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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 7:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 17, 1998 6:01 am
Posts: 405
Location: Tewksbury, MA USA
Fellow karateka:

I posted a challenge to you more than a month ago regarding the upside-down business of politics in and outside of our style.

While you were all fuming at the recent "snub" of the Okinawans, I challenged even ONE of you to come up with some kind of solution to our current political quandry.

What happened? Someone made a humorous comment in the post following mine and the thread died.

Why is it that threads about dog poop and others will garner 45 responses, but those that question the very essence of what we do and how we do it tend to fade?

And here I am again. Asking you to look into the deepest recesses of your martial hearts and ask you what the TRUE purpose of Budo is!

YES, it is everything and anything, but it is BUDO! It is for cleansing the soul and forging the body and spirit. Miss that message and miss EVERYTHING!

Assign your meanings if you must, but don't call yourself a traditionalist while you ignore our deepest, most long-standing traditions!

And so I will question you again in my next post: WHAT IS "REAL"? And I challenge you this time to stay on track and wrestle with this very important issue.

I anxiously await your responses!

Gary

------------------
Gary J. Khoury
http://www.uechi-ryu.com/khoury


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 7:51 pm 
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Location: Tewksbury, MA USA
You know, we go over this and over this, but we just can't seem to get to the heart of it, can we?

We argue over kata technique and "application", but that's like finding a tool of an ancient society and conjecturing as to it's "actual" use. Like the moves of our kata, it can be ANYTHING -- EVERYTHING that we choose it to be.

And on this subject, I went toe-to-toe with Rick Wilson right here on this Forum less than a year ago. You might remember the discussion. I wrote:

"Kata first and foremost ARE for improving form and working on broad principles, but not for “figuring out” anything. If you are thinking of “application” in kata, how do you achieve “Mushin”? And when you assign a meaning to each kata, or to the technique in each kata, doesn't that automatically preclude that kata or move from meaning ANYTHING ELSE, if even for only a moment?

My point is this: Kata for form, yes. Kata for balance, yes. Kata for endurance, strength, speed, timing, yes, yes, yes and yes. Kata for “meaning”, no. Why? Because the application in kata is so apparent, but still so ambiguous. Is that a block or a sweep? A strike or a grab? If it's one (at that moment) it cannot be the other. When it is both, it is kata. Then it is form.

My teacher once asked me if I had ever considered the three revolving boshikens in Seisan to be anything else but boshikens. I said, “Blocks”. He said, “Good,” but reminded me that for a very long time in Okinawa, the practice of martial arts was a big no-no. The result? Many of the “meanings” in the kata were missing or hidden. Knowing this, he asked me to stretch my imagination to see if I could envision the three boshiken in reverse as three clawing techniques to the face instead. Now THAT is martial application is it not? And MAN were my eyes opened.

But what had he done, really? Had he figured something out that Kanbun had not? Or had he finally showed me that all things are no things and that kata can be everything and nothing all at once?

Don't “ruin” kata by assigning “style” or meaning to them, Rick. Yes, applications are evident in everything we do. I use them a lot as example of what the kata COULD be used for, but with the understanding that there is more, lots more. Seen in this way, we do no service to our style or to the kata by “figuring them out”. Instead, we cheapen them; bastardize them; hog-tie them. Don't fall victim to this, Rick. Be bigger and braver than this. Have faith in the kata and in our system. Leave the meaning, the style and the application to other areas of our practice."

Fast forward to today. . . I question you. A rather simple question at that: What is the meaning, or application of our Sanchin thrust? Maybe it's a nerve strike? Maybe it's used to rip the heart out of the chests of the weak? Maybe a grab? Maybe it's really just practice to get the beer out of the refrigerator faster??!!

And on this question of what's "real", I ask you what is more real than standing face-to-face with the world's best fighters? How many of you have even THOUGHT about approaching THAT level of REAL training before you sit around and pat eachother on the backs over the new strike or grab you just made up?

Bill writes: But sport fighting is sport fighting, and is artificial. It is a facimile of fighting, but ultimately it is a sport - period. This is not a controversial statement, is it? I think Gary would agree.

