Sensei Canna offers insight into the real world of self defense!

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Postby Van Canna » Mon Apr 26, 1999 1:15 am

Some more ice cold buckets of water on your crotch by Igor Praskinar :

1] “ How many traditional Okinawan students do you think are engaged in cross-training between the Dojos?
How much valuable instruction (not counting social workouts or occasional beating for a present to take home) one may expect to receive in Okinawa if traveling from one Dojo to another?
To my experience, very little or none. in Okinawa it is unwritten rule. Everybody knows where he belongs and that's why all the politics..see current Okinawa Masters Tour...”

Comments : now That’s refreshing after all the bull **** we have been subjected to over the years ! And in those dojo you will find the occasional brainwashed American ronin who will delight in kicking your butt [ he will try it anyway] just to show you where the ‘real Uechi’ is at ! If he is not successful in giving you a beating while you are moving around , you will surely take one from one of the ‘masters’ when you stand still like a dummy in sanchin [ a beating not a test ] ! But you will not get a chance to repay the favor .. only the privilege of kissing his ass !

2]” His hard critique of Top Okinawa and Japan Masters
The critique itself is again nothing extraordinary apart from being public. It has been a common practice in Okinawa and Japan Martial Arts circles for centuries with the only exception that it is conveyed in inner circles. “

Comments : Ever heard of tribal rivalry ? As natural as life and death !

3] “ I do agree totally with Mr.Morris when karate is to be judged from the actual life and death fighting stand-point. I could not agree more with Mr.Morris that Karate ceased to be Fighting Art at the turn of the century, when it went publicly, was introduced into schools, colleges, etc. That is Karate...from the Fighting art it remained just a skeleton which was further modified into thousands of ways, only because there is no ACTUAL LIFE&DEATH CONTEST to be judged upon for true efficiency. “

Comments: really not much to argue here if we accept the premise that karate does have at least a fighting / defensive component much to the surprise and chagrin of the lotus eaters ! We mostly play at ‘make believe fighting’ in all our practice , including full contact sparring !

4]” . No one can win a tournament by practicing Kyu/Dan Kumite and with this same training tool he is an easy victim on the street(and his Sensei should tell him so at the end of each training session).”

Comments: It has been said before ; pretty useless exercises , but look at the inordinate time we require our students to spend on them on the dojo floor while neglecting the bunkai applications which are more realistic ! Dan kumite should be totally abolished for dan testing as it proves absolutely nothing ! All it does , it programs atrociously bad habits !

5] “Karate has gone through many changes It is only to be wished that Instructors could CLEARLY define the framework and limitations of what they are teaching publicly. But I ask you how many do know what are they really teaching? And what purpose does such teaching serve? “

Comments : True ! And one step further : even at the highest level , karate will always have limits as to defensive potential in the same manner that a man with a colt .45 in his hands , will , i.e., life is a bitch ! That is why the lethal force instructors , the ones who train people for the real world events from day to day , recommend and train in a force continuum concept !

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Postby david » Mon Apr 26, 1999 2:15 am

>>Comments: It has been said before ; pretty useless exercises , but look at the inordinate time we require our students to spend on them on the dojo floor while neglecting the bunkai applications which are more realistic ! Dan kumite should be totally abolished for dan testing as it proves absolutely nothing ! All it does , it programs atrociously bad habits ! <<

Does this mean I shouldn't feel totally bad about my horrible attempts at Dan Kumite? Image Last week, poor Greg who was paired with me didn't know what was coming next from me because I sure as hell didn't know what the next prearranged move was. In a state of confusion, I tend to throw something... anything.

I also fall on the non believer side with respect to prearrange kumite. I much rather have a partner throw one true freestyle attack and to have the other partner parry/block/counter as s/he deems fit. I think this approach better serves to promote true reflex, timing and distance. In the Chinatown workouts, we don't do kumite. Just what I call reflex drills. This presumes that set drills to instill certain movements are also practiced over and over again so that in reflex drills the movements just seemingly "happen".

