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Previous Responses to Karate Kwestions you may respond to

Your Response

Does kata (forms) help you with self-defense? Your Answer

Not at all kata is pure waste of time , it is only good for the dojo owner ,because it takes time & (wasted lessons) to learn forms it makes , the student come more ofen which means more $$.I am a Sifu in southern chinese (Hung-chai) wu -shu. I do not teach my studends kata anyway .I do teach them the five animal forms in the begining so they get into the martial arts basics then . I will teach them how to use these five forms in actual combat against any attack not just your karate fighter or kung-fu man. They learn how to your bar room Brawler your high school wrestler your boxer REAL situations ect .                    Keith

Kata is a pure waste of time & the students money.Kata is $$ for the dojo. I am a sifu in southern style wu-shu (hung-chai) dragon tiger kung fu I teach the five basic animals dragon , tiger ,snake ,leapard, & crane.then I teach them reality like how to put what they learn to practical use against  the sreet figter  the wrestler the karate man ect. REAL SITUATIONS.                Sifu  Keith

Does kata help with self defense? hmmm, thats certainly not the first time ive heard that question. Modern kata applications, im sorry to say it guys are just that, MODERN interpretations of ancient principles and to be honest the people who are interpreting them are coming at them from the wrong viewpoint, always wanting a quick fix trying to make thing match that simply dont fit like the old or not so old idea that the moves are 'pressure point' strikes.Let's take the idea of pressure point striking. Allow me to paint the picture of a 6ft 5 man mountain wearing a thick bomber jacket salivating at the idea of tearing you apart, he goes for you swinging and flailing, you're telling me that your going to be able to find those well concealed pressure points in the heat of battle through thick clothing!!!, bear in mind these points are the same points that it would take an experienced accupressure practioner some time to find with a calm relaxed WILLING paitient. In an answer i read on the site to the same question, someone was refering to the notion of an attacker grabbing your wrist and you were supposed to pulverise his forearm until you found lung meridian 5 and the attacker would fall to the floor unconscious! I think you would be far better when in the unlikely event of being grabbed by the wrist in confrontation to worry about hitting the guy very hard in the head than hitting his forearm in the hope of finding a point the size of your thumbnail. Anyway ive digressed back to the question and my answer. I practice two kata Saam Chin and Rokushu largely regarded as some of the oldest kata known, they arent much to look at but within them lies all the principles needed for force sensitivity and contact reflex which are praticed between pairs with co operation and were never designed with the aim of fighting at all, yet because of the fact that they were designed to help the huiman body react spontaneously to force be it controlled or 'dirty' force through the practice of these kata and their application i do believe that they do indeed have a positive application in dealing with the negative forces given in fighting. In conclusion, Kata are an essential part of practice, if you practice the true applications to them. The truth is that alot of the kata being practiced today were designed by people who did not understand the dynamics that should go into creating a kata. It is impossible to designed a set of fixed movements with applications to specific moves and expect them just to "come out" when in a confrontational situation....... they won't. For a kata to ' work' it must teach principle not technique!

In answer to the question about forms I feel it necessary to say that they do help quite a bit if practiced correctly. Like anything else in life if done over and over again it forms muscle memory reflex. If practiced correctly it forms proper muscle memory reflex. If practiced improperly it forms improper muscle memory reflex and can actually be a handicap to the practitioner. Kata, myself being a Shudokan karateke, I have found to be like almost everything else in life. You get out of it proportional to what you put into it. If you practice forms in order to gain rank you will get your next color of belt. If you practice forms in order to learn, sharpen, and most importantly understand skills then you will get those things.

yes no question . if you train in forms the correct way it is right in front of you. each move done slowly and effectively . you will see it place charlie

I have a friend who is a black belt and has kickboxed for about 4 years(hes built like a freighttrain)but let me tell you something, in the ultimate fighting championships those guys (ALOT OF TIMES)just end up street fighting ....they lose their form and end up looking like two guys in a alley, how tough someone is depends on so many factors.In boxing(which is what i do)the weaker guy can win easily(depending on who gets that lucky punch and conditioning and their water in take etc.)Also, alot of guys in karate still have their noses in place, and dont know what the heck is giong on when the opponent is not sparring and is suddenly biting their arms(biting will cause alot of guys to say "hey that hurts i want to go home now".It boils down to the individual PERIOD.

Does kata help you with self-defense? I believe practicing forms is useful in a number of ways. If nothing else it serves to increase power and balance. It also teaches the student to focus. When I do forms I imagine an attacker, and how each of my movements is meant to counter him. I have found that through practicing forms, the strength and efficiency of my techniques has improved. I do not think forms are the most important means of practicing the martial arts, indeed I have not done a form in at least two years. However, they served to get my up on my feet as a martial artist, and gave me the means to practice more vigorous exercises and techniques. Travis

No I am sorry I personally dont beleive kata helps me with self defense.To me a kata is a perfect situation made to get you in the ruthym of you punchs and kicks and blocks. but in a self defense situation there is no such thing as a perfect sitution so no.Buyt that is my appenion. And even if they did help you in fighting and self defense you should never use it,in the first place. Sayo Nara Oshi- Nomaku

Technique in itself is not enough, even with the perfect execution of the most difficult of techniques such as the performance of a form of kata regardless of art, will not aid in self defence. An understanding of the principles behind each technique will. To achieve this is as possible through the dedicated practice of kata, with knowledge and humble questioning of an excellent instructor, as it is through any other means. In short, yes. It's not what you practice, but how you practice it.

