"Only what is lost is forever acquired" Henrik Ibsen "Upon departing these will be my last words: I'm going, I leave my love behind." Rabindranath Tagore
ast September JosĂŠ Luis Paniagua TĂŠvar, one of my dearest mentors, passed away. Many were the years we spent together; he taught me a lot, to me and many others; he helped me so much... Thanks. Life and its thousand circumstances, many of them (all of them!) insignificant things, separated us and even made us remain at loggerheads for a brief period of time, but our new meeting was magnificent and now I'm endlessly glad of having promoted the encounter; however much our time together had passed, it remained a deep respect, a sincere affection and a heartfelt gratitude. It's not my intention to do here a eulogy extolling the virtues of my dear Master: he himself would say that you only speak well of the dead. Neither will I say that his work remains, a very good work that outlives him: books, some DVD, his kids and the many hearts he touched with his deep sensitivity ... (our dear Mary, courage!). He was daring and audacious, consistent even in his inconsistencies, and outdid himself at every turn of the road. He really made a virtue of his flaws (nothing greater can be said of a man!) and in such effort he discovered and weeded paths for many of us who, in need of his guidance, approached him sometime. To him I owe my new encounter with Martial Arts when I had distanced myself from them, and of which he gave me a top view, superior in the sense of going beyond, of integrating, of overcoming the forms and delve into their deepest profits. He was a reformer, a revolutionary, and he paid for his sin the price they all pay. His book "Martial Arts - Mind Body Balance" left a footprint on my view of the matter, and allowed me to exercise years later with more tact, a profession to which I found myself unexpectedly compelled and for which most of you know me. He withdrew at the right time to the countryside in his native ValdepeĂąas, to enjoy life in nature and a quality time, nevertheless he didn't cease to continue helping people with his classes. He left this world quickly and quietly, without fuss, and aware of the transit. There were no goodbyes, perhaps because they simply don't exist, there is only a transit, and the rest is just personal importance. But that is life for each and every one of us, a million details, feelings, attachments, desires and dreams, wrapped in circumstances that encourage us, provoke us, confront us and test us. In that transition we live what we have to live, what forms a part of our way, and in that interim, at every bend of the path, we meet one way or another the designs of fate. Quintessence, the resulting, is impregnated in the others, in those with which we come across in whom we touch, sometimes unknowingly, waves that generate floods of energy, of
transformation and even of consciousness, which sooner or later come back to us when they reach the confines of infinity. No, it's not the same living a life aimed to the development of consciousness and personal overcoming, than living a life given to confusion and marasmus. Although both get unmistakably mixed in the thousands of cycles, one of them dominates and either leads us upward or plunges us downward. There is no moral value in all that -we wish it was that easy!- but there is a difference, perhaps much more of innate nature than learned, but it does exist, and the narrow free will in which we operate makes deep differences, huge and at the same time fragile and thin as the wing of a butterfly. In the field of beliefs everything goes. Beliefs, like paper, take it all in. If consciousness survives, whether life continuous in the spirit world or not, is something that everyone interprets as he wants and can. My view on this is well known, because I have much written about it, and from that conviction I wish you, Brother Jose Luis, dear Pani, a good trip, lots of light and peace. I am not a judge of your life, or anyone else's, gratitude is all I have left, the sweet and gentle charm of gratitude, an undervalued form of love. May it accompany you and comfort you. Thank you.
Alfredo Tucci is Managing Director to Budo INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING CO. E-mail: email@example.com
ell this is an easy thing to talk about as there has been so much.
In the 1970's while at a Karate tournament in New York City a competitor came up and started doing a Tai Chi form and instead of staying in the ring he started walking all over the arena doing Tai Chi and after about 10 minutes showed up back in the ring and wanted to be scored. Wow I am not sure what he was smoking but it sure was funny. Of course there was a time when two guys were fighting in a tournament and one guy got swept off his feet and he reached out grabbed his opponents gi pants and pulled them straight down. Yes leaving all exposed. This I am sure got a vote to ban those elastic waist bands for ever. The there was the time I was made to look like a fool myself. I was teaching in the Sultanate of Oman for the Sultan of Oman who asked us to give a demonstration for him and his people a well. Being a former Guiness World Record Holder for breaking bricks (3444 in 4 hours and 40 minutes) I thought I should do the breaking part of the demonstration so I asked for concrete slabs to be brought in 16”x8”x 2” and I was going to break ten of them like I had done before with spacers making it quite easy. So after doing all the rig a more roll of sanchin kata breathing I was ready to stomp on them like I had done 25 times before and with one big kia I broke two of them only. I was shocked as to say the least as I had done this many times before. My good friend came out and said Donnie your going to make us look bad do you want me to break them. I said no way this is my gig. So we started to remove the broken slabs on the top only to find that they all had a _” reinforcing rod right down the center and I had bent them with the kick and nearly broke my bloody foot a well. I immediately started to look for this guy named Muhammid but he had disappeared on me and the Sultan and his audience stood and gave me a standing ovation when they seen that they had a rein enforcing rod down the center. Yes and this is a true story.
Kapap â€œIn the last seminar with Carlos Newton, Ken Akiyama and myself, we taught that action is faster than reaction and how you can use gravity and object mass (weight) to help you to hold your opponent downâ€?
Mixed Martial Arts Awareness in Budo I first met Carlos Newton when he was 17 years old. Back then I could see that he had talent, but to accomplish what Carlos has achieved takes more than just talent. His success and skill is the result of hard work and we know that hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard. Over the years, Carlos and I have shared friendships and crossed many bridges together. It was a long time ago when Carlos was one of very few experts allowed as my guest in Israel to teach the Special Forces. More recently, I was honored to complete a big circle by sharing knowledge and friendship with Carlos's son Nick, who is now a young man of 17 years age. During the last few years, Carlos and I have worked on many new projects together. Working with the Cree and Inuit tribes in the Arctic has been quite an adventure. 300 miles of remote roadway lead their native land; isolated territory inside the arctic circle By Avi Nardia and Ken Akiyama with Carlos Newton
Jiu Jitsu â€œAwareness is a key subject in martial arts. In order to gain skill in martial arts, you must first gain awareness of yourself, your fears, who you are, what you are, and most of all, what you want to be.â€?
Mixed Martial Arts “Jiu Jitsu is about understanding actions and reactions. When you can predict the effects and vulnerabilities of your actions, you can always block your opponents options before you attack. When you do this, your opponent will become very frustrated” where the temperature drops to minus 45 degrees. Our project is to teach martial arts to the tribes in order to reinforce their cultural traditions and values. Carlos and I have also been teaming up on seminars and this year we produced a DVD with Ken Akiyama and Budo Magazine on the theme of “awareness”. Awareness is a key subject in martial arts. In order to gain skill in martial arts, you must first gain awareness of yourself, your fears, who you are, what you are, and most of all, what you want to be. Only after studying yourself can you begin to study others and only after knowing yourself, can you know others. The more you are aware of in life, the more you can make from this life. In martial arts strategy, the more aware you are of what is happening around you, the greater your ability will be to accept and counter. Awareness is very important to study, as being aware will enable you to observe the first rule of self defense - action is always faster than reaction. In military and sport applications, we step into challenges and even seek conflict. However, in self defense, we seek to avoid conflict and escape. Often times a military unit's mission will be to seek out the enemy and engage in combat. However, the idea behind civilian self-defense is to avoid conflict and escape without
Kapap â€œOnly after studying yourself can you begin to study others and only after knowing yourself, can you know others.â€?
Mixed Martial Arts â€œ"In the martial arts Sensei Avi Nardia demonstrates beautifully the level of awareness one can achieve through the cultivation of great skill and technique." Carlos Newton.
â€œA system of teaching that is based on the assumption that the students are incapable of thinking seems like giving vitamins to a dead bodyâ€?
Mixed Martial Arts
“In the spirit of expanding awareness, we also taught about the importance of studying “what if” scenarios, the chain of attack, and cause and effect relationships.”
Mixed Martial Arts harm. There is a big difference and now you can understand why many teachers who teach military systems are missing the point of self defense. The application of military combatives is completely different from context of self defense. Police work is another context that has it's own unique characteristics. Good self-defense requires good awareness and great self defense requires great awareness. I know an Israeli combatives expert designed his system to teach his guys only 5 moves. His strategy is based on one tactic - if any one comes close you, kick the groin. He shared an anecdote to support his strategy. He said that a cat will always climb a tree to escape any danger. He said that if you give your students too many different ideas that they will not be able to think under stress. I immediately replied with a question, â€œWhat if there is no tree?â€? Some teachers attempt to support their theory of oversimplification with scientific research. An experiment that was not related to martial arts was performed which showed that when people have many options to choose from, they will require more time in order to make a decision because they are seeking the best option. This research is valid when it comes to something like choosing a meal at a restaurant of selecting a piece of ripe fruit. A system of teaching that is based on the assumption that the students are incapable of thinking seems like giving vitamins to a dead body. Why would you teach people who don't have the capacity to think? I always explain to my students that a jet pilot needs to calculate many things in high speed. The pilot must be able to react quickly, and with awareness of many concerns while keeping the plane in the air. That example proves that we humans have the ability to make decisions under stress. One secret to this ability is to cultivate a mindset of action, rather reaction. As I mentioned earlier, the best defense is to attack first. Even United States law allows preemptive action if you sense an immediate threat. You have the right to throw the first strike and still be protected under the right to self defense.
â€œOne secret to this ability is to cultivate a mindset of action, rather reaction.â€?
Mixed Martial Arts In the last seminar with Carlos Newton, Ken Akiyama and myself, we taught that action is faster than reaction and how you can use gravity and object mass (weight ) to help you to hold your opponent down. We shared ideas from Aiki Kenpo Jujutsu, Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and invited a few guests to share their own ideas in free fighting. In the spirit of expanding awareness, we also taught about the importance of studying â€œwhat ifâ€? scenarios, the chain of attack, and cause and effect relationships. Ken Akiyama demonstrated some ideas from a big project we are working on to share movement drills that are very effective for developing strength, and relaxation. The ability to move your body in a relaxed way is a vital skill for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and self defense. Jiu Jitsu is about understanding actions and reactions. When you can predict the effects and vulnerabilities of your actions, you can always block your opponents options before you attack. When you do this, your opponent will become very frustrated. When that happens, you destroy your opponents ability to think. When your opponent can not think, you win. That's what makes jiu jitsu a great game of strategy. Strategy is the study of action, reaction, and forethought. Strategy requires awareness.
With my student Mass Ortis which is MMA champion of Porto Rico and now study with me in USA. We took few pictures with Carlos Newton the Roning a UFC champion Pride and Vale Tudo Champion Carlos Newton the Ronin UFC champion with my students Mass Ortis Boxing Thai Boxing and MMA Champion and with Paul Colon and Mike Wilson , Mike is OVER 70 years old start studied with me BJJ Machado RCJ as been 63 now he is Brown belt hope soon get his Black Belt as I told him and Carlos Newton are Champions Champions Forever My Self Carlos Newton the Ronin and Mass Ortis Boxing and Thai Boxing and MMA Champion and Paul Colon all had honor be teacher.
