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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 3:48 am 
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Well Dana,
I am glad to see that you have such a memory of our arrival... I will just have to print out your pages! Don't forget to "push the red button..."
I actually got home at 2:00 this morning, and slept until 5:00 PM... and I still look like this... 8O

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2004 7:44 pm 
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Hey Sue Ling!!! Glad you made it home OK. Yes - there were many, many pushings of the red button! And I can't wait to see some of Moni's photos.

Workout #2 - Wednesday PM

30 women are too many to fit in most of Okinawa's Uechi dojo. Therefore we were separated in three groups for the evening workouts. For the first evening workout my group was to visit the dojo of Sensei Asato.

After warming up we went directly to individual sanchin kitae. Mr. Asato was vigorous in his testing. His style of sanchin kitae was more enthusiastic than some women on the tour had experienced. There were enough of us that went up that I was able to write down the pattern of his checks.

From the Front:
double taps with open palms on the fingertips
double taps on the top and bottom of the forearms
singe arm double taps on the outside and insdie of each forearm
double taps with open palms on the biceps
double taps on the thighs
double taps with open palms on the lats
3-5 hits with a closed fist on the abdomen from the solar plexus to over the bladder
Inside lead leg thigh round kick
Inside lead leg thigh calf kick
Double taps on the pec

From the side:
outward knife hand to the lats
3-4 closed fist hits to the lats

From the back:
double taps on the traps
double taps on the obliques
push check on the hamstrings below the glutes
kick to the calf
roundhouse kick to the inside calf of the rear and the front leg
roundhouse kick to the inside thigh of the rear leg

Most of these checks would come before the form began and a few at the end. He did stop a couple of people to kick their calves during their sanchin.

Then we were treated to a demo of some of his students doing kata. The first did Seisan. What stuck me was that the student had very distinct differences between his sanchin movements, his hijiki movements, his power strokes (elbow strikes), and soft movements. This style was repeated by other students who did the higher kata. The student and others also took a very long stance just before and after the jump - much longer than we saw at any other dojo However - many of the students that night were young men. And I'm familliar with a tradition in Uechi of having younger students use longer stances and bigger jumps to build their leg strength - and then gradually shorten the stances as they advance in age and rank. Asato Sensei and all of his students also had wicked fast front kicks. Very much a snapping kick - you never saw the kick stop at full extension. You saw a leg on the floor - then a blur - then a leg in post position.

Konchin:
For the opening movements - do not drop the hands from the opening post position - the first movement of the hands is upward from post.

Sanseiryu & other higher kata:
There is no perceptible weight shift between the legs on the shoken scooping blocks. The circle made by the scooping shoken should be quite large. Come to a dead stop at the top of the scoop - the scooping forearm should be parallel to the floor from the hand to the elbow. Then do the "toss" upwards and outwards with both hands.

In between his students showing kata we were invited to show some of our forms and then he would offer corrections.

Asato Sensei also spoke very kind words of welcome and friendship - sadly I didn't write down the specifics of what he said. Perhaps Barbel was able to videotape his comments.

After the workout we were invited to a wonderful Okinawan style barbeque. First water, then beer, then sushi, then sausages, then pork on rice, the yakitori (BBQ chicken on a stick), then grilled vegetables, then more of everything. It was quite a meal.

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Last edited by Dana Sheets on Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Workout #3 - Thursday AM
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 3:37 am 
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Okikukai Headquarters -

Similar format to Wednesday - the test group off to one side, the rest of us working on kata with the senior teachers. I belive Tamayose Sensei joined us that day, as is Yonamine Sensei. At the end of the workout was a lengthy discussion on the direction of the three step-offs.

Imagine a triangle with vertices a, b, c - where O is the midpoint between A & B and D is in the same x axis as B and the same Y axis as C.

Image


Point "O" is where you end up after your double strikes in sanching kata - for the sake of this discussion in a left sanchin stance.

Now - here are the options we discussed:

Some step directly on the same line and end up at point A, then turn and end up on the same line at point B and for the final point end up at point C.

