Monday, May 22, 2017

Thoughts on Miyagi and Rank



 
I just ran across something Gary Gablehouse posted some time ago, a quote by Miyagi Chojun, Sensei on Martial Arts Titles.

 

"I believe that when Dan ranks are awarded in karate, it will inevitably lead to trouble. The ranking system will lead to discrimination within Karate, and karateka will be judged by their rank and not their character. It will create inferior and superior strata within the Karate community, and lead to discrimination between people."

 

Which is even more interesting when you think about what Miyagi Chojun did to move the study of karate forward.

 

He studied and shared within the Okinawan martial arts community. He traveled to China to try and understand the Chinese Martial Arts, he was an innovator for his own style of karate training. He worked to gain recognition of the Okinawan Martial Arts in Japan, receiving recognition


From the Japanese Martial Establishment for his efforts and he observed first hand how the use of rank was working within Japan.

 

I recall reading how Funakoshi Ginchin remarked how many with rank were coming forward at martial events. Individuals he had never heard of. I think it was within such context that Miyagi’s opinions were framed.

 

On Okinawa, at that time, you were just an instructor, or a student or adept training. Rank was not unknown on Okinawa. Rank was a social function. Most or all of the karate-ka in the 1800’s were from noble families, it was something done with the structure of that society, Even when it was proposed for the schools I expect most of the students were from that stratus of society. Your family rank or status did not change because of your karate.

 

Then when the export began into Japan, the structure was applied to be more Japanese in nature. After all I was for the University system that the art was taught, and there the structure of rank made it seem more like what individuals knew.

 

The idea must have appealed to many Okinawa’s as Miyagi had requests to grant rank to students. However he declined to do this with karate.

 

When he died soon after the War, one of the first actions by his students was to ignore his suggestions and adopt rank.

 

Now the tradition was when you became the instructor, as there were no rules written, you had the authority to make your own decisions. So changing to having rank in karate was not incorrect, just different.

 

But is Miyagi’s suggestion was followed, how might the shape of karate be different today.

 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The issue of Pre and Post WWII Aikido

I am not an Aikido expert. I have had some instruction in Aikido, but more geared as an adjunct to Karate. In fact the source was from someone who trained in Japan in the 1930s.
 
 
You hear that the pre-WWII Aikido taught by Usheiba Sensei was more hard style, and the post-WWII Aikido that he taught was different, softer.
 
 
An interesting video by the Aiki news folks, seems to put that in a different light.
 

The techinques Usheiba Sensei showed in 1936 and then in 1951 seem very much the same, and his Aikido did not change appreciably over the years.
 
I suspect the change was more how students were being trained.
 
 
First, let me show some screen prints from that video.
 













 
 
The video is here.
 


The Toe Hold - a unique leg lock

From the Journal of Asian Martial Arts
Volume 14, Number 4, 2005
 
 
 



Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Real Lessons


Over the years there are more than a few things that had to be experienced to be believed. I am going to suggest a few of them I lived through.

 

 

1. One day at a summer camp we used to hold my friend Ernest Rothrock, an instructor in many Chinese arts (today focused on Wu Tai Chi, Yang Tai Chi and Faan Tzi Jing Jow Pai)  asked me to be his demonstration partner.

 
 

Now that was always an experience with him, but I agreed.

 

Then he asked me to strike at him with a hooking punch. And I did  so. But he just lifted his hands, so my strike hit them first. There was intense pain.

 

Of course then he started laughing and asked me if I couldn’t hit harder than that.

 

So I struck at him as hard as I could and again he just raised his hands in a vertical position, I struck into them with my hooking strike. Again more intense pain.

 

I never forgot that,

 

What occurred was I was striking into his unmoving vertical palms with the interior of my arm. Those strikes drove his hands into the softer areas of my arm, and hit an area that cause pain. And the harder I struck the harder I was striking myself.

 

In time I discovered many applications for that knowledge gained the hard way.