Of course, prearrange kumite can be argued as a set of continuous drills to foster certain movements. But the length of it (and this could just me) I find to promote a surreal dance of sorts. Whereas one step drills with the partners truly trying to make contact within their own rhythm and movement forces the defending partner to try to truly "see" and react with his own natural movement.

Sorry for the digression. But I will nevertheless continue to work on my dan kumite since it's part of the Uechi-Ryu art.


[This message has been edited by david (edited 04-25-99).]
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Postby JOHN THURSTON » Mon Apr 26, 1999 3:33 am

To some extent "kumite" is not intended to be "real" in the same sense that "push hands" is not meant to be real. They can and should be rough in some variants.

As was stated, be careful what you tell your students might actually work, what actually might work in certain circumstance, what isn't likely to work, and what is just a training aid.

A Hojo Undo exercise will not work, necessarily, we should analyze and be aware of what might and might not work and pass this along.

Similarly, I hope that it is understood that Tournament techniques should probably be examined in the same light.

Perhaps a separate intructors or open forum analysis of a particular technique should be undertaken every week, then each can plead for or against and or give evidence as to "effectiveness placement" and go from there.

I hope that part of each Dojo session is spent in this kind of of "yes, no, maybe, only when, only if" dissection. The stuff isn't intended to be magic, just workable.

A danger exists in "over debunking" a particular form of drill. This week alone I spoke to instructors (or heard their opinions) that said: 1. why do kata? 2. why spar? 3. do point fighting 4. why do kumite 5. there is no first strike in karate 6. there are no blocks in karate 7. only a first strike can be counted on in karates.

Well guys, ultimately every piece of training is just training, and not the real thing. Sparring and Tournament fighting is not the real thing. Too much adventure with too much of the real thing can get you killed.

Should we ignore the practical lessons set forth by VAn Sensei as to how to better handle the real thing--obviously NO!

Should we drop all training methods because they, ultimately, are not real, I don't think so, as long as you know the limitations of all or most types of training.

Should we tell students that the methods we use are perfect-NO-what we tell them and when is ultimately up to us, and more to the point, up to YOU.


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Postby Allen M. » Mon Apr 26, 1999 4:21 am


Let’s see if I can poke a tiger a little without getting bit too badly. Yours are in<font color=blue> blue</font> and mine are in <font color=red>red, </font> hopefully without sphaghetti on it.
<font color=blue>

Your response to No. 1 <font color=red>confuses me, or maybe I never understood it all. I was personally invited to go to Okinawa several years ago, and was told they would have a place for me to stay, and that I was encouraged to visit and train at all the dojo there, and even test. Is this not true any more? Because if I read correctly "Everybody knows where he belongs" correctly then I need to reevaluate my impression of Okinawa.
</font><font color=blue>
Comments : Ever heard of tribal rivalry ? As natural as life and death !
</font><font color=red>
Sounds like what happened with the passing of Mr. Uechi.
</font><font color=blue>
To your response to No. 4 </font><font color red>I say that I see good value in Kyu Kumite and Dan Kumite practice for tournament usage because they develop timing and distance, and where else can you practice roundhouse kicks and the defense against them, except plain floor drills which are ok too.
<font color=blac>
JT, I consider Hojo Undo exercises valuable and visualization aids, along with useful street techniques. However, I like your idea of a separate intructors or open forum analysis techniques to debate specific items’ usefulness. Furthermore, I agree with you on not dropping training methods. Uechi-ryu exercises pack more practical usefulness per minute than do other styles.
Allen - -

[This message has been edited by Allen M. (edited 04-25-99).]
Allen M.


Postby Lori » Mon Apr 26, 1999 5:31 am

Hello all,

A couple of points raised in this thread are dragging me back into forum discussion...


VERY much like your post. I have to agree with most all of your points.