Kyusho in Kata Please first understand that Kata (as cool as it is), is not the best mechanism for learning Kyusho. I personally have not missed a day of Kata practice since 1975, so I guess you can say I like them. However I do not believe it is the proper way to learn Kyusho. Kyusho is best (most efficiently and thoroughly) learned separately in spontaneous combat and then allowed to permeate your style or art or Kata naturallyâ€Ś not you trying to place it inside. Karate has the most intriguing body postures embedded in their forms or Kata, that they hold as the library of each styleâ€Ś and that is what has fascinated millions of practitioners around the world and throughout history. Each posture is open to interpretation and has infinite potential that is only limited by the mind and physical capabilities of the individual. Many styles have what is called Bunkai, or interpretations that are prear ranged and scripted in for m, performance and duplication. However this unlimited potential is then limited by interpretation when set in specific technique that must be remembered and practiced according to a scripted attack and react practice scenario. Instead it can have even greater potentials if you change or add components other than set physical actions in relation to those physical actions of an opponent or training partner. As you limit your mind and therefore physical manifestations in a single paradigm, you can never unlock all the potentials you can achieve.
Kyusho or Kata? First question we should ask is which came first… Kyusho or Kata? Forms or Katas were developed around the knowledge or discovery of the weaker anatomical structures, functions and possibilities. And the following “Styles” were created from this base knowledge. This is where most (even upper level) Kyusho people get it confused. Trying to force a universal and natural knowledge into a man-made tool is not the efficient or natural method… developing the tool around the natural laws, structures and physical ability or limitations is. It is also more logical to understand that the targets (or goals) must have come first, then the weapons and actions to properly access them were placed in postures and patterns that were then linked into the forms or Kata. Who would spend their valuable allotted life time into creating random moves of the body, then spending more of that time figuring out what they could do with them? It is far more natural and efficient to develop a movement to access, utilize or leverage upon the goal. The more efficient way is not put Kyusho in your Kata, the Kata must evolve around your understanding of Kyusho. If you take a specific action, posture or series of movements and work to place Kyusho into them, yes it will enhance those actions (in theory until actually applied), but you have limited yourself to that reality until you have thought up (or someone else thought up for you to copy), another possibility. Another way to look at this is if an instructor teaches you a Bunkai, you are not realizing your potential… you are merely mimicking the actions of theirs and a sure recipe for failure under stress of attack because it is not your natural tendency (physical, mental or spiritual). The more unnatural and complex an action is for you, the more probability for failure under test or the realities of actual combat . By learning a target or several targets, working the correct angles and dynamics via spontaneous and stress oriented training you are developing a singularity of infinite possibility. So then when you do “YOUR” Kata, your natural methods, tendencies and capabilities will come to life automatically as the actions you have already performed and “felt”, come to life. This is a crucial factor in Kata that many miss. Most perform the Kata and try to invent actions or scenarios to make it plausible or give a meaning to that practiced action… the instructor then forces the student to remember this via much practice again ingraining a foreign aspect into their way. But instead if you train a target correctly, placed yourself under stressful single and or multiple attack learning to access that target, you have felt the actually concussion of your weapon into that target, felt the other individual give way under the attack and you have done this many times… then when you do a Kata and that move that your natural actions have responded with instinctively, you will re-live that feeling or experience. This is what Kata is for so that it will become a reality even in real attack as that was how it was forged… and not by memorizing another person's actions.
The simple begets the complex, the complex hides the simple. Most times we tend to only relate to the exterior of any given task, challenge, opponents actions, etc., we tend to overlook the interior as we
do not see it. As example someone attacks you by strike, kick or grab…we see this exterior action and react in like (typically in relation to the attackers outward action) and that limits us. This type of training will always keep us one step behind with the momentum and advantage for the initiator. Working only in this physical reactive realm we are often times limited by size, speed, strength, age and all other physical attributes… thus limiting our full potentials. However if we train interior aspects, via the experience we picked up automatically in combat first, we can then realize a broader scope of possibilities and potentials; even unleash them from the physical limitations. By keeping this interior dynamic from feeling as the intention, goal or target, each posture or action in the Kata will take on greater scope, possibility and potential. Your Kata will come to life. As this example, look at the posture of the Karate Warrior above; we can read many physical possibilities such as blocking a kick and punch, a leg take-down, a neck break or even the legendary groin grab and yank method. All will depend on your size, strength and ability to position yourself during the attack to physically accomplish this. More-so it will all depend on how you were trained or conditioned to think of this posture, if at all… as you train to repeat a specific action for the posture and transition. Kyusho is the inhibition of a physiological function, if we understand the internal physiology, functionality and accessibility, an infinite array of new possibilities will avail themselves and therefore your Potential will increase
“Kyusho is the inhibition of a physiological function, if we understand the internal physiology, functionality and accessibility, an infinite array of new possibilities will avail themselves and therefore your Potential will increase exponentially according to your innate attributes.”
exponentially according to your innate attributes. So what this tells us is that instead of thinking solely on duplicating someone's idea of what the bunkai or technique of the mechanical actions, instead you access the internal body from the first action responding with counter inertia and action to each of the opponents' actions… and in process your body finds this posture naturally. This can be accomplished training with targets, tool and trajectories as opposed to specific actions for each posture.
So what is Kata? From Wikipedia: Kata (literally: “form”) is a Japanese word describing detailed patterns of movements practiced either solo or in pairs. Each is a complete fighting system, with the movements and postures of the Kata being a living reference guide to the correct form and structure of the techniques used within that system. Karate Kata are executed as a specified series of a variety of moves, with stepping and turning, while attempting to maintain perfect form. The practitioner is counseled to visualize the enemy attacks and their responses. Karateka “read” a Kata in order to explain the imagined events. The kata is not intended as a literal depiction of a mock fight, but as a display of transition and flow from one posture and movement to another, teaching the student proper form and position, and encouraging them to visualize different scenarios for the use of each motion and technique. There are various forms of Kata, each with many minor variations. If that is all it is, it is a very inefficient process to retain and pass along techniques with, especially over multiple generations. It would instead be far more efficient to train just the technique as it is repetitively and systematically add stress and combative reality (speed, power and real intent) as in Judo.
Kata of course can also be used is this manner, but there are so many other details that they embody that are far more important and useful in a real encounter under stress and physical limitations. However doing correct form is not the same as living that form… it is not in a performance where the deeper worth is found, it is in the living and reliving of the Kata. So how is this “Living it” accomplished? First you must know a weaker anatomical target that you are naturally comfortable and apt to access with your body attributes and skills. Then begin with simple application to assure you have the correct dynamics, angles, intent until you accomplish the goal statically be it control, pain, dysfunction or KO. When you do accomplish this, remember the feeling not just of your hand or the opponents head, but your mental, physical and emotional qualities. Feel how the opponents body reacted to it and notice how they fell. Duplicate this as many times as feasible (of course the more the better as it becomes ingrained). Then you begin to work it dynamically working to gain the target, the effect, the feel and the mental/emotional aspect under ever increasing stress and attack scenario. Maybe first planned, but eventually this must be realized spontaneously to actually acquire the tried and true ability. Once you have accomplished this, each time you do that Kata, you re-live (feel) these experiences on all three levels, mental, physical and spiritual. This is what Kata can be if you allow it and then train it ardently… not a group of set techniques that depend on certain attack scenario, but from real spontaneous and urgent need. You have not forced yourself to do Kata (especially from someone else's ways), Kata just serves to remind you of your experiences, via mental, spiritual and yes even physical reliving of your experiences. Never put Kyusho in your style, put your style into Kyusho. - Evan Pantazi © Evan Pantazi 2014 www.kyusho.com
This past week I was sparring with a young MMA fighter. He was twenty three years old, 6' 4â€?, weighed 170 pounds and was getting ready for his fourth amateur fight. I am sixty one, 6' and 195 pounds and my last full-on fight was in the year 2000. In order for the young fighter to be pushed aerobically the coach had another man split the round with me. He would go for ninety seconds, and then I would jump in for the second ninety seconds. During the course of the first of the three rounds that I went I took a hearty punch to my right eyebrow (I dropped my Dracula elbow a bit during a Zirconia if you must know) and as I was sitting there (well-winded I must confess) after the third round the coach noticed a cut over my right eye due to not enough vaseline. It wasn't a big deal-indeed in the past I would have kept going, but now I am a bit more cooties conscious than I used to be and so I called it a day.
A gym friend who is a doctor saw it and invited me to swing by his office later in the day to have it stitched up. When I got home I washed up and my wife took a picture (“Ewww!”) and off I went to the doctor where he properly cleaned it out (this is important-there are nasty cooties out there these days!) and gave it the five stitches it required. Amongst the many things that my teacher Guro Dan Inosanto has said to me that have stayed with me over the years is this one: "It's good to know where you are at." One of the dangers of my line of work is that people are going to be respectful when I am teaching. I get
this-- I do the same when I am on the other side of the equation!-indeed, one would be an anus to test a teacher while he is teaching! Of course the danger of this is that one can easily start becoming a legend in one's own mind and miscalculate one's capabilities upon the intrusion of reality. This would be a serious Darwinian error! It may have been John Wayne who said “Life is tough. It's tougher when you are stupid.” I do my best to avoid this in the course of my teaching/training in various ways e.g.:
a) I insist upon honest feeds. For example, as many of you may know in contrast to most FMA systems that lock out the strike responses to which are being taught, in DBMA, unless otherwise specified, the striker should carry through with his motion-- just like he is most likely to do in a real fight. Of course the speed, power, intensity will be dialed back to greater or lesser degree depending at what point we are in the development of the response(s) being trained but in all cases the strike(s) should be towards the actual target(s) in a natural manner. b) I use what in DBMA we call “the metronome method”: constant speed,
and equal speed and equal power between the two practitioners. Nonetheless there is no substitute for action for knowing where one is at-- hence Guro I's wo rds o f wisdom-- given to us after he left us with jaws hanging after having gone forty five non-stop minutes HARD of Muay Thai on the long bag while in his sixties. Thus for me sparring such as my session wherein I scored this boo boo is invaluable in "knowing where I am at" as I seek to walk as a warrior for all my days. I do my best to not be stupid about it. I feel no shame in speaking up about places where it is not wise for me to go.