 

 

2. Then one day I learned how to fly. I was working with Tristan Sutrisno, a Shotokan, Aikido, Tjimande instructor, where in 1983 we were preparing a demonstration fight. In the course of the fight I caused him to take to the floor and I went to stomp him,

 

Instead he performed a middle finger strike from the floor, directly into the point between my testes and my anus. A place where there is not much muscular protection.

 

 

I learned how to fly, receiving great pain from his strike.

 
 
The Chinese designation of that point. I believe the Hui Yin point, is 1/2 between the testes and the anus, and is an extremely sensitive area;
 
 Pronounced Who Yin
  • The Hui Yin is an acupuncture point known as CV-1 located at the perineum between your anus (rectum) and your genitals (see diagram page 18)
  • The Hui Yin is also known as the root chakra
  • The Hui Yin position connects the energy channels from the root chakra (earth energy) of your body and closes the perineum to prevent energy from escaping your body
  • Contracting the Hui Yin allows energy (also called Ki, Chi, Prana, Huna, Ka) to flow through your energy channels in a complete circuit
 
Another lesson not to forget.
 
 
3. When in 1984 I was soon moving to New Hampshire, I received another lesson from him. Again I was with his students at another demonstration, for one of his students opening a new school.
 
 

While we were warming up he was trying to make a point to one of his senior students.. whereby he turned toward me and asked me to step in and strike him.

 

 

I started doing so, knowing I was sure to be on the receiving end of something painful.

 

 

Instead he disappeared before my eyes, no longer before me. Then I felt his weight standing on my shoulders.

 

He hopped off me and flipped a side kick towards my face and then landed with a grin.

 

That was a very strange feeling. The person you were striking towards ending up atop your shoulders. It was beyond belief.

 

 

I had no idea now he had done it.

 
 

I turned toward his other black belts and asked them what he had done. I only got blank looks on their faces. None of them was expecting that so they did not see what he had done.

 
 

There is a lesson there about observation.

 

 

And of course as the recipient I could not ask him how he had done it.

 

 

Over the next several years I came up with several different ways he might have done it.

 

A number of years later while he was conducting a clinic for my students in New Hampshire, I saw him perform a technique I may have seen once before in 1980. I knew then what he had done.

 
 

It was a different technique from what I had imagined. Somewhat altered from what I knew he had, done that way because I was a more stable platform. It used my forward motion to vault upward, using one of his aikido principles in a new way.

 

I turned to him and asked him if that was what he had done with me.  With a grin, he admitted so.

 
 

More lessons learned the hard way.

 

4. Again back to Ernest Rothrock. As the decades in his study of Faan Tzi Ying Jow Pai (Northern Eagle Claw) his ability to work the claws of his are improved greatly.

 

I remember a clinic in the late 1990s, where again being his opponent, he grabbed my biceps with an Eagle Claw control claw, and the pain of that grab was exquisite. And the grip let marks on my arm for a month, marks that looked like claw marks.

 

I observed how his ability to form his hand claws changed over the decades. Although there were subsidiary practices to aid that occurring, he maintained that it was the forms practice, with uncountable clawing movements over, and over and over as the main factor. Something people often to not recognize the value of decades of practice bringing. Too short term in their focus.

 

5. In time my own studies gave another reason. At one period for a year for a variety of reasons, the adult group shrank to just two of us (the program experiences ebb and flow, as even do students experience the cycles). But that allowed me to have the most advanced studies with a skilled partner.

 

 

I got deeper into my own Isshinryu and other kobudo studies.  I began to experience that most of the kubudo was not for practical study. (the exception being our stick studies)

 

 
Rather came to understand the stronger reason for the kobudo was for the force multiplier effect the training offered.

 
 

Again training for decades of work. When your strength began its decline for age reasons, the long work with bo, sai, kama, and tonfa, offered other advantages.

 

I came to realize that what was a very deep study with Ernie Rothock and his dozens of different Chinese weapons studies, was actually working as a force enhancer each different weapon developing different muscular strengths, and dexterity skills, all contributing to his Eagle Claw abilities.

 

The same thing was happening in our karate. When you did a downward block/strike with the closed position sai, it worked to add increased strength to a grab and pull down as if the arm was a sai. Increasing the kata application ability of movements.

