Sunday, October 14, 2018

At Times Less Might Be More

 
There is a great amount of focus on developing the most powerful technique to end an attack. Of course there is logic to that. At the same time little attention is paid to using the least amount of power with a technique to conclude an attack.
 
No less arduous to train for, and there is a lot of logic behind doing things more subtly.
 
Use of single knuckle strikes, the entire range of fingertip strikes, using your body alignment to create more powerful force behind the slightest technique. All the above are examples of potential lighter strikes.
 
Using less powerful strikes to end an attack, allows you to go under the radar of others who may be observing you at the same time.
 
This may be a subtle as a slight step backward to remove yourself  for a target zone, at the same time using the space created by their strike or a more textured response.
 
 
 This does not take less training, rather a very different focus of what a response can be.
 
 
The end goal is the same, but the power needed is so much less.
 
The idea of using Yin as opposed to Yang.

Conditioning the Spear Hand


 
 

Conditioning the Spear Hand is not something I have heard come up before.

 

I do remember Charles Murray describing a training device he experienced in Agena Okinawa back about `1972.

 

He described how being struck by the Shimabuku Shinso, was extremely painful.

He described the nature of the hand formation of Shinso was more the fingers all being the same length. And that his fingers were not so structured Shinso had him hold his fingers such as they would all strike at the same time.

 

Charles also described a Makiwara
 (or something for striking with the spear hand)
As a box on the wall, a frame with a piece of tire inner-tube stretched across it.
So you would strike into the rubber covering to condition spear hand strikes.

 

I have never seen this in the States,
nor heard of anyone doing serious Spear Hand conditioning.
Of course that does not mean it doesn’t exist, just I haven’t heard of it.

 

On the other hand I just saw this photo of Miyagi Sensei
Observing his students conditioning their Spear Hand strikes a different way.

 

Bundled Bamboo for Spear Hand practice.

Miyagi Sensei looks on as students practice.

Shigeru Egami and a very old toe kick



 

There are times I wonder if I am cursed to remember almost everything I have seen and read. About 1976 I purchased a copy of a book by Shigeru Engami, ‘The Way if Karate’ Beyond Technique about his journey in karate. He had been a student of Funakoshi Ginchin and experienced the changes of the art through his life experiences, and personal efforts.

 

I did not know at that time there were differences in Okinawan and Japanese Karate. Interestingly he did research on the most powerful punch on Okinawa as well as in Japan.

 

But his description of the Toe Kick method he was originally taught, I have never seen described anywhere else. And these photos came from his book.

  

Engami’s own words: “The form of the foot in the front kick when I began practice was with the toes folded down. The part of the foot that struck the opponent was the first joint of the big toe. Since the toes had to be strong—otherwise they might be broken—we were made to practice standing, even walking, with our toes folded, as shown in the figure.

 

Having mastered this, we practiced jumping with our toes in this position, and I was eventually able to perform a double kick (nidan-geri) in this fashion. Although this kick was performed in demonstrations, because of its interest, it had no relevance to training, and few practiced it because it was so painful.

 

The form of the foot presently used is striking with the ball of the foot. The toes are bent back as far as possible…”

 

I have slightly altered the text because I have not scanned the passage, but it is very close to the actual text. He goes much further into the front kick and toe kicks. The book is worth acquiring. He began training in college under Funakoshi  Ginchin, when he was 20.

 

This would suggest that things then were very different from the karate today.

 

It does not explain where this method of striking with the foot originated, but the pain experienced why this is most likely no longer practiced. Of course the world is vast, and one cannot say with certainty it is no longer practiced anywhere, just not so it is discussed.

 

I feel from reading the entire book, it is most likely something Egami experienced.

 

I feel a foot properly conditioned and trained might be more penetrating using this foot.

Of course with modern footwear, it is also likely the older Chinese traditions of kicking with boots or footwear on their feet, likely is more powerful than any empty foot kicking.