Others step more offline. They start at position O - step forward between points A/C, the forward again between points B/C and finally between points C/D.

Still others go offline the other way. They will start at point O, pass point A on the outside of the triangle, end up close to point B for the second step and close to point D for the third.

The teachers at the Okikukai reccomended that you stay within the triangle. First step to point A, second step to point B, and third step to point C.

Another interesting sanchin check - a side snap kick to the thigh after a step off.

The other suggestion made was that students up to a certain rank (shodan/nidan/sandan) should step and post after the step off before the block and bushiken strikes. After the student is well coordinated the student should execute the block movements as they turn and step - and the retraction should be completed by the time the feet and body stop moving.

This was also the day that Mr. Tomoyse dropped by to greet us and brought along a giant box of traditional Okinawan donoughts!!! They were very yummy, still warm, just smaller than a softball and quite tasty!

After the Okikukai workout we bowed out and picked up with our Demo practice. We'd started learning how to line up and enter the day before (hands up in fists ladies!) and were trying to decide just what we were going to be doing. The women on the tour had been asked to submit their planned demo contribution before we left - so now it was a question of bringing it all together - no simple task for 30 women who mostly hadn't trained together before and mostly didn't do demos. And - the show was set to go on at the Marine base the next day!!!

(no pressure - really)

So we lined up, jogged on turned, bowed, made mistakes (SHOMEN REI - ONE TWO) and did it again until our observers were satisfied. Then came opening sanchin and staying together as a group. Did you know there were about 1 million ways to count sanchin? But only one way was going to make us look professional for the demo.

When to turn, when not, when to strike, when to hold, how to close gate, when to bow - when to turn to exit. All these things needed to be timed out.

Two hours later we were dripping in sweat and got a 30 minute break to find lunch. I ended up at a lovely little soba house just down the street from the dojo. Noodles and pork, a little veggie tempura, a little sushi, and a little citrus gelatin all came with the meal - along with a nice cool iced barley tea. Heaven. It tasted like absolute heaven after almost 5 hours of straight training.

By 2:40 we were back on the floor. We did the group kanshiwa and then it was time to work out the individual groups. We had a bo kata, seisan bunkai, yakosuko kumite, self-defense demo, kotekitae, sanseiryu as a small group (which ended up being saved for the next demo) and I think that's all...just trying to get down the order for all these changes and events took us until 5:30. Then we piled on the buses and headed north to visit the Miyagi dojo. We had been scheduled to go see the Futema Shrine and the Uechi family grave that day - but the demo took precedence

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Last edited by Dana Sheets on Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Workout #4 Thursday PM
PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 4:22 am 
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After fairly long drive through rush-hour traffic, we entered Mr. Miyagi's dojo.
(correction - the aforementioned golden arches in this post were actually where we ate dinner on Saturday, not Friday)

Mr. Miyagi is a kind and humble man who loves Uechi-ryu. He shared the common belief of all the teachers I met on this journey - that the only way to get better in Uechi was to train, and train, and train. It is also the hope that through your training you will remember to be humble, respectful, and keep an open heart.

We spent about three hours with Mr. Miyagi and most of that time was spent on Sanchin. He is a Sanchin perfectionist and strongly belives that you must build a good sanchin with time and effort and then carry that sanchin forward into the other kata.

These are notes from that evening...

Always all parts of the body should be strong, all during the kata - every muscle in every direction. Your strength starts in your feet and moves up your legs to your body.

Everytime you breathe out you lose some of your chi. Do not breathe out on the technique - breathe after. Kepp 70% of your air, 30% of your air is recycled. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. Your feet grab the floor and you draw up from the floor - your shoulders and upper body compressed - ever your vertebrae come closer together.

Then you are pusing up with your legs and your upper body compresses down - now you push your waist down toward your knees. You have the feeling of pushing your knees together. You tuck the hips and squeeze the glutes together. Your elbows are in close - exactly one fist distance form the ribcage.

