Friday, February 27, 2015

Ranking Systems in Modern Budo


Found in Richard Kim’s “The Weaponless Warriors”, As this does not seem to be shared on the interner, in the interest of understanding how ranking systems developed I am sharing this.

 

RANKING SYSTEM IN MODERN BUDO

Adopted by F.A.J.K.O., on March 27, 1971.

 

Ranks
Age
Title
Ju-Dan (10th) over 10 years arter Ku-Dan
70 years or over
*HANSHI over 15 years after Kyoshi 55 years old or over
Ku-Dan (9th) 10 years after Hachi-Dan
60 years or over
*HANSHI over 15 years after Kyoshi 55 years old or over
Hachi-Dan (8th) over 8 years after Shichi-Dan
50 years or over
*KYOSHI over 10 years after Renshi 40 years old or over
Shichi-Dan (7th) 7 years after Roku-Dan
42 years or over
*KYOSHI over 10 years after Renshi 40 years old or over
Roku-Dan (6th) over 5 years after Go-Dan
35 years or over
*RENSHI over 2 years after 5th Dan 35 years old or over
Go-Dan (5th) over 3 years after Yo-Dan
under 35 years
*RENSHI over 2 years after 5th Dan 35 years old or over
Yo-Dan (4th) over 3 years after San Dan
under 35 years
*RENSHI over 2 years after 5th Dan 35 years old or over
San-Dan (3rd) over 3 years after Ni-Dan
under 35 years
No Formal Title
Ni-Dan (2nd) over 1 year after Sho-Dan
under 35 years
No Formal Title
Sho-Dan (1st) at least three years
under 35 years
No Formal Title
Ikkyu (1st Brown)
no age specified
KYU
Nikyu (2nd Brown)
no age specified
(below brown identified by
Sankyu (3rd Brown)
no age specified
different colors) * However,
Yonkyu (4th class)
no age specified
all kyus are considered
Gokyu (5th class)
no age specified
white relative to the black belt.
Rokkyu (6th class)
no age specified

 

*TITLES:: May not be given irrespective of how high the rank; awarded for exceptional achievement and outstanding character.

 

** F.A.J.K.O. – Federation of All Japan Karate-Do Organizations.

 
Thank you to Mario McKenna who provided me assistance locating this material.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Black Belt Class 10-04-2002

Another look at a past class.





 
Black Belt Class 10.04.2002

I focused on lower body development today, especially as a tool in application analysis.

 

First we ran Fukyugata Sho, concentrating on the lower body, compressing our step into the centerline and then exploding out from same.

 

Then, to force one to concentrate on that, I overloaded the upper body response.

In that we changed the techniques being executed on each movement as follows.

 

1.      The low block became a multiple combination, Left Low Block, Right punch, Left Low Block.

2.      The lunge punch became a multiple combination. Right Lunge Punch. Left High Block, Right Lunge Punch.

3.      The high block became a multiple combination. Right high block, Left Punch, Right High Block.

4.      The reverse punch became a multiple combination, Right Reverse Punch, Left Outer Block, Right Reverse Punch

5.      The rising punch became a multiple combination, Right Rising Punch, Left Inner Block, Right Rising Punch

 

Substituting each Sho technique with a combination movement.

 

This became very complex for the trainees, yet as time passes, the use of the lower body to explode into each series becomes more evident.

 

Then we worked on SunNuSu kata.

 

Keeping the use of the lower body an underlying theme, I then undertook a training concept of reverse stepping (a name which I change from time to time, I really haven’t figured out the best handle for this yet) shared by a friend with a Kishiba Juku background.

 

The reverse stepping allows you begin a step into the centerline, and finish it with the reverse step of the other foot away from the centerline.

Hence for Left Foot Forward, left side block (beginning Seisan) instead your left foot steps into the centerline (first ½ of the crescent step) but your right foot steps back from the centerline, ending in left foot forward Seisan.

 

When you apply this to all of a kata’s movements, your kata tends to be done in one spot, but you’re still selling each technique with traditional focus.

 

In application, its very easy to get mixed up, as you’re crossing the spheres of dominance of the brain hemisphere, yet it gives one great tactical advantage.

 

Most applications we either move in, or we move away. This allows us to shift to the center, and choose which is most expeditious, yet be somewhat confusing for the attacker.

