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 Post subject: Seiko Toyama
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 2:17 am
Posts: 203
Location: Derry, NH, USA
Seiko Toyama Sanseiryu

Edited for correct name spelling and formatting - Bill

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Victor Smith
bushi no te isshinryu


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 Post subject: Re: Seiko Toyama
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 17040
Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Toyama Sensei is a revered Uechi Ryu practitioner. I like him a lot because he was his own man, lived a healthy life, and was dedicated to that which he learned from Uechi Kanbun and others.

The first thing I want to point out is something I believe I've noted before. The sequence of mirror image moves from 1:00 to 1:07 are "non-standard" in contemporary Uechi Ryu. However the way he does those moves is captured in the relatively new Uechi Ryu form Seichin (near the end after the eye strikes). Furthermore, Toyama Sensei starts the form with a "salutation" that's also captured as "technique" in Seichin. That begs the question as to why. Was Kanbun at one time ambivalent about the moves he taught in several places within "The Big Three" forms of his original style? If so, it speaks to several possibilities:

  • That which we know as "the style" could have been in somewhat of a flux when Kanbun brought his body of knowledge from Fuzhou to Okinawa.
    ...
  • That which we know as "the style" could have been a little less classical (fixed) and a little more jazz (improv).
    ...
  • Or maybe Toyama Sensei liked personalizing his martial choreography, and had the blessing of his teacher to do so.

Meanwhile, good stuff. Even Toyama Sensei's idiosyncratic nuances are fun to watch.

More later.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Seiko Toyama
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 5:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 16, 1998 6:01 am
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Location: Mount Dora, Florida
I had the privilege of meeting Sensei Toyama on a number of occasions, including at the first Uechi-ryu Karate Association gathering, where Sensei Kanei Uechi assembled all senior teachers of Uechi to the Naha dojo. The purpose was to "standardize" the Uechi kata to help with the proposed organization and perpetuation of the style.

Each of the senior/seniors performed their kata and explained why they felt their way was the "original" Kanbun way. According the Tomoyose's translation to me, there was a great deal of dissension among the seniors and a couple of the dojo decided not to join Kanei Uechi's association. I mention this, because in my estimation and experience, there never was a "standard" way to perform kata, although watching the performances, you could easily identify each kata. Most of the differences involved things which we debate today. . . breathing, way to perform the "wauke" and use of deep stances.

No one performed any exaggerated shoulder modifications while performing kata and the first time I saw this was in a performance by a Japanese senior (studied from Kanbun for an indeterminate time) who performed at the 25th anniversary of Kanbun's death demonstration. Kanei Uechi and I were in the audience during this part of the ceremony and I asked Tommy about it. I won't go into the discussion other than to say they thought it was more for entertainment value than for demonstrating anything of value in Uechi-ryu.

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 Post subject: Re: Seiko Toyama
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 7:35 am
Posts: 93
Location: Nagahama Okinawa
Hello...!

The gentleman who performed an "interesting-looking" Seisan at the 25th Commemorative Demonstration is sometimes thought to be Toyama Sensei. He is Furugen Soryu Sensei, the first student of Kanei Sensei's Osaka Dojo in 1936. He never trained under Kanbun Sensei. His movements and performance style are his own. I have a video taken in his Osaka Dojo from the late 1990s showing his students performing much the same way.

Furugen Sensei passed away in his mid-90's at his home on Okinawa around 2003.

The opening performed by Toyama Sensei for Sandairyu (Sanseiryu) are the first 3 of 4 stages in a muscle-preparation technique known from the Tiger System. I have a very old description translated from a Chinese script detailing (in typical flowery Chinese fashion) exactly those moves. It was taught by Kanbun Sensei, passed down in training to his students, and may still be performed today in Fuzhou in descendent systems.

Toyama Sensei did not teach us this opening though he did demonstrate it.

Seizan


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 Post subject: Re: Seiko Toyama
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:39 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 7:35 am
Posts: 93
Location: Nagahama Okinawa
By the way, Mattson Sensei tested for his 8th Dan in the Futenma Dojo - alongside Toyama Sensei who tested for his 9th Dan...!

Toyama Sensei was awarded Kyudan #1 by Kanei Sensei. Photos show Toyama Sensei and Mattson Sensei together with Kanei Sensei holding their respective certificates.


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 Post subject: Re: Seiko Toyama
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:04 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 16, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 5999
Location: Mount Dora, Florida
Thanks for your honest and historically accurate explanation of Toyama Sensei's kata performance. Because he is so respected and honored among the Uechi community, it is important for students and teachers to understand these facts.

I see teachers trying to copy Toyama Sensei's opening of kata and combining it with extreme tension and a multitude of other harmful actions and then teaching it to students under the pretense that it was Toyama Sensei's way.

The weighted jars are abused big time by many, ignoring the real purpose of the drill, opting to simply use the weight to lower the shoulders way below what they should be. I've seen seniors with these jars who are so proud that their shoulders were almost below their rib cage.

I've seen many Chinese exercises and drills designed to build certain muscles and other specific parts of their martial arts. Learning that Toyama Sensei was performing a Chinese drill that became part of his kata, which he obviously understood, makes a lot of sense. The fact that he didn't teach it, tells me that his practice and mastery of his martial art was a personal training tool and for whatever reason, he believed it wasn't something that his students needed to master their art.

I hope all is well with you and your family Seizan.

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