Saturday, June 25, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Their beginning approach to Aikido was a series of defensive techniques against striking attacks. I studied the first 10 drills in their studies and teach them to this day.
While those drills are done against lunging punch attacks, one of my group Michael Cassidy, worked out the logic behind the movements against Japanese style knife thrusts. Where using them against a lunge punch is a training tool, their use against someone trying to thrust a blade into you made their use more apparent.
Then in the late 90's a friend Joe Swift helped me purchase a copy of Nakasone Genwa's "Karate-Do Taikan" and I was very surprised to see the section of Dagger disarming techniques presented by Otsuka Hironori, creator of Wado-ryu.
This is the same text recently translated by Mario McKenna (titled An Overview of Karate-do).
Mario provides a great translation of the techniques, but I'm not sharing to encourage you to obtain your own copy.
On the other hand this is a variation on the Sutrisno family Aikido drill 09, from my copy.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
This morning I was thinking about what older kata performance may have looked like and then I remembered the article “An Outline of Kata Jion” by Chomo Hanshiro (b 1859 d 1945) from the 1938 “Karate-Do Taikan” of Nakasone Genwa. (Translated into English by Mario McKenna). Nakasone’s book contains actual photographs of Hanshiro performing many of the kata techniques, a detailed description of the kata movement and a section describing some of the kata movement’s application potential.
Hanshiro’s Jion includes many unique features such as containing defensive stances leaning away from the attack and more importantly all of the strikes are to the head.
Those strikes to the head are what made me think of Jion. Where most kata use striking to the center of the opponent’s body the fact Hanshiro’s Jion went to the head seems to make a statement about the more important target for Jion’s creator.
The current versions of Jion closest to Hanshiro’s description are those done by the Kyudokan.
Here are several you tube versions especially at different angles to more fully show the technique movement.
Kyudokan Jion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMwlmc9L9nI
Kyudokan jion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emhlHiEgQ-Q
Then to allow you to see how the kata changed in Japan you can look at the Japanese Karate Association (Shotokan) and Shito Ryu versions. Note how the strikes dropped to the center of the opponents body.
Old JKA Jion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jpC4jyHOFY
Shito Ryu Jion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k__BYm__yqA
Of course those changes don’t make the newer versions less valuable, just ones with different application potential.
I like the idea that some of the older kata were to strike to the face. Then again all of the other strikes to the midsection of the body don’t preclude their use to the face either.
The most telling comment by Hanshiro Sensei comes at the end of his article.
“This concludes the basic explanation of the kata Jion. Budo is a living thing; naturally there are thousands of different applications and variations for each technique. However, for the sake of brevity I have limited my introduction of the kata Jion to a simple explanation of how to perform the kata and the meaning behind the technique it contains.”
It’s safe to say the elders of karate didn’t just have technique, but they had a true belief in the scope of their art too.
Note if you want to get the full article you need to get a copy of Mario McKenna’s translation. You can find information about it at Translations by Mario McKenna http://stores.lulu.com/bechurinatgmaildotcom The book I’ve been using is “An Overview of Karate”
This is the first English translation of Genwa Nakasone's 1938 Karate-do Taikan. It is one of the most comprehensive books published during the golden age of Karate-do. The book contains chapters of a veritable who's who of Karate-do luminaries including: Shiroma Shimpan, Hanashiro Chomo, Mabuni Kenwa, Otsuka Hironori, and Taira Shinken. The book is richly illustrated and goes into detail about Karate-do history, philosophy, techniques and kata.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
photograph located from Google images, owner uncredited.
Most of us will not face an kicking attack by an Okinawan trained karate-ka. Conditioned for modern kumite kicking attacks where an opponent launches kicks trying to break through or defense we are not necessarily prepared for the original kicking attacks.
If we were the lessons within the Isshinryu kata should be well to be understood, for they explain both kicking strategy and the key for basic defense.
The Okinawan use of kicking was in the range of striking. The kick might be launched exactly at the same distance you might strike, very close into the opponent. This necessitated a different method of kicking than modern competition. One good example is that found in Shimabuku Tatsuo’s execution of the Isshinryu kata. It also offers a very different perspective of how to defend against such close kicks.
Watching the kicking techniques of Shimabuku Tatsuo in his kata you see that the knee rises before the kick is thrown, and the kicks are targeted straight out from the knee towards the groin or thigh of an opponent in the case of front kicks. In fact in general the kicks are targeting the legs to remove the opponents base to down them.
Even the knee strikes are being performed straight into the leg of an opponent, not rising up. This makes these strikes at an even closer range than striking. As they are performed forward there is less time for opponent response.
I recommend closely viewing Shimabuku Tatsuo and his primary kicking techniques in his kata.
01 - Seisan front kick, cross over front kick http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N5Gr41IZnU
02 - Nihanchi inner kick http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHikzVCF638
03 - Seiunchin step as stomp at kata end http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fO9HJdf5z4
04 - Wansu Knee strike, side kick, front- front kick http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rehP_CviTSI
05 - Chinto front kick, jumping front kick, cross over front kick http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tW60Du0d8o
06 - Kusanku front kick, front - front kick, inner crescent kick, jumping front kick
07 - Sunsu side kick, front kick, round kick, cross over stomp, knee strike
1) The targeting of the kicks being shown. All are below the waist because of the implied range of kicking.
2)The use of the front – front kick at the end of Wansu kata as one plausible counter against kicks being shown. Raising the leg as a deflecting parry and then counter-kicking the opponents leg.
3) I have omitted the use of stepping as a lower leg attack from this discussion.
Of course this method of kicking is not unique to Isshinryu.