念Advanced Training Page

Our 念Advanced Training page has info relevant to members and practitioners with ten years of training or more, but everyone is invited to take a look and use it.  Yambayashi training is built on a foundation of self-defense skill: strength, speed, flexibility, endurance, experience and precision tactics. The pressure and risk required to develop these is as […]

The Benevolence of the Butcher

The Benevolence of the Butcher

“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.”    -Adam Smith, 1776, An Inquiry into the Nature and Sources of the Wealth of Nations Adam Smith was describing how free markets work. No one knows everything. […]

Naihanchi’s Strange Omission

Naihanchi’s Strange Omission

In “te”, the indigenous Okinawa fighting art which evolved into karate, for the first three years some students practiced only naihanchi kata. Why?  We may also observe that there are no high blocks or head strikes in naihanchi. Why? The answers are closely related. Naihanchi does not present a full spectrum fighting system. It is […]

Karate and Nuclear War

Karate and Nuclear War

Shoshin Nagamine, founder of Matsubayashi Ryu Karate, was a Police Chief and an Okinawan political official for much of his life. In 1996 he was also recognized for his spiritual achievements. In his address “Karate and World Peace” he reflected on the spiritual heritage of Okinawan culture, as embodied in karate, and its role in […]

No Menkyo Kaiden for You!

No Menkyo Kaiden for You!

Fixed and bounded systems can be fully known. In martial arts this is a convenient and reassuring structure. But it is a fiction. To be sure there needs to be a clear, well-defined and structured knowledge base. It needs to be scrupulously acquired and mastered. But this should be understood as the platform for exploration, development and innovation, […]

2022 Fifth Annual Summer Seminar

2022 Fifth Annual Summer Seminar

Mountain Karate’s Fifth Annual Summer Seminar will be held from June 1 to 5, 2022 in Saluda, NC. Registration is open to all Yamabayashi Shorin Ryu Karate practitioners of all ranks and ages. At multiple dojo and mountain training locations. Seminar Training Topics: Techniques Body Mechanics and Energy Transmission Kobudo Tactics Applications Endurance and Conditioning […]

The Lost Art of the Frozen Hunter

The Lost Art of the Frozen Hunter

By exploring our kata we discover tactics and develop skills we can use inside and outside the dojo. These insights are not evident when looking at the movement of the kata from the outside. They appear when you are inside the kata, doing it, with opponents, while investigating the movement with your intention and visualization.  […]

Do as Jitsu

Do as Jitsu

Do 道 arises on the basis of jitsu 術. Do and jitsu are not separate or alternative paths. They are one. Without doing the hard work needed for technical mastery talk about spiritual aspiration remains talk. Disciplining the mind, strengthening the will, overcoming obstructions to the skillful use of the body, are all required for […]

True Karate Do

True Karate Do

Written by Jeffrey Brooks Translated into Japanese by Sakiyama Sogen, Roshi, Shuri, Okinawa, a Goju Ryu karate practitioner, as well as the Zen teacher of Shoshin Nagamine, founder of Matsubayshi Ryu. In the translation Sakiyama Roshi named this essay True Karate Do. Many people feel they are missing their lives, that real life is going on […]

Threats and Miracles II

Most of our training time is spent getting the skills we need to deal with a possible assault. We get stronger, faster, more agile and more skillful in the use of our body and mind. We train in threat awareness to alert us to the presence of a threat, before an assault can begin. We […]

Stable Equilibrium 

Stable Equilibrium 

As we train, without quite realizing it, our lives take on the character of a stable equilibrium. That does not happen automatically. But if you practice well it will happen.  It is essential for every able person.  A stable equilibrium system tends to return to stability when it is disturbed. Imagine a ball at the […]

Contemplation of the Body for martial artists

Contemplation of the Body for martial artists

An intruder in your home. Chaos on the street. An escalating confrontation on the road. An assault, a raid, a kumite match, or a quiet conversation that could determine the path of your life all demand intense focus. In the course of daily life, under seige by threats and promises, cons and seduction, we need […]

Look Out

It is easy to hurt people. It is difficult to protect them It is easy to burn. It is hard to build. It is easy to trick people, bother people, seduce people, frighten people.  It is easy to weaken and humiliate people. Intoxication is easy.  Slander is easy.  It is easy to fall. It is […]

A Different Ken Zen 拳禅

A Different Ken Zen 拳禅

The expression Ken Zen Ichi Nyo – 拳禅一如 – Fist and Zen as One – was derived from Ken Zen Ichi Nyo – Sword and Zen as One 剣禅一如. The Fist version was adopted by Shoshin Nagamine (1907-1997) as his motto. The Sword version was famously used by Zen priest Takuan Soho (1573-1645) while teaching Zen or swordsmanship […]

正念  Mindfulness in Kata

正念  Mindfulness in Kata

We practice mindfulness of the body from the day we begin karate training. Our physical skills, sharp awareness and practical self-defense ability are built on the interpenetration and fusion of the body and mind.  The Greatest Warrior They say that the greatest warrior masters himself. This mastery might refer to impulse control – i.e., achieving […]

