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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 1998 3:06 pm 
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Are we up for another "challenge"? This one from a Tai-chi instructor with some familiarity with Uechi-ryu. I imagine the challenger will expect one of us to "push hands" with him "to the death"! Naturally, we will expect him stand still while J.D.'s Editor pounds his legs into submission!(:

John Lovas wrote:

New Year's Greetings Sensei Mattson!

Recently I had the pleasure of observing Chen-style Taiji students practicing push hands. It seemed to me (I have no training at all in Taiji), that push hands would be excellent supplementary training for Uechi Ryu karateka - to help with circle blocks, centering, transfer of weight, sensing the opponent, pulling the opponent into our stance, initiating take-downs etc.

Do you feel that push hands can be effectively integrated into one's Uechi Ryu training eg following a weekend seminar of instruction in push hands OR do you think that the basic principles of Taiji are fundamentally different from Uechi Ryu karate?

Cheers,
John.

Astute observation John. . . I've been practicing a modified "arm rubbing" exercise that resembles the "push hands" exercise for over 20 years. . . and highly recommend that uechi students investigate and practice some form of this drill. I plan on posting some clips on these exercises and will be interested in your views.

Uechi-ryu, once you evolve beyond the white belt mentality, contains many fascinating techniques and applications found in other martial arts. This is one reason I recommend that students check out other systems and see the similarities to what they are practicing in our style.

Keep an open mind and keep searching. And let me know how you are doing.

Have a wonderful new year,
Best,
George Mattson


John Lovas wrote:

Dear Sensei Mattson,

Thanks very much for your rapid and encouraging response. For your interest, I enclose correspondence on the same question, between Mike Sigman (of the neijia listserve) and myself.

I can't immagine that two martial art forms, both of which originated in China, can be so fundamentally different that a student of one, cannot benefit from briefly studying select portions of the other. Your summer camps, at least the portions taught by teachers of other styles, are based on precisely the above premise.

Cheers,
John.

****************

Mike Sigman answered the same question I posed to you as follows:[/]

Fundamentally different. I studied Uechi-Ryu on Okinawa under Seiyu Shinjo. And what I've seen done as Uechi Ryu in the U.S. is even more different than that. It would take a radical change for most Uechi people to be able to use what is done in Taiji. That's my opinion. :^)

****************

To which John Long responded:

Thanks very much for your response. I've just posed the same question to Sensei George Mattson - I have a feeling he'll be of the opposite opinion.

Also, there are a number of senior (30+ years intensive training) Uechi students eg David Mott (Toronto), Al Wharton (Bermuda), Bob Campbell (Hong Kong), who also have extensive training in Taiji, Qigong and other Chinese
martial arts and who seem to have very successfully integrated all of this supposedly divergent material.

****************

Mike Sigman's response:

Mattson is not an expert on internal martial arts, nor are any number of senior karate students. I am more than willing to show someone and demonstrate the powers unique to Taiji (you can read about them in Taiji
classical literature). Then I would ask whoever else is supposedly knowledgeable about Taiji and "internal" training to show those same things. Easy test, wouldn't you say? Glad to make a wager with you, Mattson, or any of his senior students, and here's why:

What happens almost everytime is that someone mistakes a hard-style martial art that has "neigung" (which translates as "internal exercises") as implying that the style is "internal". It's a different meaning. "Neijia", the "internal arts" use a unique form of strength that involves re-coordinating the way that the body moves. Sanchin and other White Crane derived exercises are counter to the development of this strength, as is the use of normal muscular movement.

To which GEM responded:
[i]I must agree with Mr. Sigman, that Uechi-ryu, as practiced by many Okinawans and
even more non-Okinawans, is quite different from Tai chi. The style continues to evolve from what it was originally in China and will continue to change based on environmental and cultural influences. What I interpreted and taught back in 1958, and what shaped much of what is being done today, is a far cry from what I practice and teach today. . . or from what I taught 30, 20, 10 or even 5 years ago.

I would like to ask Mr. Sigman if the old masters of Tai chi might have experienced
the same process as they developed their personal styles of their art, resulting in
the many schools of Tai chi being practiced throughout the world today. If someone with a limited understanding of Tai chi practices and teaches a strictly 'meditative' form of the art, mean that it is different and incompatible with the more formidable 'self defense' styles of Tai chi that teach the art with a totally different outward purpose?

The way an individual or school performs movements of a style doesn't change the
underlying potential of that style. To say that a Uechi stylist is unable to incorporate Tai chi principles in their practice assumes that Tai chi contains some kind of exclusive formula forbidden to other styles. Kind of like my saying that only Uechi practitioners can break boards!

