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 Post subject: Joe Graziano - 7th Dan
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:52 am 
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Hey Joe,
I just read the news of your promotion on the OKK website. Congratulations!

Image

It seems you were in good company!

Joe was a great host to me out in San Diego a couple years back and is a strong and very dedicated student and teacher of Uechi. He has also graciously answered many of my questions.

So I actually have another question for you - when you first learned seisan kata - were you taught a little slide step forward into the knee strike?

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 Post subject: Thanks Dana
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 6:58 pm 
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I appreciate the congrats, but the promotion took place in 2001. The photo you posted is of Hanshi Kyudan Walter Mattson's May 2007 Dan Test Board at Kyoshi Hachidan Peter McRae's dojo, Plymouth MA. Two of my friends pictured therein (Kyoshi Nanadans Bob Rosati and Paul Fenechel) were also tested and promoted with me in 2001.

From left to right: Clark Jones, Kyoshi Hachidan, me, Peter, Bob, Paul, William Repoff, Kyoshi Nanadan, and Walter Sensei. More recently, Walter, Peter, and Clark were tested and promoted to their present ranks in November 2005, in Okinawa, following three weeks of intensive training.

As to your question, no. I first learned Seisan kata (from the late Forrest Sanborn and Carmine DiRamio) without such a forward slide step, and still practice the kata without such. FWIW, I do prefer to practice the bunkai with a slide step rearward however, so as practice getting just out of range of a "shoot" attempt, while guiding the attacker's head downward and laterally to my right for a strong and balanced knee strike which may be necessary.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:59 pm 
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Hah! I'm only 6 years late!!! :lol:

I thought you were already a 7th Dan but when I saw the announcement as "new dan testing announcement" I thought I was wrong.

And I'm sure you deserved it in '01.

Oh lordy, I need to do a little better fact checking before I type. :roll:

And thanks for your take on Seisan. I'd seen people take the little slide in other katas (like Seichin) but I was curious if you had seen it in Seisan.

Goodness - now back to your regularly scheduled 2007 programming...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:44 am 
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Hey Dana,

No big deal. And thanks for your kind words. Also, I've sent you a PM.

Joe


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 2:44 pm 
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Quote:
I do prefer to practice the bunkai with a slide step rearward however, so as practice getting just out of range of a "shoot" attempt, while guiding the attacker's head downward and laterally to my right for a strong and balanced knee strike which may be necessary.


This is very good Joe.

When being tackled by a big strong committed opponent, the forward momentum he generates is very dangerous and can be overwhelming taking lines of force and direction peculiar to the attacker, that can throw off a good structured knee strike leaving the defender at risk.

Another way I teach the knee strike is to first concentrate on toppling the attacker down into his own momentum by guiding and pulling his head/neck/shoulders with my left hand as I shift and rotate/spin to my left ... rear , much as you see in the Systema clips Jim posted, while 'sticking' to him somewhat...so that when he tries to get up_ and he will_ by naturally sticking his head up and pushing on the floor with his hands_

Then I yank the back of his head into my well structured/planted knee strike as an opening finish move setting him up to play soccer with his head.

Image

If your partner doesn't really commit to a takedown in bunkai [most don't] _ just 'refuse to fight' and egg him on to really take you down as a street attacker would do.

Then watch the action. :)

First few times I did this during bunkai I got some funny looks...like..."is this Uechi?" while picking themselves up from the floor like pregnant Yaks :wink:

BTW_ Walter should be stopping by my house anytime soon. :)

Take care,

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Last edited by Van Canna on Sun Jun 17, 2007 5:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:29 am 
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Hi Van,

Thank you. I like your take also. Good food for thought.

Joe


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 12:56 pm 
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I find this thread interesting.

I must be such a "Uechi heretic" because I'm to the point sometimes where I don't get worked up about peculiarities such as what Dana asked. Then again, I'm a researcher by profession. I make a living stepping off the beaten path. ;)

There is a place for keeping a "standard" about which we vary. In my view, one very important reason to converge on some type of standard is for an odd and interesting reason. In my personal view, whenever you have one specific application in mind when modifying a kata, you can run into trouble with "the standard." But when you have 5 applications in mind and all 5 can be derived from some common way to do the movement, well then you have something. That in my view is summed up by a "Forrest Gumpism" once told to me by an Okinawan master.

Kata is kata; application is application.

So... Even though I may shrug about the difference between John and Sue's way of doing a kata movement, I do insist that people think about doing movements in the most generalizeable way while doing kata.

On the flip side... There's nothing wrong IMHO with temporary and/or spontaneous personal kata modifications. In fact the more you can do this on the spot - like a jazz musician - the more of a martial genius I believe you are. I've seen some amazing examples of such in my day.