And I do, Bill, but. . .

I remind you and all of those who say there are no "rules" on the street -- YOU ARE WRONG! To say that, you admit to me and everyone that you have never actually seen a street fight, nevermind been in one!

So what are these rules? They are written in our penal code! Check them out sometime! They're fascinating! Kick a person with a shod foot: Felony. 2 - 10 years. In a tournament, the same full-power, rib breaking kick will get you only one point. Smash someone's face in on the street? Ah, intent to maim or disfigure. Felony. Tournament? Warning.

The REAL truth is that like tournaments, there are rules everywhere! And like tournaments, there are people who will follow them, and those who won't.

Jim Deluca who trains at my school (and who very well might be the toughest person I ever met) spoke to me on this subject of street fighting, rules and what's real. He said, "People say there are no rules on the street and that's just plain B.S. In most fights people do not try to poke your eyes out, bite your fingers off or kill you. Sure these things happen, but usually, people follow some kind of rules, even when they street fight."

He's right.

Bill continues in his post, AN IMPORTANT POINT!:

If sport fighting met all our needs, then we would abandon kata and bunkai and prearranged kumite, wouldn't we? We would give out ranks totally based on how you rank on the tournament circuit. But we don't do that. Good!

And on Bill's second point, I would say: THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT JUDO DOES AND THEY HAVE SOME OF THE BADDEST ASSES IN THE WORLD!!

Now, regarding free sparring and it's place in our practice, I've got bad news for you: The reason we don't do MORE of it is because 1.) People FEAR it like they fear death; 2.) Teachers don't know how to teach it; 3.) It's too damn dangerous, once people get good at it and 4.) People are really more concerned with making a buck than really teaching martial (whatever that is!) arts!

Remember boys, the bunkais and pre-arranged kumites were added LATER to SLOW DOWN sparring practice (which was too REAL for most folks). Bunkais and kumites are stupid, out dated, and a waste of valuable practice time once you pass your first dan rank!

Want proof? Walk into any boxing gym. No pre-arranged BS there! Now compare any of their 1 year boxers to ANY of our 1 year students! See the difference? THOSE people have skills! That's trial by fire, baby! THAT'S the reality you're all hiding from.

You don't like "point" sparring? Go cry in your soup if you want. But for crissakes, stop whining about it. It's OK, no one's going to MAKE you do it!

Stay safe. Do your bunkais, do your kyu kumite. Then finish practice, get on your computers and debate the REAL meaning of the part of Sanchin after the bow when you move your feet apart.

I'll be in my dojo training...

Gary


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 8:07 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Gary

You won't find me arguing against jiyu kumite. It's part of our cirriculum. I do allow older practitioners the option to pick and choose when they spar. And by the way, how old are you? (meant only to point out that you can't yet relate to an accumulation of 3 decades of sports injuries).

You won't find me arguing against boxing. Been there, done that. I did get a little squeamish about it though after Muhammed Ali moved to Rockfish Gap near Charlottesville and showed up around town a lot. After viewing him, I decided that I should limit the number of years that my head is used as a target if I'm going to make more money with the inside of it.

You won't find me arguing against judo either. One of my favorite instructors, a former student of Kimo Wall, started his martial carreer in judo. In his fourties he was teaching aikido and a system of goju that had about 16 bunkai and about a dozen prearranged kumite. I also recently had the honor (?) of being an uke for a judo 6th degree at a local demonstration. Whamm! Thank you, sir, may I have another?

Sparring is great. Competition is great too. These days my wife puts the trophies in the windows when I leave town - allegedly to scare any would-be burglars away. No lie! Otherwise they are clutter in the house.

I will not speak for others. All I can say is that I identify with your journey. I support it. Many others look up to you and your accomplishments. I'm going to do what I can, at this distance, to help you with your dreams for Uechi ryu.

But....try to understand the many other facets of the multiple journeys that the greater community walks.

-- Bill


[This message has been edited by Bill Glasheen (edited 04-30-99).]


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 8:37 pm 
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Posts: 405
Location: Tewksbury, MA USA
Dear Bill & team:

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not of the mindset that there is NO OTHER path to martial prowess outside of free sparring. Simply, if you want "real" in the dojo, you will not find it any where else!

