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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 2:26 am 
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Ok, now that I hopefully have gotten everyone's attention and hopefully there are several out there that can't wait to comment. My purpose is to provoke a lively educational discussion.

The Uechi side kick as I learned it was somewhere between a snap and thrust kick which was directed at a 45 degree angle to the front. I originally did it with some hip movement as well as the snap or extension of the lower leg.
I was able to generate quite a bit of power, but it didn't seem natural. I understand that the knee joint does have some degree of lateral movement when the knee is bent (lifted). However in looking at the structure of the knee joint, it is quite obvious that it is not built for lateral movement. In addition to the bone structure being made for flexion and extension only, the stability of the knee relies on ligaments and tendons which are obviously stressed with excess lateral (or medial) movement.

So why not replace the "side" kick with a thrust front kick or a side thrust kick?

G.E.M. instructed me that the correct way to do this kick was basically more to the front, kind of like a front kick that "slices" with the knife edge of the foot as it hits its target (the leg muscles near the knee). I never quite got the kick right as he explained it. No disrespect to George, but if it is so similar to front kick, wouldn't a TKD type front kick with the ball of the foot striking the knee be more devastating?

Anyone else have an opinion on this? Or, should we just go ahead and ditch this technique? :wink:

Seriously, I would like to hear all the different views out there.

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 Post subject: Excellent question . . .
PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 10:28 am 
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This kick is only found in Konshiwa, which is one of the kata created after Kanbun Uechi's death by his students.

I promised my teachers to not change the kata and essentially pass them on to my students as I received them. . . which includes the "side" kick.

In teaching it, I stress a method that does no harm to the student. What I see most students doing in my travels, is a kick that puts tremendous stress on the knees, hips and ankles. Mostly, this is because of the interpretation the students are taught, which attempts to marry a front kick with a side thrust kick.

My version, which emphasizes a "cutting" action with a front kick aimed slightly off center and contact being made with a slightly extended heel-foot edge weapon.

Yes, a TKD front kick works, but the ability to hit a small target (the knee) would be an issue for many, whereas a "shearing" action with my interpretation makes the small target of knee or pressure points of the upper leg, easier to hit.

Excellent topic that I'm sure will get many replies and points of view.

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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 10:46 am 
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Here's mine...

I teach the Uechi side kick as a 'front side kick'.It's primary use as i'm sure you know is not for explosively 'bridging the gap'; it's an infighting technique .

The thrusting side kick or slide up side kick are for covering distance (bridging the gap) as is the 'hop kick' My knees are 'tired' at 47 but .....they have done alot more than just ballistic kicking in the air so...biomedical opinions aside ....

The Uechi side kick is technique not an 'outside' or 'kicking range technique'; ( though it's a kick by in name , it's best employed at about 'boxing range'. :wink:


7 Fighting Ranges

Psychological
Outside
Kicking
Boxing
Trapping
Grappling
Grappling Defense

In the end a kick is a kick a punch is a punch; it's all fighting... ENJOY !!!!

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 Post subject: Knees
PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 11:36 am 
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After ACL surgery I discovered from the physiotherapist that snapping the 45 kick is rather unnatural and harmful to the knee. Therefore, now I turn the body to 45 angle and use it as a take down to back of the "opponents" knee instead of an actual kick. No one since 1995 (when I made the change) seems to have noticed the subtle difference.

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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 2:50 pm 
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Well now... aren't we going to have some fun! 8)

I feel for you, Kentucky. But the problem is that you (and virtually almost everyone else in the Uechi system) never learned the reason for developing this kick in the first place.

George and Robb have it right. There's only one kick in "pure" Uechi Ryu - the shomen geri.

.......... Shomen = front

.......... Geri = kick

As George correctly stated, the problems arise when you try to make this into a yoko geri.

.......... Yoko = side

.......... Geri = kick.

No, no, no!!!!!!!! :multi:

KentuckyUechi wrote:

I originally did it with some hip movement as well as the snap or extension of the lower leg.

If you mean hip movement as in tilting the pelvis away from its plane parallel to the floor (per a yoko geri), then Nooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If you were a student in my class, I would immediately correct you.

Let's go way, way back here.

Again... there is only one kick in "pure" Uechi Ryu - the front kick. You can build on the Uechi foundation. Been there, done that. I even choreographed my own kicking form, which became part of the work for my renshi title. Bully for me! But pure Uechi Ryu has one kick.

