As the decades progressed I never stopped doing Isshinryu, Yang Long Fist Tai Chi Chaun and the other arts I practiced and taught, but I was aging (I thought) and slowly stopped directed practice and concentrated on teaching. I suppose I thought it was age catching up to me, so I concentrated on teaching to my students.
Then one day about three years age I felt ill. My doctor had left the area so I turned to Dr. Harper, a friend, surgeon and a black belt who had trained with me for 15 years for a check up. Well a blood test confirmed for him I had developed Diabetes type 2. So he laid down the law, and I received education about eating, my wife modified my diet, and I started slowly walking. Sure that was hard, buI I slowly increased my distance at lunch to several miles. I also started training harder and had the idea I should compete to push myself at an April tournament. I decided to do so and to learn a new form from some notes a friend provided, Tomari Rohai. So my walking progressed, my training moved forward, and then I competed pushing myself as far as I could.
Then Doc wanted me to receive a colonscopy to check, and yes they discovered I had rectal cancer. I had lost 60 pounds by that time, and I was to have surgery to remove a foot or so of my colon. I underwent the surgery, which left me with a tempory ileostomy and needed to wear a pouch. The surgery was successful, I lost another 20 pounds and now I was tied to the temporary system for my bowels. Afterward I continued to walk, train andteach as I built up my strength. There were a lot of changes to my way of life.
I continued to take Metformin for my Diabetes, and was keeping my blood sugar in the 90’s. As a result of my cancer surgery I was also to under go radiation therapy and chemotherapy. After 3 months I returned to work as I could. Then the radiation therapy was concluded, and I started the second course of chemotherapy. But that Christmas I started having trouble speaking and was feeling weaker. I was sent to a Neurologist and there discovered something was going wrong. Over the next few months, I became unable to clearly speak, was much weaker, was having balance problems so I needed a cane. I also found it much more difficult to type, fine motor control was less capable. Come April I was put on disability and thought it unsafe to drive any longer. Even swallowing posed a choking hazard so I had to include thickener in my drink. Each possible course of treatment they tried was unsuccessful.
As a year had passed, after testing with a PET scan, I was told I was cancer free. A 2nd surgery was set up to reverse my ileostomy. During that time I had some trouble with abdominal bleeding but the surgery was successful and I lost another 20 pounds. I was now a 100 pounds less. My weight was remaining constant through my chemotherapy and the new diet I followed. The walking had made my blood pressure great. So I was in great shape as I continued to deteriorate.
About the time of my surgery my condition finally stabilized. But there was no improvement. I could still do karate, but weaker and slower. Tai Chi became impossible due to my loss of balance. I continued to take Metformin, my blood sugar continued to be good. I walked, trained, helped teach the kids with the help of my cane, taught the adult class. Now much less, I still made my applications work, much to the dismay of my students. Often the was pain with them, my karate continued to work.
On to teams of specialists. More tests , some physical therapy, and found so far more things I didn’t gratefully have (Alzheimer’s, Lou Geri’s Disease, Cancer..etc.) Eventually they named it Paraneoplastic Neuromyopathy & Neuropathy which means they don’t know what it is. And still the blood tests continue.
I had gotten up to 4 mile walks, kata (i.e.. Sanchin, tai chi) getting stronger , so of course I fell from the front steps and broke 3 ribs at July 3rd. Very painful time, over a month just sitting in the reclining chair. Still I directed the adult class in my yard and slowly returned to doing kata (Now painfully slow and week).
Then two weeks ago returned to walking ¼ mile with my wheeled walker. Very tiring.Slowly covering longer distances. Doing kata, Figured out a way to practice a version of my (drunken weaving) tai chi, and continuing to go forward.
Today 3 miles and not tired. Yerterday assisted picking up branches for a while helping with yard work for the first time. Today I also ran Seiunchin, Seisan, Tomari Rohai, Sanchin, Ying Jow Pai Chi Kungand Yang Long Fist Tai Chi Chaun before I walked. My blood sugar this morning was 96. So it goes.
Do take the time to see your Doctor. Listen to what they say. It is work, it is hard, but you are better following their advice. Do continue to train, walk and do live.
The way I view this is it doesn't make any difference to me if he changed or forgot the kata, it is ear marked Isshin~Ryu.
I will not change the kata because it works quite well for me and as you have seen I have no problem applying techniques from the way Sensei taught it.
Instead of trying to make excuses for the style and changing it all they need to do is understand the system they are in. People have changed things from the start of time, as it will change some form teacher to student. I really doubt that any student can say they teach everything exactly the same as their teacher without some change. Hell I know I don't, most from lack of time with Sensei and the other is Sherman Harrill's development.
I am saying all of this because I am a first generation student loyal to my sensei as you are to yours and to the system of Isshin~Ryu.
Young Lee and Charles Murray demonstrating Kotekitae as taught in Lewis Sensei’s program.
Isshinryu Body Pounding
Spent the morning reviewing several "Toe Tiki Tie" exercises. Sure I know that's not the right way to spell it, but when I was learning we just did it, not take a spelling quiz <GRIN>.
As a new student the arm/body pounding drills were a real part of pre-class practice. By yellow belt I could go toe to to with any of the dans in the drills. Then when I began teaching youth, as it is not appropriate for youngster's it was relegated to late teen training.
In the adult program, with most of us mid 50's to 60's, it likewise is not a concern. But it is useful training at appropriate stages. I remember some of the dan's at one of Sherman's clinics wasting their arms in practice very reminiscent of these drills.
