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December, 2006 Mailbag
December, 2005 Mailbag
Note: In the course of a month I get literally thousands of e-mail. I don't normally place correspondence in the "Mailbag" that are either labeled "personal" or contain information of a personal nature. As I read and answer mail, if I find a letter that I find interesting, amusing, topical or educational, it gets filed in my "mailbag" for future use in this feature. I try to edit out any personal information like addresses or telephone numbers, unless the writer specifically requests that I publish it.
I welcome all e-mail and will answer everyone in as timely a manner as possible. Don't be surprised if you find (or don't find) your message in this section. However, if you are concerned about your letter finding its way into the "Mailbag", simply include in the header or at the beginning of message "personal" and I will honor your request. GEM
James D. McReynlds (From Iraq) Update. . .
Hello, I was hoping that the storm didn't do you in. I hope that everyone is ok. I was going to give you a few months to recoup before I bothered you again. I just wanted to say thanks for the dvd, it's going to be an excellent tool to help me teach my sparring partner about Uechi-Ryu. The dvd also reminded me of something that I really need to work on...breathing. I practiced my sanchin for about an hour the other day trying to get my breathing pattern back where it's supposed to be. That's always been the most difficult thing for me. Once,back home, I was sparring one of our blackbelts and he is a real mover and shaker. Well, in the middle of our session I stoped breathing and forgot to start again. Luckily for me the session ended when the effects hit me, because I almost passed out. I'll try to never do that again, but for some reason when I'm about to take a few hits I hold my breath. Well, I've bothered you long enough, talk to ya later.
Hope things are going well there. I shot a video of my sanchin with my web cam. Unfortunately, I can only send 10mb in an e mail and the file size is 130mb. I tried to do the kata as quickly as I could but my $20 cam only captures up to 30fps so if I move at my normal speed you can't see what I'm doing. I shot one moving in slow motion so that I could at least see it but then I saw the file size. I do have a pic though. I took this pic a while ago when I first moved into my little hut so you'll have to excuse the mess, it looks much nicer now. I haven't been able to keep a regular schedule for my workouts so I'm not to happy with my progress. I still remember everything, I've just gotten a little choppy...no pun intended. I can't really give you an evaluation on my ability, I've always relied on my Master to tell me how good or bad I am. His name is Gary Jones and his wife (also a blackbelt) is named Jana. They live in cash TX, I'd give you their # but I don't remember what it is...all I remember is xxxx-something...sorry. I could get it from my wife, it's probably still stuck to my fridge. Any how I gotto go, I welcome any suggestions or advice.
Michael Zwerdling Update
I heard back from Dave! Great. Between you and him it's almost like a family reunion. I was able to perform my very first San Chin kata last week, after not being able to do it for over ten years. I did Seisan (without the jump) and San Seiru as well. It was both discouraging (to see how much I've lost) but exhilarating to think that maybe, just maybe, my Uechi-ryu days are not over.
I wondered if you knew any teachers, or students for that matter, who might be involved in Uechi-Ryu in my area. The largest urban areas here in order of distance are Clearwater, Tampa, and St. Petersburg. The nearby small towns are Port Richey, New Port Richey, Holiday, Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, and Dunedin.
It makes absolutely no difference to me which so-called lineage of Uechi-ryu a person may be involved with. I've worked with teachers and masters from both, and since they all teach the three main kata, and since they all know more than I do, and since they're all great teachers (in my experience), I really don't care about their political allegiances. I never have. In fact, since I'm ten years out of touch, I have no idea how many branches of Uechi-ryu even exist at this time. There may be one, there may be ten. As far as I'm concerned, if it stemmed from Kanei, it's Uechi-ryu. End of story.
I'd start a school myself, but I can't balance on my right leg yet, so getting up in front of a class is probably not a good idea. I figure another year before I'm rehabilitated enough to teach, and I may never regain my former strength or flexibility, but that doesn't mean I can't work out with someone else in the meantime. So, are there any names, phone numbers or emails you can provide?
Pleased to hear you will be able to start working out again. Sounds like you may be near Frank Gorman's dojo in Clearwater. Ric Martin also has a very nice dojo near there. Both are listed in my "dojo/instructor list", which can be found in the links on the home page.