Eskrima For example, before we started I asked my young MMA opponent not to torque my lower back-- so when he took me down, he took the bite out of it. Similarly as my half guard lock down was failing he drove my head into the fence. If I were a young fighter I would have asked of myself to work out my way of the problem. As the old man that I am, with a family to support depending upon the functioning of my body I was unwilling to risk a neck injury and so I simply asked him for us to adjust our position away from the fence. A major piece of the Dog Brother experience is having a realistic sense of what you can and cannot pull off in
now as part of the DBMA concept of “consistency across categories”. KT is , , , different and needs continuous research. It fascinates me in a profound way to see just how deep The Art is and how true its' promise of the empty hands being the having the same idiom of movement is. In that the vision here is mine I would be the one most suited for doing the work, but for my age. Of course I have would love to be thirty years younger and getting in the cage for real, but that will have to await another lifetime. Still, by getting in as I do not only do I get honest feedback as to “where I am at”, but I also continue to develop KT not only out of my students'
adrenally prepare ourselves for the interface of gun, knife, and empty hand so that we “Die Less Often”; we seek the advantage that comes from having one operating system for weapons, empty hands, and the blend of the two. Fewer choices means faster reactions and when it comes to DLO having consistency across categories means fewer choices when time may mean the difference between living or not. I have the honor of working with people who put their lives on the line in circumstances of Die Less Often. They are The Protectors-something I suspect each of us aspires to be as we live our respective lives-and they deserve that I know what I am showing them.
real time. My time for full-on fighting for fun may be done, but still I am the Crafty Dog.
experiences but also my own experience-- for out of the freedom that comes from doing comes the knowing --and I become a better teacher and can stay relevant longer. Remember too that in the logic of DMBA our motive is only secondarily to improve results in the cage. Our primary mission is to use the cage as a laboratory and training medium to
Of course there is also the inner glee that comes from still being competitive. As the country music song says “I may not be as young as I once was, but I'm as young once as I ever was.”
There is an additional strand present here in this little story. In this particular case I was working Kali Tudo ™ the sub-system I have been developing for several years
The Adventure continues! Guro Crafty/Marc
Karate Text and photos: Salvador HerrĂĄiz, 7th dan
The Master-Disciple relationship in Karate Undoubtedly, to dedicate your life to the practicing and teaching of Karate it's highly rewarding. Over the years, many years, you can even become a Master. But the meaning of this word, Master, so often taken lightly, contains and should contain certain features so that the person to whom itâ€™s applied can be considered as such. Salvador HerrĂĄiz, who is characterized by explaining things without mincing words -always from respect and with the deepest knowledge of Karate, to which he has devoted himself body and soul-, reflects today on the subject and the complex relationship between the teacher and the student, sometimes difficult because of a misinterpretation of the Philosophy and Spirit of Karate.
A matter of Discipline ... and Confidence Today, Martial Arts, the word Master (Sensei) has become one of the most frequently used and misused of words. For some people, Master is the one who has great knowledge and technical skill, as well as a transmission capacity. For others, a Master is simply someone who has students (and if he's got them there must be a reason for it). I recall that when I addressed the "old boys" of Keio (all of them aged over 80 and with a lifetime in karate) I always called them "Sensei", and those who didn't teach classes always retorted "I'm not a Sensei. I don't teach students." Perhaps the wisest and safest thing is consider that a master is the one that unifies in his person both ideas. In other words, a master is someone with knowledge, skills, transmission capacity... and students. The concept of Master, as the term is understood in this sense, is much better depicted in the word Sensei, since it must necessarily include some features related to Japanese values. Let's see our thoughts on the subject. The specific differences that can be appreciated between a dojo
Reflections (where you can positively develop a spirit of Karate with its traditional practice) and fitness gym (breeding ground for developing other types of attitudes in students) are quite obvious. A gym looks modern with marble, aluminum, glass and other materials. A dojo looks traditional with wood and little else. The gym offers
spacious dressing rooms, lockers, reception halls for visitors, etc., while a dojo doesn't attach any importance to all this services; in fact, with some exceptions, dojos in Japan even lack a dressing room for the students (much less showers), and you pass directly from the street... to the mat. The gym has people who work there,
while the dojo maintenance is carried out by the master in a more familiar way. A gym is decorated with large, spectacular and glamorous photos; all that hangs from a dojo walls are just memories of teachers and certifications to encourage and motivate the students. The gym makes its advertising (usually based
Salvador Herrรกiz and Master Goshi Yamaguchi, in the Shinto shrine Igusa Hachimangu in Tokyo.
Karate on the variety of its avant-garde facilities), while the only dojo advertising is word of mouth and the spreading of students to relatives and friends about the benefits of its teachings. It's not only to do something, but the pleasure of doing it in a certain defined way. Same thing happens, for example, with the traditional physical workout using the old Okinawa gadgets. Surely modern training systems, machines that isolate specific muscles, etc., offer an extreme effectiveness, but ... when you practice with the old traditional tools you're not only seeking effectiveness, but the pleasure of doing it with these means. There is something romantic about it ... as there is in the practice of Karate in general. Limited the space, the meeting place, we will see now the Master-Pupil relationship in the dojo ... and outside the dojo, as both roles are perfectly defined and behaviors shouldn't be confused. Karate is Japanese and the Japanese don't question, they only obey. They learn and practice. Thatâ€™s all. In contrast, Westerners want, we want, do it our way, asking too much instead of letting time make understand In The author, Salvador HerrĂĄiz, between Mamoru and Masahiro Nakamoto, at the Shikina Enn in Naha (Okinawa).
Reflections â€œIn Karate, by its philosophy and history, sensei's decisions shouldn't be ever questioned. And if so, then why ask? The answer will arrive in due time to the person it must reach.â€?
Karate, by its philosophy and history, sensei's decisions shouldn't be ever questioned. And if so, then why ask? The answer will arrive in due time to the person it must reach. Grade exams, for example, is a subject on which we should think at length, in particular on how to accept the results, especially when they are negative. Master Yamazaki told me he spent many years ignoring the true reason of his failure in his First Dan exams. He never asked nor was he explained. That's the attitude. Thirty years later he learnt that the reason had been overconfidence. Master Hironori Ohtsuka has always spoken of overconfidence as one of the evils of Budo, along with contempt, anger, fear, etc. Incidentally, at that time exams had no a fixed date, so they couldn't be specifically prepared during the previous months. The date was known only a few days before. This forced them to be always prepared, which makes it more real. When excess benevolence enters the mat in a grade exam, justice runs away. There are many factors to consider in a fair examination (including knowledge, skills, style technique, efficiency, physical features and personal situations, etc.), which the Sensei in his position evaluates in a most reasonable manner. Benevolence is one of the qualities of the Code of Bushido, but if the Sensei falls in an excess of kindness, out of friendship, shame, excessive camaraderie, etc., Justice (another of the Bushido rules) simply disappears. Everything must take its place, like everything in life and in Karate. Any culinary preparation can get spoiled either by excess or default of any of its ingredients. Only the Sensei is capable of applying in all fairness the degree of benevolence in its proper measure. This can prove to be understood and accepted by the student, often sacrificing a precious time dumfounded by misunderstandings and non-existent reasons. Starting from the premise that the Sensei knows more than the student about what must be considered in an exam and what not, and if it is assumed that the Sensei has nothing against the aspiring student, quite the opposite... why not accept his decision and / or advice without discussion, imagination, opposition or headscratching in general? Why afford to think differently from the one who really knows? The truth is that both teacher and student should know their place. The student, to become an Uchi Deshi disciple (someone especial to whom the Master conveys the depths of art) has to work unnoticed and with no desire for prominence in conversations that have nothing to do with him, relationships that don't belong to him or to which he hasn't been invited ... Everyone should be aware of his limits and place. It has always been said that "who speaks doesn't know and who knows doesn't speak," which leads us to discretion in words and deeds, leaving exposed those who discourse at large or totally inappropriately on a subject that it is not within their competence. Moreover, we should thank the true experts in any field that share with others their knowledge and thoughts; otherwise, such knowledge would be gradually lost, something certainly negative and undesirable. My mother always reminded me of the phrase "let the one who knows more say more" What an immature person usually does is making mistakes. Everyone is free, of course, but right in front of the freedom of thought stands the risk of mistake. We must always remember that the Sensei has already gone through the thoughts, self-
Karate assurance and convictions that more often than not have erroneously the students in general. Some say that smart people learn from their own mistakes, but the most practical thing is what superior and wise persons do, "learn from the mistakes of others, instead of learning from their own mistakesâ€?. Those who don't take advantage on the errors of others are doomed to pass through them, just like the one who doesn't know his past is bound to relive it. The danger is that man can stumble twice over the
The author at the Con Con dunes (Chile).
same stone and, if he insists... even three or more times. We must have the humbleness of recognizing those who know. The danger is that man can stumble twice over the same stone and, if he insists... even three or more times. We must have the humbleness of recognizing those who know. After long years of practice and study, the Sensei has already cleansed his body, his mind and his spirit while the student is still on that. A scattered mind that is not
Reflections centered or wants to undertake several different things, cannot get good results as it tends to mix, to confound and to get confused, to not assimilate properly the information and practice. Higa Sensei said: "If you run after a hare, you might catch it, but if you run after two hares ... you won't catch any of them." The issue is further aggravated when both paths are technically or spiritually different; for sure one will interfere in the development of the other.
