Kind of an interesting title, “What is Karate…” for this article. I used to be the guy that sold dreams to people wanting to learn karate. To most Americans in the 1970′s and 1980′s, karate was a mysterious way of fighting. Perhaps they had seen movies and TV shows how a smaller man/woman/child could best a bigger, stronger opponent. So when people waked in to my studio I would tell them what was possible for them or their children.


The thing is there was no single idea of what karate was to people. Many wanted self defense at first but then sought to attain, rank, trophy in sport kumite and kata. Some wanted to learn some good street fighting techniques (most for self defense). The thing is as a salesman – I changed my presentation to suit each person individually. I told them whatever reasonable goal they had for karate – I would help them achieve that as well as teach then the Kenpo Karate system of self defense.


Before I give you my answer of what I think karate is, watch this catchy karate rap video of the period for a good idea of what people thought of karate back in the day.


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Under: Self-defense
20 Dec 2014


One of the questions you get as a karate instructor is does this really work? It is a strange question because you spend a lot of time teaching a student the basics, how to kick, punch, stay out of striking range until they are ready to strike and then they pounce! What do you mean does this really work? I should say it is a strange question to me because I have had the experience of it really working.


A bit of back ground is in order. As a fledgling karate student (before much formal training) I use to break boards, read books, watch TV shows and movies and tried all of the stuff… most of it worked but I had no idea of how to pull it off in a confrontation. I got lucky a lot – stuff that should not have worked – did because I was a young – fast – strong buck.


So the question is more how one teaches the techniques and if taught correctly – can the students pull it off. Here is a funny satire on self-defense moves that in my opinion should not work (at least the way they are demonstrated). Enjoy this and will dive into this subject. :)



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I have been doing karate for years and have not really thought about this from a beginning students perspective recently. I had a buddy ask me my take on teaching students how to kick the groin as beginners can miss the mark at first. Also (understandably) guys do not want to volunteer their family jewels as target practice!


Ok – one of the first kicks a student learns is the front snap kick in most styles. You bring the knee up, snap the kick out (kicking with the ball of the foot or instep), bring the kick back and land it. This method fast becomes second nature but before a student learns actual sparring (if they style they are learning does that), how is a student to know their kick is going to be a real ball buster? That is the question I’ll deal with in this post.


First for some comic relief Master Ken is going to demonstrate some ways to create more sopranos in the choir. :)



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Under: karate, Self-defense
27 Oct 2014


I want to learn karate so I can protected myself against “any” attack! How often do you hear people saying that they can protect themselves because they know how to fight? I’ve heard it all of my life and bought into it sometimes. For instance if you have muscles – no one will want to fight you on the beach because you are not an easy mark (assuming muscles equate to fighting ability). Or you are a prize fighter superstar and become a jerk in a bar… thinking no one “can” get the best of you.


This over or sometimes no confidence is common among karate students. Students take lessons to learn how to protect themselves after all. In this post I’ll go over what karate can and cannot do for you as part of your self-defense strategy.


Once when I was working restaurant for a living (a long time ago), one of the cooks wanted to know how to win a fight with a karate guy. I was honest with him and told him his he had better sucker punch first and hard because if he did not get a fast advantage – he was going to pay dearly. More this story later but please read on if you want to hear my thoughts about karate protecting you from an assassin’s attack.


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Under: karate, martial arts
27 Sep 2014


Most martial artists will know fellow students that study real hard for testing and then forget techniques and kata afterwards (until the next testing). Basics seem to stick with us longer because we have to know all of the kick and punch combinations for what most hold dear to their hearts – fighting!


I used to somewhat be one of these martial artists other than while I was teaching – I did remember everything (as I taught it over and over again).  In my case after I sold my karate school and then decided not to make a career of full contact (not much money), I got stale off and on over the years. Sure I would make a best effort comeback every few years but then would be focusing on scratching out a living for my family. No excuses though and I would bet many martial artists fall into this camp at times.


In this post I will be making an argument for not only brushing the dust off your martial art but additionally training in a realistic method of some type. After all now that your are a black belt and hopefully have trained yourself to be a fairly good fighter – what is left to prove to anyone? Nada! You have to be in the martial arts for yourself to improve!


First here is a video where Benny “the Jet” Urquidez is speaking to kid about owning your techniques… and what it means to be a black belt. I only listened to the first part about making techniques your own as that is what this post is about.


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Forwarding an Announcement about our organization’s event.


Dick Willetts’s American Kenpo Karate Association will be have a belt promotion and demo on Sept. 20th, 2014 at the main studio located at 3030 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego Ca.   The event will start at 1:00 PM.  Below is an outline of the event.
The event agenda is as follows.
Dick Willett’s
American Kenpo Karate
Belt testing and Promotion event
Saturday Sept. 20th, 2014
Time 1:00 to 4:30(ish) pm
1:00 – Welcome and opening comments plus an outline of the day’s events – Mike Roberts
1:15 – Introduction of Honored guests (Master Bob and Barbara White, Master Ted Sumner) – David Hays
1:20 – Recognition of ALL Black Belts in attendance
1:25 – Opening ice breaker entertainment – David Hays, Todd McElhinney, Kim Kimmel
1:40 – History of Dick Willett’s American Kenpo Karate – Mike Roberts / UKF Rey and Chicken
1:55 – Explanation of our belt and testing system (mainly Black Belt) – David Hays
2:00 – Council Demonstrations
·         Rey – Tiger and the Crane
·         Foots – Self Defense techniques
·         Mick & Todd – Ground Work
·         David & Terry – Sparring
3:00 – Joe Scarafone Testing
3:30 – Kerry Maull Testing
4:00 – Other Belt Promotions
·         Calvin Sanders – 4th – Presented by Todd
·         Brian Stull – 5th – Presented by David
·         Franklin Vasques 5th – Presented by Todd
·         John Zimmer – 7th Presented by Mick
·         Jack Shamburger – 7th Presented by Mike
·         Victor Hervias – 7th Presented by Mick
·         Herb Patus – 8th Presented by Todd
·         Joyce Libert – 8th Presented – Terry
4:30 – Comments by Honored Guests, Bob and Barbara White and Ted Sumner
4:35 Q &A
4:40 – Closing comments and invitation to join us at the town and country Hotel for a few hours of socializing.
5:00 – 8:00 PM a gathering of the Kenpo family at the town and country resort hotel
Thank you
Dick Willett’s AKKA Senior Council

Under: Self-defense
14 Sep 2014


The Summer of 2014 brought fear to the women of North Park, a community of San Diego. You see there was an attacker on the loose apparently trying to sexually assault women in the neighborhoods. Here is the story: STORY.


The interesting thing to me about this story and many more like it is the normal advice for women to not walk alone at night, walk in a well lighted area, or avoid walking the streets at night seem like the normal advice parents have told their children ever since they were little – seems to have been ignored. So now that this suspected has been caught, are women now going to walk on dark alleys at night and feel safe?


This post is going to speak about common sense and yes I realize that everyone knows how to stay safe. I will speak about social norms that have changed and how it is not affecting the safety of women and what can be done about it. Oh yes – I will also cover self defense from a martial arts point of view.


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