Stay in touch. Perhaps you can attend our WinterFest this February.
Couldn't find Frank's listing in either the dojo or links pages. I'd like to work with him, because I've studied with him before, though in tandem, not as a student of his. I did find Faustine Bonito: Newport Richey, Ric Martin: Largo, , and Reza Taher: Tampa. Have any worked directly with you? I'll probably try them all, see who's the best fit. Do you happen to know their respective ranks?
I'll try to be at WinterFest, if I can get my body together for it in time. I remember those weekend camps out on the Islands in the Boston Harbor. It was the only time I saw Master Uechi Kanei, and, although even then he was already starting to decline from his strokes, it was an honor to be in his presence. If the camp is anything like those, I wouldn't miss it for anything.
Hi Mike: I recommend that you check out all the dojo yourself. Regarding the Camps. . . The have evolved over the years, to include many other arts and disciplines. Can't remember anyone not having a great time or not learning something new and applicable to our Uechi-ryu. GEM
Update from Hiroaki "Hiro" Uechi
How have you been, Sir? This is Hiro Uechi. Is it hot in Florida? Today I want just to say hello, Sensei. Now I serve as assistant professor in Yamaguchi University (far west of main land in Japan). I teach the Sport Psychology and Uechi-ryu karate in the university. In last year, a hundred students took my karate class. It was amazing and so tough to teach all of them ! But it was honor for me many students to take my class.
By the way, may I ask a favor of you? Now my senior brother work out in Okikukai (Fujimoto sensei), my brother and Fujimoto sensei made the new home page of their dojo in wed site (http://www.geocities.jp/okikukai_chigasaki/index.html) Can they link your uechi-ryu home page ? Your home page is very famous in uechi-ryu dojo in Japan too, so they want to do.
Take care of yourself, sensei. Please my best regards to Suzan san. Thank you
Thank you for sending me all this interesting information. I am very proud of you and all your wonderful accomplishments.
I would be honored to have my website listed as a link on Fujimoto sensei’s website. I will post his website on our web also, so our readers will be able to visit his site.
Hopefully you will be able to visit Boston or Florida again in the near future.
I just returned from Boston, where we were fortunate in completing a very successful children’s Uechi-ryu Championship series.
Please give my best regards to Fujimoto sensei and all the students at the dojo. Susan, Tia and I send you our very best regards and wish you further great success as a professor and Uechi-ryu instructor.
Dear Mattson Sensei
Thank you for very kind words and permit us to link your home page. I will send your kind words to Fujimoto sensei and his students.
I always check your home page joyfully. That is great and helpful one !
Please my best regards to Susan san and Tia.
Thank you very much.
PreTest - Essay - Feedback
Wow!! …. Excellent essay. Accurate description of our style.
You have come a long way since we met so many years ago. I've learned a lot about patience, discipline and hard work by being associated with you. Looking forward to the next 50 years.
With your permission, I’ll post your article in our “articles” section and will let the NE Test Board administrator know of your fulfillment of the essay requirement.
Good luck with your test. I’m sure you will do very well.
Ps. Congratulations also to Van, who has helped you so much with your training.
Thanks for your feedback. You have my permission to inform the NE Test Board administrator as well as post it in the web.
Thanks for your good wishes on my upcoming test. I would not have been ready for this test without Van Sensei high level instruction. The additional help of Sensei Carlos Ciriza this summer provided another positive angle and different view to my training.
I am attaching a Word document of the essay to prevent font changes when transmitting e-mails.
To: george mattson
Uechi-Ryu is an excellent defense system, due to its trademark circular techniques both for defense and attack. In a real confrontation the real advantages of Uechi-Ryu can be summarized with the following explanations:
The Uechi-Ryu system does not focus in the traditional lineal block, it concentrates instead in the use of circular blocks to deviate attacks. The use of "Hirate Mawashiuke" or circular open hand block, allows us to defend ourselves from the majority of attacks. The "Bunkai" or applied form of this block yields an "osae tsukami". This is a special technique unique in Uechi-Ryu, when applied ends up being a block (uke), osae (tight pressure point grip), and tsukami (grip in the form of a spun or shovel utilized to keep control of the grip or to displace or move the opponent. This principal block from Uechi-Ryu, like before mentioned, allows the defense from the majority of attacks. This importance is evident since this block precedes almost all movements in almost all Uechi-Ryu katas and method of training.
