Thursday, June 30, 2016

200,000

 

It boggles my mind that this blog has had over 200,000 visits since it began. The blog really is something I created just for my students, a way to pass along some of what I have experienced, so it is not lost

At the same time I am not of the opinion this material should not be shared. Should others take the time to work on what is shared, they  will have earned it the old fashioned way, with their own sweat equity.

I do have material that is not for those outside my students. I pass it privately.

But to respect so many who have visited, I remain humbled.

Victor Smith

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Here Comes the Judge

When I was the Judge.
 
 
I am in the center, and on the right end is Gayland Aston from the Wilkes-Barre Shaolin School.

A photo is worth a Thousand Words

Some good technique execution from long ago.
 
 
 
I am no longer sure, but this may be Jon Bonner Sensei

Friday, June 24, 2016

Old Style Training


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Often in warm up for class, Sensei would have us do leg  lifts

 

  Repetition 1

          1. Lying on the floor, raise your legs 6 inches off the floor.

          2. Then open up your legs to their fullest extent, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

          3. Then close your legs, bring them together, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

          4. Then as one, slowly place the legs on the floor.

  Repetition 2

          1. Lying on the floor, raise your legs 6 inches off the floor.

          2. Then open up your legs to their fullest extent, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

          3. Then close your legs, bring them together, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

          4. Then as one, slowly place the legs on the floor.

  Repetition 3

          1. Lying on the floor, raise your legs 6 inches off the floor.

          2. Then open up your legs to their fullest extent, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

          3. Then close your legs, bring them together, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

4. Then open up your legs to their fullest extent, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

          5. Then close your legs, bring them together, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

          6. Then as one, slowly place the legs on the floor.

  Repetition 4

          1. Lying on the floor, raise your legs 6 inches off the floor.

          2. Then open up your legs to their fullest extent, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

          3. Then close your legs, bring them together, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

4. Then open up your legs to their fullest extent, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

          5. Then close your legs, bring them together, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

5. Then open up your legs to their fullest extent, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

          6. Then close your legs, bring them together, maintaining the 6

 inches off the floor.

          7. Then as one, slowly place the legs on the floor.

 

The opening and closing of the legs could be repeated as the instructor wished. This exercise is of course to strengthen the abdominal muscles.

 

But a special twist was Sensei walking across everyone, stepping on their stomach as the feet were being opened and shut.

 

For a long time we did this with the kids too. But used the kids to walk across each other.

An Alternate Way to Teach Stick


Once upon a time I decided to share some stick technique with my students. But I didn’t want to have young people thinking about striking people with sticks.

 

I found a different solution. Long ago one friend told me about how when he was a Brown Belt in his art, and he had to often walk around New York City. So he used to carry a rolled up newspaper in his hands, to use to strike into an attacker if that occurred.

 

That gave me an idea and I shared some stick training with the kids using rolled up newspapers. This was just for a New Years Night Sleep Over at the Club for the kids. I often offered one time unique forms from other systems for those training sessions. And that is what I did that time.

 

Now without reinforcement the training in time, is left behind. And this was not part of the curriculum they were learning.

 

But it makes a point how variable short stick is. Literally anything you can hold in  your hand, Stones, Books, bottles, cans etc., can be used as a weapon. And the empty hand can also be used as a stick.

 

A truly variable study.

 

Even with a rolled up newspaper.

 



 

When I was young.....

 
At times I walked different paths.
 
 

 But at my heart I am Isshinryu
 







 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Salisbuty Dojo of Tom Lewis


 What is a dojo?

 

It is a place to train.

It is the people who train there.

It is where the attitude to succeed is forge.

 

When I began the dojo was the dojo of Tom Lewis.

 

I know before my time, it was located in many places. But for me it was the Karate Barn that was the place I trained.

 

 

 In those days, I was there to train, not take photos.


But sometime after I received my black belt in 1979, one of my trips back there I took some photos. So between 1979 and 1984 this was what Salisbury looked like, just as it had been for me.
 

Then when you entered the first thing you would see was the people on the floor training.
 


In this photo Dennis Lockwood is crossing the dojo.




In the alcove off the main floor Lewis Sensei maintained his kobudo weapons.
 

Here is Mr. Lockwood in the dojo office.
 

At times the instructors might relax there after class.


 
But it was the place Lewis Sensei used to maintain the program.
 




He also kept some of his awards and dojo trophies there too.
 