It's difficult that a student eager to stand out could restrain his momentum to move forward on this path of Karate, but he should do it. When you are ready things are understood. Anyway, no matter how many explanations are given at certain times, if your body, your mind and your spirit are not prepared to understand ... they just won't do it. There are people that the more information you provide them: data, explanations, reasons... The less they understand and they still wonder why, or even dare to disagree for not understanding... Some have become real "intellectual deafs", another effect of dispersion. The Master can do his best for a successful transmission, but if the student doesn't follow his advice and thinks he knows more or understands better ... everything will be in vain and it will fall on deaf ears. Ah, the rush! There are no shortcuts in Karate and the one who seeks them, sooner o later plunges down a dangerous bend. Empty gesturing of apparent understanding is also useless if actions are not consistent. The patience of a sensei is not infinite and logically his attention may move to focus on other students more willing to follow his teachings under his rules, as indeed has been happening historically for years and years anywhere and in any environment. Sensei seeks the above mentioned Uchi Deshi, the internal student. Time and grade will turn some of his senior students into Sempai, but a Kohai, the promise, is something else, he is someone in whom the Master has pinned his hopes for the future. Another thing, at times different, at times coincidental, is the pioneers, some of whom have been able to become later true masters. Pioneers deserve respect and recognition for paving the way, for being somehow visionaries of something transcendent. But when pioneers haven't continued developing themselves and practicing (in a greater or lesser degree), in righteousness, I don't believe they deserve to be considered the center of that path. Being the first is important but not enough to be considered "Masters". Having traveled a small part of the way, albeit in ancient times, cannot be compared to having traveled a long distance, even if it has been done in later times. Another case to mention is that of the "sons of ...â€? Sometimes, a particular person is imposed at the helm of organizations only because of the great importance of his father (Grand Master or Founder) within the style, but in righteousness and reality, without sufficient knowledge, skills ... that is, with no merits. Talent is not inherited by itself. Surely, we all have now in our thinking a particular name. If instead of "son of" we talk about "grandsons", the matter may be further diluted. My greatest respects, however, to the exceptions that besides inheriting a name and a position have earned the
Karate right to hold their privileged position. My respect also the others... but in a different way. In the end, if you understand Karate, its technique, history, philosophy and objectives ... in short, its Spirit, as something precious, a treasure to transmit only to a few deserving (and privileged) students, the relationship Master-Disciple actually becomes a relationship of Trust (since a treasure is not offered to anyone) and as such, any questioning can break that bond. Honestly I think that a Master as such, with his necessarily certain age, a lifetime in Karate, a significant grade, a wealth of true knowledge, of contributions of many big name Masters, with clear ideas and an attitude consistent with those thoughts generated through so many and intense years... should he give many explanations about the ways of Karate? At this stage... no way! Whoever wants to voluntarily walk the Path by his side, will have do it logically in his way, the way of Karate Do, accepting and not questioning. It has always been said that Karate is discipline. It refers not only as a means to achieve technical efficiency, but as the relationship line of the disciple with the Master. In short, I think DISCIPLINE, CONFIDENCE and ATTITUDE are the basal columns of this relationship. Questioning and dispersion are their borers. Another empty and very common gesture is greeting (traditional Japanese bowing, theoretically symbol of respect and recognition) and the expression Oss, that beyond the more or less customary use, depending on different styles (e.g., in Wado Ryu there's no traditional habit of using it) is commonly misused in Karate because of its empty content, not to mention other confusions in its use. Indeed, this term, exported to Karate from the Japan Karate Naval College, is generally used as a greeting among karateka (something like hello!, good bye!...). To
start with, this is already a mistake in itself. This expression, which comes from the words Osu (Osae contraction) and Shinobu, should be used in Karate only in moments and situations in which you have to show a commitment to persevere to the personal boundaries with patience, with genuine respect and appreciation for Master, accepting his corrections, advice ... the expression shows also, if necessary, an apology that even means asking for pardon for some mistake made, understanding it and accepting it. That means Oss and if it's taken lightly and used for everything, its content gets distorted. Discipline is the basis of the spirit of Karate. I'm not saying we should keep the two famous rules of the past, the first being "The boss (in our case, the Sensei) is always right", and the second "In case of failure, the first rule applies." As the paths of life seem to be going, from the standpoint of the spirit and philosophy of Karate, a Master, much too often is forced to endure the slip-ups of some students who believe they are smarter than anyone else without understanding that observing only the rules or decisions with which they agree, has no merit. That's easy! Discipline and loyalty is demonstrated abiding and supporting the other rules... Master is someone worth walking beside, to travel the path under his teachings. But a Spanish friend of mine, Karate 9th Dan, once told me: "Do not call me Master. We had one Master and we crucified Him". LEFT PAGE: Salvador Herrรกiz and Hirokazu Kanazawa, in the dojo of this Grand Master in Tokyo. RIGHT PAGE: Up, with Master Tetsuhiro Hokama practicing in ancient Okinawan tombs, traditional places where long ago training was carried out in secret. Below, Morio Higaonna and S. Herrรกiz in Master Higaonna's dojo in Naha.
This sequence is a short combination of hand strikes and kicking useful to introduce the student to the long and complex Hwa Rang Do Open Hand Form. The STEP #1 is to set the defensive stance. The STEP #2 is to set the cat stance and cross the open hands next to the front leg. The STEP #3 is moving the crossed hands from low to top intercepting a frontal punch attack with forearms.
The STEP #4 is having both hands to the side and strike with a double palm technique towards the ribs of the opponent. The STEP #5 is grabbing one hear of the opponent and pull his head. The STEP #6 is striking the chin of the opponent with an uppercut palm technique. The STEP #7 is striking with a knifehand the face of the opponent. The STEP #8 is striking with a vertical punch the solar plexus of the opponent. The STEP #9 is a step in left with a right high soft block. The STEP #10 is an axe kick right to close the sequence.
Kenjutsu - Internal and external distance...! There are several people who tell us they have dreamed of swords, medieval weapons, and seek an explanation in one way or another. The sword has always been a mythical and mystical object in the male realm. A sword is a weapon that consists of hilt, cross-guard and blade, a longer or shorter steel sheet with a pointed end. Viewed from the standpoint of militarism, we all have the appearance of courage that drives us to fight for our goals. However, the man who carried swords in Japan, was defined as "one who serves" - Samurai. This means that the first step in learning Kenjutsu is to serve, to solve this distance we establish between pride and humility. The act of learning is completely stripped of pride or arrogance. For the way of the sword it means surrendering, control of external and internal distances. Many believe that there is only external "Ma-ai" when facing the opponent. Contrary to this, Ma-ai starts within us and manifests externally. "If the mind is calm by stopping its movement, that stillness will make it move even more." Similarly, we can say that our interior is like a big mountain. For Zen, in Chapter 62 of Shobogenzo Dogen Zenji (1200-1253), the mountain has a virtue that doesn't lack anything, it is absolute in itself: for this reason, despite being firmly established in the ground, it's nonetheless always moving. Facing the sword, the inner mind is aware of its movement. The Ma-ai is able to establish the eternity of the moment in a single movement. This "movement" to which Dokai referred is the essence of all movement. Anyway, who is in the mountain is not aware of this movement. Those who are not able to see this mountain at least once, cannot understand, see or hear this kind of things, due to this principle. Kenjutsu is experimentation, self-giving, surrendering, a unique moment! The access and exit gateway of our inner mind! In a true confrontation there's no time, no truths or lies, everything is very fast. There are hardly internal and external distances. The wisdom of attracting and moving away those manifestations of the dojo in constant motion. In this thought, it's explicit in the way of Kenjutsu that any new experience is a challenge, characterized by surmountable difficulties, that arouse moral values of the one who wants to experience it. With respect to those of deep complexity, as may be the transformation of the old man into a new being, the steps to be conquered are multiple and coated with comprehensible obstacles.
Some teachers in traditional schools have contacted me and together we have come to interesting conclusions. Preserving something in the XXI century is not an easy task, nor cheap. Preserving means keeping forms the way they are, even if there are still outdated and unrealistic sequences for current times. Many are called traditional and when we understand the technical synthesis, we find fragments of this and that, followed by intense justifications for it. The word preservation, according to the dictionary, is derived from preserve. Preservation: act of preserving. For us, preserving means to preserve even the way of thinking in the application of each Seiteigata. Obviously we all worry to evolve internally and through thought we seek perfection every day. But we are talking about martial heritage, which means that from the historical point of view, it should be as it is. From a mere martial vision, everyone is free to practice and perform technical as he sees fit. Throughout history, eastern man, in our case the Japanese man - understanding that his life was short, eventful, subject to suffering and certain death -, always formulated the idea of "Bujutsu", the arts of War (specific, since the term "Bu" applied to the character "Jutsu" refers to a specific art). Recognizing - as we also recognize today - that life is transient, he wished to experience something immense and supreme, something "not created by man's mind or by his feelings"; he wanted experience or discovering the way of a transcendental world, entirely different from this, with its afflictions and torture. Throughout history, eastern man, in our case the Japanese man - understanding that his life was short, eventful, subject to suffering and certain death -, always thought of the idea of "Bujutsu", the arts of War (specific disciplines, since the term "Bu" applied to the character "Jutsu" refers to an art in particular). Recognizing - as we also recognize today - that life is transient, he wished to experience something immense and supreme, something "not created by man's mind or by his feelings"; he wanted experience or discovering the way of a transcendental world, entirely different from this, with its afflictions and tortures. Martial Arts have been influenced by the beliefs of the eras of each country. In the case of Japan, the biggest influences were Shintoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, that nurtured the hope of discovering that transcendental world, seeking and probing. We should be considering this issue in order to discover whether there is or not a reality (whose name doesn't matter) of an entirely different
dimension. To penetrate so deep, we naturally must realize that understanding scarcely at an oral level is no enough - because a description is not the thing described, a word is never the thing. It's possible to penetrate this mystery - if itâ€™s at all a mystery what man has always tried to penetrate and capture, invoking it, clinging to it, worshiping it, becoming a fanatic of it. However, this is not the desired or exalted subject in this text. The arts of war had their boom in the Sengoku period and their reflexes can be seen even today. Being life at that time quite superficial, empty, full of deceit and without much expression - it prompted war among the truths, each school or clan tried to invent, give it a meaning. If the individual who invented such meaning and purpose, was provided with a certain talent, his invention became quite complex, considering that many arts suffered a reformulation in the Tokugawa period. This is point where I want to get: everything is fine as long as it is perfectly in order inside. Everyone knows his need. Everyone supports the truth that is convenient for him. However, it must be understood that preserving is beyond what is or is not perfect. Like everything in life, we are subject to time until our mind adapts and discovers whether or not we are on the right path. Many masters had only the certainty they were on their way after being teachers. It is natural and normal that everyone has his own rate of evolution. This means that in some people, the feeling is built with care and attention. One thing at a time! At first we deal with doubts, prejudice, denials... However, for those of us who persist, from learning to learning and blessing to blessing, without understanding the mechanism of such a metamorphosis, our heart gets transformed, if we really would accept its leadership and tutelage. Shades of pains, preconceptions, resentment, misplaced views and opinions, are gradually giving way in the forest of our dark thoughts to light gaps that end up showing us the childishness and inconvenience of our less happy attitudes to face the way. In the past, this was called "Nagai" - Long, long road that leads us to understanding. For masters, it is through this method that the pupil, in the middle of the rough fight, is obliged to handle the weapons of his own discernment, so that external adversaries cannot destroy his forces. It is in his own chosen way where he finds those other enemies, perhaps even more dangerous - those who hide in the spirit, such as fear of accepting himself with the imperfections that mark his life, discouragement facing difficulties that unfold in front of him, the notion of personal shortcomings or the fear of failure.
Discovering our own powers and where to find them is the meeting point with ourselves. It is a lonely road, but essential, the consequence of which is a complete alteration of our way to see and understand the art, the environment and ourselves, which leads us to recall a short story, relevant for a starting point.
Believing and acting (anonymous) A traveling man was walking along the shore of a large lake of crystalline waters, trying to figure out a way to reach the other side, where his destiny was. He sighed deeply and while trying to fix his gaze on the horizon, he heard a man's voice that broke the silence. It was a white-haired boatman, offering transport. The old small boat that crossed the lake had two oak wood oars. The traveler saw that there was what looked like letters on each oar. When he jumped on the boat, he found that they were actually two words. In one of the oars it was carved the word "believe" and on the other "act". Unable to contain his curiosity, he asked the boatman the reason of the original names he had given to the oars. The boatman grabbed the oar that read "believe" and rowed with all his strength. The ship began to spin without exiting from the circle where it was. Then the boatman took the oar that read "acting" and rowed with all his strength. Again the boat started to circle around, this time in the opposite direction, but without making any progress... Finally, the old boatman, using both oars, moved them at once and the boat, propelled by both sides, crossed the waters of the lake, reaching calmly the other shore. Then the boatman told the traveler: - We can call this boat "self-confidence". The bank of the lake is the goal we want to achieve. For the ship "confidence" to surf safely and reach the intended target, it is necessary to use both oars at the same time and with the same intensity: "acting" and "believing". And what about you? Are you paddling firmly to achieve your goal? But above all, double check your boat and look carefully if the oars are not eroded by the acid of selfishness. After taking all these precautions, keep on advancing and have a nice trip!