  

My blog post on Okinawan Toe Kicking.


 
On the old Fightingarts.com website Christopher Caille wrote two good articles about Okinawan Toe Kicks

 


 
 

 



Saturday, October 13, 2018

Kata Annaku a Study in derevation


Kata Annaku  and as I just spelled it as I heard it

(also Ananku, Ananko)

 

Ananku Kata is not part of Isshinryu.

 

In 1992 I used to train regularily with Carl Long in Forty Fort, Pa. He was a Shorin-ryu instructos in the Shimabuku Eizo lineage through a Mr. Nash outside of Dallas Texas, who used to teach in both the American and Okinawan dojo of Shimabuku Sensei.

 

I was training wherever I could find people to work with. Besides teaching two days a week, I would train with Dave Brojack(Kempo Goju), Ernest Rothrock (Yand and Northern Chinese Arts), Tris Sutrisno (Shotokan, Aikido, Tjimande and Kobudo) on a weekly basis. I also trained with many other people on a more occasional basis. This was besides my competing and judging at tournaments.\

 

I most often trained with Carl in Saturday mornings, before training with Ernest Rothrock on Saturday afternoons. But Carl and my Isshinryu had a common like, they both originated with  two broters.

 

Carl shared his Chinto and Kusanku. I would share some of my Isshinryu kubudo.  Then we often covered each other’s training drills, or just worked out together, Him running ShorinRyu forms such as Rohai, and I running Isshinryu forms.

 

One evening I went there to train, and he was running a class. He was training his students in his Ananku Kata. I watched, it was not a difficult kata, and watching I picked it up.

The version he taught was interesting. For it used both vertical strikes and twisting strikes.

 

I left having some knowledge of the form. Then I added it to my practice regime.

 

I saw how the form might be used with my youth students as a bridge into Seisan.

 

I was teaching Isshinryu as I learned it, but started to think that slowing down the process and allowing students to have more time to develop stronger technique was potentially a good idea.  I also experimented how well students could handle a variety of forms. By teaching one time clinics on those forms, seeing how well they did.

 

Among those experiments there was Fyugata Sho (Matsubayshi Ryu) and now kata Ananku. I became satisfied with the results, but had no desire to change the curricula with students already in the original one.

 

Then I had to relocate to New Hampshire for work. It was difficult to leave my students, and it was difficult to leave the friends I was training with. But adults have to make and live with adult decisions. So I moved.

 

Derry did have a Boys and Girls Club, and I having 5 years experience teaching at the Scranton Boys Club, offered my volunteer services, along with a letter of recommendation. It was accepted and almost immediately I was able to start another youth program there.

But I decided to do things a little differently this time. I would use a bit of the things I picked up to try and develop students stronger.

 

I can’t truthfully say the students in the new program were better students,  I imagine it averaged out. But I was going to make a few changes.

 

From the beginning, I was going to begin students with Kata Sho. It was a version of Fyugata Sho, that I had adapted to Isshinryu technique. I also changed the name, because the street wise students in Scranton had taught me kids would change Fugkyata  a different name F*** You Kata. I didn’t want that so I just used Kata Sho.

 

And the students learned it well. Then I added a 2nd kata, and Isshinryu version of Ananku. All the punches became vertical strikes. I also found the students had difficulty performing the last movements correctly. And as those movements were not in their Isshinryu study, I decided to change the ending to something young people could perform easier.

 

About the same time I began a small adult class, and to keep things easier for me, I used the same kata structure as the youth program (adults passed through those first 2 kata, quicker. I taught the Isshinryuized Ananku in the same manner as the youth kata. But intended as students advanced to eventually use the original Ananku ending.. As it turned out I never focused on teaching the original ending, focusing on many other things.

