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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 1:48 pm
by Art Rabesa
From Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary:
Tradition ---The knowledge, doctrines, customs, practices, etc., transmitted from generation to generation; also, the transmission of such knowledge, doctrines, etc.
Tradition can be based on myth or fact. Either way, it's still a believe. It's still traditional. Forms, or styles of certain martial arts, have traditional values. Some stronger than others I would suspect. I was given a writing tip many years ago. I was told to only write about things you know. Therefore, I can not write about other forms of karate. I can however, write about Uechi Ryu. Although there are still many aspects of this karate style I'm still learning. I know that Uechi Ryu has been around for a very long time. It's roots are very deep, originating in China many centuries ago. With that understanding, we can surmise that there would be a strong tradition in it's "Way". Proven approach to the training and reality of the style. With all that being said, why this post concerning tradition? For me it is very simple, and you all know that's the way I like things. With the passing years, there will be those that want to unravel, or disturb traditional ways. Why would this occur? Human behavior I guess. In the case of Uechi Ryu, why would anyone simply change, or omit age old methods? Change for the sake of change? Take kata for instance. The Uechi Ryu kata is not only beautiful, but laden with proven powerful techniques. Why would anyone simply change the kata and still refer to it as Uechi Ryu? Are you making up another karate style? This is how many styles start. All of a sudden there is a new karate style out there. Where did it come from? What is it's history? If you change the kata, or omit parts of traditional Uechi Ryu, than it's not Uechi Ryu. Call it something else, because it is not Uechi Ryu. I do not believe there is a law that states that a Traditional way can not be tampered with. Although, in some cultures, fooling with tradition could have serious consequences. So---there isn't any better business bureau, or Uechi Ryu police, that will force you from tampering with tradition. To be different to be noticed. In this way, people will talk about you. A good way to get something started. Must be working because I'm discussing it right now. I won't prolong this any further. Last word here. If you tamper with, or completely change something like the Uechi Ryu kata, okay. Just don't call it Uechi Ryu. Think of something else to call it. I'm sure you can come up with a catchy name for your new style. Good luck with that. -----Happy Trails-----Art


PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 5:36 pm
by Van Canna
Take kata for instance. The Uechi Ryu kata is not only beautiful, but laden with proven powerful techniques. Why would anyone simply change the kata and still refer to it as Uechi Ryu? Are you making up another karate style?
If you change the kata, or omit parts of traditional Uechi Ryu, than it's not Uechi Ryu. Call it something else, because it is not Uechi Ryu. I do not believe there is a law that states that a Traditional way can not be tampered with.

Well Art, you and I have around a long time and we have dealt with this quandary time and again. But our long years of experience in kata performance, full contact tournaments, and in some unfortunate real attacks incidents, we did not instigate_ have pretty much convinced us that the original ways of performing kata, as passed down to us by the Uechi family, have served us well.

The modern high ranking Uechi mainstream practitioners, are all of the belief that the ancestors of our system, knew that the kata, as originally put together and practiced main stream today… contained enough core options in a fight or combat that by long and diligent study_ could then be broken down into separate/distinct applications or combinations that could be done a variety of ways _as it should be done once you have learned the one kata properly or better the principles underlying that kata as teaching tool.

You may recall we had this same conversation with Walter a short time ago as he proffered Takara sensei’s views.

And you and I are of the same opinion on this subject, as we both ‘cringe’ when we see some alleged Uechi practitioner perform a kata on the floor that has moves barely resembling the original.


PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 2:21 pm
by Van Canna
Here we take a look at the most beautiful traditional Uechi we'll ever see as per Master Nakahodo's teachings.

The smoothness and explosive performance of the traditional execution of the system is quite addictive to look at.

The techniques lash out as the cracking of whips, along lines of force and directions that represent the core skills going to 'operant conditioning' that will be used in endless variations.


PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 3:11 pm
by Art Rabesa
The old saying --"If it's not broke, don't fix it" ---applies. Anyone with any knowledge of karate, can easily see that there isn't anything broken here. Why tamper with this kata performance? Because you're not AWARE. Those that have no insight, or ability, might look at something that is flawless, and search for something else. If you don't know what your looking at because of your lack of knowledge, don't show your ignorance by opening your mouth. Be kind to yourself and stay quiet. Do what ever you want pertaining to your belief. That's a right everyone has. Show me. Come to a Uechi Ryu outing and show me. I'll be there waiting. Show me your way and I'll show you my way. Sensei George Mattson has the Uechi Ryu summer camp the first weekend in August. It will be in Plymouth Massachusetts at the Jungle Plex. Drop by Friday or Saturday. I'll be there. Ask anyone to point me out. I'm hard to miss. One more thing-----get a good night sleep. -------Happy Trails------Art


PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 2:17 pm
by Van Canna
For the sake of fairness, I want to clarify that what Art Rabesa wrote above, is in no way related to my good friends, Rick Wilson and Marcus, as per the good natured arguments people read in the thread I deleted.

Rabesa is a Uechi perfectionist, a 10th Dan in the system, with an admirable, covetable, long time record of full contact fighting, winner of an untold number of tournaments all over the country, and a solid reputation for destroying attackers in the street fights forced upon him.

He is also a great teacher Of Uechi Ryu, having traveled to Okinawa several times and studied directly under Master Uechi and other seniors, including Nakahodo sensei.

He has had to put up, like many of us senior seniors have, for a very long time_with people changing the mother style as taught by Okinawa, claiming they have a better way of doing it_ showing up before our New England test board of senior seniors _and performing in ways he doesn't even recognize as being a Uechi kata, or training method.

Sometimes what we see is really ridiculous, and I have seen some guests from other mainstream organizations, just leave.

So he has become impatient and intolerant of all the arguments of 'There is a better way' than the original...or 'this is the way it was done in China' and all the rest of the BS arguments.

I share his the forms as they were passed on to us...but show us your abilities and variations emanating from the kata concepts, in bunkai practice and common street attacks.

And all this has nothing to do with how 'tough' one is, or how effective in street fights and so on and on...because as I have said before, there are people out there who can put you six feet under without any knowledge of any martial arts.

It has all to do with passing on and preserving a very effective 'family system' of karate without any idiotic changes that will look ridiculous to mainstream practitioners, and not at all anymore effective than the original way as given to us by the Uechi family.


PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 2:53 pm
by Van Canna
The Okinawan masters tell you that the real skills develop over a very long time of the system practice as the student attempts to understand the application potential of their system.

Take any movement in the Uechi Ryu system and spend hours and hours to find different applications without changing anything. The potential applications are already so vast, that creating changes really has little relevance other than in the applications, which goes a long way to ‘operant conditioning’_

The training goals in Uechi are very simple: Any existing traditional form has endless potential.

The deeper understanding of the movement principles, the unlimited application potential, the use of those principles as a weapon itself, the unending goal of trying to perfect the kata, increasing one's energy in the process, and then moving that energy into the application process…is the key to improvement.


PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 3:09 pm
by Van Canna
Changing kata? No, for the same reason one does not change the dictionary.

Katas IMNSHO, are the encyclopedia of the art and, as such, should be open to expansion, augmentation and the like, but the kata itself, which is primarily a teaching and training tool, should have a basic function, such as sanchin's stance and power.


PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 3:41 pm
by Van Canna
On kata, I strongly feel change from the original movements _is something that is best left alone. You don't change the dictionary.

There are so many infinite things which can be done with what is already there, there is no reason to make a change for its own sake.

The serious student of Uechi Ryu will be served well by what Art Rabesa wrote about the necessity to understand the kata and training methodology of the Uechi system.

If you are familiar with the historical perspective of how the style developed, you will understand the reason why Kanbun only got and practiced three kata in the ten years he was in China.

Take sanchin, and you would know that to perform correctly 100% is very difficult.

Why? Because it is very difficult to control all the body in the correct way to do a perfect kata.

Thus Kanbun, in China, could not learn any other kata until he spent all the historical time that he did on learning thru sanchin how to prepare his body/mind to assimilate the concepts and technicality of Seisan and Sanseiryu.


PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 10:31 pm
by Van Canna
This helps understand_Excerpt from page 410 in the 2nd half of the UechiRyu Kyohon
Uechi Kanbun deeply remembered the appreciation that Shuu Shiwa gave him.

He believed that strictly passing [the training that Shuu Sensei gave him]
on to the next generation was the highest [honor] he could show.

So he
never created kata, he didn't change or add, he preserved and cherished Shuu
Shiwa's direct technique. This was the only Way (DO) that he believed in --
to preserve exactly the direct training [technique]. [He did not copy or
modify, he did not imitate -- he lived the DO of Shuu Shiwa.]

