SKA 2016 is back

SKA is back on the 4th January 2016.
We train Mondays @ 8:15pm – 10pm and Thursdays @ 8:30pm – 10pm at Riverbourne Leisure Centre, Chertsey.
Surrey Karate Academy is affiliated to Seiwakai which is an association within the wider JKF Goju Kai association, in Japan. Seiwakai was founded by Tasaki Shihan, who was one of Yamaguchi Gogen’s most competent fighters. Seiwakai is now chaired by Fujiwara Shihan and outside Japan by Leo Lipinski Shihan.
We are also associated to the Karate Jutsu Gakkai, chaired by Ben Craft Shihan. Ben is a 6th dan goju-ryu karateka and also holds a black belt in Ju-jutsu. We explore and train karate in a holistically manner and whilst we aim to grow within the Seiwakai family, we are also expanding our wings. We have plans in 2016 to develop our karate in an eclectic manner. Watch this space!
Like most karate academy’s we follow a well structured syllabus and work on kata, kihon and kumite, however we focus in very functional drills and our sparring can be pretty hard, yet is learnt in a modular basis. Kata analysis and its application in kumite is fundamental to what we do. Classes are planned with the upper most attention to detail, from warm up to etiquette.
What really sets SKA apart of other karate academy’s or clubs is the fact that SKA is a non-for-profit academy, thus we are not tied to commercial decisions which are essential when karate is how you make your living. All funds are used to pay rent, insurance, memberships and further training.
I teach and train with a range of 5-7 extremely focused and committed students, two of which are a 1st and 2nd dan respectively. Our size allows me to deliver bespoke and personalised classes to every single student, including myself.
Try something new in 2016, come and train with us!!!

Relationships in martial arts.

“Relationships is underatanding. It is a process of self-revelation. Relationship is the mirror in which you discover yourself – to be is to be related.”

“Understanding comes about through feeling, from moment to moment in the mirror of relationship.”

“Understanding oneself happens through a process of relationships and not through isolation.”

“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.”

Tao of Jeet Kune Do
Bruce Lee

Karate punching power ‘all in the brain’

Brain imagesBlack belts show structural differences in specific parts of their brains (in white)

Packing an impressive karate punch has more to do with brain power than muscle power, according to research.

In a close-range punching contest described in Cerebral Cortex, experts consistently out-hit novices.

Scientists peered deep into the brains of the experts to reveal alterations in regions controlling movement.

These changes were linked with better coordination and speed of punch, a team from Imperial College London and University College London concluded.

Karate punchThe research shows that experts consistently out-punch novices

Ed Roberts from Imperial College London, who led the study, said: “The karate black belts were able to repeatedly coordinate their punching action with a level of coordination that novices can’t produce. We think that ability might be related to fine tuning of neural connections in the cerebellum.”

To determine the speed of the punch, the researchers filmed and timed the movement of the infrared sensors attached to shoulders, elbows, wrists and hips of the people.

The study of brain structure and function has been accelerated by the development of new medical imaging techniques, such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

The current study used a special MRI technique called Diffusion Tensor Imaging. This is useful in the investigation of a variety of brain disorders such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, brain abscesses and brain tumors.

Brain imageThe brain’s grey matter stains more darkly than white matter

The brain contains two main types of tissue – grey and white matter. The regions controlling and coordinating movement are known as the cerebellum and the primary motor cortex and are composed of both. However, the study showed that changes in the structure of the white matter were associated with improved coordination.

Changes in white matter structure have been observed in other individuals engaged in repetitive physical activity – pianists for example – and can also be induced simply by thought.

In a study published in the journal PNAS, the authors showed that regular meditation resulted in white matter changes in regions of the brain associated with emotion.

Commenting on his findings, Dr Roberts said: “Most research on how the brain controls movement has been based on examining how diseases can impair motor skills.

“We took a different approach, by looking at what enables experts to perform better than novices in tests of physical skill.”

Also, by looking at healthy subjects, it is hoped that scientists will gain a better understanding of how movement is controlled.

One of the main diseases affecting white matter is multiple sclerosis (MS). This is a chronic degenerative disease that affects millions of people around the world. But the cause of MS remains unknown.

