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PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:33 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Since I've had lots of time on my own in Louisville doing nothing but working (7 days a week) and working out, I've had time to get to basics in ways I don't normally when stuck in a rut.

With less in the way of repetition of techniques (because I don't have anybody to beat on me <sniff>), I've started doing more really old basics.

Several things have popped in my workout of late

1) I'm evolving on a version of Turkish get-ups. I've created a variation where I do a simple one-armed clean-and-jerk to get the dumbbell up in the air before doing the basic routine. I'm also doing some rolling in odd directions while on the ground to give my shoulder lots of degrees of freedom of motion to negotiate.

2) I've continued with my classic Uechi jar (kami) training - with whatever the hell I can create from whatever I have.

3) I've been doing more and more variations on my toe exercises. Damn is my body complaining! I wake up at night to take a pee, and I get up to feet that feel like I've spin-hook-kicked someone in the jaw. Strange how the body adjusts.

For what it's worth... Doing more of this and less in the way of striking air molecules has started to change my body. Very odd... I'm starting to get that Okinawan Uechi round shoulder look. My T-shirts aren't fitting right any more. It isn't just the good food, mind you... ;)

All that said... I'm now getting restless on the whole substitution for old-style kami. I have an idea for a patentable invention on that score, but I haven't found the right craftsman to work with who can help me execute there. So I'll just have to wait. Meanwhile... Once upon a time there were some people advertising some interesting variations on the traditional jar. I was finally ready to buy, and now I hear he/they aren't doing it any more.

So I'm calling out to my Uechi buds and geeks, and asking who is selling what. I want to start playing with some unbreakable jars, odd weight devices, etc., etc. I've done a few, and they frankly aren't that good. My hand knows what is needed. I've worked with substitutes and now I know what works and what doesn't. I just need to know who gets my money so I can play with your variation on the Okinawan jar.

Thanks for the bandwidth.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:38 pm 
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Wow... I was hoping for some contributions from the workout freaks out there. Well maybe I'll talk to myself a bit until I get the natives engaged.

Wanna hear something funny? I Googled this subject, and my very own thread came up first. Talk about a dearth of information...

I like this guy. I need some students like him.

Bak Mei improvised training equipment

The coolest thing about him - other than his creative mind - is his understanding of the importance of movement and angle of attack. The face-to-face stuff doesn't cut it in my book. It's what two over-stimulated people regress to when they lose control not just of the situation, but of themselves. Programming in the kinds of things he likes to do is a good thing.

In a thread responding to the gentleman who came up with that video, I found this. This comes after his speaking of the value of toe kicks. I have to think he knows a thing or two about Uechi.
pugpaws2 wrote:

Another tool I use to strengthen my fingers is the Okinawan Jars. This is something that goes back to China. the jars can be held at the rim using the finger tips and the inside of the thumb. By rotating the thumb so that the inside of it presses the jar lip and the other finger tip grip too the jar can be held while doing movements or training stances, steps, ...etc. The hard part is the thumb being turned as it is is painful at first. as you get used to using the jars, you can add marbles or small rocks to slowly increase the weight. Again this tool [isn't] used to develop muscle strength but to build tendon strength. It will also help with muscle strength. There are stories of Monks [in] China [who] would grip large jars and walk up the mountain. Over years they would increase the weight slowly. Supposedly there were a few monks that could carry two jars weighing nearly 150 pounds. I'd hate to have him grab me.

Hope this helps.


EDIT: improvising some of the traditional tools can save you a loot of [money]. I once was looking to buy a set of the jars used in Okinawa. Ryukyu Enterprises in California sells them. I think they were about $300 a set. My jars came from Walmart and have the Raised lip that is just the right size for my hand. They cost less than ten dollars. I still have not gotten around to spray painting them they currently have flowers painted on them LOL.

Bring it on, peanut gallery!

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:44 pm 
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Bak Mei is one of those southern Chinese styles often mentioned as being a close relative to Uechi Ryu, not least of which because the shoken (Chines: Phoenix-eye fist) is a signature strike of both.

I would think the difficulty would be in finding improvised jars that are the right size for your hands, sounds like he was lucky in finding jars just the right size at Wal-mart. I think traditionally on Okinawa the jars are custom made to fit the particular users hands. I am a big believer in improvised training equipment though. And when you think about it that is likely how jar training originally began as well, something already around them that they adapted to help their training.

That said, I have not had good luck with finding a good substitute for jars yet. I've tried dumbbell weights but none are the right size for my hands.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:36 pm 
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Glenn wrote:
I've tried dumbbell weights but none are the right size for my hands.


It seems to me that one could take the bar and collar style dumbells and instead of trying to find some plate or dumbell that was the right size, make a handle couple of disks out of wood using a router. Screw and glue them together, drill a hole in the center, and route and sand the edges to produce a smooth contour. You could give it exactly the size and edge shape you want. Obviously, the handle goes on one end, secured with a pair of collars, maybe along with an iron weight disk (diameter is irrelevant), and the rest of the weights, such as is desired, are secured at the other end with another pair of collars.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:12 am 
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mhosea wrote:

Glenn wrote:

I've tried dumbbell weights but none are the right size for my hands.

