Archive for Karate

Johnny Karate Theme Lyrics

Posted in Day's Lesson, Karate, Martial Arts, Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2017 by Combative Corner


The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show is a fictional show in which Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) uses his talents of being a kid to the ultimate.  The J.K.S.A.M.E.S appeared in Season 7-Episode 10 of the NBC television show Parks and Recreation and had a very well-crafted farewell theme song that is worth sharing… for those that wanted a reminder and for those that never saw the show.  Enjoy!

Well it’s time for us to go,

But I want you all to know

That Karate’s not about fighting

It’s about knowing who you are,

And being kind and honest

While you’re kicking for the stars.

Yeah, that’s the Johnny Karate way.

(second part)

Keep Karate in your heart

And aspire to your dreams,

And always remember

You’re forever on my team.

Yeah, that’s the Johnny Karate Way.

Karate Yell!

….Hi ya!!!!!

The J.K.S.A.M.E.S also had wonderful, kid-friendly objectives for each show (pictured below).  Don’t we all wish we grew up with a fun show like this?  If you’d like to view the episode, you can find it on dvd, Netflix and Amazon.

The fifth Karate move to success is “To do something nice for someone.” FYI.


Parks and Recreation

Season 7, Episode 10 

Pictures and lyrics courtesy of NBC and Open 4 Business LLC.

10 Questions with Brandon Vaughn

Posted in 10 Questions, Bullying, External Arts, Jiujitsu, Karate with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2015 by Combative Corner

Brandon Vaughn CC

The CombativeCorner is proud to bring you this special 10-Question Interview to you today.  Brandon Vaughn is not only a masterful teacher and martial artist, but he’s also Coach Joyce’s close friend and training partner, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu training center owner, author, and contributing CombativeCorner writer since the very beginning.  For those of you that would like to get to know him even better, please read this interview that we did with him, check out his bio here, or train with him in person at Without further ado, I give you the man… the Legend… Brandon Vaughn. {wild applause}

How did you get involved in Karate?

Shortly after high school I took informal lessons at a traditional Isshinryu club with a friend for a few months. Later, after College when I moved to Winston Salem, my wife and I decided to look into Martial Arts Schools. She knew how much I wanted to start training again and she thought it would be something we could do together. After looking around at nearby Martial Arts schools my wife brought home some information for local Karate & Kung Fu centers. I didn’t want to train at another Taekwondo school as I still felt a strong connection with my old Taekwondo Instructor and dojang. I was ready for something different. I dropped by to check out one of the schools my wife looked up, Karate International, and talked with one of the Black Belt Instructors. I liked what she had to say and that they incorporated weapons training in advanced classes, so I enrolled us that day. My wife wasn’t too happy that I made the decision without her, but we started classes that week and she loved it. Twelve years later, not only are we still training, we also own our own dojo.

What was it about the discipline, history and art of Karate that appealed to you?

There was nothing about Karate in of itself that attracted me to it. As someone that has struggled with ADHD and Anger Management most of their life, I think I’m drawn to the traditional martial arts on a subconscious level. The structure and discipline that accompanies traditional martial arts training calms and focuses me in a way that I can’t really explain. It’s almost as if I’m not the same person when I’m not training regularly. There’s a feeling of disharmony. I feel less stable, less in control, I don’t like that feeling. It doesn’t matter what style I’m training in, as long as I’m able to practice martial arts I’m happy.

What, in your opinion, is the hardest part in running a successful martial arts business?

All the hours that you have to put into the school off the mat. People don’t realize just how much time and effort goes into running a martial arts school full-time. Not only do you perform all the roles associated with traditional businesses, (Owner, Customer Service Rep., Office Manager, receptionists, etc.) you also have to be a teacher, a mentor, a leader and on occasion a counselor. That’s enough to stress out even the most ardent individual, but add to that the fact that you’re basically your own product and every time you step on the mat or volunteer to teach a P.E. class or speak at a school assembly, you’re demonstrating, not only the effectiveness of the style you teach, but your ability to teach, motivate and inspire others effectively. It’s no surprise that instructor burnout is so prevalent in the martial arts industry.

Anti-Bullying is a subject very close to your heart. Can you tell us a little about that?

