Subject: Bunkai Jutsu Newsletter March 2012

Hi Friend

Welcome to another newsletter and a special welcome to all the new subscribers.  Things have been very busy for me lately, starting a new job, looking to start up a new club (see below), etc etc.  Anyway, this weeks guest article is actually 2 short articles which are linked.  They are by Dmytro Konstantinov and Tim Leach who teach in Bath near me and teach a variety of reality based martial arts and MMA. 

This month Featured Martaial Artist is based in Australia (which is the first time I've gone down under for this feature) and is proposing a special project which you might be able to both help with and benefit from.  But more of that below. 

Plus there's a new TKD blog which you might want to check out. I hope you enjoy this edition and as always please leave your feedback.

My New Club

Well at long last I've decided to take the plunge and open up my own Shotokan Karate School.  Having assisted with teaching and written about martial arts for so long, it seemed to be a natural progression and probably one which is very long over-due.  As regular readers will know, I like to take a holistic approach to martial arts embracing health, effective self defence and self development.  I think it's fair to say that my ideas and approach differs slightly from most of the mainstream.  I have therefore decided to call it "Holistic Karate" and have created a website at  Some details are missing (venue, start date) as I'm waiting for few legalities to be sorted.  Those details will be completed soon.

I'd be happy to receive any feedback on this website to help make it more appealing to potential students . . . . . some link-backs would be nice too  :)

If you know anybody in the North Somerset, (UK) area who might be interested, please forward this website to them.  At first I will be focussing mainly on beginners, but others are always welcome. 

Below is my new club logo.

Shotokan Karate Magazine

I have been privileged to have had a second article published in Shotokan Karate Magazine.  This is not a high profile commercial magazine that you'll find in newsagents, in fact you can only get it by subscription.  That said, it does not have the normal commercial pressures, so it is a very informative and interesting magazine, which is strictly non-political with good in-depth technical articles and discussions.

Although it is primarily about Shotokan Karate, much of it is also applicable to other styles too.  Anyway, if you would like to see the articles which I have written for Shotokan Karate Magazine (and for some on-line magazines), you'll find them on my website on the "Published Articles" tab.

Interview With Graham Butcher

Graham Butcher is an international teacher, author and one of the world's leading authorities on the ancient Viking martial art of Stav.  As well as running regular classes and seminars in the UK, he has taught in the USA, Germany and other countries.

Graham has agreed to do an interview for Bunkai Jutsu, which I will be publishing soon.  This will be very insightful as anybody who likes to cross train should find something in Stav that they can take back into their own primary martial art.

Courses Roundup

Damo Mitchell - Lotus Nei Gong:

Damo Mitchell has been training since the age of 4.  His recent book, Daoist Nei Gong: Philosophical Art Of Change, has become a best seller due to his ability to break down complex Oriental philosophy into a way that Westerners can understand.  Since then Damo has been in huge demand and is running courses on various subjects in the UK, USA, Sweden and Turkey.  To find out about his courses, visit his website Events Page.

Graham Butcher - Stav Seminars

Graham has a couple of Stav seminars coming up.  Make sure you book early as Graham is becoming more and more in demand.

The first is on March 31st, from 10am to 5pm at Denham, near Uxbridge, West London.

The next is on April 14th, from 10am to 5pm at St Georges Church Hall, Lower Street, Harnham, near Salisbury.

Cost for both is £35 (students/concesions £20).  You can however claim the pre–booking discount of £5 by booking online at

Mark Winkler - Systema Seminar

Mark will be running a seminar on 14th April from 2.00 to 6.00pm at Carmarthen Leisure Centre, Llansteffan Road, Johnstown, SA31 3NQ.  

Cost is £35.

As with the Stav above, Systema has a lot to offer martial artists of all disciplines as there are principles that can be taken back into your own core style.  For further details or to book, please visit the Facebook Event Page.

John Johnston, 6th Dan, Adaptive Karate:

John now has a page on his website which lists his courses and new classes, which are well worth checking out.  John's approach is very direct and easily picked up.  Find out more on his Courses Page.

Iain Abernethy

Iain has courses coming up in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Belgium and Germany.  Rather than me listing them all here, please go to his Seminar Page on his website.


Featured Martial Artist

This months Featured Martial Artist is Taekwondo 6th Dan, Colin Wee.  As a youngster Colin was (like many others of that time) influenced by Bruce Lee's Kato in the Green Hornet, which led him to start training in the early 80's getting his first black belt in 1987 when he was 17. 

