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 Post subject: Being your own (wo)man
PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 3:50 am 
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I've been pretty quiet lately as I've been more introspective as a part of the process of writing. Today however I thought I'd share something.

More and more, I've gotten confident in my understanding and interpretation of martial principles. Like Musashi on his journey, I go into my own woods and contemplate what I do. I emerge to look at videos of what others have done. Rather than feel like I'm missing something or feeling a need to criticize what's out there, I've just gotten more and more comfortable in my own skin. I've evolved to a principles-based understanding of what I do, and the expression is what it is.

I saw a video today from one of my favorite "off the wall" bands - Radiohead. This video is unique in that it's just frontman Thom Yorke dancing. If you have a good eye, you'll see that it's not one long effort. Rather it's about 5 videos spliced together into one dance to the song Lotus Flower. Still... It's pretty special.

This is Thom doing his own thing. It reminds me of days of my past when I would have a beer or two and then dance for two hours straight. After a while you get off script and the music just expresses itself through you. Your body is freestyling it.

Thom's physical expression is unique... and it looks right. For him. And that's the way it should be.

..... Radiohead Lotus Flower

Practice, practice, practice until you forget that it's practice. Then practice some more. Then spend time pulling things apart and putting them back together again. Then teach others through your own effort.

And then just let it happen. That "it" is what will allow you to adapt to the unknown threat.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 5:05 am 
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Bill your on the money .

I think its all about the self , Know yourself know your enemy ;)

Being comfortable in your own skin , appreciating your own skin , I had a discussion many years ago about self defence courses with a student , and it's stuck with me , my basic summary was that I could care less about the physical component because it will be forgotten if not practiced(yes better is better in this regard) ..... but the real aspects would be how people confronted themselves , their attitudes , and their behaviours , because this is the real controllable issue and the most likely to prevent a real situation .

I know not glamorous , but reality .

Quote:
Rather than feel like I'm missing something or feeling a need to criticize what's out there


there must be a point were we see the futility , I recall the forum wars and we all got kicked to the curb , We all had good intentions , but it was misplaced , and the messages from both sides stuck with me . We learn from not what we dislike but seeing the value in the other message .

Of all folks the one that hit me was an interview of Jimi Hendrix , he was asked about styles and comparisons , which he astutely replied , I try to avoid comparison because its just another form of violence .

it is what it is ;)

the real trick is to be open while being objective , and to mindfully constantly improve/change , if you can manage that you cant really fail.

cant wait to read the book ......


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:25 pm 
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Love the quote from Jimi Hendrix. He was one of my music idols growing up. My favorite song by him? If 6 was 9.

Here's a Wikipedia review of Thom Yorke's dancing.

Quote:
IndieWire wrote that director Jennings was able to turn Yorke's "spastic" dancing into art. The website described the concept as "simple" and genius", and said the video was "bizarrely compelling

Does the concept sound familiar? With all that we have to pull together when neurohormonally stimulated, doesn't elegantly simple work as a great recipe?


Quote:
with Yorke's flailing, curiously spellbinding limbs as the main attraction." ... They praised the dancing of Yorke, saying "somehow, even though he seems to be mass of tangled limbs in the grip of an attack of some sort, it works."

Isn't fighting to survive a kind of organized chaos? And when we go beyond the classroom choreography designed only to develop our tools, will folks be able to recognize the order when it's staring right at them? Can they uncouple the cognitive brain from the animal brain and let the two happily coexist?

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:17 pm 
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Here's some of that organized chaos, Bill.

http://tinyurl.com/kddy6ta

How to put together 'technique' and strategy for one of us Uechi-ka in similar situation?

And how to develop common sense on which 'technique' will save our butt or bury us?
Quote:
McNamara said he was walking on Arch Street around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday when he saw a group of about 10 people attacking a man who looked like an office worker from one of the downtown buildings.

“They were really coming down on this one guy,’’ McNamara said in a telephone interview. He said one person, a teenager with short cropped hair and red sweatshirt, was the most aggressive attacker. “I didn’t really realize what was going on until I was in the middle of it.’’