Katas are the key to self defense in that they hold the secrets to how a person should react to an attack by one or more people. Of course there will be different ways to attack depending on which style of martial arts a person is studying....One thing that I would like to add to is that a kata is not only about attacking but also about defense, blocking etc....When I first started martial arts I often wondered what katas were for. But when you learn more and more you start the light and then see how the movements can be useful in protecting yourself..... Sincerely, kc


Kata helps in self-defense if it is studied and practiced with that direction. If you practice kata like a robot (which is the preferred method of most instructors), it will not help in self-defense situations. I still can not understand why kata is taught as a robotic form of practice. The principles of self-defense are hidden within the forms. You have to search and explore to find them.

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I believe the kata does help because it is a form that is actually a defense system in itself and from my experienc from my old teacher Art Lapham from the raven academy of self defense and the kata form works for all self defense needs. Submitted by: Michael


YES, If they are taught with the explanation of each move in a defense. Remember most Katas are a dance of war (defense) and if you (the instructor) do not take the time to make the student understand the reason for each move, then you are falling as an instructor. Sensei Palmer

Dear To whom it may concern, No, Kata is not just for teaching self defence. Karate, is a form of balance, and self control, to teach you when to fight, and when not to fight as well. Although Karate is a form of self defence, it is more than anything a form of self confidence that you build as you learn that all in life is not who wins the fight, its who consists to challenge their opponent to drop their anger. Yours Truly, Chris

kata's are good if thats all you got but the only way to truly sharpen your mind and body is in combat Ryan

Hi Mr. Kirkham,

Thought I'd make a comment in regards to your question: "Does kata (forms) help you with self-defense? In my opinion Kata was developed by the masters of old as a method to pass on the defensive traditions of their respective style/experience. Personally I feel that the interpretations (bunkai) of Kata has generally been misunderstood, i.e. most of the time only the surface level applications have been taught such as the standard block/punch maneuvers as suggested by some of the other responses you have had in regards to this question. These surface level techniques are of course not too practical when it comes to self-defense. Most of, if not all the old Kata from Okinawa have a plethora of seizing/grappling (Tuite/Chin Na) and pressure point techniques (Kyusho Jutsu/Dian Xue) within the kata. My personal opinion is that the movements in the kata are individual techniques that have been put together in order for the "creator" to easily practice and remember them. What my teacher used to tell me is that the kata are like the alphabet. Each individual movement of the kata is a "letter" and these letters can be put into words or sentences. (Sounds quite a bit like what GM Ed Parker used to refer to as the "alphabet of motion", don't you think?) This means that you may use the first movement of the form, then insert the middle movement and the last which would for the sake of this argument spell "tar". You could also rearrange these letters to spell "rat". These would give you almost an unlimited number of techniques, and to me explains why many of the old masters such as Chokki Motobu used to say that it would take a life time to master one kata. Anyway, just some thoughts I had on the subject while I'm at work. :-) Kind regards, Steven

I would have to offer my humble thoughts on this one . i feel that it does help but in ways that are not as obviouse in most ways performing kata teaches not only to use a particular strike or block but to move out of the static possition in the process as well as a coupling of reapeated good form in perfoming them, to this end more power crisper aiming and in some cases an understanding of the effects attainable. so to this end i must say yes but add the warning,.. don't bet your butt on a single series of motions to end a confrontation,.. instead realize that a fight is a fluid thing that must be flowed with,.. ( no matter how impressive that iron butterfly spinning crotch shot may seen to ya at the time)

yes I believe they do -once you truly understand them-not just do them. they can often give you new insights on your art and can often lead to a sharper and clearer mind-making the warrior within that bit more tempered and refined, after all combat is fought on more than one plane.

kind regards,


Does Kata help with self defence... You KNOW that's gonna spark debate;

here's my part of the fuel for the fire Bottom line? Yes... sort of... Kata are a definite asset to training; they help with form and bring familiarity to the various techniques.

They also, unfortunately, breed habit with specific responses towards some actions. I believe that if a student is learning a Martial Art, Kata are a must (if included in the specific art).. If a student is strictly learning self defence, they should likely stay away from hard-set forms and concentrate more on confidence with a few select techniques. This is said with the premise that self defence is a specific end as opposed to a devotion to training.


Kata adds to the art in the martial arts. It adds nothing to self-defense ability other than a broken jaw from chamber punching and not keeping your hands up.


Since Kata are DESIGNED to teach you self defense techniques against being grabbed which do not require strength they are in fact the primary tool for self defense. This of course means understanding the pressure point applications implied in the technique. (No the move do not need to be modified for the street...they work exactly as they were intended to ... on the street!)



Okay, Ricky...I'll play:

The question was: Does kata (forms) help you with self-defense?

If YOUR kata is GOOD kata...Yes! If your particular style has developed, and evolved into something that "works" - it obviously has to have a basis in the kata that was developed to teach it. However, responsible Sensei (Sifu, Guro, Shihan, etc.) do not often teach students the defining movements that make a kata "work" until the 1st dan groundwork has been completed. So much of kata today is probably "close" in the relative motions necessary to practice a kata in it's entirety...but, lacking in the actual physiological dynamics that created them in the first place. Some karateka NEVER learn those dynamics from their Sensei. (And don't know it..) If your style's kata is properly transferred from teacher to student (and of course, those forms really do "work"), then the kata itself can teach the necesary dynamic(s) to you. form follows function, follows form...


