Karakido Karate came about because I could not get my students to fight effectively by using the movements I was teaching them from Japanese, Korean and Okinawan styles. These oriental styles were developed to simulate the Samurai warriors of old and were based on using sword movements with the hands and arms. Since we practice "open hands", "Karate" it didn't make much sense to spend time practicing something we would never use. If I were no longer going to teach these oriental systems, then I needed a substitute. My background in the Chinese systems as well as my experience in Judo, Ju-Jitsu and Aikido helped. I recognized that if a boxer and a Karate fighter of equal ability were to fight and the Karate fighter could not use his feet, the boxer would win. So we use our hands more like a boxer. But we use more than just boxing techniques. Our blocks are much different and more functional than the block and hand positions posed by traditional styles. The same is true of our kicks and stances even though many of them remained the same.
The basics of Karakido break down into four groups of seven. The seven stances are prepared, formal, straddle, back, cat, crane and crouch. The seven blocks are double forearm, high-low, raking, scooping, inverted forearm, lower and rising-X and knee blocks. The seven punches are jab, back fist, reverse punch, ridge hand, palm heel, chicken neck and elbow strikes. The seven kicks are front, roundhouse, stomping heel, side, back, crescent (inside and outside), and hook kicks. All of the techniques are functional and natural to the fighter. Each of these areas are broken down by chapter with photos showing the correct approach to their use.
The word Karakido comes from three base words. Kara meaning open, Ki for inner power, and Do, the way of. Thus Karakido means "Open yourself to the way of inner power." It is important to me that the inner power be stressed and it is the underlying reason that all people respect Karate and other martial arts. It is this inner power of Ki flow that makes an ordinary person seem to have super natural power and ability. We will discuss this further in one of the advanced chapters on Ki flow.
I formally began teaching Karakido in 1977 in Asheville, North Carolina, even though I had been working on it for some time. With life running at such a fast pace and with people having such a small amount of time to work out, Karakido began to fill a need in American Martial Arts. If a person is going to work out twice a week on the average for one to two hours in each class, then the classes and the material taught should be structured so that the person practices what he or she will be actually doing in a real self-defense situation. Many people practice one form of blocks and punches in drills or in Kata, but when they fight, they do not use the techniques they studied. My thought was that if a person is not going to use what they practice, then why practice those techniques? I agree that one style or system is no better or worse than another. It is the person who makes the style, but Karakido simplifies their training and teaches only functional techniques that can and will be used in the street.
It has always been my intention that Karakido be used for defense only and should never be misused by anyone. Karakido should never dictate anyone's life, but rather be a supplement to make a person's complete life more fulfilled. If you can conquer yourself, then you can conquer the world. You are the worst enemy or best friend you can ever have. Hopefully, Karakido will help you attain happiness and good health, both physically and mentally, along with a positive attitude. You are but one drop of water in the ocean of life, but the ripples you make on contact with others will have a lasting impact.