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Martial Arts & Fitness

A picture of martial artists performing karate kata

This is a list of the basic karate kata. There are nine kata which fit into a basic category. They can be divided into the subcategories Taikyoku, Heian and Tekki. Each has a description and instructive video. Learn or research your karate kata here.

Taikyoku

There is only one Taikyoku kata. This is the first and most basic karate kata on this list.

1. Taikyoku

Here are the directions of movement for the first kata: Left, right, forwards, right, left, backwards, left, right.



Heian

There are five Heian kata in total. These are some of the more basic karate kata on this list. But they are harder than the Taikyoku. Each starts with a block. This demonstrates their peaceful nature.

2. Heian Shodan



3. Heian Nidan



4. Heian Sandan



5. Heian Yondan



6. Heian Godan



Tekki

There are only three Tekki basic kata on this list. Their purpose is to help you develop a strong fighting stance. The horse stance is used in all of the Tekki videos. Imagine you are riding a horse to get the right position.

7. Tekki Shodan



8. Tekki Nidan



9. Tekki Sandan



Shotokan Sensei has some really good kata tutorial videos, link here.

Find a full karate kata list here.

Other articles on martial arts:
Basic Kicks
Basic Punches
Basic Throws
Basic Blocks
Top 10 Martial Arts Videos
Top 10 Martial Arts Films
Basic Karate Grappling Techniques

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An image from the martial arts film The Raid

“Oops”

The Raid is a 2011 martial arts film and one of the best recent film releases. There are two things which make this film different. It was directed by a Welshman, Gareth Evans (his IMDB page here). And it was cast and set in Indonesia. This is perhaps the most famous martial arts film to come out of Indonesian cinema. But it has earned its place as an awesome martial arts film. Let us tell you why.

The Raid Cast and Characters

Respect must first be paid to the cast of this martial arts film. The Raid has a lot of great actors in it. And some of them really know their stuff when it comes to action-packed fights. Below is a list of the cast and the characters played by them.

  • Iko Uwais as Rama.
    This rising martial arts star was discovered by director Gareth Evans while he was filming a documentary. His martial arts is great to watch, being strong and lighting fast. His character is an armed policeman in Indonesia, desperately trying to save himself and his comrades from Indonesian gangsters.
  • Joe Taslim as Sergeant Jaka.
    This is a great character and really well played. In The Raid there is a lot of tension between the Sergeant Jaka and Lieutenant Wahyu characters. Joe Taslim really helps to build that tension. He also does some great martial arts, especially in his fight against Mad Dog.
  • Donny Alamsyah as Andi.
    This character adds a big twist to The Raid’s plot. Donny Alamsyah plays his part well and he, Taslim and Ruhian have an awesome martial arts fight scene.
  • Yayan Ruhian as Mad Dog.
    Yayan Ruhian’s character is full of menace and anger. Mad Dog is the boss’ right-hand man. He does some amazing kicks in the martial arts scenes which he appears in. Not a likeable character, but really well acted.
  • Pierre Gruno as Lieutenant Wahyu.
    Another hard to like character. Lieutenant Wahyu has his flaws, and Gruno does very well in making us feel almost embarrassed for this corrupt police officer.
  • Ray Sahetapy as Tama.
    Tama might be the scariest character in the film. He is the gang-leader, drug lord and king of the tower. Sahetapy brings out all the worst in this character until he seems to ooze evil.

The Raid Gun Fight Video

If you want to know what The Raid is all about, check out the below trailer. It shows some awesome gun fights from the film and gives a good idea of the level of intensity. Hint, it is pretty intense.

The Raid Martial Arts Video

Guns are easy though. Martial arts is harder. Watch Iko Uwais take on a corridor full of machete-wielding bad guys. He is pretty awesome right?

Similar articles:

Top 10 Martial Arts Films

Top 10 Martial Arts Videos

The Tonfa, Martial Arts Weapon

A selection of resistance bands, a type of fitness equipment

A resistance band to suit each mood

A lot of people want to make a change in their lives through exercise. You might want to lose weight, build up muscle, become more toned or improve your fitness. This is a review of a piece of equipment which can do all of the above. The resistance band is something that we have worked with and found really helpful. Below is a list of the benefits of a resistance band.

1. Resistance Band Portability

Fitness and exercise is something which you should be able to do anywhere. It should not just be an activity for the gym or your home. You can take a resistance band anywhere. We recently took ours to Sicily and worked out in the hotel. The fact that fitness bands are portable means that you can do a full range of workouts wherever. It is like taking a home gym with you wherever you go.

2. Resistance Band Versatility

This is one of the most versatile pieces of fitness equipment that we have encountered. You can do a whole range of exercises with one set of bands. Bicep curls, squats, leg exercises, tricep lifts and shoulder exercises are just some of the activities you can do with a resistance band. The below exercise video shows you how the fitness band works.

3. Resistance Band Cost

Fitness equipment is not cheap. Look at the Fitness Superstore (link here) and see how much their equipment costs. For a full range of workouts you would have to buy numerous items at a high price (wherever you shop). You can get a good quality set of resistance bands on Amazon for less than $20. That is amazing value for something that you can take anywhere and do almost any workout with.

