Wednesday, October 30, 2013

All Hallows Eve

Fan fiction is a marvelous thing, firat the immediacy of the work, then  you can play in the author’s universe, break the rules a little, and not be bound by the rules of strict publishing. A long, long while ago I had an idea for a Halloween story for Halloween means Bats and what is more logical for Bats than Batman, so this tribute to Warren, Richard and of course Bob Kane and all who played the Caped Crusader.
Be safe, be fun and for god’s sake don’t bend your elbow.
Victor Smith
P.S. No pumpkins were hurt creating this tale.

The Man-Bat (A tale of young Chiun). An All Hallows Eve Special.
REMO WAS AWAY to get his daughter. Times were changing for Sinanju. Of course times were always changing for Sinanju, Chiun thought to himself.
He had just finished brewing some fresh tea and took a cup outside to sit in the late October air under the full moonlight.
Ths time of year, near All Hallows Eve, brought poignancy to Chiun's thoughts.
Sipping his tea, he looked up at the full moon in a clear cloudless sky.
Suddenly a bat flew across the face of that moon. To Chiun's enhanced sight it was as if in slow motion. When the bat reached the middle of that trajectory, and its wings outspread full against the backdrop of the full moon, old memories came flooding back.
Back, back to a younger Chiun, a different time and his first white pupil...
*** *** ***
HIS NAME WAS Wayne Bruce, or Bruce Wayne in his own barbarian tongue. He was standing before Chiun, Master of Sinanju, who graciously throttles the universe.
It was Budapest and Chiun was working Europe this season. Although he didn't know it, it was in the years leading up to the great depression (called by decadent Europeans WWII), on in shoddy Western numerals, 1930.
An older house, House Pennyworth, had drawn one of the boons that were their due, from Sinanju.  Three times in the more modern era, House Pennyworth had saved Sinanju with proper cups of tea, which in the land of barbarians was no mean feat.  Sinanju had vowed to repay those unbridled acts of kindness in turn.
The current head of Pennyworth, Pennyworth Alfred, had sent a young man to Chiun, bearing a letter of Introduction.
It seems this young man was the last scion of a House Major himself. His father, Wayne the healer and his wife had been murdered before the boy when he was a mere youth.  The family fortune made young Wayne one the wealthiest men in the world.  The boy was cared for after the tragedy by Pennyworth Alfred and was being driven by a compulsion to fight all evil.

