Monday, May 25, 2015

Etude in Empi and the Arm Breaks - Early studies

Back about 1987 I began to begin my own techmique application study on the first movement of Isshinryu Seisan kata. At that time I also began my own study into kata movement meaning, developing my own methods of application study,
 
One of my choices was to organize application potentials of singular techniques. I haven abandoned these applications but focus on the movements within the kata these days. I completed about 10 similar studies at that time. So far I have located my notes from that time of 2 of them.
 
I organized these studies and gave them names. Such as Edude in Empi, and the Arm Breaks.
 
Some of which I used in clinic in friends schools at times. Though giving clinics was not my purpose.
 




Sunday, May 24, 2015

Movement Principles

 
 
 
Another find from my hardcopy files from a while ago. The two pages of graphic drawings I have placed out of order at the end are most significant. in my opinion.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 




Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Lesson in Stick Training

 
 
 
While browsing trough my hard copy files, I found this article on Escrima Stick fighting. It showed how sticks could be used to attack the same targets as the stick. Unfortunately this is all I saved.  I am not sure which magazine or the date.
 
What makes this interesting is we use a very similar chart for our short stick striking training.
 
We strike to these ‘points’ with the butt of the stick, with the blade of the stick, with the tip of the stick, and a mixture of techniques.
 
It is also a useful hand striking drill. You might use your fist, or your empty hand strikes. It shows how interchangeable the striking pattern can be.
 
This article shows similar uses for the kick. It reminds that that what is called a kick is many different kicks. Each type of kick, is actually a range  of individual kicks to different targets.
 
Of course this just a training option, but one you may find useful.




Thursday, May 21, 2015

Smith Te II - The Return of the Son of Magnetic Monster - appologies to Frank Zappa


 

 
Back in 1979 shortly after Sho-Dan I was without an Isshinryu instructor, no one was in my area. And as I did my early morning run, I would reflect on the responsibility to continue to improve.
 
One of the last teaching form Charles Murray was the statement, that your first 20 years your art was a reflection of your instructor(s), after 20 years of work your karate would reflect your own growth and effort.
 
I was taking that very seriously and began regular tournament within the Region I lived. (the old region 10) regular competition against some great competitors of many styles. In time I got to know the competitors and began to get invitations to go to their schools to train. I did on frequently. In time I learned about their systems, Mostly kata, as Bunkai was not discussed. I also was studying tai chi for personal reasons.Then a variety of Chinese forms in order to become a more knowledgable judge, those studies challenged me a great deal physically. But Ernest worked my thinking much more  through an entire series of leading questions he would ask me what things in karate were for.. While many shared a great deal, the applications of karate was never discussed. So I gained insight on Goju, Shorin Ryu, Washin Ryu, Goshin Jitsu and Kempo Goju among other systems. Then again I used to regularily compete against Tris Sutrisno.  He was showing me a side of his art you didn’t guess from his tournament performances. Incredible stuff. Along with that, Shotokan from his father’s studies with Funakoshi Ginchin, Aikido (old style) and Indonesian Tjimande. He defined and taught incredible ‘Bunkai” from his fathers studies. In time when his use of the term bunkai became the definition to me, which was very different from how others were using the term.  So for a time I was engaged with fierce studies.
 
However, while I was learning a great deal, I realized Retaining everything was too much of a possibility. Gradually I accumulated many techniques. But none of it was Isshinryu, and over the decades I would learn most what I was learning was within Isshinryu. At that time it was just different, valuable studies.
 
Also while everyone was very nice to me, None of them actually cared about my Isshinryu. And the more I learned how techniques would work, the more I cared about using that knowledge how to apply their techniques.
 
So around the later1980s I began to look at the potential for Isshinryu technique. First for one movement, the opening of Seisan Kata. Then uses for the augmented block in Seiunchin kata.
 
At that point, I started understand how individual movements could be used. I made various studies, naming each for mnemonic memory devices. I soon realized the least likely movements I would ever use, had great potential.
 
I also started an inquiry what is the fewest movements which could form a system do deal with any attack, Of course the perfect answer is one move studied with such detail that you could make it work. I even worked out some of the principles how to train so that movement could work.
 
Then a summer camp in a cross organizational group was coming up. Though I was a founding member, at the same time I was very Junior as being an instructor goes. I rarely taught any of my Isshinryu, that was too personal in how I teach it. Very few of the students were there for Isshinryu, and they were my students.. I normally covered outside material to teach. Which was also interesting to those students from other systems.
 
The other instructors were so skilled. I decided I would use some of my current research and use a few techniques for which I had no applications from my studies. Those techniques with which I was least likely to choose for defense. I decided to have fun creating a simple system, the premise being it would have enough technique to defeat any attack. Then thinking about it the teachings would have a consistent group of principles behind the art. The study would be documented and even have a manual  so the founders intentions would be clearly shown. Naming mnemonics would be used to remember the movements, akin to many Chinese systems. Finally I had more fun. As I was the founder there would be no rank in the system, nor would I have a title. And the system would be known as Smith-Te.
 
My adult students at that time were experienced Uke’s. I used to practice the moves on them. Being sure it worked. I know most of this was beyond the members attending the clinic. But I was having fun.
 
I only taught this for two years at those seminars. But I found it worked. It also explained my principles I was using mostly for the study of Isshinryu.
 