Kata is your self defense. But only if kata techniques are understood for what they really are. Take almost everyone's first kata (with all the down block & punches). If this is interpreted as a down block and punch, it doesn't do much for you. But if you look deeper at the down block movement it has powerful self defense application. When the arm comes up and toward you for the "fold", this could easily be your first response to an attacker grabbing your wrist. You would strike his arm at the elbow coming back towards the wrist. This will activate a pressure point called Lung-5 that will cause the knees to buckle. Your opponent's head will be in position to deliver the "block" portion of the move. If kata is interpreted using "traditional" methods, its self-defense value is limited at best. In kata a punch is not always a punch, FREE YOUR MINDS!!! Scott

if anotherstyle awarded belt of differrencess to the individual and staying in practice is a belief . beleive it.

Does kata contribute to real self defense? That depends. If your talking about traditional kata where the practitioner doesn't even know what the movements in the kata represent then the answer is NO! But if you learn the stlye of Kenpo Karate that I practice then the answer is a definate YES! !st we learn the actual self defense techniques and then the techniques are arranged into a kata thru transitional stances and footwork. This way when you practice the kata you know exactly what every movement is used for in a self defense situation. This way the kata is a very efficient and fast way to practice all of your self defense techniques!


Rick H.W.,Brown Belt Kenpo Wichita Falls, Texas

Your Answer

RK, here's some possible questions to throw out to all...(you can change them a little, if my meanings are unclear):

Is YOUR art a "technique" art, or a "form" art? What's the difference between the two? Which should I practice more of, technique or form?

My art is a technique art I suppose. JKD is not necessarily about form but rather being able to fight without a specific form and still win. The main concept of JKD is to be fluid and able to adapt to any situation as necessary. I personally have learned a few different "form" style martial arts, and I think they are too restricting and do not allow you to reach your limits as a fighter. Cody

Technique. Form follows function. I believe that we should learn technique, then form will be meaningful, rather than learning form, and then searching for technique and function. Peace, Dave

Your Answer

Can a good street fighter beat a black belt? Your Answer

if the street fighter has a weapon and is facing a black belt from a non realty based art, you bet and easily...... can an old slow chick who has faced some realty in the streets survive an attack from a blackbelt in a traditional martial art...... yes especially of she has a weapon...... "When i am an old women, I do not want them to say, "She is such a charming old women" I would rather them say, " Be careful that old women is armed and Dangerous!!!!!!!" Ps... weeeeeee i am already that... old and dangerous.... Ms. J bows deeply " Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History"

it depends on who is the best fighter du . the army teaches simple moves over and over to make them instinct. Did the person that asked this question ever watch u.f.c.? Tank Abbott there is you answer. but I believe that if you have a great street fighter and you teach him good skills, by that I mean a full martial arts system and not form. then the answer is simple. it all depends on who is the best fighter and who has the most mind power

I know this is an old question, but here are my 2 cents. A black belt means nothing except that your instructor sees that you can do everything he taught you to a "T". It does not mean you can fight. I obtained a 2nd degree black belt a couple of years ago, and when I moved away and started at another school I realized how bad of a fighter I was. Fighting skill is loosely based on training and heavily based on experience. Now that I've had a year in another school where the emphasis is on combat I've improved tremendously. I still have a long way to go. So my answer is yes, a street fighter could beat a black belt.

Yes of course, a black belt doesn't signify that the holder is a good fighter , a good street fighter can be good as he has already bridged the gap as to the reason for his fighting and is often not concerned of the consequences of his actions where as someone with a black belt has learned to a certain level the techniques and philosophies required for his or her art's much as a classical musician can learn to play a recital parrot fashion without being able to compose for themselves, this does not of course suggest that a blackbelt cannot be a good street fighter quite the opposite in fact as because they already have an understanding of combat and body mechanics and really need to train in a more `real' environment such as a boxing or judo club where everything is full on and mistakes are punished immediately but in a still controlled and acceptable manner thereby not only toughening the person up but also teaching them from making similar mistakes again, as for the moral aspect , that is an individual thing but it's worth considering that many real streetfighters don't have any and responding to them in that manner , after all in a real self defence situation you are probably fighting quite literally for you're life and or that of you're loved ones, so that in the end the trained man should never lose to some street thug by training as real as possible in a controlled environment. `As we become stronger so we should become more gentle'

Of course this entirely depends on whether youve got a 'hard' street fighter and a wimpy black belt or vice versa, I am a 4th dan black belt and im not too proud to admit that there are some hard street fighters out there who in general have a lot more true fighting experience than most black belts. I have spoken to many black belts who have told me that they have never had a fight!!! how can someone who has never had a fight teach fighting or have any basis to believe that the techniques that they have learned will have any practical use? After all they have nothing to base their theories on. I have had quite a few fights in the past, but in general they are not an every day occurence for civilised people, but for the true street fighter who is quite possibly fighting very frequently he is going to have alot more real experience than the black belt who trains in imaginary fights in the dojo. You want real experience of fighting in 'controlled' circumstances try Geoff Thompsons 'Animal Day' and i think alot of balck belts would come out with their egos bruised. In conclusion i dont know many black belts(and i know a fair few) who in their right minds would have stepped in the ring with Lenny Mclean in his hay-day i know i certainly wouldn't want to!......... Mind you id probably have knocked him out.... ha ha

Street fighting as in what? I know an example of street fighting that would beat the living hell out of Karate in a heart beat. The style I am refering to is JKD (Jeet Kune Do). Cody

Yes a street fighter could definitely beat a black belt. As a white belt with virtually no fighting experience at all I was able to step into the ring and beat some black belts. Having a black belt, in my opinion, does not mean that a person knows how to fight. It means that that person has fulfilled the requirements of a particular school for getting a black belt.

