T H E O N LY M A G A Z I N E D E D I C A T E D T O A L L K A R A T E K A
Vol. Vol. 21 21 No. No. 3 3 December December 2007 2007
Sensei Keigo Abe
You Can Always Count on Karate!
JSKAâ€™s Headmaster Visits The UK
Wado Ryu How The West Was Won! To read the Wado Ryu article in full pick up a copy of Combat magazine available from W.H.Smith and all good newsagents
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06 WADO RYU The Definitive History
12 SHOTOKAN THRIVES IN YORKSHIRE! An Interview With Ady Gray 4th Dan
16 STANDARD APPLICATIONS Part 4
22 YOU CAN ALWAYS COUNT ON KARATE! Part 1 - An Interview With Sensei Vince Morris 8th Dan
29 THE AMAZING BLACK BELT CARSON FAMILY 30 THE PRINCIPLE OF PERFECTING PRINCIPLES Bending With The Winds Of Adversity
37 KEIGO ABE SENSEI VISITS THE UK! 39 SSKI VISIT TO BUDAPEST for details of this month’s printed version of Traditional Karate magazine please turn over...
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COVER STORY / WADO RYU THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY
Wado Ryu The Definitive History Part 1 - The Japanese Legacy sei developed Wado-Ryu after studying the martial art of jiu-jitsu, and the martial way of Shotokan Karate. Ohtsuka regarded the combining of these two separate and quite distinct systems as delivering a softer and more natural means of self-protection. The full name of Ohtsuka-sensei’s style is ‘Wado-Ryu Karate-Do’. The term ‘Wado-Ryu’ means ‘way of peace’ or ‘way of harmony’, and this is a kind of mission statement that clearly shows Ohtsuka-sensei’s original intention to use training in Wado-Ryu as a means of solving problems in a non-violent or perhaps least-violent way.
The only difference between the possible and the impossible is one’s will. - Hironori Ohtsuka-sensei
Wado-Ryu Karate is a Japanese martial way (‘do’) founded by Hironori Ohtsuka-sensei in 1934. Ohtsuka-senIf you would like to be featured in one of our forthcoming special feature articles call us now on 0121 344 3737 or visit us at combatmag.co.uk tradmag.co.uk taekwondomag.co.uk
Hironori Ohtsuka was born on 1st June 1892 in Shimodate City, Ibaragi Prefecture, north of the great city of Osaka in Japan. He was the first son of Tokujuro Ohtsuka, a doctor of medicine. Ohtsuka-sensei was first introduced to martial art by his great uncle, Chojiro Ebashi, who began teaching him jiu-jitsu. This marked the starting
point of a life-long fascination with the martial arts. Ohtsuka-sensei started school on April 1st 1897 and he studied Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jiu- jitsu, under the supervision of his father. At age 13 and until 1921, he studied that same style under Shinzaburo Nakayama-sensei, the third Grand Master of that tradition. However - and this is very interesting unlike other schools of jiu-jitsu at the time, Yoshin Ryu included many kicking and punching techniques into its syllabus, in addition to the more usual throwing, holding and joint-locking techniques. Ohtsuka-sensei continued to study the style whilst at Waseda University during the period 1910 to 1917. He studied other styles of Jiu-jitsu as well and was quick to note and incorporate their unique and effective approaches. It was through this open-minded approach that Ohtsuka-sensei learned Castlefields Wado Ryu Karate Club Shrewsbury
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CENTRAL ENGLAND WADO-RYU KARATE ACADEMY
● If you practice wado-ryu/ kai a 1st Dan or above have your own karate club, looking for a great friendly organisation to join, no matter the size of your clubs, Then Cewka could just be the group you are looking to join. ● Cewka will not interfere in the running of your clubs, you will be allowed to do your own gradings without any interference (in line with Cewka constitution) ● We will give you access to CRB check facility. ● We can provide you with full insurance cover for students and instructors. ● You will have access to national squad training, ● access to European and World Wado championships. ● Access to cewka twice yearly championships. ● For further information please contact Tel:- 01902 397650 / 07958 494602 Sensei Stennett Harvey, 33 Burnham Avenue, Oxley, Wolverhampton. WV10 6DX Email :- firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief Instructor Dave Jillings Senior Instructor Kevin Brindley Welfare officer Phil Hale Website: www.chasewadokai.com Email: email@example.com Mob 07946611931 Home 01543-275011
Tuesday Senior Beginners Class 8.00 to 9.00pm Free white suit with membership Darren Reynolds – 5th Dan 01206 863256 07796 950526
CWK are proud supporters of WADO EXL and would like to congratulate Sensei Frank Johnson WWW.KARATEMAG..CO.UK TRADITIONAL KARATE 7
WADO UK Independent Wado-Ryu Karate Do Association United Kingdom The Winning Team
Wado-UK are a dynamic group of Wado-Ryu clubs led by Shihan John Moreton 7th Dan ex-All Styles English International & GB World Championship squad member. ● Wado UK is happy to welcome affiliation from clubs or associations of any size that practise Wado Ryu ● Wado UK have a proven competitive track record with recent success at the WADO EXL 2007 (6 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze) and 4 students selected to represent England at the upcoming Wadokai European Championships in Sweden. ● Clubs that affiliate to Wado UK will be free to practise their chosen style of Wado without interference, subject to our rules and regulations. ● Instructors of 3rd Dan and above are invited to sit on the Technical Committee. ● All clubs have an equal vote on issues ● You can conduct your own gradings subject to our rules and regulations.
Wado UK can offer you ● Membership of the English Karate Federation National Governing Body ● Regular Squad Training Sessions and access to National, International, and World Championship Events for students with sporting / competitive aspirations. ● Courses for Instructors, Coaching, Referee’s, First Aid and Health and Safety all at very competitive rates. ● Licensing and Insurance support and facilities ● Technical guidence within a friendly environment ● Validation and / or recognition of grade (existing grades from reputable sources will be recognised)
So if you would like to affilliate to Wado UK or if you are an established club or group looking for an Association to affiliate to for support that is independent of the 3 main Wado groups, please contact Steve Balaam Read on 07891 456996 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org for further details
COVER STORY / WADO RYU THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY how to use the body’s vital points for both attacking and healing purposes. Ohtsuka-sensei attended the sports festival in Tokyo during 1922 and it was there he first encountered karate taught by a karate instructor from Okinawa named Gichin Funakoshi. Funakoshi-sensei is widely and quite properly regarded as the ‘Father of Modern Karate’. Ohtsuka-sensei, the experienced and knowledgeable jiu-jitsuka, was so impressed with Funakoshi-sensei that he visited him on numerous occasions during his stay. In turn, Funakoshi-sensei was greatly impressed by Ohtsukasensei’s enthusiasm and invited him to become a student. Ohtsuka-sensei graduated from Waseda and subsequently set up a medical practice specialising in martial arts injuries. His continuing training in both jiu-jitsu and Funakoshi’s Shotokan karate-do meant that he was both the Chief Instructor of Shindo Yoshin Ryu Jiu-jitsu and an assistant instructor at Funakoshi-sensei’s dojo by the comparatively young age of 30! In 1924 Ohtsuka-sensei became one of the first students promoted to black belt by Funakoshi-sensei and in 1929 Otsuka organised the first school
karate club at Tokyo University. It was during that same year that Ohtsukasensei was inducted into the Japan Martial Arts Federation. Ohtsuka continued reviewing other fighting arts and ways and just as he had done with his original training in jiu-jitsu, so he continued with karate visiting the mainland dojo of Okinawan Masters Kenwa Mabuni and Choki Motobu. Ohtsuka-sensei’s son Jiro was born February 28th 1934. At this time, Okinawan karate concentrated on basic training and kata, and this led Ohtsuka-sensei to take the view that the art was therefore not embracing the full spirit of budo. Furthermore, he disputed whether kata techniques would actually work in realistic fighting situations! His interest in testing techniques led to his further experimentation with judo, kendo and aikido, and eventually he originated the principles of kumite - sparring into his karate practice. As you might imagine, this ‘improvement’ was not regarded with enthusiasm at the time by Funakoshi-sensei and rather than cause disharmony, Ohtsuka-sensei decided to leave the
Shotokan during 1934 and found his school of eclectic art, which he named ‘Shinshu Wado-Ryu Karate-Jiu-jutsu’. Its recognition by the Dai-Nippon Butoku Kai (Great-Japan Martial Arts Federation) during 1938 came after his demonstration for their high-ranking members who unhesitatingly awarded him the rank of ‘Renshi-go’.