No, sparring is not perfect in it's representation of honest-to-goodness self-defense situations. What is? But let me say THIS for a last time: IT IS AS GOOD AS WE GOT, BROTHER!!

I do not spar for the trophies. I do not spar for the recognition. I spar because everyone I have ever known has known me only as "pussy", and truth be told, sparring scares me TO DEATH!

I spar because each time I do, win or lose, I amaze myself. I have developed skills because my trials and tribulations and opponents have DEMANDED skills! I train to face THEIR fury, not to extinguish my own!

This attitude is Budo kokoro, martial spirit at it's best! Find your fears, crush them! Find your weaknesses, overcome them! Find your dojo training partners (yes, the ones who kick your ass) HONOR THEM!

Sparring is not THE WAY. UECHI is THE WAY! Stop postulating and pontificating. Empty your mind! Fill your soul! As long as you have been doing budo, Bill, I'm sure you know now THERE IS NO MEANING IN ANYTHING WE DO!

And THAT is the stupid irony of all of it! We conjecture, discuss, debate, type (poorly!) and get all hot under the collar. For what?! How ridiculous we all are!

Karate is not for comraderie. It is not for fitness. It is not for self-expression, although it can benefit you in all of these areas.

What is real is waht is real. It is CERTAINLY NOT these silly discussions or the foolish techniques we struggle with every night!

Thank you for being such a gracious host, Bill. I really respect you and the contributors to this forum!

Gary

------------------
Gary J. Khoury
http://www.uechi-ryu.com/khoury


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 1999 8:37 pm 
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Location: Richmond, VA --- Louisville, KY
Gary

I'm going to tell you a secret. Somewhere in the mid-eighties when my age was right and I was in good competition form, I tried to go to Okinawa to compete in the tournament that you and a few others have gone to. At the time I was tens of thousands in debt and making $400 a month on my graduate student stipend. The only way I could have made it was to sell the car. But that would mean fewer dates...fewer evenings with the women.

I should have sold the car.

-- Bill


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 1999 3:29 am 
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Location: Randolph, MA USA 781-963-8891
Gary-san,

First of all, thank you very much for the nice card. It touches the heart.

Ok, now for the nitty-gritty. In your conversation about budo.....I agree that kata has gradually changed since the need for "real fighting" decreased with the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate in the 1600s. The idea has been to perfect the movement, not to practice for a battle. With that said, I train (and teach) my students not to look at kata as technique, it is form and form only. The blueprint of what we do, so that we can bring that form into a forum to practice our technique (i.e. jiyu kumite or yakusoku kumite). BTW, no offense, but I disagree with you concerning prearranged kumite, but that is another discussion for another day. My theory is that you can bring form into technique, but not technique into form.

I also agree with what you say about "hidden" technique. I don't know about any of these hidden techniques in kata. The kata will be a different experience for each person, so if they see a block instead of a punch, then so be it. Who cares so long as the movement doesn't change. Sometimes an orange is just an orange. You know?

Then you ask, what is real? I don't believe I have to stand in front of someone in a freestyle sparring match to find out what is real, especially since sparring in the dojo or a competition is not what I would call a "real" experience anyway. We can make it as "real" as possible in our own minds, but that is about it, and I can do that with bunkai or prearranged kumite as well. In other words, too many rules to make it "real".

Speaking of rules, I have been in real street fights, and have witnessed them first hand and I can tell you that if you find uniformed rules in any of them, then let me know. People will hit, kick, bite, and scratch on a whim if they choose to do so (I hate to say this, but the women are the worst). Those are the real fights. I know what Jim DeLuca is saying, but go to a school and see what I mean.

As for your statement about Bunkai and kumite created to slow down sparring practice..I disagree again. Like you, I have worked with many great karateka masters from different styles who emphasize these tools greatly. A tool is stupid, out-dated, and waste of valuable practice time if you make it so. Otherwise, I can get a lot from these methods of training. Not only are they a safe way of practicing eye-distancing, speed, CONTROL, technique, etc. they help you understand your sparring ability even before you step forth with another. I'm not saying to stop sparring, but an old teacher once told me that the more you spar, the more it takes away from your form. I agree, but have never practiced it in my dojo (I personally like to spar).

