Monday, October 5, 2015

Opening Seisan Kata

From 1991 we have my earliest explorations into the opening of Seisan Kata. My studies since that time have explored far more potential uses.
Any application is but a potential one until adequate training moves it from Application Potential to Application Realized.

Everything shown is done at an explanation pace.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Mabuni Kenwa on Karate introduced to Japan

Bubishi Puzzle, from 2001



from the Orsuka Tadihiko Ryukyu Bugishi page 14


Perhaps an interesting study can be found looking at one of the 48 Self Defense Techniques from the Bubishi.  The above scan is from a Mabuni Text on the Bubishi for Figure 9. 


In Tom Lewis Sensei’s Isshinryu Kihon practice, Lower Body Chart,  we practice Side kicks on the ground which somewhat resemble the drawings of this Bubishi figure.  One specific variation uses the lower leg to trap the heel and the upper leg to push into the knee area, very close to the above diagram.


To begin let me refer to three different Commentaries on the Bubishi, and in no particular order.



First, Pat McCarthy’s “Bubishi, The Bible of Karate” (Tuttle Publishing).

The Bubishi diagram he shows, neither person has hair (implying a monk perhaps?), The one on the ground is indicated as the Winning technique. The one standing and striking out is indicated as the Losing technique.   Where the shown illustration seems to indicate a double palm strike, in McCarthy’s ‘Bubishi’ the person has grasping (clawed as a Tiger’s) hands.


Page 171.        Winning Technique – Scissors on ground, pretending to fall over.”

                        Losing Technique – Using cymbals


If an attacker tries to grab you with both hands (right), drop to the ground, capture his leg (left) and take him down.”


Second, George Alexander and Ken Penland’sBubishi – Martial Art Spirit” (Yamazato Publishing).

Their Bubishi diagrams are almost identical to those published by Mabuni Kenwa in 1934 in Japan. They are re-drawn and cleaned up (and while strong diagrams they are slightly lesser in detail than the Mabuni direct copies). The biggest difference is the A&P ‘Bubishi’ attack shows a rising left hand (fingers slightly curled) and a different descending right hand (palm forward) with the index finger pointing straight down. I have no problem accepting this is a double palm strike.


Page 122.        Attacker  - Like falling down forward on your hands, this man will win.”

                        Defender – Like swinging a hoe down to ding in the ground, this man will lose.”


“Attacker comes in with both hands overhead and down to cause the opponent to fall down, this man will lose.   Defender drops down forward on his palms and using a scissoring technique on the attacker’s leading leg causing him to fall down, this man will win.”


Third,  R. Habersetzer’s “Encyclopedie des Arts Martiaux, Bubishi, a la Source des Karate-do” (Amphora)


Habersetzer’s drawing is less distinct yet reminiscent of the one I’m showing.  His book isn’t a translation of the Bubishi (directly ) but more a commentary on it. [The following translation by Victor Smith]


Figure 9 : Page 70


If an assailant tries to grab you with two hands, you let go and go to the ground while capturing his foot to make him fall.”


With one page of the Bubishi drawing and his translation of the text, the following page shows drawings (and photographs) showing his interpretation as to what the text means.  The top of the page shows a very precise drawing of the leg trap we’ve been discussion.  It is followed by the following text :

Photo 41: If this technique is applied by the side, uke can go up to attack the two legs of  Tori to bring (him)  to fall from his legs scissor: Kani-basami in Judo (‘pinch of the crayfish [crab]’).”

The following photograph demonstrates a flying scizzors takedown, legs around the waist.

Habersetzer then offers the following commentary on this technique.

”The illustrated drawing suggests the counterattack.”


This form is very near that of  [Bubishi figure] 3, but Uke’s body is more turned, hands in support on the front. It is then that one of drawing 8, already represented as possible evolution of the figure 3. Ohtsuka Sensei thinks that it is possible here to be introducing a new variant technique: a lock to the ankle accompanied by a push of the heel under the knee Tori (24), who then is obliged to drop to the rear to escape from the painful grip [of the lock].”


