The Okinawan Secret

Okinawans live longer than any other people in the world. Why? A team of medical researchers collected data for twenty-five years on the island to find out. Karate comes from the island of Okinawa Karate is Okinawa’s most famous export. But the Okinawan secrets of longevity might be even more popular, if more people knew about them.... Continue Reading →

Three Things Every Fighter Needs

When the moment comes, and you face an opponent, things get real simple. You do what you need to do. That is something all fighters know.   But what you bring to bear on that moment is not so simple – things change suddenly and dramatically.  All your experience, your training, the sharpness of your... Continue Reading →

Fearless Asymmetry

  Your body is biased. One side of you is stronger than the other. That is not a defect.   We become more effective fighters when we see that our “one-side stronger” design – our “asymmetry” – is not a weakness. It is a key feature of our design. It is a survival advantage.  ... Continue Reading →

Evidence of Old Karate in Modern Kata

Some people say that the technical range of karate is limited to kicks, punches and blocks. Seeing kumite matches in many styles – Japanese, Okinawan and Korean – would make that conclusion seem reasonable. As karate was modernized and popularized some styles did narrow the technical range and made it more suitable for matches and... Continue Reading →

Too Flexible or not Too Flexible

Flexibility is a critical component of power. Under pressure we can yield, be resilient and quickly recover. We can disappear from an attack vector and instantly fill the space with our counterattack.   Too soft - we break at the contact point. Under pressure we collapse. We drift, lack form and purpose. We go nowhere,... Continue Reading →

The Place of Honor

For about a million years people used only one tool.  A rock, chipped into a long oval, with sharp edges and a point. A hand ax. It was handy.    If you lost it, broke it or gave it as a gift you could make a new one. You could find plenty of blanks in the... Continue Reading →

What Bodhidharma Taught at Shaolin

The legend that connected Bodhidharma to the martial arts at Shaolin makes its first appearance in the 17th century, more than a thousand years after Bodhidharma lived: The “Sinews Transformation Classic” is the earliest extant manual that assigns daoyin gymnastics a martial role. It’s likely author, the “Purple Coagulation Man of the Way,” was the... Continue Reading →

Warrior Samadhi in Kata

The brilliant beam of a search light sweeps past where this guy is hiding, crouched behind a dumpster.  The light slides down along the wall. For a second the darkness returns. Without a sound he sprints behind the building and disappears. He felt the lapse in his opponent’s perception and got away.   When you face... Continue Reading →

Is “Nothing” Sacred?

Miyomoto Musashi lived in turbulent times. He sharpened his sword-fighting skills on the battlefield and 60 times in single combat.  He went into seclusion and wrote the Book of Five Rings. His book and his story are legendary, retold in novels and films. The Book of Five Rings has been studied and quoted by martial artists for... Continue Reading →

Strength Stone

We made some chishi. Chishi are training tools. The name translates as ‘strength stone.’ They are used in Okinawan karate to develop our arms and shoulders. We use free weights and other kinds of resistance training for some ranges of motion. We use chishi to develop strength along axes of shoulder and elbow rotation that... Continue Reading →

Does It Really Work?

Traditionally in East Asia people practiced martial arts for self-defense, health, and inner cultivation. Some people were more interested in one or two of them, some in all three. Some wanted to be safe, some to be awesome, some to get healthy and strong, some to get a job, some to become an immortal, a... Continue Reading →


This calligraphy says Gratitude. It is pronounced "Kansha" in Japanese. The beautiful calligraphy was done by Chie Nakata and given to our dojo by her and her husband Jeremy Blaustein, an accomplished karate practitioner, who trained with us for many years. He says this is an expression of his philosophy of life. The message is... Continue Reading →

The Point of Contact

One skill we do not usually train in the dojo is self-defense decision-making: When does an encounter become a conflict, and when does a conflict become a fight?   Discretion and Valor Under some circumstances we want to avoid threat situations. Tactical trainer John Farnam describes basic self-defense this way: "Don't go stupid places. Don't... Continue Reading →

