Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Bushi No Te Isshinryu follows a different set of standards than many do today. We are only affiliated with Tom Lewis and Charles Murray, Mr. Smith’s original instructors. Our training is in the Isshinryu ststem they taught us, and we do incorporate subsidiary drills manly from Ernest Rothrock and Tristan Sutrisno. These are in the Chinese Arts of Rothrock (Ying Jow Pai. Pai Lum,and other arts) and in the Sutrisno family traditions (Shotokan, Aikido, Tjimande and Kobudo).

There are no kyu grading examinations following the methodology taught by Mr. Lewis. Students are advanced when the instructors feel they are ready for new material. Individual efforts and abilities are recognized when they are ready for new challenges. In time the student learns new rank is a challenging responsibility not a test reward.

The only ‘examination’ is the Sho Dan initiation. Students are always prepared for this, or they would not be ‘tested’. Basically they have to demonstrate they understand everything in which the have been trained. Failure is always possible but to date has not occurred. It normally takes an adult 4 years and a youth 7 to 9 years to prepare for this.

Dan instruction goes far beyond the basic body mechanics covered in Kyu training. Limited applications are taught before at the Kyu levels (but more are demonstrated as skills are developed). The wider range of potentials are covered at the Dan level. Also Kobudo training begins at Dan level, mostly to develop over the decades of training to come to develop advanced empty hand potentials.

Dan training is geared for decades of learning and progressive skill development. We practice what we follow.

Though there is a class structure in the youth training, the basic structure follows the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. No two classes have ever covered the same material . This is to make the class more challenging.

Instructors have 15 years or training before they begin instructor training. Only after the instructor apprenticeship are they qualified in Bushi No Te Issninryu teaching practices. Currently they have a combined 100 years behind their training. (Mr. Smith 40 years, Mr Cassidy 30 years, and Mr. Lee 30 years. In addition to their Isshinryu experiences they have had other training experiences with many qualified instructors. This is how we insure everyone is on the same page and all the instructor’s, while different in approach, understand where the training leads. Even the instructors are continually learning.

There are no fees for instruction, we all have careers that pay for our families. There are no fees for testing (no tests). There are no association fees (no associations), Nothing hidden.

All are welcome to experience our training , but our standards apply to everyone.

We do not maintain we are better for these standards, just that they are what we practice.

1 comment:

Charles James said...

student learns new rank is a challenging responsibility not a test reward. - Victor Smith of Isshin - Concentration the Art blog.

When I read this quote I felt it tells the story of an attitude when a person seeks out and/or attain rank in martial arts. I like the idea that we look toward progress, not advancement or promotion or grading, as a challenging responsibility. Progress in martial arts especially in karate should not be a reward. It should also come unexpectedly - a total surprise.

I remember my kyu days fondly. My sensei held training the same way every single day or session. We lined up, paid respects to one another, then we trained and practiced. Often, without notice or expectation, sensei would have us line up and then would simply ask the person to be given the responsibility of a certain level of progress to come up front. Sometimes it was to have them run the warm up sessions and once in a while he would simply reach into his karate jacket and pull out a green, brown or black belt, toss it to the person, smile and say congratulations you are a go-kyu or ik-kyu or sho-dan, etc. Then the class would continue.

No formal testing, testing was daily and often it was a self-test. No money exchanged hands at any time. The certificates, if and when he gave one (mostly for sho-dan only), were not a cost to the individual. The belt was not charged to the person. In other words there were no specified requirements, testing criteria or costs - it just happened when the person was perceived as ready and responsible.