 

To apply this I took the 3rd Elbow strike from SunNuSu kata, where you shuffle forward with the inner horizontal elbow strike.

 

Here is how I used this stepping for application.

 

The attacker is grabbing your right arm (around the biceps) with their left arm as they begin to punch to your head with their right.  A good grab and punch attack.

 

  1. As they’re punching with their right, as in the kata movement, I’m drawing my right foot alongside my left, as my left hand slaps across, moving their punch across my center away from me. My left hand then grasps their grabbing wrist, while my right hand just slightly touches their lower abdomen.
  2. The lower abdomen touch is to draw their thought away from you, so they ask why am I being touched down there (a concept which originated in my studies with Sherman Harrill).
  3. Using the reverse stepping I explode back with my left foot into right foot forward Seisan stance.
  4. As that happens, my left hand locks on their wrist/hand and pulls back to chamber. [This movement will explode their wrist over (counter-clockwise) and yank them forward and is the primary counter.
  5. My right elbow strike actually just lays across their forearm, the touch helping pin the lock.
  6. This is not a finishing technique, but simply opens the attacker up for the appropriate strike or kick to complete their finish.

 

The above is much easier to say than to do. It’s not easy (at first) to step in and then step away. Easier to do running Seisan, much more difficult against the pressure of a partner.

 

But this provides strategic  advantages.  Depending on the left hand of the person, is it empty or holding a weapon for a 2nd strike. Does their hand slide back when I parry the punch, or is it ready for a 2nd punch.
Strategically sometimes I want to go in, sometimes I want to pull back, and sometimes I want to use the reverse step capability to give myself maximum choice in technique.

 

Drawing on a different attack, say an opponent grabbing your left hand (or arm) with their left hand and still preparing to strike your head with your right. I employ the opening of Seisan as follows:

 

1.      Step into my centerline with my left foot.

2.      Explode back with my right foot (often pivoting on my left to cross their grab with a 20 degree angle by my centerline) and finish in left seisan stance with a left side block. This turns their arm over.

3.      a. One version is to immediately strike the best target, ribs, triceps or the side of their left leg

4.      b. Another version is my left hand opens and turns over counter-clockwise, grabs their arm and pulls quickly back to chamber as you strike, drawing them forward.

 

I also explored options for the opening double rising blocks in Seiunchin Kata, and the closing Mawashi Uke from Sanchin (which is already using  some of this movment, but which we normally practice moving inward against an attack.

 

It isn’t necessary (IMO) to master this with every technique. But say taking your best 3 or 4 applications and add this layer of choice, you can then offer more strategic application of these techniques. Your response then isn’t as patterned, but more three-dimensional.

 

Mike Cassidy and I then worked a number of basic sai drills, we’re preparing the adult group for a futures sai focus in our training.

 

Mike and Tom Chan continued their work on the Eagle Claw principles.  I was then re-enforcing how Eagle Claw grips applied to the applications we already practiced in Seisan kata, were evidencing synergy in our full Bushi No Te Development.

 

But from start to finish, I focused on the underlying use of the lower body behind all of today’s studies.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Six Count

 
 
Me a long time ago in a different universe
 


I discovered something interesting and useful while attending a exercise class sponsored by the Bank I used to work for. Since that time I have used it to confund students for the fun it shows. It also is a tool that can make a difference in their training if they choose to use it. (And, when giving clinics in other schools I have enjoyed watching the black belts in those schools become confounded too.)

 

We were shown a glimpse of the Feldenkrais motion studies developed by Moshé  Feldenkrais, who among other accomplishments was a Isralei Judoka and a researcner into motion studies.

 

Moshé Pinchas Feldenkrais (Russian: Моше Пинхас Фельденкрайз, Hebrew: משה פנחס פלדנקרייז, May 6, 1904 – July 1, 1984) was an Israeli physicist and the founder of the Feldenkrais Method, designed to improve human functioning by increasing self-awareness through movement

 

What the drills showed was how to increase ability very quickly using the brain in a different way. The drills were very deceiving in their simplicity, but the principle they used is easy to understand.

 

In the normal brain, researchers have discovered the left side of the brain controlls the right side of the body. And the right side of the brain controlls the left side of the body. (Just as a note, when injured either hemisphere of the brain can assume the entire role.)