Interview by Thomas Lynch Photos courtesy Don Warrener T.L. Security Solutions
What was it about martial arts that attracted you to start training it in the beginning? Believe it or not, the movie business. See, everyday my father would swing by the video store on his way home from work. He absolutely loved action movies from Hollywood and Hong Kong, and since we only had 1 television in our household, our choice was simple: (1) watch with him, or (2) study. Guess which one I chose? Haha. When dad was home, my brother and I weren't able to watch our cartoons anymore, as it was movie night… every night. However, this quickly turned into an immense appreciation for the cinema in addition to the martial arts. And like every other school-aged child, my brother and I would mimic the martial art fight scenes with each other. It was THEN, when I discovered that I would like to be a Hollywood Action Star. My father's response? “No! You need a good job. Be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer.” And being the eldest son, I thought I had an obligation to do so. What happened when your father found out who were studying Keishinkan? Originally, when I told my parents that I wanted to learn martial arts, they said “no.” A few moments later, they inquisitively asked why. I
MA movies replied, so I can be an Action Star. Again, they said “no.” (To this day “NO” is still one of their favorite words.) After a few days of bringing it up again and again, my father said if I really wanted to learn martial arts, I would have to pay for it myself. So I saved my allowance and joined Keishinkan Karate. Once he learned of this, he told me that if I ever get hurt from training, “don't tell me.” Additionally, if you are hurt you'll also have to pay for ALL of the hospital bills by yourself. (But
aspect of martial arts, therefore I would probably choose MMA.
Japan has a National Healthcare System, if I did get injured, at worst I would be out 5 bucks.)
must resort to use your martial arts training for self-defense, then its common sense that less is more. Which means, if I can strike my opponent only once to defeat him, then that's much better than “duking it out” with him for a few minutes.
Which martial art do enjoy training the most? Why? Honestly I can't pick just one. See, I love Northern Shaolin Kung Fu because of the variety of things we do in class and in training, such as “deep stances, weapons, and very long and challenging forms.” And I love Keishinkan Karate because of the full contact sparring, which allows us to pressure-test our techniques, stamina and abilities. But if I have to pick one particular thing, which I enjoy most, I would have to say the “deep stances” in Kung Fu. The reason is, for me, the deep stances are very strenuous and require my full attention. They're incredibly formidable and overall are a great way to reset my foundation in martial arts… especially if my schedule has prevented me from dedicating a few hours to train. If you could do it all over again, is there any particular martial arts style that you wish you had started training at an early age, and why? Wow… difficult question. I really guess that it would depend upon what my intention was at that time, as well as for the future. If I was young, for example elementary age, I would probably want something really flashy… like Wushu or XMA. However, as I'm older now, I see the need for “practicality” in the self-defense
What was your favorite technique in Keishinkan Karate? Without a doubt my favorite technique of all time is “gyakuzuki” (reverse punch). The reason is: my Keishinkan instructor always taught me the goal of Karate is to have one flawless technique which would be fight ending… just like “ichigeki” (loosely translated as: one hit, one kill.) If you're not able to run away, and
What is your favorite classical weapon to use in martial arts and why? Pick one. In Kung Fu, my favorite weapon is the double-broadsword. For some reason, the first time I picked it up, the swords felt amazingly comfortable in my hands. And even more so, when I started swinging them around mimicking Jackie Chan to the best of my ability. When I attempted my first “long form” with the doublebroadsword, I was beat. It's a very intense, thorough and challenging “form.” But I loved it. I immediately began to spend hours upon hours each day practicing the swords and it really showed when I took 1st place in my first ever weapons tournament. Wow, I thought you would have picked the Japanese Katana, since I've seen you perform with it many times. Well I truly do enjoy performing with the katana, however I initially began training with the katana strictly for public performances. I assumed it was going to be a simple transition from the double broadsword, but boy was I wrong. It looks simple, however it's a very complicated tool. Who are your martial art idols? Honestly, I don't have any now. But when I was a kid, it was pretty
much every major Hollywood and Hong Kong Action star. Stallone, Snipes, JCVD, Jackie Chan, Steven Seagal, Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis. What about Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee? When I came to the U.S. I didn't even know who they were. Haha. I guess my dad never rented their movies. What are your future plans in martial arts? My immediate plans are to continue promoting martial arts
through the KOYAMADA FOUNDATION and THE UNITED STATES MARTIAL ARTS FESTIVAL. At the Koyamada Foundation we sponsor bullied children whom are from lowincome backgrounds, by granting them a martial art scholarship. We do this because I believe that martial arts training can instill confidence, self-esteem, and an overall positive outlook on life for the child. We're glad that bullying is becoming an eye-catching issue and is finally being addressed at a national level. And with limited funds, we're doing our best to help out these kids one at a time. On the other hand, the festival is designed to promote ALL martial art styles / disciplines (whether they're known or unknown martial arts) and giving everyone an equal chance. We do this in festival form where we invite dozens of various martial art styles to publicly demonstrate on stage. We have concessions, individual martial art booths and seminars, displays, red carpet entrance (with multiple appearances by celebrity actors and famous martial artists,) and much, much more. It's really a fun event where even Grandmasters can mingle with other Grandmasters, whom neither have ever had an opportunity to actually meet. Additionally, we provide a platform for the general public to see clear distinctions in the various martial art disciplines. I mean, if you ask the “average Joe” he probably wouldn't know the difference between Shotokan Karate and Kyokushin Karate. Here, they can see that firsthand. Not only that
Interview but the public can meet and actually ask these Grandmasters questions face to face. A chance most have never had the opportunity to do. Overall, it's really a fun and educational environment for everyone involved. Tell us how you got started in martial arts. I was interested in learning karate because I thought it would help me become a Hollywood action star. So,
I took my allowance money to my friends Keishinkan Karate dojo and met the instructor Tadashi Yoshii (8th dan.) I was already very athletic and had been in a few street fights before, so I knew I should be able to “hold my own” in class. And Tadashi must have sensed that, or maybe he mistook it for a bit of cockiness because he invited me to attack him. I replied “Eh…?” He wanted me to attack him anyway I wanted… punch, kick, everything. Then he
said: “zenshin aru nomi.” (Which loosely translates to: “Come at me bro.”) Haha. So I did. And about 10-12 minutes later I was exhausted and panting like a dog in the desert. He blocked everything. And I mean everything. As futile as my attack was, he politely decided to put me out of my misery with a sharp “mae geri” (front kick) to my sternum. I was done. After that humbling initiation, he invited me to arrive early to each class at least 30 minutes
beforehand just for the two of us to practice. And at every class I showed up early to, he would again say “zenshin aru nomi.” And I would try to battle with him with all of my heart while he evaded my attack with ease. A few months later I began to realize that my techniques and speed were rapidly developing. I was becoming more focused, disciplined and martial. And he noticed it to. Only 3 months of training had gone by when Tadashi Sensei approached me. He said “Shin, there is an open karate tournament in Nagano, and I want you to compete.” My reply was well thought out and very precise as I confidently replied: “Eh…?” There was no belt division, the bracket was determined by school age. Jr. High school, High School, and adult. Before my very first match began I was visibly petrified. Tadashi said to me: “I know you're a beginner, but don't be afraid. Because when people are afraid they tend to go backwards. The key to success in karate is to go forward when you're afraid. Because if you get hit at a close distance, it won't hurt so bad.” So, I closed the distance and I got punched. Punched a lot. But he was right, it didn't hurt that bad. Of course I didn't win the tournament, but I did leave with something much more valuable than a trophy: I left with a renewed self-confidence and motivation. Motivation to train even harder. Tadashi sensei began to take me around to his other friends dojo's to “spar” with their students.
MA movies Multiple opponents, one after the other. And they kicked my butt until I couldn't move anymore. Again my self-confidence and esteem grew exponentially (even after getting beat up) because I clearly saw a distinct and expedited progress in virtually all of my karate applications. Now, I was hooked. More determined than ever to succeed in the “martial world.” What is your favorite character you played and why? I enjoyed all characters I played. But the two that stand out the most are (1)
Nobutada in “The Last Samurai,” and (2) Shen in “Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior.” Nobutada was my favorite because he was character driven. He was all about Honor and Respect. Something a true samurai should project in every aspect of their life. As for Shen, I have to be honest… this was a dream come true for me because I was able to finally play an action star. Something I've been training for since I was a little boy. I was afforded the opportunity to showcase my martial arts ability in a very fun and stimulating environment.
Both characters are completely different animals in terms of their personality and motivational driving force. Both were challenging, and both were different realizations of my dreams coming to fruition. What's been your most memorable experience on set? Honestly? The food. On a major Hollywood production they have catering EVERYDAY for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I mean TOP quality food, made to order. Everyday was something better than the day before:
MA movies steak, seafood, marinated chicken, pasta, the dessert bar… everything. We all got so fat on set. Haha. However, on “The Last Samurai” we had a predominantly Japanese cast with hundreds of extras. And on location in New Zealand there wasn't any Japanese food or restaurants nearby, since we were in the countryside. So one of the extras had a brilliant idea. He bought a little food cart and made and sold Japanese food for everyone on set (when he wasn't filming of course.) Most of us ate there
everyday. He must have made a fortune! But on a deeper note, everyday I had amazing conversations with Tom Cruise. He is one of the most humble and down to Earth people I've ever met. While rehearsing and sometimes filming, he would yell, “Cut,” and call me aside. At first I thought I had done something wrong (since this was my first feature film.) In actuality he just wanted to chat. He told me that I reminded him of himself when he was my age. I said; “Tom, your American, I'm Japanese.” He laughed and said “Not that way. I mean with your innocence and determination. You have a very real focus and personality. It reminds me of me.” I was honored when he said that. From that point on, we would have multiple conversations everyday chit chatting about everything. Today, I'm still honored to call him a friend and look upon that experience as one of the best times of my life. So, I have to ask… What was it like working with Tom Cruise? I mean, it was your very first movie and all of a sudden you're costarring opposite of him. It was absolutely, positively surreal. I was very pleased and honored to be part of the production and thankful for the opportunity given to me. This was my first film and it already was a career changer. I knew that I had to bring a different level of professionalism to work with him and to be honest I had very little experience prior to this, and had zero ideas of what to expect. I was completely focused on my role playing Nobutada and the production itself. I didn't get as nervous as I thought I would be and was very confident in myself. However, I became petrified a
bit that I'd make a HUGE mistake on the very first day. And then it happened. I heard Tom Cruise start yelling between his scenes: “Shin! Shin, where are you? “Where's Shin? Shin! Shin!” Everyone froze and just looked at me as if I did something horribly wrong or something else. I replied, “Uh, I'm right here.” He said, “Come here. I want to introduce you to my friend/director.” (I was frozen. Was this for real? I couldn't move because I was still awaiting him to tell me I'm fired or something.) But that never
happened. He was amazingly nice. I've never met someone more sincere and humble than Tom Cruise. I mean, this guy would arrive on set, and then proceed to greet and shake hands with every crew and cast member he sees in his proximity. He would go out of his way each morning to do this. For eight months he did this!! Every time we see each other on and off set, it seemed as if we were just old friends just sharing stories whether it's in New Zealand countryside or elsewhere. But at the time I was often confused.
