Okinawan jars

Okinawan jars

Postby Kevin Guse » Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:14 am

b]"Okinawan jars

Do you think it is essential to do Sanchin with the jars (or other weighted objects) in order to develope the musculature to properly do the Sanchin kata?

Regards, Bill MacDonald

Thanks for the interest in the body conditioning forum.

As far as the jars go I can only speculate for two reasons. One I have never used them only heard them discussed and two I am only 5 years into my Uechi training. I'm hoping GEM or some of the older, wiser and more talented in the Uechi community will jump in on this one. :D

I would like to speculate that the jars would not only help with muscular development of a persons core, forearms and back but might also aid is stance and posture development.
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What I know about the Jars

Postby gmattson » Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:56 pm

Nigiri Gami (Clay Gripping Jars):

Tomoyose recommended that I purchase a set of these jars, suggesting that I make sure the empty jars were not too heavy (empty) and that the top (rim) fit my hand comfortably. (He demonstrated the proper gripping of the jars, using the first joint of his thumb and four fingers.)

Training consisted of performing the Sanchin kata stepping, while holding the two jars. (empty for a month)

After one month, he recommended throwing a handful of sand into each jar, continuing to practice and adding another handful of sand monthly.

What is the purpose of doing this exercise? Tomoyose said it was to:

1. strengthen one's grip.(Boshiken tsuki)

2. strengthen upper body muscles, especially those used to keep the shoulders down.

3. strengthen leg muscles while developing good balance and strong stances.

Tomoyose strongly suggested not trying to progress too fast with this training. Beginning with empty jars and practicing daily along with adding only a handful of sand in each jar monthly, insured that students wouldn't hurt themselves. (sort of a built in safeguard)

I'm sure there are modern weight training methods that could easily replace the jars, but working with the jars gives one a link with the past and are a whole lot more interesting then the modern machines. (IMHO)

BTW. . .According to Tomoyose and Kanei Uechi, building a healthy and strong "uechi" body was part of a well-balanced training schedule. Students should not allow themselves to overdevelop any part of their bodies or should they overtrain one part of their body. .

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Postby Bill MacDonald » Fri Feb 10, 2006 4:02 pm

Does anyone have a suggestion as to where I could purchase a set of jars?

Any assistance will be appreciated?
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Postby Chris H. » Tue Feb 14, 2006 9:20 pm

The next best thing to the jars with more flexability in there use are the punch/block power trainer. Made out of aluminum and can be adjusted by just adding iron weights with the 1" hole in the center. They can handle up to 150# of weight each. They are a nagiri game/chi'ishi, and they are awesome. It does make Sanchin more challenging.
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Postby Dana Sheets » Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:12 pm

This website has information about training with jars and other traditional training:

They used to sell the stuff as well but now I can't find the shopping cart link.

This site has a great alternative way to make a makiwara:

This one also has some nice picts of traditional training devices.
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Postby Kevin Guse » Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:40 pm

Thanks Dana
These are some great sites.

My experience with conditioning the body in and out of Karate is that it should be done consistently and slowly over time. It is much like food "cock pot it don't microwave it" because it will be better for you and taste much better too. :D Now this isn't an excuse not to work hard though.

I know I haven't been doing enough shin conditioning or over trained the other night at Karate b/c we did a lot of heavy bag kicks and I had some different colored shins the next day. 8O
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Postby Kevin Guse » Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:43 pm

Another idea along the lines of training with the jars is to us a thumb-less grip if you weight train. Griping the bar with your fingertips much like you would grip the edge of one of the training jars. Mostly it would be on lifts where you are hold weights up or pulling down. I have seen people use thumb-less grips on push lifts such as bench but this could be dangerous.

Any thoughts :?: :?:
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Postby cdoucet » Tue Feb 28, 2006 2:46 pm

I was thinking about this over the weekend as pottery jars are a little hard to come by where I live. I Decided to see what I could find at the local Walmarts weight section.

I looked at the size of the weights and gripped them like you see them do in the pictures/vids. The 2 1/2 metal weights fitted my hand quite nicely.

What I then did was take the locker (the round thing that screws onto the rod to lock it.

My fear was that this lock nut would rise up and push my palm up to far to be able to grip the weight properly. Luckily it doesn't touch it.

I then added another 2 1/2 lbs weight to the bottom securing it by using another lock nut at the bottom.

I did this to another one and then walked up and down the isle in sanchin testing it out.(to the stares of workers and other people). It worked well. weight can be added in whatever increments, might be limited to whatever weights you might be able to get in the area. 2 1/2 lbs weights were the smallest they had at Walmart.

It felt better then the sticks of firewood that I have been using as of late!
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Postby Dana Sheets » Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:13 pm

When I first joined my dojo we had four sets of salad dressing/mayonaise jars with metal lids that were filled with sand. My teacher had made dents on one side of the lid so that you could stick your thumb knuckle into it. They worked well - because the plastic jar gave a bit as did the cheap metal lid.

Sadly we lost them when we moved into our current location and now all the salad dressing jars come with peel-off plastic lids.

So now that we train at a health club we use the rubber coated hand weights - they work pretty well.
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Postby jorvik » Sat Apr 08, 2006 7:51 pm

I'm very interested in getting "cut" and I like the idea of the jars, but seriously wouldn't I be better with weights, I think that the modern version sounds better as well I'm tempted to get one 8) 8)
just got a weider wrist strengthener really cool like Bruce Lee used :lol: :lol:

Postby Stryke » Sat Apr 08, 2006 10:44 pm

Yes and no I think ....

I think modern weight training would perhaps be quicker for building base , but there is something specific about the Jars that appeals , it mimics a posture more directly than most weight training .

Same thing for kettle bells and Indian clubs , functional strength , vs isolated strength , range of motion or specific activity strengthening .

Of course the creative gym rat can come up with some pretty specific excercise .

getting cut per say will always be a diet and genetic factor over training method .

Postby Van Canna » Sat Apr 08, 2006 11:12 pm

Here is the best example of ‘being cut’ I have seen.

Toyama sensei.

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Postby jorvik » Sun Apr 09, 2006 11:41 am

Yeah he has got a great physique. I really admire old people who can maintain their bodies right throughout their life :D
I agree with stryke a lot has to do with diet as well as exercise and also genetics plays a part. I know myself that even though I've lifted weights for many years folks would never guess it I just look stocky :cry: :cry: I'm starting to diet now and hopefully this will help get me some definition. I'm also using the gym less and starting to get some interesting devices to help me the wrist strengthener is wonderfull and gives a real burn on the will be the punch/block power charger :lol: .and maybe some kettlebells :wink:

Sanchin Jars

Postby John Giacoletti » Sat Apr 29, 2006 2:31 pm

The traditional shaped nagiri gami are available through the Shureido UJSA website:

These jars are used in pairs for developing the gripping strength and the bushican strike. They also develop the trapezius muscles, forcing the shoulders forward and down.

The jars on the aren't available anymore. I have a set and they are excellent. They are made of a resin material that's injected molded and they won't break if accidently dropped.

The jar used by Toyama Sensei in the photo above posted by Sensei Canna is a completely different jar. It's shourter and rounder than the nagiri gami on the Shureido web-site.

This jar is used by itself and in gripped with the palms rotated inward as shown in the photo but with the arms in Sanchin position. It develops the deltoids and forearms frp, a differemt amgle.

One might use a medicine ball for a similar effect. Or, use a bucket or pail or large round crockery planting pot.
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