Monday, October 24, 2016

Kotekitae Kotekitae Kotekitae

Attempting to use screen capture to show the drill

from a summer class held in my back yard
featuring Young Lee and Charles Murray
Other posts on this topic:

Aikido Drill No. 1

Another method to look at one of our Aikido Drills. Aikido No. 1


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Chinto, Nihanchi, Tai Chi Chaun and Kyoshi


I recall the earlier stories of Chinto.

Of course there is the legend of the shipwrecked Chinese sailor, Chinto, who used his art to negate the attempts of Matsumura to capture him. Whether this kata came from his teachings or not, I can see how the use of the turning movement within Chinto Kata is a powerful weapon in its own right.

My original instructor simply taught the kata. Another of my instructors
told me it was designed to fight opponents on a narrow path or a bridge. He
even explained how Ninja were jumping at me out of trees and that Chinto was used to grab and down them.

My instructors used to place two bo in the floor to simulate the bridge for
individual practice of Chinto.


There are many today who wish to discredit the stories. Instead its only the
strike or the throw which matter.

I grant you, I don't practice Chinto to defend myself on a narrow bridge.
But I have always found a way to use those stories to good merit.

Training outdoors, especially in the summer, has been part of my practice for the last 20 years. While living in Scranton, I used McDade park outside of Moosic for summer training. There was a narrow bridge over a culvert which I and my students used to practice Chinto.

Working the kata to keep yourself on the center of the bridge involves a
greater control during the turns. If you were fighting on the bridge and you
allow yourself to move away from the center, you make it easier to be driven off of that bridge.

It makes you consider each technique of Chinto most carefully, and make
appropriate adjustments to keep centered with each movement. This is often
akin to the adjustments made to apply a kata's technique against various
attacks. I've found the internal awareness this practice develops helps in
the study of Chinto application.

Here in New Hampshire, I use a narrow path between two rows of bushes for the same practice. Yesterday morning, my class was running Chinto between those bushes trying to keep in the center of that narrow path. Kind of makes me think I might start a new story about Chinto being designed to fight opponents in a narrow hallway.

But before we began Chinto practice, I was using Ninahchi to prepare everyone for Chinto practice.

Earlier Paris Janos of Kashiba Juku was so kind as to remind me of a quote from Motobu Choki that I had previously used. "Twisting to the left or the right from Niafaunchin stance will give you the stance used in a real
confrontation.. Twisting ones way of thinking about Niafuanchin left and right, the various meanings in each movement of the kata will also become clear.
" <<from a private translation by Joe Swift.>>

That was 'lightbulb' time. Not in the sense I now knew applications of
Nihanchi, but rather I saw how Nihanchi's movement from side to side prepares one for Chinto's movement. So much of the Nihanchi stories as to its being a very important source of technique for much of other karate, made sense to me.

First I saw Nihanchi's strikes from side to side as a tool to make the
turning movement in Chinto stronger. I've long realized how shorter kata are important tools to develop technique. But this triggered new thinking for
me. Some of you are fortunate to have an instructor guide you through these
processes. Unfortunately, most of the time I have to work though them myself.

Hearing how some spend a great deal of time on Nihanchi now made more
fundamental sense. That night I began to see how Nihanchi can strengthen so much of our practice. We were working some of our Aikido drills, and in every case, Nihanchi movement could be found within them. In every case Nihanchi practice could make those drills better.

At this moment I can see many uses of Nihanchi to strengthen the advanced
techniques in our practice.

So a prior Saturday morning we were working Nihanchi and then onto Chinto on the narrow path.

I believe it was the combination of Nihanchi loosening my waist as I was
driving strikes from side to side, and then performing Chinto in the confined
area of the path, but as I watched my friends run through their own Chinto
kata, I began to circle my waist, hips or kyoshi as I would do with some of
my tai chi chaun drills, and work on the opening of my Isshinryu Chinto, or
perhaps more accruately a variation thereof.

In my left foot forward cat stance I would roll my waist/hips/kyoshi back to
the right (clockwise), and then complete the circle clockwise while rolling
my right hip back forward. This variation of my tai chi drills helps me
activate my chi, and the more I did it the stronger I felt is presence.

I have no words to explain this. My Chi is a fact in my martial arts
training. I feel it, I know it is there, and know when I can use it. I
can't show it or prove it. Thats ok its mine.

After a number of cycles I began to work a variation of my Chinto opening
hand techniques with my waist..