The elbow in Sanchin, or the "immovable arm" adds effectiveness to the circular block maintaining covered certain vulnerable zones of the body in addition to assist the closure of the sensitive rib cage. Its also used effectively in of short space defense situations. The "Sanchin elbow" is appropriate for using fast and short hand strikes.
Given the emphasis put in the phrase (characteristics in Uechi-Ryu), one "strike one death", Uechi-Ryu is considered among martial arts experts as one of the most effective and devastating martial arts disciplines. The majority of its strikes are performed with the tip of the fingers, toes, knees or elbows. One of the specialties in Uechi-Ryu is the curling of the big toe(s) of the foot instead of the ball under the feet for kicks and gripping the ground . The positioning of the thumb when performing a nukite, is another characteristic of our style. This power is acquired using our limbs (hands, legs and head) curling, using torque and gripping the floor. The relaxation at launch and tension of our muscles at the moment of impact and the fact that the strikes are launched while we slide or step forward and simultaneously hold the adversary, demonstrates the devastating effect of Uechi-Ryu. Remembering that a wide shoulders position and the weight distribution over the legs, allows the practitioner to realize explosive moves starting from a given position.
In Uechi-Ryu everything is at 45 degrees or a combination of 45 degrees (90,180 or 135 like in Sanseryu). This not only applies to leg work but also to the posture and hand techniques. Furthermore everything in Uechi-Ryu has an element "hajiki" or spring. From the hands to the toes everything has "hajiki" extension and contraction, like a fast spring.
These technical characteristics makes Uechi-Ryu one of the best Karate systems for personal defense.
Note: Enrique did very well at the "Pretest" on Saturday. GEM
Attached are three of the pictures I took on Saturday. I tried to capture the spirit of The Hut, as well as the individuals. I have edited a few of the almost 200 pictures I took. If there is something you think I may have captured you are looking for, please let me know and I will see what I can dig up.
Thank you for your words of encouragement on my Kata. I think I have the information I need to advance, now it’s practice, practice, practice.
Looking forward to seeing you in August.
I am somewhat of a history buff and have been looking into as much about the history of our style as I can find. Obviously, there is a great wealth of information in your books and I have also looked at the writings of Alan Dollar, etc. I even tracked down and obtained a copy of Jon Mills Master's thesis at Cornell.
I have searched far and wide on the internet, always taking that info with a grain of salt of course and have had some interesting email exchanges with Harry Cook.
My question I guess is about Pangainoon. From what I find this "half hard- half soft" word seems to describe and is used to describe a number of styles and I in searching through Chinese history, I don't find reference to a quanfa called Pangainoon. Although there is a reference to the term referring to a White Lotus secret society during the Boxer rebellion in the records of the Royal Hong Kong police (circa 1909).
This society also may have been led by a tea merchant ( Gokenki???)
What are your thoughts on this? I know you have traveled the area as documented in the "search for Shushiwa" tape series - which is also on my "wish" list but I havent had the chance to watch yet.
I look forward to hearing from you.
the powers that be continue to bless us here in New England with cold, rainy windy weekends. oh well.
All good questions for the Forums. GEM
Subject: sanchin double thrusts
In some old films of master uechi we see him doing several double thrusts and then clenching fists while in seeing younger students we see this only done twice with the final thrusts and openingto sanchin arm positions,palm down.
Why are there differences between the old films and what we now see?
I was told that the formal sanchin kata has three double thrusts and don't clench your fists on the last thrust.
The only time I ever saw Uechi sensei do more was in that film, where he was a little nervous and did four. He laughed about it later.
In books we use a set number of steps in sanchin, but in practice we add more, in no particular formula.
Hope this helps.
George E. Mattson
hello, how r u?