 

By getting both sides to communicate more efficiently the body works better. We were shown, and practiced, various drills to accomplish this. I recognized one of them useful for my student’s class, and began to incorporate it back in 1982 and ever since.

 

By performing this simple, initially quite confounding drill, the student can perform more efficiently. While this is demonstratable, we have not had the time to go further with this. There is a vast difference between seeing these few drills in action and understanding Feidenkrais motion studies. I have tried to read some of his books, but never had the time to understand more. Just another thing that might me useful but never enough time.

 

Use of the one drill:

 

1, Have the students do any kata they all know well, often as simple as possible.

 

2. Then show them this drill.

 

a.     Take your right hand

a.     Point it to the ground

b.     Point it to the heavens

c.      Point it to the ground

d.     Point it to the heavens

e.      Point it to the ground

f.       Point it to the heavens

Then have everyone try this, Remark how well they are doing.

b.     Then tell them that we are going to try the left hand

a.     Point it to the ground

b.     Point it out to the side

c.      Point it to the heavens

d.     Point it to the ground

e.      Point it out to the side

f.       Point it to the heavens

Again have everyone try this, and again remark how well they are doing.

c.      Now tell them that the drill is doing both sides at the same time and now they are going to try this. Slowly count the drill out 1-2-3-4-5-6.

d.   Do it a few times, tell them how well they are doing.

 

d.      Then pick up the speed, faster and faster. 1,2,3,4,5,6 (perhaps switch the counting  to Japanese, and count the cadence, faster and faster)

e.      In time everyone loses count. Beginners and black belts.

f.       Then explain I tricked everyone that was the hare side which we did first.

g.     So now take the left hand

a.     Point it to the ground

b.     Point it out to the side

c.      Point it to the heavens

d.     Point it to the ground

e.      Point it out to the side

f.       Point it to the heavens

h.     Then taje the right hand and

a.     Point it to the ground

b.     Point it to the heavens

c.      Point it to the ground

d.     Point it to the heavens

e.      Point it to the ground

f.       Point it to the heavens

i.       Now tell them that the drill is again doing both sides at the same time and now they are going to try this. Slowly count the drill out 1-2-3-4-5-6.

.   Do it a few times, tell them how well they are doing.

 

j.        Then pick up the speed, faster and faster. 1,2,3,4,5,6 (perhaps switch the counting  to Japanese, and count the cadence, faster and faster)

k.     In time everyone loses count. Beginners and black belts. Except you.

l.       Now make it challenging. Work one side rotation after the other.

m.  One time start with the left hand going out, then repeat with the other side and the right hand going out. . Slowly count the drill out 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12. Then pick up the speed going faster and faster, and switching sides with each rotation.

n.     This will have left all confused, except for you.

o.     Now have everyone repeat the kata drill where they began.

 

 

You will find a better performance. Showing absolutely that by working both hemispheres of the brain in unison, they have better performance.

 

 

While I have used this a few times myself, just before competition, there are many reasons my study of this practice, has not gone further.

 

 

This is not necessary for good karate practice. In time the performance does get better.

 

 

And no I am not always perfect. It is good to share with the student’s that even Sensei can mess up.

 

 

Master’s level

 

It is a good thing to stay a step ahead of your students. To do this I suggest this addition to the drill. Early one morning I saw this on Mouscercize on the Disney Channel. The idea is to incorporate a lower body stepping practice into the drill.

 

What you are going to do is add a 3 step to the 6 count drill.

 

Chose to use your right foot. Then keeping your weight on your left:

a.     Step forward with your right toes on the floor.

b.     Step to the side, with your right toes

c.      Step back , with your right toes

Then repeat the process

d.     Step forward with your right toes on the floor.

e.      Step to the side, with your right toes

f.       Step back , with your right toes

 

While this could be also done with the left foot I have never done so. When doing the 12  count version , I have always just used the right side.

 

 

You can have fun with this as it seems simple. If you find it difficult it should help to remember how difficult it was to be a beginner training for the first time. If you have the courage to try this, I salute you. Many will dismiss this saying it is silly.

 

 

But should you ever stand in-front of me, decrepit and disabled as I have become, I can still do this, Make my day.