From 1979 through 1984 I had opportunity to train with many friends in a variety of systems and I did my best to retain what I learned. Every experience has some place in the gestalt of of our training. There was no Isshinryu in my immediate area, thus my incentive was to find others to train and spar with. What I found was these varied schools didn’t use sparring in a class setting rather other training. Here are a few of those memories.
First among the studies, (77 to 78) when I first moved to Scranton I started to train with Frank Trojanowicz in for two years. For one thing the kicking helped me immensely . The closeness of the forms to Shotokan later would be helpful to learn that system. We did enough breaking to have someone break my finger. The thing I most enjoyed were his makiwara, the regular training did much to develop my striking technique.
Then a new Sho Dan I also had an interest in Tai Chi and I began training with Ernest Rothrock in Yang Long Fist Tai Chi (108) beginning in 1979. After 9 months of tai chi (in a 2 year study) I began to study Chinese forms with him. Mostly to understand what Chinese forms should be, he then took be on an eclectic study among several systems. First an advanced form in Northern Shaolin, then Northern Preying Mantis, Pai Lum (which he was publically teaching at that time) and even Northern Eagle Claw (which he was studying and which after 25 years did begin teaching too. I gained a great general knowledge about the Chinese styles from him. I even studied some weapons too. The hard work from this study taught me to become more fluid in my flexibility and in my execution. The tai chi I still practice 35 years later. The full range of my studies can’t be fully expressed.
This is a version of the Mantis form I studied under Rothrock Laoshi.This form is slightly different from what I studied but closest of the many variations on the internet.
I was also training with Dave Brojack’s Kempo Goju organization perhaps the most eclectic art I worked with. Taught me a great deal about not having preconceptions about what works. For a while I even taught a youth class there. Mostly I worked on sparring with them and at times we attended tournaments together . Good fellowship there. We were together about the entire 5 years.
One of the organizations I trained with was Steve Newman’s ‘Zen Budo Kai’ a division of Joe Bragues ‘Goshin Jutsu Kyu Jo’. I found them eclectic and extremely effective in their art and one technique among their practices was this one.
· Step left foot outside their stepping strike, right middle side ridge hand clockwise parry
· (Roll the right ridge hand palm press into your left hand (very fluid))
· Right hand then strikes the neck with a right ridge hand strike to the neck (potential KO)
· Right hand then flows down and up under their captured wrist (striking into the wrist)
· Option 1 Strike into their wrist and then wrap their arm with your right and press down (lock)
· Option 2 Strike into their wrist and then wrap their arm with your right, press into their arm to form a “S” curve with their arm, Using the “S” curve press down with your right and lock them with the pain.
Next would be training with Tristan Sutrisno Sensei. We would be together training hard for about 10 years. The arts he then taught were a unique family version of Shotokan (His father had trained under Funakoshi Ginchin Sensei.), as Aikido of pre-WII training under a Usheiba student, Kobudo (consisting of Bo, Kama and Tanto studies) and a version of the Indonesian Artof Tjimande. Though only the bare bones, but yet extremely effective. The depth of these studies was unique, many of which are incorporated into my program. In a sense as these studies were interrelated.
Among which was how his Shotokan incorporated Bunkai, which I believe may be unique in the world. Kata study at the Dan level consisted using almost each point of the kata as a mnemonic device for an extremely different string of effective techniques. You could not anticipate the Bunkai coming from the kata. The techniques could incorporate Karate, Aikido or Tjimande. Then the Bunkai version of the kata had extra movements and this was not performed publically.
An explanation of the depth of these studies, each Dan level were a study in entirely different Bunkai. Also each Dan level used different underlying principles for the Bunkai too. He shared but a fraction of these techniques with me, but they were devastating.
Here is Tristan Sutrisno performing Gojushiho, an entirely different kata from his Gojushiho Dai and Gojushiho Sho.
End of Part 1