Articles | YMAA

Kumite’s Changed Role and Purpose in Sports Karate
March 4, 2024
These new techniques, footwork, steps, mindsets, strategies, tactics, and positions used in today’s sports-karate’s kumite illustrate best the discipline’s far-reaching separation from karate-jutsu’s kata: there is no kata anymore in sports-karate’s kumite. 7 Min. Read
Advanced Level of Knowledge and Understanding in Combat
February 19, 2024
Advanced level karateka understand concepts, including all their hidden options, and realize all the big pictures in combat where these concepts may be applied, whereas beginners narrowly see a technique to be used for only one specific application. 9 Min. Read
Meet the Author: Hermann Bayer discusses Karate origins and misconceptions with Gene Ching (video)
February 7, 2024
YMAA Staff Writer Gene Ching chats with Dr. Hermann Bayer, author of two books: Analysis of Genuine Karate: Misconceptions, Origins, Development, and True Purpose and Analysis of Genuine Karate 2: Sociocultural Development, Commercialization, and Loss of Essential Knowledge
Okinawa is more than the Birthplace of Karate - Okinawa is a Mindset
December 4, 2023
Reflections from Dr. Hermann Bayer and his attendance at “Day of Karate” October 25, 2023 Naha, Okinawa, Japan.
Inductive vs. Deductive Learning in Karate
September 11, 2023
“It is a common fact―and mistake―that someone, who supposes his/her knowledge being insufficient, chooses to study “broadly,” i.e. to study another related subject, instead of deeper penetrating the subject at hand.”
Commercialization Turned Karate-Do Into a Commodity - August 21, 2023
In the early 1980s the unique selling position of Japanized Karate-Do (with Shotokan as its prototype) was well established and further initiatives focused on stabilizing its market position and its organizational structure which was remarkably successful in both preserving its Japanese identity and protecting copyrights and financial interests.
Learning to Bite: Karate-jutsu and Karatedo in Women's Self-Defense Training - - August 7, 2023
Unless in military combat, it looks like males have game-like rules of engagement that ultimately dictate dominance, but, in contrast, women fight male attackers not to dominate but to survive.
Your Sensei Corrects Your Errors and Blunders-Your Mistakes You Need to Correct Yourself - July 3, 2023
To correct mistakes, something has not just to be modified, but habits have to be completely unlearned before something new can be learned.
The Modern Misconception of Karate’s ‘Not to Attack First’ Principle - June 19, 2023
Karate’s sacred principle should be rephrased into ‘karateka aim at not to attack first, but they may move first’, when a not yet physical attack is underway as a clear indicator for an immediately following use of physical force.
Japanization of Okinawan Karate to Create Cultural Homogeneity within the Nation of Japan - September 12, 2022
Because Karate is such an essential pillar of an autonomous Okinawan subculture, its Japanization from Karate-Jutsu into Karate-Do became the mainland’s priority not just for militaristic purposes, but also to create cultural homogeneity across the nation.  
Itosu Anko Sensei’s Motivation to Teach Karate to Kids - April 4, 2022
Stressing Karate’s possible use for supporting Japan’s armed forces was Itosu Sensei’s pragmatic strategy to secure sufficient funds for his educational campaign by tapping into Japan’s funds for its militarization―whereas the final and underlying goal of this educational campaign was not to create the raw material for the nation’s military forces, but something different, something nobler.
Peaceful Minds Through the Study of Lethal Okinawan Karate? - January 17, 2022
Through building up physical and mental strength, inappropriate overcompensating and aggressive tendencies lessen and eventually even vanish, since traditional karate training creates new self-definitions of capability and new self-perceptions of being able to successfully defend oneself and others. Unavoidably, self-confidence and courage eventually will improve and reduce feelings of inferiority.
Traditional Karate Is Okinawan Cultural Heritage - December 13, 2021
Outwardly, the two societies are integrated, but the Okinawan people have proven masterful at the remaining cultural differences and attaching new importance to them genuine Okinawan karate being one of those cultural symbols.”
Socio-Cultural Reasons for “Takeover” Attempts to Integrate Okinawan Karate into Mainland Japan’s Budo Philosophy - November 29, 2021
“Japan’s militaristic and nationalistic attitudes before WWII and its strategies to establish an Olympic sport after WWII explain why the mainland took over Okinawa’s unique fighting art.” Hermann Bayer, Ph.D.
The “Japanization” of Okinawan Karate in Mainland Japan - October 18, 2021
Japanization” changed many techniques of genuine Okinawan karate radically, and the essence of the original, Itosu-based style, which is self-protection, was lost in its transition from Okinawa to mainland Japan.
Did Genuine Karate Originate in Okinawa or in China? A Contribution to Historic Reasoning in Martial Arts History - September 6, 2021
Applying a comparable argument, an existing Okinawan martial art with its clear intention and purpose of self-protection integrated foreign (here: “Chinese”) knowledge and skills as a useful improvement into its existing system, into its existing idea, its existing concept and intellectual framework.”
Karate: Is There Equipment That Can Help Me? - July 23, 2018
Much of modern karate training can be done simply by refining one's technique through careful internal reflection. The only thing required is a karate uniform or do-gi. However, there can be great benefit to using equipment in training. The use of equipment can be vital for developing a method of direct feedback regarding the execution and delivery of power into a target. To this end, equipment can be used for two primary purposes: (1) understanding the internal feeling of the body as a technique impacts an object, and (2) developing focus and power delivery through correct alignment to a target outside the body.
Unity or Something Like It - November 21, 2017
Let this be known: I cannot stand running. I ran a lot when I was younger, mainly because somebody was always trying to beat me. Why? Acerbic wit was my weapon of choice.
Keri: Kicking Techniques - April 10, 2017
One difference between martial arts styles developed in Asia and many of the Western arts is the refinement of the legs and feet as striking weapons. In Shotokan karate in particular, kicking techniques, or keri are seamlessly integrated into the curriculum and are one of the six major classes of techniques (zuki, uke, uchi, nage, keri, and dachi).
Four Fundamental Requirements of Martial Arts - March 20, 2017
Karate-do, or any other martial art, is, at its core quite simple. However, it can be made far more complex than what it actually is. The multitude of techniques, combinations, kata, and partner drills—combined with nebulous concepts like "use your hips," "lower your stance," "do budo karate," "make more kime," and "use your ki"—can make martial arts seem overwhelming.
The Karate Science of Wrist Rotation - February 27, 2017
I was reading through one of my martial arts group news feeds the other day on Facebook, and I stumbled across a question posed by one of the members. The question was based on the fact that, as we all know, a block is not a block, but rather a receiving technique.