(A side note here for the women in Uechi - all the teachers in Okinawa were very, very clear that your eblows in sanchin should be about or exactly one fist distance from your ribcage, not your breasts.)

Your fingertips in sanchin are even with the tops of your shoulders. Be very hard and very strong.

Train form, then strength, then speed last. If you train three sanchins of full strength every day you will be very strong.

You should be able to resist force in any direction.

Sanchin Check:
Miyagi Sensei would feel - he would feel the tendons in the wrist to check focus in the fingers, he would feel the bicep and tricep tendons at the elbow to feel for foucs in the upper arms - he would also squeeze just above the bicep to feel for focus in the delts. When he stood behind you he would place a thumb in the small of your back and push. Then he would curl his fingers into your abs and pull backwards.

Personally I was often bounced around at first like a cheap rubber ball. But I got better - we all did.

He said - You don't have to hit to check Sanchin. In fact, if you hit and they are not yet strong you can injure the student. After the student is strong you can hit them very very hard and they will not be hurt.

Always very strong.

When you have the sanchin form in place you will use it in all your other kata. All the higher kata use the same stance.

For the double bushikens - keep your fingers open and out of the way for the strike - then show that your fingers are grabbing when you retract. The upper hand is striking and then grabbing in behind the clavicle, the lower hand is striking and then grabbing the obliques.

He also spoke of a box and went from his head, out to his shoulders, and down across the pelvis. The only other person I've heard speak of this box specifically is Mr. James Thompson. Which is not surprising since these two men had the same teachers. All techniques stay within your box - but they must also fill the full size of the box.

You must control your balance at all times - even after strikes.

Later - when Mr. Miyagi was demonstrating applications with a partner it was very clear that he used a tension step for every single movement that wasn't just jamming straight forward. Every other time he applied technique he used tension stepping to get off the line - when he stopped he toes were pointed through the center of his opponent. He always tried to moved to a place where he would gain advantage over his opponent.

Mr. Miyagi hoped we would continue to train and continue to work hard. He was a very kind man to meet. He also invited any of us back to train. Who knew we'd be able to accept his offer sooner than anyone expected.

A long bus ride home and we tumbled into bed completely exhausted. We had a demo to do the next morning with the Marines on Camp Courtney - I was far too tired to be nervous.

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Last edited by Dana Sheets on Thu May 20, 2004 7:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 29, 2004 5:22 am 
Great report Dana thanks for sharing. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2004 1:31 am 
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Hi Dana,

Thank you for sharing. Very nice indeed. Must have been the trip of a lifetime.

However
Quote:
Everytime you breathe out you lose some of your chi.

8)

Remember the "chi wars" of past years?

I think many modern students are not satisfied with simple explanations any more. Were you told what "chi" is? :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2004 2:56 am 
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Van-san,

It was indeed an amazing trip. Words don't do it justice - and I expect I'll still be training tidbits I learned for years to come.

However - as I said earlier in this thread - I don't dare claim having spent enough time with any of these teachers to say that I knew exactly what they meant and exactly what they were trying to transmit. Most of the time what I'm writing down are my impressions based on body language, what little english the teacher spoke, the words of the interpreter, and my own very very limited Japanese - all written down through the filters of fatigue and jet lag. I doubt they'd hold up in court.

I will say that Miyagi's senior students had rock hard bodies - blazing fast kicks, and explosive hands and I wouldn't want to be caught on the end of any of their techniques - chi or no chi. :D

My first goal is to get this information down while it's still fresh in my head - then I'll have the energy to debate the concepts.

On to the Demo!!!
-----------------------

The bus came early and we all scurried out of the hotel and clambored onboard. If we got their early - we'd have time to practice before the demo!

And practice we did. Hands up - running in, bowing, etc. Peggy's voice filled the gym as the Marines starting filling the bleachers. We were also honored to have members from the Okikukai come to the demo to watch. Master Sergeant Shane Franklin, who was instrumental in assembling this demo and making it possible was on hand to act as emcee and host.