In 1991 he moved to the United States where he studied Traditional Taekwondo and Aikido.  This Taekwondo was a version that was created between the 1940s and 60's to train the Korean military and was introduced to the United States by the South Korean Master, Jhoon Rhee, who settled in the Southwest U.S.A. in the mid 1950s.  From there it diverged from other forms of Taekwondo which were distancing themselves from their Japanese Karate roots.  Today Colin even teaches his black belts a limited number of Shotokan Karate katas

Since then he has moved to Perth, Western Australia, where he lives with his wife and 2 children and teaches at his own independent school.  Thirty years on he is still very passionate about his art and whilst being a traditionalist, he is still progressive and still developing and refining a systematic program.

His schools name is Joong Do Kwan - 중도관 [中道館] which means, "the school of the middle way".  By this he means that he is taking a middle path between the first original Kwans (schools) of the predecessors of his art and the modern Korean inovations from the mid 40's and beyond. 

Since 2007 Colin has also aurthored the Traditional Taekwondo Techniques blog, providing what has become a quite large on-line resource of Taekwondo techniques and practical applications.  This is also open to matial artists of similar styles to benefit from as well.

Currently, Colin is using this blog to propose an Anti-Bullying Bloging Carnival.  I think that this is a good idea and will be supporting it.  If would like to be part of it, then you can find out more and contact Colin on his website.

Marketing Your Club

In last months newsletter, I asked if anybody would be interested in me starting a fresh category about how to market their martial art clubs.  The response was small, but everybody who did respond was in favour of it.  My friend Graham Butcher has kindly written a couple of articles on this subject for me which are now available on the my website.  The first is on How To Grow Your Martial Arts Business and the second is on Making The Most Of Your Club Website.  

Graham is intending to do more in the future, so if you run your own club then keep your eye open for them.

Iain Abernethy Podcast:  Verbal De-Escalation

In Iain's own words:

"In this month’s podcast we will be looking at verbal de-escalation. What I mean by that is what we can do to calm people down, avoid unnecessary physical conflict, and “talk our way out”.

It’s not enough to simply give the topic lip service, as many do, with throw away lines such as “talk your way out if you can”. That’s like saying “punch hard” and expecting students to be able to punch well despite never having being taught punching or having practised it. There is huge skill set associated with talking your way out of situations that should not be ignored.

Training solely in the physical, and totally ignoring the vitally important non-physical aspects of self-defence, gives us the massive problem that all we have is a physical solution! We could therefore find ourselves in situations we should never have been in, unable to avoid situations that could have been avoided, and running the risk of physical harm (and legal problems) when there was a way to avoid the situation becoming physical. If we truly wish to adequately address the needs of self-protection then we need to include a lot more in our study and teaching than physical technique. Verbal de-escalation is one such element and I hope you find this exploration of some of the basics interesting".

You can hear the podcast at:

Voice Of TaeKwonDo

I have recently become aware of a fairly new Tae Kwon Do website, which whilst primarily focusing on TKD should also be of interest to other traditional martial artists.  It is called the Voice of Tae Kwon Do and I was particularly attracted to the modest and unassuming manner of it's author, Kenneth Tang, 6th Dan.  Many sites focus on the practical side of martial arts (which is how I started of) or on the sport side; but Master Tang focuses largely on the artistic and spiritual side of the arts, a side that is often overlooked, but nevertheless very integral and important.

Master Tang's (who modestly calls himself "Coach Tang") website can be found at:

Self Protection ABC, by Dmytro Konstantinov & Tim Leach

Dmytro Konstantinov and Tim Leach have a long history in martial arts, including Teakwondo, Boxing, Wrestling, MMA and Geoff Thompson's Close Quarters Combat system.  Together they founded Team Nemesis in the city of Bath near to where I live.  I trained in Close Quarters Combat with Dmytro for a short while.  Although I was not able to train for a long period due to domestic reasons, it did have quite a profound effect on my vision of martial arts as it introduced me to reality based training, which regular readers will know that I now rate quite highly.

Dmytro and Tim have written a few short articles on Self Protection.  As these articles are shorter than the guest articles that I normally include, I've decided to include them both.  I hope you enjoy them and find them useful.

Awareness, by Tim Leach:

So, you are in a new City away from home, possibly for the first time in your life. New friends, new acquaintances and new experiences are all around you. You might feel worried, nervous, sometimes even scared…

First of all, let me reassure you that Bath is a very safe city. However, as common wisdom says: better safe then sorry! The following advise is applicable to everyone, male or female, and applies to a variety of life situations, just use your common sense and adjust as per your circumstances.

Awareness is your first and foremost tool in keeping yourself safe. It is a skill which requires no specialized equipment and which you can utilize in any situation throughout your entire life. Think of awareness as your proactive defence against a potential attacker, if you spot them first then you can avoid them! Ignoring this skill could lead you to fall victim to a multitude of crimes, ranging from a common theft, to assault, to kidnapping… and the list just keeps on going.

