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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 7:33 pm 
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Sanchin Checks on a Woman
From: Lori
Date: 23 Aug 1998
Time: 05:37:16
Remote Name: 209.86.5.86


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Hello all! I wanted to toss out a subject that quite a few people have kind of skirted around with me for a few years - how to best check a woman's sanchin.

Now, let me preface this by stating that I feel that women and men should and can be treated the same in the dojo, IN MOST RESPECTS. There are some significant differences that can be addressed. For one, all you guys out there have sustained numerous hits to the chest and pectoral region. So have I and it is NOT pleasant - actually, there are serious health concerns for women getting struck in the breast - so it is an area to be avoided at all costs; it is impossible to condition that area after all! Let me state right now that I am a strong advocate of chest protectors for women, mostly and especially in sparring exercises. Face it, we train to nail the chest quite a bit in friendly practice and we've already said that's not good for women. Now I have to admit, I don't wear chest protection all the time - never have for any of my dan tests, and almost never in sparring - I have changed my tune recently as I have a crop of upcoming green belts and we are hitting the sparring pretty hard and they are hitting pretty hard themselves!

Now, back to the sanchin thing - obviously the same type of upper body check is out for a women. Some guys are so uncomfortable checking a woman on the front (especially a well endowed lady!) that they barely check the stomach/abdominal area if at all. I can take a pretty good shot to the stomach, as I'm sure most women dans can, but how to get past this uncomfortable spot? It's also somewhat difficult to tell the actual target area when we women wear all kinds of tops to workout - t-shirts, tank tops etc. Here are my recommendations for checking a female sanchin:

1) Checking upper chest: Make sure it is UPPER chest and away from the collar bone. My collar bones have taken more than one hit when someone may have been uncomfortable hitting any lower on the upper chest. Basically as a rule of "thumb" shoot for a thumb or two distance down from the collar bone, and that area should be fine to throw a few good punches to.

2) Checking stomach/abdominal area: Try your best to find the navel on the female being checked. If necessary, establish the location BEFORE starting the check. If you go for the area just above the navel you'll be doing great! Any lower and you're sending shocks to the bladder and the female organs which is NOT nice (speaking from experience here!) While I appreciate the consideration of watching out for my chest, I don't want the adjustment to be so low that I'm getting hit on an area I can not focus.

3) Women: wear sports bras or tight fitting tanks if possible - I know I prefer wearing a big loose tank over a sports bra, but when I'm getting checked I prefer to let the person checking me have an unrestricted view of areas to be checked - floppy t-shirts and big tanks restrict the view, leading to guesswork and an ineffective check, (or a potentially harmful one)

4) One last area to watch for is the neck and top of shoulder region - women naturally lack in upper body strength as compared to men, and sometimes I have seen someone performing a check perhaps feeling like they didn't do justice to the check-ee by not hitting very hard in the front - (because they weren't sure about targets) try to make up for it by slamming into the back area - I have taken a few jolts on top of the shoulders that have caused a sore neck. Lats are fine though! Lay into them, please! (depending on the conditioning level of course!)

5) Finally, erring on the side of caution is a good thing, but please, do NOT be shy about discussing the type of check you are giving/receiving. Even if you feel strange giving comments to a senior rank who may be checking you, they will probably appreciate your forthrightedness in advising them of any concerns you have, thus providing a better check for BOTH parties.

As a disclaimer, I wish to say that the men I've had the pleasure of working with over the years in my dojo have always been great. They have always been open to my comments and suggestions, in fact welcomed them; which is why I pass on the experience to others who may not have been as fortunate.

Please add/share your comments on your experiences checking women and girl's sanchin - I'm anxious to hear how it goes elsewhere.

Peace, Lori


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[This message has been edited by Anthony (edited 09-22-98).]


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 7:39 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Woman
From: Bill Glasheen
Date: 27 Aug 1998
Time: 22:23:07
Remote Name: 207.0.145.21


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Lori

Having taught at a University for a number of years, I have had the good fortune of working with a number of women. I fully support what has been posted up to this point - especially the posts by both Lori and J.D.

