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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:00 pm 
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Yes, I've been thinking about these turns more as well as a result of this discussion. My practice up to now is probably closer to the "disconnect" that Dana was talking about.

Unfortunately, I find incorporating ALL the articulated ideals rather like trying to force in a jigsaw puzzle piece that doesn't quite fit. Trying to keep one foot firmly planted at all times and not "disconnect" the hip movement from the initial step is rather a challenge. Perhaps part of my difficulty has to do with my limited ankle mobility.

I don't really want to be in the position after the first step, where momentarily both feet are properly positioned to be front feet in opposite directions. As I only angle my front foot slightly in Sanchin. The resulting position as a "stance" would be unstable, so it must occur only "dynamically", as my hips are carrying out the turn. That's fine, but there doesn't seem to be much tolerance for timing the foot and hip movments. My best effort so far has resulted in a little bit of pivoting of the rear foot before the front foot is fully set. I am thinking that I cannot get this right (in the sense as described here) by linking my hip movement either to the movement of the front foot or the rear. It must interpolate the two, but that seems rather sequential, not simultaneous, as Bill was discussing.

Am I missing something?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:14 pm 
I think Rick and Neil both got it right , the rear side (the new front ) turns and then the other side follows .

because its in harmonie , there is no sequential nature you have an opening of the quas or expansion of the legs arms etc , and then the other side drives forward as they close back to Sanchin .

take a look at hwat Ricks doing again , or think About Neils foot and head together.

Just my take .

good thread


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:22 pm 
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Hey Mike,
You've hit upon the blessing and the curse of these forums. Do typed words translate into comprehensible motions? Do a bunch of outside opinions help a student or are they just noise that interfere with clearer signals given in person by their teachers?

My guess (absolute guess) that it isn't your ankles - but a bit more relaxation of your knees and hip joints that will help. The knees should be spongy - as if you're ready to stand with one leg on the back of each of two horses harnessed together.

Likewise if you really, super, uber tuck your hips under you and lock them up tight - that stiffens things up to the point where you'll feel that pull in your ankle.

And I reserve the right to be very wrong since I've never seen you move and I have no idea what your teaching is asking you to focus on at this time.

However, the simple test of having someone rest their hand on your hip as you try to turn is one of the best training tools around - that way you see if at any point in the turn you lose your center of balance or your connection to the floor. At first they should just rest their hand there - but eventually you should be able to whip them off balance if they're just standing like a normal human.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 8:22 pm 
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Dana Sheets wrote:
And I reserve the right to be very wrong since I've never seen you move and I have no idea what your teaching is asking you to focus on at this time.


Do not give it a second thought. I understand the nature of the thing. Even when the instructions are crystal clear there are still different ways. For example, even though I enjoyed Walter Mattson's session at Summerfest immensely and learned a great deal from it, I was not oblivious to nuances that reflected some differences of opinions among seniors. I found a great deal that I could use there, however, and I would like to think that Sensei Mattson would be pleased with the lasting effect the session had on me, even though some specifics I did choose simply to file away for future reference.

I'm sure you could not predict how stiff my ankles really are. It is not a normal situation. My rheumatologist and I are hopeful that there will be some improvement in the coming months.

I'll work on it a little. It's usually just a matter of doing it a few hundred times before the correct mechanics seem obvious. I just hadn't thought about it much (other than getting rid of the beginner zombie thing) since I first learned this kind of turn. It is not used in the style of karate I practiced before.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:59 am 
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Dana,

For the most part I was always taught to look where your going first just before the back foot pivots. Then as the turn is made the front foot that is becoming the rear foot, circles around from inside to outside.(As if you didn't already know this!
If its connection you want them to understand, it as always worked for me when the lead arm is given resistance as your making the turn. If you don't have it tucked in all the right places the turn looks and feels bad. IMHO

Chris


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:23 am 
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mhosea wrote:

Unfortunately, I find incorporating ALL the articulated ideals rather like trying to force in a jigsaw puzzle piece that doesn't quite fit.

I'm with you. I don't identify with all the descriptions either, Mike.

We each speak a unique language. But the concepts often remain the same. Eventually the understanding must become your own. And you really understand it when you can articulate it to others, and an outsider agrees that the product looks good.
mhosea wrote:

Trying to keep one foot firmly planted at all times and not "disconnect" the hip movement from the initial step is rather a challenge. Perhaps part of my difficulty has to do with my limited ankle mobility.

Instead of thinking what you must do, think instead of what you shouldn't do.
  • You shouldn't at any point be spinning on the only foot that's touching terra firma. This isn't a Michael Jackson spin for a Thriller video. The way I view martial arts is that you could be in contact with the partner and doing something in-between the fixed positions as well as during them. When you watch people fight for real, this is what they do. They don't take a coffee break in-between stances. They must maintain an ability to give and take - no matter what or where.
  • You should make the turn as simple as possible. Making minor adjustments here and there during the turn is wasted movement. Why waste movement, unless you are so gifted athletically that you always do things faster than the next person? (Not!!)
Then, just do it 1000 times until it no longer feels like a technique. Do it until it feels natural. That means you're going to take something that looks like it came out of a template, and eventually turn it to something that looks and feels natural.

mhosea wrote:

I don't really want to be in the position after the first step, where momentarily both feet are properly positioned to be front feet in opposite directions. As I only angle my front foot slightly in Sanchin.