To read the Wado Ryu article in full pick up a copy of Combat magazine available from W.H.Smith and all good newsagents
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YORKSHIRE! An interview with Ady Gray 4th Dan Ady Gray 4th Dan, Started training in karate in 1978 at the age of 7, He has trained under many famous sensei in the UK, Europe and in Japan. The Byakko Shotokan Karate Association (BSKA) of which Sensei Gray is the founder and senior instructor began life with just a couple of students and has now progressed to a student base of over 250. Sensei Gray has produced 9 English bronze medallists, 6 British silver medallists and 1 British bronze medallist.
Sensei Gray your formative years studying karate took place in Gosport, Hampshire. Within the S.K.I (Shotokan Karate International). Can you describe the training you received? ADY GRAY: Back then we had the senior instructor Sensei Paul MacKay who visited the Gosport Dojo as and when he could as he travelled from Poole in Dorset. His teaching was very hard. When we found out that Sensei McKay was teaching, I remember looking at the door at the back of the dojo and thinking “can I get out that door before Sensei comes in the front door”. The club was handed over to Sensei Richard Longdale but we had a few Sempai who took turns in teaching. The training was very strong basics up and down the dojo countless times and quite a bit of kata. It was hard but beneficial to me to have a good grounding in kihon. We also trained and graded regularly with Asano Sensei. I am very proud to have Asano Sensei grade me from 9th Kyu to Shodan.
At a young age you joined the Army. How did you continue your training whilst being a professional soldier? ADY GRAY: I was 16 when I left home and joined the Army, whilst in my army training, karate took a back seat for obvious reasons. I was then posted to Germany where I mainly became a sports soldier; I met John Gilliland in Germany and started to train regularly with him. John was and is still a very good and strong karate-ka. John moved on and I was asked to continue teaching the Club, although I was very young to start teaching I really enjoyed it and produced some very good karate-ka.
You have also trained in Japan, Did you find this inspirational. ADY GRAY: I have been to, and trained in Japan on two separate occasions, on both occasions I trained at lots of different Dojo’s, not just Shotokan. I can’t honestly say I gained much from the experience, and hope this is a good thing, suggesting that I’m not doing too much wrong. The most impressive (and best) classes I attended were With Seto Sensei 6th Dan JKA and also Mimura Sensei , (3 x World kata champion) Technically she was excellent, and despite being injured at the time, still demonstrated kata without fault. Away from Shotokan, the best for me was Yamagichi Sensei 8th Dan Goju Ryu (son of the legendary “Cat”) A small group of us who travelled were honoured to have a private class in his Dojo. I will never forget at the age of 62 he put us all to shame with his movement, Speed and power. 12 TRADITIONAL KARATE WWW.KARATEMAG..CO.UK
FEATURE / SHOTOKAN THRIVES IN YORKSHIRE
IVES IN In 2004 you received the award of “North Yorkshire Sports Coach of the year” This must have been a proud moment for you. ADY GRAY: Yes it was a great honour, and a nice surprise, as most the other nominees were well known media sports coaches. The letters of nomination for me were really nice including letters from Adult and Junior Students, Parents and also local people who I didn’t actually know on a personal level.
What Aspects of karate do you try to emphasise in your teaching and does being a full time karate coach ever become tedious. ADY GRAY: I tend to work a lot on technique and using correct attitude when applying these techniques, I deliberately spend a lot of time on kihon and kata , but kumite is not neglected. Kumite is usually worked directly from the kihon and kata in the lesson. We do have regular squad sessions where we concentrate on competition kumite. I try to encourage students to do karate to improve for themselves and not because there is an instructor shouting and demanding you improve. You should do karate for you. As for teaching full time, I never find it tedious, there is always something new or a different way to teach a technique, my goal is to improve my karate and my teaching, I’m learning when I teach so I never find it tedious or boring; I look forward to every class.
What in your opinion is the relationship between kihon, kata and kumite? ADY GRAY: All the 3 K’s are as important as each other, and interrelated you will have something missing if you skip through any of them. You won’t have good kata without good kihon and you won’t have good kumite without good kata. (Or if you do it could be better.) You can relate alot of kumite technique with kata techniques / movements even if you don’t realise it.
Traditional or Sport karate, would you describe Your Association as being one or the other? ADY GRAY: I would say we are primarily more a traditional group and participate in competition as an extra option and for fun. It’s important to offer the whole package because for all the students that prefer club karate some will prefer competition. Competition can be a good driving force for training Harder and we have had some excellent competition results
Do you have any reservations about competition karate. ADY GRAY: The only reservations I have is when I see students attempting very hard advanced kata when they can’t even punch or Rei (bow) properly. This is the instructors fault. The knock on effect is that some of these instructors think the kata pattern being WWW.KARATEMAG..CO.UK TRADITIONAL KARATE 13
FEATURE / SHOTOKAN THRIVES IN YORKSHIRE the better the standard of the student you train with and I have also made lots of new friendships. In addition to Sensei Hazard and Sensei Otto, we have also benefited from Sensei’s Aiden Trimble, Sugimoto Sensei (4x world kata and kumite champion), and Jonothan Mottram, who has also visited our Association.
Finally how do you envisage the future development of Your Own karate and consequentially that of BSKA?
performed is correct, and then the same instructors become referees and score these attempts at kata as being better than a student performing better kata appropriate to his / her grade. Other students and instructors copy this to have better chance of success leading to a downward spiral and therefore the standard of kata at competition goes downhill.
ADY GRAY: I just want to keep on learning and become the best that I can as a karate-ka and instructor/ Coach. I can only do this by keeping training with the best instructors out there, I will never stop being a student and I learn alot from the great instructors mentioned above .I also attend courses for personal development such as the European summer camp in Germany, where I train with instructors such as Sensei Fugazza 7th Dan and Sensei Campari 5th Dan from Italy. I would just like BSKA keep up its high standards and to keep developing all the time. I’m not really bothered about increasing numbers, just maintaining the quality.
In recent years a bond has formed between The B.S.K.A and legendary karate-ka Sensei Dave Hazard 7th Dan. How important is this relationship to yourself and the Association. ADY GRAY: Sensei Hazard is very important to us both, As the BSKA technical director of karate Sensei Hazard sits on our Dan Grade board, this is of great benefit for both myself and for all successful students who have the recognition of someone who is renowned throughout the world for his karate and his teaching ability. On a personal level I get on really well with Sensei Hazard, he is always there on the end of a phone to offer advice and help in any way he possibly can. I can honestly say I have learnt more from Sensei Hazard in the few years i have known him than I have in the whole of my time in karate. He is an inspiration to me as he is to thousands of others, and in my view “The Best.”
