clip you will see elements of Karate, Taekwondo, Judo, and Muay Thai mixed in the Karate rounds. You will see me hobble around some times trying to stabilize and unstable right leg. As I fought, I found that round kicks were still doable. Anything that straightened the leg (i.e. front kick) would make the knee buckle. You will see my opponent pick on the problem and attack it with kicks and he will utilize Hiza Guruma (the knee wheel where he props his foot against the knee). So, I make adjustments, use movement, attitude and tricks to keep it going. Next time we will look at part two, the Kickboxing portion. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Shidokan Atlanta Rear Throw

Here's some examples of a Judo throw called Ura Nage (Rear Throw). Here I apply this technique in the 2004 Shidokan World Open. With no Gi and the sweat factor, I like to use the body lock to control my opponent's hips. This allows me to get under his center of gravity and attack with throws. Today let's look at the rear throw.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8qONPwxLV8

Friday, February 24, 2017

Shidokan Karate Highlight

Here's an old clip of Shidokan Triathlon (Karate, Kickboxing, Grappling). Fighters from various disciplines coming together and bringing out the best in each other.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJccFuPxOf4&t=2s

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Roundhouse Kick

In this video I give explain the basics of the Roundhouse Kick. I then share some fight footage on when to use this kick. Because the kick is a circular technique I suggest that in be done with the opponent is stationary or moving back. It works well as a counter and a follow up to miss attack. When the rules allow grabbing the leg, I recommend low and high round kicks, which are harder to grab. Also keep in mind that kicking with pants on is risky as the opponent can grab the pant leg. I will show the Roundhouse applied in Taekwondo, Kickboxing, and Shidokan Triathlon Rules (Bare knuckle Karate, Thai Boxing, Grappling).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG6Q77oqs1U

Friday, February 10, 2017

Using The Side Kick

The Side Kick is one my favorite kicks to use. Because I'm sideways, my opponent can't hit me. I can kick his guard and still know him back. I can use it offensively and defensively. In this video I will show some of the ways that I use this technique. First I will explain the technique from a traditional training concept and then provide you with fight footage showing the kick in action.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7BNnfLWS0A&t=5s

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Punching Techniques

Last time I discussed some clinch and knee techniques. This time, we are going to look at some Karate punching. First I will explain the basics of the punch and then provide some fight footage to see the techniques applied in combat. Over time I will explain my thoughts and philosophies on punching in various styles (Karate, Boxing, Kickboxing, etc.). Look for more fight tips soon. Study, practice and enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Jfrvx-oxM8

Friday, February 3, 2017

Shidokan Karate Clinch Technique

In this video clip Sensei Adam Johnson shares with Shidokan South members a Sabaki clinch technique. Shidokan representatives from Georgia and North Carolina travelled to the U.S. Shidokan Hombu Dojo for training.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgPD5m3P7IM

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Shidokan Atlanta Low Kick Tips

Here's a video demonstrating when to execute low kicks. These techniques work best when used in combinations, when backing an opponent up, and when countering. Throwing them blindly without setting them will put you in position to have your kicked blocked, evaded or countered. Study this clip and improve your low kick.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvNHgHFAuf0

Friday, January 27, 2017

Judo Fight Tip

Here's a video clip showing a Judo transition in a no Gi environment. This is from the 2002 Shidokan World Open. This is the Semi-finals with Matee Jedeepitak. The throw is Osoto Gari (Outer Reap) and the submission is Ude Gatamae (Straight Arm Lock). I prefer to use and under hook when there is no Gi. With the sweat factor I control the wrist (at the glove) on the arm lock. In future videos I will show more Judo style take downs without the use of gloving and give you my 2 cents on how I apply them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QzFkjdhq0Q

Monday, January 16, 2017

Attacking The Body

Last weeks fight tip was on the clinch and knee. This week we look at the body attack. In the following clip we will look at ways of attacking the body (specifically the liver). When you stop someone with a body shot their body shuts down. Hitting the body wears opponents down and saps their strength. Unlike a knockout to the head wear you don't know what happens. With the body stoppage your are conscious of what is going on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO23mtOV1-M

Monday, January 9, 2017

Tips On Knee Strikes

This post will be the first of a series of fight tips my Me. This first video is on the clinch and knee. You will see the basics of Muay Thai. I look to secure the head and neck clinch. I use my opponents wide attacks to reach inside for the clinch. I use my forearms and elbows against the neck and collar bones and use the hands to control the top of the head. This nullifies my opponent's punch attempts. The clinch takes aways his posture to land effective blows. Even when my grips are on the outside, I lower my center of gravity and throw knees. Look for more fight tip videos from me in the near future.

Shidokan Atlanta Fight Tip 1

Thursday, January 5, 2017

True Fighter Or Prize Fighter?

For those who compete, what kind of fighter are you? Many get into competing chasing the dream of fame and fortune. The few that make it to that level are able to train full time and fight for their livelihood. I have competed in combat sports for over 30 years. In the traditional arts (karate and taekwondo) of course there was no money to be made. You compete to simply challenge yourself. I got into kickboxing and boxing and I've known athletes who were able to do these as professions. I know of a few MMA fighter who are full time fighters. Out of all of the combat athletes who fight full time, I know of more boxers who were able to commit more time to their craft (they made more money). For me, I've always enjoyed competing just for the sheer fun of it. It is the ultimate way for me to challenge myself. I never competed for the sole purpose of making money. I've always worked a regular job and competition was my outlet. I would do it for free. Even though I was not fighting as a full time athlete, I was still fortunate to win national and international titles.

At 50 years of age, I still get physical by competing in Judo. Last summer I did a kickboxing bout against in an international competition against a young opponent (mind you it was a modified kickboxing bout with less impact and shorter rounds) and look pretty sharp. I even entered an international Kata competition in Hungary. For the most part I am all fighter and never placed above 3rd in Kata (forms) competition. Being primarily a fighter, I am still chasing a 1st place in Kata!

So, why do you compete? If it's for money, that's cool, but do it because you enjoy it and have fun doing it. Train for the sake of training and you will stay with it longer. I am still finding ways to challenge myself and I'm still motivated and exciting every time I train.