As someone who was bullied when they were younger, I know all too well the effects that bullying can have on a child growing up. It’s not just the physical abuse (e.g. pushing, shoving or hitting) but also the verbal abuse (e.g. teasing, name calling or intimidation) that victims of bullying, some as young as 3 years old, endure on a weekly or even daily basis. In school I was picked on for everything, from the way I talked to the complexion of my skin and it was that constant harassment that was the driving factor behind me begging my mom to sign me up for martial arts when I was thirteen. I was tired of being bullied, tired of feeling helpless.

What I gained from my three years of training at Lee Brothers Tae Kwon Do was so much more than the ability to defend myself. I found a level of confidence and self-esteem that I didn’t have before. I also found something that I excelled at, which for me was equally important. As a martial arts instructor I’ve spent the last ten years doing my best to give those same benefits to every student I teach.

The effects of bullying can be both dramatic and everlasting. Depression, anxiety and substance abuse are just some of the issues that can result from repeated bullying that can persist into adulthood. We need to get away from this outdated idea that bullying is an inevitable part of growing up. Instead, we should be giving children the tools they need to effectively deal with bullying, explaining to them why it’s wrong in the first place and teaching parents and teachers how to identify instances of bullying when they occur.

Over the last few years, you’ve become more involved in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu… Why the change from what you’ve been doing?

Nowadays, the martial arts are practiced more as a hobby or sport than a means of survival. Most modern day practitioners only train in a single style and while this may allow them to become very proficient in their chosen art, it often times makes them close-minded when it comes to seeing the benefits that other martial arts may have to offer. They develop a sense of superiority regarding the techniques that that have spent countless hours perfecting, forgetting a simple but vital truth-  That no one style is going to work in every single situation.  As the popular saying goes, “There are no superior martial arts, only superior martial artists.”

I believe that as a martial artist, in order to truly be able to defend yourself in any given situation, you have to train in more than one style. This was also something that warriors of the past knew with absolute certainty. Yes, they may have specialized in a particular style of fighting or mastered the use of a specific weapon but they also practiced other arts. When the sole purpose of your training is to protect yourself, your loved ones or your land, there’s no room for foolish notions or petty squabbling about which style is best. It doesn’t matter how good you are on your feet, if your opponent manages to take the fight to the ground all those strikes, kicks and punches that you’ve spent months or even years perfecting go right out the window. Thanks to a friend of mine who wrestled in high school and had no qualms about taking me to the ground when we used to spar, I learned that lesson first hand. It became abundantly clear that my self-defense skills were lacking in a key area and I was determined to remedy that.

Unfortunately, there weren’t any Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools were I lived at the time so I’d have to wait to several years before I could officially begin my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training.

What has been the biggest obstacle(s) for you in the recent years?

One of the biggest obstacles has been keeping up with my own martial training, specifically my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training. When you run a martial arts school full-time and teach five days a week, the time you have available for regular training drops dramatically. With Karate and other stand-up arts you can easily practice as long as you have a bag to work out on or a clear space to practice kata. However, with Brazilian jiu-jitsu, nearly every technique needs to be practiced with a partner to be truly understood, so having one or more training partners that are readily available is an absolute necessity.

Add an injury to an already challenging lifestyle and keeping up with my personal training has become even more difficult. A severe fracture to my fifth metacarpal (aka boxer’s fracture) has pushed me to the limit, physically, mentally and emotionally. Teaching, training, running a business, and life in general, have been more than challenging while dealing with a serious injury.

Besides Karate and Jiu-Jitsu, what other 2 martial arts do you admire most and why?

That’s a tough one, believe it or not I keep a mental list of all the martial arts that I’d like to train. I’m not sure I can pick just two, but Wushu or Kung Fu as it’s more commonly known as, and Eskrima currently rank at the top of my list.