RE: Dan Kumite
I also enjoy the practice of the pre-arranged kumites for timing and distance, as Allen-san mentions. Additionally, for the practice of trying pre-arranged moves on differnt opponents; longer reach, taller, shorter, wider, etc. The way my sensei taught them to me discouraged anticipation of the moves - in fact, anticipation of a move was usually masterfully discouraged by an alternative technique that would land an instructional blow somwhere on my person. Are pre-arranged kumites good "reality" practice? No. Do they teach other things? Yes.

Certainly, in this forum, the focus being on reality, and the false bravado many cultivate "clutching their blackbelts as talismans" can ultimately cause serious problems in a real life encounter, and emphasis SHOULD be placed upon presenting this reality in the dojo...

But I submit the reminder that karate means a myriad of things to individuals - and - while reality must and should have a more honored, in fact ANY place within every dojo, where it is woefully lacking at present - the other aspects of our art that are NOT reality focused, such as point sparring etc. have their place as well.

RE: Morris
I may be going out on a limb here, but I wanted to put in my two cents. I find Morris' attitude refreshing. I enjoy is sarcasm and his outlook on life. His devil-may-care attitude and his relaxed manner of dealing with annoyances swiftly and without remorse could be emulated by many. I actually miss hearing his remarks on a more regular basis. He really should have had his own show. He certainly had the presence and the appearance necessary for good ratings. Oh, wait a minute. My editor informs me I'm way off base. It appears my tiger-striped hero is not the "Morris" you are refering to. What ever happened to those nine-lives commercials anyway? I guess no cat could ever follow in good ole' Morris' footsteps.

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Postby Van Canna » Mon Apr 26, 1999 4:16 pm

Since Igor brought these issues to the fore , I recommend that your various questions be posed directly to him ! Also Ask Gary-sensei directly what he thinks of kyu kumite et-al in relation to sparring ! The individual techniques as drills are not too bad to practice ; it is the way that is put together and emphasized that some of us disagree with ! Bob Campbell feels the same way ; why don’t you guys pose the same questions to him ?

Question for you : Kanbun only practiced the “ big three” ; are you saying he had no idea of how to block a roundhouse kick ? __Watch it __ very loaded question !!

Tomoyose sensei told me that Kanbun could do something that has never been equaled by any of his successors : He would squat down on his sokusens and could not be budged no matter how hard you pushed or pulled him ! What did he have that we will never achieve while chasing chimeras ??

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Postby Allen M. » Mon Apr 26, 1999 6:18 pm

Hokay, Van.

Talking about doing ONLY kata for karate practice is one thing different than talking down the kunites. But, pray tell, who in America is going to practice ONLY kata, esp. only the big three, for their complete repetoire?

Allen - -
Allen M.


Postby David Elkins » Mon Apr 26, 1999 9:30 pm

Has anyone taught the prearranged drills in format of a spring board to other drills a la David's "reflex" concept? That is, one would do one of the kyu or dan kumite sequences and then expand on that set with another movement/response which could then be drilled into muscle memory. The next logical step would be to allow the kumite sequence to serve as a segue for spontaneous interaction that could be as lively as participants are able to engage in safely.

I'm experimenting with this format and just wondered what kind of success others may have had with it.


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Postby Allen M. » Mon Apr 26, 1999 10:34 pm

<font color="#0C5C63">David,

I really like david's springboard concept a lot.

I take a lot of stock in the kumites for sparring training to develop a specific technique for a specific stimulus. Especially my favorites are the Uechi cross-block against middle to high roundhouse and crescent kicks, and the crane block against the same but were particularly effective against rear-leg kickers. These blocks are extremely effective against korean stylists and other high kickers; I mean extremely effective, and I like best to complete the circle on the last block of Kyu-Kumite, close the distance fast 9and you've gotta be fast), and strike with the hands. I parry when I perform the first section of Kyu Kumite. This training comes in handy for fast aggressive punchers.

To break these techniques out of the kumite and practice them as floor-exercises, I see as good.

