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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:33 am 
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http://youtu.be/KsDgvBJxJdE

Very Interesting theory:

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Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Dr. Nathan Johnson explains how the fundamental use of the Sai was encoded into the oldest form of Sanchin kata

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:28 am 
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Hello, Jim! You're a Goju guy, no?

First... What an incredibly nice dojo! Great hardwood floors... Nice natural light...

Second... Yep, that's Uechi Sanchin. I'm not liking two little idiosyncrasies in how he does it - the orientation of his lower hand in the double boshikens, and the double nukite thrust grabs. But then one thing he's doing (the rapid closing of his hands after the double nukite thrusts) is something a lot of people do. It is what it is. All picky stuff... the kind of thing I dread other people doing to me when I post my own stuff.

Obviously this guy is a great Uechi instructor. You can tell in his purposeful and controlled movement, and the way he conveys his thoughts while moving.

All that said... I think his ideas are a stretch, but then Raffi accuses me of that all the time! :lol: One might say I resemble this guy's imaginative thinking. Whether or not he has captured the original thinking of Sanchin's choreographer(s), I like - and will steal - his thoughts. With all of this martial choreography, you're only limited by your imagination and your ability to connect the classroom to reality. As I tell my students, it's your kata. Don't be afraid to take it out of the box and play with it.

One thing I do like is his idea of the Sanchin nukite as just a "thingie" (technical term) on the end of your arm. It is ANY thrust - empty handed or not. You can layer on anything you want. It's the simple concepts that Sanchin tries to teach - the kind that should apply to most of what you do in stand-up fighting.

Along this line of thinking, there is great value in doing Tsukenshitahaku no sai and Seisan at the same time. If you do both - and your mind works the same way - you'll see what I mean. But you need to do the version I learned on Thompson Island from a Uechi Okinawan master circa 1983. It's definitely not a "vanilla" Tzuzenshitahaku no sai.

Good stuff! Thanks for sharing this treasure with us, Jim!

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:09 pm 
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Hi Bill, yes I am that Goju guy 8O plus I train in Okinawan Shorin ryu and recently have been named 'Jun Shibucho' for Minoro Higa Sensei's Kyudokan. I have been practicing both styles for years and have made a decision to lean more towards my Shorin roots b/c the Goju ryu kata stress my body more and exacerbate my back injury too much.

I found this copy of 琉球古武道振興会ーTsukenshitahaku no sai that you speak of from Mario McKenna's Youtube channel:

http://youtu.be/PJjoPhNLWbA

One can tell that the kata must have been recently taught to him due to the various hesitation points and the lack of flow. Yet, this is a very difficult kata to perform.

You wrote:

Quote:
One thing I do like is his idea of the Sanchin nukite as just a "thingie" (technical term) on the end of your arm. It is ANY thrust - empty handed or not. You can layer on anything you want. It's the simple concepts that Sanchin tries to teach - the kind that should apply to most of what you do in stand-up fighting.


I too, got a chuckle out of the highly sophisticated & technical term "thingie". We too, in Okinawan Goju practice either a set of 3 or 5 near the end of the the Miyagi Sanchin kata (short form) prior to the mawashi uke (Wa uke). It is also seen in other kata but more of a rounding effect with the arms to bring the lats & traps into play. I found Terauchi Sensei performing Higashionna Sanchin which has turns and is a bit longer. That being said, in the long form there are only 2 ''thingies'' performed at the 2:20 mark:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKoz2Bqfx_s

Many folks treat the nukite as strikes to the body. Yet, if we accept the premise that Goju means "hard/gentle' or is a study of opposites, many folks dismiss the pulling action of the arms as being important. In this case, the hands close as in a grasping movement, the next action is that both hands turn in a pulling action; it is this movement that I suggest to my students is a skin grab of your opponents side. Which is extremely painful. Here is an old photo of Miyagi Sensei performing an omote or gyaku bunkai to Miyazato's attack. (This application is found in several Goju kata):
Image

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:32 pm 
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Kuma-de wrote:

I found this copy of 琉球古武道振興会ーTsukenshitahaku no sai that you speak of from Mario McKenna's Youtube channel:

http://youtu.be/PJjoPhNLWbA

One can tell that the kata must have been recently taught to him due to the various hesitation points and the lack of flow. Yet, this is a very difficult kata to perform.

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this.

There are some interesting (minor) procedural variations in how this is performed vs. the way I learned it.