Pennyworth for all his efforts was unable to dissuade Wayne Bruce to do anything else, and had decided to help him to his fullest to protect the young master.
What he was asking Chiun and Sinanju was to teach the young man defensive arts to protect himself during his quest.
Chiun would have dismissed the request, from Pennyworth or no outright, but as it was he was between employers.  In the recent past he had separated from the Emperor known by the Western World as Fu Manchu, and was currently jobbing, going from Emperor to Emperor doing spot work.  Not very satisfying or rewarding to the Treasury.
Pennyworth on the other hand, and deposited a large sum of gold, regardless of the answer, into the Bank of Sinju in Geneva, Switzerland.  The gold was good; it was very very good.  Wayne Bruce had great wealth and he and Pennyworth were willing to spend it.
Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad.  He could teach him some of the arts learnt by Young Usehba who was creating something minor called Aikido.  Yes, that would be sufficient for this task. It would even be fun to play with a young half-baked boy at that.  Well he would see.
Chiun looked up at Wayne Bruce and spoke:  "Pennyworth says you are to be taught to defend yourself, is this true."
"Yes, the fight against evil is dangerous and I must prevail."
"Fight against evil, you are to young to know what you speak of.  Evil, there is no evil, there is no good there is only correct technique. Why should I teach you."
"Old man, I don't......"
Like a blazing spear, Chiun struck two intertwined fingers into Wayne's shoulder. The youth fell to the floor writhing in agony; his arm stuck up in the air.
"You do not spear to the Master of Sinanju that way. I am no old man, I am in my early prime."
Chiun continued to lecture the young man, as he observed his struggle against the pain.  It was a simple nerve attack with no long lasting damage, and the traditional way to test the resolve of a new student in Sinanju. Chiun wasn't intending to give him Sinanju, but the tools would be used as required.
However something unusual occurred. Something new.  Young Wayne found a way to struggle to his feet.Somehow Young Wayne was drawing on the Dark Side of the Force to stand.  He couldn't move, but even that for a mere lad was impossible.
No master in recorded Sinanju History had ever done that. As H'si T'ang had trained him (as well as Chiun his father)  the use of pain to observe in crisis always succeeded. But somehow Wayne Bruce was beyond that.
[Sinanju used the Sun Source.  Of interest to Scholars, was that many times and places this force was found.  In a different universe, in a different time, vast energies of the Force and the Dark Side did compete. Chiun himself once became friends with a Yhoda, in one of those contests.  The Bene Gesseret in a different time and place drew on some of the force in their bag of tricks.   But in all creation and beyond only sinanju drew fully upon the force itself, both good and bad. They tapped its energies and controlled it with their will. All of those stories are open to Sinanju through the Great Wang in the void.]
Chiun could not say where he found the resources to draw on the dark side. He would have to use great care to see that the dark side did not possess him.
Chiun reached out, grabbed Wayne's wrist between his thumb and middle finger and wrenched his wrist counter-clockwise.  The pain stopped and Wayne Bruce stood there in silence.
"That was pain and this is no pain. Do not trifle with the Master of Sinanju. Now sit down and let us begin with breathing. Fill your lungs to their fullest and draw on your center."
*** *** ***
YOUNG WAYNE BRUCE progressed through the training quickly. Chiun kept wondering how someone not from the village could do this. It occured to him that the tragedy which fell his parents must have been driving him as Pennyworth indicated.
He did not receive full Sinanju, but he was not missing much. His breathing was centered. His balance exceptional. Once he lost the raw western inspired muscle mass from his earlier training, his speed became adequate.
Of course Wayne Bruce was possessed with a white mind. When he wasn't training with Chiun he pursued other studies at European Universities, in Philosophy, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Engineering.  He had a never ending knack with things mechanical. Of that Chiun was sure it would hold him back from the advanced studies.
The day came for the floater stroke.  He had already purchased a large group of Yak Skulls at Chiun's request. After receiving admonition not to let anger interfere with the stroke, he simply placed his hand through the Yak Skull. He did not bend his elbow and was quite devoted to Chiun, bringing him the best teas.
He readily took to the Sinanju diet, and with few exceptions was a good student. He could not receive the full training, but in some senses he wasn't far off.
Training like the perfect zones of fire became second nature to him.  When he learned the targeting and release techniques of Sinanju, he playfully began to make small odd shaped boomerangs and practice throwing them unendingly.
One day Chiun noticed the oncoming of the Night of Salt.   This of course was unheard of for anyone outside of Sinanju.
The next day Wayne Bruce disappeared.
As the story played out, he took a Clipper back to the United States, in New York, and used his family fortune to buy a tryout with the New York Yankees.  After pitching 3 perfect innings, and hitting 36 home runs in batting practice, they were ecstatic trying to sign him.  But the salt had run its course and he walked away from the training.  Chiun always felt there was something strange in the Western Mind to pursue silly games like that.
Towards the end of their training time, after about 6 years, Chiun was considering approaching him to move onto Sinanju itself.  He had no pupil since Nuhic had left, and none from the village were worthy. It was unheard of to have a White Night Tiger, but there was that pesky legend  that the greatest of them would be a dead white night tiger, made whole by the Master of Sinanju.
