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 Post subject: Tomoyose Ryuko Sanseiryu
PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, 2014 9:09 pm 
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I really like (or love) Tomoyose Ryuko's performance of Sanchin and Seisan. I have never seen him performing Sanseiryu. Is there any videotape, youtube video etc.?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2014 10:20 pm 
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The only person I know of who has seen him do this kata is George, since Master Tomoyose was his teacher. I don't know that anyone has captured him doing this on video. All we have from back then is Uechi Kanei doing The Big Three kata.

I saw Mr. Tomoyose do Seisan on Thompson Island circa 1984. It was the last day of a week-long outdoor camp, and it rained that day. So it was kind of an impromptu session indoors, and Mr. Tomoyose got up to do Seisan. It wasn't his "A game" kata. He just walked through it. My first Uechi teacher (Rad Smith) saw him do Uechi karate over a decade earlier, I believe back at the Cambridge and Hancock Street dojo. Rad told me that he was obscenely fast, and very fluid. (No ichi-ni-san style karate.) He also recalls seeing him run around the dojo on the tips of his sokusens, and stop a punch with a boshiken thumb. That's authentic Uechi Ryu, and not the sparring, seiken fist stuff that most people today do who haven't done the core China hand training.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:18 am 
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Thanks.

It is the fluidity, which i love. I think, that he mentioned in an interview, that he will stay with the Three Big Kata, which is enough, if you digg deep enough. His performance of Seisan is so fast and far away from the Ichi-Ni-San-style, you mentioned.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:22 pm 
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Yes, indeed. I saw the same performances as Bill many times at the Boston Dojo when Tommy san first came to visit for a long time, and also when he visited and taught at my dojo in Norwood.

Another thing that he did that was amazing...was to split an apple in two by inserting his thumbs into the core and snapping it.

And he loved to 'boshiken' in between the puffed up knuckles of a student punching at him while laughing.

He would say that smashing your hand against a makiwara to get the 'big knuckles' was not useful at all. He would point out that hand conditioning was all an 'inside thing' from the proper practice of sanchin.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:02 pm 
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Shinkawa wrote:
His performance of Seisan is so fast and far away from the Ichi-Ni-San-style, you mentioned.

There is a reason for this.

The way Tomoyose Ryuko does/did Uechi Ryu is the way Kanbun's style was meant to be done. You don't see that today. So what happened?

After World War II, karate became a way that the economically devastated Okinawans could put food on the table. Maybe sharing their precious arts wasn't something they really wanted to do with the occupying forces, but it all turned out well in the end.

The old way of teaching was a bit of a one-on-one between teacher and student. You could have several students in the class, but they pretty much worked with the teacher one at a time. They spent the rest of the class drilling the things the teacher wanted them to work on.

With large numbers of GIs coming in the classes, a teaching paradigm shift was in order. So traditional teaching methods evolved into something just short of karate aerobics. In order to get large numbers of people working out efficiently, everyone had to do techniques on a count. That dictatorial ichi-ni-san count took on a life of its own. As the old saying goes, people began to confuse the moon with the finger pointing at it.

Doing karate with large groups in a count isn't all bad. But at some point the individual needs to take the material aside and work it alone. At some point the student must learn a very important lesson - many of the best techniques are the movements in-between the techniques. And those transitions very well may be the caffeine in the coffee that follows. Without blending movement with ippon, you have nothing.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:18 pm 
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Van Canna wrote:
He would point out that hand conditioning was all an 'inside thing' from the proper practice of sanchin.

It's all in Sanchin, right Van? :wink:

It has taken a very long time for a dedicated few to reverse-engineer these abilities. Ultimately we discovered that "the statement" was correct, but it was the truth without being the whole truth. One wonders why the Okinawan masters didn't present things more directly and completely. Were they hiding the good stuff from the gaijin? Or were they perhaps over-commercializing their artform and giving a paying public what they wanted - Rockem Sockem Robot Ryu?

The lessons are out there for folks who pay attention. It's about the core. And it's about the hand and foot development. And when I say hand and foot development, I don't mean smashing things. Uechi Ryu isn't makiwara training. Those methods crept into Kanbun's dojos because they were there before Kanbun brought his art to the Ryukyu islands. It's like baseball caps in American dojos.

A few of us have been paying attention. And when re-creating some of the tools (e.g. the training jars) became impractical (expensive and easy to break), some of us improvised. And you know what? That's actually the Okinawan way.

It's taken a lifetime for me to settle down and finally enjoy this style. I've given up on the sparring and trying to get a better bench press, and have evolved to exercises like Turkish get-ups, dumbbell work, and a facimile of the jar training (with Sanchin stepping of course). At some point it just all comes together.

And it's not magic. But if that brings more people in the front door, then I'll go with that story. :lol: 8)

- Bill


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:29 pm 
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Great comments Bill.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:46 pm 
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Thanks Bill. Your thoughts are very helpful.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:36 am 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxoFDRftVyA


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 5:35 pm 
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Seisan looks great. That is why i am so interested in Sanseiryu.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:25 am 
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Shinkawa wrote:
Seisan looks great. That is why i am so interested in Sanseiryu.

It is great to see a man of Mr. Tomoyose's age get up out of his chair, much less do a Seisan kata. I can tell you though that this is an example of what he does best given his age and his physical condition. It isn't the same performance that you would have seen when he was at his prime. There are only hints of it.

