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 Post subject: Rediscovering Uechi flow
PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 9:01 pm 
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I'm often told that okinawa converted a fairly fluid and chinese feeling martial art into a stop and go, power over flow focused one, especially when group practice and instruction / counting became common. I'd like to get more of that feel into my art... does anyone have any video of contrasting styles of uechi we could look at as examples, or ides how they've modified their art here or there to make it more fluid?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 9:19 pm 
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This is a thread where I believe it would be helpful to have comments from George and even Tomoyose Sensei. Like good music, the secret to mastery is often what you do in-between the notes. ;)

I can tell you how to add it in, Ian. Here's a good formula.

  • Assume most if not all martial movements start from the core. (A subset of core muscle activity would be turns, steps, and slides before/during the activity in the extremity.)
  • Practice breaking down complex movements into simple individual elements. Then drill and teach by doing first the deconstruction and then the subsequent reconstruction of the movement. This is an important teaching technique that all instructors should learn. Sanchin is a great referece book when looking for the individual elements.
  • Look at movement before/during/after a key technique. Then entertain the idea that this movement may be a part of the technique in question.
  • Include the movement in as one of the many pieces in the deconstruction/reconstruction teaching activity.

If that makes sense...

Also, encourage students to do most of their kata training outside of the "ichi, ni, san" classroom mode. Kanbun didn't teach that way (according to oral history) and so we should spend time outside the activity of large classes to investigate kata and how it should flow.

And this can and should be a very personal thing, and something where "mood" can come into play. Like good jazz music, you don't have to do it the same way twice in a row.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 9:28 pm 
even when you do flowing styles like Tai-chi and wing-chun there is the stop start phenomena.....secret is to realise that Kata and such is for personnal practice..flowing is the real art.....and it is great to do it with like minded folks :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2006 11:30 pm 
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Karate, a system of excellent fighting techniques saddled with training methods that neuter it.
Kata by the counts has to be one of the worst things that gets ingrained in any karate students head and one of the best methods for hiding applications.

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Like good music, the secret to mastery is often what you do in-between the notes.

I'll go a little further and say the secret isn't between the notes but in the song itself. I can play every note that Joe Pass played but it's in how well we play the song where you notice the difference. :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:00 am 
The two I`d hold up in this regard would be Rick Wilson and Jim Maloney .

Rick is not shy to posting clips of what he does .


In fact I love Uechi but have no interest in anything but fluid Uechi .


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 8:54 am 
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Realize that there is no singular movement and no movements absent of an energy component and energy generation..... One movement should and does become another, the hands and body move as a coordinated whole--get rid of tense rigidity in all things and learn to move naturally regardless of what technique is expressed.

Changing is the key, CMA change from one movement/position/action into another as a matter of course.. The ending of one movement is the beginning of the next, flow like a river and learn to be loose and relaxed with the moves.. There is no "movement" as a singular thing, there is only moving and action..

Try some push hand or Chi Sao drills, at the core they are about developing these very attributes, one learns to change and adapt with the opponent's energy and position, not in a fixed pattern of regurgitation or recitation.. These things CAN be learned, no matter what stage one is at--old dogs can learn new tricks with a little time and patience. These drills CAN help folks learn more about their style even if they are not based in Uechi--you CAN do it, you CAN improve and find the root of the meaning of these attributes within Uechi..

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"Receive what comes, stay with what goes, upon loss of contact attack the line" – The Kuen Kuit


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:28 pm 
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Quote:
Realize that there is no singular movement and no movements absent of an energy component and energy generation..... One movement should and does become another, the hands and body move as a coordinated whole--get rid of tense rigidity in all things and learn to move naturally regardless of what technique is expressed.


Right on the money, IMO.

Something that I've noticed in several schools is that students tended to latch onto the first things that they were taught, and most of the time it was some kind of by the numbers movement to make things easy (what Bill calls the deconstruction, but in a blind way). It gets worse when the student carries this along through the ranks and now is looked on by the lower ranks as the model for how to do the techniques. After a while it could even be codified as the proper way to do the technique (which I have seen happen).

Now that I'm having to assist in teaching I've dropped counts of anykind. We'll see how it flows.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 3:18 pm 
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The problem lies, Mike, in a lack of re-construction after the de-construction. What we have throughout the world in Uechi Ryu is way too many people doing terrific white belt kata.

