Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Why do I teach karate?

Hmmm... a very interesting question was asked yesterday... "Are you there for you students or are they there for you?" - hmm..... I guess my answer is that I am there for them 100% if they wanna learn what I teach. If they don't wanna learn what I teach then I can't and won't change.

This is of course not a business decision, but one made on the basis of passion. It has also evolved into this because of how I approach learning a skill for myself. I seek out someone that have done what I wanna learn and then I model them as best I can. (Meaning; I don't go to the car-mechanic in the hope that he will teach me to cook)

That said; I teach karate cause it is the one thing that has had the single biggest positive impact on my life. It has changed everything since I was 14 and I will keep struggling to improve with a karate spirit until I die. My dream is that I can help as many people as possible to have a similar positive experience like I have had.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Needs of a karate-teacher

To be able to function as a teacher of karate-do for a long time, i think most instructors will agree with the thoughts expressed in this post.

Everyone has different values in life and when I approach my teacher I listen very attentively to his directions so that I don't step too much on his toes. (My fear is that if I do it will make him less enthused in helping me improve) If he would say: "I think its important to not wear jewelry" or "The karate suit must be clean" - then I would show up without jewelry and with a clean suit. If his values were totally incompatible with mine, then I would look for a new teacher (It has happened to me, and yes, it still hurts)

My values regarding karate-training is best summed up like this: Try your best at all times, keep a positive attitude and don't give up, ever.

Another thought regarding how I approach being among the senior students in the class: My role is then to enhance the point that my teacher is trying to get across. (If i don't agree with what is being taught, I would not voice my opinion nor argue about it in class)

Open letter to my former students

I just read some scary statistics. It said that 70% of the students that quit do it because they think the instructor don't care about them or their progress. I find this to be very sad, cause it couldn't be farther from the truth.

I care deeply bout the progress of *anyone* that wanna improve their control of their own body and reap the benefits of consistent karate-training. Come to think of it, in many cases I probably care more bout the students progress than what they do and sometimes this might lead to some frustrations on my side. I will try to up my tolerance for this issue. My main problem, though, is when the student will sabotage their progress with a weak spirit. (Like not trying their best cause just "I can't do it" or "I don't wanna do it". This quickly  makes me wanna quit teaching. (luckily this usually pass fast, cause I really love to share my passion for the art of shotokan karate-do))

So with that said; here is my challenge to the 70% of the ones that have given up on me: I think you should try my classes again with an open mind, cause I am 100% sure that we can together have some mad fun and get your karate to the next level.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I am from Norway.

I know; it seems like a weird title, but bear with me. Its been seven and a half year since I moved to Iceland to teach karate and to be honest I have no regrets at all. I love my new place of residence and the only things I miss from back "home" is the people, the nature, the silly language, good tv, brown cheese, Freia chocolates, real summers, cheap vacations and the atmosphere of Stavanger, Frøyja, Oslo, Odda, Gossen, Kjerag + barbeques on the beach in the warm summer nights. :)

With all that in mind, the casual observer might think I plan to move back home, but that is not the case. The only thing is that I just feel the need to ramble a bit since i am so wildly impressed with how the people of Norway came together after the terrorist-attacks of 22/7. Makes me very proud to proclaim: I am a norwegian. Wish I was there now, though, to give whatever little push I could away from hate and towards love.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Workoutgear for sale.

Hi guys; this is mainly to my icelandic following so feel free to wander along if you read this from overseas.

As many of you have heard, I am hugely impressed with the benefits of suspension training and regarding that I am happy to announce that I can get you a TRX-Propack (new in box with book and DVD) for the very happy price of only 14.000 isk.

And for those that wonder about if its any good or worth the price: Men's Health magazine voted it workout-gear of the year and it is being sold in stores in Iceland for close to 40.000..... For examples of how it is used I recommend heading over to youtube.

Another strengthening tool available is kettlebells. Great for an all body functional workout and the price through my dealer is so good that we can't put it online, but send me a message for details. (really, you will be surprised) 6kg to 32kg available.

Don't hesitate, cause i predict that this batch will be sold out in not too long.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


A technical piece on stances in karate that i wrote a couple of years ago:



Stances are a very important subject to study carefully so as to fully understand your martial arts training. They are the foundation to our techniques, they facilitate movement, changes the distance to the opponent and also strengthens the leg-muscles to minimize the risk of injury.