When the victim got up and tried to break away from his attackers, McNamara said, the assailants followed him as he crossed back and forth across Arch Street in search of a safe place to stop. He described the flow of attackers as “like a swarm. It actually enveloped me at one point.’’

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:28 pm 
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Image

Beautiful Arch Street, where you will find the wonderful Saint Anthony Shrine.

Can't remember how many times I used to walk that street carrying a brief case from my downtown office in the business district.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:23 pm 
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The swarm attacks are a great field example, Van. Remind me if you will what move in dan kumite addresses "the swarm." :-P

But seriously...

Here's a great example where the following factors - in my humble opinion - increase your chances of survival and even possibly thriving.

  • Technique training which is consistent with flinch behaviors. A great example is hands up postures of Sanchin or the rising arm to an assault from overhead. More subtle examples might be use of the crane-on-rock posture (the flinch response to a snake attack from below, or to a looping attack to the head).
    ...
  • Repetition, repetition, repetition.
    ...
  • Practicing flow in movement. Most people suk at this. Dancers get it. Long forms demand it (e.g. the Fuzhou Suparinpei).
    ...
  • Stationary and walking meditation training.
    ...
  • Training to perform martial movements under stress. That can start with testing and tournaments, and gravitate to scenario training.
    ...
  • Training in tactics and studies of human behavior (particularly the predatory kind you might observe in prison).

Beyond that, I think the individual then needs to get that "dual mind" mode I'm talking about. When this has worked for me, I find myself cognitively acting partially as a witness to what my primal being is doing, and partially as a master who guides the somewhat unpredictable beast. Overthinking the swarm means the loss of valuable time. We have instincts for a reason; they've been genetically selected for through thousands of years of living in predatory environments. At some point the freeform should happen... or not.

One of my favorite teachers was the multi-stylist who approached me about learning Uechi and taught me Goju and aikido. He had put his life of martial training to use in the green berets. Watching him "solve" a martial 3-on-1 problem (tapping in when someone was getting hammered) was as enjoyable as watching Thom Yorke dance above. You know he wasn't overthinking it. He just let the situation move him. Dr. King used to describe his method as "moving like water." That's exactly what Thom is doing.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 4:19 am 
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That attack rang a bell with me as I did survive a 'swarm' attack when, as a teenager in a Latin country, I was cut off ... walking thru a field towards where we lived.

It was luck and primal ferocity, resulting in one of them being seriously disfigured, that got me through.

To this day, I can't believe my good fortune to be able to escape without getting hurt.

And very difficult to describe what it felt inside... upon realizing I had come under attack by an armed group while isolated.

I can feel for that poor guy on Arch street.

It is a time when all the training seems to vanish in a black hole, leaving a primal animal in survival mode.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:13 pm 
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So much karate is done move then do something , where as as per this thread were really needing move while doing something . robot-ryu flow like water pick a metaphor for the problem or the answer , but it stays the same , get stuck on the spot and your a target , set yourself on the spot and your a target .

Mobs make it more so , don't get stuck keep moving get clear .

Bills list is good , I constantly reinforce that you have to be going in the direction your heading ........ now that might sound silly and obvious , but its the key to power generation and mechanics and positional strategy.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:42 pm 
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Stryke wrote:
So much karate is done move then do something , where as as per this thread were really needing move while doing something .

Many of the better Okinawan instructors of few words say things that can take a good student a decade to assimilate. It was Ryuko Tomoyose who once stated in my presence that the best moves in kata were the moves in-between the moves.

First... I miss Vicki. RIP, my friend.

Vicki used to really enjoy something that I evolved to doing - partly because of how well she received and thrived on it. I also used the method to be a supplemental piano teacher to my younger son when he was taking piano. He had a love/hate thing going on with me when I did it, and I'd think he wouldn't ever ask me back with him while practicing. But ultimately he got to the point where he'd wait for me to be there before he practiced. He got that I got how to get in his head and take the music to a better place. These days he taps into my help when doing algebra.

