Pretoria News

Grundling conquers Europe

PTA NewsAbie Grundling from Pretoria returned home after winning the second JSKA Europe Championships hosted in Glasgow last week. It had been a long and hard journey for Abie starting his career in the fighting arts with Koos Burger sensei as a young boy. Injuries hampered his progression but hard committed training earned him an invitation to the above mentioned championships. Abie adapted his training program with focus on projection and cardio training more than sixty days before travelling the Europe. He completed his preparation in Guildford, UK before travelling to Scotland with the UK team. The days before the championships were spent training in the JSKA Masters Training Camp to gain valuable knowledge from the high graded leadership of JSKA.

Abie’s division was early on the day of the event and included participants from across Europe including the former JSKA Europe Champion Lars Degner from Germany. The preliminary rounds offered little opposition and afforded Abie time to adapt to the weather conditions and competition surface. Abie was soon waiting to be called for the final of the Europe Senior Male division.

It had been an intense clash between two experienced fighters from different continents. Abie gained the first point with an expected reverse punch and was awarded Wazari (half point). No effective clash followed for some time until Abie attacked with an extremely well timed foot-sweep. A perfectly executed strike to the back of the German’s head landed even before he touched the floor. Hans Muller sensei awarded an undisputed full Ippon and the Europe Crown to a South African.

Well done Abie! Your example and achievement certainly motivated the young generation. The Karate Academy ventures into new avenues with KarateFit offered at selected schools. Focus will be on Cardio fitness for adult students. The December holidays not too far could serve as the motivating factor for the fairer gender. The Academy gained much knowledge and experience from Europe regarding the Bully-problem that had become a huge problem in Europe. A project called Beat-the-Bully will be offered to our youngsters in the capital. It is unfortunate that such need had arisen in our schools but the restoration of self-confidence could attribute to conquer this damaging sickness.

The last semester will include a huge team competing in the 20th JSKA Development Championships hosted in North West Province. Namibia promised an experienced team which includes a number of champions from the 2014 JSKA World Champs hosted Italy last.

Let’s talk compression versus expansion

PTA NewsENERGY is created by releasing a compressed substance to its expanded variation. In the vast world of physical science, one can identify a large number of unrelated movements under these conditions.

An example related to our rugbyfanatical nation is a scrum between opposing sides. The most powerful individuals usually play as forwards in a team and always those with a body mass that one would hate to find in an opposing team.

But these enormous blocks of power and energy still find it necessary to compress their legs when setting in a scrum with the sole objective of executing maximum power and strength to overpower the opposing side.

In the competitive game of squash, players are taught to “bend their knees” to create maximum projection in distance and speed. A former world champion stated that the player who bends his knees will win the game.

Athletic codes like sprinting, shotput and javelin require a mastery of compression before the final actions are executed.

In the ancient art of unarmed combat, compression or contraction is essential in nearly every move in Kata and Kumite. The very first move in Heian Shodan stipulates compression in the preparation phase of the defence only then followed by the expansion of the technique.

The most obvious compression is seen in those jumping movements like in Heian Godan and more advanced Kata like Empi. I personally enjoy Kankuku Sho which includes two very different variations of jumps.

Kamae or the ready position in a fighting stance will be in a natural position with relaxed bend legs and compressed arms. A fighter will, like the forward player in rugby, compress his or her legs and upper body to gain maximum distance in the shortest time possible.

Projection as a result of compression will firstly gain the necessary distance from the attacker to the defender but through projection also enhance the attacking hand or leg attack. It is thereby impossible to execute an effective technique without the support of the projection of the compressed badly.

In Shotokan style of karate, power is mostly created in a linear fashion opposing to the circular movements found in the Nahate styles of karate.

This will be my last column at the end of an exciting year filled with great challenges and opportunities. Enjoy the festive season and we look forward to seeing you on the tatami next year.

15 Nov 2014 / Pretoria News Weekend / Soon Pretorius

It’s exam time for students

PTA NewsTHE final month of the academic year is mostly dedicated to the evaluation of students at various levels. The academy has broadened this process by including an exam for examiners, instructors and judges. The national qualifications examination will in future be conducted on the same weekend as the annual Dan testing.

National qualifications include those awarded to practitioners on grounds of their judging standard and knowledge of national and international tournament rules. Students are also tested in competence to evaluate technical standard in order to award Kyu and Dan grades. Knowledge of technical standard and grading syllabus is essential.

Evaluation will also be done of a basic presentation. Applicants are evaluated in their ability to teach or instruct. They will be evaluated on grounds of their ability to teach a basic technique to various levels of competence. Dan gradings will be included in a very full weekend.

More than 50 students are expected to apply for evaluation of Dan grades and the highest at these gradings might be fifth Dan grades. The advantage of having most senior students from across the country together for a full weekend is usual and a large percentage of standardisation practice is done. It will be a long weekend with pressure and intensive training.

Students testing for higher Dan grades will have to complete the standardisation training which is approximately six hours of hard training followed by an individual exam conducted by a senior panel. Students attempting higher than the third Dan grades must submit a thesis before such exam is allowed. The content of such thesis usually consists of a detailed explanation of a favourite combination.

The final coloured belt grading will conclude the year when a full week is dedicated to evaluations and another week dedicated to the awarding of higher kyu grades. We will offer a Dan grading seminar consisting of a four-hour training session focusing on Dan and national qualifications followed by a kyu grading seminar the next weekend.

