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 Post subject: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:54 am 
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Location: Derry, NH, USA
Bill,

This was just posted to YouTube. Thought you should see it.

victor

Alan Dollar – Sanseiryu Kata & Breaking Demo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG8_Ywjd83s

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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:47 pm 
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8O ...... :roll: :roll: ........ :wink: ... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: !!!!!!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:12 am 
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Oh yea, Stevie... you make all the funny faces and then pass the baton to me. Thanks! :lol:

That said...

First... Alan Dollar wrote one of the "must have" books on Uechi Ryu karate. I believe George sells it elsewhere on this website.

Image

He spent considerable time in Kadena studying in the Shinjo family dojo. Additionally his book is one of the best-edited books on Uechi Ryu karate out there. It took me three years to find the first error in it, and I refer often to books when contemplating both my practice and teaching.

Alan will be the first to poke fun at himself. As he writes... when a younger lad and very skinny, they used to call him Alan Wrench. These days he's filled out just about right. (Meanwhile most "normal" people have that middle-age spread.)

I will say that Alan's performance at that demonstration probably isn't one of his best. One thing I see even in my very best students is a tendency for motions (particularly the circular ones) to get too small and thrusts get abbreviated or too low when nervous and/or rushing too much. And yet when he gets to the shoken sukuiage uke, everything is just beautiful. Go figure... that's one of the more difficult movements in the kata. "It" happens. You can tell by the parts he does exceptionally well that he was just a little too jacked in the beginning, but then settled down to his normal, excellent self.

The "pangainoon" of Uechi Ryu is partially about the hard being very hard and the relaxed being uber relaxed. If everything is hard you slow down and/or your movements get too small and/or you can't get high thrust or high blocks high enough. I liken what we do in Uechi Ryu to the yin-yang symbol. White swirls into black and vice versa. But there is absolutely no gray in the symbol. White is white and black is black. In other words Sanchin structure is very firm but the moving parts glide like a well-oiled machine. It's very difficult to do that. And it's especially difficult to do that when under stress. Watching yourself do kata (on video) while performing for others can be very revealing. It gives you a hint of how things will go when under the hyper-neuro-hormonal stress of combat.

As for the breaking, well... As long as he recycled the wood then I'm good with it. ;)

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:36 am 
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One other point worth making about Alan's kata.

Of all the forms you've posted, Victor, Alan's Sanseiryu is the only one which shows the practitioner doing the "press block" or osae uke before the shoken thrust and double shoken posture. Most people do the simpler (dumbed down?) wauke before shoken zuki. I am led to believe by a few who have been to Okinawa that a very few students were shown that kind of detail by Uechi Kanei and other long-term masters. These were the kinds of students who would hang around after class and ask lots of questions rather than go out to the bars or head straight home.

Marty Dow used to tell me that Shinjo Seiyu had one style of kata he did when teaching class and another style of kata he did when (he thought) nobody was looking. ;)

In other words... Alan's kata gives evidence of someone who has been in "the inner circle" at some point. The fact that his Japanese is so good and he's done so much primary research probably has something to do with this.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:53 am 
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I like how excited he is about the demo. How he opens the kata is of the "old school" has Toyama flavour in it and when done right that... must "jack" one up nicely.
The breaking I`m willing to bet was to safely make his students look and feel good. Today with everyone having access to every type of craziness on "youtube" breaking for the average student will not impress anyone. However, it is hard to resist especially if the greater part of the audience is family.

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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Quote:
years to find the first error in it

Ever find an error in one of the pictures? Hint..."new Uechi kata" :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:14 pm 
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I think we're all good with the breaking, Leo. It's just one of those things that we used to do a lot of "back in the day" to impress the unwashed masses. Now with sport MMA revealing what it's like to take a martial beating, the board stuff doesn't seem like a big deal any more. But yes... it's fun to have all the students go through it. It's a bit of a rite of passage.

The one "rough" part of the kata is right in the beginning. The watari uke isn't all it can be. That's the first impression you make when doing Sanseiryu. If that move isn't right, you're still wincing as the practitioner gets to all the fun parts. Thankfully the real Alan comes through, showing he's the real deal. Again... it just looks like he's amped with adrenaline there, and that move kinda gets mangled.

For the record... there are myriad manifestations of watari uke - that very first sequence in the kata. I can go to five different Uechi schools and find at least 3 different ways to do it. Everyone in that school will be doing the motion the same way, but the differences in execution are all out there. I've had many years to internalize what the basic structure is, and how various minds choose to embellish that basic structure. I can spend most of a class stripping that motion down and building it back up again. Fun stuff.

For the uninitiated... Here's Peggy Hess playing with pieces and parts of it. Peggy has been around Uechi Ryu a long time, and has traveled around Okinawa as well. She is related to the well-known Bobby Bethony.

Uechi Technique Watari Uke

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:42 am 
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Interesting...Here is Tsutomo Nakahodo Sensei performing SanSei Ryu....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmN_v2hvys8

Here is Kiyohide Sensei... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vgoipt5 ... re=related

And last but certainly not least Gushi Sensei........ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHAe3dNf ... re=related

All of these men were trained by the same person... 3 of their Katas look very simular.. Why? Where? and How?
There is a line between what is popular to say and think, and there is what it is...Look closely and you can see..