How-to technical points.

Always have your spine straight and the hips level. Your karate-movement should not deviate from how the body naturally is designed to move. Remember never to let your behind stick out or lean backwards (thus compromising your posture). Do not let your knees be twisted in a different direction than your toes (if this is not observed rigidly, then the risk of injury is very high)

For beginners this way of moving is perceived as rigid and unnatural, but this is usually due to lack of muscle-control and also over-complicating the process.


Overview of basic stances.

Zenkutsu dachi

Great for projecting power forwards. Shoulder-width to allow for the smooth use of hiprotation and about two shoulderwidths long. Front toes turned slightly inward to promote firmness in the structure of the stance (makes it more natural to engage the inner thigh-muscles) The toes of the back foot should ideally point in the same direction as the front foot. If this is difficult to achieve due to lack of mobility in the ankle then make a shorter stance. (The free operation of the hip is more important than the extremely long and low stance sometimes seen in non-japanese karateka) To make sure that stance-stability is maintained, dont let either knee travel sideways at any point while using this stance. (This is also very important to minimise the risk of debilitating injury)

Kokutsu dachi.

Slightly shorter than zenkutsu. Front toes pointing straight forward, back toes at a 90 degree angle and the feet in a straight line towards your opponent. Bending the knees exactly the same way as your toes again is of utmost concern. Front knee bent slightly, back knee bent as much as possible while maintaining a straight posture and level hips. This stance is very useful to train body-shifting away from the opponent and also leads to ease of counter-kicking with the front foot.


Double shoulder-width, toes slightly inwards, drop weight as far as possible, as long as you are able to maintain your hips under your shoulders. Make sure knees are in the same direction as the toes. Beginners usually have their knees too far inside and needs to concentrate on pushing them out a little bit. However, not to the point of the stance becoming like "square-ish" as this again is an un-natural way of moving.


General afterthoughts.

In my opinion basic stances are for training the body and to develop good habits that will make your karate efficient against an opponent and injuryfree for you so that you can train karate even into your senior years.

Rigid observation of stance in kihon and kata is of great importance for training, but this should be understood that is for health and for the muscles to remember the principles of correct movement.

For application in kumite or selfdefence a more freeflowing stance is desirable (heels may float and the rigid observation of form is of little value)


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hydration for optimum results

I will talk more bout nutrition in an upcoming blog but for today the topic is hydration. Its one of the simplest ways to improve your ability to train hard and to recover again after hard training.

Quick thoughts: I used to walk around dehydrated for so many years that i started to think that it was the normal state of affairs. Then when i added more water and experienced how my body started working better. So; how much to drink? Well, it all depends on how much do you sweat, how much water-rich food do you eat and so on. The picture below gives you a quick overview of which color your urine should have when its all good. (Take into account that the color will look brighter and more healthy when diluted in the toilet, though)

What to drink, you might wonder? I think water makes most sense for most situations and i try to drink as much as possible these days. I usually end up at around 3-4 liters, but i am still borderline dehydrated. It seems i drink nowhere near enough during training. Regarding training; if you train for one hour, then water is great. If you train longer, or sweat a lot, then you might wanna consider a sports-drink with a bit of carbohydrates in it. These usually also contains salt which we lose a fair bit of through sweating, so its basically a win-win situation. They can be expensive though, so you might wanna make your own: 100ml honey, half a teaspoon salt, 50ml lemon-juice and fill up with water until the strength is to your liking.

Stay away from diet drinks cause they mess with you insulin-levels and please drink something smarter than the likes of Coca Cola. Not too much coffee and alcohol is definitely a very powerful diuretic, so be extra cautious with these.

What about fruit-juices? Well, they are usually highly concentrated so you might very well be better off eating the real fruit and then adding some more of that pure water. (And if the label says "Made from concentrate" then the nutrients I used to think we got are long gone....)

To finish off i will just share that adding half a liter of water before training and drinking at least a liter afterwards has done wonders for my energy-level in class and also sped up my recovery-time.

Thanks to Dr. Chris Mohr of for the measuring-slide.