Boxers are very good in what they do, and yes in comparison at a 1 year interval would not show well I would think. But why would I want to compare apples and oranges. I wouldn't go out in the street and "box" someone either. An experienced street fighter will probably wipe out a boxer anyway (IMHO). We are an art (budo) and boxing is a pracitice (bujutsu). I would never make the comparison in this day from a "do" art and a "jutsu" art.

Just thought I would add my two cents,

yours in Budo,

Mike


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 1999 6:53 am 
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Location: Tewksbury, MA USA
Dear Mike and others:

As always, I appreciate your input and respect your views and opinions regarding our beloved art! Please do let me respond to a few of the comments made above, however.

Mike you mention:

Then you ask, what is real? I don't believe I have to stand in front of someone in a freestyle sparring match to find out what is real, especially since sparring in the dojo or a competition is not what I would call a "real" experience anyway.

And I ask you again: If free movement, i.e. sparring, is not "real", what is, arm rubbing and pounding? The presence of rules (even a lot of them) does not necessarily render something "un-real". Boxing (more on this later) is probably one of the MOST real martial practices, and there are a good number of rules governing those matches. What is it about sparring that is not "real" to you, Mike?

Are you telling me that two guys beating the crap out of each other (whether it be sparring, boxing or other) is not "real" enough for you because there are rules? And if you say, "yes", I would ask you: Then how do you propose we train? Eye gouges, biting and hair pulling in the dojo? Would that be real enough for you?

You go on to ask me of some supposed set of "uniformed" rules in street fighting, and I of course concede that there are none. But I question you: Are there EVER any "uniform" rules whenever two people "face off", be it boxing, baseball, or yatzee?

No, Mike, there are no uniformed rules to street fighting. But in most scraps I have seen (and I have seen many) you generally have two idiots trying to punch the s**t out of each other. Period. When it escalates beyond this, it is not a street fight anymore it is a felony. And, as Canna-sensei points out, our karate practice does not generally prepare us for these kind of criminal assaults. (P.S. Jim Deluca, too, is a teacher and makes his observation having witnessed numerous teen brawls.)

And on the topic of kumite and bunkai, I must admit that you are right: Only your attitude and approach to any training exercise determines its value. Still, Mike, you must see that as a senior practitioner, very little can be garnered from these very limited exercises after the first several years. After that, students are doing bunkai by rote, and bring no REAL timing, distancing or ANYTHING ELSE that would improve their martial performance to the training table.

Also, despite your own words, I don't truly believe that you honestly think sparring DETRACTS from your form. Does sparring deviate from the beautiful nature of kata, yes. But, seriously, Mike, sparring taking away from form? Come now. You know this to be false in every bone of your fighting body!

On the subject of boxers you write: An experienced street fighter will probably wipe out a boxer anyway (IMHO). And I ask you again to consider the dangerous nature of this statement. Of course, you must first qualify what you mean by "experienced street fighter", but no person is more ready to bang - and do so with lightning hand speed, the ability to put together devastating combinations AND withstand a barrage of counter-offensive techniques - than the boxer. Remember, their ring rules do not apply in the street, either!

Lastly, you state: We are an art (budo) and boxing is a practice (bujutsu). I would never make the comparison in this day from a "do" art and a "jutsu" art.

Actually, Mike, "Budo" means martial way". "Bujutsu" means "martial techniques and/or skills". And when it comes down to what's "real", I'll take the former to the latter, thank you!

Respectfully,

Gary


------------------
Gary J. Khoury
http://www.uechi-ryu.com/khoury


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 1999 9:34 pm 
I might only be a Shodan, but the spirituality of Kata is what's essential to me. You can search for meaning and application but the real applications come from inside. Practice your Kata and the appropriate application will come when you need it. Breaking down a Kata for applications can only force a narrow view of the Kata and yeild a limited number of possible applications. Open your mind to the Kata and let the Kata show you its applications. Trust in your Kata and the applications will come.


