The Hachidan retired and put out in the desert
A Monsoon Storm hit Surprise, Arizona this morning
but though we are very near to there, did not make it this far.
So I woke up to a quite cloudy sky,
Which also means it is cooler,
At least until the sun rises.
Here the sun is always incredibly hot,
Which is guess why this is called a desert.
So I began the day with some Tai Chi.
Then worked on my Seisan kata,
I believe I have a better version for my potential worked out.
I do it with double short sticks.
And my technique selection allows the sticks to strike coming and going.
But the real gem was
I have worked out an entirely new use for the opening section of Chinto kata.
Previously exterior lines of defense for this section.
Or interior lines of defense for this section.
Both extremely effective.
Now I see the dynamics of the form technique
Moving from exterior line of defense,
Then concluding from interior line of defense.
The use of the term line of defense
Of course arbitrary.
But no longer having a partner to work with,
Just my singular kata practice.
I guess I will just keep this for myself,
more private notes.
I consider myself so fortunate to have begun my study under Tom Lewis.
There I saw and often was taught the same kata by different versions.
Almost each instructor themselves had learnt it differently at their time being a student.
Mr Lewis never said one version was better or worse than another,
What he cared about is how well everyone did their version.
When I learned Seisan, perhaps at different times I worked with 4 different seniors,
Each of their Seisan slightly different.
And each of them required me to learn and do their version when they were teaching.
The senior who taugnt me most frequently at that time,
Dennis Lockwood, also had changes to the form.
For after having me learn one way, he then showed me how to modify my performance,
To a different method of execution.
When I learned Seiunchin, from Lewis Sensei, we were drilled so intense
In a group performance that I kept my kata that way forever.
Only decades later to realize that was not the way Lewis Sensei did it for himself.
The same with Chinto,
When Lewis Sensei (and a whole group of seniors pitching in) showed me Chinto,
That became my standard.
I realized it was different from what Charles Murray had learn,
But Charles encouraged me to keep the way I was taught.
Only to see decades later,
The the version Lewis Sensei used was a different version.
Then as an instructor I choose to teach my students differently,
For them I only shared one version,
Though over the decades that version moved along.
As I got into my own study of kata application potential,
I kept the manner in which I was taught in mind.
There were numerous ways to perform the kata,
So there could be numerous ways to use the techniques.
The process of unraveling kata potential is a long one.
Ideas came from my instructors ways.
From friends who I trained with learning their methods of using their forms.
From intense study over a long time with Sherman Harrill and John Kerker.
And with a lot of sweat equity on my part.
I never was able to share everything I saw with my students.
I was able to share enough to keep them busy several lifetimes.
And kata application potential is just the opening movement of what is there.
Then the study of kata movement realization,
A much more complex challenge remains.
Getting to the point of not just knowing a potential application exists.
Then doing the work to really use that potential application against real attacks.
More than several lifetimes of never ending challenges.
And now something new occurs to me.
Rank only meant one thing to me,
Not recognition of accomplishment.
Rather that things were going to get ever more difficult,
Requiring more work on my part to become equal to the new challenge,
Presented to me.
I know many wanted to recognize the little I have accomplished,
When Sensei promoted me to Hachidan.
But the truth is it really did become more difficult.
Greater challenges were to come
And do continue.
So here on the deserts edge
I remain working, learning,
And of course ageing less than gracefully.