And finally... Interesting discussion on the knee strike application. I have some of my own tricks I use, which work pretty well. I picked mine up from a special forces instructor. Good ideas know no style boundaries in my view. We just need to look back at our basics to see that the idea has been there in front of our eyes all along.

Basically I operate on two principles:

1) Don't get on the line of force of a charging bull.

2) Where the head goes, the body will follow.

Using one or both of the above principles will get the job done. It does however take some one-on-one for me to show the tricks involved. ;)

I find people can modify how they do it based upon the situation and the respective masses and strengths of the parties involved.

Good stuff, gang!

- Bill


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 3:51 pm 
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So many good ideas - kata vs waza is an important concept - so is "don't change the kata." But without significant, accurate hisorical evidence, there's no way of knowing if the kata you received was already changed before you got there. :? 8O

FWIW I was referring to the knee strike at the beginning of Seisan.

Personal variation in application is an obvious extension of kata training - but preserving the mneumonic device is an important endeavor if we want to have a shared template we can start from.

The catalogue of variation in Uechi kata performance is already quite extensive. Some changes are attributed to Kanei Uechi for purposes of doing group kata, some changes are attributed to the preference of the individual or a group, some changes are attributed to politics.

Luckily for historical purposes, there are some groups training who have had little outisde influence over the years and there are still people who remember the variations that have occured. Do they matter? Again - only if we want to have common ground to start from that is the "template" or the core vocabulary of fighting in Uechi-ryu. Otherwise the kata doesn't matter at all as there are lots of good ways to learn how to fight.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 4:04 pm 
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Quote:
I find people can modify how they do it based upon the situation and the respective masses and strengths of the parties involved.


It just about sums it up. :)

Agree...always get off lines of force and direction unless you can shut down the 'launch platform' ...never, never give the opponent a momentum advantage...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 4:10 pm 
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Dana wrote:

FWIW I was referring to the knee strike at the beginning of Seisan.

I caught that in the beginning, Dana. But it was still fun running with the discussion. 8)

To be precise, I've always viewed the first knee technique (from crane-on-a-rock posture) to be more tsuki than uchi, and the second one the other way around. But there are exceptions to this rule - particularly in regards to a female applying the move to a taller male.

That's why I like the word "thingie" to describe movements. Circle thingie after lower hand swings. That ain't a block!!!!

These movements can be lots of different things.
Dana wrote:

Do they matter?

In my view, that's a provocative question with no simple answer.

I am pleased there are people such as Toyama Sensei who persevere to preserve something "as they were taught." For historical and anthropologic reasons, this is important.

On the other hand, what is it that we are trying to preserve? Is it the specific moves and/or specific sequences, or the principles that the patterns attempt to codify in a moving reference book?

Even The Handbook of Chemistry and Physics is a fluid document. Do we really need pages and pages of trig and log tables now that we have calculators? We're killing a lot of trees and making a book bigger than it needs to be by having those sections, right? Frankly if it wasn't for the HP45 calculator coming out when it did, I might have left engineering althogether.

There is value in me being able to grab my gi and meet Dana at a shopping mall to do an impromptu demonstration. The fact that we've kept something relatively stable is useful.

However as Dana put it...
Dana wrote:

But without significant, accurate hisorical evidence, there's no way of knowing if the kata you received was already changed before you got there.

I'll go one step farther. Assuming that Shushiwa didn't go to the mountain to retrieve tablets from above on the kata, we have to assume that what we have is a distant offspring of many individuals' creative works. And if you view kata in the Fuzhou region today, you see no Uechi Seisan. But you see "it" reflected in places here and there.

Would the last choreographer of "our" version of Seisan - likely one in a long line of choreographers - be mildly amused at our efforts to preserve what we think "it" is? Food for thought.

- Bill


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2007 5:37 pm 
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Good points...and again...in my view keep practicing the 'shut down' of the enemy's technique if not his intent to start with.

Look at the samurai...

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 1:41 am 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ydcCZ9CPLM

...of shutting down the opponent's 'launch pad' _

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:07 am 
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What I see repeatedly in that video is the practitioner's ability to attack the leading leg of his charging attacker, often while simultaneously hitting the upper body. It's a pretty simple principle of rotating a mass about its center - something that takes less energy to pull off than it appears. What it does take however is superb timing.

Bob Campbell was a master at that move. He's a big fellow, and all arms and legs. His build plus his superb athleticism made him the perfect candidate for pulling that off.

Straight from the Uechi kata, btw, even though this is "sport karate."

- Bill


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