The Dojo of Tom Lewis
 




 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Very Early Training in Derry






Those who shared with me at the beginning wen I was a student in Salisbury

Tom Lewis Sensei

Dennis Lockwood
Al Bailey

Reese Rigby

 
  Wayne Webster
 
Charles Murray

Karl Hovey

And many other members of the IKC would drop by to help train us.
This photo is of many of those members, here attending a clinic with
Harold Mitchum

Saturday, June 18, 2016

I am giving an early lesson in Derry,

Just an early Isshinryu lesson, the hard way. This was the dojo in those days at the Derry Boys and Girls Clubl Before the room was cleaned up for us. But all Isshinryu requires is a spade, and bodies.


 
 

 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

On Isshinryu Jump Kicks

 
Long ago I was taught Chinto kata with the jumping kick as a jumping knee strike ( to get into the air) and the 2nd kick as the kick ( in the air ).
 
One day in practice I had hurt my knee and could not jump off it. Charles Murray told me, “Vic, that is no problem, just dial it back one level, and turn it into a stepping front kick, till you get better.” I did that and learned a lesson, that the technique contains layers of techniques.
 
In time this would become a useful training tool. It the more complex movement was beyond the student, the underlying kick probably needed work to get their basic technique stronger. Then working on the basic kick allowed them time to develop more strength for the more advanced movement.
 
An example.
         
  Movement: Jumping Knee Strike Front Kick, Flying Front Kick
  Back One Level: Left Step In Right Front Kick
  Back Two Levels: Without movement Right Front Kick
 
This would serve to strengthen the individual for any technique.
 
Then when I learned Kusanku Kata, the same jumping knee strike followed by a jumping front kick was used.
 
And in the basics as I had been taught the jumping knee strike followed by a jumping front kick was the way we did it.
 
I did learn another jumping front kick from my studies in Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan, a jumping front leg front kick. I remember showing it to Charles long ago. It required you to jump straight up and then kick with the front leg when off the floor.
 
I just practiced as I was taught and never tried to work other variations I would see on video tape.
 
Then move forward several decades. At one clinic Sherman Harrill showed us a specific application for the double jump kick. There he jumped into one person with a jumping front kick, kicking into their abdomen, then continued the jumping with a second front kick into the abdomen of a 2nd person.
 
I saw the use, and this was another variation for me. After time working on it, I saw the value of it and decided to incorporate it into our training.
I could see the value to both methods of kicking.
 
In Chinto kata we retained the jumping knee then jumping front kick, but there after in Kusanku we used the jumping front kick, jumping front kick. This change made very little difference in the kata, but preserved both methods of kicking.
 
I had made similar choices before.
 
When I was taught Wansu kata, the form ended with front kicks with the left leg. Mr. Lewis had told us they were originally lead leg knee strikes (as a parry against a kick) followed by a front kick with the same leg), but the kata had been changed long before (though I never heard why or where), Then training with several people in Goju Ryu one of the versions of Saifa kata I learned incorporated the raise the knee (parry) then use that leg for a front kick. And it was done with both legs in the kata.
 
I did not have to change what I was taught, I just incorporated that Saifa kata into the students training. For one thing preserving that method of kicking in the students curricula.
 
The thing is to develop the ability to do both in the karate-ka. Then these techniques become another layer to the arsenal.
 

The Eyes of the Tiger





This makes me think of an old lesson I learned studying with Charles Murray.

 

He described that in fighting you should develop Tiger Eyes.

 

Your face should not show emotion, rather your eyes should intensely observe everything and give no emotion away. As if you had the Eyes of the Tiger.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Why We Save Things


 
Research in the martial arts is a funny thing. You never know when something will prove useful.

 

This year I have been ridding myself of literally tons of stuff I hung on to. Long ago I did the same thing. Then discarding hundreds of old martial magazines. Now many old books, yards of saved discussions from the net, and lots of old keepsakes. Eventually we are going to move and it will be impossible to retain everything.

 

I know I am keeping too much as it is. But stuff has a way of sticking to you. As I discard each piece I remember why I saved it.

 

My wife has been boxing everything up.

 

So yesterday serendipity struck. There was a very old binder. Notes from an obscure discussion I had saved in 2002.  And as it turns out right now my martial research has use for that exact material. It should provide insight into the current topic of my research, eventually for my students.

 

The topic just one of personal interest. But if I hadn’t preserved it, and hadn’t found it, it would have been a loss.