So who would win? A street fighter or a street fighter trained in martial arts? I think its pretty damn obvious - a balck belt can be a good street fighter as long as he applies what he learns and understand that he's not in a sparring match but a no-rules fight of survival - just because the street fighter has learnt to be aggressive and not to hesitate does not mean a black belt can't have exactly the same virtues AND have the additonal skills to fight with (giving him an un-deniable edge.) Like some one said though, it depends on the individual.

Kata is simply structured plyometrics. instead of leaping we kick and punch makes for good cardio and aerobic workout also helps to focus on each movement concentration is vital to any fighter

Of course a good street fighter can beat a Black belt. It would be a difficult and challenging task to undertake, but my feelings tell me there is something about fighting that cannot be tought. Experience. Street fighters usually have more experience than Black belts. I mean when a Black belt is in a Karate tournament he's not trying to paralyze his opponent. When people fight on the street there are no rules. -Matt

I believe that a person trained to "Black Belt" status can easily render the "street fighter" incapacitated, due to that is what he is best at, given his discipline. Aaron

I've read the responses, and some of them are plain silly. If a martial artist is trained properly he can beat the average untrained street fighter. I'm not surprised such a question like this was asked. With all the fake martial arts schools these days, everyone is a black belt. These schools usually offer regional competitions where everyone wins a trophy. I guess this helps boost their egos some more. Martial arts schools in America are run like businesses instead of training facilities. That is why a lot of people i know regard boxers as tougher. THis is not true, if you are trained properly in martial arts you are conditioned, in good physical shape, flexible and fight with good technique. Even fi you never been a real fight you will probably win againsst most street fighters because your moves are accurate, powerful, and fast. Most students I know only come to class and never practice at home and they still get blackbelts. That is why they lose in the street. I practice 2 hours everfyday stretching conditionined and I workout an additional hour every other day. If you do that every day for 4 years you can beat a street fighter. MOst of them are lazy and slow and telegraph. One last bit of advice to the newbies who haven't started trianing yet, train with an Asian if possible, they are in General (not always) very traditional and give you the hardcore treatment. If you're taught by a white guy or a black belt jones type of guy, they will just tell you how to do moves, but don't care about how well you do them. They make you spar a lot too because thye don't have anythign else to offer

Note from Sensei Kirkham: This was not my response and I almost did not print it. I have known many good martial arts instructors all all types, sizes and shapes. My advice is to watch the instructor's classes, talk to his or her students' and do not sign a long term contract initially. In other words - base who you train with on the inside not how they appear on the outside.

I honestly would have to say that having a Black belt you should be able to take care of a situation, but having a black belt doesn't mean you can take out your opponent. If you take in account of where you got your training, you can only learn what your instructor knows, and if your instructor is low level then guess what? You my friend are a low level black belt. When I say "level" (hopefully you understand what I mean by this) are you telegraphing your moves? Are you constantly shifting your weight to help you deliver your techinque? I know there are instances when the situation can get out of control but if you know your going to go at it with this fellow how did he breech the distance to get you? So inconclusion I would have to say a street fighter could defeat a black belt in combat, cause your only as good as your instructor. SO hopefully your instructor is high level so one day you may be as high as him. Feel free to email me back to discuss my opinion if you like. Thanks Frank

with a bat or the guy from Kiss of the Dragon..he almost beat jet li's a__..either of those could take a black belt...or our friend andre or tim..

To quote Grandmaster Ed Parker Sr. only the color of the belt shows, not the knowlege meaning he may have a black belt but be an awful fighter

It would depend on the two, or more individuals fighting. I've taught both in the civilian sector and for the U.S. Govt. and have found that many "street fighters" fight with their anger and not their minds. A trained martial-artist will defeat his/her opponent with their own aggression (Aikido). Many say they can, but few often do. What I mean to say is that, some people are talkers and others are doers. Which do you fall under??? Master Instructor, 6th Dan Rich Galloway /SGT. U.S.A.F.

oh h!@# yeah, and i've seen it done a few times too. A black belt fighter , whatever the style, really has his work cut out for him if he fights a really good street fighter.

To answer your question on a street fighter verses a black belt,I beleive so a street fighter is so unexpected in his/her attacks. A street fighter does what ever it takes to win. Sayo Nara Oshi- Nomaku

It depends on how much control the street fighter has and if the black belt can keep his head clear. Doug (DJett_1)

A black belt by itself means nothing. I've met kids of 9 or 10 with a black belt, could you beat them. I could and i'm not a black belt yet. The difference is whether they have a black belt attitude. Are they still learning or was the black belt an end in itself. You need to keep learning, practicing and thinking, and besides the point, any black belt worth their grade would make every attempt to avoid conflict. Martial arts is a frame of mind and body, not a coloured belt.

Yes, I belive a good street fighter can deafeat a black belt, but i also agree that a black belt can deafeat a good street fighter.Anyone in good shaped could make it to blackbelt, they may have the kicks and the moves down and have good reflexes but it all depends if u can think on your feet.If he chokes under pressure the street fighter is gonna kick his a__ no matter how good he is and how many awards he won. So I say if you have good relfexes and can think on your feet you don't really have anything to fear. Abel

When one looks in to another man's eyes, beyond the white and red, deep into another man's soul...if practicality, logic and the elements are banished for but a moment...the impossible is achievable! If you can learn to respect your adversary, understand what drives him........then you can beat him! A belt means nothing...........respect, empathy and understanding mean everything! A Turner