What I do is take a kata sequence and make half a class with it. A good example is "hawk chases sparrow" of Seichin and Sanseiryu. I take the pieces and parts of that sequence, and dissect them down to their fundamental lowest-common-denominator pieces that - more often than not - can be found in Sanchin. We drill the pieces over and over. Then I start reassembling the pieces.

The halfway point is where most peoples' brains are stuck in karate. You can see it when they fight. You can see it when they do prearranged sequences. You can see it when they do kata. I blame modern, large classroom teaching methods for it. As I understand it, that's not how Kanbun taught. But in turning Kanbun's art into a marketable product, many teachers of very large classes created decaffeinated karate.

That halfway point is the stationary technique thingie that Marcus talks about above. They move. They stop. They do a technique with huffing and puffing. They stop. They move. They stop. They do another technique with huffing and puffing. They stop.

Somewhere, someone forgot Newton's laws of motion. Really... it's not that hard.

As I am want to say, "the movement" - as most people like to parse our martial knowledge - starts with the finishing of the last technique. It starts with the stepping and/or the turning, and that ideally blends seamlessly into the technique that most think of when practicing in a stationary position.

Why?

The obvious answer for many is that getting off the line of force is a really good thing. No arguments there. But it's more than that. The power starts with the core, and extends out to the periphery. Thus in efficient/effective fighting, that turn and/or step is what puts the caffeine in the coffee. Benchpressing a strike doesn't.

Dr. King understood this so well because he started as a child in judo. He was a smaller guy who could be really scary because of his natural special forces mindset. "Throwing someone" often started with stepping underneath their center. The "throw" was nothing more than fitting onto the opponent while the legs and hips did all the work. It's no different in the striking part of that artificial dichotomy.

Proof? Well when you do my tear-it-down, put-it-back-together exercise, you begin to discover that there's really one logical path for a sequence. Stepping and/or turning another way causes an interruption in the flow of energy.

One of the biggest troubles my piano teacher had with me was I suked at reading music. Why? Because my brain "got" the logic of a melody and/or chord progression. As a young kid I LOVED Bach because his music was so logical. It scratched an itch in my brain. That evolved to Mozart and Beethoven. Before long I found myself playing something once through reading the music, and doing it from memory from that point forward. It led to embarrassing situations where my piano teacher would point out that a certain section of a piece I was playing was "wrong", even though he agreed that my way sounded better. Oopsie! :-D

The flow was meant all along. WE screwed it up with the process of packaging and marketing an art. But that doesn't mean that we can't reverse engineer the original intent.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:47 am 
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Good post Bill
Quote:
They move. They stop. They do a technique with huffing and puffing. They stop. They move. They stop. They do another technique with huffing and puffing. They stop.


Many teacher have been brought along with 'pauses' in their kata, they insist that it is a good thing because it gives the brain the chance to isolate movements and concepts, thus internalize them much more efficiently.

What is your take on it?

I do the kata with 'deliberation' in sets of movements...I don't do kata as fast as I can as it will ingrain 'fluff'...Takara sensei told Walter not to ever do fast kata.

But I am not a fan of 'pauses'...I like to keep smooth motion going.

What is your take on 'pauses'...

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:39 am 
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8) 8) 8)


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:22 pm 
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Van Canna wrote:
What is your take on 'pauses'...

Note that I am intentionally avoiding commenting on others' beliefs. ;-)

Having this entire thread start with dancing - a performance done to a cadence - is apropos. It gets to the point.

As a self-described "old fart" who can hit in the fastest batting cage both right- and left-handed, I'm not completely enamored with my abilities. I'm good, but at my age I know I'm not *that* good. So how do I do it?