The standard angle as found in Kanei Uechi's kyohon is 30 degrees. It works. The standard angle w/o a protractor is a pivot equivalent to the width of your foot. That ends up being... about 30 degrees.

If you don't pivot very much, you aren't taking advantage of torsion forces in the legs. These can be used to grip the floor like a bug grips glass. These can be the cocked trigger that allows you to kick off the front leg in Uechi. (I love to show people how. No flicky kicks when you learn to put a little torsion and tuck into a front kick.)

mhosea wrote:

The resulting position as a "stance" would be unstable, so it must occur only "dynamically", as my hips are carrying out the turn. That's fine, but there doesn't seem to be much tolerance for timing the foot and hip movments. My best effort so far has resulted in a little bit of pivoting of the rear foot before the front foot is fully set. I am thinking that I cannot get this right (in the sense as described here) by linking my hip movement either to the movement of the front foot or the rear. It must interpolate the two, but that seems rather sequential, not simultaneous, as Bill was discussing.

Am I missing something?

Just remember a few things.

First... take the damn thing out of the box and play with it. Try different ways of doing a turn. For example the way Rick is doing his turn at the half-way point isn't exactly the way I described it. He is leading a bit with the upper body - as if anticipating an attack from the rear.

But it works.

And so does the way I said to do it (generically).

And so does a few other ways.

Play with it. Play some more with it. Then play even more.

Then when you start to find 2 or 3 or 4 different ways to apply the same idea (it's just a technique...), find a way to do it in kata that ties all those ideas together with some lowest common denominator of movement.

Keep it simple. Always make things simple in kata. Kata is kata; application is application. Make kata a physical pnemonic that you can attach lots of applications to.

Now and then... A smart teacher may come up to you in your journey and suggest that just maybe you ought to tweak your kata technique here or there. If they give you a really good reason, well then maybe it's time to reflect on how you are doing things. Digest the new information, and then go to another place that is again your own understanding of what "it" is.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:57 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
The standard angle as found in Kanei Uechi's kyohon is 30 degrees. It works. The standard angle w/o a protractor is a pivot equivalent to the width of your foot. That ends up being... about 30 degrees.


That's exactly what I do (the latter--never got out the protractor). So, this transitory position has a 120 degree angle between the feet--that's just not comfortable for me. You're talking to a guy who has to get warmed up just to be in Sanchin. During hojoundo, I'm often wincing during the first few exercises, but they do warm up. They're the main reason why I stopped practicing my Matsubayashi kata. On one side I simply can't assume a low nekoashi dachi, and the other side wasn't much better. I didn't like the way it looked (because I knew how it was supposed to look), and I figure I'm a Uechi man now, anyway.

Anyway, thanks for the long response. Makes a lot of sense. In the meantime, I was slowing down Nakahodo and Gushi on my computer. Didn't see anything unexpected with the turn, but I did find something interesting when slowing down Nakahodo sensei's sanchin thrusts--I had missed his use of koshi and gamaku in the strikes at full speed, but in slow mo it was obvious.

As for the turn, I spent some time with it this evening and found it simple enough. As you say, it isn't sequential. The turn has a beginning and ending, and within the turn there are two steps that occur when they must, given that one or the other must be planted at any given time. I do think there are times, however, when I have been awkwardly planting that new front foot first, then starting the turn. I think this has probably been limited to Sanchin, though, especially when performing it slowly. As I went through my other kata, I seemed to already be doing it simultaneously, perhaps because I was thinking less about the turn per se and more about, well, getting turned.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:06 pm 
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This explains a lot, Mike.

It's a shame you never got to do a little ballet. They could have helped you on your flexibility. The plié is a great study in hip capabilities and movement.

Image

There's your extreme example. The mid-point of a classic Sanchi pivot turn is less than this. But you get the picture that the ideal involves equal rotations (eversions) of the 2 legs in the hip sockets. Part of keeping everything as a unit is making sure that those 2 hip angles remain the same - whatever they are. You don't over-rotate one leg, causing excessive vulnerability for that femoral area (or qua as Rick and company like to call it).

It would be easier if we could have some back-and-forth, but I'm going to proceed with a few assumptions.

First... The mid-point is just a mid-point in an otherwise continuous motion. You don't really freeze things at that point. Yes, in class training you may want to stop techniques at specific spots to make sure everything is lined up as it should be. I break techniques up into bits and pieces all the time during instructions and drills. But you have to reassemble the pieces and make the turn look like a single, continuous motion. Only in a frame-by-frame video then will you see someone correctly going through all the key transient postures.

The fact that you're a bit tight here and don't look good in a tutu may not be a bad thing. If you can still do this motion without spinning your anchor foot and/or having to do multiple foot adjustments, then the tightness can actually be useful. Very flexible people try to trigger dynamic stretch reflexes in their movements to get speed and explosiveness. You actually have static stretch issues that you can use as loadable springs to help power you through a motion. Thus the static midpoint Rick shows in his picture may be a place where your two hip torsion springs are cocked, and you can passively power yourself through the rest of the turn. All you need to do is make sure your feet are gripping and/or spinning and/or shifting when they are supposed to.