The demo went wonderfully. We did our best - and news of the event even made the Marine press - just check out the link at the beginning of this thread. Yours truly is on the far right side of the photo.

Peggy had been interviewed just after and demo and then I was also invited to answer a few interview questions along with Janice Bass. The report about the demo ended up airing on the radio the next couple of days. Others said they hear the report though I never managed to catch it personally on either the radio or the Armed Forces Network tv news.

Then the Marines took the stage. They all looked so young....but focused and fierce at the same time. They did pugil sticks, knife defense, gun defense and empty handed against weapons. Then two instructor black belts did a very intense bayonette partner set. Master Sergeant Franklin said this was the closest thing the MCMAP had to a kata. Deadly and intense - the two partners in the drill must have complete trust in each other. They work with razor sharp bayonettes and thrust them within inches of each others eyes. An error would be...costly.

When the show was over we were all invited to a "good mess" across camp in an wonderful dining hall. The food was plentiful and good. I enjoyed getting to chat with a few marines during the meal. Most of them really like Okinawa, really love their country, and are a good natured lot. At the end of the meal a commendation was presented to Jack Summers - a wounded WWII veteran marine. He received a packet of sand from Iwo Jima, a certficate I didn't get a change to read and a big shout of respect from everyone present. It was a very moving moment. Peggy Hess was also presented with a certificate or commendation, or maybe both. And we were each inidivudally given a certificate commemorating the joint demonstration.

The following are three picts
Pict #1 - demo training at Okikukai HQ
Pict #2 - the WFT part of the Demo
Pict #3 - the certificate we were given

Image
Image
Image

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Last edited by Dana Sheets on Thu May 20, 2004 7:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2004 3:02 am 
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In Honor of Peggy Hess
We the Women of the Friendship Tour 2004 Sang the Following with Great Spirit and Love:


Peggy Peggy's Looking Mean
Someone's Not in Right Sancheen

Six Across and Four Rows Deep
Working on Three Hours Sleep

Practice All Day and You'll Learn How
Shomen Rei - and Take a Bow

Sound Off!
Ich! Ich!

Sound Off!
Ich! Ich!

Bring it on Down!
Ich! One! Ich! One! Ich! One!
Sanchin!!!!!!!


We were coming together as a group, we'd sucessfully made it through our first demonstration of the tour and tonight we were going to a party!!!
:D

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2004 3:13 am 
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OORAH!

Rich

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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2004 5:17 am 
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Friday evening we were invited to a wonderful reception/opening ceremonies at the SOIE restaurant. We were all greeting and offered pretti pink bows to pin our our outfits for the evening. I'm not quite clear on the exact order of event but there was traditional Okinawan dance with the women wearing bingata dress.
Image

There were opening remarks made in German by Mr. Yomoshiro and Japanese by Mr. Inada.

This was a standing cocktail party. The tables were heavily laden with fresh from the market sashimi (tuna, yellowtail, giant clam, octopus) sodas and Orion beer. There was also an excellent buffet that has a range of meat, vegetable, and noodle dishes. And - an open bar with wine, beer, and awamori.

If I haven't yet mentioned - awamori is the Okinawan rice distillied alcohol. Unlike sake - which has a proof somewhat equal to wine, awamori is 40% alcohol - so 80 proof. The Okinawans drink it over ice and mixed with water. Awamori is a very clean alcohol with what I found to be a pleasantly nutty flavor. It also goes down easily --- very easily. But it also treats you nicely in the morning. I brought back a couple of bottles to give as gifts and I'm going to ask my local liquor store if they'll consider carrying it. It's wonderful stuff.

During the party were many opportunities for meishi (business card exchange,) pictures, and some more in-depth conversations due to the prescence of a team of translators.

Among many others, I had the pleasure of meeting Machita Sensei. She is a yondan and the chief instructor of al all-women dojo on Okinawa. She is also a renown caligrapher. Two of her students participated in the evening as dancers and we were going to have the opportunity to work with her and her students as part of the International Women's Marital Arts Fesival planned for the following Saturday evening at the Okinawa City convention center.

