Under: karate, Sword Fighting
17 Sep 2016


Wow that is quite a mouthful – Eastern MA compared to Historical European MA vs Olympic Fencing? Many might not understand the differences and to be truthful – it is hard to see the difference between Eastern vs Western martial arts. Is East Japan Kenpo, Okinawan Karate, Korean Tae Kwon Do, or Chinese Kung Fu? or we talking some Mongolian wrestling or Greko Roman wrestling? Are we speaking Turkish oil wrestling? All might be argued as the “East.”


How about HEMA (historical European martial arts) or Western martial arts maybe? If so what does that entail? So just the French and English Saber or does it include the Turkish Saber? So you see when we talk terms it is easy to be confused. I’ll state what I mean.


What I usually refer as martial arts to me used to mean Japan and China region martial arts. You see in America the word martial arts pretty much became that. Even though boxing and wrestling are “martial” and “art” in the sense that a fighter has to be creative to be good at fighting. The thing about martial arts is they have evolved to modern fighting methods that work better.


HEMA is easy to describe as it is using sword fighting as described in the old manuals by masters. Some use the word “military” swords but I tend to use the word “real” swords. People who train with HEMA try to fight they way sword masters of old did (you know when they last fought with swords). Today we don’t fight with swords so there is no real equivalent or next generation masters.


Or is there? One Olympic event is called foil, eppe or sabre fencing. This is a modern method with really light strips of metal (you cannot really call them swords). Arguably the foil & eppe were supposed to be trainers for the small sword but I don’t see the use of the sabre. The Olympian sabre is too light to be used the same way as real military saber. It is about the same as modern day point fighting. You cannot strike some areas and electric scoring is employed.


We also have the Olympics that have Tae Kwon Do (Korean karate like) karate in the games. Funny thing is the practitioners think it is fighting but to me it is playing. True if you get kicked with one of those kicks – it will do real damage, but if you are a trained fighter – there is not much chance of that – at least for me when I was younger. They score more point for kicks as they get more complex. Even though a knock out is a knock out is a knock out – not matter if a punch or kick or fancy jump spinning kick to the head. So it is a game.


So in both WMA and HMEA you have older methods but in WMA you also have newer methods. In HEMA not having modern methods is the point. I mean soldiers do not use swords in battle. As the styles of swords changed over the years – the sword method (except for the manuals) died out. Watch this video for an overview of the differences between historical and modern fencing and I’ll add my thoughts about karate and why I like HEMA.



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Under: Safety
19 Aug 2016


For those of you who don’t know – Target has been on the cutting edge of the lefty agendas by pushing the boundaries of safety under the guise of transvestites rights (or whatever they call themselves these days). You see Target earlier this year decided to let men self identify as a transgender (but I know them as transvestites) and use the woman’s bathroom.


Now I was used to Washington and NBC, CBS, and ABC trying to push “progressive” agendas and for the most part they have been successful. Roe vs. Wade happened so abortions are commonplace and recently the supreme court ruled allowing homosexual marriage in all 50 states.


So you would assume I would expect anything but this! What started as a backlash because North Carolina’s law mandating people to use the bathroom of their sex. In this article I will tell you as a self-defense (lifetime karate) instructor why men should not be allowed to use women’s rooms (I thought this was common knowledge).


First here is a video to consider ( #targetmissedthemark #boycotttarget ):



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Under: Self-defense
9 Aug 2016


When I was a kid I used to watch how Kato (Bruce Lee in the Green Hornet) could beat thugs with knives and clubs in fights! Boy he made it look easy. I said at the time I wanted to learn how to do that. The thought that one could learn some secret techniques and then walk the back streets at night in confidence was amazing!


Well fast forward 50 years and I still think it is cool but I have more of a jaded eye. My older self realizes that there is a fair chance the guy with a weapon will win. Is it possible to fight a short dagger without any weapons? Sure but is it smart? No. Unless you are trying to collect on a life insurance policy, I would advise you to hedge your bets a bit.


First take a look at this HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) club owner for his take and then we will discuss. If you don’t want to watch the video – the take away is you should fight back with a weapon – improvised or not.



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This is a short post about the expansion of MySelfDefenseBlog.com. You see I, like over a billion others of you have tried facebook and other such sites and for me it is maddening! I’ll go over the pros and cons and then what I really think. I’m not trying to sway anyone else to my way of thinking but this is more of an explanation of why I’m expanding the scope of this blog.



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Under: Self-defense
9 Jul 2016

As a young parent one of the things I had to deal with early on was how to keep my kids safe from all threats. Now most of the worrisome things were in the home like falling objects and hot things. But as your kids grow most parents find out more and more are out of their control. Bullies at the playground and school can be worrisome as well as muggers and rapists to and from school.


What is a parent to do? I learned early on I had to teach my kids how to fight. Not so formerly as you might think from a Kenpo instructor but playtime at the Zimmer household was dad against the kids! This helped make my boys tough. It did not make them bullies because I was the opponent – not all of my kids friends. So the first time I had to teach my youngest how to fight he was being harassed by a group of kids at the end of the block on his way to 7/11 (convenience store). More on how that turned out later.


Over my karate career I have taught lots of kids how to defend themselves! But back in the 1970’s and 1980’s a parent had two choices, Boxing or Karate! Wrestling was not a choice but most boys knew some how to wrestle. It worked fine against someone who did not know how to fight. Girls did not learn wrestling in school.


Your choices today include, Boxing, Karate (kung fu, kenpo, taekwondo), Jiu-Jitsu (traditional and BJJ), Muay Thai, Judo, & Wrestling, and MMA has even come out in some circles as a martial art (and their are schools).


I will make the point that if your children need to learn self-defense – then Boxing, Karate, or Muay Thai should be taught. I will explain this and why wrestling, judo, jiu-jitsu, and even mma (if ground work is stressed) does on lead itself easily to self-defense.


First here is a video of children learning striking via boxing lessons for your perusal.



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When I was a kid watching Batman and Robin, I used to see the dynamic duo picking up common objects laying around and use them as weapons! I mean the bad guys already had weapons of some kind before they attacked. The really cool thing about an improvised weapon is it can even the odds and take the advantage away from your attacker!


In this article I will talk about improvised weapons and how one might add some of these into your sparring workouts. Why would a martial artist want to train with common object as weapons? Why not train with only traditional martial arts weapons? The short answer is you have to improvise with what you have if attacked. Take a look at this video I found that does a good job of sparring with weapons but not so much realism when it goes to the ground (more on that later).


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Is Your Karate Punch Powerful?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: karate, Self-defense
10 Jan 2016


When I was a kid I used to watch old karate movies and I used to see the master punch the bad guy and he would go flying! As a gullible kid it seemed that karate punches were almost magical. As I grew up and learned a bit of karate – I learned how to break boards and bricks and thought I had a good punch. I mean all of the board and bricks were scared of me. :)


That was always the argument when I first got into karate – did boxing or karate have the most powerful punch. Boxers thought they did and the formal karate guys thought the did. Well I’m not going to sway any boxers opinions here but in this article I’m going to discus boxing vs karate punches, where the power is generated and some differences. And I will give away my secret to throwing a really power punch… relax.. more on that later but first here is a video that frames the question very aptly.


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