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 1999 12:41 am 
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Location: MARSHFIELD, MA. USA
Sorry:

Didn't this thread start with a post asking how we are going to handle out political differences?

All the other debate was great, actually, but I got a bit "turned around" (Mainese for lost".

This forum is a step in that direction. I, as George Sensei said, wear a different patch, and do a Bunkai a bit differently, but here I am "cross pollinating".

Last year an OKK group came over, our "thread" was not invited, Jack Sensei REFUSED to show being upset. I know that he was, but he did not throw gas on what could have been a real local ShoHei ------you know what.

This is not to say that in this there is no reason to take offense, but simply that there is no point in it.

Manage what you can. Control yourselves and what you can control. Use these forums. Keep us a community. Visit other school within and without the system.


I think that was where this started, and I know that it is an unsatisfactory answer.


John T

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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 1999 12:53 pm 
I wish I had more time to read and study all these posts in great detail, because some of then make one think more about his own karate and help him to better see where he is along whichever path he has chosen.

Gary opened up by questioning what is REAL, street-fighting rules, crying in the kata (I mean soup), even poilitics, etc.

Others responded, I respond.

What's real is different from one person to the next. What's real for an individual is different in his journey from young man to old man. You can get good understanding about "REAL" karate knowing, and enjoying, the feeling of blood and snot on the end of your fist, or you can have an understanding by planting a vegetable/flower garden cultivating it, watching it grow, admiring it's beauty, and enjoying it's fruit. Each plant serves a different purpose, and for different members of the involved living community each plant serves different purposes.

It's springtime and the flowers are in bloom. Gardeners, as a rule, care about the beauty of their own gardens. In addition to their own, some will graciously accept a seed or a sprout, nurture it an watch it grow. Others will violate their neighbors hard labor of love, trample-on, plunder, and attempt to destroy in other ways, the development of a beautiful garden planted for all to enjoy and benefit. This is "REAL", this is karate, and this is life; for it is all the same.

------------------
Allen - uechi@ici.net - http://www.uechi-ryu.org


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 1999 4:55 pm 
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Allen,

Very thoughtful expression ...

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote
Quote:
Each plant serves a different purpose, and for different members of the involved living community each plant serves different purposes.


There are many paths to the center. They just come from a different direction.




------------------
In Beauty,

Jackie


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 1999 8:31 pm 
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Posts: 405
Location: Tewksbury, MA USA
Gentlemen, Ladies:

As far as I am concerned, my "political challenge" is dead; abandoned by those who find it easier to complain than to repair. I revived the memory of it only to urge you not to ignore it in the same way that all had begun to ignore my most recent "What's Real" post. Not so it could be reconsidered post-mortem!

Regarding this most recent issue, yes, you can dance around the point by arguing about personal perspectives and believing that "what is real for one is not necessarily. . .blah, blah, blah", but we all know what we're talking about here, don't we?!

And to those of you who believe Mike and I are actually of the same mindset, I would say, "We're like peanut butter and jelly, baby!"

OF COURSE Mike and I have similar views! We are, at the heart of things, budoka. Mike and I are birds of a feather DESPITE only having met a handful of times. Why? How? Budo kokoro, "martial spirit". THAT'S how!

Lastly, a warning to the philosophers among you who believe that "there are many paths to the same end": I say, NOT UNLESS YOU ARE A BUDOKA AND YOU ARE UPHOLDING THE GREATEST SPIRITUAL AND PHYSICAL TRADITIONS OF OUR ART!

Assign all the New Age meanings you like to your practice. But please don't pull the rest of us down by calling that Budo. You want inner peace and harmony? Join a commune. You want courage and confidence and REAL martial skills? COME! Practice together with me in earnestness this thing we call KARATEDO!

Respectfully,

Gary

------------------
Gary J. Khoury
http://www.uechi-ryu.com/khoury


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 1999 3:13 am 
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Gary-san and others:

I personally don't remember what this thread started out as, but I enjoy the bantering back and forth of such useful insight from people like Gary, Allen, etc.