Two of her students also performed a couple of traditional dances that contained elements of self-defense. There were time throughout Okinawan history that one occupying force or another outlawed the open practice of fighting - however nobody ever outlawed dancing. We were pleasantly surprised when after the dance pictured below - the two women did a very spirited dance rendition of seisan kata. They made the form into a wonderful work of art.
Image

About half way through the party Peggy gave an address (putting the translator to quite a challenge keeping up with her pace) and thanked many of the people who made the tour possible.

It was nice to be cleaned up, wearing nice clothes, and not wearing gi for a few hours. It was actually hard to recognize some of us - we clean up good!

We were all gathered up on stage for a group photo of us, then a group photo with all the sensei present. We did a great job of filling the stage.

When the music started for the final dance we were waiting for the traditional dancers to come back onstage - but that wasn't the case. The last dance of an evening is performed by everyone present - so back up on stage we went. We were joined by many others and the men contributed to the music by dancing and making cheerful whistles. The okinawan traditional of whisting to the folk music is wonderful to hear and very energetic. We were also shown how to dance by holding the hands high and moving them back and forth in a way that's not unlike the side to side fish-tail movements in hojo-undo. Everyone was smiling and happy as we made our way past the reception line and out to the buses.

And, according to the opening address - our "real training" was going to begin in the morning. I guess we no longer looked tired!

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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2004 5:53 am 
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Back in the saddle again...

Wanna do some more karate? Hmmm...I guess I'll wear my gi today!

Morning training found us back at the Okikukai headquarters. Today the teachers were getting more detailed in their corrections. For the sake of space I'm not typing out corrections I received more than once from the same teachers. Believe me - I didn't get it all perfect the first time, or the second, or the fifth...you get the idea.

Seisan:

forward leaning elbow:
-kiai on the forward leaning elbow strike. It is OK to take a little pause on this strike and do the timing differently. This strike has a different timing than the sanchin strikes or the hasami strikes.

-be certain to tuck your hips when you come back up to sanchin from the forward leaning stance. It is very easy to stand up and not re-consolidate your stance. If you don't do it here then you're likley to have your kips out until you tuck into sanching after the knee strike/shoken combo. So tuck!

The kick/knee strike/3 shoken combo in seisan.
-be sure to post your kick for a moment, don't be in too much of a hurry to get to the knee strike.
-when you do the knee strike keep your eyes up until your start firing the shokens
-when you do the knee strike be sure to make your left hand alive and active, clearly showing reaching out and grasping the head an guiding it to the knee
-after you hit with the knee the following movements should all be done together and stop at the same time - these movements are; setting your kneeing foot back down in sanchin (exactly sanchin mind you - neither an elongated sanchin nor any kind of kiba dach - exactly sanchin stance), the retractions of your right hand for the first shoken, then dropping of your eyes to the target, and the placing of your left hand out in front. You should try to coordinate all these movements so that they stop together. But don't rush the knee strike - make a clear knee strike and then do the next movements together.
-don't strike the shokens too close to your body. Your left hand should stay well out in front of you. All 3 shokens should go to the same target.

-after this sequence, do not retract the sanching arm strikes before you turn. For the three strikes - do the strike, pivot or turn in sanchin kamae, then do the strike, then do the next pivot or turn in sanchin kamae, then do the strike, etc.
(please remember as you read these kinds of things that they are one or two teacher's offerings - there are many ways of doing the timing on these sequences)

Seisan Jump
-before the jump - as you settle down into the horse stance - don't be too bladed. You want your shoulders to be slightly uneven - but not very much - and when you actually jump you want to keep the same amount of uneveness but the shoulders will switch - so if the right was forward before the jump it will be slightly to the rear when you post on one leg in the middle of the jump.
-your hand position before the jump - three different positions were offered to Heather and I - there may be others. 1. Line up the fingertips of the rear hand with the major crease in the palm of the forward hand. 2. Line up the fingertips of the rear hand with the wrist crease of the forward hand. 3. line of the fingertips of the rear hand with the middle of the forearm of the forward hand.