We the modern generation shouldn't question [judge] the philosophy of the
past Bujin [Master] by using our [ours, the modern generation's]
understanding [philosophy]. [It is difficult or nearly impossible to
understand the minds and attitudes of the past Bujin, so one cannot judge by
modern standards which have never seen those old times.]

The way this person [Kanbun Sensei] lived to perfectly apply [his teacher's
training] into his life as a matter of loyalty may be interpreted as no
personal individuality [a loss of individuality] but it should be highly
recognized [respected and honored as a huge personal sacrifice] because the
very way he lived was his personally-chosen DO [shutaisei kantetsu -- he was
entrusted with a certain Way to live by Shuu Sensei, so by his
personally-accepted obligation he could absolutely not change that Way.

minds -- goals, desires, thoughts -- of others did not matter to him or
interest him. He had his own treasured goals to achieve. He received the
very best training from his Sensei and that was his total focus. Others
could be more easily influenced (to change, to make a different way) but he
wasn't influenced so -- he had one way on which he focused].

So only the people who can evaluate [the life or mind of the Bujin] are the
persons who lived with and had experience with him, otherwise we shouldn't
try to apply modern understanding [it is mostly outside the realm of modern
thought patterns and understanding].


PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 11:19 pm
by Van Canna
This goes to what Art Rabesa wrote about the understanding of Uechi
Kanbun Sensei
was very strict about teaching his karate in stages of
increasingly deeper development and understanding.

Some of these stages
took years to achieve. It still took about three years to learn Sanchin
alone! But today, the pace (and the demand) is much faster. Most students
"know" everything up to Seisan and beyond by the end of three years...


PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 11:26 pm
by Van Canna
In the early summer of 1897, Uechi Kanbun began his studies in KojoRyu at
the Koshiro Dojo with a fellow Okinawan, Matsuda Tokusaburo (who later
became a famous instructor of KojoRyu Karate), but Kanbun soon had a
falling-out with the instructor, Makabe-Udon (Chief Master Makabe).

seems that Kanbun was dissatisfied with studying Chinese fighting arts from
an Okinawan! Beside, something about Kanbun left Makabe-Udon ill at ease --
it might have been the penetrating eyes of the young Uechi, or the quiet,
unassuming manner found in the training of the Samurai class.

Perhaps it
was because of Kanbun's Samurai ancestry itself, or more likely that
Makabe-Udon didn't believe in Kanbun's ancestry (other Okinawans who studied
at the Koshiro Dojo may have mentioned it to Mr. Makabe -- it's unlikely
that Kanbun would ever have made an issue of it). Kanbun’s usually-silent
demeanor led Makabe-Udon to believe Kanbun was somewhat mentally deficient.


PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 11:27 pm
by Van Canna
At any rate, Makabe-Udon took every opportunity to ridicule and insult
Kanbun, or to make jests at Kanbun's expense.

Consequently, Kanbun left the Dojo within about three months. Where he went
and what he did between this departure and his acceptance as a fighting arts
student elsewhere is unknown, but it's generally thought that he spent a few
months searching and watching for a system consistent with his boyhood
dreams -- something that would justify his trip and hardships.



PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 4:17 pm
by Art Rabesa
In going over the posts on this forum, I've come to the conclusion that "Tradition" is solidly linked to "Longevity". Tradition means forever. The actual "Tradition" of the style of Uechi Ryu, as been followed for a very long time. Knowing that the style takes many years of study to acquire knowledge, keeps some of us on that trail of perfection. The great majority of others have discontinued training for their own reasons. Those of us that are still training and teaching, do so for our own reasons. Different personalities, ego's, abilities. I believe we all have that one common thread that binds us all together. TRADITION. I didn't know if I should post this here, or on the "Longevity" thread on this forum. They go hand and hand. Knowing it's a lifetime commitment, keeps us going. I would love to hear from Uechi Ryu seniors on this topic. To get their viewpoint on the topic of Uechi Ryu longevity. It's an interesting topic for those in their 20th or 30th year of training. That's the beginning years by the way. If I have ties older than you, that puts you out of the "Senior" range. Looking forward to hearing from masters and getting their viewpoints on longevity. -------Happy Trails -------Art