Saturday, September 29, 2018

Frank VanLenten in Official Karate

I read this piece by Frank Van Lenten long ago, and typed into my files. I then saved it on my blog in 2016. Mainly because he discussed his training in Isshinryu with Shimabuku Tatsuo.

I have never heard anyone from Isshinryu discuss it for accuracy.
I never met the man and have no other knowledge about him.

For some context here is an article about Frank VanLeten from Official Karate.

Friday, September 28, 2018

To Teach of Not to Teach

 Older photo of me for illustrative purposes.

Being an instructor can be a two edged sword, one that cuts both ways.

I was just reviewing a marvelous clinic we hosted for Sherman Harrill bach in 1997. It is something to view him effortlessly shift from one potential application to another and another. When I hosted clinics with Sherman, he always asked be what I was interested in.

As I have over 25 years into my own Isshinryu study, I was always interented in the more advanced kata (perhaps a distinction more in my mind than reality). So at the clinic we held his focus was on Wansu, Chinto, Kusanku, Sunsu and a Bo vs. Bo drill. My students had been around a while to, and I was more focused on those kata.

(I attended others clinics with Sherman were the focus was more on the Charts, Seisan, Seiunchin and Naifanchi).

Now at that clinic in 1997 Sherman showed one application for a middle section of Sunsu (SunNuSu), and his explaination was 100% the kata. It was most interesting to me.

One of my dans could not attend, so I used him for uke my next class, I wanted to practice the application. I did so moving at very slow speed. Wanting to focus on doing it exactly as I recorded it in my notes (I had not yet reviewed the video of that day yet.)

And moving at very slow speed, I almost tore his arm off. No kidding.

That was never my intent. Just the reality that that application is that powerful.

Of course that is not the first time that happened, both trying to use applications Sherman showed, as well as my own researches into potential kata applications.

By choice I never used that movement on another student again. I choose not to teach it.

I never had a shortage of things to work on. And many of them were very powerful techniques too. Just in this case I choose to keep it in the holster.

Now I have not seen anyone else use this. Not saying they do or don’t. I am sure Sherman’s students know it well.

It is not a secret. Just I wonder (doubt) many take the time to practice it that way.

I have shared it with the instructors I have developed. They will have to decide for themselves if they will choose to share it or not.
There are so many places application study can go. I doubt anyone does everything.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Shaolin Wu Xing Quan (5 Animals Boxing)_

Shaolin Wu Xing Quan (5 Animals Boxing)_

appears to be an authentic older practice.

I have a bit of documentation about this form.






Here are some screen shots of a section of the form

That I find interesting.


Among the things that appeal to me

Is this form nas not been Wu Shu'ized to my eye.


The Leopards Paw


There was no Leopards Paw in the Isshinryu I learned. However, when I originally began visiting instructors about 1979 I was once shown several Leopards Paw techniques in that instructors ‘AikJutsu”.


It was used for an effective strike into the armpit and another for a strike into the spine. Not a complete system but effective techniques.


A few years later Ernest Rothrock indulged my interest in learning ground sweeps by instructing me in a Chinese Leopard form. Alas the sweep movements were beyond my potential in the long run, but I learned a great deal about the way the Leopard Strikes were used.


I believe it is mandatory to look at anything beyond your system of study. If you can’t recognize the offensive potential of those movements, you are not going to think defensively about them either. The two studies go hand in hand.



The formation of the Leopards Paw involves bending the fingers back at the first knuckle joint of the hand, essentially using that ridge of knuckles as a striking area.  Of course there is much more there too. But the first impression is a good starting point.


This formation is a solid technique for striking specific targets.


For example it can be used to strike into the throat with great force.



However there are so many other places that it can strike:



Into an Eye Orbit

                    Into a Temple

                    Into an Ear

                    Below the Nose

                    Into the Jaw below the Mouth

                    A rising strike into the Jaw from underneath


                   Uppercuts into the Heart Area

                   Vertical strikes into the Heart Area


                   Vertical strikes into the Groin (Male or Female)


                   Strikes into the Ribs from the side

                   Strikes into the Armpit from many directions


                   Horizontal strikes into the Base of the Head.

                   Horizontal strikes into the Spine


This list of possibilities does not limit other areas that can be struck, just opening some potential areas to consider why the Leopard Paw should be defended against.


For example the Leopard Paw can be used to strike into the neck with the thumb of the fist formation, then to use the bent fingers to grasp the carotid artery  and then to pull it forward for control.


As this example shows there are many potential ways this hand position can be used.





Tuesday, September 25, 2018



A while ago early in my first year visiting Tris Sutrisno’s dojo he began teaching his senior students a new kama kata. Chosen No Kama Sho. He taught it to me at the same time; it was difficult with challenging handling as the kama shifted continually from open handling to close handling. I did my best to learn the form.


The next week I again attended his dojo. That time he was teaching his senior students the 2nd kama form, Chosen on Kama Dai. He also shared it with me.


That was possible because in many of his kobudo forms, they built upon the previous form, often with the same or similar embusen for the new form.


As was shown to me, the forms were mostly identical with the Dai version just using some different technique selection. The changes were logical, making retaining the two forms easier.


Then one day Tris competed with the kama at a tournament, He used a 3rd version (which I was never shown.) Chosen No Kama Dai-Ichi. Way beyond my abilities. I know many people were impressed.


In both forms there was a complex set of kama strikes, the pattern identical in each form. Sort of a way to use the kama for slice and dice. At least that is how I described it.


Several years later I learned the Bando Short Stick form and then discovered I could use those movements with anything I could place in my hands. My experience with derivative technique really started then,


I realized those movements could also be done with double sticks, with no changes to the movement, another exercise in derivation.


As the years passed, and I continued to work the form the kama shifts did not grow easies, which I chalked up to aging. Still I continued to work the form.


Then one day almost a decade later, Tris had come up to Derry, to give a clinic for my students. Before that clinic he wanted to review my kama, (a small portion of that review was captured on video below).




When he got to that kama pass in the form, he changed it for the Dai form apparently this was not first taught, to better allow the student to work on the other changes. But when that slice and dice section was sufficiently performed (one way of looking at it was 7 continuous strikes) the movements were changed to a section of 5 double continuous fluid strikes. Which of course became another study.


Beyond that I realized those strikes could also be performed with double sticks, not just the kama.


I choose to only share these kama kata with the instructors I developed, as extreme drills to continue to push their skills. Even more so as my own skill handling was declining.


Now much in my own dotage I have found another derivative use for those kama passes. I can do them with double very short sticks in my hand. I can still function with some skill at very close range. This increases my short range defensive ability.


More so, as it is much unexpected.


Age we must, but surrender Never!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sherman Harrill SunNuSu (Sunsu) 1997 tape 1 section 2 A random selection of an application he taught that day.

Sherman Harrill SunNuSu (Sunsu) 1997 tape 1 section 2


What you experienced from Sherman, was how he drilled down and down on a kata’s application potential, over and over.


This but one example. Randomly selected to make the point at the incredible wealth
existing within kata application study.
Of course that is just the first part of what is possible.
The rest is up to you to actually make it work.

For clarity Sherman repeated the way the kick
was used and then he continued.