What you'll see is that these three different places to line up represent a range of opinions on how much you should blade the shoulders and the body.

The most important correction and one all the teachers agreed upon was that you must not let the chest collapse before, during, or after the jump. Maintain your sanchin body. Chest out, shoulders down, back straight - keeping your ears over your shoulders.

-jump as high as you can - if you can hit your head on the rafters, go ahead. Try not to just jump backwards. But if you can - jump very high and go very far backwards.

Sanseiryu-
In this kata there should be more variety and distinction in the timing and power for each technique. There are different kinds of technique - so this kata should not be done like a metronome. There should be moments of explosion, moments of flow, moments that snap. Don't hurry through the kata - and try to keep the shoulders relaxed.

shoken scooping block:
rear hand comes to a full retraction position.
- forward hand: a. does a sweeping motion down past your knee (like a traditional gedan barai) b. does an hajiki movement/strike

When you do the scoop don't make it too small. Don't let your scooping hand come in towards your body.

kakushiken/koken strike:
most of the curve for the strike is made in the wrist, not with the fingers. The fingers are actually fairly flat. Your thumb ends up being placed near your big knuckle of your index finger for support.

The strike is more up and down than forward. Be sure to tuck in and use your body weight (i.e. rear leg and tuck) for the strike. So don't be leaning forward. Maintain your sanchin. Take your time and try not to rush through the movements.

last move-
as you come to the final post position - the right hand passes over the left.

----------------
After the workout we got into buses and went on our way to visit the Uechi family grave, the Futema shrine, and for photos outside the Futema dojo. I'd also like to say a big thank you to all the people who drove us around. Mike, Chris, Brett and others really did us a HUGE favor. They took time off from work, from their families, and their free time to cart us from place to place. And often they acted as our translators - as did Joe - Mr. Miyagi's student. We are truly, truly grateful.

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Last edited by Dana Sheets on Thu May 20, 2004 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: AWESOME JOB DANA!!!
PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2004 4:51 pm 
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Hey everyone - Dana, great reflection on the trip...it's great to see it in writing! I'm still trying to find time to finish my journal too before I loose all those finer details. I'm still working on the last week we were there. Being back into the swing of things certainly doesn't give much time to do so... Keep up the great work - you have an awesome memory for how things happened. Was a great trip...one we will never forget... Chow for now. Karen Yuro - RI :olympic:


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PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2004 9:20 pm 
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Hi Karen, - thanks for writing in. Yep - my journal is also waiting to be filled in towards the end. One reason I'm pushing myself through the online version. Then I can copy what I write back into my travel one!

-----------

After our morning training we went to visit the Uechi family grave, the Futenma dojo, and the Futenma Shrine.

The Okinawans have a deep and rich tradition of ancestor worship. It is often said that the houses for the dead are finer than those for the living. Due to the typhoons - there is a tradition of above ground stone tombs. Some are also built into rock in the sides of hills and cliffs. One of the popular styles has a roof shaped like the shell of a turtle. Below is an image of a much older tomb than the ones we visited.
Image

At the tomb we paid our respects to the Masters Uechi and left an offering of incense. The hill where the tombs are located is very peaceful, it backs up to a bit of forest - I believe I saw a wood duck flying off over the trees. The land below the tombs is terraced for gardening. The Okinawans are efficient folks - they make use of whatever land they can.

When our time was over we crossed back over the footbridge and made our way to the Futenma dojo nearby. We took a group photo and then made our way to the Futenma shrine. The shrines was a haven of stillness in the midst of a busy part of town. On a couple of boards were prayers of hope and thanks that had been offered by other visitors before us. There seemed to be a service or ceremony of some kind going on inside part of the shrine. We were also give a token of our visit. It is a small frame with the Futema symbol at the top and a blessing in Japanese. I haven't taken it out ofn its box yet - but when I do I'll put up a photo. After another group photo we were back in the buses an on our way to the Nago Dojo.