1. Right hip rolls back, left open hand parries inward (fingers up) -
   this is a horizontal parry into my centerline.
2. Right hip rolls front, right back hand parries outward (fingers up) -
   this is a horizontal parry into my centerline
3. Right hip rolls back, left open hand parries inward (finers up)
4. Left foot steps forward right foot drags behind into a new cat stance
        closer to the opponent. While this happens the right hand circles down
            in a right lower palm strike (fingers down) (3. and 4. are done t
5. The left palm turns over (outward) (where this would be a left
         backfist strike in my Chinto, I felt the outer palm strike felt much
       stronger). As this happens, once again the right hip circles back.

For the first four moves 1, 2 and 3 an 4 both hands begin circling in a
horizontal circle inward toward my centerline.

This seemed very powerful, so I decided to test this. I had John Dinger step
in and throw a right punch. My right hip rolled back and my left hand flowed back deflecting that punch to my right. Then my hip rolled forward and my right open back hand parry continued to keep their strike from my center. With both hand now circling, my lower body slipped in as my left parried and my right palm struck towards his abdomen. Finally with my right hip rolling away I ended with a soft outer left palm strike towards John's head.

As my group isn't young, I tried to be most careful not to damage John.

I found, working softly and trying not to strike hard I almost took his head

Now I wasn't trying to strike him, I was just going with the flow and trying
a soft execution of a new application for me.

Chagrin set aside, and still trying to understand this application I asked
John to strike me agian, promising to go softly.

Once more I went through my cycle and trying ever so carefully to be soft I
once again most carefully alomst took his head off.

Sometime apologies aren't enough. It struck me this is when my students beg me not to try Tai Chi in Karate class or the reverse. Of course all I was
doing was Chinto, wasn't I?

It took me a few moments to realize that when I sliped into the attack I was
vastly shortening the range of my left strike. This is very powerful, for if
my opponent slips back to avoid the lower right palm strike,they are still
within the range of a most powerful left outer palm. Made more powerful by the hip rolling away at the same time.

Quite an interesting morning.

As I write this I hear the evening showers. Starts reminding me of when I
taught a camp clinic on Kusanku as a night fighting kata one summer at
midnight in pouring rain. The applications were most interesting as your
opponent was slamming into the water and the mud. But then that would be as
story and everyone knows there's no truth to stories such as Kusanku was
designed for night fighting.


Related posts :