It seems to me that one could take the bar and collar style dumbells and instead of trying to find some plate or dumbell that was the right size, make a handle couple of disks out of wood using a router. Screw and glue them together, drill a hole in the center, and route and sand the edges to produce a smooth contour. You could give it exactly the size and edge shape you want. Obviously, the handle goes on one end, secured with a pair of collars, maybe along with an iron weight disk (diameter is irrelevant), and the rest of the weights, such as is desired, are secured at the other end with another pair of collars.

Great minds think alike. And you don't need to get that complicated with the other end. Just have a carabiner on it and you can hook it to any weight machine.

I may try going to the Louisville Slugger bat factory and see if I can talk someone there into coming up with some prototypes. (My parking garage is on the back of the bat factory.)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:18 am 
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Glenn wrote:

Bak Mei is one of those southern Chinese styles often mentioned as being a close relative to Uechi Ryu, not least of which because the shoken (Chines: Phoenix-eye fist) is a signature strike of both.

I was wondering if anyone would pick up on the similarities. ;) This guy is the real deal. He can make lots of those "Uechi pointy thing" techniques work.

Bobby Campbell can be seen doing techniques from the system in George's first Uechiryu Karatedo book. Bobby also was the real deal. (And now a great instructor.)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:57 pm 
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One of the things I've discovered in working with various shapes is the importance of the design of the "lip." If it doesn't have enough of an edge, you can't hold enough weight to make the exercise useful. If the shape of that edge is wrong, it causes too much pain to the thumb to make it useful.

That said... This is what I've been working with lately (although nowhere near this much weight).

Image

The rectangular indentation where the dumbbell weight is registered has just barely enough lip to insert a boshiken thumb, and at the correct angle. The other side provides just enough grip for just enough fingers. Right now I can do at most 20 pounds without the weights slipping out of my fingers. It's better than nothing, and many commercial gyms have these kinds of weights on the rack.

My point in saying this is to illustrate that there's nothing sacred about a circle as a shape. This is a hexagon with an indentation on two of the six sides. If the indentation was deeper, and the texture of the surface a tad grainier, it just might be what the Dr. ordered. And for the record, the indentation could go all the way around. That feature would create no design flaw, and it would offer lip for all 4 fingers.

I believe that's a game changer for any design freaks out there.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 1:22 pm 
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mhosea wrote:
Glenn wrote:
I've tried dumbbell weights but none are the right size for my hands.


It seems to me that one could take the bar and collar style dumbells and instead of trying to find some plate or dumbell that was the right size, make a handle couple of disks out of wood using a router. Screw and glue them together, drill a hole in the center, and route and sand the edges to produce a smooth contour. You could give it exactly the size and edge shape you want. Obviously, the handle goes on one end, secured with a pair of collars, maybe along with an iron weight disk (diameter is irrelevant), and the rest of the weights, such as is desired, are secured at the other end with another pair of collars.


I made something similiar before seeing this thread. I have a pair of the adjustable dumbbells that have the screw on collars. I took a 2 1/2 lb. plate (which is the right size for my hands) and put a pvc spacer on one side of the dumbbell and then secured it with the collar so there was anythink sticking up into the hand area. Then I just put a weight on the other end and secured it with the other collar. You hold it vertically, and it worked out great and you can add lots more weight to it as you progress.

I had thought about the other idea as well, to get a wooden piece made to the exact measurements to put on top in place of the weight.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:57 pm 
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Bill,
Just saw this thread...and I just happen to own a machine
shop. I manufacture steeling cutting,carbide tipped,mill cutters
and your little project/idea should be a wee piece of cake. I'll
put together something that will employ the use of barbell weights. What I need from you is a "grip diameter" thumb
knuckle to fingertips measurement you're comfortable with.
Maybe a large soup can,jar lid,etc. that feels right to you.
Give me that measurement and from that dimension I will
radius a lip out larger to insure a good hold.

Bump me a measurement and a mailing address and I'll
send in a week or so the prototype.

Bison13148@frontier.com


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 Post subject: Interesting. . .
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:42 am 
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I've been searching for the name of the gentleman who invented and manufactured a modern device to replace the classic Uechi jar (kami). The inventor came to camp one year and gave me a set. (which I gave to someone) It was a really neat setup that could use regular weights that could be added as strength increased.

http://www.bushipower.com/Merchant2/graphics/00000001/TB036PP.jpg

16 x 1½" Hojoundo Super Set

16 x 1½" Hojoundo Super Set Quantity in Basket:none
Code: TB036
Price:$201.00

Shipping Weight: 9.00 pounds
11 available for immediate delivery

Add plates at reduced price:
4 5# black plates $20
4 5# chrome plates $30
No thanks

Quantity:

Convenience The Super Set allows you to have a nigiri game and chi'ishi set up at the same time. The chi'ishi builds arm and hand strength and flexibility for punching and blocking. The nigiri game builds an iron grip and strong stances for all fighting styles. Included manual describes the exercises. Add standard 1 weight plates as needed. The larger shafts are 16 (40 cm) long and 1 (2.54 cm) in diameter, and the gripping disks for making the nigiri game are correspondingly sized. Comes with a 1.5 diameter 6.25 long gripping sleeve. The shafts are made of 6061 aircraft aluminum for durability. Weight load capacity of 150 lbs has been verified by testing. Units are shown here with optional weight plates.