Also check out our range of Martial Arts articles here!

Two martial artists grappling towards a submission in a karate bout.

This article contains videos and tips to help you master the basic karate grappling and submission techniques. These karate grappling locks are used to subdue an opponent in a fight. The opponent may give up a fight due to the pain of a karate lock. This applies to both sparring, training and real combat. An opponent may also be unable to fight due to injuries caused by grappling. This only applies to real fights where a lock is used in self-defence. You should never cause real physical injury during training or sparring.

Headlock

This is a very basic grappling technique. The aim is to force the opponent into submission by putting pressure on their head and neck. Place your arm around their head or neck. They should be trapped in the bend of your arm, between your arm and body. Apply pressure by bringing your forearm closer to your biceps. You may also place the other arm on the back of their head to increase pressure. The headlock is easy to execute and can force an opponent into submission. When grappling be aware that your opponent may use a headlock on you at the same time. Check out the video below from Livestrong.

Top tip: place your body at a right-angle to the opponent’s. This makes it harder for them to strike you while in a lock or submission.

Arm Bar

This grappling technique works very well after throwing. We can use the example of a shoulder throw (click here for more on throwing). Block your opponent’s strike and throw them. After throwing an opponent, deliver a punch or kick. Keep holding onto their arm as you move from sparring to grappling. Place your legs across their chest. Their arm should be between your legs. Bend their arm against the elbow, over your hip. The pressure will eventually break their arm. Be careful not to do so during training.

Top tip: push upwards with your hips to apply added pressure.

Wrist Lock

This is a form of grappling submission which targets the opponent’s wrist. The benefit of this technique is that it can be performed from standing. Stand above your opponent after throwing them. Hold their wrist in the bend of one arm. Use your legs to keep them stationary and on their side. Your hand then folds theirs down. Their palm should move towards them. A grappling submission technique without the need to grapple.

The below video shows the basic mechanics of the wrist lock.

Top tip: keep a tight grip on your opponent’s wrist. Otherwise they might easily slip it out of your hold.

Leg Lock

The mechanics of this submission are simple. This is basic karate grappling after all. You take hold of the opponent’s leg to begin. Your legs and feet go on either side and hold theirs in position. Add pressure as if you are bending the leg against the joint (the way it is not supposed to bend). If you push too hard, their leg will break, so be careful. Below is an image demonstrating the general idea of a leg submission. Why is he doing it the wrong way round? Leg submissions in grappling can be performed either way. Their knee can face towards or away from you. If it faces towards you, hold their leg straight and push the knee with your hips. If the knee faces away, hold it in place with one leg and push their lower leg away.

An MMA fighter holds another in a knee bar submission

I figured a video of middle-aged men grappling in their boxers wouldn’t be appreciated here…

Ankle Lock

This is karate grappling basics, so I will go over the fundamental aspects of an ankle lock. Keep the opponent’s leg static. This means that it cannot move. Rotate or push their foot so that it puts pressure on the ankle. You can bend the foot towards their shin, to the side or rotate it to the left/right.


For our male readers, more attractive demonstrations can be found here: http://www.mmacandy.com (see below image)

A female MMA fighter

Not a middle-aged man in boxer shorts

More martial arts videos and articles: Basic Kicks, Basic Punches, Basic Throws, Basic Blocks, Top 10 Martial Arts Videos, Top 10 Martial Arts Films

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As you can see in the above image, Bruce Lee is now made of metal. If you are also made of metal, you can stop reading here. Karate blocks are used to stop you from being hurt in a fight. The concept is simple. You use a hard body part to defend your soft parts. Use blocks to protect your face, neck, chest, stomach and groin. You can move straight from a block into a fight-winning throw (read more about throwing here).

You will usually block with an arm or leg. Here are some basic karate blocks. Practise them until they become second nature. Then your opponents will find it hard to land their punches or kicks.

1. Blocking Punches

Punches are the most popular attacks in Karate, MMA and fight videos. They are also the go-to attack on the street. Punches are faster than kicks and still hurt. But you can block a punch, this is how you do it:

Inside Block

This blocks a straight punch. Make a closed fist. Draw your fist in an arc across your body. It should go past the opposite shoulder and end with your arm at a right angle. Your forearm should point upwards. The forearm knocks the punch away from your head or body.

Outside Block

This blocks straight punches but can also be used against a hook punch. Move your fist in an arc so that it goes away from your body. Your forearm should come across your body, pointing upwards. The punch should be blocked away from your body as you step away with your back foot.

Upper Block

Blocking blows to the head. Raise your elbow so that your forearm is parallel to the ground. Now push your forearm upwards so that it is above your head. This will push punches over your head. It can also soften blows delivered from above (e.g. defending against a Tonfa).

Top tip: to block lower punches, drop your knees and adopt a horse stance (like a cowboy). Then use the above blocks as appropriate.

2. Blocking Kicks

If punches are so fast, why do martial artists still use kicks? Kicking is more powerful and can cause more damage. That is why Karate, MMA and fight videos contain a lot of kicking. Kicks are slower so you can anticipate them. But they are just as hard to block due to the force required to stop them. These blocks will also be effective against opponents who hit below the belt.