The JSKA South Africa national development team did an excellent performance in Swakopmund last weekend. More than 100 members of the development team put up an excellent performance against a strong Namibian team.

Pretoria News Weekend Edition, 11 October 2014

Reaction time is essential

PTA NewsThe time to respond in offence and defence is crucial and must be trained by instructors on a regular basis.

Especially in higher level of combat, response to attack will determine a winner in most cases.

Fighters rarely expose a target area and diversions are often necessary to open such an area.

A number of popular tactics can be used, for example an initial fake attack followed by a scoring technique.

Another popular diversion is to attack with a pure tactical technique.

This technique can be launched at a non-scoring area like the inside of the leading leg just above the knee, or slapping the leading hand of the opponent.

Experienced fighters will soon determine the referee’s interpretation of this rule, which sometimes has a fine line between an effective illegal attack and a permissible tactical technique.

In the earlier days of competition, more static fights allowed single attacking techniques by welltrained fighters with superior reaction ability.

The distance between fighters was also less, allowing effective single technique scoring.

Distance between fighters has increased and requires greater speed as well as greater reaction time between fighters.

A number of matters must be included in training reaction time of fighters.

Fighters must be relaxed in their fighting position with only the muscle controlling the front elbow tensed to protect the ribs.

It is important for students not to fight with their heels stuck to the ground.

This old-fashioned style of fighting slows the attack down and reduces chances of effective technique.

A fighter must have only the balls of both his feet on the floor to not only increase reaction speed, but also improve distance.

This does require specific training of competitors.

Reaction time in defence is obviously of utmost importance.

The biggest challenge of a defender is to decide on the method of defence.

Options for the defender is first to create more distance from the attacker by moving back.

This option cancels the opportunity of a counterattack.

A popular option is to attack by moving forward on the moment of attack with a counterstrike.

This is often dangerous and requires perfect response time and a very confident fighter.

Response time can be trained by letting fighters face away from a second row of partners.

On a count they would turn around and land on the target as soon as possible.

Distance can then be increased as a variation.

Karate schools in our city have started to prepare their students for national and in some cases international participation.

The JSKA South Africa team is doing exceptionally well, thanks to hard and diligent training.

If you have any views on karate or want to discuss something with Soon, he will be pleased to hear from you. His e-mail address is:

Movement is essential in all forms of contact

PTA NewsIN the sport of karate, movement is essential in all forms of contact. Because the most important ingredient of kumite is distance, one’s ability to cross that distance must also be of high importance.

In a previous column, I discussed movement in kumite in great detail, but today will focus on only one of the methods.

The final movement in heian sandan includes a sliding move to cover the distance. This movement gives shotokan practitioners the freedom to include this sliding action in the teaching of kumite.

The advantage of sliding, or yoriachi, is that it can be effectively done in a short time.

The negative part is that not much distance can be covered.

The distance is however made up for by the Shobu Ippon fighters being in closer. The hind leg muscle is used to project the full torso to the target, guaranteeing a powerful and effective technique.

A difficult method is to include the pulling of the front leg in this action. I must confess that I have not mastered this advanced option.

Important is to keep the upper body without movement not to telegraph the intent of the attacker from a relaxed ready position.

The attacking technique can vary from a favourite front hand attack, which is closest to the target, or any leg attack.

This movement can effectively be applied in an attacking defence.

This movement must be high on every training schedule and it can include forward and backward sliding added to breaking the line of attack.

It was an interesting fortnight recently in Europe, teaching in London and Thun, Switzerland.

Most encouraging was the fact that our training methods and techniques were well received.

Switzerland karate is strong with few differences from ours and offers a fair balance between kata and kumite training.

Hans Muller sensei teaches in the most beautiful dojo, overlooking the snow-covered Alps. The schools are working hard to prepare their teams for the seventh JSKA worked championships in Italy in May.

South Africa will be represented by a strong group still sweating it out every Saturday afternoon.

It’s all in the kata

PTA NewsTHE teaching theme in Europe was “kata is kumite” and was well received, resulting in multiple invitations from a number of countries.

After much deliberation during the festive season, I decided to start the New Year concluding on this same direction of thought.

Heian Shodan has many hidden treasures applicable specifically on fighting combinations, but allow me to discuss only a single technique.

Movement four consists of contraction from a forward stance into feet close to touching with the right arm defence action.

This contraction changes into expansion empowering a right arm strike.

The success of this movement lays in the following important matters, firstly the contraction in defence followed by expansion in attack, but the secret lies in a solid back leg.

This single movement can be successfully applied in a defensive fighting situation by contracting with a solid routed back foot and in preparation for a counter attack.

In Heian Nidan we find a slipstep introduction in movement seven.

This is an appropriate introduction for more advanced fighting sequences.

The advantage of this movement is that the preparation is hidden, making defending this attack very difficult.

In Heian Sandan, the second last movement is done by sliding from one position to the next introducing the most popular movement in fighting combinations.

It is interesting to observe the increase in difficulty from the first to the third kata, but the fighting applications of these movements are amazing. This year started with a huge intake of parents starting karate careers.

Motivated by the success of their kids and the numerous advantages of training karate, many parents took the first step by attending their first class.

Karate classes are offered across our city at various karate schools.

Please contact me for a reputable reference to a proper school.

You can send an e-mail to or else call me on 083 263 1522.