Spirit Fighting Arts - Virginia Beach

Spirit Fighting Arts - Virginia Beach

Teaching the art of Self Defense using the Old ways from Okinawa

Operating as usual


In the early 60s, when I was introduced to Karate, instructors always made sure that the meaning of the moves were explained and not simply glorified the moves themselves. In Japanese dojo Termanology, this was called “Bunkai.” Later in life, it appeared to me that this practice of always explaining the meaning of the moves, got lost or covered over by how well the moves themselves were performed, like polished dance, or how gymnastic the moves could be represented when attempting to demonstrate their applications between two people fighting.

This de-emphasis a practical application has led to Marshall age traditions that simply had no practical value in street self-defense. Now, I find that small percentages of instructors are seeking to understand the truth of how the movements should be applied. Hopefully, they can add to that the martial arts law of “ economy of motion,” (often referred to as Tai Sabaki - “body movement”. Let’s pray that climb out of the “Dojo black belt“ mentality, and get back to discovering and sharing practical application for the simplest moves so that a solid foundation in Defense may be built and expanded. 


More about true martial arts: when I was young, my first karate instructor informed me that the art came to us from India to China to Okinawa. Each subsequent instructor passed on the same history, including sharing the legend of Bodhidharma who taught the "18 hands of Lohan (the 18 exercises of the [Buddhist Disciple]" to the Chinese. Later, I had the privilege to train in Okinawa which furthered my understanding of how the Okinawans taught the American military in their arts, but always emphasizing practical self-defense, not flips, running up walls, jumping high in the air, or attacking boards and bricks with proof of strength. Instead, each technique emphasized mastering muscle movement so that each motion receded into the subconscious, floating back to the surface once a defender reacted to what Hanshi McCarthy labeled "habitual acts of physical violence." My life experience proved that to be true, since natural limitations of the human form prevented any of us from punching across space and time and surprising us with a strike through a wormhole. In short, most physical violence is predictable and can be trained against. However, there will always be others who are younger, stronger, and faster. That's where the number one technique of real martial arts should be practiced first - block! If that is done, one can gain a split second more time in which to effectively react and possibly save one's own hide.


The latest installment in our drive to regain a true perspective of what has been altered and/or lost. 1) Martial sports are NOT martial arts. Don't get me wrong. Martial sports have their place in the American martial art experience but - in my experience - it is an exercise akin to gymnastics. And, like gymnastics, it has natural physical limitations. On the other hand, I have had the privilege to train with legitimate martial artists, all of which have been quite deadly late in life. In other words, techniques of self-defense must be practiced regularly, with muscles and reactivity consistently programmed. As I wrote recently, good martial arts are "programmed responses to Habitual Acts of Physical Violence" and have nothing to do with how high one can jump or how many flips can be done before landing. That's gymnastics, folks, and it can easily lead to you getting your butt kicked in the street!


Continuing the previous idea about self-defense: For years, I have been privileged to train with people that have had true self-defense skills, able to respond to real-world threats with effective techniques, capable of ending a threat quickly. While I hypothesized what made them work, I discovered that (as Pat McCarthy later shared with me) the most effective techniques were those which McCarthy-sensei called "programmed responses to habitual acts of physical violence." I found this description to be incredibly accurate and - in my opinion - should have been taught in every martial arts school in the country. In subsequent posts, I plan to share concepts that support this view, but consider this: the human body has not substantially changed for millions of years. The striking surfaces have not altered dramatically. We don't have more than two of each weapon, physically limited concerning the direction of attack. Since we have not developed a "fourth-dimensional strike" yet, this means that angles of attack or somewhat predictable. Consequently, one of the programmed responses should be "block!"


Truths about self defense:

Self-defense is a science and, regardless of age, anyone who practices the science increases their ability to react during aggressive situations. It has nothing to do with how many flips and jumps when can perform; those are simply acrobatics. In the study of the science, especially in the Far East, one can see that old practitioners are able to effectively defend themselves well into their 70s and beyond. Why? Because they have discovered some of the simple truths behind what has made the “art” of self-defense so effective. Over the next few posts, I will share some of the observations I have been blessed to receive and some of those truths I have been fortunate to utilize. Self-defense is traceable back to the beginning of earthly human habitation and the simplicity of it will tend to astound you!


Watch this space: grand changes are coming

These Orthodox Jews use karate to defend the faith 09/22/2021

Our Tuesday & Thursday classes at the Simon Family JCC are growing in popularity. If you would like to come try out a class, they are between 6 PM - 7 PM, and we'd be happy to have you. Please let us know in advance.

Simon Family Jewish Community Center


These Orthodox Jews use karate to defend the faith 'We don't encourage fighting': Martial arts master cuts out the bowing, reinterprets old traditions, tailors them to Hasidic kids in Brooklyn

Can Karate Be Learned alone? ‣ Spirit fighting arts 09/12/2021

Can Karate Be Learned alone? ‣ Spirit fighting arts The short answer is No, martial arts cannot be learned alone. For Karate to be efficient and affective, one must be taught. Without proper instruction, the moves techniques or kata will lack the understanding behind the moves. Karate focuses on WHY versus HOW. Many see Karate-ka ( Karate students) r...

Why Martial Arts are Important 09/11/2021

Answers to question to the question we receive often: Why Martial arts are important.

Why Martial Arts are Important As an instructor of martial arts for all ages. A common question is why martial arts are important for children, adolescents and adults. Here are a few reasons

News ‣ Spirit fighting arts 08/31/2021

Last Saturday 8/21/2021

News ‣ Spirit fighting arts Saturday August 28, 2021 Four different martial art schools meet at Greens Martial Arts and trained in Okinawan self defense techniques developed by Tadashi Yamash*ta. We meet once every month for this training

Virginia Beach Self Defense & Karate - Spirit Fighting Arts 08/22/2021

What makes us different from other Traditional Karate Schools? It's simple, we like to have FUN. Traditional Karate schools are based on a military like training modality - envision boot camp. Unlike these strict schools we like the idea of Active Learning. Students remember more and embody the lessons easier than they do in the other model where they are likely to put up mental barriers, get frustrated than learning just STOPS.

Interested in learning self-defense in a more relaxed, "funner" ( yes it isn't a word LOL) atmosphere? Reach out to us. We are currently meeting every Tuesday and Thurs at 6pm.

Visit our website for more information.

Virginia Beach Self Defense & Karate - Spirit Fighting Arts Spirit Fighting Arts focus is on effective & logical training that results in instinctive second nature responses to physical attacks, based on a system that is over 2500 years old.


Teach your kids to defend themselves in a safe, practical and street-wise way; time-tested for centuries and adaptable for all circumstances

Contact us today to reserve your childs spot 757.745.9041

Photos from Simon Family JCC's post 08/13/2021

Introduced our Self-defense program to children and teens at the Simon JCC. We had a great time with everyone.

Photos from Spirit Fighting Arts - Virginia Beach's post 08/13/2021

Everyone is learning the basics of moving and having a great time training Karate and sefl-defense.


Dominick is one of our aspiring students.


Welcome to Spirit Fighting ArtsArts of Virginia Beach. Our goal is focused on teaching effective self-defense based on the principles of the old Okinawan ways

Unlike "traditional" schools where Kata is the primary method and everything is derived from Kata, our approach is different. We teach you the concepts, methods and techniques. Only after these have been learned do we introduce you to the Kata.

At this point the kata is designed to maintain muscle memory, to give the student a solo method of practicing the self defense methods.

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5000 Corporate Woods Drive
Virginia Beach, VA

Opening Hours

Tuesday 6pm - 7pm
Thursday 6pm - 7pm

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