One of the fundamental characteristics of awareness is that everyone possesses the foundation required to use this skill! And like any skill, the more you use it, the more honed in it becomes. To fast track through basics and greatly improve your awareness, there is a number of basic exercises that could be used:

Try a little game of remembering the colour (or brand, or type) of a single piece of clothing for the last two people who have just past you. Once you get comfortable with remembering two people, increase that number to three, four, five. Then start increasing the number of clothing items you make a note of. If practised regularly, in no time at all you should be able to describe in fairly accurate details the last three people that you have passed.

You can play a similar game while driving, except that instead of remembering people you can start by trying to memorise a make, model and colour of a car behind you. Once you are comfortable with remembering a single car, expand your observations to 2, then 3 cars following you.

Also, bear in mind that there are a number of actions that should be avoided when relying on your awareness to keep you out of potential trouble. This is not because they are “bad” but simply because they can easily interfere with, and reduce your state of awareness. For example, when out and about, and especially when out and about in a new or unfamiliar surrounding:

  •  avoid listening to music at such a volume that you can’t hear anything around you, as this leaves you open to be approached from behind, without being forewarned by your hearing.
  • avoid getting engrossed in looking at your phone, playing games or using any other app that takes your mind off where you are, where you’re going and who is around you.
  • avoid taking any short cuts to your destination if it means you leave the relative safety of a well lit public street. This is especially true if you are “under the influence”.

We live in relatively safe society where most attacks are not predatory, ie: a potential attacker does not set out targeting specifically you. Most criminals are opportunists and will pick the easiest target available. Thus, by being “switched on” and recognizing a potential danger before it escalates you will already move a step closer to being safe.

Original article at:

Breadcrumbs by Dmytro Konstantinov:

This article continues our Self Protection ABC series and follows a previously discussed subject of Awareness. We have already established that awareness is one of the most important tools in our everyday arsenal, that it doesn’t stop at simply registering your surroundings or being able to recognise an escalation in a developing situation. Being aware means recognising a possibility of a potential situation emerging under a given set of circumstances.

Lets discuss a fairly common example: meeting a stranger in unfamiliar surroundings. Imagine that during your normal daily routine you meet a new person, who suggests that you get together later that day at this really nice place they know…

The reality of the modern life is such that this type of situation arises time and time again, yet surprisingly few people think about the potential danger of this seemingly innocent scenario. The standard advise of “don’t talk to strangers” is impractical and unrealistic. So, what do we do?

The answer is surprisingly simple, if we can’t avoid the situation, then we should plan for the potential danger, and take steps to safeguard against it. In the above scenario, we can see that the main danger lies in the fact that we are going to an unfamiliar place to meet an unfamiliar person. Effectively, we do not know who will be there and no one knows where we’ve gone. Thus, we can not expect help should anything happen while we are away, be it a simple accident or something a bit more sinister.

One of the ways to safeguard from this potential danger, is to adopt a well known wilderness survival technique. Used by many campers and hikers on a regular basis, it is an effective yet simple solution: firstly, safety in numbers and secondly, let others know where you are.

Most attacks we face in modern society are opportunistic. They happen because an aggressor simply decides that you are the easiest target around. It is also true that most aggressors do not wish to be caught and will go to a great length to avoid any reprimand for their actions.

Based on all of the above, we can design a number of strategies aimed at improving our chances in the above scenario. Bear in mind that this is not a “fool proof” solution and that this advice should not be taken literally, but adjusted and incorporated into the specifics of your particular situation.

Bring a friend
The age old wisdom “safety in numbers” holds as true now as it was when it was first used. Not only are two (or more) people less likely to be attacked but they would also be able to help each other out in case of an accident or emergency.
Phone a friend
If bringing a friend to a meeting is not an option then you can always bring a phone. Finding an excuse to call a friend to tell them what a great time you are having, while describing where you are and who you’re with, can have a very cooling effect on a potential attacker.
Leave a trail
If you are unable to bring a friend and not sure if you’ll be able to use a phone (remote location, no reception, etc) then make sure that people know where to look for you, should anything go wrong.
For example: writing down in a diary where you went, with whom and who you are meeting, and leaving it in an obvious place would ensure your privacy, while at the same time improve your chances of being rescued should anything prevent you from returning home.

Finally, remember that it is always best to anticipate and be prepared for the potential trouble then react to an escalating situation. In the words of common wisdom, it’s better to have a stick and not need it than need a stick and not have it. Therefore, think, weigh your options and pre-empt!

Original article at:

Well that's it for another month.  Keep an eye on the website for new articles as they are posted and the upcoming interview with Graham Butcher.  If haven't already, please go the Facebook page and "like" it so that you can receive updates via Facebook and join in some of the regular conversations that take place.  Thank you and keep training hard :)


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