Sensei Hazard represents a very traditional approach to karate, does your association with Sensei Wayne Otto compliment this approach. ADY GRAY: Sensei Hazard and Sensei Otto are very different, but at the same time very similar they both make karate work for the reasons they need it to work, so they do compliment each other well. The courses we have are very different but with their combined experience you can learn so much from these great Instructors. I do find it annoying though, that although we are lucky enough to have these great instructors taking time out to come to our Dojo not everybody makes the most of the opportunity given to them. Karate-ka, are spoilt these days. I can remember when I was young we had one course apart from Asano Sensei, with a guest instructor, and that instructor was Sensei Aiden Trimble (when he was World Champion), I will never forget the course and the experience of training with one of the best.
Your courses featuring Sensei Hazard and Sensei Otto have been open to karate-ka outside of the BSKA, Have you found this to be a positive move, and who else have you had teach at your dojo in the past. ADY GRAY: At first I kept our courses closed to our members only. The thinking being that, since I managed to book these instructors, then only my club should benefit. But, in the spirit of karate, I decided to open the courses up. This has been a very positive move, as you get a lot of good karate-ka attending; this in turn pushes you and the other students by training with unfamiliar people (therefore putting yourself on the line.) You can improve more WWW.KARATEMAG..CO.UK TRADITIONAL KARATE 15
Applicatons Part 4 Turn again. In previous instalments we have looked at the concepts of mindset and physicality (your build) with respect to the applications of Karate movements in general and kata movements in particular. Here we will reanalyse the turns that we take. It is our intention to be able to relate any of the movements to persons of
any build or gender and be able to use the techniques against attacks that might realistically be expected to occur. While we do not subscribe to the idea that you must cognitively know that ‘when he does this, I do that’, it is vital that your training writes your techniques into your hard-drive so that an occurring situation that resembles something you have trained for
accesses those commands in your system that enable an accurate response. Let me just say that again... when you get attacked, what you do will be dictated by what you train for. Shotokan practitioners may be surprised at how few of their kata contain the simple mawatte movement that they make in their basic practice. The mawatte may be shown to receive an attack from the rear. Yet your awareness would have to be very good to react in this way, and if it was that good then you probably would not react in this way. Simple mawatte can be shown to do this: (pics1-4)
We can see that the attacker is in close and has begun to grapple. We use the ‘seize the initiative’ idea to bring our body into contact and throw our back leg across and our arms manipulate the opponent’s neck to cast them on the floor. Note that in the picture the defender is leaning to help the attacker to the floor instead of just chucking him. Performing basics you don’t lean because you need to exercise less care for the attacker. Working with a training partner and doing neck manipulations should never be done harshly or there will be legal issues around your training and you won’t have a partner any more. It is important when using turns as throws that certain principles be adhered to. * The thrower’s hip should be lower than that of the person they are throwing. The thrower should not leave any gap between themselves and the person they are throwing.
16 TRADITIONAL KARATE WWW.KARATEMAG..CO.UK
FEATURE / STANDARD APPLICATIONS - Part 4 Pic 5
* The thrower should execute the throw in a vigorous way (be careful in practice). * The person being thrown should be put through as many different angles as possible - you can resist a push in one direction, maybe even two, but three directions/dimensions becomes a huge problem to resist. * As groundwork is safest in the ring, it is more important to retain your own balance and posture than to follow the attacker to the ground.
The brain-stem twist buys us enough time to bring our body into direct contact, and taking a large step to the left (in this example, and in the kata) produces a hip that the attacker can be directed over the top of. Remember that for most people balance is lost as soon as the head is no longer over the hips.
A good strong front leg prevents us from falling, even if the attacker retains their grip on our lapels. If a follow-up strike is necessary then the kata advocates a straight punch, and we can see that the chudan (middle level) punch is actually to the attacker’s head or throat.
Some styles practice a form of mawatte that takes the front leg across instead, indicating that they wish to be ‘off-line’ from someone stood behind them. (pics 5-7) This is, of course, fine logic. We retain the use of the moving the back foot across as used for throws, and as a reminder that even an attacker behind will have made some kind of attachment (they grabbed you) before you turn. If they were going to hit you then the chances are that they just did!
Turns like the first turn in Kihon kata can be shown to do this: (pics 8-11) The attacker has grabbed you by the lapels. Fearing that he may head-butt or knee you, you need to turn his attention. By pulling on his elbow in a direction across the body, we alter his balance to prevent kneeing. By raising one hand above his arm and across his face (maybe strike, maybe push, the severity depends on the severity of the attack) we cause him to look away and not be able to nut so easily. WWW.KARATEMAG..CO.UK TRADITIONAL KARATE 17
The first turn in Kihon kata is, of course, the first move. It’s not too much of a leap to use the same mechanics for the second turn in Kihon kata, either. (pics 12-15) The difference between this sequence and the straight mawatte is the extra effort created by throwing the front leg behind you. This enables you to use your legs more to generate the power of the throw and relies less on the strength of your arms. You might go so far as to say that the hips and body do the work and all the hands have to do is to stay attached to the attacker. The third turn in Kihon kata can be used the same way: (pics 16-18) We might look at a single grab. It might come from the side. Imagine that we have been having words and you have turned to leave. The attacker doesn’t want you to leave and is about to escalate the situation by grabbing you to strike you. Now you must act. Using the elbow to crash
into the attached hand doesn’t rely on the strength of the arm, but rather on the movement and direction given to the hips. Note that once the hand is attached to you we actually want to keep it there so that the attacker can’t use it to strike you. Big turns, such as those after the kiai can be shown to do this: (pics 18-22) Taking a movement after a kiai, we in the OCI like to think that the opponent/attacker has already been struck, and that the next movement is used to dispose of them. Here you can see that body is used as the fulcrum to throw the attacker over, where the long stance is again used to keep our balance. And don’t think that it relies on gedan barai, either. Have a look at these shuto variations and uchiuke variations that make use of the same hip movement. (pics 23-31)
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We can take the shot to be injurious strikes or manipulations of the opponent’s balance. In each case it is a flinch reaction to a realistically expected attack that leads our body to react with a learned technique that has become second nature. There are, of course, many more variations on turns, and I handle many of them in my books Peaceful Mind (the Heian kata), Fortress Storming (Bassai Dai kata), and the DVD range on kata application. It is a fair comment that turns may exist in kata to enforce a geometric shape onto the form, thereby making it easier to remember. You will rarely find a string of more than 7 techniques before there is a turn. This is because you tend to have a problem remembering more than 7 things in a row. In these cases, turns occur as punctuation; turns exist to begin a new mnemonic for the brain. The point of the above applications is that turns don’t have to be just turns. As I have said, though, as long as people want applications to kata Pic 18
FEATURE / STANDARD APPLICATIONS - Part 4 Pic 18
movements I will offer usable solutions to them.
In part 5 we will take some of those strange ‘ready positions’ or ‘preparatory positions’ and show how they can be used practically. Thanks to Paul Wilson who was coerced into taking part in the photos. John Burke is available for seminars at your dojo. He will teach kata bunkai or pressure points tailored to your requirements. Books and dvds are available from www.thebunkaiguy.com and seminars can be booked on 01626 360999. Pic 23
WWW.KARATEMAG..CO.UK TRADITIONAL KARATE 19
WADO - RYU
KARATE THE COMPLETE ART UNCOVERED
236 pages! 17 kata in full!