Interview What do you mean? Confused how? Well, for example… one day Tom pulled me aside between our scenes on the set and began reminiscing and telling me how I reminded him of himself when he was my age. My thought was: “How so?” Years later, I finally understood this was a most sincere compliment. Prior to that, I was often scratching my head at how I could remind him of himself. Haha! What was the most surprising and/or memorable thing working with him?
His precision. Definitely his technical precision while executing his street fight scene (the one with multiple attackers). He had rehearsed that scene on his own for months and months prior to shooting that scene. And on that shooting day, he performed it absolutely flawlessly. I, as everyone else was in pure awe. I mean, here I am working with one of the worlds most successful actors, whom is by far the most humbled person I've ever met, and not only is he a legitimately good guy, but he's also badass. And from that day
forward… I've considered him one of my Action Hero Idols. Where do you see martial arts and the entertainment industry heading in the future? Meaning, what type of martial arts do you predict we will see more of, in the future? I think it's a cycle. As technology develops more and more, we've seen films and television become more reliant upon CG (computerized graphics.) And I believe one day, audiences will get tired of seeing CG and will want more “reality. Meaning,
Interview more realism in the characters actions and the martial art choreography.” And years after that becomes a staple in the entertainment industry… I believe people will want to see a little more CG, thus having the cycle repeat itself. What are your future plans in film? Acting? Producing? Directing? Well, for now… I'd really like to continue to focus on Acting and Producing. Directing is an option, but not anytime in my foreseeable future.
As for acting I have a new action fantasy American TV series we just finished filming in Okinawa titled “The Yokai King.” We shot it in English and are looking to sell it to the U.S. market first as well as other countries. Additionally, we are currently shooting a web series called “Heart of the Dragon.” It's a supernatural martial arts thriller, where my character is forced to come to the realities of my own mortality. Also, my company Shinca Entertainment finished creating
and publishing an American comic book called “The Dreamhoppers” and started developing a new comic book series. I have a few projects which I'm producing as we speak. I try to keep my hands in as many different facets of the entertainment industry as possible basically because its fun, and I'm constantly learning. This ranges from comic books, video games, web series, television, and film. I love it all and will produce as much as I possibly can.
To your knowledge, what's the ONE martial arts film that hasn't been made yet, that you'd LOVE to see made? Hmmm… the one martial arts movie I would like to see made is with 100% real people. No actors. Everyone is a real person. The taxi driver is a real taxi driver. The FBI agent is a real FBI agent. Everyone and everything telling an ensemble story that intertwines with each other. Some people might consider this a documentary, but that's not what I mean. I want a real movie, with real people, telling a real story along the same parameters of each other's lives… in the form of a Real Life Action Film. What is the best advice can you give to martial artists whom would like to pursue a career in the film and television industry? Start filming. Film something, film everything. Film yourself and blast it everywhere on social media outlets such as youtube, facebook, etc. If you really want to pursue a career in this industry its important to note that you don't have to be an actor to make it. This is “Show Business.” Remember if you can “show” (or do) something better than anybody else, you can make it if you want to. But what happens to these people who have little to zero acting experience? That's easy. The production company will hire an acting coach for you in preproduction, and will keep them around throughout the duration of
Interview filming if you need them. This is on their bill, not yours. When I started on “The Last Samurai,” I had virtually zero experience in horseback riding, and Kyudo (Japanese archery)… additionally I also only had little acting experience. The Last Samurai was my debut feature film. And I was honest with casting about this from the very beginning. The day I was selected they immediately hired a coach for me. So, start filming yourself and put yourself out there. And network. Network your butt off. I'm sure you've heard this before, but it's absolutely
true: surround yourself with likeminded people. Who you hang out with is who you'll become. You've started the Koyamada Foundation. What is it and why was it created? When I first arrived in the U.S. I never imagined nor intended to start a charity. Fast forward a few years, and I was invited to Chuck Norris' “Kick Start Kids” charity. I saw firsthand how they were helping children across the nation by building strong and moral characters through martial arts. My wife said that
we could and SHOULD do something very similar. So we did. Our goal is to empower youth to achieve their dreams and goals. There will always be people in their lives trying to rip their dream to shreds. Without that self-discipline and confidence, they might believe the naysayer's… and never have the opportunity to realize their full potential. So with our foundation we promote cross culture education, disaster relief for underprivileged children and their immediate families, as well as granting martial arts scholarships to empower youth through martial arts training. We
believe that martial arts will grant children and adolescents the ability to develop character and selfesteem through martial training. We want everyone in life to have a chance to succeed. Not everyone is dealt a fair hand, and we're just trying to help them out. How has martial arts changed your life? For the better… I know for a fact that without martial arts, I wouldn't be where I am today. It helped me discover who I really am in my relationships and as a person. It helped me understand others and to be more compassionate with everything and everyone in life. More importantly, it helped me to not be afraid of trying new things. My martial arts training has thoroughly developed my intuition, situational awareness and sensitivity to my surroundings. It has sculpt my motivation, self-discipline, and confidence in practically everything I do. Overall Karate and Kung Fu training has really allowed me to challenge new things in life. I often reflect on what Tadashi Sensei told me; “Never step backwards… if you think you can do it, do it.” I look at that and interpret it as; “You can't move forward in life if you're always walking backwards and scared to try new things. Go forward and discover.” www.shinkoyamada.org (personal website) www.koyamada.org (charity / foundation) www.shincaentertainment.com (production company) www.usmafest.org (U.S. Martial Arts Festival)
MAX RENDINELLA Multidisciplinary martial artist At the age of 5, Max Rendinella began martial arts before starting to read and write. Since then, he has learned in several styles and schools with Kyokushinkai karate, Northern Shaolin Boxing and Muay Thai. His specialty which he's been practicing for nearly 20 years, is Songshan Shaolin. As a teenager, he took advantage of the defection of several monks abroad to finally meet teachers allowed to teach Shaolin in Quebec by Shi Yan Ming, the first known exiled monk who opened the first American Shaolin temple. During these years of exponential expansion of Shaolin, Max Rendinella had the opportunity to organize major events including the best masters and disciples. Shaolin warrior monk Venerable Shi Xing Hong was among them. Following his memorable meeting with the venerable Shi Wan Heng, one of the last surviving 4 major masters of communist domination of Mao Zedong's regime, was when the second phase of his journey in Shaolin began. Interview conducted by Martin Leblanc Photos by Wolfvision fter 6 years of learning and development of official relations with the Shaolin Temple, Max Rendinella ended up in Hungary to train with Shi Xing Hong under the recommendation of the Canadian master nicknamed Da Pingguo by the masters of the Temple. With the permission of the Temple at that time, Hungary became the new residence For Shi Xing Hong and he decided to develop Shaolin Gong Fu there with dedication and passion. With the help of his close students like Max Rendinella that share the same values, a new branch of this martial art was gradually emerging, the International Chan
Wu Federation was born. It was at this time that Max Rendinella became the leader of the organization in Canada while the federation was being structured: martial curriculum, grading system, uniforms, etc. In the last Decade and following several trips on different occasions, some competitions and international training camps, Max Rendinella has developed a solid reputation among within Shaolin circles to the point that the greatest masters Grand Master Shi De Yang visits him exclusively in Canada. Today, he is proud to offer many privileges to certain passionate students who traveled several times to China and Europe. After a exhautive journey which gave him several championships in various combat sports, Max Rendinella today produces high caliber athletes winning prestigious titles including Kung Fu King. Following a recent experience as a professional MMA fighter, Max Rendinella is now a complete martial artist who explored both the traditional and modern side of the science of combat. Discover with this interview, the depth of his teaching...
Interview ML: What relationship do you currently have with the Shaolin Temple? MR: My relationship is oriented toward the Grand Master Shi De Yang, it is thanks to my Master Shi Xing Hong, which maintains a very close relationship with him. My links with the Temple began before the arrival of the new abbot, who brought many
changes in the Shaolin Temple and all it entails. I think most of the Shaolin teaching is in the hands of the Grand Master Shi De Yang. In addition, I want to keep in my heart my vision of the temple that I have known in my adolescence. That's why I prefer to work with the teaching method of the Chan Wu Federation that respects the hierarchy of my own journey. ML : Are you a disciple of Shi De Yang or Shi Xing Hong? MR : Good question! The simplest answer would be neither one... I am considered to be a disciple of Shi Xing Hong, but for us in the Chan Wu, it does not matter. With our grading system, one can clearly identify the level of Gong Fu of a practitioner and we are all students of Shi Xing Hong. Often people think having a disciple name reflects the person's level in Shaolin but it's wrong, it only means a master accepts the person as a
student. Shi Xing Hong identifies students through international Chan Wu Federation which established the first international Shaolin classification system outside of China. It's been over 10 years! Regarding the venerable Shi De Yang, I'm lucky to work with him at all times while respecting the teachings of my master. ML : What do you teach in Canada? MR : Since 2002, I have taught the Songshan Shaolin exactly the same way I learned: the spiritual component called Chan encompassing wisdom, mental development and ethical conduct as well as the martial side that's referred to as Wu. Over time, the organization was structured adapting to the many changes brought about by the development of the Chan Wu Federation. In the past, I offered a full program of recreational and
â€œSince 2002, I have taught the Songshan Shaolin exactly the same way I learned: the spiritual component called Chan encompassing wisdom, mental development and ethical conduct as well as the martial side that's referred to as Wuâ€?
competitive sanda but because of the growing popularity of MMA interest in sanda has unfortunately dropped...this finally lead to my KrossFight program. ML : What is KrossFight? MR : Krossfight is multifaceted. For a beginner, this training system is a combination of several fighting techniques I teach or different methods of combat: Japanese (karate) thai (kickboxing) and Chinese (kung fu). They can also be identified by their official name, that is to say kumite, muay thai, and sanda. Once the practitioner has knowledge and experience in competition, it shifts to be closer to the reality of street fighting. My opinion is that too many fighters who forget the essence of martial arts rather focused on self-defense. Unlike various combat sports in which rules are established, the street does not meet any of its rules or weight classification. The fact is that combat sports have rules that will limit the styles that you can use in fights. That's why it's important to diversify one's martial knowledge to maximize adaptability. That is the appropriate way to crossover skills in the street. Frequently, in my KrossFight classes, we work the same scenario within the rules of the various combat sports. For example, in the following photos we can see that when the advantage is to the person positioned behind the other different sports limit opportunities while in the street, there are no rules and no mercy! ML : Finally, do you have an important message to transmit readers? MR : I would first like to thank you for the interest brought to my attention. I would also like to thank my colleagues and my students and my master Shi Xing Hong. I surely will come back for another discussion with Budo International, a magazine that I read since its first publication that contains an article with Grand Master Shi De Yang! For more information, visit these websites at : chanwu.ca or sportaddict.ca
â€œMy links with the Temple began before the arrival of the new abbot, who brought many changes in the Shaolin Temple and all it entails.â€?
â€œKrossfight is multifaceted. For a beginner, this training system is a combination of several fighting techniques I teach or different methods of combatâ€?