Kanbun Uechi spent very few years in China. . . I spent very few years on Okinawa. Both of us interpreted what was taught to us, based on many factors. Certainly neither of us learned the sets for meditation purposes. Naturally what we passed on to our students reflected that incomplete and parochial perspective. But it would be arrogant for anyone to presume that a martial art system should be judged in its entirety by what one man picked up in China and reluctantly passed on to others. Or that the sum total of the system should be judged by what Mr. Sigman witnessed in his limited exposure. It would also be arrogant for someone to presume that serious martial artist cannot learn about their art by studying other arts.

I'd be very happy to have Mr. Sigman show me how limited my understanding of Tai chi is. . . as I tell everyone. . . I'm still very much a student. Please extend an invitation to my camp next year. We have hundreds of students and teachers from all styles in attendance. . . all come with the attitude of looking for ways to improve what they do by maintaining an open mind and willingness to learn.

Best,
George Mattson


[This message has been edited by gmattson (edited 12-27-98).]


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 1998 6:03 pm 
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Very much to the point Mr. Canna. I'd imagine there would be quite a number of Uechi people who would be fighting one another for the honor of being tested by Mr. Sigman!


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 1998 6:19 pm 
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Just received an answer from John Lovas related to my last email: Mr. Chan appears to have a more reasonable approach to the subject of hard/soft, without resorting to the usual childish debate over who has the hardest shins or softest chi! GEM

Dear Sensei Mattson,

Thanks very much for your detailed reply. I thought you might be interested in this post, by Stephen Chan from the neijia listserve:

"Maybe this is blasphemy, but from what I've seen, even the very top guys, at least those who have been videotaped through different parts of their Taiji careers, have a progression from really, really strong but with lots of external, to really, really strong and about as purely internal as
you can get.

So far as I can tell, the folks in Chen Village start out training with and obvious external bias, and become strong and effective martial artists, then as they mature more in their art, they become more internal. You can see the same in the early photos of Yang Cheng-Fu, where he (as far as I could tell) seemed to lack even knowledge of how to use his kua, to the later photos where he seems to exhibit good internal qualities (at least, so far as you can tell from a still photo).

The idea that nobody can get rid of external movements habits once they've learned them seems to go against empirical observations. On the other hand, the people who got rid of the external habits clearly knew that there was a higher level to aspire to, because they had been exposed to people of higher level. In Chen Village, there is a good population to draw from, and the knowledge of what is proper seems to be more widely known (even if only sporadically practiced).

I don't know a single Taiji person in the USA (including every member of the neijia list who I've met and is currently considered to be a reference point for internal strength) who didn't have lots of external
habits early on from so-so teacher, but managed to learn a better way.

On the other hand, I know quite a few people who study under good, or decent teachers, but have made little to no progress in terms of internal strength."

Cheers,
John.


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 1998 8:54 pm 
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"I don't know a single Taiji person in the USA (including every
member of the neijia list who I've met and is currently considered to
be a reference point for internal strength) who didn't have lots of
external
habits early on from so-so teacher, but managed to learn a better
way."

Again , I am not disputing the claim of internal strength development here , but when the talk is of "a better way" I would like to know " Better in what way and to what end " ? From this exchange , I take it that Taiji persons feel they are superior ,in their martial arts prowess, to Uechi-Ryu practitioners , both of the Island and the States persuasion , or for that matter , to all other "external systems" !!

Lets get down to specifics and argue the advantages over any "lesser system" ! But no BS please , make sure you can argue intelligently and are prepared to back up any claims unconditionally and under realistic conditions !! As a start , how about pointed answers to my questions on my previous post ?? I.e., could this superior 'internal strength' be demonstrated to me in simply defeating [ knocking out ] say , Gary khoury or Bob Bethoney or Art Rabesa in a simple full contact match ?? How about stopping a charge from a linebacker ? How about taking on a pro-wrestler ? Are we saying that a power weights lifter is the ultimate in fighting prowess ??

Is Mr Sigman willing to submit to a simple test of full contact/ knock out free sparring match with some of the individuals named above? Or is this "internal strength " of a non martial nature !!!! Where is the advantage , why is it an advantage[to what end] and how it is to be demonstrated convincingly ???

We all know lots of arrogant tai-chi practitioners out there disdaining Uechi-Ryu [that other thing] …but where are they when the shins start to fly ???

"Glad to make a wager
with you, Mattson, or any of his senior students, and here's why:[ sigman]

NOTICE THE LACK OF RESPECT IN ADDRESSING MATTSON SENSEI ...

Van Canna


[This message has been edited by VAN CANNA (edited 12-27-98).]


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 1998 12:46 am 
Just my two-cents.

I once rigorously practiced Chen's Tai Chi under the Wu Tang system in Cambridge, MA at MIT some years ago under Sifu Sho Guo Po (I wish I could find him - think he is in Ottawa -- Have faith that he could help heal my back/legs/head).

