Oh yea, Stevie... you make all the funny faces and then pass the baton to me. Thanks!
First... Alan Dollar wrote one of the "must have" books on Uechi Ryu karate. I believe George sells it elsewhere on this website.
He spent considerable time in Kadena studying in the Shinjo family dojo. Additionally his book is one of the best-edited books on Uechi Ryu karate out there. It took me three years to find the first error in it, and I refer often to books when contemplating both my practice and teaching.
Alan will be the first to poke fun at himself. As he writes... when a younger lad and very skinny, they used to call him Alan Wrench. These days he's filled out just about right. (Meanwhile most "normal" people have that middle-age spread.)
I will say that Alan's performance at that demonstration probably isn't one of his best. One thing I see even in my very best students is a tendency for motions (particularly the circular ones) to get too small and thrusts get abbreviated or too low when nervous and/or rushing too much. And yet when he gets to the shoken sukuiage uke
, everything is just beautiful. Go figure... that's one of the more difficult movements in the kata. "It" happens. You can tell by the parts he does exceptionally well that he was just a little too jacked in the beginning, but then settled down to his normal, excellent self.
The "pangainoon" of Uechi Ryu is partially about the hard being very hard and the relaxed being uber relaxed. If everything is hard you slow down and/or your movements get too small and/or you can't get high thrust or high blocks high enough. I liken what we do in Uechi Ryu to the yin-yang symbol. White swirls into black and vice versa. But there is absolutely no gray in the symbol. White is white and black is black. In other words Sanchin structure is very firm but the moving parts glide like a well-oiled machine. It's very difficult to do that. And it's especially
difficult to do that when under stress. Watching yourself do kata (on video) while performing for others can be very revealing. It gives you a hint of how things will go when under the hyper-neuro-hormonal stress of combat.
As for the breaking, well... As long as he recycled the wood then I'm good with it.