1,100 photographs! 1-10 Kihon Gumite!
Wado Ryu Karate, The Complete Art Uncovered, is the most comprehensive book ever published in English on the Art of Wado-Ryu. The book has 236 pages and includes more than 1,100 photographs, 17 Katas in full, 1-10 Kihon Gumite, advanced fighting techniques, kneeling and sword defence, speed, reflex and power training, basic moves, history, vital spots, exercises, knife and many other aspects of this fascinating Art. Its author Frank Johnson trained in Japan with the founder of Wado-Ryu Hironori Ohtsuka and was editor of Wado-world magazine. Frank has a unique insight into the Art of Wado-ryu Karate and this book is a must-have for any true Wado-ryu enthusiast. This amazing book is selling at only £29.99 plus £3.50 P&P (UK) which includes all deliveries by recorded, 1st class mail.
WADO - RYU
KARATE FIGHTING TECHNIQUES UNCOVERED ● ● ●
162 pages! The most complete book ever published on Wado-Ryu fighting Techniques! Includes Makiwara training tips
‘I have put all my heart and soul into the book, including many techniques I have never seen in print. I wish to give a complete picture of the Art as i can. In the words of Master Ohtsuka, the secret of Karate is looking for the secret.’ This amazing book is selling at only £21.99 plus £3.50 P&P (UK) which includes all deliveries by recorded, 1st class mail. To order your copy of either of the above books, simply fill in the order form below and send it together with your chosen method of payment. Please send me ___ copies of Wado Ryu Complete Art Uncovered: Please send me ___ copies of Wado Ryu Fighting Techniques Uncovered: I enclose Cheque/ P.O.order/ Cash/ Visa/Access/Am.Ex. details. Please make cheques payable to MARTIAL ARTS PUBLICATIONS LTD Access
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Stephen Thompson Proudly Presents...
THE ULTIMATE MARTIAL ART BUSINESS SEMINAR Is it possible for a single school to gross over £30,000.00 in one month every month? One man does, and has done it for years. For the first time Stephen Thompson, owner of a chain of schools in the UK is sharing his PROVEN strategies and reasons why his schools are one of the highest grossing in the UK.
What can S-M-A-R-T do for you? There is no better job out there than being a Martial Arts Professional. Teaching martial arts has always been a passion for me. As a younger man competing was everything. I could not wait for the next tournament to come around. In my tournament career I have travelled all over the world, but I do not want to bore you with that, I just want to assure you, I am a real martial artist. I Love Martial Arts and what is had done for me and my family. I always wanted to teach full time, and tried. My first clubs went well, apart form, of course summer, when things would slow up, and I was back doing my trade, being a poor carpenter.
I have had a decade of building systems! You see there is not one system out there that tells you what to do from the start, well, there is now. Over one weekend, I am going to tell you how I run my schools and how I have been so successful.
What will you learn? If you are thinking of opening a school, or if you have one already, it does not matter. The systems that you will learn on the seminar are the same ones that my staff use every day to generate £30,000 a month from one location. In actual fact you will be able to see the schools in action if you wish to visit one of my locations as a V.I.P. I will even share with you the running school numbers!
“Martial Arts should not be about making money” I have heard this so many times, and you know what, I was once like that! But the gift that God gave me was the ability to do martial arts. It just made sense to me. But I can tell you, having to put my hand in my pocket to pay for hall rent because I did not have enough students to pay it, hurt more than any punch or kick I took on the mat. If you have been in Martial Arts for any length of time you will probably have seen some great martial artist. But all to often, these people had to stop teaching because they could not afford to carry on. I believe martial arts is a wonderful sport and has so much to offer everyone, so this is why my martial art schools must run at a profit. This way I can make sure they stay open, and I am giving a great career to my instructors. Whether your goal is to build a massive organisation, or just to make sure your school is paying for itself, do the S.M.A.R.T thing, and ask for more information.
Instructors = £45K a year? My Instructors wages, that’s right not the owner - the instructor running one school Listen. I know you can go along as you are, hey, who says I have something better than the next guy. BUT, you have to wonder, if you had my systems; systems that work; that have enabled me to grow from 1 school that was out of a church hall twice a week, to now running 4 full time locations with hundreds of students.
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You can always count on Karate! Part 1 - An Interview with Sensei Vince Morris 8th Dan In April 2007, Shaun Banfield of The Shotokan Way was lucky enough to conduct an interview with one of the foremost authorities in British Karate. Now living in the US, Sensei Morris continues to be a leading figure in his field, running his own organization Kissaki Kai and taking Traditional Karate to new heights. He also has been busy teaching in Police Academies in a number of countries and heads the Law Enforcement Training Services International organization. Can you please start by telling us a little about how and why you first got started in karate? VINCE MORRIS: I didn’t originally intend to start in karate, as it had never even been heard of when I started training. At the age of about 9 or 10 years I began training in Judo. My first judo instructor was a European silver medalist, Dennis Penfold, and it was a very tough dojo near the Portsmouth docks and received visits from naval and merchant seaman, including many Japanese judoka. When I was about 15 I ran away from home to London to join a Rock and Roll band and tried to continue my judo training with a well-known judoka, who had just returned from some years training in Japan, Charles Mack. However, when I arrived at his dojo, it was to find that due to an injury he had received just before he returned to the UK, he was not teaching judo, but a new art to me, karate. He had also studied this at the JKA and been awarded nidan. So there I was, a judoka of some years experience suddenly immersed in Shotokan karate. Some time later when I went to Nottingham University I entered Asano Sensei’s dojo, where I remained until he asked me to leave.
So you began your Martial Arts training in Judo. Has that had any major impact on your karate? VINCE MORRIS: As I said, my first years of training were strictly in judo and it has been a great help to me. Initially in the timing of my footsweeps, but in the last 20 years or so it has been an inestimable help in analyzing and understanding the bunkai of kata. For example it enabled me to see, where there were many throwing, striking and locking techniques, which, without the judo background, I might not have recognized. You are a long-term student of Asano Sensei. How would you describe his classes when you were first introduced to his karate? VINCE MORRIS: My first words would be: ‘frightening’, ‘very, very hard’ and ‘confrontational’. Asano Sensei, not long out of Japan, tasked with establishing a strong honbu dojo, taught in exactly the same way he had been taught at Takushoku University and the JKA. He had established an awesome reputation in Japan as a fighter, twice winning the Japan all-student champs and twice being made captain of Takushoku. He was a big man - bigger than me, and the first time I met him, he knocked me unconscious with a mawashi geri to the head. That seemed to set the pattern for the next few years. The atmosphere of his training sessions - especially the Friday night class, was so intense, that many of the black belts changed their mind about training when they heard sensei’s footsteps and hid in the toilets until he went down to the dojo. Some would even wait in their cars in the parking lot and when they saw sensei’s car arrive, they would drive off. Personally, I dreaded every Friday night and I knew sensei would take me out for kumite and keep me out there until I became asthmatic and almost unable to move. Of course, I could have asked to stop or I could have simply stayed away, but I did neither, because if I would have done, he would have beaten me. And how was his extreme approach viewed by his seniors and peers do you think, and have you witnessed this kind of extremity elsewhere in karate? VINCE MORRIS: Hmmn, that’s a difficult one as I have no way of knowing what goes on in other people’s heads. But from observation it seemed to me that Asano Sensei was always somewhat distanced from the majority of other senior Japanese instructors; he appears to have been very much the loner. I certainly believe that Enoeda Sensei established just as severe a regime in the early days. It is my belief that as these instructors were pioneers in a new country they had no option but to develop a dojo full of strong fighters, who would establish their reputations. So at least initially they were very little concerned with those that fell along the way.