I’ve been fascinated with Wushu ever since I was in elementary school. I would stay up late watching Kung Fu Theatre and copying the moves. Inevitably my mom would hear all the commotion and come up stairs to tell me to get to bed. When I heard her coming I would jump back into bed and pretend I was asleep. I love the fluid movements, the way one technique flows seamlessly into the next. Attacking, blocking, trapping, countering, they all seem to happen simultaneously. I also like the fact that Wushu practitioners can employ each of their weapons (hands, feet, elbows, knees) equally in a fight. It’s like Muay Thai, only prettier. [Laughing]

In the past year I’ve been learning more about the Filipino martial art of Eskrima, specifically the Doce Pares system. I like the fact that Eskrima practitioners learn to apply the same techniques using a stick, a knife, or empty handed. It’s also a very practical style to learn as far as weapons training goes. Nowadays the average person doesn’t walk around with a Bo staff or a pair of Sai tucked in their belt, but most people carry a pocket knife or could find something that mimics for an Eskrima stick in a self-defense situation.

What martial artist(s) currently give you motivation (living or deceased)?

It seems like everybody says this, but Bruce Lee is definitely one of them. He was one of the first Kung Fu instructors to go against tradition and teach Kung Fu to non-Chinese students. He then literally fought for his right to do so. Bruce was also one of the first martial artists to realize that strict adherence the natural doctrine of any single style of martial arts can limit both your growth and your effectiveness as a martial artists. It was this realization that prompted him to throw out years of Wing Chun training and dive into researching other martial arts. The results of which were Jeet Kune Do.

Another one is Dave Kovar, known as the “Teacher of Teachers” in the martial arts industry. Even if you aren’t familiar with Master Kovar, you’ve probably either heard or read his Instructor’s Creed at least once. When my wife and I first started running our own dojo we became members of MAIA (Martial Arts Industry Association). The Instructor Teaching Tips, Mat Chats and Combative Fitness Drills that Master Kovar recorded for the MAIA Instructor DVDs were an invaluable resource that made it easy to incorporate fitness as well as Life Skill Lessons into our class lesson plans.

In 2011 when my wife and I attended our first Martial Arts Super Show we had the opportunity to attend Dave Kovar’s Instructor College. At this point we had been teaching for seven years and officially running a dojo for six years, but we were still able to learn a wealth of teaching tactics, techniques, and tools that we still employ to this day and have started to pass on to our own team of belts and instructors.

Last, but not least would be Jet Lee and not because he is an awesome martial artist and movie star, but because he both sees and believes in the value of the spiritual side of the martial arts, as much as the physical side. Martial Arts are much more than just self-defense, they are a path to self-discipline and spiritual peace. This is something that the majority of people that take martial arts either never train long enough to realize or are too close minded to acknowledge.

How has the practice of yoga helped you?

Let’s face it, as beneficial as it is, stretching is boring! Yoga has given me an alternative way to maintain my flexibility outside the traditional static stretches that I had been doing much my entire life. It has also helped keep me in shape. I don’t even go to the gym anymore, trying to master some of these crazy yoga poses is all the work out I need. [Laughing] Yoga is also one of the many things that I do to center myself and calm my mind, along with playing guitar, origami, and obviously martial arts.

What other endeavors are you passionate about?

Several years ago I got really into writing. Unfortunately my schedule has been so hectic the past few months that I haven’t had any time to focus on that passion in a while. Hopefully that will change here in the near future. I’ve decide to initiate some life changes that should provide me with amble time to do everything I love without feeling overwhelmed. Anyone that is interested can check out my first attempt at writing, The Lycan Chronicles, at and my current project Knightfall at

Bonus Question

If you could see any bout, between any martial artist (in their prime), what would be the match-up?

Ooh! Chuck Norris vs. Bill “Superfoot” Wallace

For more info on Master Vaughn, hit him up at his

Or, visit his profile here on CombativeCorner.Com


10 Questions with Keith Owen

Posted in 10 Questions, External Arts, Jiujitsu with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2012 by Combative Corner

How did you become interested in learning the martial arts?

I grew up in a single parent household and my mom couldn’t make ends meet.  I had wanted to do martial arts since I was 7 but we just couldn’t afford it.  I saw a karate demonstration at my school at that age and knew that I “had” to do martial arts.  I didn’t start taking martial arts lessons until I was 16 when I got a job and started paying for them myself.  I never looked back.  In the early 90’s after I got my black belt in Kung-fu I saw an article on the Gracies and was intrigued.  They were beating up everyone.  Later I saw Royce Gracie tap out Dan Severn with a triangle choke and thought that’s the martial art I need to train in.  I found Professor Pedro Sauer in Salt Lake and I never looked back.