That is a good question: Let us consider this from the prospective of good and evil, uke and nage. First the street fighter is in his/her best perception good to a certain point of reference. Lets further consider that the street fighter has someone dear to him/her in their life. Thus, the perceptive assumption to the street fighter is that he has to do what he/she has to do because of need. The perception of being right or wrong depends on how he/she feels at a particular time and opportune place. So, at any given time the, point of reference in the street fighter's design of an experience, the point plane of reference is divided into the divisions of good and evil; yet his/her perception of himself/herself is uke. Strong, feared and dangerous. Thus even though uke can be good and kind, friendly and stable mentally; this is only done as an illusion to create fear and uncertainty in his/her potential victim's eyes. Yet, he/she is usually successful at this deceptive trick.
Let us now examine to Black Belt. The exact same relationship applies as the street fighter if the black belt's intentions are not of Martial Virtue, Spiritual Growth, and Humility. Therefore, for the Black Belt to be successful in the Martial Way Of Combat, these qualities must be adhered to continuously. These qualities, give the Black Belt the way of Good or Nage. Thus, as Uke becomes strong and fierce; Nage becomes relaxed and alert. As Uke becomes ragefull; Nage becomes patient. As Uke's rage comes to an end; Nage explodes and the violence ends in harmony! Hope this sheds some light into the darkness. Sincerely, In Humility; Reggie!

Bushi Kempo Academy of Ju Jitsu & Karate Tasmania "the art of self-preservation" Our web site address http://go.to/bushikempotasmania National web site http://bushikempo.com.go.to WEB SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION http://members.iinet.net.au/~bkjja/

I have had many unfounded confrontation with streetfighters that amount to no threat what so ever. As a Ju-jitsu practitioner I find that almost anyone can throw a punch and send a kick flying at another person, however unattractive it may be executed. What not many people cannot do however is fight on the ground. As most of you fellow martial artists would know most street fights will end up on the ground in only a matter of seconds and when the groundwork strategies of a streetfighter consist typically of headlocks it is unreasonable to expect that they would have the skills to win against a black belt who is skilled in the art of grappling. To back up my claims to some extent I have seen students at 6th Kyu level in Ju-jitsu grapple with black belts in Karate and convincingly win the bouts without even working up so much as a sweat. My point here is that even though there was no striking invloved in those instances the fact that they won with such ease shows that the knowledge of groundfighting itself would allow the martial artist to have the power to overcome any opponent without such knowledge. Fighting is a science, it has taken many, many hundreds of years to put together the thousands of techniques that you see within the fighting arts today. To suggest that a street fighter could win against a proficient groundfighting black belt with anything other than a sucker punch is absurd! Please my fellow martial artists take into account that I am not putting down the non-grappling arts but just clarifying that a street fighters chances are very limited when martial arts covers such a large range of disciplines!

If anyone would like to respond to my comments I would like to hear them as I am open to any suggestions as to where I may have been wrong.

In my system, we train in effective combative styles. It is continually stressed to us that we are to attack hard and fast on the first beat. No messing around, no feeling the opponent out, no determining his style. Take him out before he gets a chance to show you any of that stuff. Can a good street fighter beat a black belt in our system? A system which deals specifically with street defense and knife fighting? A system which focuses on making sure we will be able to get home safely beyond all else? The answer is you better believe it. It has nothing to do with the school, and as one person has said, a belt is what you use to keep your pants up. It has to do with what you have to lose and how viscous you are. A black belt is generally taught respect and honour, two virtues which do not exist on the street. To all those who think that their system has somehow prepared them well for street fighting, my advice is to not test the waters. Use what you know if you are forced to, otherwise flee from adversity. cv

Depends on the skill of the black belt and how open minded he may be to learn other martial arts than just one. Phil

Most of my Black belts would beat a street fighter as they too are street fighters. Not that they pick fights or hit when not provocated, but most of us are all ex-military with experiences with Delta force, Airborne, Navy Seals and Special Forces OSU & OCI. We all have seen somekind of action be it Vietnam , Panama or Desert Storm. We teach to take out an enemy. We teach point and continuous sparring and have some National Champions at our school, but we can hold our own. It is also in the blood. Some can take the fight out of someone very fast and some like to dance around. The dancers never win.... Sensei Palmer

Of course, probably more often than not. The reason he is a good street fighter is presumably due to the fact that he has been in a lot of street fights. A black belt can also be a good street fighter if he approaches his training with the right mindset (and a few actual street fights can provide a wealth of information). However, most black belts in a particular style train in a sterile environment against other stylists who fight in the same tradition. This is so unrealistic I don't know where to begin. Anyone who has been in a real fight understands that 90% of the fight is lack of hesitation, and overcoming the fear factor. This doesn't mean being a dare devil or a hero. It simply means harnessing your fear and survival instinct into direct and immediate action. Does this mean martial arts are bull!@#$? Quite the contrary. Martial arts training (under a competent instructor who emphasizes techniques that is simple, direct and practical, eye gouging, centerline punches, low kicks, direct forward attacks, elbows, knees, simple wrestling takedowns, etc...) is the best way to prepare for the street without actually looking for street fights (a totally stupid practice). But get one thing straight right now. Your belt does not mean !@#$. It's your !@lls and brains (which to a certain degree come from training) that help you survive.

