Calligraphy of the Shotokan niju kun - first published in 1938
Jul 31

Funakoshi’s 20 Precepts: Essential Guidance for all Karateka

By Joel Williams | Shotokan Karate

Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957), the founder of Shotokan Karate-Do, is often credited as being the “father” of modern karate. Funakoshi had trained in both of the popular styles of Okinawan karate of the time: Shōrei-ryū and Shōrin-ryū – see Karate-Do My Way of Life and refer to the table below.

In addition to being a karate master, Funakoshi was an avid poet and philosopher who would reportedly go for long walks in the forest where he would meditate and write his poetry. Following the teachings of Anko Itosu and Anko Asato, he was one of the Okinawan karate masters who introduced karate to the Japanese mainland in 1922. In 1930, Funakoshi established an association named Dai-Nihon Karate-do Kenkyukai. The association is known today as the Shotokai. He taught karate at various Japanese universities and became honorary head of the Japan Karate Association when it was established in 1949. Let’s take a closer look at his legacy and the insights he left behind for those who train in karate and wish to use it as a mechanism for growing and developing physically, mentally and spiritually.

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Jul 18

5 Secrets from GMAU Black Belts – And How You Can Get There Too!

By Joel Williams | Home Study Students

Distance learning has gone through many phases: correspondence learning by mail in the 1700s and 1800s, radio and television formats reaching the masses in the early and mid 1900s, and web-based learning first appearing in the late 1900s. Today, online learning is a not only widely available (there are millions of online learners and almost all colleges universities utilize online delivery methods to offer courses and programs), there are professional standards established by accrediting agencies and consumers demand high quality content. You can literally learn anything online today…

Global Martial Arts University is an industry leader in reaching individuals with high quality, personalized (and affordable) martial arts training. In this article, I will share with you some of the benefits and constraints of this learning format and summarize tips from successful GMAU black belts.

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Jun 22

How To Set Up A Krav Maga Rotating Curriculum

By Joel Williams | Krav Maga

We’ve all heard this story …

” He was a weak, sickly child but through his training in martial arts he became one of the most admired martial arts masters. ”

I am sure this [common] story was true for some and an embellishment for others. Regardless, what we can learn from such stories is an important lesson: work hard, persevere, and do your best; sooner or later you WILL get better at anything you undertake.

I have personally accumulated over a decade of martial arts training. I know for sure that I am far better at martial arts than I was when I first started. Having studied several different systems, I can also say with certainty that there was a clear, temporal increase in my ability, in each system I studied, as time passed.

Just this year I began teaching regularly and I see many similarities in my knowledge and skill development curves for leading classes. In this blog, I will share some ideas about curriculum planning and execution from my experience teaching Krav Maga after completing the Instructor Certification with Global Martial Arts University. And yes, there was indeed a learning curve and trial and error involved!

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Jun 02

What You Need to Learn Taekwondo at Home (Equipment and Advice)

By Joel Williams | Taekwondo

It has been said that you can learn anything online. Khan Academy, a leader in free online learning resources and the global classroom concept, embraces that notion through this motto: Whoever you are, wherever you are, you only have to know one thing: you can learn anything. In this article, I share with you excerpts from an interview with Instructor Adam Gerrald, the Lead Taekwondo Instructor for Global Martial Arts University, regarding WHAT you need at home to be successful, as well as sound advice on HOW to train at home.

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May 23

The World’s First Online Martial Arts Tournament

By Michael Hodge | Home Study Students

A decade ago, the GMAU was one of the first legitimate online schools to begin offering internationally accredited home ranking courses. As an organization, we are always pushing the boundaries forward to create the best and most realistic training experience possible for our global students. A few years back, I had a crazy little idea to hold an online tournament. I decided to shelf the concept into the recesses of my brain for some time. Earlier this year, it resurfaced, and we set out to engineer and host the world’s first online martial arts championships. Now our online students can compete against one another (and any other martial artists) to prove themselves on the world stage.

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Apr 17

What I Learned About Bojutsu from My Trip to Okinawa

By Michael Hodge | Ultimate Bo

I’ve been training with the bo since I was a kid, mainly in a style that you can call American Bojutsu. The techniques are derived from what you would find in Okinawa or even mainland Japan. I studied other forms of using the staff, and these ended up creating a new style called Ultimate Bo.

I really wanted to go back to the roots of the weapon, at least regarding recent history, and that made me want to travel to Okinawa. There was an allure to the idea of learning from grandmasters who are in the direct lineage of some kobudo greats such as Sakugawa Kanga and Taira Shinken. To actually be there and train as they have for the last several centuries, it would be like using a time machine to travel to the not-so-distant past. I also wanted to walk into my classes with a clean slate, with a white belt mindset, discarding anything that I have ever learned. Afterwards, I would synthesize everything with my greater knowledge, but in the moment itself, I didn’t want to allow for previous knowledge to impede any potential gains.

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Mar 15

How to Use a Bo for Self Defense

By Levi Potter | Ultimate Bo

Can you actually protect yourself with a bo (staff)? How could I use a walking stick, pipe, broom handle, or any other long stick to defend myself from an assailant? This is the definitive guide for using a bo for self defense.

Integrating the Bo into Your Self-Defense Plan

EDC stands for Every Day Carry and includes all the objects you carry with you on a daily basis. You’ve probably seen some outlandish examples such as this:

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Feb 15

Are You a Certified Martial Arts Teacher? Or Just an Average Martial Arts Instructor?

By Michael Hodge | Instructors

Listen to This Blog Post


To rephrase the question, have you invested in your own education as a teacher, or do you just run classes? When you began as a martial artist, you were gung-ho about your training, and wanted to learn every little detail you could about the art. You probably stayed after class to talk to your instructor, attended every special event and seminar, and read books to dig even deeper. You were a true student of the art. Then you got your black belt. This passion for training and learning more as a student may or may not have continued since you began to teach others. That is great. But, have you invested this same energy into being a world-class teacher?

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Feb 01

Why Do You Teach? Martial Arts Instructors Share

By Michael Hodge | Instructors

Before you become a professional martial arts teacher, you need to ask the question: “Why will you teach?” Or, if you are already an instructor, ask yourself the question: “Why do I teach?”

It is easy to be sidetracked by the daily grind of running a martial arts business. Phone calls, working with employees, payroll, cleaning the school, planning classes, handling accounting, marketing, and all the others tasks. We might fade away from our roots, and forget why we began teaching.

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Jan 14

Bō Staff Styles from Around the World

By Michael Hodge | Ultimate Bo

As historic as the bō is, since there is a severe lack of reliable and well-grounded sources detailing its early existence, it is difficult to determine accurately where it first arose. In prehistoric times, we can surmise that man’s first weapon was a rock, and his second weapon was a stick. Over time, especially when warfare between humans broke out, more advanced and sophisticated forms of fighting were developed. Not simply for sport or as an art form, but out of the necessity to preserve one’s life and protect the tribe.

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