But even more interesting is an actual Chinese interpretation of the Figure 9.


Last year (2000) while doing a clinic on the import of the Bubishi, in Pittsburgh at Ernie Rothrock’s Kung Fu Studio, he clearly went through the entire section of the Bubishi showing all of the techniques as beginners (not to imply that they’re not effective) Eagle Claw techniques. The implication of course is there are dozens of other Chinese systems where you could make the same demonstration.


Anyhow, when he dropped to the floor and applied the lock to the opponent’s leg he didn’t press and push them down, instead once locked, he began to roll over and over, the lock dropping them (away from his body), and as he rolled, he was also rolling them along with him, until he would choose to release them and use a finish off kick.


To my mind that (and many other demonstrations) showed the potential of this drawing may have little to do with one layer of possibilities (those discussed above).

From Kenkji Tokitsu "Historie du Karate-Do"




Thursday, October 1, 2015

Surujin of Okinawa

From "Kama, Tekko, Tinbe and Surujin – Ancient Martial Arts of Ryukyu" by Inoue Motokatsu. This is the 2nd book in the series (the first was Bo, Sai and Tonfa) an English prĂ©cis of Kobudo from the Japanese 3 volume set.

Sometimes I have no idea how much I've accumulated over the years, or what value I find in a good book. On the average it takes about 5 years before I can see and think about what is in a good book. It doesn't take me 5 years to read it, but value takes time to establish.

I find the introduction of each weapon in the series takes a small group of previous ideas and adds to them. You might find Inoue's comments of interest. From the last section on Surujin.

As the Surujin is rarely discusse I think you will find this interesting. It does parrallel flexible weapons found in Chinese Arts.

Be Careful about the following points in studying this book.

1. Dodge the opponent not by power but by your body and place yourself in the best position.
2. Continue to practice constantly through all your life.
3. Karate and Ryukyu Martial Arts are quite the same originally.
4. Study the spirit which comprises Rei, Zanshin, etc. in the process of studying Bujutsu.
5. You must be able to use weapons, but never depend on them.
6. To teach Bujutsu is easy, but there is nothing except your effort and practice to study it completely.
7. The technique of Bo is a synthetic one. The technique of Sai is one of the Shuto system. The technique of Tonfa is one of Uraken and Elbow strike systems.
8. Nunchaku belongs to the class of Bo and is so called "Portable Bo".
9. Kama is the technique of Kakate and Kurite if Karate. Each weapon of ryukyu Martial Arts is very useful for the way of studying the basic techniques of Karate.
10. Tekko jutsu is all the same as Karate jutsu except the special use of this weapon
11. Tinbe jutsu is the one that defend with "Tinbe" (Shield) and attack with "Rochin" (Short spear) and can be seen everywhere in the world.
12. Surujin is the best weapon for hiding the opponents eyes but it can't be used without the right how to use and enough training.
13. The above said weapons are called `Jyoteiken' which the length and the form is fixed, we usually practice with them, but the final most important purpose is that we can get to the ability which can use "Ranteiken" which is the length and the form is not fixed.



Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Move - Adhesion


After a variety of martial experiences in addition to Isshinryu, mainly in Thi Chi, various Northern Chinese Arts, Indonesian Tjimande and Shotokan and Aikido, you begin to recognize like movement in various arts.


One day long ago I saw an article in the former magazine. They did resemble some techniques I had studies. One of them was new, but I understood what it was doing, so I tried it, and it worked. Rather than dig out that magazine at this time, I will describe it in my own words.


For the drill, the attacker is stepping in with the left foot and attacking with the left hand


You pivot away spinning on the ball of your left foot and your right back foot pushing away. Ending with a left foot forward cat stance.


Raise your left hand and place the back of your left hand lightly atop their striking arm.


You are working the external line of defense, outside their attack.


Your left hand lightly lays atop their striking arm , bent wrist palm up.


Adhere to their strike and with the pressure of your wrist guide them further forward. Then lightly press down once they have moved their arm through that space you previously occupied.