  • When he does the gedan barai west at 0:13, east at 0:22, south at 0:28, and north at 0:38, he steps his rear foot backwards into a zenkutsu dachi. (Weird...) He follows this with a cat stance (back) left thrust, and a horse stance right thrust. What I do instead is move forwards into that zenkutsu dachi, do a crane stance (back) left thrust, and a horse stance right thrust. The mindset is very different. I just can't see what he gains by moving back like that. But it is what it is - just different.
    .
  • The final posture at 1:41 (high/low block) is done in a horse stance. I do a modified crane stance there - like a mirror image Seisan kata jump back. (Crane-on-rock posture.) I know my teacher wasn't alone here in teaching that. I have a book on the kata which shows the same thing. That's one of the features that makes the kata Seisan-like. The big difference is tucking the crane leg behind the support leg rather than having it up front as in Uechi Seisan. Makes sense considering that someone may be trying to cut your foot off with a blade. I find the modification very logical.

One comment here that applies to the British fellow doing sai with Sanchin is a virtual lack of lower body involvement in swinging that sai. I could correct that pretty quickly. I'm not sure why he does it so stiff likes that. It makes no sense. Try doing some randori against a shinai and you'll get cured of that pretty quickly. You can't get any caffeine in that flip if you don't snap the hips. A flicky flick doesn't work.

Otherwise nice to see even a beginner do that form, Jim. Thanks for sharing that.

I had one of my students film me doing this kata recently for instructional purposes. I made them agree not to post it as I did it with no warmup after not having done it for months. But maybe I'll see about tuning mine up and posting one here. I agree, Jim, that this can be a difficult form. But when you learn to use your body, flipping those sai around is a piece of cake.

Kuma-de wrote:

I found Terauchi Sensei performing Higashionna Sanchin which has turns and is a bit longer.

This is the version I learned. It's based on Toguchi's Shorei Kai method. He has it published in an old O'Hara book on Okinawan Goju Ryu.

Kuma-de wrote:

Many folks treat the nukite as strikes to the body. Yet, if we accept the premise that Goju means "hard/gentle' or is a study of opposites, many folks dismiss the pulling action of the arms as being important. In this case, the hands close as in a grasping movement, the next action is that both hands turn in a pulling action; it is this movement that I suggest to my students is a skin grab of your opponents side. Which is extremely painful. Here is an old photo of Miyagi Sensei performing an omote or gyaku bunkai to Miyazato's attack. (This application is found in several Goju kata):
Image

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

George, did you see this? It is why I want to jump up and down and scream when the vast majority of Uechika speed through those 3 thrust-and-squeeze motions before the three circle blocks. No dynamic tension in the squeeze is like doing the thrust-lift-turn motion in Seisan with lightning speed. It just doesn't make physical sense. It is in fact NONsense.

Off of soap box. There... I feel better now. 8)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:52 pm 
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Quote:
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

George, did you see this? It is why I want to jump up and down and scream when the vast majority of Uechika speed through those 3 thrust-and-squeeze motions before the three circle blocks. No dynamic tension in the squeeze is like doing the thrust-lift-turn motion in Seisan with lightning speed. It just doesn't make physical sense. It is in fact NONsense.

Off of soap box. There... I feel better now. 8)


:lol: That's why George & Van keep this rogue around. This is the shorter version oft times referred to as 'Miyagi Sanchin' please note the 3 nukite and the bending of the arms in a circular fashion to engage the traps & lats at 1:37. Most of the teachers that studied with Miyagi in the Post WWII era perform it this way:

http://youtu.be/7nhPx3qurM8

Miyagi was always trying to evolve his style. Some say they stopped turning because Sensei was ill watching from his porch and they did not want to turn their back to him out of respect. This is a dumb excuse, all the other kata they had no problem turning their back to him.

In Morio Higaonna's "History of Okinawan Karate-Goju ryu" he states that Miyagi Sensei was interested in developing what we call the '6th sense' and enable the student to feel when people are behind them. That is why most of the shime (kitae) is done from the rear.

In Goju Seisan, I explain the ending move of the double kake uke (hooking block) which is similar to the grabbing, but a bit higher (sorry for the wobble-that's life):

http://youtu.be/09jqLCgOtPA

My student Jay who stopped in shows the entire application:

http://youtu.be/I9z6srhNnRI

ps. I purposely did not show the right hand blocking a secondary punch from uke's left before doing the juji shime. :crazyeyes: Can't give away all my secrets.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:04 am 
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I go from the Tunden... Not the hips.. But have at it :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:28 am 
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Stevie B wrote:

I go from the Tunden... Not the hips.. But have at it :lol:

I presume you mean tanden (丹田) = dan tien or dantian in Chinese. Right?