The Other World

Dojo life is different. For some it is ideal.  Dojo life is dignified, collaborative, strong and devoted to freedom. Different from a world of coercion, deception, isolation and dependence. In some places, where our friends have trained for many years, dojo life is over. Classes banished to cyberia.  No more daily renewal through training with groups […]

One Unique Technique

One Unique Technique

There are two foot and leg techniques in naihanchi kata. They have distinct functions.  When stepping side to side we snap our knee up. It is used as a knee strike when the opponent is in close contact range. At a slightly longer range it might be used as a blocking technique, as it is […]

Mind Training in Kata

Mind Training in Kata

Mind training begins as soon as physical training begins. If you make an error, you notice it, fix it and move on. We cannot get stuck on the error, regret it, announce it, or have an emotion about it. We learn to instantly fix it and forget it.  Continue In a combative situation we may […]

Killing People and Taking their Stuff

Killing People and Taking their Stuff

Killing people and taking their stuff has been popular throughout history. Many great historical figures are considered great for doing this. Empires have been built on it. Sun Tzu, military genius, guide for every military in the modern world, taught how to do it. Although he recommends taking people’s stuff without killing them, if possible. […]

Sakiyama’s Final Challenge

Sakiyama’s Final Challenge

It was unlikely we would ever meet again. But training was not over. To continue, Sakiyama Roshi, abbot of Kozenji Zendo in Shuri, Okinawa, presented me with this: He asked that I study it; penetrate its truth completely. He told me to visit his dharma brother when I returned to the US, train with him […]

Fourth Annual Summer Seminar

Fourth Annual Summer Seminar

Five days of good training, inside and out. Mountain Karate, NC and Castro Valley, CA Yamabayashi Ryu Karate Do – 山 林 流 空 手道

山林 Yamabayashi Shorin Ryu Karate

山林 Yamabayashi Shorin Ryu Karate

Our style is Yamabayashi Shorin Ryu Karate. Yamabayashi means Mountain Forest.  It can also be pronounced San Rin.  Name In 2017 I formed Mountain Karate Dojo, where we practice Mountain Forest style karate. Our dojo is in a region of mountains and forests; their strength, stability, endurance, adaptability, vitality, variety and resilience inspire us. Sources  Yamabayshi […]

Renzoku 連続

Renzoku 連続

There is a karate myth that Renzoku only means “no count” – that it is nothing more than a command to perform kata without a verbal count for each move. The moves are still performed as if there was a count to separate them – moving from one posture to the next, with an intentional […]

Sweet Dreams

Sweet Dreams

Sugar is an addictive drug. It makes you fat, sick and depressed. It has many forms and names. It is in most manufactured food. It is easy to get addicted to it. It is difficult to quit.  But once you do quit it is easy to do without. And when you do without it you can […]

空

Our hands have no fixed form. They change, as we use them for different tasks. Their form is “empty” of a fixed nature.  Hand is written “手”and pronounced “te” in Japanese. Kara “空” means “empty.” Our hands, as we use them in karate practice, hold nothing. They do not grasp any implement or object or weapon. […]

Training and the Milgram Experiment

Training and the Milgram Experiment

The fist about to smash my chest was traveling close to the speed of sound. I sent it past me and it disappeared. I had done it a thousand times. I was barely able to do it this time. But I did it. Then I did it again. And again. The fist was my training […]

欢迎 Spring Outdoor Training

欢迎 Spring Outdoor Training

欢迎我们的中国游客 – to the MountainKarateNC website! So good to be able to share perspectives with you, and with all our visitors from around the world. Photo copyright © 2021 Tarleton Brooks

Moral Kata

Moral Kata

Martial artists develop powerful concentration in training. In bursts, under pressure, and for sustained periods of endurance training, our ability to focus goes far beyond the capacity we would have if we were untrained. That deep focus comes, little by little, naturally, as we make effort to meet the high-performance demands of our training. We […]

Threats and Miracles

Threats and Miracles

In the dojo we train vigilance as a tripwire for defense. In every class we work to maintain awareness continually. We do that in class formalities, hojo undo, kata practice, two person drills and kumite.  Compressing the perception-response interval – the speed to action in a combative situation – is decisive both in training and […]

Competence and Freedom

Competence and Freedom

Our first line of defense is to know the difference between right and wrong.  But staying out of trouble is not enough.  We need to build our ability to do right. Doing things well gives us freedom. Here’s why: If you do not take care of yourself, if you are unable to do much that […]

Resistance is Futile

Resistance is Futile

  To increase speed we create conditions in the dojo where speed is essential: kumite is one way, speed drills on a bag or on hand-held focus targets are another, two-person choreographed contact drills, with accelerating pace, are another.  We can also do speed work in kata. Using kata and other solo drills – times when we can focus on our own body […]

From the Start

From the Start

Welcome. Here is how the process works. At first you don’t know what to do. Then you do. That’s the two-part version. Everyone experiences it.  At first it is uncomfortable and it feels difficult. But it is exciting and it feels like it is worth the effort.  As you condition up it starts to feel […]

Successful Training

Successful Training

“Do each task for its own sake and everything you do will succeed.” How can it be? In the dojo, if you do the technique you are doing, right then and there, with full commitment, then you will succeed at that technique. It may not be perfect. Your work may not be complete. But you […]