 

A number of years later I returned to a Jon Bonner Coal Kick-in in Pennsylvania. Several of my students attended with me. One of them an adult yellow belt, was competing in a yellow belt division. He competed with our Ananku. As it turned out Carl Long was judging that division, and he recognized the form. We had not talked in years and afterwards I explained what I had done, to him, and how I was using it.

 

I was appreciative to see it entered my studies.

 

Ever since that time I have continued to use it in Bushi No Te Isshinryu

 

 

Bushi No Te Annaku

 

 //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

The source for the version I had learned

 

Eizo Shimabukuto Shobayashi Shorinryu

 

Ananku   13:33 – 14:03

Similar to the version I learned but there are also differences,

still IMO close enough to be the source

 

I have no idea where the different version originated,

As I am not a student of Shobayshi Shorinryu.

 

 

Another group which also descended from Kyan Chotoku

 

Shorinji Ryu Ananku kata

 

 

 

Another historical discussion about Ananku Kata.

 

I do not know where Mr. Sells or Mr. McCarthy recieved their information on the versions of Ananku that Michael referenced. I have seen the version in Mr.  McCarthy's book and it is quite different from the Kyan version handed down to  Zenryo Shimabukuro or Joen Nakazato. I have not seen any versions
referenced by  Mr. Sells.                           
 
The history of the Ananku kata that is in the Kyan lineage as preserved by Zenpo Shimabukuro and Joen Nakazato is as follows:
 
1. Kyan returned form Taiwan in 1930 after approximately a one year  absence from Okinawa.
 
2. Kyan added the Ananku kata to his curriculum in approximately  1931/32.
 
3. The only teaches that carried on the Kyan Ananku tradition were Shimabukuro and Nakazato. Nagamine did not pick up the Ananku kata into his kata curriculum until after the early 1950s. There is no record of whom he learned  the kata. The Nagamine kata is quite different from Shimabukuro and  Nakazato.
                    
                    Nagamine Matsubayshiryu  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6aTJuPNwOY                 
                    Nakazato                       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJjjZWo3T7o          
                    Shimabukuro Zenpo   (Shorin ryu) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2IjqkxxE4o
 
The Shimabukuro and Nakazato kata are quite similar with the  only difference being the kata kihon that appears to differ due to  personality.
 
Where could the other Ananku kata come from? Mabuni was already in Japan  but the time Kyan was teaching Ananku. Perhaps Chitose learned the kata prior to leaving Okinawa and shared it with Mabuni.
 
Regardless, of the methods used today it makes logical sense that the two direct students of Kyan would have a rather close approximation of their teachers kata.

Dan Smith

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// 

KATA ANNAKU
 

This Shorin Ryu kata came from Shorin Ryu Honda Katsu, as taught by Carl Long in Pennsylvania.   The name means “Light from the South”. It was taught at green belt level.

Mr. Long’s tradition is in the Shimabuku Ezio lineage of Shorin Ryu.

 

12:00     . rei, hide weapon, close down

                . cross arms, open

 2:00       . look right, shift to left back stance, RSB 45’

                . shift weight to right foot, LRP

11:00     . look left, shift weight to right back stance, LSB 90’

                . shift weight to left foot, RRP

 9:00       . look left, 45’ left, lff cat stance, LSB

                . step lff seisan keeping LSB, RHP, LHP, RFK, RRP (note Vertical Punches)

 3:00       . look right, 180’, pivot on left, rff cat stance, RSB

                . step rff seisan keeping RSB, LHP, RHP, LFK, LRP (note Vertical Punches)

12:00     . look left, 90’ left pivot on right, lff cat stance, LSB

                . step rff seisan, RHP

 1:00       . look right, 270 left, pivot on right, lff seisan, right forearm strike

 2:00       . look right, 45’ right, pivot on left, rff cat stance, RSB

                . step rff seisan keeping RSB, LRP, RRP, LFK, LRP (note full twisting punches)

10:00     . look left, 90’ left, pivot on right, lff cat stance, LSB

                . step lff seisan keeping LSB, RRP, LRP, RFK, RRP (note full twisting punches)