An exceptionally good black belt would stand a chance of winning.............AT CHESS !!! Sean

I have seen it done. A streetfighter goes up against all elements and no rules. A Black belt is trained to kill and protect. But at the same time there is always somebody better with a differ technique. So in theory, no. Only depends, on how fluent a streetfighter comes to adapt to his/her opponent. Kyle

See also weight loss

My story? Well I broke my back in 1987 and when I finally recovered I found myself 90 pounds over wieght with a diabetic condition, some heart trouble and having to use a cane. I went back to martial arts training using the program I developed above. The result, nearly a 100 pound wieght lose. An added bonus. While I was jogging some two men attacked me. They were very skilled street fighters and they injuried my ribs, bruises mostly. I've got some knuckle bruises as well. And my ankle hurts a little as I was off balance when I kicked one of them. But I survived and they didn't get my wallet and keys. They were on the ground when I left the scence and had disappeared when the police arrived. All they could find was some blood and teeth and a broken knife that one tried to use. I am slowly recovering and hope to be teaching again soon. JuJitsuka David


Why? Why not? Seriously, I've seen it happen. The black belt (this happened in a bar) adopted a defensive stance, and thought he had time for an intimidating announcement ; "I've had fourteen years of Tae Kwon" - BOOM - the blockhead who decked him (someone I went to school with) was no martial artist, but was loud, drunk, and big - an ex football player (I'd seen him bench 315 three or four times). But this, obviously, is just one incident. Martial arts (and here we're discussing only their relevance to fighting, not the character-building, centering, awareness enhancing, etc. benefits they provide) confer advantage, not invulnerability. And (depending upon the system and how classes are taught), martial arts practitioners too often practice things you wouldn't want to do in a street fight. I'm talking about point fighting. I had been taking Tang Soo Do about four years when I started doing some boxing - I thought I'd be pretty decent. I found out I had a lot to learn. Fighting someone who was trying to punch you hard and repeatedly in the face took some getting used to - "Everyone has a plan until he gets hit." Previously, in karate, any head shots would kind of "taper off" - the puncher would realize he was showing lack of control and pull the punch. Combinations to the head intending to knock someone out didn't happen in karate class. Stop Stopping

Stopping to acknowledge a point (you know - small bow) also had to be unlearned in boxing - "You're still standing, why are you stopping?" No system makes one invulnerable. Situations vary. I know some people involved in Gracie jiu-jitsu - in a ring, or one-on-one, they would be very dangerous "taking it to the ground" . In a crowd, I think a stand up style might be preferable - your opponent might have friends who will kick you in the head. I've done a lot of sparring, including full-contact, but I'm 36 and haven't been in a street-fight since high school (actually, it was a bus-fight) so it isn't like I've "used" my martial arts a lot, except, I guess, to avoid trouble - street fighting is asinine if at all avoidable. Through sparring, though, I've learned that a black belt might be a good fighter, but isn't necessarily one.

A boxer with 6 months training will usually beat a black belt with 2-3 years of training...a boxer deals with what is real everyday....the average black belt plays you tag me and I tag you game.

A Black belt should be able to avoid altercations, and if they don't fight, then everybody wins.

yes, under the following circumstances 1. the black belt is a twelve year old kid (children should not recieve black belts, my old school would not test anyone for that rank under 16 ) 2. the black belt was trained in a style that did not focus on what all martial arts should focus on--real life and death combat. there is a big difference between real martial arts and fighting sports. 3. the black belt does not have the proper mindset and the streetfighter does. the old saying used to be that proper technique is better than size or strentgh and that may be true to a certain degree but intensity and desire are more important than proper technique. it is in this area that many martial arts schools are lacking, even the more combat oriented ones. this is also the area that i am going devote more of my time and studies to austin

A belt is but an object to hold the pants up!!

Yes, without a doubt. I've seen a lot of black belts who have never taken the time to uderstand combat. It doesn't mean that ALL black belts are so inept but, just because you study a martial art doesn't mean you know how to fight.

Well I take an art or style called Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do ( created by bruce lee ) and We train not for points, We train to Get ride of the opponent or even if we have to KILL him. our style isnt like karate or any other yet if you have seen any Bruce Lee movies such ass Enter the Dragon or Return of the Dragon or any Brandon Lee movies you can get a picture of what we do, but we have too much of an advantage over opponent or streetfighter, to me and for what I learned hhehehe THEY !@#$, trust me, and plus there is a point were you know what you can do and what can happen by accident, you dont want to fight if a conflict arrises. Panther out BKLYN

I agree with Sensei Franz. I've been in Karate since I was and I'm still a whitebelt and I'm proud of it too because I know my skills in Isshin-ryu work why because I train hard I can take punch kick etc, but I don't know anyone who can take a pipe to the head, ok. but I believe that a good well train karateka or judoka or kungfu person could beat a street thug. John-san




An untrained archer is far less likely to bring home a rabbit than a trained one. I do not dought that if the principles on which the conflict arose are just the fighter with the most need to win will. For even though the trained archer is a better shot he may not be as hungry. Pedar

I will say no. Simply because most, even good, street fighters never learn to take a hit and stay calm. So, they fight with emotions be it frustration or anger. A black belt who has been trained correctly by an instructor, not a book in a garage somewhere, can take a shot and not get angry about it. Riley

Anytime, any day.


It depends on whether the stress on the style is tournaments or combat.


It totally depends on the type of black belt the person is.  If they were
trained in the traditional, full contact old styles of the arts, then
probably not.  It also depends on whether the street fighter is trained, or
if they attack the bb from behind.  I have witnessed many a black belt
loose a street fight because of these factors:

1.	They are a point fighter.
2.	They trained at one of those "Anyone can be a black belt schools."
3.	They were jumped from behind and hit with a club or pipe.
4.	The street fighter was a well trained Martial Artist or boxer.
5.	The black belt just plain sucked.
6.	The black belt was from a Tae Kwon Do "Super Mall" school (one that
teaches for money).
7.	And lastly, the black belt didn't have chance because he was drunk or

After working security for many years in bars, I have one thing to add to
this question...could a street fighter beat a qualified, well trained black
belt in an actual front to front face?  The answer would probably be no,
but remember that no matter how tough you are, there is always someone


Shihan S Franz, 6th Dan Black Belt
Aiki-Te Ryu Karate Do


Yes, having a black belt means a lot, but I have read and heard of schools that give a black belt too soon in a students martial arts career. Having a black belt doesn't neccesarily mean you are invincible, but if you have had the right training and have practiced it would definatley improve your odds.