I will back 100% the statement made by John Lovas: "It seemed to me ... that push hands would be excellent supplementary training for Uechi Ryu karateka - to help with circle blocks, centering, transfer of weight, sensing the opponent, pulling the opponent into our stance, initiating take-downs etc."

I recommend Uechi-ryu pratitioners learn one of the 'big three' tai-chi styles, especially recommend it to the Tiger Uechi-ryu students (the ones who like to show their 'hard' strength).

"...but when the shins start to fly..."

Allen

[This message has been edited by moulton (edited 12-27-98).]


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 1998 2:32 am 
Hi Guys:

My name is Mike Sigman. I recently got an email from John Lovas, out of the blue, unsolicited, asking my opinion about the usability of internal strength parameters in Uechi Ryu. As noted, I studied Uechi Ryu on Okinawa while I was in the Marine Corps (and going back and forth to Viet Nam and assorted bars in K.C., Naha, etc.).

I read some of your posts and in a friendly manner let me make a few replies. Bear in mind that my tone is almost always one of light humor:

**********************************
Are we up for another "challenge"? This one from a Tai-chi instructor with some
familiarity with Uechi-ryu. I imagine the challenger will expect one of us to "push
hands" with him "to the death"! Naturally, we will expect him stand still while J.D.'s
Editor pounds his legs into submission!(:
*************************************
I'll let that one go.

***************************************

Astute observation John. . . I've been practicing a modified "arm rubbing" exercise
that resembles the "push hands" exercise for over 20 years. . . and highly
recommend that uechi students investigate and practice some form of this drill. I
plan on posting some clips on these exercises and will be interested in your views.
********************************

Push hands is a practice format in which a practitioner begins to learn to use the odd strength that is the core of Taiji in a one on one scenario. It is hard to learn this form of strength; the whole way of moving has to be repatterned and that is why the initial Taiji form is done so slowly. Simply for the repatterning. The techniques and strategies within push-hands are secondary to learning this form of movement. If you haven't learned this form of movement, you would be wasting your time doing push hands.

*************************************


Thanks very much for your rapid and encouraging response. For your interest, I
enclose correspondence on the same question, between Mike Sigman (of the neijia
listserve) and myself.
***************************************

Frankly, I question why anyone would forward private correspondence, without permission, to a mailing list. I would also question the mailing list's tolerance of that sort of thing. But perhaps we have different views.

****************************************



Part of Mr. Mattson's comments:
The way an individual or school performs movements of a style doesn't change the
underlying potential of that style. To say that a Uechi stylist is unable to incorporate
Tai chi principles in their practice assumes that Tai chi contains some kind of
exclusive formula forbidden to other styles. Kind of like my saying that only Uechi
practitioners can break boards!

*************************************

This is probably the core of why I avoided getting into the discussion. Unless you understand what is really different about Taiji, you might think that Taiji simply has perhaps a few different conditioning gungs and techniques which would certainly be applicable to Uechi. I am trying to tell you that the whole way of moving is different. I know. If someone wants to say "hey, I'm internal, too" then I would say OK, let's see. We can compare notes.
*****************************************

From Van Canna's remarks:

Very interesting challenge …then again I have seen lots of these challenges over the
long years that left me unimpressed ! Depends on what end result we are looking at !!
*********************************
Let's not distort the word "wager" into "challenge", please. When I make a challenge, it is different.

*************************************
It appears , at the outset , that, while on Okinawa, he was afflicted by the
same Okinawaitis syndrome common to all who spend some time on the island and
then come back to a rude awakening in the States when facing a worthy opponent ,
such as Bob Campbell , Art Rabesa , Clarence Wilder etc.!

Since I am more of a realist than most , I would be happy for Mr Sigman to prove to
me how his internal chi powers translate into effective self defense , such as not
going down for the count when hit in the head by devastating punches or kicks ..or
continue to stand up under the relentless body and leg pounding of our top notch
fighters , such as Gary Khoury or Bob spoon , as only two examples !
**************************************

:^) I'm having trouble with the above. It appears that Van Canna is challenging me to fight someone else, which is unusual in my experience.

Let me just address the central theme this way, though. If a certain style of martial art, let us say Hung Gar, has some really useful conditioning qigong that would help your Uechi Ryu, you could test out that qigong for it's specific effects. If the effects are useable in your art, then you might choose to pursue it. If the effects are not worthwhile, then there is no point in pursuing it, logically. You can judge the positive or negative points of a style without simply putting two stylists in a ring. Using Van's reasoning, I might tangle with a Uechi guy and slaughter him... then using that same too-general reasoning I could say that Uechi Ryu is not an effective martial art. Insulting, eh? I see the same potential insult and superficiality. Let's try to look at what we say from both sides.