What personally drove you to learning jiujitsu?

A small guy can beat a big guy using technique. Think of what a big guy like me could do using Technique? I thought this was “the way!”
If you had to pick 3 of your favorite techniques, what would they be?
  1. The Fog Choke-Keith Owen “Lights Out”
  2. The Triangle Choke and the 10th Planet “Gansta Lean”
  3. Deep Half Guard
  4. Hip Compression- Keith Owen Favorite Moves Vol 1
  5. The Biermbolo -I’m playing with this-I suck at it
  6. The Twister and the truck-10 Planet
  7. The Eziquel choke-Keith Owen “Lights out” via James Foster
  8. Arm in Guillotine

A little more than three..sorry.

Who are a few of your mentors and what impact have they had on you?

I don’t know about many mentors but I have numerous people who have had a profound effect on me so since you asked I’m going to share.
  1. My Wife Shirlane- 21 years and going strong.  She should have divorced me a long time ago.
  2. Professor Pedro Sauer-The best instructor in the world. He has forgotten more then I know.
  3. Sifu Joesph Cowles- My Wu Wei Instructor and former student of Bruce Lee
  4. Tren Long- One of my purple belts who has produced all of my videos and my toughest student.
  5. Matt Owen (no relation) One of my purple belts.  He and his son Dylan are the rock of my school.
  6. Dean Heileman who got his black belt before he died of Cancer.  Got me motivated in Jiu-Jitsu.
  7. Royce Gracie for showing me “The Way.”
  8. Allen Hopkins-One of the most technical black belts of the Pedro Sauer Association-He helped me out a lot going up the ladder.
  9. Professor Sergio Penha in Las Vegas for being a great example and giving me another perspective of Jiu-Jitsu.
  10. My Mom-The most emotionally tough women I have ever met.

and I’m forgetting my friends, Damon Tong (My business mentor), Rob Smith (one of my instructors) and Rob Namer (my firearms business partner).  I would not be where I am without the help of these people.

How do you feel about martial arts for: the dojo, the street, and for competition? 
You asked about Martial arts and not specifically BJJ so I’m going to give you my opinion of the Martial arts in general.  I think a lot of martial arts are practiced in the dojo and then the instructor brags about how street lethal their martial art is.  They never test anything out to verify.  I often say that most martial arts instructors have four years of martial arts training repeated three or four times over. Competition is a little closer to the street because you are going up against another human being – but the rules of the contest can make a person lose their edge and fight by the rules. For instance,  MMA doesn’t allow groin kicking or eye gouging.  Kicking the guy in the groin and eye gouging are great self defense techniques for the street.  Just look at the guys who get kicked in the groin or eye gouged in MMA they typically need time to recover.  I’m a big fan of martial arts for the street and for competition, you just need to put it in perspective for what you are doing and know that there is a difference.  Just because you have one down doesn’t mean you know the other.

Are you a big fan of competition fighting? Why or why not? (and if so, who do you like to follow)

After having said my previous comments- I love competition bjj and I love MMA.  My favorite BJJ competitors are Marcello, Saulo, Jeff Glover and Roger Gracie.  My favorite MMA fighters are Johny “Bones” Jones, Anderson Silva, Nick and Nate Diaz, Clay Guida and GSP and my son Alex Owen (laughs).

What is your stance and/or concerns about online learning?

Well, since I have a lot of videos and an online download site  (   I think it would be a bit hypocritical to say that it’s a bad thing (laughs).  Seriously,  I think the internet has made bjj more accessible then ever to the masses.  It really helps in getting students everywhere better.  I do think that the best way to train for the average person is too have an awesome bjj instructor to show you the technique, then you go to as many seminars as you possibly can and then you top it off with online or video training.  I think that would be the perfect regimen.  This is a great time to be alive and training in BJJ and Martial arts in general.

How effective (do you believe) jiujitsu is in self-protection?