When I throw a front kick, I have five (5) choices for the point of contact.
  • Big toe, a.k.a. sokusen. This is a trademark technique of the system. If you can do it, you have a nasty weapon that few others have. It's also the most logical way to use a front kick when you have a hard shoe on.
  • Ball of foot. This is the "vanilla" way to do a front kick. It's great when you're barefoot. Not so much when you have shoes on - hence the invention of the sokusen.
  • Instep. Wing Chun people are really good at this. Whenever I turn the corner on someone (often using hawk chases sparrow) and try to set up a rear naked choke, I use the leg thingie part of that Seichin technique to manipulate the person's leg from behind. I do this by attacking the back of their knee with my instep. It both breaks their center and brings their head right in my arms. From that point on, the RNC is a piece of cake.
  • Heel. Bobby Campbell once showed me a nifty way to use this in a clench. If you can bring your knee to your chest (no problem with yours truly), your clenching partner is toast. The heel of the foot is equivalent to the palm heel; no assembly required. I can teach you to do great damage with that striking surface on day one.
  • And last but not least... the blade of your foot.

The beginning of "the problem" is in the translation of the technique. If we all understood Japanese, there wouldn't be a problem. But we don't. And then some American comes over here and puts the wrong label on something. And then the problems erupt.

.......... Soku = foot

.......... to = blade

.......... Sokuto = foot blade

.......... Shu = hand

.......... to = blade

.......... Shuto = hand blade

So in "pure" Uechi Ryu, we are taught to do a shomen geri (front kick) with the sokuto (foot blade). Technically it's a sokuto shomen geri.

You can also do a sokuto yoko geri, or a side kick with the foot blade. And if you don't like that, well then do your yoko geri instead with the heel. Been there, done that. It's safer on the ankle. Then it isn't a sokuto geri at all, is it?

Confused yet? :lol:

"OK now", you asked, "so who gives a rat's ass about this useless technique?"

Ahhh... Well you should have asked an Okinawan champion. ;)

Circa 1984 on Thompson's Island (I think I got the year right), George invited a host of Okinawans over for lots of Uechi fun. One of them was Mayamiya. He was unusual in several ways. First, he was tall and "western" handsome - something very unusual for an Okinawan. And second, he's the only Okinawan I met (other than Kiyohide) who won the All Okinawan Sparring Championships.

In one of his classes, Mayamiya taught a technique that he used all the time in fighting. I can't remember whether he spoke English or this got translated. But it went something like this. Basically he said something like...

'We Okinawans are short, and have a hard time when we have to try and spar Westerners. So here's a technique I use to cut you Westerners down to size.'

This was all communicated of course with a smile and a gleam in his eye.

And then he grabbed his partner. And then... he put his sokuto in the femoral crease of his partner, and thrust. Oooo... The first time you've seen this done, the "Aha!" hits you like a ton of bricks. THIS is the reason for the Uechi hojoundo technique all along. Side kick my ass; you're breaking your partner's center by front-kicking them in the fold of the hip. It makes their butt go out and the head come forward. And then they're your bitch. :twisted:

After your next shower, walk to a full-length mirror and look at the fronts of your hips. Look at the crease in-between your belly and your leg. What's the angle there? It isn't parallel to the floor is it?

Doh!!!

So you Uechika out there... Stop screwing your knees up by trying to make your Uechi sokuto geri like a yoko geri!!!! Just do a stupid-simple front kick. Only... present the blade of your foot - hence the label soku-to. What is the "natural" angle? It's as if God made your anatomy so that you could poke someone in the femoral crease with it.

At George's last Winterfest, I went up to someone and hit them in both femoral creases - using an opening move in Sanchin. I got a screech from hell, and the person flew back and hit the floor with their butt. Then they realized they were fine after all. It doesn't hurt. You won't break if someone hits you there. But boy is it fun to make the body buckle like that! :twisted:

Moral of the story here... Do more bunkai with a partner. Then stop making this technique into something it was never meant to be. You don't even need to grab them to make it work. Per Robb's suggestion, jam someone in the femoral crease as they charge at you, or you come in at them. If you get it right, they're all yours. 8)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 3:25 pm 
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This isn't the only use of Uechi's sokuto geri. I also use it to dump someone by grabbing them, pulling their weight on their front leg, and then raking my leg past their support leg. (Think arm rubbing, only with your lower leg.) In this case, the foot is held in a sokuto position merely to keep the toes out of trouble. It's the same thinking used with your hands/fingers when you apply the wrist techniques as either blocks or attacks.