Technique "A single link is of no use, but connected with many others we obtain one of the most useful tools: the chain". This also applies to Martial Arts, and the metaphor may as well serve as an example to understand the importance of the chaining of techniques into martial practice. Obviously, the ideal in martial terms is being able to finish any confrontation by applying just one blow or a single technique. But this is extremely difficult. Perhaps some masters often come close to this ideal; or, on some rare occasion, a lucky strike can make us finish a fight with the first technique. But in order to achieve this, such technique must be performed in an absolutely perfect way in terms of accuracy, speed, strength, timing, coordination, etc. And perfection is an ideal to which we all tend but we never reach, so most of us, Martial Arts practitioners, have to learn to chaining techniques to be effective in combat. Text: Pedro Conde. Photos: David Gramage (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chaining WHAT IS A CHAINING OF TECHNIQUES? A technical chaining is simply the coordination in sequences of different techniques. Normally we've all lear ned and trained these techniques initially one by one in an isolated way. Chaining is not simply adding techniques, given that each chain has its own logic (according to circumstances, the opponent, etc.); in fact, each technique depends on the former one and the one that will come next.
IS CHAINING TECHNIQUES EASY? It is curious to observe some people perform flawlessly an isolated blow, nevertheless the same technique visibly loses quality when they throw it in a combination. Why is this? This is because the chaining skill, like any other attribute, must also be trained. And like everything else, it takes time, but above all it requires knowing how to train. The truth is that chaining is something that "almost" everyone knows, but
it's not about throwing punches crazily, the difficult part is that at least most of them reach their destination. You get more with just three blows well chained (with coherence, tactic and effectiveness) than with twenty out of order and without a clear objective.
HOW TO TRAIN TECHNIQUE CHAINING Once a technique is mastered, learning to coordinate it with others is essential. Coordination is therefore one of the foundations of the chaining skill. The most pedagogical methodology for achieving this is to do it in a gradual way, that is, start lear ning to coordinate similar techniques, this is the easiest way (single chains), to then progress towards combining disparate techniques (mixed chains). The number of techniques to be trained should also be graduated, starting by linking two techniques and gradually increase the number (up to five or six, which is the maximum of every reasonable chaining).
For example, once the student has mastered the basis of the straight front punch and the straight rear punch, he starts lear ning to coordinate these two blows, which for their similarity make up one of the most simple and basic Martial Arts combinations. Later he learns to chaining straight punches with hooks, then punches with kicks, and finally blows with balance breaking techniques, dislocations, strangulation, etc., every time in longer and more complex sequences. To properly train chaining techniques you need to recreate the greatest possible realism. To begin with, in the case of contact sports, you get much more in a single session of sparring or training with a partner (focus, paos) that in several shade or sand bag workouts. Our partner or instructor must know how to move about in order to incite combinations (where and how to place the exercise equipment). He should move in a very dynamic and quick way, opening and closing gaps constantly so that we can apply our
chains of blows in the most possible realistic conditions. Also, he should be constantly varying his shifting (attacks, defenses, counterattacks, escapes, circling around, etc.) for us to get used to chaining under all circumstances. In Martial Arts you get the same results by repeating the techniques until they get to flow naturally. In both modalities you can say you dominate the chains when you are able to perform various combinations as if it were one single technique, that is, with no differences or lapse of time between one movement and the next. To achieve this it is very important that the coach or training partner know how to move his hands skillfully, in other words, that possess an extensive knowledge of Martial Arts and know very well the physical abilities of the pupil or companion. In the case of contact sports, what they have to do is incite and provoke those techniques for which the trainee has an innate ease along with those others that he has to improve. Obviously, the more experience of the person moving the mittens, the higher the performance of the workout. We must always remember that every person is different and that the combinations that can work with some may not be suitable for others. Therefore, working mechanically should be avoided as far as possible, i.e., simply memorizing a few combinations and chaining them automatically. Each time a focus is placed to hit there must be a reason: it depends on our companionâ€™s guard, the distance, the type of blow he's just thrown or the one that heâ€™s about to throw, etc. For example: if the trainee is away from us we shouldn't place the mitten so as to tempt him to launch a hook; first we'll place the mitten making him understand that he should shorten the distance with a jab (direct punch with the front fist), while the other mitten must be prepared and in the right position to receive a cross (direct hit with the rear fist) after which we can indicate him to finish the action with a crochet (horizontal hook). Once connected all three blows, either he is forced to side-step (for which the instructor or
partner can throw a blow trying to impact with the mitten) or he must return to the starting position covering his withdrawal with some leg technique. Obviously there needs to be a high synchronization between the two, because once the blow has impacted, the focus should immediately change position depending on the circumstances and the personal way of fighting of each one. Thus, the person who is hitting will make rational and effective combinations according to his own physical attributes. If it is intended to chain punches and kicks in a coordinated way, it is highly recommendable to use special kicking focus, or directly some paos.
WHAT ARE SIMPLE AND MIXED CHAININGS? The concept of gradual training is thus based on two types of chaining: simple and mixed. Simple chaining links similar techniques (same "tools", similar dynamics or trajectory, close targets, etc.), while mixed chaining blends disparate techniques, for example kicking and punching, circular and direct techniques, high and low hits, blows and dislocations, etc. For apprenticeship to occur in a natural way, difficulty level must be graduated: it is convenient to start out by assimilating first the easier combinations, and gradually expand to more diverse sequences, as we explained earlier in this article. Although more complex, mixed chaining sequences are not necessarily higher (in terms of efficacy) than the simple ones. The latter have the advantage that they are more readily assimilated and are more instinctive, which could prove decisive in the street, or in times of great stress, when you can hardly think. Often the simplest approach is the most effective. Mixed sequences instead have the advantage that they are more unexpected and
unpredictable. By varying "tools" (feet, fists, elbows, etc.), trajectories (straight, circular, vertical, horizontal) and objectives (legs, liver, head, etc.), we make things more difficult for ourselves, but we also make them difficult for our adversary. And surprise is essential in chaining strategy. To be effective chaining moves and martial techniques, we must improve a number of physical attributes. In this case we consider as essential the following: strategy, fluidity, shifting, bilateralism, speed, accuracy and power.
STRATEGIC CONCEPTION OF CHAININGS Knowing how to play with the attack levels and mixed combinations is often very useful in combat. But always keeping in mind the tactical advantages that can provide specific combinations of different techniques. For example, a low kick (or a fake threat) is often one of the best ways to force the opponent to drop his guard and uncover his face (this strategy corresponds to the concept of "opening a gap"). Facing this the
best combination is to follow up with a straight front punch to the face (a very fast blow), and, taking advantage of the opponent's stun and slight withdrawal, finish with a rear straight punch, or if the opponent has backtracked significantly, with a high roundhouse kick. This is a concrete example of the strategic use of mixed chaining (kicks/punches, down/up), a very simple and common example, nevertheless it usually works very well. Another common strategy is that of throwing isolated techniques with one same dynamics (for example, straight punches) to force the opponent to cover the center line of his body, and suddenly take advantage of the opportunity that he has neglected his laterals to launch a combination of circular blows (hooks, roundhouse kicks, etc.). Evidently, the variety of combination will depend on the rules governing our martial style, on our knowledge and preferences, on the competition rules, etc. Every martial art and sport have thus their own requirements. Karate seeks primarily speed and "hit", i.e., solving the fight with a single clean and perfect technique. Exchanges are therefore very fast and the referee quickly
separates the contenders. This doesn't give much play to the chaining. In Taekwondo, however, long kick combinations, especially in circular rotation, prevail. Contact sports show also long combinations, most commonly punches, due to the influence of English boxing.
FLUIDITY Another key element to develop our chaining skills is fluidity, naturalness. Learning to apply with fluidness a type of techniques is a long process: first you have to train separately each technique to perfect it, then you have to introduce it gradually in our technical arsenal to finally apply it in combat. Once you have made techniques your own, you flow from one to another unconsciously and naturally, this is the result of practice and experience, so in this field there are only three tips: train, train and train. And under the most realistic conditions. To train fluidity, depending on the Martial Art you practice, gloves are sometimes a hindrance, since they prevent grabbing, attacks with the fingers to vital points, etc. In Combat Arts you train indifferently with or
without gloves, the important thing is to acquire fluidity, independently of the protection you use.
SHIFTING Shifting is, not surprisingly, decisive to the effectiveness of chaining. We must learn to adapt both shifting to chaining (moving fluently depending on the movements of the adversary and the techniques we perform), and chaining to shifting (which techniques are more suitable, depending on the distance and position in each moment of the fight). Many people learn to move and chain in a linear way, forward or backward according to whether they are attacking or defending. This is a too basic outline; real fights are often not linear, since as soon as the confrontation exceeds a first exchange of blows is very usual that turns, changes in direction, rupture of pace, counterattacks, etc., occur. It is therefore essential to learn to chaining in a realistic way, including attacks and defenses, changes in positions, sense of rhythm and other tactical changes. Learning patterns of pre-established long chaining
sequences is of little use, because you can't cover every possible situation. Chaining must be instinctive and natural.
BILATERALISM One element that often disrupts our chaining ability is a defective bilateralism (that is, less ability with the left side, in the case of righthanded people), which can seriously affect the continuity of the combinations. Every practitioner should try to become a "martial ambidextrous", that is, minimize the difference between both sides, in terms of technique, speed, flexibility and power, to the utmost. This is the unfinished business of many Martial Arts fans in general and competitors in particular. A poor bilateralism is shown more often than not especially in combinations of kicks, also on shifting, and manifested significantly hindering our pace and fluidity. There's only one way to balance, which is to train almost double with the "bad" side. Long and hard training, where constancy, as in "almost" everything, will be the key to success. Anecdotally only 1% of the population is ambidextrous,
compared to 89% of right-handers and a 10% of left-handed people, so if you want to start with an extra "advantage" over your opponents there is only one way: to train specially the "tools" of your left side. That's why in Combat Arts, the left side is so thoroughly trained , since you never know from what side you'll have to throw a technique and under what circumstances.
SPEED Another important attribute to effectively achieve chaining is speed. Not only in performing every blow itself, but also in the chaining of a blow to another. Martial artist usually devote much time to training the speed execution of isolated techniques, but not many do the same with respect to the speed of change of a technique to another. We refer to the speed to, for example, change the position of the hip to move from a front kick to a circular, or the speed to withdraw the arm after a punch and thus have it ready for our next technique. Ideally, in chaining, the time between one technique and another must minimized. But it has to be done on a right basis. In most cases we recommend not execute simultaneous techniques. For example, if you have thrown a kick, it's always convenient to rest the foot on the floor before proceeding with a punch (unless either of the two techniques be a simple feint). The power and precision depend largely on stability, if there's no balance, you can hardly be accurate or hit with strength, that's why we insist so much in Combat Arts on the work of positions.