*********************************


This is not meant
to be offensive to Mr. Sigman , but why is it that No great tai-chi masters amount to
a hill of beans in open tourneys , or even enter UFC championships , or routine full
contact competition ! [ I have heard all the rationalizations on this for years on end ,
but I am looking for new ones ] !

***************************************

One of the real problems with Taiji is that there is almost no one in the U.S. who is that good at it. I know there are lots of people who claim to "teach Tai Chee", but you can disregard almost all of them. Good Taiji is just starting and we are just beginning to get the benefits of teaching from experts who are now able to visit the U.S.
****************************************

Also I would like a clear explanation of how "push hands" translates into a clear
advantage in a violent confrontation in the street under the grip of the chemical
cocktail ! How push hands or internal chi powers are superior to blinding fast
knockdown power strikes by a well schooled fighter !
************************************

I am sure that against such a fighter as yourself Taiji would be powerless.

*************************************



Very much to the point Mr. Canna. I'd imagine there would be quite a number of Uechi
people who would be fighting one another for the honor of being tested by Mr.
Sigman!
gmattson
posted 12-27-98 01:19

*********************************

Well, I suppose you would have to pretend that you were me (and knew my background) to understand my view of some of this.

*************************************

Comment from Mr. Chan's letter:

I don't know a single Taiji person in the USA (including every member of the neijia list
who I've met and is currently considered to be a reference point for internal strength)
who didn't have lots of external
habits early on from so-so teacher, but managed to learn a better way.

On the other hand, I know quite a few people who study under good, or decent
teachers, but have made little to no progress in terms of internal strength."
*************************************

I think he was accurate. The discussion was about generally about the acquisition of internal strength, though, and not martial styles.

************************************

Again , I am not disputing the claim of internal strength development here , but when
the talk is of "a better way" I would like to know " Better in what way and to what end
" ? From this exchange , I take it that Taiji persons feel they are superior ,in their
martial arts prowess, to Uechi-Ryu practitioners , both of the Island and the States
persuasion , or for that matter , to all other "external systems" !!
********************************

Hmmmmm. As noted above, the discussion was about the way strength was used. Internal strength is more efficient than normal strength. You changed the topic to say "martial prowess" and that is not accurate.

***************************************

could this superior 'internal
strength' be demonstrated to me in simply defeating [ knocking out ] say , Gary
khoury or Bob Bethoney or Art Rabesa in a simple full contact match ?? How about
stopping a charge from a linebacker ? How about taking on a pro-wrestler ? Are we
saying that a power weights lifter is the ultimate in fighting prowess ??

Is Mr Sigman willing to submit to a simple test of full contact/ knock out free sparring
match with some of the individuals named above? Or is this "internal strength " of a
non martial nature !!!! Where is the advantage , why is it an advantage[to what end]
and how it is to be demonstrated convincingly ???

We all know lots of arrogant tai-chi practitioners out there disdaining Uechi-Ryu [that
other thing] …but where are they when the shins start to fly ???
*******************************************

No one in Taiji disdains Uechi Ryu. Most have never even heard of Uechi. In terms of the differences, you might ask among some of your members if they have encountered me and discussed the matter. I believe I have met with at least 3 Uechi instructors in the past, but they need to volunteer the information. I don't want to misuse anyone's name.
***************************************


"Glad to make a wager
with you, Mattson, or any of his senior students, and here's why:[ sigman]

NOTICE THE LACK OF RESPECT IN ADDRESSING MATTSON SENSEI ...

Van Canna
******************************************

Again, you are quoting from a private email. Secondly, I seldom use titles of any sort unless it is a well deserved title and I am addressing the person directly. Please consider that I implied no disrespect either.

Considering the tone of the writings, I am a little confused by what the term "respect" means, anyway.

*********************************


In closing, let me address my major point again. People in Uechi-Ryu can learn the format and techniques of push hands, but if they do not know how to use the core strength of Taiji, then it is not the same thing and they will have missed the important part.
The core strength of Taiji is incompatible with the southern Shaolin spring-tension developed by Sanchin. It is simply a different mode of strength. For someone to tell you that should not be taken as an affront to Uechi Ryu.

On the other hand, look at it from my side. I know a fair amount about both arts. I gave an honest opinion and it has been used to belittle me, rather than valid questions being directed in reply. I am disappointed.

In terms of how effective Taiji is in combat, a couple of your people met with me. We did not spar but I don't think any of them left with the impression that it was because I couldn't create havoc if I wanted to.

I enjoyed my studies of Uechi and I remember Seiyu Shinjo with affection. And Seiki Irei. And others. I remember watching a film Mr. Mattson sent back to be graded on. A number of us watched it and it was fun. Uechi Ryu is behind me but I am glad to talk with people from the style. Let's keep the relationship friendly.