If you want a good kata reference for that, take a look at a picture of Kanei Uechi in the Seisan jump (crane on rock) posture. Look how he's holding his front foot/ankle. It's not just to make it look pretty. This "leg rubbing" motion works well both to dump someone and to deflect a kick.

Practice some "leg rubbing" some time. It's a hoot! Next camp... ;)

- Bill


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 Post subject: Awesome!
PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 10:59 pm 
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Bill I had expected......no....been counting on an in-depth response from you. George, thanks for explaining this again. It's great to hear all of the responses and interpretations. :D

Just trying to get the most out of the forums. :twisted:

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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 6:41 pm 
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The way I was taught this kick, the knee points at what you want to hit and the kick is a simple hinge movement from the knee.

You point your knee at what you want to hit and use the blade edge of the foot instead of the toe. The primary reason, as I understand it, is that instead of the straight penetrating toe kick you're trying for penetration with a slight shear --e.g. toe kick the back of a knee and the knee will pop apart in place; but, if you don't kick just right you can miss or the knee simply bends. Snap kick the knee an you're more likely to connect the kick and tear all the connective tissue.

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 1:57 am 
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Thanks for the input Dana! As I mentioned George had started me on the right track, when I was participating in the virtual dojo. All of the different explanations of how this kick is done correctly gives me an even better understanding! Thanks all!

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 1:53 pm 
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Hello, Dana! :)

I was wondering if you could talk a little more about what you have in mind here. I have an application which I talk about, but I'll hold it in the back pocket and see if there's anything new I can pick up from you.
Dana Sheets wrote:

The way I was taught this kick, the knee points at what you want to hit and the kick is a simple hinge movement from the knee.

You and I are on the same page with the pointing of the knee.

I employ more core muscles in my kick, which means it's more than a simple hinge motion. I used to do that... Then I learned to lift my knee more before extending, and drop the knee while extending. It takes some of the stress off of the knee by distributing the "snap" to more than one joint. It also makes the contact more orthogonal to the surface, thereby transfering more energy.

I've also got a slight rotation of the sport leg in the hip socket, and I get a little more Kanei Uechi booty in it per his front kick.

FWIW...
Dana Sheets wrote:

use the blade edge of the foot instead of the toe.

Yep...
Dana Sheets wrote:

instead of the straight penetrating toe kick you're trying for penetration with a slight shear --e.g. toe kick the back of a knee and the knee will pop apart in place; but, if you don't kick just right you can miss or the knee simply bends. Snap kick the knee an you're more likely to connect the kick and tear all the connective tissue.

I'm with you up until the "tear all the connective tissue" part.

Using the foot blade on the back of the knee is fine. It works... although I personally prefer using my instep. Different strokes... For me, buckling the knee is a means to an end, and not the ending technique. So I see that as more joint manipulation for a setup. Thus I like the dexterity that an instep front kick affords me - if that makes sense.

It's the use of the shear that confuses me. Back of the knee? Why? And what connective tissue would you be tearing, and to what end? What angle w.r.t. the partner did you have in mind? Etc., etc.

Did you mean another target? I have one in mind...

- Bill


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 2:14 pm 
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How to describe it to the 'seeker'"..........Kanei Uechi booty in it per his front kick." :lol:

Purrrfect !!! 8)

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 2:34 pm 
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One of the good things about being an "older fart" is that I'm getting more lazy. And in getting lazy, I'm getting smarter about my karate.

This isn't really a vice or a cause to feel sorry for me. Far from it. Some of my most creative work (including and especially computer programming for my dissertation) came about because I hated manual work. It bored me, and I was concerned about making human errors. For my dissertation and for a most recent product I developed on my job, I wrote programs that ran hundreds of programs. For my dissertation, I'd turn a week's worth of manual work into an overnight job for the computer. For my job, we turned 3 months of work into a 2 hour run. And look, ma, no human errors!

Oh and I was told we couldn't tell the customers how little work it took from that point forward. :lol:

So all that is a fancy way of saying I try to take the same philosophy into the dojo as well. Now I try to stay just as buff as the next guy hoping to impress the chicks on the beach. But the reality is I'm sometimes so sore from my weight training going into the dojo that I'm constantly looking for lazy-simple ways to make techniques work in a nearly fail-safe fashion. So... each and every time I work with an advanced student on an old exercise, I make sure I bring my discerning eye with me.