I'd like to add a few other points. First of all, I don't really think it is necessary - or even particularly adviseable - to be hammering away at ANYONE's pecs. What's the point? I haven't figured out any major benefit one way or another, and there is a very small but not insignificant risk of doing something dumb to an odd individual at risk when hitting them over their right chest. Instead I like the idea of digging in my shokens or tiger fingers or whatever just to make sure they have the muscles properly tensed. And if everyone is comfortable with their roles (both student and teacher) then the male testing female chest scenario will then not result in harm to the female. Yes the green male student might "test" on the "wrong" chest area once or twice via the squeeze or poke method, but both should be able to get over it quickly and get on with the purpose of sanchin.

I also wanted to make another comment not mentioned yet. There was about a 5 year period where I was out of the university karate club teaching environment. Well last year I made a few visits to the UVa beginners group. Lo and behold I stumbled on something I'd not seen before (god, I feel old). That would be body jewelry, particularly around the navel. My wife is now a practicing NP, and she can tell you that you'd be surprised where body jewelry can be found these days. Now when I ran the karate club, I was fairly explicit about no jewelry during class (except for a simple wedding band and medic alert necklaces). But now the junior-sans are running the UVa group. See what happens when laissez faire takes over?

Well anyhow, I can imagine that blind pounding on the stomach without watching what you are doing can result in an unfortunate consequence. If it were my dojo, the jewelry would be removed in class. Since I am just visitor, I must learn to adapt to trendy behavior in the dojo.

Bill



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 7:47 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Woman: Pecs and Jewelry
From: Lori
Date: 29 Aug 1998
Time: 04:59:48
Remote Name: 209.86.12.12


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Hello Bill Sensei!

Thanks for your input! You bring up one of my favourite concerns about sanchin checks - checking the pectoral area. As I mentioned in my original post - this area can be tricky to target for some people and accidents happen as Natalie and I can both attest! Actually one of my MALE students took a shot to that area in some pre-arranged drills that went a bit deep and began a very deep bruise that got enhanced via a sanchin check. Watching him recover from that injury and having personally suffered bruised collar bones, I now insist that any classes I run, and any of my students who are allowed to check the body (and these are only SENIOR kyus and dans! lower kyus can ONLY check extremities, and carefully and under supervision at that) check the pecs with a method you mention: a focused finger jab or poke. This still checks for focus and brings a student's attention to the area if not. Of course, I can not insist that my seniors check me this way - although I know of one who reads this forum and will rag on me about this! :-) But my seniors have always given me that delicate balance of what I can take and just a touch more to show me what I'm really made of, without causing injury.

Given that we've now solved the world's problems as far as pec checks go - the only other area that Natalie and I have both experienced problems is in the top of the shoulders being slammed too hard causing sore necks. Any anatomical reasons for this come to mind? Perhaps I should put this one on Tom Seabourne's forum - or he could grace this forum with a comment on that. While it's not good to know that at least one other woman has this problem, it is good to know that we are not alone and have identified it and can work on changing it with some advice from the august members of these forums.

About the jewelry deal, I wear very little jewelry for a female , a bit more when I go out, but in the dojo I'm limited to one ring (smooth, no stones or snags) and small earrings - no hoops or dangling earrings. The rules that every new student receives in my dojo state that no jewelry is to be worn during workout, and we really have stuck to that - it's kind of strange to hear of people working out with various body piercing apparatus in place; it would seem uncomfortable and dangerous to me - but I guess to each dojo his own set of rules...that won't be allowed in our dojo during a workout for safety purposes.

Anyway, great comments, and thank you for participating! Your posts are thought provoking and educational! I look forward to more soon. (Welcome back from your "retreat.")

Peace, Lori



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 7:49 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Woman: Pecs and Jewelry
From: J. D. Morenski
Date: 29 Aug 1998
Time: 19:26:27
Remote Name: 140.142.180.137


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Lori-chan,

As open minded as I like to pretend I am, "there are just some things a rat won't do." The body piercing craz has brought us lots of topics. Yes, yes, I conceed the sensuality of the navel ring--in the right navel--et cetera [Though the septal ring just looks like mis-wiped snott, major turn-on there! Cannot handle basic hygene!--Ed.] Relax, dude! Anyways, know that denizens have a distinct disadvantag when they have such stuff--like nipple rings--and they attack you!


