True Karate

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True Karate

Postby Van Canna » Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:54 pm

I thought I would share this as received by my good friend Steve
Hi Sensei,
I hope you are well. I want to share this article on Miyagi sensei. He is a very special person and possibly one of the best technical teachers on Okinawa today.
Steve


This is indeed, or should be a poignant read for all of us.
"When I was 19, I had no interest in karate. However, Irei Seiki, a classmate from Yomitan Senior High School took me to the Kadena Dojo located not far from my parents' home. This is how I became a student of Shinjo Seiyu sensei."

Telling the story is Miyagi Minoru sensei, 70 years old. Minoru sensei was promoted 10th dan in December 2010 by the Okinawa Uechi ryu Karatedo Hozonkai.

"Karate then and karate today has changed quite a lot."

In the past, as recalled by Miyagi sensei, students repeat endlessly kata with full power, with the instructor correcting the performance according to bunkai-applications.

Today, it seems that speed and beauty are the main factors prevailing. "I am deeply saddened by the fact that the meaning of karate has changed and that kata are being destroyed."

When asked if shiai (sparring) was practiced, sensei answers "Of course, but by correctly practicing kata, fighting is not needed."

In karate, especially in Uechi ryu, the importance is placed on body forging and character building more than beautification.

By knowing pain, you understand people's pain. This way, it becomes impossible to use karate in a harmful way. By building a strong spirit and body, in case of an assault, the idea is to damage naturally the other party by defending only.

This is what Miyagi sensei means by "Karate that does not need fighting"! Shinjo Seiyu sensei used to repeat "Shobu ha, Issho Ichido" (A fight occurs only once in a lifetime).

By this, he meant the importance of building a spirit that does not use karate. This is the difference between "Bu - martial art" and "Sport".

Finally asking Miyagi sensei about the tradition, he replies "Kata should be passed on without a single change; meanwhile, a karateka should develop his own techniques.

If the master teaches you one, you should research 9!"

Also, Miyagi sensei believes that in karate, intelligence and academic studies are not what matter; what matters is the technical research.

On top of this, if karate people are to preserve the principles of "Respecting one's superiors" and "Refraining from haughtiness," he believes that true traditional karate will be passed on to posterity.


haughtiness defined....
Synonyms: assumptive, cavalier, chesty, arrogant, high-and-mighty, high-handed, high-hat, huffish, huffy, imperious, important, lofty, lordly, masterful, overweening, peremptory, pompous, presuming, presumptuous, pretentious.


Somethng to think about.
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Re: True Karate

Postby Van Canna » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:00 pm

In the past, as recalled by Miyagi sensei, students repeat endlessly kata with full power, with the instructor correcting the performance according to bunkai-applications.


This brings to mind the wonderful Sanseiryu performance of Andre Tippet I witnessed during a seminar by Gushi sensei at my friend Joe Graziano's dojo.

The performance embodied all as per Myagi sensei. :D
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Re: True Karate

Postby Van Canna » Mon Jun 13, 2011 3:26 pm

Today, it seems that speed and beauty are the main factors prevailing. "I am deeply saddened by the fact that the meaning of karate has changed and that kata are being destroyed."
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Re: True Karate

Postby Stevie B » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:27 am

Agree!!! :cry:




SILENCE!!! I Kill You!!!!
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Re: True Karate

Postby Van Canna » Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:18 pm

In the past, as recalled by Miyagi sensei, students repeat endlessly kata with full power, with the instructor correcting the performance according to bunkai-applications.


It is true we don't see much of this from any instructors.

The usual, annoying, corrections_ are nothing about bunkai applications performance...you don't see many teachers really get into Uechi Ryu concepts, as per kata moves, against habitual acts of street violence_ mostly all we get is:

'hold your fingers this way...twist your feet that way...shoulders down etc.'

which is fine...but there is much more to it than this.

If we taught more in the way Myagi explains...we would have less bored students...and more of them in retention.

Even some bunkai applications are not very realistic...the reason why, I think, Myagi sensei states that it is up to the student to research techniques.

Performance will always remain an individual thing as a student will try to make work what he will have learned...but there are some ways of bunkai applications that can be dangerous in a street attack if relied upon blindly.

This is where a more in depth study of the mechanics of violence, as set forth by Rory, is indispensable as a training adjunct.
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Re: True Karate

Postby Rick Potrekus » Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:00 am

A little research for students. Look for the meanings of Omote, Chuden, Okuden and then Oyo. Find the meaning of Kokyu Ho, Kobushi Sha and Kobushi Ho.

