martial art

Grip is one of the most important components of Japanese swordsmanship. Black Belt Hall of Famer Dana Abbott, who trained in Japan for 14 years, explains why it matters in kendo, kenjutsu and iaido.

Grip is an important facet of Japanese sword arts like kendo, kenjutsu and iaido. Simply said, if you don't hold the kodachi (short sword) or choken (long sword) correctly, everything else leading up to the execution and follow-through of your cut will be substandard and ultimately cause you to perform below your potential. Furthermore, poor hand placement when using a sword promotes inadequate hand-eye coordination and telegraphs your technique. The latter is very important if you're engaging in kendo. Conversely, holding the sword correctly allows for smooth execution and seamless transitions between stances and movements. You'll be able to perform offensive and defensive techniques in such a fluid manner that the sword will become part of you. Before beginning a discussion of sword-gripping methods, it's important to note that the handle (tsuka) of some practice weapons, including padded swords and the shinai (bamboo sword), is round, whereas wooded and steel sword handles have an oval cross section. The oval pattern is better for gripping and is a more efficient design. Round handles are associated mostly with training in the Japanese sport of kendo and its Korean counterpart, kumdo, because exact cutting isn't required.

Keep Reading Show less

His career encompasses adversity, moviemaking, politics and Russia. Find out a few of the ways Jhoon Rhee has helped shape taekwondo around the world.

“A picture is worth 1,000 words; an action is worth 1,000 pictures." — Jhoon Rhee

Keep Reading Show less

The details of Bruce Lee's jeet kune do have filled numerous books, leaving newcomers wondering where to begin. Here, Joe Lewis, Leo Fong, William Cheung and Burton Richardson share what matters most.

Black Belt contacted 16 well-known martial artists who teach jeet kune do or were heavily influenced by it to get their thoughts on the most important part of Bruce Lee’s art. Part 1 features replies from Dan Inosanto, Tim Tackett, Kelly McCann and Joe Lewis. Part 2 offers the answers we got from Burton Richardson, Matthew J. Numrich, Teri Tom and Richard S. Bustillo. Part 3 includes Leo Fong, Bustillo, Paul Vunak and Gary Dill. Part 4 focuses on the thoughts expressed by Lamar M. Davis II, Dr. Jerry Beasley, Matt Thornton and Thomas Cruise. In this conclusion, we highlight Lewis, Fong, William Cheung and Richardson.

Photo Courtesy of Black Belt

Keep Reading Show less

After sampling a variety of martial arts and martial arts mats, Rafael Ellwanger became a fan of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Greatmats. Find out how he went from BJJ student to gym owner to federation founder, all while providing for the safety and comfort of his students.

[Sponsored Post] A lifelong martial artist, Rafael Ellwanger began experimenting with different disciplines at age 4 when his mother enrolled him in judo. After training in taekwondo, kung fu, boxing, muay Thai and krav maga, Ellwanger found his calling when he started Brazilian jiu-jitsu — more than 21 years ago. In 1997 Ellwanger, then a 21-year-old college student, fought in his first competition as a blue belt at the Pan-American Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament in Hawaii. He earned a bronze medal. “That day, I realized I would like to be a martial artist for life,” said Ellwanger, who attributes his longevity in the grappling arts to the comfort and safety he gets from Greatmats flooring.

Keep Reading Show less