Then that left arm presses down, adhering to their striking arm, and they lean forward following the downward arm.


Maintaining Cat stance, lightly place your right before their temple, light pressing across the edge of their eyes. Against that slight pressure (do not use much force) their natural inclination is to move their head away.


Next flow your right hand forward until your palm lightly presses against their forehead. This increases their need to turn their head. As their head continues to turn, your right hand then lies across their left temple and presses backwards.


This rotational pressure of adhesion spins them on their axis and out of control.


Continue spinning them until their neck, bent backwards, rests against your left arm, which has risen to catch them.


At this point, using very slight pressure, you have guided them to a place they do now want to be, where you have the option of many choices.


1.    Simply let to and they fall, backwards, to the ground.

2.    You might drop your right elbow into their neck.


Of course you can do anything, it is not my purpose to catalog the options you may make.


On the occasion you meet someone who has been trained to not move there head away from a pressure against the eye area, and instead the turn into the pressure.


Move your right hand to the same area on the other side of their face. In the case of starting with the right, you would flow your hand immediately to their left side of their head.


Then do the same thing as before, press into their eyes lightly, and rotate their head counter-clockwise. Turn their head till it faces the floor. Then apply descending

pressure against their back with your left hand. This causes them to drop headfirst to the floor.


In any case use adhesion rather than more forceful movement.
Obviously this is not a technique for beginners, It is most dangerous and applying more than the slightest force could do severe damage. You only need to apply enough force to move the attacker into your desired position. Applying more force turns this into something else. a dangerous situation.
In this the beginner would shift into more power because of lack of trust in the movement. For that matter, this might be the case with black belts unfamiliar with these movements.


Saturday, September 26, 2015


A long time ago I learned a real lesson about intent.


I was judging at a tournament by George Dillman at the Field House where he held them. They were large events, and of course they were not fair, no competition ever was. They were an opportunity to compete.


This time I was a corner judge in the teen fighting division. This time a young woman entered the division. I don’t know why. Frequently there were less events for teens, for far fewer choose to fight. But apparently there was just one division for teen kumite. And she decided to compete.


Now one girl among the boys seems unfair on the surface. But knowing the young women coming from some programs, it was less unlikely than many think.


Then this teen was extremely attractive. Which I suspect she was well aware of.


For as the day progressed, she fought and won fight after fight.


She was a clean fighter, but the look on the young men’s faces was priceless. It showed they did not want to hit her, rather ask her out on a date.


That she was skilled was certain. But that she was a woman was a presence too.


Her skill advanced her to the semi-final round. Which was a good clean fight. Many of those she had defeated were shouting for her to win.


She did and so advanced to the final round.


There she met someone who also wanted to win. More importantly he did not want to ask her out on a date.


That he won the fight is not the story. The better prepared individual should win the fight.


Rather intent is part of the story. She was there to fight, and fight she did to her best. Which in my mind is the lesson.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Getting Shermanized



A year after meeting Sherman, Garry Gerossie was going to host Sherman again for a kata clinic. I volunteered to let Garry use the Boys and Girls Club of Derry for the clinic. While I had now seen Sherman I still had no idea of the depth of what he had.


That Saturday Garry brought him down to the school, and while chatting with him before the clinic, he asked me what I would like to see.



As I had suggested that no youth attend the training, I just had my adults, many of whom were then black belts, and there were a number of other schools of Isshinryu and Shorin ryu there, Friends of Garry or Sherman .


I decided to go for it. “Could we see the applications for Chinto kata, Kusanku kata and Sunsu Kata?


I remember Sherman looking at me with what I saw as a funny look, then he replied “  Sure, we can give that a try.”


Sherman began with the first movements of Chinto kata. About 3 hours later he was still working those first movement.


As it was time for a lunch break, he exclaimed “Now after lunch let us look at the 2nd move.”


During the lunch break, he explained to me “Most people get lost in the first clinic or so with me”. I understood what he meant.


The remainder of the clinic he did range through Chinto, Kusanku and Sunsu kata. It was an experience.