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Follow the link for a veritable treasure trove of historical anatomy texts from around the globe. Some of them are amazingly detailed and accurate while others give some insight into how different people in different times and cultures perceived the human body.

Historical Anatomies on the Web

This site is simply awesome. Check out the A-Z index of structures: index

Knee joints are pretty mysterious things. Underneath the skin, all sorts of complex tissue structures are handling mind-boggling forces generated by our activities. To the average person who is involved in an athletic activity (martial arts are not exempt from this categorization), the knees are absolutely vital as the foundation of most all movement activities. If we don’t train them properly they can be injured through activity. If we do train them properly, they can be injured through activity. Martial artists in particular often treat them as if they were sprung steel shock absorbers that can/will tolerate whatever we ask of them. Many injurious, pointless techniques such as side snap kick are defended along the lines of “it’s part of karate and I must do it, never mind this anatomy stuff” or my favorite, “my teacher did it for years and he’s OK” (BTW, when’s the last time you actually saw someone apply a side snap kick with any effect?).

Not so. Watching my teacher David Campbell sustain a major knee injury and then fight his way back to full training after two surgeries (in an admirably short amount of time)  has made it abundantly clear that the knees cannot be taken for granted if we expect to continue training through the years. I’ve found that a look at the bits and pieces that make up these joints can go a long way in building appreciation for how we use them- and how not to use them.

Follow the link below for a pictorial dissection of the knee:

Complete dissection of the knee

For a look into the shoulders, elbows, wrist, back, hip and ankles, continue on to:

Main Page, Ithaca College Gross Anatomy of Joints

If you haven’t discovered yet, give it a look. The site is packed full of great content, covering a wide range of exercise related topics. They recently retooled the site, and some of the coolest new features are a set of interactive body maps for both muscular system anatomy and exercise methods for each region. More great resources from a very useful site.

ExRx Male Muscle Map

ExRx Female Muscle Map

ExRx Male Exercise Map

ExRx Female Exercise Map

In the course of some work-related research, I came across this excellent tool for learning basic muscular anatomy:

Anatomy Man

The resource is provided by the Health and Fitness Pro network (HFPN), which Bob has been trying me to check out for a while now. Based on the quality of the resource above, it looks like something worth pursuing.

I happened across Dr. Wesley Norman’s web page for his human anatomy students at Georgetown University while studying for my Corrective Exercise Specialist test. I found it helpful with plenty of useful illustrations of the nerves, bones, muscles, and arteries of the various anatomical regions. Take a look, click here.

Yet another excellent online free anatomy and physiology resource:

I especially like the way that this site presents information. For example, the muscular system section has some very helpful features. A toggle function in the middle of the display allows you to smoothly scroll through the layers of tissue in a particular region. A chart on the right of the display contains Origin, Insertion, Action and Innervation information. Clicking on the highlighted Origin/Insertion information will reduce the anatomical diagram to show only those points for the specific muscle. Clicking on the Actions of the muscle will activate a demonstration of the action by a human figure in the display. offers a comprehensive array of free resources for the “exercise professional, coach, or fitness enthusiast.” There’s a huge amount of useful information addressing all aspects of physical training.  Below are a few links to sections that pertain to  safe karate training:

Exercise and Muscle Directory:

Exercise Instruction:

Common Weaknesses:

Diet and Nutrition:

Found some nice free downloadable anatomical charts on Just ignore the Qigong references, enjoy.

Charts are here

I came across a really simple, fun, and easy to use interactive on-line tutorial from GetBodySmart that I wanted to share. It uses flash animation so if, for example, you wanted to see what effect that contraction of the pectoralis major has on the arm, you can click on “flexes” and see.

Have a look by clicking here.

"Try to see yourself as you truly are and try to adopt what is meritorious in the work of others. As a karateka you will of course often watch others practice. When you do and you see strong points in the performance of others, try to incorporate them into your own technique. At the same time, if the trainee you are watching seems to be doing less than his best ask yourself whether you too may not be failing to practice with diligence. Each of us has good qualities and bad; the wise man seeks to emulate the good he perceives in others and avoid the bad."
Funakoshi Gichin


July 2020

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