I was watching Dr. Phil for all of 5 minutes the other day (it's about all I can take), and noticed almost immediately that he has neck problems. It's an ability I have developed from 35 years of teaching people martial arts. It's why I make the comment that I make. And if I can move as well as Mr. Tomoyose when I reach that tender young age, I will be happy. For the record... I want to be better. 8)

That said...

Here is a very different look at Kanbun's style - one through the body of his son. Now Kanei often does his kata the way someone who plays on Broadway does their lines. Everything is large and deliberate and a-r-t-i-c-u-l-a-t-e. It is a "vanilla" Sanseiryu which serves as a good benchmark for the style. However this particular version of it - filmed in 1961 - has a bit more of his personality. Note the smooth transitions. And notice his front kick (not his best, but a good example). I model mine after his, and teach his booty-whipping, arm-pulling body oomph. This man understands body mechanics.

..... Sanseru - Uechi Kanei 上地 完英

Here is a very athletic Sanseiryu done by Shinjo Kiyohide.

..... kata Sanseiryu - Uechi Ryu

Here is another one of my favorites, from a man I've had the pleasure of working with on three separate occasions.

..... Shinyu Gushi performs Sanseru

One of the best ever filmed versions of Sanseiryu I've seen was done by James Thompson at the 33rd anniversary ceremony commemorating Uechi Kanbun's passing. (I think George sells that tape here somewhere.) *This* performance is worth emulating. And for the record, Jim studied in Kanei's Kadena dojo for 10 years. He makes many Okinawan "masters" look average. And you won't know he's that good because he doesn't advertise it. Good man.

Those are *my* personal favorites.

My own Sanseiryu is a bit different from all of them, and I'm *still* tweaking it. My kata got a bit of a paradigm shift when I started working on the Fuzhou Suparinpei. I now see why Kanbun's teacher thought that (allegedly lost) form was important. It teaches you how to make energy flow within the body, and from movement to movement.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:26 pm 
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All beautiful performances. I notice Master Gushi's breathing pattern not the usual of striking then releasing a tssst breath.He breathes out as he completes the strike.

Why the difference? And where did he learn this different type of breathing?

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:31 pm 
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Van Canna wrote:
All beautiful performances. I notice Master Gushi's breathing pattern not the usual of striking then releasing a tssst breath.He breathes out as he completes the strike.

Check again, Van. He kind of does his breathing the way I do it.

  • Sometimes he breathes when he needs to breathe. This is the breathing George likes to teach. I learned this method from him and have made it my own. The "tsst" done by many is a bit like the finger pointing at the moon rather than the moon itself. George I think understands this as well as anyone, and I'm comfortable with having taken his lessons and made them mine.
    ...
  • Sometimes he breathes with an explosive technique. This isn't the explosive breathing that - in MY opinion - puts the cart before the horse. The best way to describe this comes from Scott Sonnon; he is "being breathed" by his technique. When you open the epiglottis and do core (body wave) contractions to drive your technique, it will happen without even trying. I accidentally discovered this after mastering Master Nakamatsu's mechanics (thanks, Dana Sheets). Once you do that with an open epiglottis, being breathed happens. Remembering Scott's description made me realize I stumbled onto something that other experts preach. That was a wonderful epiphany.

In this way I am very much at home with the way Master Gushi breathes.

Van Canna wrote:
Why the difference? And where did he learn this different type of breathing?

First... It's worth mentioning that Shinjo Kiyohide and Gushi Shinyu both had Shinjo Seiyu as an instructor.

Second... My impression is that Shinjo Kiyohide devoted a good deal of his early karate to competition, and then fell in love with the more traditional training methods later on. Gushi Shinyu is his elder, and was less influenced by what was going on in the 70s and 80s.

Also... I have no audio of Uechi Kanei doing any kata. All the records are on film without sound. George writes that they put microphones near him to pick up his method, and couldn't hear much.

I do get from hearsay that Uechi Kanei approved very much of what Ken Nakamatsu was doing with his Uechi. If you follow his method and you keep your epiglottis open, the "being breathed" will happen naturally. That is my personal experience.

- Bill


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:47 pm 
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Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge.

Bill Glasheen wrote:
(...)
The "tsst" done by many is a bit like the finger pointing at the moon rather than the moon itself. George I think understands this as well as anyone, and I'm comfortable with having taken his lessons and made them mine.
(...)


If i remember correctly, Mr. Mattson wrote in one of his books, that the "tsst" was done by the students to show the teachers, when they breathe. So, it was a help for the teacher to recognize the "correct time" of breathing and not a question of how to breathe.

BTW, i learned from a video with Tomoyose Ryuko how to bring your shoulders down to contract the muscles without having a problem with natural breathing. I tried this and it was impressive. Sometimes you learn in a minute much more than in months...


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 4:39 am 
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Quote:
Sometimes he breathes with an explosive technique. This isn't the explosive breathing that - in MY opinion - puts the cart before the horse. The best way to describe this comes from Scott Sonnon; he is "being breathed" by his technique. When you open the epiglottis and do core (body wave) contractions to drive your technique, it will happen without even trying.


Absofirkinlutely

but lets not put anything before anything , its all about synergy ......

no synergy your limiting your potential.

there was a post about karate the mind body connection on Vans page I didn't want to derail it or critique as its a valid point of view if not entirely one I agree but .....

the real comment I wanted to make is the breath ..... that's the mind body connection , control your breath , control your heart rate , control your emotions , control your mind , control your posture . Synergy .

its helpfull to stop thinking of things as separate.


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