One of the things I try very hard to do in teaching is to go up and down the scale of tearing down and building up - in the same classroom lesson. I don't worry that I lose 70-80 percent of the class as I layer on the final few elements and do the continuous flow move. I WILL lose people. It's somewhat akin to putting a kid on a bike and having them just peddle while you hold the seat and run beside them. Day by day, more and more people get it. And then they have a profound understanding of what they are doing. And when they do, then you can unleash them into their own creative paths.

Entropy prevails in our practice. Without work, people accumulate a lot of very dangerous bad habits. Good teachers can see these, isolate them, work on fixing that one nasty bug, and then put it back together again. One useful lesson to learn is how to take someone who mostly has it together and not completely hamstring them with a one-size-fits-all process. It is very much possible to overteach a good ("natural") athlete. Instead what a talented teacher needs to do is isolate the bad parts from a fundamental understanding of what they are doing, get the person to correct it, and then get them back in their natural flow without losing "movement in context" which they may already do very well.

Last night was a great example of how to do this. I was having people do "shadow dan kumite" - going through the movements without a partner. Movement is REALLY important in the way I teach my yakusoku kumite. I would go so far as to say many people wouldn't recognize the finished product, what with the way the students have learned to get off the line of force as opposed to backing up. But back to the subject... I did the "FREEZE!" exercise last night. I was showing people how UNIFORMLY they were completing one move without having the next move ready to go. I compare it to how I try to teach my son to play chess. Every move - including an "escape" from check - is about attacking and winning. Every defense is really a hidden offensive move helping you set up your game plan. First moves are all about getting in fast so you don't lead with a hole that a defensive fighter can exploit. BUT... while doing that first move, the body should be preparing the next move so it comes on before the defender can regain control of their center. In my "FREEZE!" exercise, I show people how they are completing one move, and then pausing into a "Now what?" mode, having to start that next move de novo. Nope... You CAN teach people how to have that next move completely loaded (muscles pre-stretched and stretch reflexes firing) and ready to go when the first move is hitting its target. Yes, this CAN be taught.

The flow drills Jim talks about are another path to this. Sometimes you just need to work on flow in many different ways. The more ways of attacking a problem, the more likely one or more of the methods will work. My favorite thing to do is various slo-mo sparring drills. This works particularly well in my barroom brawl scenario training where taking things one-at-a-time will get you swarmed in no time. There's nothing like some occasional humiliation and destruction to help you "get" the point - all in good humor of course. :wink:

- Bill


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 4:52 pm 
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Quote:
The problem lies, Mike, in a lack of re-construction after the de-construction. What we have throughout the world in Uechi Ryu is way too many people doing terrific white belt kata.

A good way of putting it Bill, and I'd say Uechi doesn't have that market cornered. :lol: I think one cause might be mixing learning and practice together. Maybe forbidding students who know a kata for example, from doing it by the counts unless they are teaching it.

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I was showing people how UNIFORMLY they were completing one move without having the next move ready to go.


That is excellent! I've fallen into that trap more times than I'd like to remember, but it is something that I see reinforced and sometimes even encouraged. Over and over many karate students are taught to "finish" one technique before they start the next, which looks better and let's the instructor or judges see each techniques performance clearly.

Quote:
slo-mo sparring drills

Like more than one instructor told me, "slow is smooth, smooth is fast". :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:08 am 
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Bill Glasheen wrote:
I was showing people how UNIFORMLY they were completing one move without having the next move ready to go.

Not only does "a" move transform into another but the two hands/arms should both move at the same time..and *both* hands transform or change into the next "actions". A common trait in CMA.... All limbs and body moving and changing in unison.

The hands should be assisting each other, they should be moving in unison along with the body...

What is the advantage to both hands moving in unison?

What is the advantage to both hands and body moving in unison?

What kinds of "hard" and "soft" elements can the hands do in unison and what does this accomplish?
Bill Glasheen wrote:
The flow drills Jim talks about are another path to this.


They are the only methods I know of that can be broken down and put back together in an instant; That can instill kinesthetic awareness and sensitivity to position, timing and energy through BOTH visual and tactile feedback—which means more neurons are firing; That forces folks to change, flow and adapt based on actual real-time feedback/resistance at fast or slow speeds and with variable resistance; That does so through focusing on concepts and not on rehearsed and regurgitated expression—which is critical IMO because flow without freedom is recitation and cannot adapt... And these methods of training focus on CQC standup range a range where sight is of minimal use from a timing perspective.

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"Receive what comes, stay with what goes, upon loss of contact attack the line" – The Kuen Kuit


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