I believe, as does Gary, that although we, as he says, are different in many ways, we look at our practice as a practice of budo. And to me, budo is what we practice using Uechi as the vehicle to attain all the principles of budo. In other words, we could be training judo, goju, aikido, kendo, etc, it doesn't matter. So long as the final goal is to work for perfection in our particular art, then we are practicing budo.

Now to other things. Gary asks what is real. I say again, real is relevent. Freestyle sparring is more real to some people than to others. Put it this way, I know the outcome of a freestyle fight in the dojo or at a tournament. Although there may be an injury or two, someone will be there judging it or making sure decorum is kept. True? I'm sure Jim will say the same thing because it's like a fight in school. Most kids will wait until there is a teacher around before beginning the fight because they know it will be broken up in short time. In other words, there is an amount of safety in their insanity.

My personal response to your question is how do we train for "real" is that we can't. Not when we know that we have to have control. The same with boxing, wrestling, etc. How do I prove that certain techniques do a certain amount of danger if struck to a certain area without actually doing it to you. It's impossible to do something real, sparring match or not. Can you practice concepts that you would use in a real conflict in a sparring match? Sure. Distance, reaction speed, mushin, ect. But the full effect of the techniques can never be trained for because you would have no more students left Gary :-) Either would I.

Concerning sparring taking away form, I must honestly say that I do believe it, but in this way. Try to picture two people who play an instrument. One learned on his own and does pretty well for himself. The other learned the basics, and the form, and the technique and has also become quite accomplished. Who would you say has learned the instrument and truly understands the music? Now, with that said, if you have a solid foundation of the form under you, then I would say sparring probably does not detract from your form that much, especially if you are training the form in conjunction with the sparring. Face it, we have all found ourselves doing things in a sparring match that are nowhere related to any kind of form that we learned in Uechi. Isn't that getting away from what we are trying to accomplish.

As for the question of usefullness of kumite and bunkai. Again, say that it is all relevent. The only person who can limit you is you. If bunkai and prearranged kumite is teaching you nothing, then perhaps you have taken everything out of them that you want. Is there more to learn from them? Who knows. Personally, I don't think I have mastered them yet. I keep finding things in them that help me in my overall practice of Uechi and budo. They are an extremely useful tool if you want them to be. This is no knock on anyone who feels as Gary does. On the contrary. I am jealous. I just don't think I'm ready to dismiss tools because I've achieved a particular rank. Plus, I still love doing them (hard and real is to my liking). I hope nobody takes this comment the wrong way. I'm not trying to insult anyone, just stating my opinion.

Lastly, on the comment about the boxer being more than ready against an experience street fighter...I would say this. Sure boxers are prepared just like we are for a certain kind of fight, but take them out of their environment and the game changes. We all know this, and to presuppose that on the street that a boxer will be given the conditions on which he thrives and has prepared for, or that we will as well, is foolish. The street fighter, on the other hand, is in his realm. Now, bring a street fighter to the boxing ring or to a dojo and the scenario changes, doesn't it?

Oh, one more thing, I have never seen anyone ever practice "jitsu" art, but I have seen plenty of "do" being trained. Personally, I would rather train the "do". Point in case, having watched a gentleman from Japan (Sensei Yamaguchi, 10th dan)practice Iaido and the concepts of budo that he explained and demonstrated to me were simply amazing. I'm sure Gary and others who have been to Japan have a thousand stories about people like this. Call me sentimental, but to watch his precision in both form and technique, and to watch the beautiful calm in his eyes as he did his stuff was amazing. Anyway, the "do" way is for me.

yours in budo,

mike


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 1999 6:53 am 
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Posts: 48
Location: Kranj, Slovenia
Dear Forumers,

On this thread words have been swinging around like typhoons often do in Okinawa.

But to cover one and only point:

Do true okinawan Masters really care what organization do you belong?