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"Do or do not. there is no try!"


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 3:49 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
This is what I've been working with lately (although nowhere near this much weight).

Image

The rectangular indentation where the dumbbell weight is registered has just barely enough lip to insert a boshiken thumb, and at the correct angle. The other side provides just enough grip for just enough fingers. Right now I can do at most 20 pounds without the weights slipping out of my fingers. It's better than nothing, and many commercial gyms have these kinds of weights on the rack.

My point in saying this is to illustrate that there's nothing sacred about a circle as a shape. This is a hexagon with an indentation on two of the six sides.

This is exactly the type and shape of dumbbell I tried as well, I have a 15 lb pair of these at home. However the ones I have only have an indentation on one side and not two, so there is nothing to help support the grip on one side and they just do not work well at all. As an alternative to using the indentation I can put my hand in boshiken shape underneath one of the "plates", but while that can help strengthen some aspects of the hand and wrist it does not work the grip at all.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:33 pm 
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I somehow missed that I got not one, but three (3) responses to this thread in a very short interval. Thanks to Glenn for his response, but I have two more to address.
gmattson wrote:

I've been searching for the name of the gentleman who invented and manufactured a modern device to replace the classic Uechi jar (kami). The inventor came to camp one year and gave me a set. (which I gave to someone) It was a really neat setup that could use regular weights that could be added as strength increased.

Thank you for this post, George.

Yes, I was at this camp. Yes, I met the gentleman and tried out his device.

Image

I had a fairly long conversation with the inventor and his wife.

The first thing that became apparent was that neither he nor the majority of our Uechi brethren understood the exercise. Consequently most people were coming up to this device, grabbing it "the wrong way", and then asking what the big deal was.

This is key - the tip of the thumb needs to be orthogonal to the tips of the fingers. This device allowed - and in fact encouraged - folks to grab the end so that the tips of all fingers and the thumb were pointing to each other with the grip. That accomplishes nothing.

The exercise with the jars accomplishes several very, very important things for the Uechika.
  • It helps with the hand strength, coordination, and flexibility needed to form and use a striking shoken, hiraken, and boshiken.
  • It helps with the hand strength, coordination, and flexibility needed to form and use a grabbing shoken, hiraken, and boshiken. On this latter part... nothing has given me more instincts for doing many really nasty (and sometimes lethal) things to a bad guy than this exercise. Most people have no idea...
  • It teaches the karateka to fight with thumbs tucked in. This is taught in principle in kata training, but the muscle memory doesn't stick without proper exercise. One of the more common injuries I see with new students is a sprained thumb. We naturally reach out with the thumb outstretched. In doing so we offer chaos a long lever arm against the base joint of the thumb, making it vulnerable to the cruelties of Murphy's Law. Thumbs flexed at the most distal joint and rotated at the base joint rarely get caught on things and injured.
I can now look at photographs of people doing Uechi, and tell whether or not they've done this training. The effect is as unmistakably a marker of the Uechi stylist as tucked hips, rounded shoulders, and hands forward. To you folks out there NOT doing the jar training, your thumbs are unwittingly exposing you as Uechi impostors. (I can't be the only one who notices...)

That said... this device doesn't do it. It's too easy to "cheat" with the thumb, and frankly difficult to grab the device "correctly" once you load weight on.

The neck of a jar helps keep you from cheating. Once you rotate your thumb 90 degrees in the socket to grab the jar at the neck, the skinny part of the neck keeps the thumb from rotating back around again. This device does not.

Make sense?

I encouraged this inventor to make a few modifications to his device. He ALMOST got it right. ALMOST... but no cigar. Bummer.

That's the nature of R&D. Our first efforts are rarely spot on. But we learn from our mistakes. The people who succeed (such as Tony Blauer and his combat suits) aren't afraid to tinker and tinker until they get it right.

I'll endorse this guy's product when he gets it right. It wouldn't take much to fix it. And the notch he has very well may be a nice (and perhaps patentable) enhancement to the original jar concept. But he needs that "thumb stabilizer" part...
nosib wrote:

Bill,
Just saw this thread...and I just happen to own a machine
shop. I manufacture steeling cutting,carbide tipped,mill cutters
and your little project/idea should be a wee piece of cake. I'll
put together something that will employ the use of barbell weights. What I need from you is a "grip diameter" thumb
knuckle to fingertips measurement you're comfortable with.
Maybe a large soup can,jar lid,etc. that feels right to you.
Give me that measurement and from that dimension I will
radius a lip out larger to insure a good hold.

Bump me a measurement and a mailing address and I'll
send in a week or so the prototype.

Bison13148@frontier.com

Will do, guy! Thanks so much. We will be in contact.

I have a relatively common thing found in most vitamin stores that's the perfect mold for me. ;)

- Bill


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