Probably different language for the same thing. It's all about energy coming from the core muscles.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:48 am 
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Kuma-de wrote:

Some say they stopped turning because Sensei was ill watching from his porch and they did not want to turn their back to him out of respect. This is a dumb excuse, all the other kata they had no problem turning their back to him.

I tend to agree. The turns are very, very important in martial arts - often part of the very technique that follows the turn. Why someone would neglect starting them in Sanchin is puzzling. But to each his own I guess.

FWIW I've seen very old Chinese Sanchins w/o turns as well.

Kuma-de wrote:

In Morio Higaonna's "History of Okinawan Karate-Goju ryu" he states that Miyagi Sensei was interested in developing what we call the '6th sense' and enable the student to feel when people are behind them. That is why most of the shime (kitae) is done from the rear.

I got this sense by doing many-on-one randori in aikido. Now I can't sit with my back to a room in a restaurant. :lol:

Kuma-de wrote:

In Goju Seisan, I explain the ending move of the double kake uke (hooking block) which is similar to the grabbing, but a bit higher

****

ps. I purposely did not show the right hand blocking a secondary punch from uke's left before doing the juji shime. :crazyeyes: Can't give away all my secrets.

I remember those throws. We had a ton of bunkai in Shorei Kai Goju Ryu. The backwards roll leading to the mount position is very familiar to me.

Ever since doing those, I can't watch a fight sequence in a movie near a cliff or drop without wishing the good guy would do this technique. Without following through to the mount of course... :P

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:56 am 
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By the way, this was the book I had (only one) when studying Okinawan Goju Ryu. It contains the version of Sanchin I learned. It of course had the turns.

Image

Steven King (my instructor) had a number of teachers including Yamaguchi Gosei and Kimo Wall. He settled into the Shorei Kan briefly for political reasons, where they did tons of bunkai. These days I believe he does his own thing.

I tried to find a video of Toguchi doing Sanchin, but couldn't. But I found this one of Tensho. This is a great kata - easily taught to any decent Uechi practitioner.

Seikichi Toguchi - Kata Tensho

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:13 pm 
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Bill,

That guy is not a Uechi practioner ,I have actually talked with him years ago ,he as researched various sanchin's etc,one of his main katas was naihanchi ,in his style there is three kata ;Sanchin/ nai-hanchi /rokokudan

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:54 pm 
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maxwell ainley wrote:
Bill,

That guy is not a Uechi practioner ,I have actually talked with him years ago ,he as researched various sanchin's etc,one of his main katas was naihanchi ,in his style there is three kata ;Sanchin/ nai-hanchi /rokokudan


Max, who are you referring to? Not me. I practice the 12 original Goju ryu kata, 22 Okinawan Shorin Ryu Kyudokan kata, and probably another 10 or so kata from other versions of Shorin ryu & Shito ryu. I have been posting on this forum many years.

I have always enjoyed watching the late Yuchoku Higa performing kitae on several of his senior students performing Naihanchi Sandan, starting at 5:38 in this video clip:

http://youtu.be/Gd1bCPCbB_A

Okinawan styles all have a connection to teaching the Tanden as a major thesis of it. The teaching methodology may be a bit different amongst the styles. but the focus on tanden use is important. ( I refer to it sometimes as hip rotation, core strength, etc. dependent upon the levels of the students)

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:15 pm 
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Yes Bill .. Tandan.. Sounds the same, I never actually tried to spell it in Romanji.. But yes, exactly! I have seen the Goju Masters throwing their hips with it.. But never a Uechi Master.. I guess my question is who has introduced all of the hip throwing in Uechi through out the States and why? If the core is strong and your shoulders are pulled down correctly, with a good Sanchin stance, it isn't making any sense to me why they are throwing the hips.. It seems as though they would actually be losing the intended power of the classical Uechi Sanchin.. I thought with your background you would shed some insight to the pros and cons of both? Bio mechanically speaking..

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:23 pm 
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PS.. I'm not talking about the slight push forward and shuffle I've seen GEM doing... I'm talking about a full all hip, no connection to core type of movement as you would expect from a sport karate type of punch..All hip with shoulders up and lose..

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:00 am 
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Kuma-de wrote:

Max, who are you referring to? Not me. I practice the 12 original Goju ryu kata, 22 Okinawan Shorin Ryu Kyudokan kata, and probably another 10 or so kata from other versions of Shorin ryu & Shito ryu. I have been posting on this forum many years.

You might want to wait there a second, Jim. I took Max to be speaking about the gentleman who did the original comparison in-between Uechi Sanchin and the sai.