 

Closed Sai, Open Sai, Bo, Kama closed and Kama open,  even Tonfa strengthening finger and grip strength. All of the kobudo a great force enhancer, One with decades of abilities to confer.

 

Although there was always more that could be studies, most of us do not have the time to do so. And the relatively few Isshinryu Kobudo studies were more than enough to do the trick.

 

6. The thing was their senior students receiving their techniques over and over were on the way to becoming great instructors themselves.

 

 

That pain receiving they experienced, allowed them to instruct with great accuracy. When you worked with them, they would adjust your strikes into areas that would cause greater pain, which they were intimately familiar with.

 

These are not the only lessons I experienced. Just a significant handful among them.

I have had just a many lessons from my Instructors and friends in Isshinryu, but I will save them for another time. 
 

We work forward and at times learn over our decades.
 

May time be with you.


Friday, May 5, 2017

Analysis of the Wansu Dump


 
I think it would be most useful to look at three different versions of Shimabuku Sensei showing the dump from Wansu kata. That will allow us three slightly different angles of his performance.

Now the Isshinryu standard (based on decades of internet discussion) example of how this throw is done against an opponent is probably that of Arsenio Advincula from his YouTube site.

 

 

Sherman Harill from a clinic focusing on Wansu kata in 1998 in Derry New Hampshire. From my personal notes .

 

Attacker Right foot forward Left Punch

 

1. First you draw back in a left cat stance, your left open hand held above your head and your right open hand drawn back to your right hip with the fingers pointing down.

 

2. As they step in with the strike you slide into the attack with your left hand rising under their arm to lift it up. At the same time you slide forward shifting to the left into a horse stance while your right hand strikes toward their groin, This stops their forward momentum.

 

3. Your left hand slides down their arm to hook over their wrist. At the same time your right hand slides up placing itself on their arm behind their elbow. The two motions act as a vice on their arm. The left pulling down, the right rising up.

 

4. The previous technique causes them to shift forward on their toes. When you struck their groin it caused them to rise on their toes, then the following motion destabilized them to begin to fall forward.

 

5. As they are falling forward, you do the 180 degree turn, at the same time the pressure against your wrist you are pressing it into your left waist chamber. As that is happening the right presses against their elbow making them fall forward as you move forward.

 

There were several variations of this principle shown.

 

Mark Radunz’e version of the Wansu dump application is interesting. He was a Sherman Harrill student.

 

In his application you do not even use the body turn.

 
 

Finally a non-Isshinryu alternative for the Wansu Dump.

 

These are just a few of the possibilities that the movement offers.

 

With work you can develop new options too.

 

As an Isshinryu practitioner who has also studied Judo, This is how I interpreted the throw
 
 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Guide to Bushi No Te Kicking


It occurs to me there is a great deat regarding kicking I have used in my program. So here are some accumulated ideas about use of the foot to consider.

 

Of course this is not complete, but I think it will be helpful.

 

 

“Keri” not “Geri”

 

Recently discovering those notes on the Advanced kicking drills I created quite some time ago has gotten me thinking about the training I’ve experienced in kicking in the arts.

 

A number of different incidents come to mind.

 

My introduction to Joe Swift on the inter-net almost began with him explaining to me the difference between use of Keri and Geri for kicking. The correct Japanese term for kick is “Keri” but when it is in a compound like roundhouse kick (mawashi-geri) it is “Geri”. As a standalone word “Geri” means ‘diarrhea’. An important distinction if you’re trying to make a point in Japanese I guess.  [Actually I’ve found many books going both ways, which make the point about  authors not knowing Japanese using Japanese terms.]

 

The superb kicking technique of Shimabuku Tatsuo on his films. They remain the most impressive detail I’ve seen of his technique.

 

Taking a seminar in the mid 1970’s with Bill Wallace, and watching very good regional black belts become helpless trying to stop his kicking combinations, even when he told them before hand what he was throwing. He didn’t gain the nickname “Superfoot” for nothing.