Make sense?

Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:28 pm 
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Hi All,

Interesting discussion (for hopelessly addicted martial artists). I see things similarly to Robb. Sometimes a turn is an attack, or a block, or a throw. The intent of the person executing the turn is important. But some things are almost always going to be "wrong." Don't drop your hands. Don't spin. Don't lift a heel so much you create a noticable up and down motion like a horse on the merry go round.

How many times has Fred and other Uechi/Judo practicioners used a turn to create kazushi to initiate a throw? Or change an angle to enter a throw? I know that I've done it. Practice turning while grabbing a partner, or with a partner holding you from various angles. Interesting things happen. You find out right away if your turn is balanced.

Sincerely,

Norm Abrahamson


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:49 pm 
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Mike

This exercise may really help you.

Image Image

Pilates/Ballet Exercise: the Wide Stance Plie

One of the things I really like about good karate training is that your shortcomings are a barometer of your overall health and athletic ability. If you can make things work in every aspect of your karate, then you're doing a pretty good job of maintaining your health and youthful movement. Thus sometimes karate gets you into shape, and other times karate shows you what you need to do to get into shape.

Quote:
What the Wide Stance Plie Does:-

  • Encourages the knees to move forward over the toes rather than to the inside of the toes.
  • Teaches the Gluteus maximus to become a more willing participant during movement with an upright torso.

Comments:-

We live in a "weak kneed" society. The Gluteus maximus in modern man is a lazy muscle and engages too slowly(1,4). It engages even more slowly as a result of back pain or ankle injury(5,6). The result is that the knees tend to "look inward" and "knock into" each other. This is what physiotherapist Shirley Sahrmann labels "Hip adduction with Medial Rotation" syndrome. Also, the Tensor fascia lata and Gluteus minimus both tend to be short, and thus prone to Trigger Points, "Iliotiotibial Band Syndrome" and "Trochenteric Bursitis". The wide stance plie will tend to prevent these conditions (further info...Triggerpoint Therapy Workbook).

Reference

1. Shirley A Sahrman: "Movement Impairment Syndromes" Publ. Mosby, 2002 ISBN 0-8016-7205-8

2. For introductory ballet exercises, see: http://www.artofballet.com/class2.html

3. Judith Leibowitz and Bill Connington: "The Alexander Technique: The World Famous Method for Enhancing Posture, Stamina, Health and Well-being, and For Relieving Tension and Pain". Harper and Row (New York), August 1990.

4. Bruce Thomson: Engage Gluteus maximus!

5. Bullock-Saxton JE; Janda V; Bullock MI: Reflex Activation of Gluteal Muscles in Walking. An Approach to Restoration of Muscle Function for Patients with Low-back Pain. [Spine 1993; 18 (6) May: 704–708]

6. Bullock-Saxton JE; Janda V; Bullock MI: The Influence of Ankle Sprain Injury on Muscle Activation During Hip Extension [Int J Sports Med 1994; 15 (6) Aug: 330–334]


- Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:52 pm 
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Thanks, Bill. I'll give the exercise a try. I'm not dissatisfied with my turns now, or my understanding of what people are trying to say here, but I'll see what Fedele thinks tonight about what I'm actually doing.

I used to be very limber. My ankle problems have progressed only in the last decade as a result of a hitherto undiagnosed inflammatory condition. If I had just thought of it as a condition instead of a series of unrelated and curiously painful (and ultimately recurrent) conditions, I'd be better off now. But you know how people, men in particular, can be, putting up with and minimizing things they ought to be presenting to their doctor as a pattern. Things happened, and I got better in due course, then things happened again, and I got better again. I've found that for young people, at least, primary care doctors often don't put together a pattern like that for you. If you seem to have a sprained ankle or achilles tendinitis or whatever, it's all you've got, and after awhile you stop seeing them for those things, anyway, because the prescription is RICE + NSAIDs.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:03 pm 
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mhosea wrote:
I don't really want to be in the position after the first step, where momentarily both feet are properly positioned to be front feet in opposite directions.


You definitely don't to be there for long. Actually you should be able to stop the turn at any moment and feel relatively stable.

One thing you could do is to stand in that halfway position - whatever it is for you, and practice slowly changing which foot is the one where you're planted most of your weight and your connection to the ground. By shifting that slowly back and forth you might find a position that's relatively comfortable and stable for you.

For some of our readers who don't use japanese terminology:
kazushi = Dr. Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo devised a theory which essentially means, "Using a minimum amount of strength, it is possible to throw your opponent if you force him off balance by breaking his posture."
koshi = waist
gamaku = connecting of the muscles of the torso to the pelvis which dictate the speed/power allowing control of the coordination between the upper and lower body

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:05 pm 
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You need a good jock doc, Mike. Find one who used to be an athlete. They won't dismiss you with just the RICE formula - not that this isn't a good start.

The exercise above may also help you discover your limitations. They are as much diagnostic as therapeutic.

Bill


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