I think rules have to be enforced. ALL jewelry must go. It is a safety issue. Karate class, despite my tongue in [WHAT!--Ed.] cheek, CHEEK!, posts, is not a fashion show! I empathize that women feel sub-conscious about a roll here and there. I think that is if men are around. Men feel the same way if women are around. Mature people get over this.


I you want to pick some one up, go to a Tai Chi class!

--J.D.



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 7:51 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Woman
From: Michael Knight
Date: 24 Aug 1998
Time: 02:04:21
Remote Name: 207.41.146.89


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Credits: Thanks to Lori for agreeing to host this discussion. Thanks to Gary, whom I was very happy to see Saturday at Sensei Perry's "fun day at the beach," for advising me not to pre-empt my comments before you all get to form your own opinions. My .02 worth: Female or male, I think checks could be looked into deeply, and revised. In the "half-hard, half-soft" tradition of Uechi-ryu, the Sanchin stance is very strong on one diagonal, very weak on the other. As you know, one finger applied with moderate pressure to the shoulder, perpendicular to the diagonal formed by the legs, will destabilize even an accomplished practitioner. So, to my mind, the most profound Sanchin checks are not the heavy hits, but the palpations, the gentle pressure to critical points (abs, lats, sternum, and others I haven't begun to discover.) Regarding the "top off" requirement, I don't get the idea. One can't tell the quality of Sanchin with the top on? Really!



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 7:53 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Woman
From: Moe Mensale
Date: 23 Aug 1998
Time: 21:51:50
Remote Name: 152.163.204.187


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Lori-san,

Congratulations on your new forum - I am sure you will conduct it with the grace and confidence to make yourself (and all female karateka) proud! Good luck!!

I agree with all your comments regarding the testing of a woman's sanchin. In particular, I would like to see an outright ban on size XXXX floppy t-shirts in the dojo. They are more of a hinderance to proper checking than anything else.

I have never held back on frontal shots to the upper chest and abdominal areas on female students (applied power in proportion to their development time). However, any new female student has the sanchin testing process described and explained to them before the "laying on of hands" begins. I find this to be much more comfortable for both parties than to have to answer a "sexual harassment" lawsuit, particularly here in the land of forever sunshine and too many damn lawyers (those studying uechi excepted, of course).

You did not specifically mention it, but I assume that you also check the lower body for stability and correct technique (ie, pelvis tucked under, etc.).

As an additional item for thought on this thread I would like to throw open the following: since uechi is the only style (that I know of) that includes a "drop the top and assume the position" command, how do women react to/view the request to, in effect, partially disrobe and be pounded and/or probed by predominantly male instructors, albeit in the company of others? Do you/they view it as a sexist "thing" covered up in the guise of martial arts training? Or something else? I have had visiting instructors from other styles openly smirk in disbelief and amusement at this cornerstone of our style. I have also had one lady quit over this.

Again, let me wish you all the best with the forum. I am looking forward to some lively interaction from this forum's usual cast of miscreants and deviates!!

Best wishes,

Moe Mensale



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 7:55 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Woman
From: Natalie
Date: 24 Aug 1998
Time: 13:57:08
Remote Name: 24.138.31.200