Leg Block

You want to block a kick with the side of your lower leg. If our legs are all hard then why only this area? Legs have a lot of bone: foot, ankle, shin, knee and hip. If you take a hard kick to the foot or ankle you could break one of their many small bones. Shins, knees and hips will hurt a lot from a kick. Your upper leg is your kicking muscle. If your opponent lands a good strike on your thigh, do not expect to be able to kick them back. It is hard to win a fight on one leg.

Kick up and out towards the incoming leg with the side of your lower leg. Expect sore shins, but you will still be on your feet. This is better for blocking your opponent’s leg or groin-shots.

Lower Block

This is a block for higher kicks (ribs or stomach). The higher a kick gets, the more dangerous it is. A stomach kick could wind you. A kick to the side could break your ribs. Step away with your back foot. Swing one arm down in an arc across your body. Like the inside block, but going down.

Inside Block #2

This is used against high kicks. It is executed just as before. But doesn’t the inside block stop punches? Yes, but it can be really good against kicks too. Drop your hips and bend your knees. Step to the side and perform the inside block. You will have more time to do so against a kick. As you block, catch their leg or foot in the crook of your arm. From here you can punch, kick or twist as you please. The opponent will be at your mercy.

Butterfly Block

Blocking high kicks. This karate block has a pretty name. But it is a great way to block upper body kicks.

Drop low. Put your chin to chest, protecting your head. Your front forearm points down out to your side. The other forearm points upwards, elbow behind the front elbow. Now your arms look like the wings of a butterfly. The point where your arms cross goes beside your head. This protects your head behind the area which can absorb the most force.

More from our Karate Basics series: Karate Basics 1-4, Basic Karate Punches, Basic Karate Kicks, Basic Karate Throws

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Throws are used a lot in Karate. You can use them to topple an opponent. After throwing you can choose to fight them on your feet. In sparring you can grapple once someone has been thrown. Grappling is fighting on the ground.

Leg Throw

A simple throw. You take hold of your opponent by the shoulder or torso. Move one leg across your body so that you are facing away from them. Drag them around you. They should essentially trip over your outstretched leg.

Top tip: hold onto one of their arms after. Then punch them with the other arm.

Shoulder Throw

The beginning of this karate throw is the same as the leg throw. It is different once you turn away from the opponent. Pull their arm over your shoulder. Bend your knees and extend to lift. Lifting with your legs is easier than with your arms. They should almost forward roll over your shoulder.

Top tip: push your hips back as you throw for extra lift.

Hip Throw

Same beginning. Put your arm around your opponent’s waist. Push your hip into their middle. Lift with your legs and throw them up and around your hip. This is more comfortable to use than the shoulder throw.

Top tip: you can move straight into an arm lock. After throwing, hold onto their arm. Legs across chest, either side of arm, bend forearm back towards you.

Leg Sweep

It is not clear whether this is a simple or difficult throw. It takes skill to get it right. But one you have practised it is easy to perform. Use the back of your leg to sweep the opponent’s feet out from under them.

Top tip: the opponent may see this one coming. Strike them or distract them before attempting a leg sweep.

Links to similar articles: Basic Karate Kicks, Top 10 Martial Arts Films, Top 10 Martial Arts Videos, The Tonfa is a Terrifying Weapon, Basic Karate Punches

Did this article throw you off your feet? Leave a comment below 🙂

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Ok, the picture above is of boxing rather than karate. But it leads on to a good point. Anyone who has watched the Ip Man film knows that a great martial artist can beat the best boxer. Punch for punch karate has greater variety. Here is a guide to help you learn basic punches. Find basic karate punches videos and top tips below.

Jab

The jab punch is the simplest punch. But it is also arguably the most effective. You can test this by sparring with a partner. They can only use jabs and you can only use reverse punches. You will get tired faster and end up taking more hits. Punch straight ahead with the arm above your leading foot.

Top tip: twist your hips for extra power.

Reverse

For the reverse punch you hit with the arm opposite your leading foot. E.g. if your right foot is forward, punch with your left. This is more powerful than the jab. Keep your arm and wrist aligned to prevent injury.

Top tip: which muscles create a strong punch? Your arms, right? The back muscles are what allows you to throw a hard, fast punch.

Hook

Not to be confused with the Haymaker. A hook punch can knock out an opponent. A Haymaker punch will make you look silly. And then you might get knocked out. Bring your arm across your body. Your fist should connect with the opponent’s temple or jaw.

Top tip: speed is power. Punch as fast as you can and your opponent will feel the difference.

Uppercut

The uppercut is the fight ending punch. Swing your fist upwards into the opponent’s chin or jaw. A well executed uppercut will knock out most fighters.

Top tip: hooks and uppercuts are slow punches. The opponent may have time to block or dodge. Soften them up like so: jab, reverse, hook, uppercut.

Links to similar articles: Basic Karate Kicks, Top 10 Martial Arts Films, Top 10 Martial Arts Videos, The Tonfa is a Terrifying Weapon

What did you think of my punchy sub-headers? Leave a comment below 😉