Regards,

Mike Sigman


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 1998 4:48 am 
Dr X wrote:

Et al.,

As you know, I tried to lend the benefit of the doubt with regards to the intentions
behind postings. I must admit that I did find the tone rather flipant if not
confrontational. While the author may not intend such, I would suggest he review them
and his subsequent responses.

Now, I can also understand if the author feels a bit piqued at the less than cordial
reception to his "wager." Unfortunately, his "wager" reads as a challenge. Equally
unfortunate, is the fact that readers unfamiliar with him or his humor will react strongly
to such challenges. He will feel insulted and the process feeds on itself.

For these reasons, I have, in the past, recommended to posters on the improper side
of etiquette to act the better man and apologize without attempting to explain. The
explanations often, as in this case, read as a further attack. Yes, I have been more
than happy to apologize publically for the fact that a reader lacks the intelligence,
sophistication, and mental development to recognize that I am right! That is a different
matter. I assume in this case the author intended no further insult. I would, therefore,
recommend that he accept he conveyed the wrong intentions, take a metaphoric deep
breath, and start afresh.

Should he do this I would also recommend that everyone accept it and move on, as
hard as it may sometimes be to do that.

In that respect, my only comment on the substance of the reply is that I must
disagree with any separation of "strength" in to mythologic paradigms. Yes, there are
different ways of using strength. All martial arts worth their salt explore these
methods. To break up strength into the artificiality of "internal" and "external," only
obscures understanding and, frankly, drives a wedge between different styles.
**************************************

Sorry you read it that way. It's too bad that you reject the idea of a different form of strength; I've had kinesiologists and department heads of Physical Therapy looking at it. Good luck in your pursuit of martial arts.

Mike Sigman


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 1998 5:03 am 
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Hi Mike,

I enjoy a good natured , mutually informative exchange but always with tact ! Keep in mind at the outset that I made it clear in my post that no personal offense to you was intended ! Now >> Let me > make some observations on a friendly basis as follows:

You wrote "Considering the tone of the writings, I am a little confused by what
the term "respect" means, anyway." >>>>>>> "I gave an honest opinion and it has been used to
belittle me, rather than valid questions being directed in reply. I am
disappointed."

Let's analyze what you initially and then subsequently said on this forum :

1] "I studied Uechi-Ryu on Okinawa under
Seiyu Shinjo. And what I've seen done as Uechi Ryu in the U.S. is
even more different than that." [ You really do not believe that this remark could be offensive to the American /Canadian / European practitioners?]

2] "Mattson is not an expert on internal martial arts, nor are any
number of senior karate students." [ how can you be so sure of this? And how do you define expert in this context]

3]" Sanchin and other White Crane derived exercises are
counter to the development of this strength, as is the use of
normal muscular movement." [ you don't believe that this could be taken offensively even by the Okinawan Masters? They might think that you infer Uechi is an inferior and less than effective style ]

4] "I'm having trouble with the above. It appears that Van Canna is
challenging me to fight someone else, which is unusual in my
experience."
[ Not a challenge , Mike , just a test ; a personal challenge would sound and read very clear to you !! Are you now resorting to personal insult , or Am I misreading you ! You are way off base on this one Mike …but It is my turn to let this one go !!]

5] I asked these common interest questions "Also I would like a clear explanation of how "push hands" translates
into a clear
advantage in a violent confrontation in the street under the grip of
the chemical
cocktail ! How push hands or internal chi powers are superior to
blinding fast
knockdown power strikes by a well schooled fighter !"

Your reply "I am sure that against such a fighter as yourself Taiji would be
powerless." [ This I read definitely as a personal insult …was that your intent ?
Why the necessity of insult rather than a rational , conceptual explanation of the principles , Mike ??]

6] "I enjoyed my studies of Uechi and I remember Seiyu Shinjo with
affection. And Seiki Irei. And others. I remember watching a film Mr.
Mattson sent back to be graded on. A number of us watched it and
it was fun."[ Again this could be taken as a direct insult to Mr. Mattson ; but was this your intent ??]

7]" We did not spar but I don't think any of them left with
the impression that it was because I couldn't create havoc if I
wanted to " [ lots of us could create havoc as well , but I was looking for a more specific answer of how the power of Taiji translates into more effective fighting and why! We are all still in a continuous learning process , that includes everybody without exception, Mike ]

And finally you wrote "Please consider that I implied no
disrespect either .>>>> Uechi Ryu is behind me but I am glad to talk with people
from the style. Let's keep the relationship friendly."