Can a good street fighter beat a black belt ???

My answer is, that's a great possibility.

Black belt don't guarantee a man to be able to beat up street fighter. It depends heavily on our continuous training, reflexes, and senses. I don't know about the condition in America, but here in Indonesia, we can't underestimated street fighters. Here, many black belt people being beat up by street fighters.

I've seen some persons who takes Kempo classes ( three black belt persons ) being beat up by a single lonely street fighter, and then those Kempo black belts went down unsconcious with only a fast single slap to their face

Black Belt-ers, If you think that you can beat up street fighters, then try Indonesia's street fighters. You have to think more than twice to face them !!!!! Even if you had a gun ....!!!!!!!!

I believe so in some cases. And in others no . In the dojo there are rules such as no groin shots and unwritten rules such as don't hit to hard. However , on the street there are no rules. In the dojo they may throw at you a combo such as a high kick followed by a chest punch. There you are fighting someone you are acquainted with on relatively good terms and fighting the same style. On the street there is no combo. Once they start moving in on you they don't let up for any reason and unfortunately there is no sensei to stop it.


A good street fighter can beat a porley trained black belt. The black belts at our dojo and ascosiation go through a very tough test. They only test once a year and it is because it is the only time all of the committy can be at the one place. Adam

It depends on what training the black belt has had. One style is better then the other from what I have seen. As in one is more effective then the other. Also, streetfighters that I have seen never use rules, they get you with cheap shots, use wepons etc. I have never seen a street fighter fight with honor. But also, I have only seen once that a street fighter won from a black belt. Remember that there are many schools out there that give students lessons for just the money. Or give them a black belt when they are noth worthy of it. It also depends on if the streetfighter had some trainig in a dojo before he wnet to street fighting. I know of one, and he is very good. I know a lot of indonesians who are street fighters, yet I haven't ever seen one beat up a kick boxer. (reply to someone elses mail) So I think the number of fights won by street fighters is small when it come to fighting with true worthy balckbelts.

ummmm like noway man........unless the street fighter could use weapons or something man




Yes! Real street fighters,not wannebes taught in a studio,can and will beat a blackbelt trained properly or not . They do not have homes,or have something to eat everynight,or wear clean clothes. They survive any way, any how against all "arts",one rule they follow NONE,use anything that is around them as a weapon. Only way a blackbelt learns to avoid being beaten up is: Know your area(surroundings) No dark alleys If you're going to drink stay with friends who you trust Do not brag about your rank,they do not care Watch actual fights on the street,not on television, you will not see perfect techniques. Okay I rambled on,this gets me everytime,

Sensei Paul

I truly depends on the amount of training each has put into their art. A fighter training 6-7 days a week will most likly take a fighter training 2-3 days a week


HI Rick, That depends on many factors as you know. 1. How many street fights the Black belt has been in. 2. Size and strength 3. Mental toughness 4. Who hits 1st, who hits fastest and who hits mostest 5. The man makes the style, the style doesn't make the fighter!


Rick H. W., BROWN BELT,KENPO Wichita Falls, Texas

A subscriber has written in and was wondering what martial arts exercises he can do to help lose weight? Your Response