 

Seeing a preliminary fight to the Middle Weight championships between Butch Bell and Kasim Dubar, where one opponent tried a low block on a Bando stylists shin kick and broke his arm. That incident also almost cost Kasim Dubar his life, for the Doctor was treating the broken arm during his middleweight fight and wasn’t present ringside when Bell destroyed him and only the quick resuscitation of the referee kept him alive.

 

Watching Rick Roufus the other night fighting Mike Malone. From the fight it looked like the roundhouse kick to Rick’s leg took their toll and he was unable to keep standing to compete in a run-off round. The joys of full contact competition, who can break down the other’s leg first.

 

Mr. Lewis’ green belts winning fights with spinning back kicks in the opponents mouth, with perfect control, as soon as the judge shouting “Hajime” and the opponent never moved one inch.

 

The Korean Young Tigers TKD team demonstrating their jumping front kicks 9 feet in the air, using two partners hunched over each other on the floor as a springboard to launch themselves up as a trampoline.

 

A whole lot of kicking going on, and of course there are many, many more incidents I remember.  This resurrects why I created this set of kicking drills and the wide range of kicking practices I’ve studied over the years.

 

I’d like to discuss my history on the art of kicking and then the choices I began to make how to develop these skills in my own students.


 

Among the specific drills I have used are these. One is not more valuable than the others, each have specific strengths.

 


 


 

 


 

 

Among the most advanced drill we use is Kihon Ni Dan which came from the art of Tristan Sutrisno

 

 

Other drills

 

Use of advanced kicking drills to develop self defense skills using the lower body is but one more step on a long sequence of training. These kicking drills require a much more advanced timing to execute properly, as well as being rather dangerous to the person you’re kicking.

 

All are against an attacker stepping with their right and throwing a right strike.

 

The defender is in natural (parallel) stance facing 12 o’clock.

 

Pivoting on the left foot (on the ball of the foot), the right foot steps in (interior line of defense) and you turn to 9 o’clock with a right inside open hand parry. The right foot sweeps in with your heel behind their front ankle, at that point you execute a right scoop kick to 6 o’clock. This has the effect of allowing your attacker to practice their split stretch.

 

Pivoting on the right foot (on the ball of the foot), the left foot steps in (exterior line of defense) and you turn to 3 o’clock with a left inside open hand parry. The left foot sweeps in with your heel behind their front ankle, at that point you execute a left scoop kick to 6 o’clock. Same effect as No. 1.

 

As they attack, step back with your right foot and execute a left open hand outer parry (as from Seisan kata), then throw a right front kick into the left inner thigh of the attacker and immediately follow with a right cutting kick (the inward striking kick from Nihanchi Kata) to the back of the attacker’s right knee. This is a 1-2 kicking motion with the right foot.

 

As they attack, step back with your right foot and execute a left open hand outer parry (as from Seisan kata), then throw a right squat kick to their left lower ribs, and immediately follow with right inside stomp to the back of the attacker’s right knee. This is a 1-2 kicking motion with the right foot.

 

As they attack, step back with your right foot and execute a left open hand outer parry (as from Seisan kata), then throw a right turning side kick to 12 o’clock into their stomach. Put the foot down (the right toes facing 6 o’clock) and then turn to the left and throw a left side kick to 12 o’clock into their stomach.  Put the foot down (left toes facing 12 o’clock) and finish with a right outside crescent kick to their head.

 

For the athletically inclined, as they attack, step back with your right foot and execute a left open hand outer parry (as from Seisan kata), then throw a right turning side kick to 12 o’clock into their stomach followed by a left turning and jumping side kick into their stomach.

 

From the parallel stance, your right foot circles forward clockwise, to hook your right heel behind their right heel (exterior line of defense). As the right leg hooks in you bump them forward off balance and then throw a right front kick into their supporting leg or groin.

 

From the parallel stance, your left foot circles forward counter-clockwise, to hook your left heel behind their right heel (interior line of defense). As the left leg hooks in you bump them forward off balance and then throw a left front kick into their supporting leg or groin.