ACCURACY By precision we mean the ability so that a neuromuscular action reaches exactly the desired space-time target; in martial terms, either hitting or grabbing a particular point at a particular time, or as the conciseness or rigorous accuracy with which a technical movement reaches the intended goal or target (either hit, block, dodge, etc.). Accuracy is therefore the result of the combination of two basic attributes: coordination of movements in regard to the spatial accuracy, and speed in terms of time. It is no use throwing a series of techniques, if they do not reach their target. Accuracy
is crucial in chaining, because the longer and more complex it is the sequence, the more difficult it will be that almost all our blows reach their goal accurately, that's why before taking up combat it is essential to train this attribute with paos and focuses as well as with different chaining sequences.
POWER Another general attribute to consider for the training of chaining sequences is power. There are several kinds of power, but for simplicity we will limit ourselves to just two basic types: penetrating and explosive. The first is a categorical or definitive power; by this we mean that its goal is to download all the body weight in the technique. Obviously, the penetrating power should preferably be used in the final technique of the sequence, with which we intend to finish the fight. This is so because after one of this type of blows, in which we unload the weight of the body, it is difficult to link other techniques immediately after, for the reason that whether we have succeeded or failed, we have already broken our rhythm and lost to some extent our body control. Therefore it is better to leave this kind of blows for the end, after a chaining sequence that "opens the way" for us to download them. The rest of the chaining techniques must be carried out with the other type of power, the explosive power. We refer to the "whiplash effect", blows that are released in a relaxed and very fast way and tensing the muscles just at the moment of impact. Evidently, properly applied, such blows can do much harm, because even if they don't bear the full weight of the body, the effect of adding acceleration to flexibility is precisely explosive. And the advantage is that by not involving the whole body in their execution, they allow a greater control and therefore permit to continue chaining other techniques. In short, the ideal in martial terms is being able to finish any confrontation by appl y i ng j us t on e bl ow or a s i ngl e technique. However this is very difficult. Only a few grandmasters are able to do so, the rest of us have to learn to chain techniques to be effective in combat and for that it is essential to improve and work t h e at t ri bu t es we h av e discussed.
Always with the Ochikara, "The Great Strength" (called e-bunto in the Shizen vernacular tongue) or secret wisdom of the ancient Miryoku Japanese shamans, as a backdrop, the author takes us into a world of genuine reflections that are capable to move at once both the reader's heart and head, thus placing him continuously in front of the abyss of the invisible, as the true final frontier of personal and collective consciousness. The spiritual taken not as religion, but as the study of the invisible, was the way of the ancient Miryoku sages to approach the mystery in the framework of a culture as rich as unknown, to which the author has wholeheartedly devoted. Alfredo Tucci, Manager Director to Budo International Publishing Co. and author in the past 30 years of a large number of titles about the Warrior's Way, offers us a set of extraordinary and profound reflections, which can be read individually in no particular order. Each one of them opens up a window to us through which we can take a look at the most varied subjects from an unexpected angle, now dotted with humor now with forcefulness and grandiosity, placing us in front of eternal matters with the view of the one who has just arrived and doesn't agree with the common places in which everyone coincides. We can affirm with conviction that no reader will be indifferent to this book; such is the strength and intensity of its contents. Saying this is saying a lot in a world crowded with collective mangers, interested and behavioral ideologies, manipulators and, in short, spurious interests and mediocrity. It is therefore a text for big souls and intelligent people who are ready to look at life and mystery with the freedom of the most restless and scrutinizing minds, without dogmas, without transient morals, without subterfuges...
Leo Fong On My Friend Bruce Lee. Leo Fong a Chinese American began his martial arts in the 1950's by studying boxing and then in the late 1950's he started into weigh training long before he met Bruce Lee. His good friend Wally Jay and James Lee invited Leo to a annual Luau party that Wally had in Oakland every year as they said there was a young martial artist coming by the name of Bruce Lee who was only 21 years old.
eo immediately being in his 30's said â€œwell how much can a young man like this really know but I'll come anywayâ€?. When introduced Bruce got up and started talking about the classical martial arts not being that much of value as it was like swimming out of water. Later he met Bruce and they became life long friends. Jimmy Lee then invited Leo over the following week to his home where he and Bruce were working out and so Leo went and the three of them would hang around Jimmy's living room while the students trained down stairs. Leo asked Bruce why everyone was fighting south paw and Bruce said because the power hand is closer to the opponent and this is the way he should fight as well. Leo said well not really as I come from a boxing background and my power hand is my left hook. Bruce thought for a second and said well do it your way then. Leo did. Then after the Wong Jack Man fight Bruce had in Jimmy Lee's school he said to Leo that the chain punching of Wing Chun didn't work that well and the next day when Leo came over Bruce was hitting the bag like a boxer but with the right side forward. Later Bruce used to watch tapes of Muhammad Ali fighting but he would place a mirror in front of the projector so that when it reflected on the wall behind him Ali was fighting south paw. Then he noted that Leo was very muscular at the time and he started showing Bruce some of the weight training exercises he used to improve himself and Bruce Immediately picked them up and started working them and the next thing he knew he looked and Bruce had all kinds of Ben Weider Body Building magazines called Iron Man hanging around in a pile. So although Leo does not call himself Bruce Lee's teacher he certainly had a profound impact on the Bruce Lee we all seen in the movies. Leo now at 84 years of age is still training and working on his boxing and kicking skills as well as movie director Leo is an ordained minister and teaches a fitness class to senior citizens. His oldest student is 94 years of age. He teaches chinese exercises mixed with basic exercises
like push ups and sit ups modified for senior citizens. Plus he still teaches seminars around the country where he is in great demand still. But the #1 question he is asked is always to tell his stories of Bruce Lee and Angel Cabales the famous Escrima master who taught Danny Inosanto. Leo was also a good friend of Angel Cabales and many other prominent martial artists in California during the hay day of martial arts including Ron Marchini one of the
west coasts best tournament fighters. In fact both Ron and Leo wrote two excellent books on weight training for the martial arts which are still selling well after all these years. Leo was recently at a event where he was signing autographs and when he looked up there was this huge black guy standing there asking him to sign his book on Power Training for Martial Arts. It was film star Michael Jai White. Michael wanted to personally say thank you to him as it
was his book that started him as a young boy into body building. Leo just took one look at him and said â€œwell it sure did work didn't itâ€?? They both laughed. We asked him to tell us a few of his short stories about Bruce and Angel. Well I remember one time we went to see Hidetaka Nishiyama demonstrate in San Francisco and Bruce watched him kick and was very impressed with his balance and power but criticized him for being so rigid. Then there was the time Bruce called Leo and asked if he wanted to go visit some karate schools in San Francisco with him so Leo went along and took Bruce to his friend Al Tracy's Kenpo school in the South Bay area. They watched for a while and Bruce was not very impressed and when he said so one of the students well why don't you step on the floor and show us so Bruce did and once the guy started to
move Bruce jumped in a started trapping the guy and he couldn't do anything. As for Angel he was one of the nicest guys I ever met in the martial arts and although he was small guy he was also the fastest guy I ever met. He was like greased lightning. Another story favorite of mine about Bruce was when he introduced me to Mito Ueyhara at Black Belt Magazine and got me on the cover of the magazine. After that Mito asked me to write a book on Sil Lum Kung Fu but I told him I couldn't write. He said don't worry about it martial artists don't read any way. We all laughed. So after we did all the pictures for the book we decided to do some explanations of the moves so Bruce and I stayed up all night the night before the final shoot and we worked out all the self defense techniques for the moves. So all the self defense techniques at the end of the book are really all Bruce's moves. Leo said that he recently met Linda Lee at an awards night and we talked about what would Bruce be doing today if he was still alive. Leo said that probably he would have been more into the philosophy and the deeper side of martial arts and Linda said well maybe but the one thing we do know for sure is that he would not be sitting around on a computer he would have been doing something and training some how. They laughed and both agreed.
â€œ Leo said that probably he would have been more into the philosophy and the deeper side of martial arts and Linda said well maybe but the one thing we do know for sure is that he would not be sitting around on a computer he would have been doing something and training some how. They laughed and both agreedâ€?
“TAOWS Academy. Wing Tsun Advanced”. Sifu Salvador Sánchez Wing Tsun is an excellent style of Chinese boxing that permits a lifetime training experience and an integral development of the individual. Its ideas, techniques, philosophy etc , it all belongs to an ancient art and must be studied and understood in its whole. Sifu Salvador Sánchez focusses his second dvd on the wooden dummy and how it influences all of the Wing Tsun practice. Given that the wooden dummy form is taught at the final levels of the actual system of today, most practitioners that leave the system before time don't have the opportunity to know the ideas and concepts hidden within the form, and they cannot incorporate them in their practice. For TAOWS academy it is very important that the practitioner understands what he is doing always and in every aspect, and for this, in this dvd we are going to follow the same outline that we follow in our classes, seminars and training sessions. Our outline follows six steps, the first one is to develop an idea, what we want to achieve. The second part are the forms, Siu Nim Tao, Chum Kiu, Biu Jee, the wooden dummy form, depending on each s level, the third part is footwork, mobility understood. The fourth pillar is Chi Sao, Chi Gerk, stickiness, the soul of the system. The fifth element is non stickiness and no contact, to know what to do in order to reach contact with the opponent in a safe way.
REF.: • TAOWS-2
All DVDs, wichi is produced by Budo International, si provided and alone in the formats DVD-5 or MPEG-2, in VCD, DivX or the like is however neves offered with a special holograma sticker. Besides our DVD is characteristed coverings by the hig quality in pressure and material. If this DVD and/or the DVD covering do not corespond to the requirements specified above, it concerns illegal pirat copy.
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WING CHUN GUNG GUNG FU: FU: The Explosive Art of Close Range Combat
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Sifu Randy Williams’ extensive collection of books on Wing Chun in 6 volumes, the series contains the history of Wing Chun, the theory and description of all Wing Chun forms in detail, Volume 6 is focused on instructing the system and provides additional information about Wing Chun Combat Theory from A to Z! This great work, originally written in 1988 and newly revised and updated is a must for the library of any serious student of the art. You can order the entire series as a set of 6 books, or by individual volume, and the new DVDs can also be ordered individually or in sets directly from us through our website:
1 DVD: CRCA Wing Chun “Biu Jitsu” Groundfighting Contents: The concept of “Reverse Engineering,” Chokes; Rear, Front Standing, “Guillotine,” Head-and-Arm, Side-Mount Shoulder Choke, and many other Groundfighting drills and techniques.
2 DVD set: “Look Deem Boon” Gwun Volume 1 ( 55 min. ) Content: Pole Details, Pole Drills, Pole Footwork, Form Overview, “Look Deem Boon” Gwun Form, 6 ½ Strikes of the Pole, Applications: Pole vs. Pole
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“Look Deem Boon” Gwun Volume 2 (60 min.) Heavybag Drills, Dummy Drills, Two Man Drills, Form overview, Pole vs. Knife
Traditional Martial Arts, Combat Sports and Self Defense Magazine. Free read & download. Online issue. 279 Year XXIII
Published on Dec 16, 2014
Traditional Martial Arts, Combat Sports and Self Defense Magazine. Free read & download. Online issue. 279 Year XXIII