I have a question about the history of Master Kanbun Uechi. Where did the practice of the Tiger, Dragon Cobra forms come from in China and why do I have a hard time finding any links or information about the history of Uechi Ryu?
Check the "articles" section and the "store" for a ton of reference work.
I am a friend/former student of Joe Pomfret, and I had seen an instructional DVD he made of the submission holds and take downs. He told me to get in contact with you to see about obtaining the DVD. I am currently in DC training with the State Department, in Diplomatic Security, and would love to see the video again. Anything you could do to let me know how to get a copy would be great. Thank you.
Joe has two excellent dvds (also can be gotten in VHS format) that can be purchased from the Uechi-ryu.com store.
Go to http://uechi-ryu.com and click on the store link. They can be found in the VidMag section. Let me know if you have any trouble.
Check out the rest of the site, especially the forums. Lots of great martial arts being discussed there.
Dear Mr. Mattson-
Thank you so much for the acceptance into the IUKF. I intend to be an active member and look forward to participating in the projects, as well as with the committees. I will be sending you my membership fee in the mail today, and I will be in touch with you soon reguarding the areas of interest to me. One area I'm looking into is the scholarship committee, I will be contacting the parties involved for further information.
News From Dojo
Rising Star East martial arts student Wins World Championship
Joshua has been practicing Uechi Ryu karate -- a traditional Okinawan style -- since he was 5 years old and is a junior first-degree black belt. He trains at Rising Star East Martial Arts in Ayer, and also participates in TAP basketball and soccer. Joshua also placed second in the kata/forms competition at the World Championships and is an assistant instructor at Rising Star East Martial Arts.
Rising Star East Martial Arts offers classes for students of all ages and is dedicated to supporting you and/or your child in their path to success. The head instructor is John Page, affiliated with the International Uechi Ryu Karate Federation, a member of that organization's Committee for Dojo Development, the legal counsel to the tournament series and a certified instructor and black belt.
To register or for additional program information contact John Page at (978) 597-0524 or e-mail to Risingstareast@aol.com .
Dear Mattson Sensei,
Hello from Nagahama, hoping all is well with you and Susan-san! I also hope your settling in Florida has gone well and all is sorted out (I know what it is to move, thank God I will move no more!).
It's great to begin each month with a highlight to set the thinking mood for work, teaching, and dojo. I especially enjoy your Mailbag (when it's updated), What's New, and occasionally check into the forums. I and my students want to thank you for keeping such an open ready-reference available for everyone regardless of style and association, and for providing news for the entire UechiRyu world.
First, in your May Mailbag I notice a gent from Turkey has written about getting more info on UechiRyu. Coincidentally one of my Dan students will visit Ankara Turkey next month (late June, actually) on a temporary Air Force assignment. I can load him up with printouts and video (all material gratis), and he stands a chance of meeting and delivering, if you wish.
I also have a nidan student in Poland, in the city of Konin. I'm not sure exactly where Konin is, he told me it was in central Poland, west of Warsaw. He moved back there after he left the AF to help his grandfather's beer business several years back (1997 I think). He was my student when I was with the Okikukai so he hasn't changed to this style. I hear from him now and again (last time was about 4 years ago). He was pretty trim and fit when he left Okinawa, so unless he's been quaffing too much of his Grandfather's good old Polish brew, he's a strong fighter and was a good assistant in my dojo. If you're interested, Mr. Sowman can hook up with a qualified Dan until he can get Stateside or you can travel to Poland. I can try to dig out an address.
Germany is close too. Maybe he can more easily visit a dojo in Germany until he can reach you - you have lots of good solid schools there.
And just for info sake, I know of a contact in Cairo Egypt, a UechiRyu dojo operating there too.
. . . .
Since the ten Dojo Kun were adapted in the 50's by Kanei Sensei from similar Kendo, Judo, and Iaido dojo kun of Mainland Japan, it makes sense that the "one-strike kill" idea also came from Kendo or Iaido training philosophies. I think it was not used in UechiRyu before then. I'll ask Toyama Sensei if he knows exactly where it came from. We don't use the philosophy of "one strike, instant death" or the like in our dojo. We advocate avoidance of conflict, and if necessary a continuous barrage of striking and kicking until the threat is removed or we can safely remove ourselves from the situation.