As long as I wake up on this side of the grass I'll still keep looking forward!
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Re: True Karate

Postby Van Canna » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:35 am

Interesting. Thank you Rick.
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Re: True Karate

Postby Stevie B » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:27 am

Thought you guys might like this..... While speaking to Brelsford Sensei, he simply repeated what Kanei Uechi Sensei and Nakahodo Sensei told him time and again... "Bunkai is just an application. If you understand the waza..the movement, method, application variations, and it strength ...one waza over another..then you can apply the "method" as you wish or as the situation dictates.... bunkai is a standard to START from... neither the beginning or and end just a basic reference point...a standard..for test basic understanding"... I think Rick Sensei will agree that this is a very good interpretation..I myself put it together with my Bar Businesses on Gate 2.. I had a certain way every time that was a good way to lead.. I could always change.. But the Boshiken was always there.... Didn't have to refer, which is what I think Rick Sensei was trying to get to.. :lol:




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Re: True Karate

Postby Otto » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:52 am

Sometimes I think I think too much. I wonder about Karate, about it's true meaning, about why the general population doesn't love it as much as I do, about why I do it, have always done it and why I think I always will.

Sometimes I wonder if I'll stop doing it as my body breaks down, which it has continued to do for the last forty years.

Sometimes I wonder why anyone would want to engage in an activity as frustrating as the study of Karate.

Sometimes I fricken hurt so much I think I should be commited for the abuse I have done to the vessel of my soul. Sometimes I laugh at such bullsh**.

But then.....I think of the students that have been helped by the teachings that every single one of us on this forum have led. Maybe it's been a small percentage of those that have lined up on our dojo floors over the years, but if we have reached just a few, as we ourselves were reached by those that taught us, by those that influenced us, by those that took the time to help us....doesn't that make it all worthwhile? Isn't that the true meaning of Karate? The hell with fighting. I'm almost sixty years old. I can count the real fights I”ve had on one hand. That's not what Karate has done for me, it's not what it has done for those that I've taught, it's not what the youngsters that are learning right now and will be bitten by the bug and go on to tech others, will concentrate on. Hopefully, what they will concentrate on is Bushido - right from wrong, courage, benevolence, respect, honesty, honor, loyalty, self control and manners. Screw everything else.

Karate is what Karate does.
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Re: True Karate

Postby Van Canna » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:22 am

Great post Otto, thank you. :)
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Re: True Karate

Postby Van Canna » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:25 am

Stevie
"Bunkai is just an application. If you understand the waza..the movement, method, application variations, and it strength ...one waza over another..then you can apply the "method" as you wish or as the situation dictates.... bunkai is a standard to START from... neither the beginning or and end just a basic reference point...a standard..for test basic understanding"


Amen to that. The only way to internalize concepts. :)
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Re: True Karate

Postby mhosea » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:05 am

As regards teaching kata, I remember well my first Summerfest attending a session by Roy Bedard. The regulars probably had heard Roy's take on Sanchin as it relates to real-world violence more than once, but it was all new to me. It really made me feel differently about that kata and about the system as a whole.
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Re: True Karate

Postby Van Canna » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:39 pm

Good post Mike, maybe you could summarize Roy's take on Sanchin for the readers.
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Re: True Karate

Postby mhosea » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:53 pm

I was afraid that might happen! My wife asks me everyday who I ate lunch with and what we talked about. Most of the time I can't remember but a few bits and pieces of the conversation, and this is the same. What I remember well is being there, the scene, listening to him and how I reacted to what I heard. As for what I heard, I have bits and pieces from the first few minutes and primarily because, having trained in another style previously, I was always comparing the lessons of my prior training the lessons of my current training. Most are consistent, but there are differences to sort out. Roy didn't have anything to say about that directly, but some of what he said gave me an "Aha!" moment. We should get Roy to write something, if he hasn't already, or do it again at summer camp.

So, FWIW, here's what I remember. What he did was break down the opening of Sanchin as a metaphor for escalating awareness of and readiness to deal with a threat. Then he made the point that Uechi was a frontal system (something George also emphasizes, I believe), which was important because that's the way, he said, people fight when they're fighting for their lives. When they're "dueling", e.g. sparring and street or sport fighting, they blade because it has certain advantages, but when people are up close and personal with something or somebody that they can't get away from and that's trying to take their life, they usually take it head on. How I internalized this was that Uechi Ryu was not about sport fighting, it was about self-preservation after all attempts at avoidance have failed. He went on about moving forward, not backwards, etc., etc. I don't want to try to go any further with my scant recollections of what he actually said.
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Re: True Karate

Postby Van Canna » Fri Jun 17, 2011 11:36 pm

That's a very good job of summarizing what Roy meant and so true and to the heart of it all.

And when we look at the 'big three' Kata...we see and we internalize all those concepts into our primal being.

Something else that I understand Master Takara has stated is kata should never be performed very fast.
sometimes when you drive your car very fast, you will get into an accident. When you do kata very fast, you will make lots of mistakes


This is from a direct student of Takara sensei.

Now why would that be significant....the making of mistakes...I mean?

I will continue to believe that kata movements and concepts become effective simply because they 'ingrain' in our subconscious and affect our primal brain response action in auto mode.

The mistakes we continuously make in the kata when doing it very fast, such as not making the movements in their full range, with full focus and deliberation of action_

_ will embed deeply and will surface without our being aware of what's happening in the moment, causing mostly a useless flail action.

It appears that if anything is wished to be performed at full speeed, for mostly reasons of 'wind' ...the hojo undo exercises are a better choice.
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