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 Post subject: Ryuko Kata
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:22 am 
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Found for your viewing pleasure.

Shoei Ryu – Uechi Ryu/Shohei Ryu Karate Do
Ryuko Kata http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcmcIrp9Z9c
Ryuko Kata http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWczEKzBooQ
Ryuko Kata http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfCBpddWCNE
Ryuko Kata http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSh6Eg9-c1c

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Victor Smith
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:42 am 
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Thanks for posting this, Victor!

I've always found this form to be a bit puzzling. It has the directional complexity of Sanseiryu, but otherwise is less complicated. It definitely bears the stamp of Uechi practitioners, but it's more Okinawan than Chinese. And the sequences are very short.

The real reason for this form very well may be in your last link, Victor. Uechi folk have always done poorly at multi-style Okinawan tournaments because of the brevity of their forms. While this form doesn't have much in the way of footwork, it does have length and variety. And it has the dynamic range of movement that sport karate judges like to see.

If it gets Uechi folk out of their dojos and advertising their style to other Okinawan martial artists, well... that's not such a bad thing.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Good for you Doc!!!
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:27 am 
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Your true belief and character sort of shown through to me on the last statement... :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:46 am 
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Bill,

Always glad to be of service. My personal hobby to watch every martial youtube video in existence (now +50,000 viewings) always yields interesting material. Every time I turn around and have a new idea I discover what I belive I'd never see.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:15 am 
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There are a couple of other performances by this guy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB7Op-QrHf8

I learned this kata rather painstakingly from studying Master Takamiyagi's performance on the Shohei Ryu DVD (no small task because of stance ambiguities) solely to be able to assist my sensei as he was learning and practicing it. Parts of it remind me of sequences in Matsubayashi kata that I know. Honestly, I don't care for it much and rarely practice it. To me it's missing something--in its soul. I'm not smart enough to put my finger on it. The direction changes in Sanseiryu feel somehow logical and flowing when I do them. I love that kata. A lot of the direction changes in Ryuko feel arbitrary when I do them, and to me the kata feels longer as if for the sake of being longer. I do agree, however, that it can be a good thing.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:28 am 
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Thanks, Mike!

That fellow does it pretty well, no?

Part of what bugs me, Mike, isn't the what; it's the how. If that's the problem then it isn't the kata; it's the karateka.

This is supposed to be a step beyond Uechi Sanseiryu, right? Fine... so where is the mochi? These folks do their techniques from relatively stationary stances. If I was a betting man, I'd bet Gushi sensei would be watching these forms and shaking his head the way he shook his head at how I did Sanseiryu about 15 years ago. I didn't get it then; I get it now.

In my martial solitude these past few months, I've had a lot of time to think about this. I'm becoming convinced that it also isn't the practice; it's the training. I'm betting some plyometric training combined with some education on good body mechanics could breathe a lot of "soul" into this form.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch this kata performance. This man (along with Dana Sheets, George Mattson, and George Schrieffer) have helped me a lot lately.

Kata Sochin

Don't look at the arms; look at the body. The energy is coming from where it's supposed to - the core.

More in a bit.

- Bill


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:36 am 
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mhosea wrote:

The direction changes in Sanseiryu feel somehow logical and flowing when I do them. I love that kata. A lot of the direction changes in Ryuko feel arbitrary when I do them

I have to reserve judgment on this for now, Mike.

The key to really good kata often isn't in the techniques done from a stationary position, but rather the turns leading to the techniques. This is an important lesson in kata principles that I learned from Tomoyose Ryuko. Most of the practitioners of this form aren't even giving the transitions a go. They're just running out of time doing things in one direction, and going to the next. That could possibly be a flaw in execution.

Maybe the choreographers would have some thoughts on this.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:55 am 
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I think I know what you mean. I definitely feel this in many cases in kata. A good example is when one turns with the shoken-on-shoken thing both in Seiryu and Sanseiryu. I like to put some power in these turns, as if I had hold of somebody.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:56 pm 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
This is supposed to be a step beyond Uechi Sanseiryu, right? Fine... so where is the mochi?


One of my favorite performances is Master Takara's here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYMfB_OHiw8

Here again, I'm not smart enough to put my finger on it, but there's something I like better about this version and its performance. It may be a preliminary version or possibly reflecting some things that he favored that the rest of the committee did not.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:13 am 
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mhosea wrote:

I think I know what you mean. I definitely feel this in many cases in kata. A good example is when one turns with the shoken-on-shoken thing both in Seiryu and Sanseiryu. I like to put some power in these turns, as if I had hold of somebody.

The move as done in Kanshiwa without the turn has one grappling application, but probably not what was intended in Sanseiryu. With the turn, it becomes another very different grappling move. I'd be happy to show you some time. I first learned it from someone in special forces. Needless to say it works pretty well.

The common denominator? Pangainoon implies sometimes this and sometimes that. Sometimes a shoken is a poke, and sometimes it is a grab. All applications here start with grabbing something. Shokens in these applications are yin rather than yang.