Dear Fellow Seeker: To lose weight you must change your entire life. Start by reducing your fat intake to 20 grams of fat a day. Next, never, never overeat at night before bed. As you sleep your body turns energy, (A.K.A., food) into storage (A.K.A. fat). A lot of veggies very little meat, plenty of grains (cereals, fat-free or low fat breads, whole grain pasta (no butters or oils), fat free cooking spray. All this things helped me. Martial arts exercises: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites flexibility as a key aspect of good health. Stretch out every day. Quadriceps Face a wall, placing your right hand against it for balance. Without locking your left knee, raise your right heel toward your buttocks by bending your right knee until you can grasp your right foot with your left hand. Pull that heel up to your right buttock, then over to your left buttock. Feel the stretch in the front of your right thigh? Don't strain. Hold for up to 30 seconds, then lower your leg. Repeat with your left leg, placing your left hand against the wall. Hips and gluteal Sit on the floor with your back straight and pressed against a wall. While keeping your right leg on the floor, bend your left leg and grasp the lower part of the leg with both hands. Now, pull your left foot toward your right shoulder until you feel the stretch. Hold for up to 30 seconds, then return the leg to the floor. Repeat the stretch with your right leg. Lower back Sit on a straight-backed chair with your feet on the floor, spread about 12 inches apart. Bend at the waist and lower your torso until your head is between your knees. Drape your underarms over your knees and grasp your feet with your hands. Hold for up to 30 seconds. For a deeper flex (and to stretch your groin), reach your hands as far back beneath the chair as you can without discomfort. Hamstrings You'll need a towel (or a length of rope) for this stretch. Lie on your back and loop the towel under the arch of your right foot. While holding both ends of the towel, straighten your right leg and pull it toward you as far as you can without moving your left leg, which should remain flat on the floor. (If you find this difficult, bend your left knee to reduce the pressure on your back.) If you're quite flexible, you won't feel the stretch until your leg is perpendicular to the floor. Hold for up to 30 seconds, then lower your leg. Repeat with your left leg. Perform slow circular movements, both clockwise and counterclockwise, until the joint seems to move smoothly. You should rotate the following (in the order given, or in the reverse order): fingers and knuckles wrists elbows shoulders neck trunk/waist hips legs knees ankles toes (You could go to a stretching class or buy a good book) After you have performed the joint rotations, you should engage in at least 20 minutes of aerobic activity such as punching and kicking a speed bag, punching and kicking a heavy bag, sparring with a partner, front kicks, side kicks, round kicks, back kicks, etc., to a target 15 to 20 times each at least. After you get comfortable add ankle weights and wrist weights, 2 pounds and then 5 pounds. Next practices side falls, back falls, front falls etc. It takes about three months 3 to 5 times a week min. before the soreness completely goes away; and you have developed a good habit. Plus shed several pounds guaranteed. You want to raise your core body temperature and get your blood flowing. Your goal is to increase blood flow in the muscles and improve muscle performance and flexibility; at the same time you will reduce the probability of injury. The added byproduct, you burn calories and lose weight very quickly. Plus you can kick the you know what out of someone and not get tired quickly. On the days you don't do aerobic activity lift wieghts. Start slowly. Only you can judge. Don't hurt yourself this will be worse than not doing it. The best thing would be to see the doctor and then a wieght lifting trainer. My story? Well I broke my back in 1987 and when I finally recovered I found myself 90 pounds over wieght with a diabetic condition, some heart trouble and having to use a cane. I went back to martial arts training using the program I developed above. The result, nearly a 100 pound wieght lose. An added bonus. While I was jogging some two men attacked me. They were very skilled street fighters and they injuried my ribs, bruises mostly. I've got some knuckle bruises as well. And my ankle hurts a little as I was off balance when I kicked one of them. But I survived and they didn't get my wallet and keys. They were on the ground when I left the scence and had disappeared when the police arrived. All they could find was some blood and teeth and a broken knife that one tried to use. I am slowly recovering and hope to be teaching again soon. JuJitsuka David

most people who want to lose weight concentrate on cardio training that will help but lifting weights will speed up your metabolism so even when just sitting around watching t.v you are burning more calories than if you only did cardio alone

There is a fun little exercise that really gets the blood going.. it's called a prostration.. You stand straight, hands above your head... then you lie down on your stomach, hands extended in front of you.. then you stand up straight, hands above your head.. that's one. do as many as you like/can.. usually, if you hurry, the average guy will get winded after 10 to 15.. standard Martial Artist, about double.. try doing 50 a day, whatever the pace.. you will loose weight guaranteed..

get off your a__

Note from Sensei Kirkham: Okay not very helpful but I thought it contained a bit of humor

To lose weight, put both hands on the table and push firmly away. It both strengthens the shoulders and puts the plate out of reach. Jim

Note from Sensei Kirkham: I hope the questioner has a sense of humor

Concerning The Myths of Internal Energy Strikes

I have been studying the use of chi with many different masters. I have studied with Grandmaster Rhoo of south Korea, Master Heimberger of Wing Chun Kung Fu. There is not anything mystical about chi, a misunderstanding yes. But you sound like you got a problem. I have had the one inch punch used on me, I have felt the projection of Chi/Ki from other Martial Artist. There is more than just concentration, breathing,ect. If you understand the inner and spiritual side of chi then you would know the true power that can be obtained. Then it gets mystical at the advanced stages.

Great article Rick. I have included much of the same type of information in my book on Rekibo. We call it body mechanics, it simply means the understanding of the human body and how it actually works. I have had the opportunity to try to explain to many martial artists why thouse incredibly tense reverse punches lose power on each consecutive strike. Also while I am writing this would you be interested in an article on Rekibo weaponscraft, if you are I will take a chapter out of my book and condense it for you. Have a good year my friend, Pablo

I agree with you completely except on one point. it is possible to be able to throw an "internal energy" strike while falling forward. It takes considerable practice and the ability to relax your natural tendency to tighten during a fall ...but have been able to teach this technique to SOME upper Dan levels ...unfortunately not to those uncomfortable with falling regardless of their rank


PS thank you for your article! it is nice to see other professionals willing to take a stand on such mysticism

Hi Now WHY did you go and start that one... All right; let's go So you've never seen an energy strike with the 'eastern misticism' stuff.. for you it's all mechanics.. good for you. Glad that works for you. You're wrong, but if you're happy, then that's all that matters. I have seen energy strikes.. I have FELT energy strikes.. None of this 'turning your fingers blue with the power of...' or anything; an actual, honest to goodness 'not touching me but still knocking me back' energy strike. You've got a background in physiology. great; hope it helps in all sorts of ways. Don't let yourself be restricted, however, by the belief that what you know is all there is to know. If you do, then no matter who you are or what you're talking about, you're wrong; plain and simple. If you choose not to believe in 'eastern approach' energy strikes, then I'm not going to try to talk you into believing. To assume that it's impossible because you don't know how or can't back it up scientifically is the height of arrogance. It's also something that as a teacher and a Black Belt, you should not be closing your mind about. To state your opinion is one thing. What you have done is state your belief as a fact. ...and you're wrong. Philippe

Note from Sensei Kirkham:

I always look forward to learning more and presenting different views. If anyone wishes to turn in an article on this I would happily publish it

A Reader posed this question. It really happened: Question: What should happen to a martial artist who uses his position to gain trust and then have a sexual encounter with a minor.

Your Answer

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Thank you

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