Chiun requested Wayne Bruce to travel to a seedy part of Berlin to deliver a package for him.  While there, on a dark forbidding street, he found himself attacked by a gang of Brown Shirts.  Armed with blood in their minds.  From a distant vantage point Chiun saw Remo attacked by savage attacker after savage attacker.  Guns, knives, clubs all flying in his direction.  A variation of the three times three times three.
Into the thick of the crowd Chiun watched his young protege move into high speed.  He floated, twisted and turned. The result was remarkably similar to the Scarlet Ribbon (which Wayne had not studied) but the difference was grating.  When he finished the entire group was lying on the ground writhing in agony.  He had dislocated or broken their legs and arms, instead of completing each stroke.  They were being left to be remanded to the authorities.  It was pure heresy. Wayne Bruce would not Kill!  What an efront to the Dark Side of the Force
Obviously a hidden flaw in his white character.  But no matter, sad or not for Sinanju, the letter of the contract was fulfilled.  He had repaid Pennyworth by training Wayne.
Shortly they said their farewells and life moved on.
*** *** ***
IT WAS 1948 in the Western manner of counting. The great depression was finished, but as a result of such great turmoil, there was little work for the House of Sinanju. At home were the rumblings of War and talk that Korea had become divided (as if anyone could divide Sinanju). But there was little prospect for employment. Most of the kings were gone or powerless. The war had sapped the will of too many. There was no prospect for a new student of Sinanju, Nuhic was causing trouble in the world, and Chiun was realizing he was into middle age.
He found one assignment for a remaining member of House Borgas that would also carry with it a return flight home to Sinanju. A problem to address in an American City, Gotham.
A former employee of the Borgas had struck out on his own and was no longer returning tribute to Italy.  the assignment was to wipe out he and his compound by way of an example of theirs.
Chiun traveled across the Atlantic Ocean (for the first time) in an Ocean Liner, which took him to the Grand Docks of Gotham.  Leaving his trunks on the Ship, which would sale in 24 hours, he took a taxicab to the home of his assigned target.
Striding up to the door, he knocked. When answered, he announced loudly, "I have come form Italia bearing a message from Lord Borgas for Dominique Sebastian.  Would you announce my personage? I am simply Chiun, Master of Sinanju."
When the doorman did not answer, Chiun simply spun by him and entered the foyer.
Through the foyer and onto the main hall, there Dominique Sebastian was discussing business with a number of associates.
Chiun thundered forth, "Dominique Sebastian,  Caesar Borgas send 'GREETINGS' and best wishes on your DEMISE!"
Then he simply stood there.
Sebastian looked up startled, as did his associates. But quickly he gathered his thoughts and roared, "Men, Kill the intruder!"
"I am no intruder, I am Chiun."
Guns appeared in all their hands, blasting in Chiun's direction. Unfortunately to no effect.
Instead a neat pile of spent bullets appeared at his feet as the guns kept firing. Then he moved. Guns flying one way, arms, legs, heads and torso's the other. 
The gunfire was still reverberating in the foyer but the gunmen were in pieces for the effrontery of attacking Chiun.
Only Dominique Sebastian was left standing.
"Am I to beg for forgiveness, or offer great reward for my life?"
"No, I have already been paid, you are to die."
But suddenly the skylight burst open and a dark shadow flew down into the room.
"Stop, this is my city!  I do not permit executions for any reason."
But before he finished speaking or even had his feet touch the ground, the head of Dominique Sebastian was rolling on the floor.
With grand flourish, cape billowing, the Dark Knight, Batman, entered the scene, landing in front of Chiun.
"That was foolish.  I am going to have to take you to the Police.  Murder is not tolerated in Gotham. As I said this is my city!"
"You can do your worst, but I am going no where."
Batman immediately kicked out toward the head of Chiun.  Chiun on the other hand simply spun wide.  They both went into attack and counter after attack and counter, to no avail.
Chiun's razor sharp fingers seeking the Batman's eyes.  Batman hooking Chiun's knee and spinning him away.   A duet in moves and counter-move.
Chiun drawing consciously on the Sun Source.  Batman drawing unconsciously but with great effect on the Dark Force.
Finally Chiun Spoke, "You move quite well for damaged goods Wayne Bruce."
Batman stepped back involuntarily amazed that he was recognized.
"You no longer remember your teacher?"  Chiun questioned as he stepped into the light.
"Master, I had no idea you were about in Gotham.  I normally sense the trouble of the Riddler, or the Joker or their ilk.  But for your presence nothing.  How is this?
"Wayne Bruce, your work with the Dark Force, unwittingly.  I am in control of the Sun Source. The power flows in both cases.  Simply I am the Master, and you, what are you?"
"Vengeance for Justice, Master Chiun. Vengeance for Justice."
"This I see, but you still do not recognize Justice does not exist, only technique. But you have technique, would that you had been Sinanju.  In my case I leave for my home. There is none to replace me and I must see to the defense of the village.  I will be sailing on the morning."
"Master, I only wish you inform me when you enter Gotham. Professional courtesy perhaps as the reason.  I do not desire to contest with Sinanju unnecessarily.  Before you go, perhaps you could come visit my home.  I know Alfred Pennyworth would be happy to prepare some tea for you.
"At last an offer I cannot refuse."
Into the dark night, the Dark Night and the Master went.
--- The End ---
PPSS Lest I forget thanks too to Frank  Herbert for the Dune Universe 'Bene Gisseret' and George Lucas and Stay Wars.
May you have a joyous All Hallows Eve, and if in the middle of the night a knock is heard on the door, don't be surprised if you hear, "I am Chiun and I have your Number!"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Another Look at Judo Kata