Dinner at Mickey D's and we arrived on time. (By the way - someone in our group tried the teriyaki burger...she said it was just god awful. So if you're there and it's on the menu - she suggests that you refrain yourself)

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

Mike, one our our kind drivers, trains at the dojo and also was nice enough to be our interpreter for the evening. We were visiting with Hirojasu Uechi (though I'm sure I just spelled that wrong). He is the son of Kansei Uechi, who was the brother of Kanei Uechi.

Mr. Uechi was kind and welcoming and spoke to us with absolutely no pretense at all. We were made to feel at ease.

Mr. Uechi answered some of our questions about training after we did a group junbi-undo and hojo-undo.

There is no movement above the waist. Do not lift your shoulders on technique. Have very relaxed arms but a very still torso. Don't breathe during the strike. Actually - don't breathe out while you're moving. Breathe out when your body is still and not moving. Breathe in when you retract.

Tenshin Stepping - Start in a right sanchin facing north. Your front foot pivots and your back foot steps backwards until you're facing due west. The next count the front foot pivots in place and the back foot steps - you will end facing due east.

Seisan:
Don't go too low into the forward leaning horse stance. Don't go too low into any stance for that matter. You don't want to go so low that you can't move - only lower yourself to your point of strength. To help you find this point he demonstrated starting with his feet in an attention position - then he moved one foot forward three times the length of his foot (four lengths of your foot total)- and squared his shoulders and hips to the front. You don't want to go too low because you have to work too hard to get back up. Same for the seisan jump. Once you're down in your stance don't bob down before you jump. Just go back.

After the knee strike - aim your right hand shokens just above the "V" made by the index finger and thumb of your left hand. This makes a good practice target.

Sanseiryu:
After the last sanchin arm thrust he steps forward before the two wauke/neko ashi soft techniques. Again - he steps forward into the turn and cat stance - not backward. For the second one he simply does a sanchin turn. When asked why he steps forward he replied that that was how he has always done it - so it must have been how he was taught.

kakushiken - don't curve the fingers too much. In fact the hand is pretty close to flat and the wrist is pretty close to straight. The strike moves straight foward at shoulder height but stikes more inside the shoulder line. So it is a more forward/backward strike than an up/down strike.

My generall impression of Mr. Uechi's kata was that his upper body was firm and didn't move much. His arms were very relaxed and he would compress and focus his entire body when he would do a strike. Then he would step fluidly and then execute the next technique.

After the workout we were greeted with freshly made, still warm okinawan doughnuts and ice-cold beer. What more can you ask for?

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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 5:02 am 
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Sunday was our day to visit the famed Shuri castle, a beautiful Gardens, and the Okinawan Prefectual museum.

The castle was impressive. It is actually much more than just one walled in building. The grounds contain several gates, buildings, and an impressive aqueduct system. That current castle is called a reconstruction - because during WWII the Allied forces flattened the castle on the ground because the Japanese Command had taken up residence there. However - the traditional building material in Okinawa was wood. Buildings and shrines were often rebuilt every 100 years or so. However I belive the current reconstruction of the Shuri castle attempted to utilize traditional construction techniques.

There's been a castle on that hill for a long time. There were maps inside dating back hundreds of years. Back to the time when the Liu-kiyu (Ryu-kyu) kingdom was not under the control of China or Japan. Japan first occupied Okinawa back in the 1600's. And then formally declared Okinawa a Japanese prefecture sometime around the 1890's. Prior to that time Okinawa had been a trade center between Thailand, China, Japan, and the phillipines. These influences can be seen in the various Okinawan traditions - from food, to birthing practices, to traditional Oriental medicine, dancing, and religious beliefs.

After the Castle we headed for the gardens - but I've got to go dig the brochure out of my luggage....

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PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2004 2:31 pm 
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We sang Happy Birthday to Sensei Uechi - our visit fell on his special day...4/18/04 (i think)


Last edited by Karen Yuro on Mon May 03, 2004 2:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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