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FEATURE / VINCE MORRIS
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You enjoyed a successful competitive career, who were your major peers during your competitive years? VINCE MORRIS: I wasn’t that successful, I was lucky to be in teams with some extremely good members (Aidan Trimble, Mick Hufton, Roy Harrison and Paul Mead over the years) and we either won or were runners up in quite few championships. I was also never the most technically gifted fighter. I was simply very aggressive and won many times with foot sweep and snap punch techniques. As someone very interested in Kata, was kata always of such high importance to you even during your competitive years?
How do you think Asano Sensei instilled fighting spirit in his students? What were the main methods he used? VINCE MORRIS: Did sensei Asano instill fighting spirit in his students? Yes, indeed, in some, but he broke many others on the way. How did he do it? He did it by continually refusing to give an inch in his training. If you turned up in the dojo you were expected to give 100% each and every time. He forced you to make the mental and physical commitment to keep going through anything. Perhaps this is why, in my 63rd year, I’m still training. Who else during your early training years inspired you apart from Sensei Asano? VINCE MORRIS: Nobody inspired me. I was simply challenged by my weaknesses. Of course there were many people I admired in the martial arts, and still do, but I was always well aware that I was me. I could never be another Bruce Lee or a replica of Asano. The challenge was (and still is) to be the best Vince Morris.
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VINCE MORRIS: No. I found it repetitive (obviously) and I saw no purpose to it, except as stamina training. It seemed to bear no relationship at all to what we did during the rest of the class. It would irritate me if (as a logical thinking person, at this time teaching at university level and with many years of karate experience) I was supposed to find the answers to my questions by just training harder! Asano sensei would often castigate me for asking too many questions. It became a gradual dawning awareness through training with sensei and many other high ranking Japanese instructors that they had no answers to give. As few, if any of them had anything more than a rudimentary grasp of what the katas were actually teaching. Sorry, if this upsets anyone, but this is the truth. In fact, when Asano sensei did the first videos of his katas, he astonished me by going through all of the major ones first slow then fast and at the end turning to me and three others (Roy Harrison, Paul Meade, Aidan Trimble) and saying ‘you do the bunkai.’ As a researcher, I was puzzled by the paradox of the weight of importance placed on kata by the old masters such as Funakoshi & the little relevance that kata seemed to have in normal training.
FEATURE / VINCE MORRIS Is it because of this paradox that you have devoted so much time to making kata better understood? VINCE MORRIS: In one way yes, of course. Master Kenwa Mabuni, probably the most knowledgeable kata exponent to have ever lived, stated in 1934: “In karate the most important thing is kata. Into the kata is woven every manner of attack and defense technique. Therefore kata must be practiced properly, with a good understanding of their bunkai.” This was a puzzle, because at this time in my own training, if anyone had suggested looking at kata as providing techniques of self-defense, they would simply have been laughed at. The fact is kata, as I said before, seemed to have no relationship to kumite and I felt the need to solve this riddle. Once I had begun to understand the depth of knowledge contained within the kata, then, to continue to train almost blindly, ignoring this knowledge, itself became nonsense. You have also written a great number of books. Have you always been an avid writer? VINCE MORRIS: No, I’ve always been an avid reader and in the university environment one has to be able to write effectively, but many years ago I felt like a voice in the wilderness when I tried to reveal the importance of bunkai in kata to a largely unbelieving world. However, to me the martial arts need to be built on the bedrock of truth and reality and I believed that I had something important to say. It is very clear through looking at your written works that you are very interested in kata application. When applicating karate kata, what do you think are the most important principles to keep in mind? VINCE MORRIS: My views are probably so well-known here, that this could become boring. The fact is kata reveal principles through techniques. The techniques themselves are almost of secondary importance, which is why you can frequently find the same principles being demonstrated in different kata by different techniques, thus exemplifying master Funakoshi’s statement, that if you understand one kata, you understand them all. However, saying that doesn’t help, if you do not know what the principles are and how to apply them. This is exactly the same as having to know and apply the rules of grammar in order to speak a language correctly. Realizing this, I analyzed and wrote a book about the rules of combat; Principles, which apply in any armed or unarmed confrontation and which need to be understood and applied in order to make the techniques effective. Some of the principles of combat are: - Awareness, distraction, optimum positioning, understanding the enemy (physically and mentally), unbalancing, using the vital points, never stopping until it’s over, never giving away intention, never fighting at the speed of the enemy.... the list goes on. Being aware of the rules, however, is not the same as being able to apply them. For that you need to fight from a different stance and from much closer range than most karate-ka are used to and understand that the variety of techniques available are much more varied. You mentioned the importance of understanding the enemy both physically and mentally. What do you think are the most important things to understand about your opponent?
VINCE MORRIS: You cannot isolate just one element as being more important than any other. It is necessary to consider a whole range of aspects. For example, the weight, size and strength of the attacker, with or without weapon, drunk or sober, evidence of drugs, number of attackers, availability of help, your own mental and physical condition. Then we come to more particular matters, such as: Is the attacker right or left handed? ... the list goes on. In what ways do you think the mental state of your opponent is important, and can you give us an example of how you can exploit the opponent’s mental state? VINCE MORRIS: The mental condition of anyone attacking you is of course important as it can determine the ferocity of the attack. Therefore it is vital to assess the mindset of the assailant prior to the attack as it may serve to help you decide the levels of force necessary in your defence. For example, a staggering drunk will not require the same level of violent response as a raging, homicidal crack addict. A point to remember is that in the Rules of Combat we emphasize the use of distraction techniques before counter-attacking. This could be done in many ways from shouting to spitting, kicking, slapping, asking the time and so on. If you are going to get just one chance to survive you need to weigh the odds in your favor any way you can. You also mentioned optimum positioning; can you please tell us a little more about this and what examples can be found in kata? VINCE MORRIS: Basically you can be either inside the attacker’s arms or at 45 degrees to his centerline on the outside of either his left or right arm. The latter (outside position) is the better position to be in simply because it makes it impossible for him to hit you. The techniques from the outside therefore can be aimed WWW.KARATEMAG..CO.UK TRADITIONAL KARATE 25
at arm, leg and side-of-the-head points from which it is easy to bring the attacker down and control (and handcuff) him. This 45 degree move is frequently found in the kata. Sometimes, however, it is impossible to gain the optimum position and because of the inherent dangerousness of being in range to be struck by any or all of the attacker’s weapons, it is extremely important that your response stuns or disables the attacker immediately. This (inside position) demands faster, more powerful techniques right from the beginning than does the outside position and is frequently typified by multiple strikes: Opening moves of Heian Nidan, Nijushiho etc. And which of the above do you think are the most neglected in many Shotokan classes you have witnessed? VINCE MORRIS: All. (that’s a joke). It’s not my place to tell others what they are doing wrong. I simply want to offer them the chance to see for themselves and make up their own minds, but anyone reading this can ask themselves, how much of this do we do in our own training? With Sensei Aidan Trimble you wrote the ‘Karate Kata Applications’ Series. Aidan Trimble is a very popular karateka and instructor. What is it about him that makes him so popular and made you want to work with him? VINCE MORRIS: Aidan is a brilliant karate-ka. He came to Asano’s dojo at a very young age and immediately impressed me by his tenacity. He turned out to be one of the most physical-
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ly gifted karateka I have ever known, plus he is a very nice man and I’m proud to call him a friend. You are the Chief Instructor of Kissaki Kai Karate-Do. What are the primary principles behind this organisation, as it is not a standard run of the mill group, am I right? VINCE MORRIS: It certainly isn’t run of the mill and frankly, it isn’t for everyone. The basis of Kissaki-kai sounds quite simple; it is to put back all the powerful and effective techniques that sports karate took out. In practice however, this means completely revising the methods of training to move away from the commonly perceived Japanese type training with the emphasize on zenkutsu-dachi and ju-dachi and into a much closer ma-ai (fighting distance). It also means doing away with 5-step sparring, which only teaches you to go back in a straight line (a cardinal error in real life!) and 3-step sparring, in exchange for fast attacks from within touching distance. In one sense it means that although it might be satisfying to kick over someone’s head, it is no longer necessary to do this in order to be effective in combat. This means that the participatory life of a karate-ka is lengthened as an older martial artist can be equally as effective as a young one in a face-to-face situation. The variety of techniques in Kissaki-kai that are actually practiced is much greater. It is necessary to practice elements such as choking, joint locking, throwing and vital point striking, which are simply not catered for in the sporting system, but which are fundamental in a complete martial art.