..... Bull Durham - Nuke Laloosh shaking signs

There is speed, which is always a good thing. If I had the speed of Jacoby Ellsbury, I'd take it. But I don't. And then there's timing and rhythm. Dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments are part of my DNA, and should be for any decent athlete. If you can read a technique before it comes, you can anticipate the temporal window of impact and respond accordingly. Getting a precise response to it is a matter of very fine adjustment during a planned technique of your own.

You don't have to be fast if you know your partner's intent.

Mathematical chaos can be defined practically in many ways. One definition is the butterfly effect, or hypersensitivity to initial conditions. I call it predictable unpredictability. It's the reason why the wolf will never eat all the rabbits, thereby ensuring both species' survival.

No matter how fast you are, you don't want to be predictable.

Another reason for pauses is because kata are language. And in language, you speak complete thoughts by the sentence. No good speaker speaks in monotone, and no good speaker speaks with metronome cadence.

A great singer plays with the regular cadence.

.... AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL by Ray Charles

By doing so, a great fighter dances circles around speed with no breaks in rhythm. If you're good, you don't even have to rush. You let them rush, and play with their predictability.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 3:56 pm 
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I think the problem is the definition of 'pausing' in kata...and 'cadence'_

There are pauses/physical and mental...

I 'pause' mentally while trying to mentally calculate incoming lines of force and direction, and to make sure that the kata sequences I am doing...are deliberate and accurate.

This is what I see in Master Shinjo here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vgoipt5Es0

And in Master Tomoyose here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrH4kIpYML4

But, as always, everyone of us will find the individual 'way'

I don't like to 'stutter' a kata or hold any position too long.

Operating conditioning also applies to kata done thousands of times and 'pausing' especially if under swarm attack...can get one killed.

Some of the start/stop performances I have seen in kata are not what interests me at all.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:38 pm 
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One thing that can hamstring development in timing is large classroom kata. Doing everything to an "ichi-ni-san" cadence is necessary with 50 people in a room. But that timing has no basis in reality when trying to apply the choreography. Large classroom kata cadence teaches pedagogical artifact. Asking a student raised on this to to their kata faster just creates nonsense.

At some point you have to tear it down and build it back up again. You need to take the tools out of the toolkit. There's nothing in fact sacred about the choreography from beginning to end; it's just a reference book.

Some people get the concept of individual kata, and some don't. Some will figure it out, and some never will.

I *really* like the idea of going off on one's own and playing with things. Then come back and look at what others are doing. Sometimes you change your mind... and then sometimes you realize you like what you're doing because it's now yours.

Van Canna wrote:
I 'pause' mentally while trying to mentally calculate incoming lines of force and direction, and to make sure that the kata sequences I am doing...are deliberate and accurate.

This is what I see in Master Shinjo here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vgoipt5Es0

And in Master Tomoyose here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrH4kIpYML4

But, as always, everyone of us will find the individual 'way'

Great examples, Van.

To some extent Shinjo Kiyohide and to a much greater extent Tomoyose Ryuko are doing their kata in bursts of complete thoughts. They're speaking a martial language with vocabulary (techniques) and grammar (sequences). They're doing their techniques one martial sentence or one martial paragraph at a time.

And to me, I see a martial story. When someone is doing a classroom kata, I don't. I see someone monotonically reading off the teleprompter.

Decades back, George brought a Fuzhou crane master from mainland China to teach us on Thompson island. Marty Dow served as his translator in the classes. That was the same week I picked up many other great pieces of work, such as three classic Okinawa kobudo forms. In any case, the crane master had a "classroom form" which he taught everyone, and then "his own form" which he did every time he demonstrated. And the cool thing about "his own form" was that no two performances were the same. He would add things here and there, all on a whim. His timing was never the same. He just got in front of the crowd and did what came to him at the moment. The structure was there, but the flesh was unique from performance to performance.

That - to me - is the essence of having mastered a form. And no... I can't quite do that. But I can just a little. 8)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 8:30 pm 
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Quote:
Decades back, George brought a Fuzhou crane master from mainland China to teach us on Thompson island.


I remember him well. That was the look of real karate to me.

At times he seemed to almost take off the ground.

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