 

The Left foot steps to the outside of the attack as the right hand parries the attacking arm from the outside. Follow this with a right hook kick to the attacker’s kidneys. This can be followed with a right roundhouse kick to their abdomen (or alternately a right side kick to their right knee from the outside). Admittedly, the follow up kick is more a drill than an necessity or practical response.

 

The Left foot steps to the outside of the attack as the right hand parries the attacking arm from the outside. Follow this with a right roundhouse kick to the abdomen and then a right hook kick to the kidneys.

 

From a parallel stance, throw a left ¾ front side kick to the inside of the attacker’s right knee.

 

For those who are very athletic (borrowed from my Tang Soo Do training),  The Left foot steps to the outside of the attack as the right hand parries the attacking arm from the outside. Follow this with a right hook kick to the attacker’s head over the top of their arm, followed by a right roundhouse kick to their head.

 

The Left foot steps deep to the outside of the attack as the right hand parries the attacking arm from the outside. Follow this with a right crescent kick to the attacker’s head from their rear, followed by a right stomping low side kick to the attackers left knee (from behind). For this sequence you’ve moved past them and are kicking them from the side and behind.

 

The Left foot steps deep to the outside of the attack as the right hand parries the attacking arm from the outside. Follow this with a right heel kick to their groin (from behind them). Essentially you’ve moved past them with your initial stepping and for the right groin kick your right leg circles up to be behind them, you raise the heel to rake into their groin, and the right foot moves counter-clockwise raking motion up into the groin from the front to the rear. This is not a response most expect.

 

Pivoting on the left foot (from parallel stance) the right foot spins to the rear 180 degrees clockwise (outside the attackers arm) (you are now facing 6 o’clock). Your left foot rakes back and up (in a clockwise motion) into their groin (from their front) raking the heel from back to front.

 

Pivoting on the left foot (from parallel stance) the right foot executes a right outer crescent kick (from the exterior of the attackers arm), then pivoting on the right foot which is placed down, you throw a left inside spinning crescent kick to their head or back (spine).

 

The Left foot steps to the outside of the attack, and then pivot on the left to spin clockwise with a right inside hook kick to the attackers rear knee from behind (or to their head from behind).

 

The Left foot steps to the outside of the attack to set up a right side kick to the attacker’s knee followed by a right roundhouse kick to the abdomen/groin.


 



 

Charlie Murray informs me that Mr. Lewis’ Lower Body Chart has always included front heel thrust kicks and side heel thrust kicks from the floor, and I still teach that way.

 

With Charles visit for the first time for him, Mike Cassidy had the kids working a drill he developed years ago. You might find this useful.

1.       You fall down and shift to your resting on your elbows Your feet curled up at your groin

2.       Front heel thrust kick from the floor

3.       Roll over to your right side and curl you feet at your groin

4.       Left Side heel thrust kick from the floor

5.       (optional) roll over to the left, scissoring your legs (which is also a tripping motion where one foot hooks behind the attacker’s foot and the other side kicks their leg at the same time making the trap.)

6.       (optional)  right side thrust kick from the floor

7.       Rise to one knee (On knee on the floor)

8.       Use the knee for a jump knee strike

9.       Finish using the other foot for a front kick (8 and 9 together are a jump front kick)






 

INDEX

 

Bushi No Te Isshinryu Kicking techniques

 

Note; most of the following kicks work to a wide range of targets of opportunity. Nor are the set up techniques described, nor angles of entry, etc.

 

Isshinryu basics

 

Rear Front Snap Kick (front) ball of foot

Rear Front Snap Kick (side) ball of foot

Front Front Thrust Kick (front) heel thrust knee high

Rear Front Snap Kick (front) ripping toe kick

Rear Front Thrust Kick (on the floor on your back) - heel

Side Snap Kick knee height 45 degrees front – blade of foot

Side Snap Kick knee height to side – blade of foot

Side Snap Kick knee height 45 degrees rear – blade of foot

Side Thrust Kick (on the floor on your side) – heel

Bottom foot hooks behind leg and Top foot Side Thrust Kick to the knee (on the floor on your side)