- Bill


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:26 am 
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mhosea wrote:

One of my favorite performances is Master Takara's here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYMfB_OHiw8

Here again, I'm not smart enough to put my finger on it, but there's something I like better about this version and its performance. It may be a preliminary version or possibly reflecting some things that he favored that the rest of the committee did not.

There are three things that jump out at me.
  • Good mechanics. He's getting energy without trying so much in his arms because he's making good use of his core muscles. This really isn't magic. For instance any baseball player worth his salt makes power movements look easy. It's "effortless effort" because the big muscles start with the heavy lifting.
  • Good flow. He has flow both within a technique (Sequental Summation of Motion) and between techniques.
  • Technique accuracy. I see it in several places. I was beginning to wonder if I was practicing karate alone for too long. Nope...

    For example... I've never seen Takara do shoken sukuiage uke, and he does it the way I figured out it should be done (by myself, BTW). You don't (never, ever, ever) start with your elbow up and do a couple trips around the world with the scoop. Going back to basic principles of Sanchin, it's about doing things efficiently and without exposing your vulnerable areas. Start the shoken scoop with your elbow down (protecting the ribs) and scoop from there.

    That's just one good example.

One thing I wish he'd pick up is something Takamiyagi does well. I worked with Taki on Thompson Island for a week. He understand dynamic range in kata movement. IMHO he brings that into Uechi Ryu as well as any master I've seen.

ESPECIALLY if you have a form this long, it shouldn't be done at a metronome-like cadence. Forget about the lack of drama that you'd bring to a tournament competition. Real life isn't that way - unless you are playing music. Real fighting isn't either. It requires a range of skills and a variety of tempos.

- Bill


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:53 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
I'd be happy to show you some time.


Maybe we can hook up at the next Summerfest and go over some applications. I was hanging out with my son last year (his first year at summerfest), and in hindsight I neglected to spend much time with anybody. Wish I'd have spent more time with you and with Rory, but so it goes.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:46 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:

I've never seen Takara do shoken sukui age uke, and he does it the way I figured out it should be done (by myself, BTW). You don't (never, ever, ever) start with your elbow up and do a couple trips around the world with the scoop. Going back to basic principles of Sanchin, it's about doing things efficiently and without exposing your vulnerable areas. Start the shoken scoop with your elbow down (protecting the ribs) and scoop from there.

If I may rant a bit...

I came back from camp and then from watching a few films of Uechi kata feeling almost as if I was doing something wrong. Master Takara confirms what I feel and what I do.

Leo explained the way Victor and I do Fuzhou Suparinpei as (something like) a ball expanding and contracting. He's got the idea.

If you don't take these techniques out of the box and start playing with them, you'll never learn how to do them or how to use them. As I tell my students, you won't break them if you play with them.

One thing I do to get folks on the path to doing shoken sukuiage uke correctly is the following.

  • Start off by doing a little jar training to "wake up" your hands. You can't do this right if you have a limp shoken. (Think limp handshake)
  • Maybe also warm the hands and wrists up using the "shoken wristy twisty" movements from the beginning of Fuzhou Suparinpei.
  • Then perform koi no shippo tatte uchi with shoken rather than open hands. Alternate between doing it with shoken and then with open hands. The idea is to bring the bone-crushing grip from your jar training to these movements while being able to relax the wrists.
  • Do the same with koi no shippo yoko uchi.
  • Now get in a Uechi horse stance and get into one of Uechi Kanei's wauke "posting" postures. You should be practicing both sides, but... If you're going to do this on the same side as the kata, get in right horse stance, put your right hand in pronated sanchin posture (but in a shoken), and grab your right elbow with the left hand.
  • Now go up and down with your legs, and let the right arm flop as if you were doing the vertical part of koi no shippo tatte uchi. Make your legs and not your arms bring the right shoken wrist up and down. Your left arm is supporting (grabbing) the right elbow and helping the body make the right shoken wrist flop like a dolphin or whale tail. (Fish tails go side to side. Dolphins and whales are mammals and so their tails go up and down.)
  • Now instead of going straight up and down, draw a "U" with your right wrist. Think of the worst student in your class doing a shin kick to a munchkin. You are going to dig that thing out of the dirt and scoop it up.
  • In the final motion, explode the shoken hand up and forward using the power of your legs. You are using the elastic leg energy of the downward scoop to explode up and throw the bum on his butt.

THIS is mochi.

- Bill


Last edited by Bill Glasheen on Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:45 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:49 am 
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Funny... I wanted to finish this off with a visual picture of mochi - the Okinawan dessert treat. And look what I found on Answers.com.
Answers.com wrote:

How can mochi stretch so much?

I'm not a good enough cooking chemist to answer this question. But... Do folks get what I mean????

Image

Image

Image

- Bill


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:47 am 
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This is what happens to aging Uechi karate masters who are losing their mochi.

Image

- Bill


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