Powerful punch is all in the brain, study finds

A powerful punch is not the result of strong muscles, but the features that make up the brain, scientists have found.

The Brain: A User's Guide
The ability to punch is all down to white matter in the brain, new research has suggested
A study of karate experts has shown the make-up of the brain is the key to determining how much force is generated when sportsmen or women punch at close range.

Scientists, who compared karate black belts trained to punch with physically fit members of the public, found the brain’s white matter – which acts as the connections between brain regions – correlated directly with punching ability.

They concluded the power of a punch is not down to the strength of muscles but the timing, with synchronised movement between the wrist and shoulders essential.

While it is not yet certain whether differences in white matter were the cause or effect of successful punching, scientists suspect the brains of those who can punch changed and developed as a result of training.

The study, which has now been published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, used 12 karate black belts with an average of 13.8 years experience, who were fitted with infrared markers on their arms and torso.

Their results were then compared with the efforts of 12 control subjects of similar age, who exercised regularly but were not trained in martial arts.

Over a short range distance of 5cm, those who had black belts in karate were found to punch harder.

Brain scans on each group revealed the white matter in cells, mainly made up of bundles of fibre that carry signals, were different in structure.

The scans used in this study, known as diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), detected structural differences in the white matter of the cerebellum and the primary motor cortex, known to be involved in controlling movement.

The difference correlated not only with the synchronicity between wrist and shoulder movements when punching, but also the age at which karate experts began training and their total experience of the discipline.

These findings suggest that the structural differences in the brain are related to the black belts’ punching ability.

Dr Ed Roberts, from the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, who led the study, said: “The karate black belts were able to repeatedly coordinate their punching action with a level of coordination that novices can’t produce.

“We think that ability might be related to fine tuning of neural connections in the cerebellum, allowing them to synchronise their arm and trunk movements very accurately.

“There are several factors that can affect the DTI signal, so we can’t say exactly what features of the white matter these differences correspond to. Further studies using more advanced techniques will give us a clearer picture.”

The research was carried out by Imperial College London and University College London.

By  –


The Formless Form

“I hope martial artists are more interested in the root of martial arts and not the different decorative branches, flowers or leaves. It is futile to argue as to which single leaf, which design of branches or which attractive flower you like; when you understand the root, you understand all its blossoming.”

Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

Traning blog – London Class with Shihan Leo Lipinski

First Sunday class at Barnet in 2014 was fantastic. Three solid hours of training with three or four minor stops for 2-3 min explanations.

Kihon covered and applied within randori kumite.

Sanchin, Tensho covered in detail; followed by geikisai 1, 2 and Saifa.

More kihon and more randori kumite paying attention to fundamental Seiwakai kumite technology.

Finished the class with Shisochin, which was nicely broken down and performed several times.

More Sanchin and Tensho.

Tip of the day: when teaching lower grades keep on self teaching youserself advanced moves and kata.

As always, a pleasure to see familiar faces in the dojo.

Karate Discovery – the Student

Karate enlightenment comes as a personal and inner revelation. Throughout your training, guided by your sensei and senpais, one follows a path but walks that path somehow alone.

Explanations are given, descriptions and demostrations are delivered as you keep training, copying and attempting, to the best of your ever growing abilities, the techniques shown to you. No one can train for you and, consequently, no one can feel for you. Despite all the guidance, it is when you feel the technique that the explanations start makes sense.  They become revelations.

It is a processes of interiorisation only achieved via constant training. Sometimes those feelings come and go like the flashbacks of a dream until they become permanent.

Once you feel karate is there to stay.

Karate Discovery – the Sensei

A sensei has three major roles:

1. To teach the right technology (content).

2. To explain them in a pedagogic and engaging manner (method).

3. Keep students’ motivation up until they have developed their own feelings. (Inspiration).

Thus a sensei has three major obligations:

1. To seek for honest and true knowledge from a number of sources and share it all without keeping anything for him or hersef in order to fulfill his or her ego.

2. To engage with the student and explain as if you were a student yourself. In fact, a good sensei must always remain a student because there is no end to knowledge.

3. Be empathetic, demanding and always lead by example.