Last night I had Vicki working with a tall brown belt on Seisan bunkai. I have lots of variations on the standard - many of which IMO are far better than the standards. What-ever... That's what the dojo is for after all.

So we're working on the grab-and-carry technique in Seisan. And these days when people do it, I want them to have just a little "taste of the hot sauce." Even if gently done, I like them to try some of these Uechi pointy techniques.

For a tall person facing a shorter one, the reach of the bad guy results in our seisan bunkai practitioner extending nukites into the arm pits. It works remarkably well. Gotta love those joint fold techniques. ;) In this case though, you also get to poke at the nerve bundle that's distal to the brachial plexus (behind the collar bone). It's right up their in the arm pit where you put your Right Guard. Then you grab the edge of the pectoralis with your shokens - just like in the kata. It makes the person stand up on their tippy-toes. And then... piece of cake to move them.

Vicki was getting a little tired of it all. The breasts were getting jostled around, etc. So I worked on a slightly de-fanged technique, where you palm-heel right into the front fold of the shoulder joint. And what do you know... you get a reflex point reaction! This is important, as these work even when you're high on PCP or jacked up on adrenaline. Those are the kyusho points to remember.

Pain points don't work when you're neurohormonally enhanced. Reflex points do.

I then showed Harry how to bring her to his center, and use a "coat rack" posture to hold her up (with a very loose hold under the arm pits) without doing so much shoken grabby-teary stuff. Vicki is happier, it works really well, and we get to practice it a couple dozen times. We concluded this would be a good one to use against your drunken friend, out-of-control spouse, etc. No hurting, no marks, no police report, etc...

So then we get to the shorter Vicki against the taller Harry. On this one, I tell them that a belt makes a great place to grab and carry. The angles are all right. The coat rack posture works just right. Pull in, rotate, extend out. The laws of physics are employed when possible (conservation of angular momentum, law of levers, etc.).

But... The technique needs a stopper before you grab and carry. And I've always told folks that the femoral creases are a great reflex point to attack. And I want them to play with it.

*MY* favorite way to attack the femoral creases (using hands) is to take those generic nukites and turn them into vertical shokens. The technique is in my tzukenshitahaku no sai. I've always told folks that sai are shokens with an attitude. And double shoken strikes like that are in my Fuzhou suparinpei kata. That's what I did at Winterfest when I dropped someone (without hurting them...) to show how the technique works.

So Harry now is getting annoyed after the second or third shoken poke into his femoral creases. OK, so I can see that. So once again, I extend the wrists of my nukites a bit and see if some palm heels will do the trick. Harry seems to be acting like a patsy for me. So I stand in front of Vicki and tell her to have at me. And what do you know... I step forward, and the palm-heel thrusts stop me in my tracks. And... I get that buckling action at the hips.

And no pain!!!

But boy does it send a WTF??? reaction through your system. That's all the time you need to grab the belt, pull, turn, and extend.

Anyhow...

My point (with puns intended) is that we should take some of these ideas into the dojo and actually try them out. Works in theory? Tell Rory this new stun gun thing is going to work against prisoners, and you know what he'll do? He'll stand in front of you and tell you to try it. If he's going to put his ass on the line against some crazed sociopath, he wants to know that this thing is going to knock them on their butts.

I've volunteered for pepper spray to the eyes. I can relate. It ain't fun, but the experience you carry to the street is invaluable.

If something doesn't completely drop Rory, he knows to throw the trash away and use something he's learned to depend on.

As I tell my students, take the damn tools out of the box and start playing with them. You just never know what you'll discover. And there's no better way to internalize all those movements and fit points than actually to start testing some of it.

Gently! ;)

- Bill


Last edited by Bill Glasheen on Fri May 28, 2010 2:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 2:45 pm 
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The shear is in the angle you hit across the knee. If you kick forward into the knee crease or stomp downward on the knee crease that is one thing. Focusing the kick across the knee creates the shear I'm talking about. It is a joint destruction approach rather than a focus on triggering the collapse/bend of the knee joint as it normally moves. I wouldn't dream of trying to toe kick across a knee--too small of a target with too small of a weapon. However, kicking across the knee joint with the blade edge is an option. Whether the tendons/ligaments/tissues actually tear apart is secondary to my intent to achieve that destruction. :)

FWIW - I think the knee up high to kicking lower is great training device and will help students learn how to add their body weight into the kick. However, at the initial stages I've found that people are so focused on trying to get their knee higher that they miss how relaxed the leg should be in throwing the kick and end up pushing the kick with their quads.