FEATURE / VINCE MORRIS
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AMA Amateur Martial Associations
AMA is the largest Martial Arts Organisation in the British Isles. It is the Governing Body for over 6,000 clubs and 150,000 members. Most of these have been with us for over 32 years. We must be doing something right! Join the AMA now and get the best national and international recognition, the best access to courses and competitions, national and world-wide. Over 32 years experience of growth. Whatever the size or style of your group or club you are welcome in the AMA. We are here to serve you.
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FEATURE / THE AMAZING BLACK BELT CARSON FAMILY
The amazing Black Belt
Carson family A full-house of black-belts was attained by the Carson family when young Thomas Carson (9) passed his black-belt, making him the youngest black-belt in the Association and one of the youngest Shotokan black-belts in the country. There cannot be many families of five where all the members are Shotokan karate blackbelts. The Carson Clan, (as they are affectionately known) all train at the Seishinkai Shotokan Karate International honbu dojo in Hemel Hempstead with their instructor, Malcolm Phipps 7th Dan and worldwide Chief Instructor to the Association. Mum and Dad hail from the North-East and Jarrow to be precise but have lived in Hemel Hempstead for the last twenty-four years with all three boys actually being born in the Hemel Hempstead area. First, there is dad, Jeff Carson who is currently a 3rd Dan. He is one of the most senior sandans in the Association and although his competition record is not as impressive as the rest of his family, this is only due to him being that bit older. He has competed for the Association and is an excellent allrounder but now in his mid-forties devotes his time to refereeing and of course training. Sue Carson is the mum of the family, who is currently a 2nd Dan and also in her mid-forties. She also has competed in quite a few Association events and has won the ladies Shotokan Shield on two separate occasions. If Sue misses a lesson then something is drastically wrong! Their oldest son, Douglas Carson (18) is a 3rd Dan and is the current IKA Kumite World Champion, a title he won in Sardinia in 2005. This was an excellent result as he came up against many great fighters from, Russia, Armenia, Italy to name but a few, in the half a dozen fights he had to win this prestigious title. Soke Tak Kubota 10th Dan and Chief Instructor to the IKA was extremely impressed with Douglas’s performance at these championships and asked to have a photograph taken with him and the other two winners from SSKI (see photograph). Douglas has taken many titles in all competitions, as his record below shows and is one of the most successful cadet fighters in the country. Next up is Ross Carson (16) who is currently a 2nd Dan and also a fine rugby player. He spends a lot of his time training and playing for a top rugby union team in Hemel Hempstead and won the Coaches Player of the Season in 2006/7.
He also took many excellent karate titles before his rugby career took off. Finally, there is young Thomas Carson who has just passed his 1st Dan, making up the whole family of five black-belts. Thomas loves all types of competition, whether it be kata or kumite. As his record below suggests he is another excellent all-rounder and has taken many great titles. He is most definitely a name for the future. Between them they have won countless trophies and titles and as their instructor Malcolm stated, ‘They are a credit to the Association, to me personally and to themselves. They train so hard and very rarely miss a lesson. There are no weak links in this family, as they are all extremely good all-rounders, not just on the competition mat but in the dojo generally. I am extremely proud of them all and we have all become great friends over the years.’ If you would like to join SSKI as a club or individual, please ring Malcolm on 01442 266048 or email at, phipps@ globalnet.co.uk and ask for details. The Association has clubs throughout the South of England and in ten different countries abroad. *Below are first places only. The Carson Clan has taken so many 2nd and 3rd places, we would need another page to fit them all on. Thomas Carson 2007 Legend Open junior kata 2007 Legend Open junior kumite 2006 Shobu Ippon junior kata 2006 Shobu Ippon junior kumite 2005 Legend Open junior kata
2005 2005 2005 2004
Shobu Ippon junior kata Shobu Ippon junior kumite SEKU Portsmouth Open junior kata SSKI novice kata
Douglas Carson 2006 SSKI Nationals mens kumite 2006 Legend Open cadet kumite 2006 Shobu Ippon cadet kumite 2005 SSKI Nationals mens kumite 2005 Legend Open cadet kumite 2005 SEKU Portsmouth Open cadet kumite 2005 WTKO UK cadet kumite 2005 IKA World Championships (Sardinia) 16-20yrs cadet kumite – IKA World Champion 2003 SSKI youth kumite 2002 SSKI youth kumite 2001 SSKI youth kumite Ross Carson 2005 Legend Open boys kumite 2003 Legend Open boys kumite 2003 FEKO Open boys kumite 2003 FEKO Open boys team kumite 2001 SSKI boys kumite Susan Carson 2005 SSKI Shotokan Shield – Ladies overall winner 2000 SSKI Shotokan Shield – Ladies overall winner Jeff Carson No 1sts. Came 2nd/3rd in SSKI Nationals mens kumite once some time ago! SSKI Referee
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The Principle of Perfecting Principles Bending with the wind’s of adversity Part 2 - By Chris Denwood In part 1 of this article, we discussed in depth about the idea and importance of principle based training. Now we will expand this idea further, answer some of the questions that have already been naturally raised and explain how this strategy can be implemented into your everyday training. All of the genuine training in karate is derived from the kata. If we look more closely at the fundamental techniques in karate, it is my suggestion that these are essentially a physical method of being able to repetitively develop the principles contained within them. The key here lies in the principles rather than the actual techniques. I like to think of our common basic
techniques as being the founder’s way of best expressing those principles in ‘formal’ action. Remember that without a physical technique to exist in, principles hold no form at all. We have to think about what’s inside the technique in order to make the repetitive training of it worthwhile, since many of these don’t (at face value) indicate any strong practical benefits. For instance, who in their right mind would ever use the technique of junzuki (as it’s commonly performed and understood in kihon) in a live fight? Only the most brave or brainless I’d expect! But let me ask you this question in another way - how many individuals would use the principles gained from practising the
Fig 4a & b: The classical technique of ‘Junzuki’, along with a typical adaptable application,... 30 TRADITIONAL KARATE WWW.KARATEMAG..CO.UK
technique of junzuki in a live fight? If you study the concepts contained in this seemingly impractical technique, a whole range of useful elements can be extracted and adapted to increase your overall ability to apply functional movements. This is of course only if you have an open mind. In reality, this is exactly what karate demands and is what I believe makes the art so special. Among other things, practising junzuki repetitively and with the right mind (one that assesses principles) can actually teach us about balance, co-ordination, weight distribution, movement, creating energy, transferring energy, stabilisation and efficient motion, which I’m sure you’ll agree are critical in becoming proficient in self
...which incorporates the principles learned in kihon.