I think that if you re-read my post , Mike , it will be apparent that the basic underlying intent is , in fact, a friendly exchange but only subject to mutual respect ! ..I thought I made clear that no personal offense to you was intended , but you disappoint me with the need of personally offensive retorts ..however if that was not really your intent you need only say so and we can move on to mutual gratifying exchanges!

Regards ,

Van Canna


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 1998 5:32 am 
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Very interesting challenge …then again I have seen lots of these challenges over the long years that left me unimpressed ! Depends on what end result we are looking at !! I am sure Mr Sigman is good at what he does and his "system" has merit , but to what end ? And how to prove it convincingly under the stress of violent explosive encounters …not just some prearranged test with an uke not in altered mental states ! I would love to learn some of the' formidable devastating' Taiji real life defense action !

"I studied Uechi-Ryu on Okinawa under
Seiyu Shinjo. And what I've seen done as Uechi Ryu in the U.S. is
even more different than that. It would take a radical change for
most Uechi people to be able to use what is done in Taiji. That's
my opinion. :^)


Perhaps I am reading this wrong , but >> as Mr. Sigman does not tell us his length of stay ; It appears , at the outset , that, while on Okinawa, he was afflicted by the same Okinawaitis syndrome common to all who spend some time on the island and then come back to a rude awakening in the States when facing a worthy opponent , such as Bob Campbell , Art Rabesa , Clarence Wilder etc.!

Since I am more of a realist than most , I would be happy for Mr Sigman to prove to me how his internal chi powers translate into effective self defense , such as not going down for the count when hit in the head by devastating punches or kicks ..or continue to stand up under the relentless body and leg pounding of our top notch fighters , such as Gary Khoury or Bob spoon , as only two examples ! This is not meant to be offensive to Mr. Sigman , but why is it that No great tai-chi masters amount to a hill of beans in open tourneys , or even enter UFC championships , or routine full contact competition ! [ I have heard all the rationalizations on this for years on end , but I am looking for new ones ] !

Also I would like a clear explanation of how "push hands" translates into a clear advantage in a violent confrontation in the street under the grip of the chemical cocktail ! How push hands or internal chi powers are superior to blinding fast knockdown power strikes by a well schooled fighter !

We could set up a test at summer camp to have Mr. Sigman take on Gary Khoury and bring him down to his knees to submission in a full contact free style match !

Fair enough ??

Van Canna


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 1998 5:59 am 
Van Canna writes:




Let's analyze what you initially and then subsequently said on this forum :

1] "I studied Uechi-Ryu on Okinawa under
Seiyu Shinjo. And what I've seen done as Uechi Ryu in the U.S. is
even more different than that." [ You really do not believe that this remark could be
offensive to the American /Canadian / European practitioners?]
***************************************

Why should that be offensive? The discussion was about the similarity of the power used in Uechi Ryu and Taiji. I know first hand the type of power used on Okinawa. The type of power used in the U.S. (that I have seen)is different from what I saw on Okinawa, but still they are both different from that used in Taiji. My opinion was asked for and I gave it that Taiji is different. Why is that offensive?

*********************************

2] "Mattson is not an expert on internal martial arts, nor are any
number of senior karate students." [ how can you be so sure of this? And how do you
define expert in this context]
************************************

Let me turn this one around. Are you an expert in Taiji? I don't claim to be a complete expert but I am knowledgeable in both Taiji and Uechi Ryu. Instead of saying "how can you be sure of this" (a defensive reaction), an honestly inquisitive person would be trying to find out what's going on. If your mindset is that "George Mattson (or whoever) is respected in my group and I will not accept any discussions of deficiencies in any subject" then you may see why I'm reluctant to take these discussions as serious.
************************************


3]" Sanchin and other White Crane derived exercises are
counter to the development of this strength, as is the use of
normal muscular movement." [ you don't believe that this could be taken offensively
even by the Okinawan Masters? They might think that you infer Uechi is an inferior and
less than effective style ]
**************************************

I've made it quite clear that I in no way said "inferior" in previous remarks. If you are looking to be insulted, I am sure that you will always find it. I said different.

************************************

*********************************************
5] I asked these common interest questions "Also I would like a clear explanation of
how "push hands" translates
into a clear
advantage in a violent confrontation in the street under the grip of
the chemical
cocktail ! How push hands or internal chi powers are superior to
blinding fast
knockdown power strikes by a well schooled fighter !"

Your reply "I am sure that against such a fighter as yourself Taiji would be
powerless." [ This I read definitely as a personal insult …was that your intent ?
Why the necessity of insult rather than a rational , conceptual explanation of the
principles , Mike ??]
****************************************888

You need to worry more about your insults to others. I took your remarks as an insult and replied. So you take the reply as the initiating insult.

Let me say that I recognize that this is you guys' forum... your "turf", if you will. I am not interested in playing turf games.