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Lori- WELCOME! It's great to see a forum like this one. I wish you much success. I would like to voice my agreement with the sanchin testing issues you brought up. I too have been tested too hard on the tops of the shoulders, causing a sore neck. I would also like to respond to the following questions- "since uechi is the only style (that I know of) that includes a "drop the top and assume the position" command, how do women react to/view the request to, in effect, partially disrobe and be pounded and/or probed by predominantly male instructors, albeit in the company of others? Do you/they view it as a sexist "thing" covered up in the guise of martial arts training? " M.M. Good questions. I don't have any problem with tops off sanchin testing. I don't view it as sexist, if only the men or women did it, then I would view it as sexist. Extra large t-shirts do make testing difficult, and even dangerous. I don't wear one(wouldn't that be uncomfortable?), and I would discourage all students from wearing them. When I first started Uechi, I remember the instructor telling us to remove our gi tops, and one advanced female student did not comply. She was not reprimanded, and I just figured that she had advance permission to be exempt. I guessed that not every woman would be comfortable removing her gi top, and that did not affect how much I respected her skill and spirit in karate. Personally, I would not like to be singled out, a hard test does not bother me, and since sanchin at gradings is done without gi tops, I think the practice during class is great. But if anyone is uncomfortable with it, she should talk to her instructor about it. Happiness to you and yours, Natalie



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 7:57 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Woman, to Natalie, Moe and Michael
From: Lori
Date: 25 Aug 1998
Time: 03:42:31
Remote Name: 209.86.12.64


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Hello Natalie-san!

Welcome to forum participation! It's great to have another female karateka join in. Hopefully, you and Tracy are the first of many more to come!

I agree with you in response to Moe-san's question about the "drop the top" deal - it has never bothered me, nor have I considered it sexist. Initially, for some women in our dojo, it seemed strange at first, but with just a bit of explanation, all seem to take the drill in stride.

As for wearing extra large t-shirts - the only time I indulged in that type of cover up was when I was pregnant, and wasn't getting checked in the midsection in those days anyway! (To the extreme relief of my midwife!) I did however get balance checks, pushes and pulls, and extremity checks. Those type of circumstances excepted, oversize t-shirts really are dangerous, and tanks and sports bras are to be preferred. Sometimes women in my dojo have felt a bit uncomfortable baring the midsection (weight conscious or whatever) in which case tanks can be worn and preferably tucked in - but I don't feel that the discomfort is from a sexist point of view - it's strictly from vanity! One thing that the martial arts helps women to improve is their comfort level with their own body - (I'm in that number!) - whereas a man may have no problem baring that spare tire or the one beer too many belly, women have a harder time showing things like stretch marks - may seem silly to you guys out there but a real issue for many of us! Natalie had good advice for those who feel uncomfortable with the ghi tops off issue - discuss it with the instructor before hand!

Moe-san, thanks for the welcome and the comments! As mentioned above, I think the issues for women disrobing don't stem as much from the sexist point of view as from a body comfort zone. Your advice to explain the procedure ahead of time should be standard practice in any dojo, for any gender actually. The way we start with beginners is to explain that the tops are off for the instructor to check body position, and the instructor is simply going to try and distract you from your concentration, usually just with balance checks and a few light pushes and pulls to begin with. We progress from there of course, but have found this a gentle way of easing in the beginners.

Yes, we do also check lower body and arms - but from the female perspective I have not experienced any problems with that - it's just the upper body and tops of shoulders that have become issues, which is why I just mentioned them.

Michael-san, thank you for your comments! In our dojo we are the fortunate recipients of the types of checks you propone - we have a one-finger check that is a lot harder than the "slam into 'em" type! Gentle pressure and balance checks are also very important, yet checking conditioning (within reason!) is a vital part of the process, it calls the mind's attention to the part being checked, and forces a focus that might not happen from a palpitation. Regarding this and the reasons for the top off rule - I defer to my seniors who are better able to respond to these matters - if no one bites on this then I'll be happy to put in my "very small-fry" opinions!

Thanks for the posts!

Peace, Lori




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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 8:00 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Tattoo Woman
From: Anthony
Date: 24 Aug 1998
Time: 14:57:16
Remote Name: 209.86.5.124


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You know, I've been thinking....while I don't have anything to hide when I remove my Gi Top, I do have a naked woman tattooed on my chest with some very large *boobies*.

Now I know Sensei Lori doesn't have a problem with this (It's only a coincidence that i'm just now able to do push ups again after having a bruise on the rib just under the tattooed boobies, hah hah) but am curious what some other women would think about it.

If you where testing my Sanchin and saw the naked lady on my chest, would you nail her really hard?