The Sharp Edge of History

A guy walks into the dojo and says: “I just want to learn to fight. I really don’t care about all that other stuff.” He didn’t say what other stuff he meant. We didn’t ask. He wanted to learn to fight.  We teach that. He started that day. What he did say was that even though... Continue Reading →

Matsumora’s Grasp

空手に先手なし   'There is no first attack in karate' means that we respond when the cause is just and the need is present. People think that Gichin Funakoshi used the "no first attack" idea to communicate to non-Okinawans that his karate was a cultivated art, for cultivated people. The presumption was that karate and other arts... Continue Reading →

There is no Last Defense in Karate

They say there is no first attack in karate.  There is no last defense in karate, either.   It’s not over. Lets say you’re sleeping. It’s the middle of the night. You hear something downstairs. It’s probably nothing. You hear it again. It might be something. You get up. Quietly, so you don’t wake your... Continue Reading →

Ranks and Titles

Ranks and titles have value Ranks are a tool. They can help us preserve the knowledge of the past, and focus on our challenges in the present. Ranks reward effort. They can be a mark of achievement and respect. It shows a newer person where to turn for advice, and who to imitate. Ranks help... Continue Reading →


Waves Everything we do in karate takes the form of a wave. When we step, moving forward or in any direction, we initiate at the hip, throw the foot, creating a new foundation, and then fill the space, moving our center of gravity over the new foundation. The hips oscillate, leading the way as we... Continue Reading →

Kata and the Knockout Game

It is easy to hurt people. It is hard to protect them. Standing on the corner on a bright sunny day waiting for the bus – this guy never saw it coming. For fun someone snuck up and punched this guy as hard as he could in the side of his head. It landed just... Continue Reading →

Family Safety Seminar

"Random" criminal activity is not random.  There are lots of things we all can do to keep our selves, our homes and our families safe.  This two hour workshop provided practical, real world skills to all the folks who participated. Participants learned about personal assault, vehicles, home defense, and cyber safety. Attendees ranged in age... Continue Reading →

Rope in the Ocean

  In the fifth month of the year on Okinawa the typhoons begin. The Okinawans found it wise to stay off the water. There was plenty to do at home. They made new ropes for the rigging on their ships. They repaired their fishing nets.  They celebrated. Their year was full of festivals. Everyone got... Continue Reading →

The Moving Target

Some folks think there was a golden age, a better time, long ago, before the fall, when people lived sincere lives, worked hard, did things right.  In East Asia in the past, where our martial arts came from, people venerated their ancestors, homes had a family shrine, people looked back for guidance. Some folks put... Continue Reading →

Beginning Today

    In the beginning we have the idea we will learn some tricks, some inside information, strike points, joint locks, secrets of ki, ways to punch or kick, that other people just don’t know. We might think that that is what martial arts training is, and that these things will give us an advantage... Continue Reading →

Having a Practice

Having a practice is not the same as doing an activity or learning a skill set. An 'activity' is interesting or pleasant or distracting or edifying or fun. We enjoy it. It might make a lasting impression, but it probably won't. Go to dinner or a movie, play a game or go for a walk.... Continue Reading →

The Three Powers of White Crane Karate

  There are mysteries all around us.  This one we can solve.  While we will all make discoveries over a lifetime of training there is nothing mystical or mysterious about the three kinds of martial power - ‘jins’ or energy-flows - that are used in Chinese, Japanese and Okinawan martial arts.  All three are useful... Continue Reading →

Our Classes

At Mountain Karate we build a foundation of fitness and practical self defense - in a positive, focused atmosphere. Adult members get a challenging workout. Kids have a great time. Each member gets stronger and more skillful at every class.   At every class: Flexibility, Strength, Focus, Precision, Energy, Coordination, and Balance. Self-Defense: We introduce practical self-defense techniques right away. You... Continue Reading →

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