Tag Archives: karateka



The Heian family of Kata are practiced as the first set of Katas learnt in Shotokan Karate. The word “Heian” translates to “Peaceful Mind”. The Katas are named as Heian Shodan, Heian Nidan, Heian Sandan, Heian Yondan, and Heian Godan – totalling as 5 Heian Katas.

The words Shodan, Nidan, Sandan, Yondan, and Godan translate to First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth. The Heians are required to pass exams from Yellow to Blue as compulsory Katas, and for all further exams upon request of the examiner.

Sadly, many Karate-ka fail to train the Heians on a regular basis once they progess to more difficult Katas – the other 21 of 26 Katas in total. The beauty of JKA Shotokan Karate is the focus on basics, the return to what really matters – the core Kata and form needed to obtain inner peace, balance, strength, and posture. No matter what grade you are, be it a 7th dan Black Belt; the first Kata you will ever be asked to perform at any championship will undoubtedly be a Heian. No fancy moves, jumps , or difficult kicks.

That is true Karate – knowing the true meaning of what we train, why we train it, and how it can help us progress further. Those who do not regularly train the basics will eventually begin losing the core balace needed to keep form, and will miss the small details that mark the thin line between a beautiful Kata and a not-so-beautiful one. As I recall one of my Sensei’s saying:

“Training Heians is like walking through tall grass, you have to keep walking on the same grass to create a path. If you don’t, the grass will grow up again, with no path in sight, and you will need to start all over again. Keep the grass down.”

Karate is about learning, and the best way to learn is to develop what you already know, and seek perfection within those things throughout your lifetime.

Domo Arigato Gozaimas – Oss!



Nike Training Club App Review


Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or focus on working out specific areas of your body – NTC is for you!

At first I was skeptical, how could an iPhone app (free by the way!) compete with tried and tested perfectly tailored workouts created by professionals? But I gave it a shot, and boy oh boy was it hard! I overestimated my fitness, selecting ADVANCED and the maximum number of minutes to work out (45) – I couldn’t do 15 minutes before I switched to lighter weights!

The app allows you to select from 30 or 45 minute workouts, specifying your fitness level, as well as the type of workout you want (toning, weight loss, or bulking). Mini-workouts that last 15 minutes and target specific body areas are also available, and you can play your own music in the background! The app is easy to use, has clear instruction, a voice-over telling you your next step (so you don’t have to keep looking at your phone), and videos demonstrating each exercise. What’s so great is that all you really need is a pair of dumbbells! Some workouts require a medicine ball, but I do those with dumbbells as well and it’s just the same.

I’ve been using the app daily for 2 months now – and the results are amazing! The workouts combine both sports-specific as well as general conditioning exercises that really help build a strong foundation. For the past month I have been combining NTC with Jen Rankin’s Muscle Building Program for the extra bulk that I like to have.

So give it a try girls (I think it’s a girls app – sorry guys) – you won’t regret it!

The Plank

Hello everyone, and thanks for visiting my blog again. Here I will introduce an exercise called the “Plank”. I explain this exercise to my students on their very first day, and I’m sure to make them repeat it a couple of times between drills and training regularly.

I’m sure many of you have heard of the exercise term “Core” exercises. But what exactly does that mean?

Core exercises are any exercise that works the 4 sets of muscles that we call the abdominals. These 4 sets are the rectus abdominis, external obliques, internal obliques, and transverse abdominis. Along with the abs, we get to work the trunk, lower back, and pelvis region. I won’t get too technical with this, so let’s stop there.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that it helps you improve the amount of control you have over these areas, and therefore, your core. The core is where the center of gravity of your body is located. This not only makes you stronger, it aids you in balance and stability, supports your spine, and protects you from injury.

The plank is one type of core exercise, what it does is allow you to work these muscles in your body with no movement, just simple tightening of the muscles. The point of the exercise is to try and keep your body off the ground, and in as straight a position as possible. The line from neck to heels should be straight as an arrow.

Although this may sound quite easy, it isn’t. Begin with holding the position for 30 seconds, and then increase the time when it gets easier. Once you are able to hold the basic plank position for 2 minutes, try a variation, like putting your feet up on a bench and your arms on a ball, or lifting one leg off the ground. Don’t drop the knees or hips below the straight line, as you can injure your back; and also dont lift your hips above the line, as this will make the exercise absolutely useless.

Enjoy the Plank!