Finally, my website at Fortune City is gone. I and my webmaster are creating a new site comprised of only a brief introduction and contact information. I have no idea when it will be ready but I'll let you know immediately. Until then, if you want to publish my e-address with this message for anyone who might want Zankai info, it's
(the e-mail address shown in your international listing is incorrect.) ****Note: I've fixed it Gordi! *****
Toyama Sensei asked me to thank you for last month's notice about his France trip, and I will provide you a video of the event when I get it.
This is Golden Week, a week of combined national holidays in Japan. I have a few days off to prepare for a new student visiting from Germany; he'll be here on Saturday 7th May for 2 weeks.
Finally, my chief student in Koblenz Germany built and opened a small UechiRyu dojo in his home. Andy Sartorius has a small, hard-core Zankai group working out there. The German student who is coming this weekend had a few practices with Andy, so he's at least ready with Sanchin and some Kanshiwa. Should be interesting and fun!
That's pretty much all that's going on here. Looking forward to my "Dojo Sweatshop" summertime break in August!
Regards and good health to all there.
Sensei George Mattson.
We have video clip. It is massive kobudo demonstration.
P.S. Our guest book is repaired and your comments are welcome.
Dear mr. Mattson
As I've promised, I'm sending you the web address of our new web page which wouldn't look like it looks now if it wasn't for you kindness. The address is "http://www.uechi-ryu.hr/". I put the acknowledgement for the permission for using the picture on the bottom of the index page. I'm also sending you information about our karate club so you can put it on your dojo list:
Nedjeljko Kalac, 4th DAN
Articles of Interest
I have attached an article about Martial Arts Speed Training. The article is written by J. Barnes, who is the author of Speed Training for Martial Arts: How to Maximize Speed for Competition and Self-Defense.
Please review the article and consider it for upload on your web site.
Thanks for your consideration.
Kevin J. Jones
The 7 Keys to Martial Arts
Regardless of your martial arts style or method...you cannot apply it unless you can react quickly and respond instantly. Speed is critical for success in competition and self-defense. Razor-sharp reflexes are often the sole difference between winning and losing a physical confrontation.
By accessing the seven keys to martial arts speed, you can maximize the benefits of your training and improve your skills for competition and self-defense. The absolute best vehicle for accessing the seven keys to martial arts speed is the Speed Loop™ training system.
The Speed Loop is comprised of the seven components of speed and their relationship to each other when applied in competition or self-defense. The Speed Loop training system is designed to isolate, transform, maximize, and integrate the seven attributes of martial arts speed, including:
1. Visual Reflexes: This component focuses on the training methods that will increase your ability to spot openings and track movements. Exceptional visual reflexes allow you to recognize, track, distinguish, adapt to, and counter movements with precision and confidence. In the martial arts, visual reflexes are primarily utilized during long range fighting. In addition, visual reflexes are critical to the success of world-class athletes in all competitive sports.
2. Tactile Reflexes: This component focuses on the training methods that will develop your tactile (touch) reflexes. With practice, you can learn to instantly feel what the opponent is attempting to do by quickly interpreting the direction of his body force. You must anticipate the opponent's every move when you are in the grappling or trapping range. Ninety-five percent of all fights end up in close range. Be prepared!
3. Auditory Reflexes: You can improve your auditory reflexes by enhancing your listening skills. It is important to react quickly to what you hear. In a situation where you must defend yourself against multiple attackers, you will more than likely hear the attack before you see it. If you have ever experienced blind sparring, or fighting in the dark, you know the importance of this attribute.
4. Adaptation Speed: This component deals with your mind's ability to instantaneously select the perfect action in response to an attack or opening. You should develop the ability to instantly select the most effective movements to use at any point during a physical confrontation. Highly developed adaptation speed will allow your reflexes to carry out the movement selection process automatically. With training, you will learn to respond quickly, accurately, and seemingly without thought.