This comment is going to piss a lot of BJJ guys off but Jiu-Jitsu is not my first martial art for the street.  It’s my back-up martial art – done if I’m taken down, slip or take someone down if I get attacked.  The pavement, parking lot, side of the road, gravel, snow, ice, wet grass or a field of stickers is no place to ground fight.  I want to knock that mutha out or be able to evade and escape if a weapon is presented or their is multiple attackers.I also don’t think in many cases that arm bars are very effective in ending a fight in a life or death ground fighting situation.  You could break a dedicated opponents arm and in many cases he could keep on fighting.  It’s far more effective to use some kind of choke that would make an opponent pass out.  I think on the other hand if you are just a stand up fighter and you get taken down then you are in a world of hurt, so Jiu-Jitsu is important but for me it’s my last resort in a real fight. I’m not going to put up my dukes and then run over and jump into the guard (laughs).I would also like to add that the gi is a very effective tool to practice self defense.  Many attackers are wearing coats and pants and the more opportunity you have to choke a dude out, the better.
What elements of jiujitsu would you teach your wife/daughter or loved one for self-protection?

Collar Choke, Arm Bar and Triangle Choke from the Guard because that is where they will likely be in an attack situation.  i know I said that the arm bar wasn’t very effective but it’s hard for an attacker in a rape situation to get aroused when they have a freshly dislocated or broken arm and anyway, the police can have a free clue as to who the attacker was.
What is one thing that you’d like to emphasize to the beginning jiujitsu student?
I don’t have just one but the first “things” I would emphasize is to have fun, play around and get better.  I want my new students to work on getting rid of their ego so that getting better is the goal and not having to win at any cost.  Many guys don’t like to tap out and they take it personal.  They will often quit because they think they are lousy at Jiu-jitsu and since they are lousy it’s no fun.    We also can’t afford injuries at this level because shoulder and knee surgeries are expensive and people’s spouses aren’t too keen on letting them come back after a sever injury, It would be a shame if a potential world champion quit at the beginning because of ego or injury.    I promise that if they get rid of ego, do their best, keep an open mind, come to class, take care of their partners, get addicted to BJJ and stay loyal that I will take them to Black Belt Jiu-Jitsu Mastery, I promise.
Bonus Question
You’ve got 6 months to train… the money is on the table, who would you personally like to “have a go at.” (it could be anybody, living…dead. just a fantasy questions)
I would  train (friendly) with any bjj black belt for free as long as they have good technique.  I would super fight anyone for money though, What the hell (laughs).
Mr. Owen, we thank you greatly for giving us this interview. 
Readers – if you’d like to learn more about Mr. Keith Owen, please visit his website by clicking the picture at the top of the page.  For his instructional videos, click here.

Joe Rogan’s Sick Side Kick

Posted in External Arts, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Techniques, Training, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2011 by Combative Corner

Joe Rogan is not your typical stand-up comedian, actor and commentator, he’s a martial artist with some pretty devastating moves.  This technique, which he has been perfecting since his early days in Tae Kwon Do, is soo amazing that UFC Champion George St. Pierre, wanted to video it so that he could re-watch and perfect for himself.  What do YOU guys think?

The lines are open…. (comment below).


Our Karate Kid

Posted in External Arts, Karate, Martial Arts, Styles with tags , , , , , on January 15, 2011 by bradvaughn

When I first started taking Sanshinkai Karate I didn’t know anything about the various styles of Karate outside of Isshinryu which I had taken for a short period of time right after high school. I was just looking for a place to continue my martial arts training after taking a break during college.

Sanshinkai stands for “Three Power Society”, the three powers being: Mind, Body and Spirit.  It’s a combination of Isshinryu (our mother style) as well as techniques from Tae Kwon Do, Judo, and Jiu-jitsu. With the rise of Krav Maga and similar self defense systems I think Sanshinkai faces a lot of the same misconceptions that other traditional based styles do. That is that either the techniques we use are “out-dated” or that they only work in competition.

While it is true that a lot of the techniques we use in Sanshinkai are the same as the ones that have been used in martial arts for centuries, as instructors we are constantly looking for, experimenting with, and adopting current self defense techniques. With this, we hope to prepared our students to defend themselves in any situation. We don’t take anything away from the set Sanshinkai curriculum, we instead find a way for the new techniques to compliment the old, and vice versa.  In Sanshinkai our motto is “If it works, use it.”