This is not taking away from Alan.. He was where he was on that particular day with lots of outer distractions I'm sure.. And please remember that this was almost 20 years ago.. Alan is a fine person and has been wonderful to the Shinjo Family for Decades and that is the most important thing... He has a great heart inside that huge body of his.. But I think it's close to time that we all use this and the men that came before us to show our respect to raise the understanding (and depth there of) to a higher level.. You really only have to look close enough... :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:42 pm 
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PS- To give a clue of which I speak, look for what we are taught (correctly) in simplicity.. Heel to toe. weight configuration from stance, 1 fist distance from ribs, not taking shortcuts from actual retraction points to extension points, weight distributed on toes, angle of thrust, rubbing the elbow on ribs through the thrust, angle of strike, angle and integrity of weapon upon strike, Mochime, eyes( ie... concentration, repetitive knowledge, confidence in knowledge, spirit) and is the spirit truely hostile or just confident in capabilty? " Bushi no te tetsu onagi, dakara, Bushi no kokoro yasashi des.." Translation: If a man has trained his hands to be hard enough, he can allow his heart to be kind...

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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:40 pm 
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Stevie B wrote:
All of these men were trained by the same person... 3 of their Katas look very simular.. Why? Where? and How?

I've had the pleasure of working out with all three of these gentlemen through the years, although at different stages of their respective lives and martial careers

They're unique (to me). One is not like the other. All are great men in their own ways. The differences among us are what give us strength and character as an organization. It's what makes any one performance and achievement eminently watchable.

Stevie B wrote:
There is a line between what is popular to say and think, and there is what it is.

I keep reminding myself that - sometimes after the fact. :oops: :lol:

As for Alan, well his legacy is set. When all of us are six feet under and food for worms, his martial work will live on. Memories of this or that event fade. But masterful publications are forever.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:54 pm 
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8O 8O 8O ... :roll: :angel: :roll: ... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Remind me never to play poker with you for more than a penny a game.. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

On a serious note... I agree about Alan's book!! My former Uncle in Law has a picture in there teaching the children.. Akira Tsukayama Sensei... He is also a World Champion Bonsai artist... Wonderful man!!!
Rick Potrekus Sensei is another person whom I greatly respect within the "depth of knowledge" aspect..He has a great "Center of balance" and really knows some "inner circle" things.. I wish I could get to Florida this year to work with him, but saving for a house later this year back in sunny Florida!!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

PS- I also love Peggy Hess!!! She has a warmth about her that splits the walls in half!!! Her heart that she expresses any idea with and spirit that she puts into it brings tears of joy to my eyes.. Dynamite comes in small packages!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:56 am 
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One thing that might be worth pointing out....

If each of the men learned the kata from the same source but perform it so differently, one explanation could be that they learned the form during different times. It may be that Shinjo evolved the kata in some obvious, or even subtle ways and taught it that way to his students at the time. That, of course, and the individual expression and interpretation of the student-turned-practitioner.

I bring this up because I have seen this in Goju Ryu. Miyagi did indeed change the kata, especially after WWII, and even though this fact has been pointed out by a couple of his prominent students (Miazato for example) there still remains a certain degree of debate about how the kata should be done. In the Goju example the changes are actual changes, not just differences in interpretation, but the time in which the kata were learned might be a factor.

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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 2:54 pm 
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NEB wrote:
If each of the men learned the kata from the same source but perform it so differently, one explanation could be that they learned the form during different times. It may be that Shinjo evolved the kata in some obvious, or even subtle ways and taught it that way to his students at the time. That, of course, and the individual expression and interpretation of the student-turned-practitioner.

Good points made here.

There's an alternate explanation as well. It could be that some teachers allow for and encourage individual expression in forms and a person's art. Great teacher's don't necessarily want to be copied. They instead want their students to seek what they sought.

I find my own practice "drifting" a bit from my teachers. I take note. When it seems that I am engaging in an exercise of random walk (with apologies to theoretical mathematicians out there...), I'll reconsider my diversion(s). But sometimes I add a principles-based element to my art that makes perfect sense to me. I'll forget I'm on my own journey until I get back with my peers and see I've wandered a bit. If I'm comfortable with my path and what I'm doing can be removed and plugged back in again with little fuss, then I keep on keeping on. This is particularly true today in how I'm employing whole-body mechanics to add energy to my advanced movement.

All of us need to get out of our provincial student-teacher settings and breathe some life experiences into our martial work. As long as we stay plugged in with each other, it can be a very good thing.

- Bill


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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:20 pm 
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Quote:
There's an alternate explanation as well. It could be that some teachers allow for and encourage individual expression in forms and a person's art. Great teacher's don't necessarily want to be copied. They instead want their students to seek what they sought.


Yes indeed,

Copying the teacher verbatim is good in the beginning when students have little understanding of the principles behind what they are doing. I would say that through nidan (give or take) one should be pretty much copying what they see in their teacher in order to get what they have. But at higher levels, teachers allowing individual expression to take place makes sense, to varying degrees depending on the student. I'm given a bit of freedom depending on the situation. If I have a preference to perform a certain movement or technique a certain way I am usually allowed to do it so long as it "fits" the context.

I imagine that this is a difficult part of the teaching process...knowing what freedoms to encourage your student to take and which one to discourage. You'd have to have a deep understanding of the art and its principles and methods as well as a deep understanding of your student.

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 Post subject: Re: Alan Dollar
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 12:24 am 
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i knew allen dollar my late step father was in that video bob davidson. I was shocked when i found this on utube 8O


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