FEATURE / THE PRINCIPLE OF PERFECTING PRINCIPLES - PART 2 defence. It no longer has to be another ‘boring technique used only to pass grade examinations’. Just by changing your thought process and methodology, junzuki has become a technique with extremely beneficial characteristics. Not only that though, you are also now able to see this and adapt the lessons learned in other aspects. As an example of this and to extract yet another principle from Junzuki, I would like to look at the very common motion of hikite (pulling hand). Over the years, this movement has been literally scolded by the uneducated, in sharing the common sense argument that pulling the hand back to the waist in a ‘real’ combat confrontation would simply be suicide. To start with, I completely agree with this statement and I will raise my hand and admit to holding the very same view before my engagement into more committed research. Most of us who choose to look a little deeper now understand that the practice of hikite in kata or kihon can be viewed as a ‘repetitive training method’. By constantly practising the motion of hikite, we are being physically conditioned and reminded of the fact that there is a large advantage to seizing and pulling an attackers limb, in order to control, nullify the potential hazards, obtain clear strike paths, create reference points or increase the net effect of your transmitted power. This is only applicable of course, if you physically train with this concept in mind. Otherwise, the practice of hikite as a discrete technique alone will still reduce it to a practically useless motion. Nevertheless, hikite in one form or another can be found extensively in all martial arts that serve to improve any form of practical combat function. Wing Chun, Tai Chi, Kali, Jujutsu, Aikido, Ninjutsu to name but a few, all apply a similar approach in their fighting strategies. Karate is certainly no different. The close fighting distance (Maii) we are faced with during a real physical encounter severely limits our ability to respond to visual stimuli. In these situations we have to utilise our tactile awareness and responses further. This is where hikite can help tremendously. This shows that how we think about certain aspects of the motions (by breaking techniques down) will greatly influence our individual progress and positive interpretation of all our techniques in karate. By looking at the concepts behind a particular technique, we can start to create the ability to use them elsewhere, in a much more fluid way. The ‘hikite’ example above for instance, is a great illustra-
Fig 5: The use of ‘Hikite’ to ensure that both upper limbs are used positively.
tion. How simple is it to add a pulling action to your in-fighting repertoire? The technique is so versatile that it can be used almost anywhere. Why do you think that 90% + of karate techniques employ this type of double action with the limbs? This is however only one example of a common principle in karate. There are a great many more however, which cater for various different physical and mental elements. When studying kata bunkai (the analysis of the forms), it’s imperative to pay particular attention to how the body moves during a specific technique or sequence. Analysing the forms effectively and in line with the underlying principles of the art will take your focus away from the actual techniques performed strictly as part of the kata (ohyo) and enable you to express the concepts learned in many other ways (henka). As an example, if a particular technique in a kata applies a
hooking strike against a double grab for instance, what would you do in a realistic situation if your opponent becomes too close for the technique to work effectively? The answer would undoubtedly be to modify your technique accordingly (therefore bending with the winds of adversity). If the opponent becomes closer than your initial technique will allow for, it would prove far more effective to use a shorter-range technique such as an elbow strike. In this case however, the body mechanics (or principles) remain exactly the same, only your choice of ‘artillery’ would differ to accommodate that specific situation. This is still very much within the realms of the kata theory (since the application of the ‘motion’ is identical) and shows a useful product of sound, open-minded bunkai. By simply equating to the hooking strike itself as shown in the form, you are severely limiting the effectiveness and efficiency of the general movement in an ‘adaptable’
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rather an indication of just how diverse one simple motion in karate can be. This is of course, if you decide to take off the blinkers and think outside the box.
Fig 6a, b, c & d: Adapting identical...
...situations -’putting different bullets...
combat situation. When teaching this notion more recently, one of my students expressed this really well by saying that it’s like “putting different sized bullets into the same gun”. I didn’t want to steal this excellent quote, so thanks Dave! This way of thinking can be applied to any movement within the kata. Likewise, it also helps to ascertain the very important notion of a single technique being applied in a variety of different ways. This is extremely desirable in a ‘live’ situation, since the presence of increased adrenaline will seriously hamper the ability of your mind to scrutinise many techniques in order to find the correct one. By equating to the broader (gross) motions, you can adapt many different
...body mechanics for varying...
...into the same gun’.
applications around a more ‘manageable’ number of general body mechanics. If we practically analyse the movement of ‘soto ude uke’ for instance (commonly referred to as ‘outer forearm block’), we can generate many more diverse applications. In ‘modern’ dojo, the technique is taught as a simple block against a middle level punch. If we look at the actual body motion however, which is to move your arm from the inside to the outside of your body (wado ryu version), a whole new level of understanding can be gained. Consequentially, soto ude uke can also be used as a strike, a choke, a hair pull, a wrist manipulation or to hyper-extend the opponents arm. This is by no means a comprehensive list of applications,
32 TRADITIONAL KARATE WWW.KARATEMAG..CO.UK
The labels given to each technique in karate has caused a great deal of fundamental confusion. Most if not all of the terminology we use today, is primarily based on Anko Itosu’s ‘modification’ to karate for its inclusion in the Okinawan education system in the early part of the twentieth century. It is known that Itosu altered various movements in karate to make them both easier and safer to be taught to youths and the mass public. We know that certain movements in the original kata were modified, the pinan kata were constructed and that many of the original hand positions were changed to the all too common fist (seiken). In addition, it’s a comfortable assumption that the ‘modern’ techniques taught were given names, relating to the ‘safer’ applications that Itosu would have led his younger students to believe were applicable. When you look closely, I believe that the way he done this was quite ingenious indeed. We cannot forget the fact that Itosu was a well-respected and capable karate master. I doubt very much that he would have altered the system in such a way so that any practical application could not be re-generated, since above all else, karate is first and foremost perceived as a civilian fighting system. To make karate available to the masses and for the art to survive into the future, its intent would have needed this shift to become safer and more generally accepted. Itosu was the pioneer of this process and completed his intentions successfully. On the other hand, I think to alter karate so much that its original purpose could possibly be lost forever would have been a notion simply unacceptable to someone like Itosu. The true applications for any movement will undoubtedly become well hidden when your thoughts are simply directed elsewhere or you are taught a completely different way of expressing a technique. Itosu obviously knew this very well and used it to great effect when ‘disguising’ the more devastating movements and principles. The term ‘soto ude uke’ is commonly defined as ‘outer forearm block’, however as we have just seen, the movement itself can be expressed in many more ways than a simple block. In actuality, the word ‘uke’ does not mean block. In aikido circles for instance, the word is used to describe the receiver of a particular technique. A more thorough meaning for the
FEATURE / THE PRINCIPLE OF PERFECTING PRINCIPLES - PART 2 word would be ‘response’. Therefore, calling the technique an ‘outer forearm response’ opens up the mind to the realisation that the movement could in fact be adapted to suit a variety of situations, not simply a block. This of course applies to all the other basic ‘blocking’ techniques. In fact, consider for a moment the following fundamental techniques: age uke (upper level response), soto uke (outer response), uchi uke (inner response) and gedan uke/barai (lower level response/sweep) or otoshi uke (dropping response). It is certainly no coincidence that these techniques prescribe the gross movements of the limbs in all four general directions using the centre of the body as a source (upwards, downwards, inwards and outwards). Correctly understood kihon training will help us not only to perfect the principles underpinning each movement, but also how to apply power correctly in order to augment these motions. Once this is learned, bunkai (analysis) can be used to apply these motions in many different ways. All of a sudden, the most basic techniques in karate, which are viewed by many as being highly unfeasible in a realistic situation, have become many devastating movements that hold their true strength in their simple, but effective adaptability. Indeed, it would be quite possible to dedicate a whole book on the malleability of these simple techniques alone. In fact, the much-respected Rick Clark has done just that with a single technique in his superb text, ‘75 down blocks’. This particular work is a fine example of just how much can be gained from the ‘proper’ understanding of that which you learn. If so much can be gained from only one motion, how much learning do we have in our whole art?