5. Initiation Speed: You must focus on the development of your explosiveness, once you have chosen the correct action to initiate. It's not how fast you move, but how soon you get there that really counts. Your attack may be very fast in flight, but a slow takeoff will severely reduce your chances of effectively landing that attack on target. Train yourself to make your movements felt before they are seen by developing a flawless poker face and the ability to relax at will.
6. Movement Speed: Movement speed is the ability to quickly transfer part or all of your body from one place to another. It is the speed that is most recognized by the public at large. In addition to genetics and body weight, your ability to contract and relax your muscles efficiently will determine your movement speed. Don’t be concerned with “demonstration” speed. Your training should focus on developing the “applied” speed that will help you overwhelm and subdue an opponent in seconds.
7. Alteration Speed: During your training, be sure to engage in drills that will develop the safeguard known as alteration speed. Alteration speed involves the ability to quickly change directions in the midst of movement. Essentially, it involves control of balance and inertia. Through mastery of body mechanics, you can develop the ability to stop your movement instantly…just in case you initiate a wrong move.
In addition to the seven keys, you should incorporate speed hampering drills into your training for complete speed development. Speed Hampering is the ability to effectively slow down the opponent’s reaction time to your attacks. Having good speed hampering skills will enhance your ability to confuse, immobilize, and defeat an opponent.
By focusing on the maximum development of each individual speed component, your training will be more efficient and effective. This will help you develop superior speed and reflexes in the shortest possible time.
Use the innovative Speed Loop training system to improve the seven keys to martial arts speed and you will see a significant improvement in your total speed and reflexes.
About the Author
Balazs Boxing Newsletter (Reprinted with permission)
Boxing Drill #18: Perfecting the Jab
To perfect this punch and improve your form, you must begin to practice your jabs from a solid boxing stance. Once set, begin throwing your jab; standing in place. Throughout the entire punch maintain balance and control; don't wind up or lift your elbow.
Your jab should 'snap' as it accelerates, hits your target (heavy bag or target mitts) and recovers. You should feel as though you almost pull the punch. As quick as you snap the jab to the target, quickly bring it back to the on guard position.
Now that you've worked on proper range and 'snapping' your jab from a static position, add some footwork and rhythm to your jabs. Step into your jab going forward and back and side-to-side. Shoot the jab as your left foot (or right foot if you are a southpaw) lands. Concentrate on making sure you punch and get out. Increase your hand speed by throwing double and triple jabs (2 or 3 jabs consecutively). Focus on speed and accuracy; leave power for a later session.
At all times when working your jab, remember to keep your opposite (free) hand up high in the guard position. Protect yourself at all times.
Aim your jabs head high in the middle to top third of the bag. The bag should swing slightly away from you without spinning. If the bag begins to spin too much this means you are pushing your punches. Remember to snap, snap, snap!
Try a few rounds on the Heavy Bag, just throwing the left jabs. Keep moving in all directions.
Andy and Jamie's Health and Fitness Tip: Basic Principles of Exercise
Regularity: To achieve a training effect, a person must exercise often. One should strive to exercise each of the first four fitness components at least three times a week. Infrequent exercise can do more harm than good. Regularity is also important in resting, sleeping, and following a good diet.
Progression: The intensity (how hard) and/or duration (how long) of exercise must gradually increase to improve the level of fitness.
Balance: To be effective, a program should include activities that address all the fitness components, since overemphasizing any one of them may hurt the others.
Variety: Providing a variety of activities reduces boredom and increases motivation and progress.
Specificity: Training must be geared toward specific goals.
For example, soldiers become better runners if their training emphasizes running.
Although swimming is great exercise, it does not improve a 2-mile-run time as
much as a
Recovery: A hard day of training for a given component of
fitness should be followed by an easier training day or rest day for that component
and/or muscle group(s) to help permit recovery. Another way to allow recovery
is to alternate the muscle groups exercised every other day, especially when
Overload: The workload of each exercise session must exceed the normal demands placed on the body in order to bring about a training effect.
Ask the Trainer:
Send your questions for Andy to info@BalazsBoxing.com
Test for Smart People.....I have
determined that you qualify.
The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and will tell you whether you are qualified to be a professional.
The correct answer is:
Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door.
4. There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and