Anthony



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 8:02 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Tattoo Woman
From: Natalie
Date: 24 Aug 1998
Time: 18:22:39
Remote Name: 24.138.31.200


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Anthony- I would not test the tatooed area any harder or softer than the test required.

BUT-through your glaring eyes sanchin you may detect a smirk (ha,ha)

This is kind of a strange question- would you expect a harder test?



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 8:05 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Tattoo Woman
From: Anthony
Date: 25 Aug 1998
Time: 05:33:49
Remote Name: 209.86.51.160


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Natalie,

I was kind of kiddin' around....Someone might think i'm a sexist for having a naked lady on my chest (with black wings even) and deserve to get an extra special Sanchin check....

BTW, i'm full of strange questions...hah!

Anthony



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 8:07 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Woman
From: J. D. Morenski
Date: 23 Aug 1998
Time: 20:58:02
Remote Name: 140.142.180.20


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Lori-chan,

Leaving aside the obvious opportunities for ribaldry, I would comment that the intent directs the test. There has been considerable debate and angst over the purpose of testing. There exists more than one type of test just as there exists more than one way to perform a kata. A test should challenge the "three conflicts" of mind, body, and spirit in order to demonstrate to the student where his weaknesses lie. Testing is not breaking either the male or female into tiny pieces. It is not a gentle and useless "feelie" session. Here are my thoughts on goals:

1. Checketh the overall station: get the student's stance correct. Get his butt in. Make sure his hands are were they are suppose to be. This is very important to the minnows. The teacher simply places the body parts in the correct position.

2. Checketh the stability of the station: now the fun begins. The severity of the test depends upon the student. A teacher need only reveal weakesses, such as hamstrings that are flaccid. A good teacher will talor his strike to the appropriate severity based on the experience and condition of the student. Now, sometimes testing just involves "squeezing." [What?!--Ed.] This is an effective adjuvant. For example, you can haul off and pummel the poor slob's abdomen. You can also grab both oblique muscle groups lateral to the rectus abdomini--the "six pack" or "keg" depending!--and squeeze. I think Evan refers to it as "Achilles Heel Point 41" [Stop that!--Ed.] Anyone can hold for a punch, but sustained exertion is a little more difficult.

3. "Good touches no Bad Touches" I am an advocate for hard testing, but hard testing has a purpose. You have to direct it to the student. Is conditioning involved? Yeah, bu remember how we repeat conditioning over and over. How do you condition someone by smaking their lats or chest real hard once or twice? Answer is you do not. You CAN condition the areas separately. For a test, you wish to reveal the level of conditioning of the student. A good teacher knows how to go just a little bit beyond without breaking the student.

4. "Can you remain focused?" If you REALLY want to f[CENSORED]-up your student do not hit him. I watch Go-dans and Rokudans of doom take serious testing and us small fry feel useless and weak. Now the teacher simply "pretends" to strike them. Now you have Seniors of doom shifting their arms or leaning forward into non-existent strikes. Remember, part of Sanchin is remaining composes. "I am not here!" my Senior-senior growls.

5. Hit them when they move then do not: Okay, he has been so tense you can bounch the proverbial quarter off of his butt. Now he has to start the kata. Do you continue "testing" him. Yes and no. Yes, constantly reminds the student that he does not have permission to let his butt stick out, his arms wander, et cetera. It also can both support and break concentration. It is difficult, I must admit, to attain "mushin" when you know your psychotic teacher is at about any moment going to strike! Thus, a good teacher varies the practice. I knew a Senior whose Senior-senior "never" tests during the kata. The last time I visited he tested my ham-strings through-out. Flaccid hamstrings is one of my weaknesses.

Okay, what does this have to do with "da wimmin folk" in the class. I have to appeal for common sense. I must admit laughing when reading Lori's caution to not strike women in the breasts. Duh! However, the fact she had to mention this means there must be some women with bruises they do not find at all funny. Look, think of it this way, would you want to be his full force in the testicles? As you writhe on the ground eyeballs bleeding does the teacher then ask if you were wearing a cup?! Did your condition your eyeballs for my shoken? People must use common sense here! This brings me to another "gender" point. We all know the stereotype of the swift kick to the groin bringing down the Conan the Barbarian. "The bigger they are the harder they fall! Ha! Ha!" This, I have noticed, has lead to the misconception that women do NOT suffer the same consequences. They do. Yes, it is not as "easy" to achieve the same "ahem" effect, but you can so be careful!