Let's see what Max meant.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:38 am 
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Stevie B wrote:

Yes Bill .. Tandan.. Sounds the same, I never actually tried to spell it in Romanji.. But yes, exactly! I have seen the Goju Masters throwing their hips with it.. But never a Uechi Master.. I guess my question is who has introduced all of the hip throwing in Uechi through out the States and why? If the core is strong and your shoulders are pulled down correctly, with a good Sanchin stance, it isn't making any sense to me why they are throwing the hips.. It seems as though they would actually be losing the intended power of the classical Uechi Sanchin.. I thought with your background you would shed some insight to the pros and cons of both? Bio mechanically speaking..

Thanks for your question, Stevie, and I appreciate your vote of confidence.

It's difficult for me to understand exactly what you mean, as I've seen a lot of ways to do a Sanchin. I've seen things that I like, things that I don't like, and things that I like but are executed very badly by people who can't quite pull it off. We could film and post some people and critique them, but I've already cautioned how that's a bit unfair and disrespectful when we aren't simultaneously sharing our own way of doing things. On the public critique thing, fair is fair!

Along the lines of your concern, there is a way of doing Sanchin that I've seen north of the border (practiced by some...) that I'm not fond of. My opinion... I'm not sure where it came from, but it involves throwing the shoulder forward when thrusting. When I see it, it's difficult for me to understand if it's an ill-conceived concept or if someone who for instance is fond of Jimmy Malone can't quite pull off what he does.

There is a "method" taught by Nakamatsu which I like, employ, and "try" to teach. I've found it takes years for average students, and some really never get it. It involves departing from a rigid Sanchin structure to exaggerating a "feeling" through big movement. But once one feels this "sequential summation of motion", then one is to make it smaller and smaller until the body movement is infinitesimal. I liken it to getting a hula hoop to spin on your arm. It takes big movement to get it going. But once you get the speed up to maximum rpm (velocity), the movement of your arm becomes barely perceptible. Keeping the hoop going is more a matter of feeling/adjusting to the force, and less one of movement. If you've ever had your Sanchin "checked" by having a teacher push from various angles, you get the concept. You can't stand rigid like a piece of granite to look like a piece of granite. You have to adjust to the force on your body with a counter-force. If that makes sense...

Do I have validation of Nakamatsu's approach? Actually yes - through two sources.

The first is Uechi Kanei himself. (I hear he knows what he's talking about...) Frank Gorman once asked Uechi Kanei whom he thought was doing some of the more enlightening things with Uechi karate. By Mr. Gorman's account, Uechi Kanei's response was Nakamatsu Sensei.

The second is my own. For years I've regretted taking perfectly good athletes and fuking up their natural movement by teaching a karate-by-numbers Sanchin. I've discovered that the old Uechi Kanbun approach (before classes were taught in large numbers) is better. You just let a student do the form, and make small adjustments. "Natural" athletes - particularly those who've done free-weight training and/or have done others sports - "get" how to do things. Sanchin then becomes a process whereby you peel off what you don't want the person to do, and leave the "natural" in their movement. When I took this approach with really good athletes AND gave myself permission to re-discover dozens of perfectly good years playing sports (particularly baseball), then the "Aha!" struck.

People who come into Uechi Ryu without an understanding of their bodies need to start from scratch. Getting them from nothing to advanced concepts can take decades. This is where "karate by numbers" works best. This is where locking everything down with the core for about a decade makes sense.

People who are "natural" at human movement only need to be reigned in. Sanchin is a process where less is more. But less doesn't mean nothing. Sanchin by my account does not mean no (zero) core movement. It means small core movement with big effect at the extremities.

It's worth mentioning that there isn't one way to give and receive power with the Sanchin stance. Particularly when I use Sanchin in grappling, my core is solid and immovable. I'm transferring leg energy to the arms through a solid hydraulic mass. Any core or shoulder movement is a "loss point" in the transfer of energy from legs to arms. But when generating energy de novo for a thrust, this is when imperceptible movements of the pelvis and trunk leading to a strong abdominal and lat contraction at point of thrust delivery is a special kind of "whip" energy that few can do. But those who figure it out end up with a thrust that comes out with high velocity almost effortlessly, and finishes with a bone-crushing kime (決め) on contact.

I guess the best way to answer your question is to say the following:

  • "Simple" Sanchin involves a very simplistic structure and set of movements.
    .
  • Once the simplistic core is mastered, any number of layers can be added to it.
    .
  • There are more wrong ways to do Sanchin than there are right ways, making any discussion of this or that core movement a difficult discussion topic at best. At the end of the day, it's all about execution.

Hope that helps.

- Bill


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