TO MY HUMBLE OPINION NOT. WHY?
Because of a simple fact that I am also a very living proof (and hope to be a couple more days if mother nature shall allow me so) THAT THEY DO NOT CARE.
IN SPITE OF ALL THE TURBULENT RYUHA/KAIHA
RIVALRY if one person has PROPER MANNERS AND KARATE TRULY IMPLANTED INTO HIS HEART, he is welcome guest at any DOJO for one reason only. KARATE DO IS IMPLANTED INTO HEARTS OF OKINAWAN PEOPLE.

tHAT SIMPLE....

wITH MY DEEPEST RESPECTS
igor


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 Post subject: I ask you again!
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 1999 8:07 am 
To begin to respond, I cannot offer you any solution to the large political conflicts. I know that in my school on Saturday mornings I get together with black belts of three different associations (there are only three in Edmonton). We work hard and care little for politics. Everyone is welcome as long as they leave their ego and their politics at the door. Perhaps only by setting examples can we change things.

Everyone seems to have a real good idea of what everyone else should be doing (I don't claim to be exempt from this by the way). Each of us are very passionate about our own path, and yes there are many paths. Just because you walk only one does not negate the existence of others. When we disrespect those on a different path how do we rationalize this with the respect we claim martial arts is based on.

What is a traditionalist? Everyone here should read the article Sensei Mattson pointed out in Martial Arts Professional written by Stephen Hayes. It might just open some eyes and minds. The foundation of what I do is our kata. Am I a traditionalist? What I do with it is what I do with it. Am I an eclectic? Or am I a traditional eclectic? I don't claim to be either.

I don't really care what labels others place on me, it will not limit nor stifle what I do. That does not mean that I will not change, for change is growth. I learn with each exchange I have with David Sensei. I hope to become a better martial artist. I hope to learn to better protect myself in YES REAL LIFE. I also hope to become a better person.

I can get as caught up as everyone else when we discuss our passion of this martial art. Let us not forget "martial", nor "art".

So what is my path? I believe in perfecting form and superior body mechanics through kata. I believe in perfecting self through mediation and chi kung. I believe in perfecting the "principles" of application for self defence. Yes self defence for that is the "martial" of what we do. I don't expect to attain perfection, it is the journey that is important.

So maybe I follow three paths or maybe it is just one intricate path. I don't know, I have a long way to go.

Gary you also reposted your comments to me on my delving into the principles and application of kata. I posted a reply to this way back when but can't find it. Your posted assumed many things incorrectly about what I had written, or perhaps I had explained myself poorly. In any case, I thought that I had clarified some things previously. Perhaps not, however, I feel it is unfair to only have half that conversation reintroduced. So let me respond:

Gary: "Kata first and foremost ARE for improving form and working on broad principles, but not for "figuring out" anything.

Reply: I don't disagree with the first portion of this opinion I just don't limit my approach to this one aspect. When I "do" kata I work the body mechanics and flow of each move, not applications.

Gary: "If you are thinking of "application" in kata, how do you achieve "Mushin"?"

Reply: I don't think of applications as I do the kata. I think about making each move as powerful as possible (there is more but I know my WORDS would fail me).

Gary: "And when you assign a meaning to each kata, or to the technique in each kata, doesn't that automatically preclude that kata or move from meaning ANYTHING ELSE, if even for only a moment?"

Reply: I think there are two question here. Discovering a principle contained in a move on kata does not preclude that move from meaning something else, WHY WOULD IT? When I am applying that principle then for that moment, yes it is what it is. Is the move a strike while you are striking and a block while you are blocking even though they may be the same move? That moment comes and goes.

Gary: "My point is this: Kata for form, yes. Kata for balance, yes. Kata for endurance, strength, speed, timing, yes, yes, yes and yes. Kata for "meaning", no. Why? Because the application in kata is so apparent, but still so ambiguous. Is that a block or a sweep? A strike or a grab? If it's one (at that moment) it cannot be the other. When it is both, it is kata. Then it is form."

Reply: If I apply a move from kata in certain way at this moment in time, so what? Why would that change anything else that might be done with it? Why would I worry about application when "DOING" the kata, because then yes it is FORM. You ascribe things to me that I do not do. Seeing a principle in a kata move does not blind you to any other principles, nor limite you while perfomring the kata. I find the reverse to be true.