At the second clinic there was a young marine there from one of the participating schools. When I demonstrated the use of one movement after which they practiced it. Then the Martine , who was 6’6” of vim and viniger, stated it would not work on him. The techmique was Da Lu from Tai Chi. I was challenged before everyong. So I asked him to attack me, As I stood waiting. When he stepped forward with the punch, I slipt to the outside and grasped his arm with Da Lu reinforcing his forward movement.  Then I continued forward with the lead hand. Moving forward into a fingertip strike into his neck.  He went recoiling back and ended seated on the floor. If you remember When teaching the technique I called the movement The Snake Retreats, and also showed you that snakes bite.
I do not teach Smith-Te, that was not my purpose. It did show me my principles of study worked. I do use these techniques. Rarely apply these studies to the other systems I studied.. More use them as studies of how to neutralize those systems.
You can have fun while you work. And fum is a worthy practice, too.











Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rememberance of Cindy Rothrock

Once upon a time I was younger. We were all younger.

 

After moving to Scranton I had changed to the training that was available, Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan for several years. But I wasl lucky my senior in Isshinryu Charles Murray moved to Scranton. And I immediately returned training in Isshinryu. When I was a brown belt he started me in Kobudo with Chantan Yara No Sai. A while later the Michak broters (Goshin Jutsu) held a tournament in Wilkes-barre, Pa. While Charles was busy with his Curch anoyher friend Jesse Knowles went with me.

 

There was not a brown belt kobudo division. Brown Belts had to compete in the black belt division. I was selected to compete with a well known regional competitor, following me, Cindy Rothrock. Well I made no mistakes in my form. To have a chance to win takes a lot more.There were plenty of skilled competitors, but with Cindy following me. It showed me what I had to do to win.

 

Later I would study Tai Chi and other Chinese studies with her first husband, Ernie Rothrock. At times I did compete against her, At times I judged her. At times I would even give her a ride home from tournaments.

 

When I had studied Tand Soo Do it was with Frank Trajowinz, the instructor she trained with. And of course I trained with Ernie.





 

This article was from that time, before she became a national competitor, or made movies.

When I was famous, partially in Karate Illlustrated



Of course you have to look fast. But long ago Lewis Sensei was asked to provide a breaking demonstration in  Baltimore for a  full contact championship fight which was organized by Arron Banks. It was mostly my seniors and they needed a body, no not to break but to hold another of my seniors. I was asked to participate.

 

What my part in the demonstration was I assisted hold up Al Baliey for a concrete break on his stomach. The other person was Reese Rigby. And Dennis Lockwood was standing on a chair with a sledgehammer.

 

In this photo you can see my hand and my belt. You don’t get more famous than that.

 

The article follows.





 
Of course I never sought immortalization in the magazines. Guess I was lucky? LOL

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tendencies in Long Term Students

 
Photo of my son, Victor Michael, at 3 months, with one of my other students.

  This is not an exact science. My effort to describe these tendencies rests on the certainty that people might participate in several at the same time, to greater or lesser degrees.

If we stipulate the student has passed the first black belt test, they've remained training for at least 5 years after their sho-dan examination, finding a way to keep their interest strong, fight off the worlds attempts to stop their training, etc. I find the students 300. personal interests manifest in the manner their art is shaped.

This is separate from Dan awards, though perhaps in some programs it may be linked. It comes from my own observation of my students anddiscussions with many instructors on their own students in many arts.

Before I discuss this further I feel it is very important to recognize these tendencies are not better or worse for the student. They all remain working on the same art, they all contribute to the general discovery for the group time offers. It's just they represent many different types of interest, even with the same training. So the order I'm presenting this does not imply one group is better than the other, just that they are different.

One tendency in the long term student may be to train for only their own needs. Either to get a workout, to focus on the self defense aspects they want to believe in, or to participate with their friends. When presented with new skills to study, if the skill is a long term acquisition (say 10 to 20 years of work), they will practice it with the group, but frequently will not develop the
interest in really acquiring the skill. In self defense their interest frequently focuses on how to best use the tools they have already crafted.

Another tendency in the long term student is to train for more than their personal needs, but to fully learn their art. They are willing to get into deeper study, remember more detail, etc. because of their commitment to the art. They want to help keep the full art they study alive, to do more than just train, but to train with deeper passion. They see the group participation as more than just working out with friends, but to help the group understand more and share in that growth.

An entirely different tendency is to become an instructor. This individual has both the desire to train for their own needs, as well as the desire to try and learn the full art. But they take additional responsibility to learn how to craft others to acquire the art. It is easy to say they are instructor A, focused on developing the Dan, and instructor B, focused on developing other instructors, but in all likelihood the different views are more a product of how long they've
been an instructor. But the instructor is not a rote recitation of the art for the new student. It involves evaluating the student's needs, focusing their training to meet those needs, and also spending enough time to continue advancement in the first two tendencies.

And there is still another sort of tendency. I'm not sure how to label it, but it's those who go beyond all bounds to study. Are willing to look at anything and try to find if those arts are found within their own art. They will pay incredible prices in time, cost and effort, forever.

What I believe is these tendencies rest on personal qualities that cannot be simply defined. It is how we take these studies, make them our own and journey onward.

The art requires all of them to exist and grow. Each of them contribute greatly to the group, and not one of them is more important than the rest. Together they keep the art alive.

For the day comes when they move on. Leaving for personal reasons, family, change of interests, illness or injury and of course death. That they entered long term training and shared requires nothing but he utmost respect for their efforts. A respect that hopefully will transcend their sharing, forever.

*************************************************************************


PS This photo goes back to 1989. In one sense he began attend class at day 3. He attended his first black belt meeting at 4 months. He joined in during class almost as soon as he walked. Formally joined the classes at 7 years when he could become a Boys Club member Continued to train for 11 years till reaching Sho-dan He engaged with many activities, such a baseball, soccer, music et. When attending college trained weekends and holidays. Then after college years continued to train. When work and other activities made him choose. Where upon he chose to spend his time working with the Windham Flute Ensemble. He was solidly in Ni Dan training at that point. That is the purpose of the training, To develop to make the choice to understand what is most important to you and then act on that decision