When I trained, the order of priority for me was:
(1) Sparring -- for which there is absolutely no close second. Everyone fights differently.
(2) Many combinations, lots of 'em; either shadow boxing style or with a partner,
(3) Bagwork -- lots of bagwork -- gotta have bagwork, essential.
(4) I never trained Kyu- or Dan- Kumite to use for sparring, never. But those aforementioned techniques, and others from the kumite , were always AUTOMATICALLY at my fingertips and stopped many kicks to the head and to the ribs, and
(5) Kata --Yes, good stuff is in there too, let's not forget the kata.

I did a lot of other stuff too to train, but the above was kind of my bread-and-butter. Oh, lots of kicking practice; high ones. Got to have fast powerful legs.

Today, I do not teach sparring to my pre-Sankyu students. Rather I teach what I call "sparring concepts." Lots of slow-motion, NOT slow speed, sparring to develop automaticity. I believe the slow motion method, although take much longer to be effective, will, in the long run, produce better sparrers. Besides, I don't want a flying side kick through my living-room TV.

I didn't mean to ramble, but these are some of my thoughts about one sparring philosophy.
<font color=black>
Allen - -

[This message has been edited by Allen M. (edited 04-26-99).]
Allen M.


Postby david » Tue Apr 27, 1999 12:51 am


I like your list. My list is similar though my order of priority differs and his has differed from how I ordered it the past.

When I work alone:

1. Dynamic stretching leading to slow kick work.

2. kicking/punching combinations

3. Bag work in rounds- going from jabs only to two hand combinations to hand and feet combinations. Always rotate lead stances. I learned this from aikido and FMA, but reinforced by a memory of a green belt competition when I suffered a completed broken finger and was seriously handicapped because I could only fight out of one stance for the rest of the bout.

4. Sometimes a cool down with two sets of kata, time permitting.

My opportunities to train in karate with partners is limited to once or twice a week. This affects my order of priority.

1. Warm up drills with a partner using focus mitts. Sort of like bag work but with much more movement of the partner vs the bag. Again, in rounds and rotating lead stances.

2. punching drills with partner leading to punching/kicking drills. This is not reflex nor sparring. Simply a matter learning to covering distance, first slowly then explosively.

3. Simple refex drills with partners using set attack, be it punch or kick, but at their own speed WITH INTENTION TO HIT. The defender must truly defend or get hit.

4. Complex reflex drill with one partner attacking at will with set attack and defender blocking/parrying/countering the attack. The initial attacker must defend against the counter. STOP here. Anymore, it gets to be like sparring. This drill is still focus on instilling reflex and movement.

5. Freestyle reflex drill. This is like #4, except the attacker determines which attack, kick or punch, high or low.

6. Periodically, not everytime, sparring in rounds. One person takes the floor and stays there through 2-4 rounds with different partners.

7. When it is just my Uechi brothers we do kata. But we have non Uechi folks training as well. We skip kata when these folks are around.

Van sensei, Regarding BobC's perspective of prearranged kumite. I heard it for the first time last year at Jay's He said prearranged kumite is useful but only at the kyu levels. He believes in more freestyle in the higher levels. I was surprised by his words though I have reached my own conclusion back from my boxing days in the early 80's and Bob had left for the Far East. I saw folks become proficient fighters relatively quickly, using just simple drills, reflex drills, bag work and, yes, sparring. But, it not be fair to make a comparison with karate training. I believe there is a narrower self-selection going on in boxing. Folks doing this large WANT TO MIX IT UP. Anything less will not do. The hard part for the trainers was to rein them in and limit their time in the ring before they were ready.

David E. I used to hang with some guys in a Chinatown wing chun club. One of them, Dana Wong, is now a leading disciple of William Chueng in Australia. I never did the wing chun training myself though I watched. They did forms, work the dummy, did sticky hands and, yes, did their sparring. The sparring is the test. It never looked quite as fluid as the sticky hands. But, several of these guys have taken people out on the streets. As they say, the proof is in the pudding.

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