Ki Seminar: Ki is Key

Ki Seminar (Internal Energy): This Thursday – 2nd September at 7.30pm (Studio 1 downstairs)

This is our second ki seminar where we shall be revising some of the previous basics, applying various types of ki to different technical situations. We shall also be trialling a new method called “ki sparring”, unique only to Bushin. Come along to see what the fuss is about…. I guarantee it will open your eyes to a whole new and extremely effective skill set.

Ki, translated as internal energy, is an extremely effective tool used in self defence techniques and healing. It manifests in a variety of forms and uses. Generally speaking, in self defence there are three types of ki:

  • Hard – to maximise power. Using kiai, or a spirited shout is one such example. Its about relaxing your body and apply energy at the right moment
  • Soft – to minimise effort. This is particularly useful in defensive blocks to absorb attack energy and counter quickly. It is also the heart of juho (grappling techniques), being able to respond to your attackers energy and apply releases, throws, locks etc. with minimum effort.
  • Explosive – to maximise effect. A speciality of Bushin, using an explosive energy to overcome an opponent quickly and efficiently.

Ki can also be used for self-healing by re-balancing and improving energy circulation through a series of exercises, similar to Tai chi or Qigong. We practise these every lesson in zazen meditation and kiko breathing exercises.

Grading 1 – Congratulations

Congratulations to all the new white stripes and yellow belts that passed the grading last night!! A good performance by all, especially considering some were fasting as well. Keep up the good work and keep the momentum going…next grading will be at the beginning of December. Well done!

More photos in our gallery.

Grading Part 2 will be next week….

Grading Up

For August we shall be mostly focusing on syllabus work for the upcoming grading on 26th August. Most people like to grade although they are often nervous and perhaps a little apprehensive about doing so. What to expect? What to remember? How will you perform?

These are all good questions. Gradings are an important part of your development. If you don’t grade, your progression will be limited to your practise on the day. In Bushin, there are 10 grades to black belt, with gradings roughly every 3 months. The syllabus is structured and progressive, so if you keep the momentum going, you learn a lot and level up your skill set quickly. Beginner grades tend to focus on basic movements and techniques, while more advanced grades throw in weapons work, grappling and other good stuff.

Grading forces you to learn and improve your techniques and, more importantly, test them under pressure. Its very important to move out of your comfort zone and see how well you fare when trying your best, with the added element of nerves. Like competition sparring, its as close as you can get to real self defence. Get it right in a grading and you’ve got a good chance of getting it right on the street.
Gradings consist of going through your basics, techniques, forms and sparring, performing them to the best of your ability with your maximum effort. They are demanding physically and mentally. You have to study and practise hard in the lead up to the grading. Don’t leave it to the last minute and try and wing it. The more you prepare, the better you will perform so make sure you know it all backwards. However, you will not fail for imperfect technique, nor for not remembering the Japanese names. Bushin is a self defence art and application is infinitely more important than theory. Here are some simple rules for the day:

  1. Focus
  2. Relax and breathe
  3. Best effort
  4. Make the techniques work
  5. There are no mistakes

If you follow these then you should be able to get through. You have to remind yourself of these simple rules constantly, trying your best and dusting yourself when you invariably make a mistake. Defeat your demons and fight in the moment as though your life depends on it. Do this and you are sure to pass.

n.b. make sure you bring all your kit for the grading as you may need it. There will be an open training session for those that aren’t grading so you are welcome to come along and practise or watch. Don’t forget we are all going for a meal afterwards…

Slice & Dice

After another successful knife seminar, it is important to realise the importance of knife work within the context of self defence. According to the British Crime Survey, 20% of all violent crime is with a weapon. Earlier this year a teenager was stabbed and killed in a gang attack at Victoria station, two minutes from our club. The risk of becoming a victim of a crime is about 1 in 4 people and knife crime is on the rise.

Bushin does knife work at a more advanced level, but the techniques are structured so that knife defence is an extension of even the most basic open hand work. The system utilises angles of attack, so it doesn’t matter whether it’s a punch, knife or stick, the defence is pretty much the same, with some minor modifications with footwork and bodywork.

The most important thing is distance and timing. You have to understand how the fighting zone distance changes with a knife and you usually have to keep a greater distance and incorporate larger movements. Unlike a stick, being in close does not mean being safer against a knife. Timing is paramount. It’s vital to pick the right timing to execute a technique. You have to keep your wits about you, have fast hands, fast feet and be explosive.

There are many things you can do with a knife attack: block, strip, trap, throw, break. However, the basics are more important and have to get the blocks right first. When blocking you need to have hard forearms but soft hands. Guard, defend and then catch. It is very important to get a hand on the offending arm, keep hold and counter. Remember, if the knife is on you, it’s not in you. So, even when countering make sure you still have control.

Finally, one thing I’ve learnt about knives over the years: its 70% confidence, 20% distance and timing and 10% technique….conviction with your defence is vital and the more you practise, the more confidence you have!

Knife Seminar – Thurs 5th Aug

Knife Seminar: This Thursday – 5th August at 7.30pm (Studio 1 downstairs)

Just a reminder for this knife seminar this Thursday. I shall go through a quick revision of the basic guards, defences and counters. Then we shall move onto some more advanced knife strips, traps and throws. The last knife seminars we ran were a blast and everyone seemed to enjoy moving into the freeform stuff at the end. One thing I’ve learnt about knives over the years: its 70% confidence, 20% distance and timing and 10% technique….and the more you practise, the more confidence you have!

If you have a practise knife and eye goggles, then please bring them along. If you want to buy one please let me know (£10 each). I should have plenty of spares for those without.

See you then!