******************************
6] "I enjoyed my studies of Uechi and I remember Seiyu Shinjo with
affection. And Seiki Irei. And others. I remember watching a film Mr.
Mattson sent back to be graded on. A number of us watched it and
it was fun."[ Again this could be taken as a direct insult to Mr. Mattson ; but was this
your intent ??]
****************************************

You seem to take things as you will, regardless. If you notice, you are not discussing issues, but personalities and emotions. That is what I initially got irritated with. Is this the level of Uechi Ryu in the U.S.?

*****************************************
7]" We did not spar but I don't think any of them left with
the impression that it was because I couldn't create havoc if I
wanted to " [ lots of us could create havoc as well , but I was looking for a more
specific answer of how the power of Taiji translates into more effective fighting and
why! We are all still in a continuous learning process , that includes everybody without
exception, Mike ]
*******************************************

You've got me on this one. I was waiting to see what the discussion level was before I discussed anything seriously. You want to ask a serious question about the use of strength and applications. I would suggest that you go into a 3rd party mode for a moment. Let's suppose you have a serious interest in how something applies. You want to ask a question of someone that knows. And you entice him to answer by using the dialogue that has been used up till now in this discussion.

It's not the way that I would have done it.
*******************************************

..I thought I
made clear that no personal offense to you was intended , but you disappoint me with
the need of personally offensive retorts ..however if that was not really your intent
you need only say so and we can move on to mutual gratifying exchanges!
******************************************

Frankly, I read it, as would most others, as a too-large series of insults in which the insulter keeps saying, "now, I mean no offense, but..."



In terms of "mutually gratifying exchanges", my only thought was that I would at least *look* into what was going on in the world of Uechi Ryu due to nostalgia and past loyalties. Other than that, I have not seen any indication that the things I pursue would be helped by Uechi Ryu. So the mutual part is vacant for me.

Frankly, I am left with the strong impression that I am an intruder in a rather smug group (if the behavior I'm seeing is any indicator) that is not so much making valid inquiries as looking to justify what they already believe in. It's a choice everyone is free to make, though.

What you write is offensive to me. I did not start the engagement of japery, you did, with your first post. Trying to foist the blame in my direction is a poor ploy.

What have you learned so far?

Good luck in your searches.

Regards,

Mike Sigman


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 1998 6:44 am 
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User avatar

Joined: Thu Mar 11, 1999 6:01 am
Posts: 30541
Hey Mike ,

As I suspected from the outset you are really a lost cause ! You are getting shrill in your disagreements pal ; you are hassling , wrangling , bickering and balking because you disagree from a structurally weak position ! You are in fact disagreeing and not arguing , and you will never win an argument simply because you don't argue ; you only disagree proving one thing -that you are disagreeable ! You seem to be enchanted with your own wisdom and you are filling the cyber waves with so much authoritative banality that you have no time to form an original thought ! Neither will you give yourself an opportunity to hear and learn from listening to anyone else ! Your personal insults to the Uechi community , the Uechi family , the American Uechi fraternity , Dr X [ a brain surgeon] and Mr. Mattson and myself reveal your true motives and character ! Your written words are extremely offensive to me and I suggest you remove yourself from this forum voluntarily or our administrator will gladly hit the delete button on all your future posts !

Van Canna


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 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 1998 8:57 am 
I had to look back on the posts to see why, what should have been a productive topic, got off course. So I reviewed Mr. Sigman's posts:

"Fundamentally different. I studied Uechi-Ryu on Okinawa under Seiyu Shinjo. And what I've seen done as Uechi Ryu in the U.S. is even more different than that. It would take a radical change for most Uechi people to be able to use what is done in Taiji. That's my opinion. :^)"

Frankly, I think that this could be true depending on who he has been exposed to in Uechi Ryu. I mean no offence to anyone. I have two friends who have been studying Chen Taiji for about a year now. There is a fundamental difference in how movements are done. "A radical change" does not imply that it cannot be done, should the person desire to change. Nor does it imply that the Uechi practitioner would desire to change.

"Mattson is not an expert on internal martial arts, nor are any number of senior karate students. I am more than willing to show someone and demonstrate the powers unique to Taiji (you can read about them in Taiji classical literature). Then I would ask whoever else is supposedly knowledgeable about Taiji and "internal" training to show those same things. Easy test, wouldn't you say? Glad to make a wager with you, Mattson, or any of his senior students, and here's why:"

Ah, here is the insult and the insulting tone. Do you really know enough about these Uechi people to make such a comment. Sorry Mr. Sigman, reread it if you don't believe it. It is this tone and arrogance that Van Sensei reacted to. I will grant that perhaps your guard was down since this was in a personal email, and must also agree that permission should have been obtained before it was shared on a broader note. (Warning to all do not send anything on the internet that you would not want on the front page tomorrow.) However, if this is the case, own up to it. This was, by the way, the first post in the thread.