Brandon T. Vaughn

His Combative Profile

10 Questions with Philip Sahagun

Posted in 10 Questions, Kungfu with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2010 by Combative Corner

7-Time National Champion of the Open Martial Arts Circuit

3-Time International Level Weapons Champion (2003-2005)

Member US Traditional Wushu Team (USAKWF) 2006 & 2008


1) How did you know that you wanted to become a professional martial artist?

When I was young I didn’t know what I would do as a profession. My father and mother were both in the martial arts and I began training in Kenpo Karate and kickboxing from an early age. However despite the fact I was born into it, I didn’t seem to have any physical talent. If I fought I lost, if I jumped I wasn’t the highest, and if I ran I certainly wasn’t the fastest. Basically I had no prospects for the martial arts until my latter teens. During that time something clicked. It was like I discovered how to use a key that I had carried all along. I started to excel in physical training and eventually my personal life. Twelve years of training had passed and I began to consider martial arts a possible career.

(2) What are some top martial artists/athletes/coaches that made an impression on you?

My family played the largest role in my development, they opened the school South Coast Martial Arts when I was 5 and introduced me to training. Also my current Wushu Coach Wei Jin Lin or (Wei Wei) has helped me greatly with body mechanics and performance, while my martial arts mentor Shi Yan Xu (former teacher to Shaolin Temple’s Warrior Monks) has greatly improved my understanding of traditional arts and the martial mindset. Other than that, various Kick boxers, Wushu players, Monks, Lawyers, and even singers have all helped me in my practice.

(3) Wushu seems to be your “big passion.” Is it, and what set Wushu apart?

Wushu is a big passion of mine, and although I was brought up in other art forms I always found myself fascinated by the world of Chinese Martial Arts and weaponry. For me Wushu is unique in many ways. I feel it places a higher emphasis on physical conditioning and mind body unity. Ankles, Hips Knees, Arms, Back, Quads etc it seems like there’s not one thing Wushu isn’t concerned about stretching, strengthening or making faster and I enjoy that challenge. Another thing that attracts me is the culture aspect of it. I feel the methods of performance art, self cultivation and spirit found within Wushu allows it to transcend a one level practice; and in the words of Jet Li allows it to be “an intricate, purposeful skill.”

(4) How does (Spirituality/Meditation) play a role in what you do? (Or does it)

I love discussing philosophy, religious beliefs and meditation within the martial arts, but unfortunately I feel that topic lacks interest amongst today’s practitioners. I feel that in our youth one can always be faster, stronger, and more flexible, but as time passes and we begin to turn old, how much of these physical skills can stay with us? I am a strong believer that scholarly practices and physical practices are complimentary; you should pursue both with equal respect if you want to be considered a true martial artist and have qualities that are everlasting. A quote often shared by Teijun-Soku Uekata and Gichen Funakoshi; “No matter how high your skills become in art or scholastics, nothing is more important than your behavior and humanity as observed in daily life.” I strongly agree with this.

(5) What are the biggest problems that you confront when you are preparing to compete/demo/fight/or spar?

When I was younger I would be worried about how tough my opponent was or what would happen if I made a mistake in executing certain movements. However right now I really don’t have any problems when sparring or performing. I’ve faced numerous challenges and made numerous mistakes throughout my practice. I am certainly not without loss, yet I still don’t doubt myself or my ability. In practice and competition, we should not detain ourselves with thoughts of wins or loses, nor in advancement or setback. Failure in the past can be redeemed by the present, and successes of the future will be determined by our awareness. In this sense when practicing martial arts we have to maintain a “No Mind” mentality and I follow that pretty seriously.

(6) What goes through your mind before you compete or prepare to demonstrate in front of an audience? (and is it the same routine/thought independent of the audience size?)

For me it doesn’t matter how large the audience, but it is nice to know what the audience is interested in. For instance I’ve performed at Anime Conventions, Basketball Shows, Buddhist Monasteries, Karate Tournaments etc. but despite my experience, I never really have a set idea of what to perform unless I know where I’m going or who I’m going to perform in front of. For instance, I love traditional Martial Arts. But If I were to walk into a basketball stadium and do a performance of Traditional MA I can guarantee that over 90% of people would not find interesting. So generally I think about what would interest my audience and then I plan accordingly.