Gary: "My teacher once asked me if I had ever considered the three revolving boshikens in Seisan to be anything else but boshikens. I said, "Blocks". He said, "Good," but reminded me that for a very long time in Okinawa, the practice of martial arts was a big no-no. The result? Many of the "meanings" in the kata were missing or hidden. Knowing this, he asked me to stretch my imagination to see if I could envision the three boshiken in reverse as three clawing techniques to the face instead. Now THAT is martial application is it not? And MAN were my eyes opened."

Reply: Okay, so your teacher asked you to do what I do all the time. You thought it was great, but it is wrong when I do it?

Gary: "But what had he done, really? Had he figured something out that Kanbun had not?"

Reply: Don't know if Kanbun knew it or did it. Why would it matter?

Gary: "Or had he finally showed me that all things are no things and that kata can be everything and nothing all at once?"

Reply: Or had he simply told you to think of kata differently, to explore the options and principles contained within them, without limiting yourself to one application? Or maybe he told you many things.

Gary: "Don't "ruin" kata by assigning "style" or meaning to them, Rick. Yes, applications are evident in everything we do. I use them a lot as example of what the kata COULD be used for, but with the understanding that there is more, lots more."

Reply: Okay, really confused here, just how do you show an application of a move without considering application, and isn't that move (by your previous statements) then locked into that application -- even if only for the moment of your demonstration? Aren't you by saying, "hey you could do this with that move" doing what I am? I don't run through the kata thinking each move is this or this. I pull them apart as a separate study. Of course there is more, lots more.

Gary: "Seen in this way, we do no service to our style or to the kata by "figuring them out". Instead, we cheapen them; bastardize them; hog-tie them. Don't fall victim to this, Rick. Be bigger and braver than this. Have faith in the kata and in our system. Leave the meaning, the style and the application to other areas of our practice."

Reply: I do not see thinking ever as a form of bastardization. I don't limit anything to one thought so I do not hog-tie them. These are limitations you have placed on me, they are not mine. I take the principles I find into other areas of practice.

It may be that my WORDS have failed to adequately explain what I do. When we post we are often spotlighting a mere portion of our training. Like people assuming that all you ever do is spar, this is often just the limited view.

So how do we make it real? Big question and a good one. I certainly don't have the answer nor do my answers necessarily fit any one else.

Kata is the base of what I do. I use it to perfect the body mechanics used in each and every more and the transitions of the movements. I also use it to explore principles. I do the movements as my teacher advises me, however, I explore the body mechanics for the most effective methods.

Hojo Undo is drill that is an extension of kata.

Conditioning. We explore conditioning deeply. Not only to cover being hit (not my choice of defence), but because it allows us to work on the body mechanics of striking.

Bunkai. Two approaches. The analysis of the principles of the kata, or free thinking interpretation. (The area we disagree on and simply must "agree to disagree" because we are both passionate about our approaches.) Formal bunkai, I have more problems with and prefer to adapt them to street attacks will very little structure other than what attack follows what, and what response should be used.

Yakasoto Kumites. I don't care for the current ones. I prefer to do the kumite created in my school that has less traditional attacks and responses.

Many other drills working specific skills and principles.

Anything done with a partner (unless working an isolated principle) should be done as you would fight. i.e. no chambering of punches. As others have stated it is very much HOW you do bunkai and Yakasoto kumite that determines what you get out of them.

Kumite. Probably less orthodox than some (I don't know, I don't have a great deal of exposure up here in the great White North). Again no chambering, good hands up stuff. Very interested in what you do, Gary.

Having said that about kumte I am looking at changes for the school. I have been interested in scenario training since reading "Real Fighting". I am even more interested after meeting and working with Tony Blauer. While cost is not going to make this any too soon, I will be investing in Tony's fighting suits, and some of his training. If you want to look into someone who has studied how to make this "real", then I suggest you look into what this guy does.

Everything is just a training tool. Nothing is REAL. I simply try my best.

Do I claim to have the answers, absolutely not, as I said at the beginning of this post, I have a long why to go on my path, but I have learned a few things so far. I enter these forums with an open mind because I wish to share and learn. I am not above changing when I see a better way, but I am not much for the flavour of the month either.

Peace,

Rick


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