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Kata Combat - A Kata Evolution

By Rakesh Patel

Once we have learnt the various techniques and motions within a Kata we can begin to learn to perform the Kata as a solo form. Having gained an overall understanding of the Kata, we can then start to study the Kata competencies in more depth thereby adding a new layer to our understanding of the Kata. We can study facets such as, the number of techniques and repetition, the Kata Embusen (floor plan), type of stances and angles as well as the general feel and ethos of the kata. Patterns start to emerge and kata's themes and characteristics become evident.

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A New Zealand First: Chris Rahardja Interview


Chris Rahardja (pictured left with famous rugby All Black Jonah Lomu) is a young karate-ka with a big future. As well as competing and succeeding in many national and international tournaments, he is the first martial artist ever to be nominated at the prestigious Halberg Awards - New Zealand's 'Oscars' for sports people - all at the ripe old age of 17!

PA: Thank you for the opportunity to interview you Chris. How old were you when you started training and what got you interested in the martial arts and specifically karate?

Chris Rahardja: I started when I was five as my parents wanted me to do something and they thought karate would be good because it would teach me some good values and how to defend myself. Sport was not the first thing that came to mind really, I started competing when I was eleven so a good 6 years of traditional karate training before I entered tournaments. I started karate because Dad did kung fu back in Indonesia and he thought karate was a good solid, powerful style [PA: I think that is probably the same for most kids - they end up in something their parents choose for them. CR: Yeah, pretty much].  I am pretty grateful ending up doing karate as when I watch Taekwon-do I am glad I didn't do TKD cause watching it at the Olympics I was just not very impressed with it, although I have trained with the likes of Logan Campbell who went to the Olympics and his legs are super fast but when you are fighting someone it [TKD] just doesn't quite click for me.

Chris with coach Shihan Duane MonkPA: Which style do you study?

Chris Rahardja: Fushin Ryu Karate New Zealand, a Ryobu kai / Wado-ryu based style.

PA: How often do you train and what does your training consist of?

Chris Rahardja: Training changes depending on what I am doing, for instance last year leading up to the World's I was pretty-much training everyday, consisting of short intervals, short bursts but now at the moment it averages maybe 1.5 to 2 hours [per session] and can consist of kata - doing all my kata to try to get my fitness back up. I try to do weights 3 times a week maybe, focusing on upper body and legs to build strength and stamina, and then I have specialised kumite training on a Thursday night as well which is when the whole Auckland squad comes together which is quite good. I do three or four basic classes a week focusing on kihon, which is important for both kata and kumite and to get my core strength working.

PA: So you train everyday?

Chris Rahardja: Pretty much, I have a day off every second Sunday.

PA: That's a lot of training!

Chris Rahardja: Yeah, fitting it in with school is quite hard (laughs).


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Mental Toughness And Resilience - High Frustration Tolerance

  • Mind

Here is an essential principle of Mental Toughness:

We all experience frustration when our needs, wants and demands are not met, or when we are faced with obstacles that impede our progress. Frustration is a fact of life; therefore our ability to tolerate frustration is crucial to the successful achievement of our long-term goals.

When we are easily frustrated and upset, we are said to have, Low Frustration Tolerance (LFT). If, on the other hand, we are less disturbed or upset by short-term frustrations, and persevere through difficulties, we are said to have High Frustration Tolerance (HFT). Developing High Frustration Tolerance is vital to good mental health and a key element of Mental Toughness.

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By Toby Threadgill, Takamura-ha Shindo Yoshin-ryu

Recently I was introduced to a gentleman interested in martial arts training. He was not really aware of what I teach or of what constitutes Nihon Koryu Jujutsu. He just assumed that because I taught it, that I must believe it to be "the best". When I told him I did not believe the art I taught to be "the best", an uncomfortable silence ensued. I finally broke this taciturn moment by explaining that there is actually no such thing as a "best" martial art. Despite a noble effort to grasp what I was talking about, the gentleman in question eventually regressed, unable to shake the impression that if I was not convinced that what I taught was superior to all other forms of martial arts, that I was somehow unworthy of teaching him. I politely encouraged him to look around, consider what I had said and contact me again if he had any further questions. A few days later I received an e-mail from this gentleman in which he explained that he had indeed found someone convinced that they taught the ultimate style of martial arts. It was called "mixed martial arts" because it embodied only the best of all the styles. I just smiled to myself as I politely responded, congratulating him on his fortuitous discovery.

An ultimate martial art, huh? Now there’s an oxymoron for you. Every martial art is ultimately based on assumptions. In fact any training program formulated to address conflict is based on assumptions. It’s kinda like the old joke about bringing a knife to a gun fight. No matter how good you are, your assumptions define your training paradigm. Narrow your assumptions and you specialise, gaining the opportunity to excel at one task. Broaden your assumptions and you might be able address many different situations but at what level of expertise? It’s an intriguing dilemma isn’t it? Specialise, and be defeated by someone outside your strengths. Be a generalist and some specialist will hand you your head on a platter. What’s a martial artist to do?

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Hypnotherapy and NLP

  • Mind

Hypnotherapy and Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) are two practical tools that can really help you get more from your martial arts training. Martial arts has always stressed the link between the mind and body; knowing that it is more than just physical techniques that creates mastery. Therefore it makes sense that training your mind is going to enhance your physical performance.

What is Hypnosis?
Many people are surprised to learn that a hypnotic "trance" is a naturally occurring state that everyone is likely to go in an out of many times during a day. This can be for example, when we are engrossed in watching a movie or driving over a familiar route. The hypnotherapist uses techniques to lead you in to that normal state in which your level of consciousness is altered. In this state you will tend to have a narrower focus of attention, giving you the power to focus easily on the changes you desire.

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