 6:00       . Look left, step right foot back into lff back stance, LLB

                . Step rff, RHP (note full twisting punch)

                . Left foot kick-back, RSB

                . right front jump kick

                . land in rff seisan, RLB

                . left foot kick-back, RSB

12:00     . look left, 180’ left, pivot on the right,  Left hand out (palm down), Right hand chambered at the ear, then strike out with right shuto strike as the left hand returns to rotate and cover the solar plexus.

step back right foot,  Right hand out (palm down) Left hand chambered at the ear, then strike out with the left shuto strike as the right hand returns to rotate and cover the solar plexus,

. step up, close down

. rei

Bushi No Te Isshinryu Revision

 

12:00     . rei, hide weapon, close down

                . cross arms, open

 2:00       . look right, shift to left back stance, RSB 45’

                . shift weight to right foot, LRP

11:00     . look left, shift weight to right back stance, LSB 90’

                . shift weight to left foot, RRP

 9:00       . look left, 45’ left, lff cat stance, LSB

                . step lff seisan keeping LSB, RHP, LHP, RFK, RRP (vertical punches)

 3:00       . look right, 180’, pivot on left, rff cat stance, RSB

                . step rff seisan keeping RSB, LHP, RHP, LFK, LRP (vertical punches)

12:00     . look left, 90’ left pivot on right, lff cat stance, LSB

                . step rff seisan, RHP

 1:00       . look right, 270 left, pivot on right, lff seisan, right forearm strike

 2:00       . look right, 45’ right, pivot on left, rff cat stance, RSB

                . step rff seisan keeping RSB, LRP, RRP, LFK, LRP (vertical punches)

10:00     . look left, 90’ left, pivot on right, lff cat stance, LSB

                . step lff seisan keeping LSB, RRP, LRP, RFK, RRP (vertical punches)

 6:00       . Look left, step right foot back into lff back stance, LLB

                . Step rff, RHP (vertical punch)

                . Left foot kick-back, RSB

                . right front jump kick

                . land in rff seisan, RLB

                . left foot kick-back, RSB

12:00     . look left, 180’ left, pivot on the right, chamber both hands high to the left,

double shuto right hand leading, left at solar plexus

. step back right foot, chamber both high to the right, double shuto left leading,

Right at solar plexus

. step up, close down

. rei

 

 

Note: the last section facing 12, with the chamber of both hands high, is a modification I made for beginners. The original technique was step away with the bottom hand facing the opponent (palm down) and the top hand crossing the lower arm, the hand turned towards your face. Then the lower hand is pulled back as the top arm drops the elbow and strikes out. The two hands together can be a wrist grab counter.

The modified technique came from Korean training, and it is changed at green belt.

 

 

 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Tai Chi from the past


Tai Chi from the past

 

First there is this Eagle Claw drill that Ernest Rothrocks instructor used to begin and end every class. I have found it a great way to prepare for my tai chi too.

Eagle Claw Chi Kung

 
 

I began studying Yang Long Fist Tai Chi in 1979 with Ernest Rothrock. One class a week. It took 2 years to learn the entire form and the Yang Sword he taught at that level of training.

 

One day after 10 years I had the occasion to join with Ernie performing ½ of the form before friends. I had not done tai chi with him for over 5 years as we then lived very far apart. I was somewhat proud that I had retained what I had learned so well.

 

Yang Ernie and Victor

 

 

Apparently I gave a short tai chi demo before some friends in 1991. I don’t remember giving it, much later this video was shared with me.

 

Yang 04-91

 

 

In the 1990s to push myself I started competing in several senior instructor form divisions with a form Ernie and  I crafted for those competitions. This one video was made of that.

 

Yang 1993

 

 

After my disabilities began it took me a year to work out what I could do. This is an example of what I now do.

 

Yang 04-14