Cross Kick (stomp) – heel

Cross Kick (stomp) - instep

Crescent Kick Inner (front) – shin

Crescent Kick Inner (front) - instep

Knee Strike to front

Knee Strike to front cat chambered first

Rear Kick with heel (foot vertical) to groin

Jump Knee Strike then Opposite Jump Front Kick – ball of the foot

Double Jump Front Kick – ball of the foot

Step to Side Squat Kick (roundhouse kick 45 degrees off the floor) – ball of the foot

Roundhouse Kick (old style) ball of the foot

Roundhouse Kick (new style) ball of the foot

Back corner side kick with one foot followed by a rear kick with the other foot

Back corner side kick with one foot followed by rear kick with the same foot

 

Isshinryu advanced

 

stepping – on top of opponents foot / stomping

stepping – hooking behind on the interior line of defense

stepping – hooking behind on the exterior line of defense

stepping – stepping on the opponents instep

stepping – hurried stomping on the opponents instep

stepping – sweep

stepping – inner knee check/thrust

Front Kick – striking behind the calf on a returning heel

Front Kick – shin kick to the inner thigh

Front Kick – instep kick with the ball of the foot

Front Kick – striking with the inside ball as the foot retracts

Naifanchi – inner foot slice to inside of leg

Naifanchi – cross foot slice to front of leg – inside to outside

Naifanchi – cross foot slice to front of leg – outside to inside

Naifanchi – outside ball of foot reverse round strike to outer calf

 

Other kicking

Front Kicks top of the foot

Round Kicks top of the foot

Ankle Kicking with Toes in shoes (Tam Tuie)

Inner Leg Toe Kicking with Shoes (Tam Tuie)

Outer Leg Toe Kicking with Shoes (Tam Tuie)

Lower Abdomen Toe Kicking with Shoes (Tam Tuie)

Uechi style Toe Kicks

On Floor, rolling scissors to leg – trap – takedown

from Seiza – front thrust kick and return to Seiza

Outer Crescent Kick

Reverse Roundhouse Kick


 

 

Jumping Front Front Kick

Jumping Outer Crescent Kick

Jumping Inner Crescent Kick

Jumping Outer Front Crescent Kick followed by Jumping Inner Rear Crescent Kick

Jumping Inner Rear Crescent kick followed by Jumping Inner Front Crescent Kick

Step and Crescent Kick

Rear Side Kick above waist to front with heel toes angled down

Front Side Kick above waist to front with heel toes angled down

Back Turning Rear Kick

Back Turning Side Kick

Back Turning Inside Round Kick

Back Turning Outside Crescent Kick

Back Turning Jumping Rear Outside Crescent Kick followed by turning Inside Crescent Kick

Back Turning Jumping Knee followed by turning Inside Crescent Kick

Axe Kick (heel striking outside crescent kick)

Back Turning Jumping Axe Kick

Turn away – drop to  knee and place both hands on the floor – rear foot back turning side kick from the kneeling position – return kicking foot to original position – rotate and stand to original position

Spinning Wheel Kick

Turn away – drop to knee, and place both hands on the floor – spin counter-clockwise with a wheel kick (calf high)

 

Sparring kicks

 

The normal range of sparring kicking and combinations

 

Specific Combinations

 

Cross over stomp kick followed by front kick with the other leg

Front Shin Kick followed by Rear Shin Kick

Rear front Thrust to inner thigh and retract with cut kick to inside of other knee

Squat Kick to outside ribs and follow with cross stomping kick on their inner knee

Step in and Swing Kick directly to rear hooking their ankle

Step outside and Swing Kick directly to the rear hooking their ankle

Back Side Kick to Front follow with back turning side kick to the front then place foot down and rear leg outer crescent kick

Step Past the attacker and rear leg chamber heel pawing strike to groin

 

Ghost Techniques

 

Private range of Chinese lower body maneuvers for evasion and turning using the stepping as an attack

 

Kicking Drills

 

A very wide range of kicking drills cumulating with an exceptional kicking exercise

 It is also appropriate to note these studies occurred over 3 decades of training. They are not a short term study, rather a study for accumulated experiences.