From the Locker room,

--J. D.



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 8:09 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Woman
From: Lori
Date: 25 Aug 1998
Time: 03:59:03
Remote Name: 209.86.12.64


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J.D.-san!

Most EXCELLENT post - I intend to make it required reading for any upcoming instructors in my dojo. (Here that Tony-san?) (For the record - he does a great job with checks - he is learning well...)

Kind of scary to admit, but I heartily agree with everything you wrote in that post - it matches the philosophy of our dojo quite nicely! As to the gender related issues you bring up, the "duh!" issues may seem obvious to us, but unfortunately it isn't to others, hence a good purpose for this forum! And yes, it is possible to hurt a women with a groin shot - especially if a misdirected toe-kick hits around the area of the female organs or the bladder - extremely painful and causes damage I don't like to even think about. I'll add that the elbows in rule is critical for a woman protecting the chest area - I learned that very early on! I have come to rely on a one arm up, one arm down defensive posture in sparring to protect these very areas.

Anyway, thanks again for a fantastic post. And you were such a good boy! Your editor must have been really riding herd on you! Please keep posting!

Peace, Lori


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 8:11 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Woman
From: Robb in Sacramento
Date: 26 Aug 1998
Time: 04:03:51
Remote Name: 152.163.205.83


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For over six years I had the honor of teaching Uechi at the YWCA. With this honor came the reality that at least half of my class were women. The other reality that confronts one in this situation are the physical attributes that separate men and women. Proper San Chin arm position may need to be defined differently for some women. Where the hand is chambered prior to a strike may also need to be adjusted. And testing, especially among young adults, must always factor in the possibility that ones student may be with child.

These differences, however, seemed no greater to me at the time than the differences all students bring to this art. The males and females with bad knees (some with zippers on both knees, a reminder of a time before modern surgical techniques), some with bad backs, some with hammer toes, others with less physical flexibility than I have (touching my toes is a major flexibility break though!). The advantage of teaching at the YWCA, and of having so many women students was that it taught me the need as an instructor to develop a sensitivity to the individual needs of each of my students.

Karate is not a cookie cutter art. It is an individual art, and it finds its highest expression in the individual interpretations given to it by those who practice over the long term. George Mattson and Jim Thompson both do San Chin. Any one who has seen both of these American Uechi icons though, knows they don't do San Chin in an identical manner. The individual San Chins they do express the individual understanding each of them brings to the art.

Women and San Chin testing. The testing of any Uechi student's San Chin should be geared to the student. Failure to do so is a failure to be an instructor.

Oh, and thanks for volunteering to host a site. Peace.



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 19, 1998 8:15 pm 
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Re: Sanchin Checks on a Woman
From: al_san@geocities.com
Date: 25 Aug 1998
Time: 12:53:59
Remote Name: 130.41.35.99


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Lori,

Good morning! I haven't seen any reference to one of our favorites passtimes for advanced ranks. The "Car Wash" is that to which I refer! I wonder if you'd make some comments on this practice (without any S&M references ;^) ) and see if any others have ever tried this marvelous exercise. I know we've done it for years, although I don't remember when it started, and I've really enjoyed the grueling test it gives. I'll admit there have been some times when I wished to break Sanchin to smack a checking individual a time or two, but that's another story. I will say that it is probably the most intense checking I've ever undergone. As you know well, I've always loved the physical conditioning aspect very much, however as time (or other problems) seem to catch up with us, I still feel that even a soft "car wash" is extremely effective. Sort of like the one finger check that Sensei Gorman performed on Bernie. I've never seen any man (or woman..gotta remember what forum I'm in ;^) ) shake so much from head to toe from a single finger checking the areas which we usually pound. Anyway, Lori-san, would you explain our exercise to the Forum population? Thanks, and I'll be looking in to see any responses.

Al



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