(7) As a Traditional Martial Artist, what is your opinion of people entering the sport of “Mixed Martial Arts” (or do you even bother watching?)

I watch MMA from time to time and there are a handful of fighters who have good skill and maintain a set of values. Unfortunately I feel the current marketing behind MMA promotes a lot of negative imagery that doesn’t accurately represent its athletes nor the “martial arts” side of MMA, but such is the effects of media and promotion. I understand that most MMA athletes fight to make a living and I can’t criticize them for doing so.

(8) Out of all that you do, what are you most passionate about or what would you most like to accomplish with your skill?

I currently teach about five days a week and I am very passionate about it. It’s rewarding to see children and adults make progress in training and I sincerely hope to have greater opportunities to teach more in the future.

(9) Thinking back on your life, what are a couple of major, martial art highlights?

In 2006 I took part of a Chinese TV show co-sponsored by Shenzhen TV and the Shaolin Temple called Kungfu Star. For its time K-Star was China’s largest scale reality television program and reached an audience of around 300 Million. I am very proud to have participated in that event and I still have many friends and found memories associated with it. Also in 2008 I took a group of students to compete in China’s Third Traditional Wushu Festival near Wudang Mountain. Although I personally didn’t do very well, it was a thrill to see my students compete and earn such high marks. We had four competitors and everyone took home a first, second, or third in their respective events.
(10) Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

In five to ten years I hope to have travelled more of the world studying different traditions and cultures. I also wish to make more friends through the martial arts and create events to promote the benefits of its study to the public. Hmm, what else? Basically I want to continue what I’m doing on a larger scale and regardless of where this life takes me, I know the only way for me to find happiness is to keep moving forward. I’m on a quest for self betterment and I don’t plan on giving that up anytime soon.

For More Information about Philip Sahagun:


10 Questions with Geoff Thompson

Posted in 10 Questions, Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 11, 2010 by Combative Corner

Geoff Thompson is one of the world’s leading self-defense experts [Voted by Black Belt Magazine USA as the number #1 self-defense author in the world] and my (Coach Joyce’s) most influential teacher when it comes to self-defense.  Thompson has a FREE podcast that you can subscribe to on iTunes (&blog), in which he chats with host and good friend Richard Barnes.  The CombativeCorner highly suggests everyone give them a listen as there is much to learn not only in the realm of the martial arts and self-defense but Life in general.  Being a man of multiple talents, Geoff is a prolific writer of books (30 published), and has several scripts that have been made into film (Bouncer [BAFTA award winner for Best Short Film 2004] & his first full length feature film, Clubbed).  Visit Geoff Thompson’s website to learn more by clicking on his picture (above) and visit this link [here] to listen (and subscribe) to his wonderful, educational and always-insightful podcasts either on iTunes or from his blog.

Now for The Combative Corner’s exclusive interview with Mr. Geoff Thompson!


(1)    How young were you when you started training in the martial arts? (and did you study one system only?)

GT: I was 11 years old, so that makes just about forty years now of continuous training. I started in aikido, went onto to Gung Fu, then started studying Japanese Shotokan and western boxing. Much later I went into lots of different systems, everything for Greco right through to a little qigong.

(2) Did you always have a desired goal of teaching self-defense professionally or did you have a different career path?

GT: I always wanted to be a writer as a kid, but at the time I was too scared and too insecure to attempt it, and also I was a writer with nothing to write about. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties with a plethora of colour behind me that I found my voice and published my first article with Terry O’Neil in Fighting Arts International magazine and then a couple of years later I wrote my first book, Watch My Back and it all escalated from there.

(2)    How do you divide your time day-to-day between all that you do (books, workshops/lecturing, screenplays, training)?

GT: I pretty much let the work dictate, if I have a writing commission then I am on that pretty much as a full working day (at the moment I am doing  a rte-write of a feature film), I only do a small amount of teaching now, my masterclass sessions and the odd course with Peter C. I am also running a black belt course at the moment too, but I work the teaching around the writing. As for my own training, I work out every day, weights, bag, yoga, running, grappling, meditation according to what my body dictates.

(4)  How has your training evolved over the decades?  Are any significant changes that you’ve made to your own training?