Taking a closer link at Judo Kata, we find the ’Itsutsu No Kata’ or ‘Kata of the 5 Principles’. It may seem strange to our ideas of what kata should be, but it is quite advanced for it explores perfect development of these principles in the performer. We have this record of Mufine Sensei performing this kata.  erhaps best expressed the techniques of Itsutsu-no-kata are composed of gentle movements evocative of natural forces.
Kano Jigoro Professor, Judo’s founder, was performing ‘Ju No Kata’ in this old video record.

 Also unusual to most eyes. this kata the ‘Ju No Kata’ or ‘Form of Suppleness’. It’s techniques show the advancement of the ‘Ju’ in Judo or ‘Yielding’, and the kata contains no throws.

Yet another kata is that of ‘Koshiki No Kata’ or the ‘Ancient Kata’.  It consists of 21 techniques originally belonging to the Takenaka-ha Kito Ryu of Jujutsu.
Performed by Kano Jigoro Professor in this old video,

,it is thought to be the only kata attacking the cervical spine. 
Designed to attack armored warriors. This demonstration clearly shows this and likely explains the why of the movement used.

Mufine Sensei most likely owed his abilities in no small part to these kata among Judo’s 7 kata, absolutely incredible.


The lesson, there is much to learn in different systems and their methods, consider this.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Look at Tai Chi Martial Potential

The study of Tai Chi includes a number of practices which guide the student towards the martial applications. With such a multitude of systems there is no way a comprehensive list could be developed. Perhaps this will suffice to view the tai chi martial potential.

While Tai Chi is often practiced slowly, when applied it is anything but slow. But to begin the slowness is beneficial to learning, correcting balance and slowly developing correct skills. However, if viewed with the open mind you can see its martial potential, from the initial push hand. Where you study pushing, pulling, pressing and warding off the attack, to DaLu the push hands when moving and cornering.

Then to the much more complex  Opposing  Person Form with a greater number of attacks with tai chi movements, and notice at each attack there is a corresponding tai chi counter for the attack.

Finally a look at Tai Chi potential at  a faster speed.

Many programs no longer address the Tai Chi martial potential, but it is part of full training.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Judo versus Karate

Karate has much more in common with Judo than most realize. At Dan level the training originally included study of the kata, or classical two person exercises. The 4th kata, the Kime-No-Kata  or Kata of is Defense, both kicking and striking are studied, reminiscent of karate itself. The first series is Idori or seated movements, the second series is Tachi=Ai  or standing techniques. Here are some examples.

Never assume what is in the Judoka vocabulary.
This was prepared using M. Kawaishi “The Complete 7 Katas of Judo”, by The  Overlook Press, 1952, U.S. Edition 1982

Synko Ryu in Taylor, Pennsylvnia

Back in the early 80’s I had a lot of fun training with Siemong Leutningnom and Tom and Jerry in their Synko Ryu program at Taylor, Pennsylvania. Just found this clipping which brought those memories back.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Training with John Kerker October 2013

Charles Murray on the receiving end of one of John Kerker’s techniques.

This weekend Charles Murray and I attended the training sessions with John Kerker held at Clarence Whitley’s School in Chicopee Mass.

It was very interesting covering Bo basic training that he uses. He also covered the small details within technique, offered various intense application studies of techniques across the kata, moving effortlessly between the kata, and 15 of Tatsuo Shimabuku’s applications over the time we were able to attend. I’m sure what we missed was good too.

John is the senior student of the late Sherman Harrill, who I would be pleased to see his work continue with John.

For great training I encourage all to seek out one of John’s training sessions around the country,  he offers about 10 a year.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Throwing techniques in Karate and Toudi

My recent research into the throwing art of older karate came from my recent posts on Funakoshi Ginchin’s throwing techniques described in his “Karate Do Koyan” from 1935. Then with further research I found a good article ‘Throws in Karate’ by Charles Joseph Swift  on the same subject.
Then on the same topic there is the great translation b Mario McKenna of Itoman Seijin (Morinobu’s) book Toudi-jutsu no Kenkyu  which describes these throws.
Riding Throw
Back Riding Throw
Heaven Throw
Shoulder Throw
Ox Throw
Supine throw
Arm throw
Winding Neck Strike
Yielding Throw
Sacrifice Throw

Using  the Oshima 1973 translation of the Funakoshi  text he describes them as follows.”Throwing techniques include byobudaoshi, komange, kubiwa, katawaguruma, tsubamegaeshi, yaridama, tanitoshi udewa, sakatasuchi, and others.” (page 227) By comparing the descriptions of the throws from the books it seems there are some similarities and differences from those of Toudi and Karate.