Isshinryu the Paperweight

Friday, October 21, 2016

Once upon a time I was the Horseman

The form then was the Bando Horseman's form.
When I was much younger. In fact it was from 1979  to 1983 to be precise.
The Penna, competitions were  pretty fierce in kata and kobudo, Among them were Cindy Rothrock, Tris Sutrisno Joe Brague’s students Gary and George Michak, Vince Ward and John Hamilton’s students, Ron Martin’s students, Manny Agrella’s students, Al Smith’s students, Bruce amd Ann Heilman’s students, the entire crowd who showed up from New Jersey and many, many more including Jesus Christ a great Kung Fu Competitor. Those names probably mean little to you but then they did superior kata and Kobudo in the Pennsylvania region.
And I was thrown into that mixture. Into the Lion’s Den so to speak. Those competitors forced me to continually challenge myself, and in return I grew a little. The interesting thing was competing against individuals who were much better than you were, caused you to improve your own game.
But in time things change, Competitors for many reasons move on, and the same group I had been competing with were no longer there.
Tris had stopped. Garry and Cindy were going national. Vince’s old crowd had stopped, the same for many of the rest. Not having them competing made it a little less fun.
I was pretty locked to that area. I did not have the money to try other places.
Reese Rigby, one of my seniors, had success switching his Isshinryu kobudo forms to supplement them with some Bando ones, ones I also had been taught.
That spring I tried the Bando Horseman’s form at Hidy Ochai’s  in Binghampton NY and another tournament in SE Penna. Nothing special happened for me, However Bruce Heilman,who I only knew very casually, approached me and suggested that the strikes should be done with a corkscrewing motion. I did not pay much attention to that, as that was not the way the Bando people did the movement.
Now the funny thing was no one was giving me any training advice. I was on my own. My seniors were quite far away, and the places I trained no one paid what I did with my art much attention. But as I was training about 7 days a week, I kept at it.
But one Saturday at Ernie Rothrock's School where I normally worked on my Chinese studies, he watched me work on the Bando Staff form. Then it was unusual for he have me some advice. Noting that the Bando was similar to Chinese staff, he made some suggestions how I could perform several of the motions more cleanly. It was interesting advice and I paid it heed.
Then a few weeks later training with Tris Sutrisno and during a break from that class I worked on my Bando staff. He also decided to give me some suggestions about how the eye focus on the strikes should be done.
This was unusual for he never paid any attention to my own art, it was not what he shared.
But I gave both set of comments heed, My practice made those changes.
The week prior to Tris Sutrisno’s tournament in Tamaqua Pa. I did little practice on the floor, more in my mind, thinking about performing it the new way.
Then the day of the tournament I remember, all of the judges had their own students in that division. The center judge was Bruce Heilman.
This was me when I was much younger. Though this was me doing one of the Chinese forms I studied with Ernie Rothrock. There are unfortunately few records of those days.
On the spot I decided to change the way the strikes were done to what Bruce had suggested, using twisting strikes.
I was up to compete. I preformed the form with all those suggestions. My Bando staff, the Horseman’s Footsoldiers Form, cut cleanly though the air with its strikes. Before I knew it I was done.
And I won first place in Kobudo. Whatever it meant it was my time I guess.
I also felt guilty, as I had altered the form with Bruce’s suggestions, because Bruce was judging. The suggestions of Tris and Ernie did not change the shape of the form, just more effective execution.
Whatever my drive had been, it was the last time I seriously competed.
I had known success within my instructors shiais which did mean much more to me. But the drive to compete evaporated for me. At times for different reasons I would compete to push myself, but no longer to chase the bubble.
I never did the Bando staff with that corkscrewing movement ever again.
Dr. Muang Gi, the founder of American Bando, while I did not study with him. My forms came from my Isshinryu instructors.  I did work out at a training session on Bo that he ran at a Bando Summer Camp.
My student, Young Lee,  performing the Bando Horseman's Form.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When you are Old, Disabled and Weaker than your Opponent

Of course I am old….. (this is meant to be a joke)
But then again I am all of the above too.
Almost all karate systems have the same goal, developing a shattering fist to end confrontation with perhaps one strike. In one sense the arts are about intensifying your energy and learning how to apply that ingensified energy to the attacker.


So practice of vigerous striking, use of makiwara and all the rest of the subsidiary practices build to the same goal.


That is a fine goal, I subscribe to it myself.


But life is not fair. Perhaps you are smaller and weaker than your opponent. Or age and disability rob your strength. What do you do when one strike to an assailant will not stop their attack? Of course the simple answer is you do something else.


I would like to make a suggestion what that something else can be.


Having studied various examples of multiple striking from other systems around the world, there is an Isshinryu possibility that appeals to me a variation of use of the vertical fist.

That being use of the thumb on the top of the fist to drive into the underneath of the chin immediately after a strike into the solar plexus.


Against a RFF Right Punch (a simple attack for analysis purposes)

a. Shift to the left 45 degree angle and step in with your left foot in Seisan stance.
         b. Left outsides side block the strike and right Reverse Punch the solar plexus,
            c. Then continue that motion by striking up to their chin with the thumb of the right fist into the bottom of their chin, where it is soft.
            d. Then step forward with a right step behind their lead leg, which becomes a reap, striking calf to calf, taking them down and you continue to hold their arm.
            e. Conclude the motion with another Left Foot Forward crescent step into their arm elbow , to dislocate it, while it being held from their downing to the floor.

The Strike underneath the Chin, becomes a Force Multiplier to the initial strike. Of course other pieces of the Seisan section I am showing are also Force Multiplier(s) adding to the total effect.


Of course there is not one answer, this is just one of my favorite techniques. It grew out of my explorations of what the opening movements of Seisan  Kata could be used for.


In the late 1980s I began my exploration of the range of potentials. In 1991 I prepared this video of some possibilities I saw. That was 5 years before I met Sherman Harrill and then experienced a multitude of other possibilities. This was a presentation I made for my instructors about some of the possibilities. It is long and I suspect few will watch the whole thing

i. Force multiplier original definition :”A capability that, when added to and employed by a combat force, significantly increases the combat potential of that force and thus enhances the probability of successful mission accomplishment.’ In my context a number of technique enhancements which increase the power of the response. The more force multipliers which can be added to a technique the increase of it’s destructive potential. They are a product of the training methodology utilized.


 Related posts that may be of interest.