--------------------

Back to doing the basic kick and why to teach in small stages.

What I've found is that if I explain anything other than the hinge to folks trying to figure out the kick at the initial stages, the kick doesn't develop properly.

What I do is to compare it to a backfist (the snapping, elbow hinge backfist, not the crank from the shoulder backfist). You have to point your elbow at whatever you want to hit with your snapping backfist. If you don't point your elbow at it then you've got to torque the arm to delivery the technique. That torque slows down the works and is bad news for the elbow and the shoulder.

So then I'll have people hinge their backfist and a front kick at the same time. Once they can do those two motions together, I focus on the foot position.

What happens is that people try to throw the snapping kick with their foot parallel to the floor the entire time. To do that they point their knee into their centerline to try to raise the outside edge of the foot and end up throwing something that looks like an quasi-roundhouse kick and incur the resultant stress/torque on knee and hip.

To avoid that kind of kick (again as a crutch for teaching initiates) the next step after the hing-swinging training is to have the student point the outside edge of their foot at the floor and then I put my hand LIGHTLY on the striking surface of their foot and have them again swing knee hinge. This servers two purposes - it instantly tells me whether they've gotten their balance over their supporting leg, if they've still got control of their core, and if they'll be able to push off the ground with the supporting leg (later on) for a more powerful kick.)

If the student is having particular balance issues then I'll hand them a bo and have them stand it up between their feet and use it as a balance point. That way they can relax their hip and quads and feel the relaxed swinging motion of the kick.

I focus so much on the swinging because the stomp is a natural motion. Everybody's got the stomp hardwired. Few have the relaxed swinging motion hardwired.

The nice thing is that this kind of training ends up benefiting the regular front foot snap kick because it gives folks yet another opportunity to increase their comfort level with being relaxed while on one foot.

-----------------------

Now they've got a nice, basic, hinge kick. Now it is time to start adding power by:
    *learning to use the supporting leg to power the kick
    *understanding the role of body weight in the kick
    *why a fast retraction is important and when to just aim for the ground
    *just what the hips can and really shouldn't do to increase power/reach and aid in retraction/consolidate


If time allows this weekend I'll see if I can grab my flip and show some of this stuff rather than write another too-long post.

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 2:56 pm 
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Dana

I find all this "hinge" stuff interesting, because it's exactly what I teach people NOT to do. I employ more joints, thereby reducing the angle that each individual joint has to go through. That puts less stress on any one joint. It's easy enough to show on the blackboard with some simple geometry.

This is also the basic theory behind much of chiropractic care. In other words... When you get two vertebrae that don't move with respect to each other, then the spine becomes hypermobile at the points above and below your "stiff point." Then you get irritation and pain in a place other than where your spine is stuck. By "back cracking" the stiff area, you bring relief to the area that has to move too much.

I walked around with sore knees for years from "hinging" my Uechi front toe and foot blade kicks. Then I saw pictures of Uechi Kanei throwing his kick. And I noted it was exactly like how my "natural athletes" did it. This led me to my own set of exercises that help internalize a basic motion the way a sanchin thrust teaches you how to punch straight.

Same with the backfist, by the way. I don't hinge only at the elbow, and for the exact same reason.

And I can make it all snap - exactly the way a cobra strikes. The snake bends at each and every vertebral joint space.

But if you get to the same ending point I do, then the "how you get there" is all moot.

More...

- Bill


Last edited by Bill Glasheen on Fri May 28, 2010 3:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 3:01 pm 
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Dana

I think I see how you're "fitting" to your opponent. Basically you're at a 45 degree angle or so, and you're shearing the foot blade across the SIDE of their knee.

Most of the damage - and it wouldn't be pretty - would be on the opposite side of the point of contact. As you hit the outside of the knee, you would stretch the ligament on the inside of the knee.

Too bad you can't play with that to test it out. All this motion - if I understand you - is off the natural movement angle of the bad guy's knee joint.

This is one reason I don't favor these kinds of techniques. If I can't play with them, I can't get good at them. If I don't have that experience and muscle memory of actually fitting with a partner, then I don't bring confidence into the moment where I'm facing The Grim Reaper. So I know that *I* would never employ that technique when the poop hit the rotating propeller.

TOTALLY personal preference, by the way...

Maybe if we could create some crash test dummies to play with... :twisted:

Image

Hey Van - do you think we can make some knees for "Bob"? :lol:

- Bill


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