It is unclear to me if these were shown as opening movements to the throws  found in kata or as separate training practices complementing the arts of kata. Perhaps further research can clarify this for me. They seem to be logical training alternatives to karate.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tai Chi Palm

I practice Yang Long Fist Tai Chi Chaun. Trying to preserve an aspect of this incredibly valuable and complex art cannot be easily done with words. Currently it is not a part of my students studies and as I continue to modify my art for my condition I still wish to preserve some aspects of this art especially as palm strikes are found in my arts.
This is my instructor ,Ernest Rothrock  Laoshi, demonstrates a basic Tai Chi exercise, the Palm Press. This is one of a series of Tai Chi Warm-up Drills Rothrock Laoshi uses to prepare for the Tai Chi workout.
“The exhale is on the strike and the inhale is on the setup before the palm. We do a basic palm strike in class to work on the actual hand expression.  As you know, Tai Chi is rooted in the feet, directed by the waist and expressed with the hands. Many practitioners do not even know about hand expression and have what we call dead strike (which just means "no action").”

“To do the basic palm with the hand expression, start with both hands at your sides with the shoulders and arms relaxed. Stand with the feet about shoulder distance apart and have both knees slightly bent to make sure the weight is centered.”

1. Raise one arm up keeping the arm straight and inhale. Keep the fingers pointed forward.

2. When the arm reaches slightly above shoulder height, bent the elbow down and bring the hand in while keeping the fingers pointed forward.

3. Bring the arm all the way in to your body, but keep the arm in front of you... do not bring the arm over to the side of your body. Keep the wrist bent so the fingers pointed forward.  Do not curl the fingers.

4. Exhale and push the hand forward.  Keep the fingers pointed forward as you are extending the arm.

5. About 2 inches or so before you reach full extension, flex the fingers back so they are pointed up.

6. Drop the arm back down to your side and relax and release. Then do the other side.

I would add you slow your breathing as you progress to each subsequent cycle. You time your breath to the strike and retreat of the technique. The breathing is as important as the movement.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

What's on my Desk Right Now!

At times you can tell what’s coming next by noting what in on an individual’s desk.
Here are the books I am currently looking at.

Ginchin Funakishi  Karate Do Koyan
Mario McKenna  An Overview of Karate-Do
Itoman Morinobu “The Study of China Hand Techniques
H. Kogel “The Secret Karate Techniques Kata Bunkai”
Motobu Chogun   Japanese Edition of his Combined Works
Irei Hiroshi “Okinawan Karate, A man Called Chanmie, Kyan Chotoku,
Story of his Youth
Nagamine Shoshin “Tales of Onknawa’s Great Masters”
Engami Shigeru “The Way of Karate Beyond Technique”
Kawaishi M. “The Complete 7 Katas of Judo
Nishioka Hayward “The Judo Textbook
Roy Suenaka  Complete Aikido
Hokama Tetsuhiro “Timeline of Karate History
Itosukai Sawabe Shiberu  Patsai

I don’t think there is a pattern, except I don’t return books to their proper place when I am finished with them. Can’t say at this time if any of them are a part of my next project.

One thing, most of the books were one time published. They each had a purpose to the author and unfortunately I doubt it was to provide material for us. At best this is incidential/

We are fortunate to find these works. It has been a side project for almost 40 years, beginning when my wife bought me “Karate Do Koyan” for Christmas in 1976.

My collection is not available for others to borrow. I am constantly referring to it in my studies. Many of the volumes were gifts, to the givers, I am most grateful. I am ever searching them to try and understand our arts origins.

A month from now my desk will look different.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The question of Chi

I have no doubt that chi/ki exists, but most of my experiences are personal, not open to independent verification. On the other hand I can suggest an example that I have always found to be true.

Watch a white belts kata performance, then place them in the middle of two advanced black belts and have them perform the same kata as before. This time the white belt approaches black belt level of performance. This works the same way for everyone, place a green belt between two ni-dans, or a brown belt or a ni-dan between two roku-dans and obtain the same result.

Sure there are several possible contributing factors. The presence of the dans might be providing visual and auditory clues to the kyu performance. But select a kata that they are very experienced with.

There is also less performance pressure for the lower raked student. They feel everyone will be watching the dans and not them.

For myself, I prefer another answer.

I feel the lower ranked student borrows the energy of their senior’s performance.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

New Authentic Bushi No Te Isshinryu Winter Kobudo Training Uniform

New Authentic Bushi No Te Isshinryu Winter Kobudo Training Uniform – Old School

Karate's Nage Waza

Many of the Karate Nage Waza demonstrated by Yuar Tsur Sensei are the same as shown in Funakoshi Ginchin’s 1925, 1927 and 1935 works. Not often a regular current practice.