First off, body and arm pounding isn't to toughen up the body and arms, IMVHO. Instead it's to condition them to strike back by tightening at the moment of impact, creating a counter force to lesson a strike. There are still striking methods that can go through that force, and methods of striking that use that conditioning to set one up for follow-up strikes, including in the basic Isshinryu charts (quiz, you tell me where!). But it is still very useful in developing advancing power. Likewise you aren't trying to condition those areas that cannot be conditioned.
The two drills used by Lewis Sensei, I've never seen anywhere else. One was for single person practice and the other was for partner practice.
The two person drill, with both people facing each other in Seiunchin Dachi, hands in chamber on both hips, they are simultaneously executing this pattern. [note the area to strike on the opponent is as you are looking at them. The direction 'right pec or right pectoral' refers to their left pectoral from the opponent’s point of view, and the right is from yourpoint of view.]
1. Right mid-inside strike 2. Continuing with the right, right lower strike 3. continuing with the right, right mid-outer strike 4. Left mid-inside strike 5. continuing with the Left , Left lower strike 6. continuing with the Left , Left mid-outer strike 7. right vertical strike to the opponent’s upper right pec. 8. left vertical strike to the opponents upper left pec. 9. right flat knuckle slap (with the palm stide of the knuckles) to the side of the opponents abdomen. 10. left flat knuckle slap (with the palm side of the knuckles) to the side of the opponents abdomen. 11. right vertical strike to the opponents lower right abdomen. 12. left vertical strike to the opponents lower left abdomen. - ** Repeat again
CAUTION, do not strike on the opponent’s centerline. You're body strikes are to the large muscle masses of the pectorals, the side of the abdomen or the lower abdomen.
We were also instructed in a single person conditioning drill, as well as used abdominal kicking with top of the foot roundhouse kicks to develop the ability to take kicking impact.
Training with a partner, start off soft and up the power each time through, till you and/or your partner reach their limit. In time you'll be surprised how far that limit extends.
Charles Murray demonstrating the single person drill from Lewis Sensei’s program.
This blog was intended as a repository of my experiences for my students. It contains descriptions of historical relevance to our training, technique studies and much of my studies which are not directly used in our classes.
I have left it open because I understand the technique of no technique. If you an outsider can use it, truly, you are welcome to the access.
What is the greatist surprise is that I have had over 60,000 page views from all over the world. I never expected that. You are welcome to use this material though if not my student you will have a hard time following some of it, as it supplements class training. It is also the repository for the instructors.
It' been 30 years since Tristan Sutrisno began his Bushi No To summercamp dedicated to martial excellence. I attended the first 10 years, but time and distance meant I discontinued attending. This weekend they are having the 30th camp and we wish them well, as they will have fine training, among which is Silat, Karate, Tai Chi, Aikido and other arts. His Bushi No Te is grown out of his father's organization on Indonesia. (This is not related to the use of Bushi No Te for my organiization)
That camp among other activities there was Aikido, Karate, for the instructors there a study of Nijushiho, crossing a rope bridge while retaining hold of your weapon of choice, 4 am training sessions, application study of Shotokan, and even a war game crawling around in the rain. We held it at an old Boy Scout's campground.
Notes on Chosen Chiniba’s Karate – ‘A Karate Odessey’
Fron an interview with Sensei Pat Nakata in ‘Classical Fighting Arts’ vol 2 No 14 Issue #37.
Kihon keiko would be called by one of the senior about once a month and not on a scheduled basis.Chibana Sensei taught that each movement of a kata was a kihon waza and kata was fighting training.
Chibana Sensei’s main element of training was kata. Chibana Sensei did the counting of each kata and would correct each move as needed. He would focus on:
Hand or arm position
Kime (focus of technique)
Depending on what he felt would improve the student at that time.
Chibana Sensei was concernedwith form (posture and stance) and physical positions when you were learning the kata.
Once you learned the movements Chibana Sensei would teach you the application of each movement for the kata.
Chibana Sensei taught there were at least three interpretations per movement. Chibana Sensei also taught that there were meanings or applications when you moved from one technique to another. He corrected the transition and intermediate moves.
Chibana Sensei taught that there were three levels of teaching in the kata, especially the Pinan kata.
The three levels for the Pinnan kata were as follows:
1.The first level which was for elementary and intermediate school students, was basic punch, kick, strike and block.
2.The second level for high school students with more dangerous interpretations.
3.The third level went into very viscous applications and was reserved for older students.
I continue to talk about the great works of Martial Literature. This time a current tale.
While it is true I have never met a book about Aikido I didn’t like, “Complete Aikido”, published by Tuttle Press and written by Suenkaka and Watson, is a marvelous book on many levels.
It tells the story of Roy Suenaka, a Hawaii of Japanese ancestry, who was literally raised in multiple martial traditions, choosing to serve this country in the Air Force. Then stationed in Japan almost instantly became deshi to Usheiba Morhei, received his Menkyo Kaiden from Usheiba, moved for service to Okinawa and then opened the first successful Aikido dojo there, always continuing new training experiences, was then accepted as a student by Soken Hohen.
His descriptionof the break of Aikido instructors following Usheiba’s death is a tale that still repeats itself in other arts. Eventually he opened the Suenaka-Ha Tetsugaru-Ho Wadikai Aikido program in Charleston, SC.
This is an exciting, literal account of great training, over a lifetime. As a book it is an exceptional tale.