GT: Less concussive these days, all my early training was based around KO or submission, it was hard, honest training where there was no hiding place. I learned a huge amount from that, but you have to evolve in your training so these days I concentrate much more on inner development and health. I still like to power train but I have invested so much over the years that I can now keep everything polished with tight intensive sessions.

(5)    What is your feeling about sport competition?  (Do you encourage your students to test their skills in this manner?)

GT: I think it is great, I admire anyone that can enter an arena and place it on the line. But I have never been a very good sports martial artist, it never really attracted me (although I had to do a lot of competition style fighting to win my judo black belt) so I have never really felt qualified to teach it to others. I don’t encourage it or discourage it with my students, I just let them follow their own way, if they want to do sport I try and direct them to good sports teachers.

(6) As a self-defense instructor myself… I employ a great deal of fight de-esculating techniques/communication.  I’ve noticed in your masterclasses, you use shocking, colorful language and strong body posturing to dissuade a potential encounter.  Males particularly can see the benefit of this at times… but when is it advisable to use more passive or non-confrontational communications/language?

GT: The core of my self defence is about managing fear, avoidance strategies, escape, verbal dissuasion, posturing, understanding attack ritual and violent body language, loop-holing and – if necessary – the pre-emptive strike. Post assault I teach about the law.

Posturing is just one aspect and I teach it as a method of avoiding physical conflict if it feels intuitively right. I also teach de-escalation because sometimes that is the better option. I teach physical self defence only as a last resort. I think there are many better options. Knowing when to fight, when to run and when to talk a situation down are very difficult skills to teach, because it is only your intuition in the face of an assault that will tell you definitively which is the right choice. My job as a teacher is to offer people options that work, their job is to choose which is right according to the situation. What I do know is that most people are not really prepared or trained, physically or psychologically, for a physical encounter, so I tend to concentrate my self defence teaching on something that will work, avoidance.

(6)    I’ve learned quite a bit about you through your podcasts and books, but what does Geoff Thompson like to do when doesn’t do the teaching/training/writing stuff (you know, “business”)?

GT: Ah, now you’re talking Michael. I like to watch films and theatre – I have a passion for words –  I love going on cruises and reading for two weeks solid (I have an extensive library), I love attending lectures (I have seven to go to this week at BAFTA by seven of the worlds top screen writers) and I love visiting cafes. I do all of these things with my wife Sharon. We work together and we play together. I feel really blessed to be able to enjoy such a privileged life with the girl of my dreams.

(8)  A century from now, when people remember Geoff Thompson, what would be the main thing you’d like people to remember about you?

GT: That he did not let his great fear get in the way of his great potential.

(9) Has there been a martial art style that has intrigued you, that you never had the opportunity to train in or learn more about?

GT: Not really. I have pretty much explored all the systems that I wanted to. But there are a few personalities that died before my time who I’d love to have sat with, just to be in their aura. Don Draeger is one, he was a real MA pioneer. My friend John Will was lucky enough to have trained with him, and I believe that my other friend Bob Breen also met and trained with him as did terry O’Neil. I am very envious. I’d love to have met George Hackneschmidt, he is my all time hero, he was a wrestling genius who was prominent at the beginning of the 20th century. Also Carl Pojello, another wrestling hero of mine. And of course I would have loved to meet Ghandi; they say that simply being in his company had a life changing affect on people.

(10)   What’s on the plate for the great Geoff Thompson (besides the cake that Richie sent your way to do this interview)?  Any upcoming events, books, films that you’d like to unveil?  [obviously you can opt to keep us in suspense]

GT: MA wise I have just spent the best part of 2010 putting together my 100 Hour Masterclass Home study course. Writing projects can be a bit of a moving feast as you probably know, but at the moment I have three feature films on the go, a TV series treatment in development and three stage plays optioned by two different directors. And can I just say (and I am not bitter or angry in any way): if there was a bit of bartering cake knocking around I didn’t see it. it must have gone into Rich’s orbit like a plane flying through the Bermuda triangle.

Thank you for the opportunity to share this with your readers.

You are very welcome Geoff!  But it is we who should be thanking you! Cheers my friend and we’ll all be listening to the next podcast!



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