And then there is "I remember watching a film Mr. Mattson sent back to be graded on. A number of us watched it and it was fun." No private email excuse here. If no insult was intended, then I cannot follow what you intended.

I also have a hard time understanding why you cannot begin to answer Van Sensei's questions as to the value of Chen Taiji and push hands in a real situation? My friends are a Yondan and Nidan in Uechi Ryu and 20th generation Chen Taiji for only one year under Joseph Chen in Edmonton. From my training with them, while they clearly claim to know nothing yet of Chen, they can explain where it will be useful in reality.

One of the problems I have with forums on the internet is not knowing the credentials of who is commenting. When it is a comment on ethics etc, all are valid. When it is a comment on a technique or principle, it can be tried out. But when someone says they can comment on the relativity of Uechi Ryu and Chen Taiji, then it does affect how I will interpret comments that I cannot try out or confirm elsewhere. So let us start by having an introduction. What was your rank in Uechi Ryu, how long did you study and with who? What is your generation and how long have you studied Chen and under who? (If you studied under Sensei Seiyu Shinjo, then you have probably been at this a while.) I am a Sandan (read minnow) in Uechi Ryu and have never studied Chen. From my friend's training it is something that I am interested in and feel it would be very beneficial to my Uechi (so does my teacher Sensei David Mott).

I guess it depends on whether or not you are interested in a real discussion on this topic. I assumed so because you replied in the first place.

Rick


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 1998 10:06 am 
Anthony J. Licalzi wrote:

I pissed Mike Sigman off once in the news groups and he called my house and told me
"I'm coming to show you the Power of Internal Martial Arts". He also posted my address
and phone number in a public forum in hopes to get his "cyber-goons" to call and
harass me. Someone Emailed me a post he made where he stated actually came to my
apartment some time after to kick my ass!

That guy ain't right!

Anthony
*****************************************8

It's interesting to read this from Anthony, particularly in view of his visible relationship with Uechi Ryu. For a too-long period of time he haunted the newsgroup rec.martial-arts under the pseudonym of "Arthra" and he also haunted alt.sex or one of those under the same guise.

His posts were macabre. So macabre that some of the computer whizzes on rma dug up who he was and posted it in the open to the shrill protests of Licalzi. A public post for help was made by one woman who was receiving private and allegedgly threatening email from Licalzi. He engaged me publicly and made death threats publicly. I certainly wanted to give him the chance. But the story on "Arthra" is not a "he-said-she-said" quibble, it is public record. Anyone who is interested can check into it.

My only comment was that my eyebrows raised when I saw his name associated with the organization. If you notice, I said nothing until he broached the topic.

Mike Sigman


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 1998 10:25 am 
Rick Wilson writes:


> I mean no offence to anyone. I have two > friends who have been studying
Chen Taiji for about a > year now. There is a fundamental difference > in how movements
are done. "A radical > change" does not imply that it cannot be > done, should the person
desire to change. Nor > does it imply that the Uechi practitioner > would desire to change.
*****************************************
Thank you for a substantive contribution. Anyway you want to say it, that was what I tried to say. After I gave exactly that opinion very politely in my first reply to Mr. Lovas (which was not printed), he came back to me with an immediate rejection of what I had told him. Hence my slightly more strongly worded *private* reply that I would be glad to show and make a wager. So a little background was missing in the discussion about insults. Bear in mind that I have yet to break into a sweat of emotion about any of this.

I just looked at Van's latest reply followed by Anthony "Arthra" Licalzi's sudden attempt to smear. Frankly, I take Van's comments about "deleting" me to heart.

This has been a most unusual experience, gentlemen and I bid you farewell.

Regards,

Mike Sigman


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 Post subject: Uechi stereotype
PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 1998 10:43 am 
Dr X writes:

You compound your dismissal of observations by misunderstanding my identification of
your misrepresentation of "strength." I had expected an rebutal to consist of specific
facts. Your mischaracterization of my "rejection" implied there is a valid concept to
reject. On the contrary, I had hoped you would provide some evidence that such a
concept exists. You did not.
**************************************

This is my last post. Honest. If you want to pursue a discussion about exactly HOW the mode of "internal strength" works, you can email me privately for sources or you can probably glean a lot from the neijia mail list home page (I don't have the URL handy).

Essentially I read your dismissal of categorizing different forms of strength as a finality, not an invitation to discuss.

As I indicated early on in these discussions, I can easily show what I am saying. As I further indicated, you have some teachers within your organization who have met me and have some idea of where I am coming from. Until we met, they would also have probably not envisioned that there was a form of strength outside of their experience (not outside of the laws of physics, however).



Regards,

Mike Sigman


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