Some have been and can only be made apparent by many years of correct study. Likewise, some can only be removed by sincere dedicated effort. The goal that we hope to attain will not be (as many of would like to believe) sitting there waiting for us at the end of our journey. For a start off, can we even point to our end? We need to do what we can with full resolve and try to come to understand the very process we take. This will make sure that our goals are never really far away. It’s therefore important to learn and teach our art using the principles it contains. The journey itself, the learning of the principles, will enable us to see the attainment of adaptability. By taking the right path, we can ensure that karate is allowed to evolve as it should, is able to ‘bend with the winds of adver-
sity’ and as a result, the art will surely become personally your own. Master and slave will then become two halves of a single coin. Thanks for your time in reading my thoughts. I hope that you’ve found them useful. Chris Denwood is the Chief Instructor of the Eikoku Satori Karate-Do Kyokai (E.S.K.K), a small, recently formed group dedicated to the research and practice of what he has termed, ‘adaptable karate’. In addition, he also works as a Senior Instructor for the British Karate-Do Chojinkai, one of the most successful associations in the U.K. To find out more about Chris’s approach to karate, you can call him on 07801 531 914 or visit the club’s web site at www.eskk.co.uk
Fig 7a, b, c & d: A number of applications...
...to demonstrate the ‘adaptability’ of the...
...single technique ‘soto ude uke’...
...Note that both upper limbs are always ‘live’.
To summarise my article on the consideration of equating to principles, I decided it fitting to share my rather odd comparison that I like to use between the study of karate and the simple act of peeling an onion: “An ordinary onion can be held in a single palm, but within its humble size, it contains many numerous layers. Once we peel a layer from the onion, another one presents itself immediately. The more layers we peel, the closer our goal becomes. It is only when we finally get to the centre, we find that the end is nowhere to be seen, there is no purpose present at all, and in actual fact, the goal was ironically, the removal of the layers themselves.” In karate too, we all have layers to peel in order to progress our understanding. Some are physical; some are mental.
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TOURNAMENTâ€™S & COURSES / KEIGO ABE
Keigo Abe sensei
visits the UK! T
he JSKA(Great Britain) played hosts for a week to their headmaster, Keigo Abe sensei 8th Dan, Chief Instructor to the Japan Shotokan Karate Association.
The courses were run in the Manchester area in the west and the Lincoln area in the east and Abe sensei was assisted by the JSKA-GB Technical Director Charles Gidley 7th Dan and the JSKA-GB Chairman George Carruthers 7th Dan with over 300 students and instructors training with Abe sensei during his time here. During the courses Abe sensei covered the concepts of go-nosen (taking the late initiative), tai-sabaki (swivelling) and senno-sen (taking the early initiative) working on the importance of good stances and posture in all techniques to ensure proper delivery and stability. He emphasised the need to ensure all blocking techniques should be based on the area chosen to block e.g. chudan blocks should block chudan, where the fist lies in line with the solar plexus and not the shoulder. His teachings covered the concepts that all techniques should be light and natural until the point of impact where kime is brought to play. This ensures speed of delivery and solid controlled contact with the opponent. He then covered the brown belt kata of Bassai-dai and Jion where the concepts taught in his kihon teaching were utilised in the kata movement, blocks and strikes. The JSKA-GB were honoured to be taught by Abe sensei who is one of the most senior Shotokan karate-ka alive today. His teachings reflect his 35 years as a JKA honbu instructor and one of the few who could claim to be a direct student of Masatoshi Nakayama. A formidable fighter in his younger days, his reputation as an instructor in Japan is such that he is the only Shotokan stylists ever to have performed before the current emperor and only one of 10 karateka ever to have refereed in front of him, both are seen as a great personal honour
by the Japanese people. The JSKA-GB would like to thank the visitors who attended the courses and extend their best wishes to Abe, Gidley and Carruthers sensei for their time and knowledge and congratulate those who have attained their JSKA dan grades; Godan: Fred Jones, Alison Grundy, Albert Timothy, Steve Palmer and David Grice, Sandan: Antony Davy and John Robins, Nidan: Darren Payne and Lee Power, Shodan: Dave Hall, Samuel Browne, Hannah Richards and John Simmonds, with a special mention to sensei Marc Leacock who successfully graded to Rokudan and has since been asked to join the JSKA-GB executive. We look forward to seeing you all at the JSKA World Championships to be held at Manchester Velodrome, August 22-24, 2008, an ippon shobu tournament open to all traditional Shotokan karate-ka. The JSKA-GBâ€™s list of senior instructors currently include: JSKA-GB Shihankai 7th dan Charles Gidley, George Carruthers and Ged Moran 6th dan Marc Leacock 5th dan Fred Jones, Alison Grundy, Albert Timothy, Steve Palmer and David Grice
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SHOTOKAN Practitioners/followers HISTORY IN THE MAKING
To mark the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the first karate organisation in Great Britain COMBAT is proud to announce the reprinting of Dr. Clive Layton’s classic work, SHOTOKAN DAWN. SHOTOKAN DAWN charts how Vernon Bell introduced karate to Great Britain in 1957, with the founding of the British Karate Federation, through training with the infamous Tetsuji Murakami and the arrival of JKA Shotokan instructors, to the formation of the KUGB nine years later. SHOTOKAN DAWN comes in two, high quality paperback volumes and contains 225 historical photographs. The text is astonishingly detailed with many good stories. is also delighted to announce the publication of two BRAND NEW titles by Dr Clive Layton
DAWN I SHOTOKAN 95 £21.
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SHOTOKAN DAWN SUPPLEMENT is a true companion book to Shotokan Dawn and adds highly significant information that was previously thought lost. This book, which should be read in conjunction with, or after Shotokan Dawn, is an absolute MUST for all those who have enjoyed the original work. Newly discovered photo’s are also published for the first time. £19.95
SHOTOKAN HORIZON In a series of interviews shortly before his death, Vernon Bell, the founder of the British karate movement, described, in some detail, what he taught his earliest students, before his encounter with Master Tetsuji Murakami, in Paris, in August 1958. Shotokan Horizon, therefore, is concerned with the karate that Bell learned from Henri Plee and Hiroo Mochizuki, whilst under the auspices of the Yoseikan dojo, in Japan. The book thus concentrates on the period 1956-1958 and makes for a truly fascinating read.
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TOURNAMENT’S & COURSES / SSKI VISIT TO BUDAPEST
SSKI Visit to
t the end of March and the beginning of April, Sensei Malcolm Phipps 7th Dan and Sensei Kevin Thurlow 5th Dan, the SSKI Chief Instructor and Deputy Chief Instructor respectively, visited the Hungarian branch of Seishinkai Shotokan Karate International in the beautiful city of Budapest. This was the first trip to Hungary from the worldwide Chief Instructor and the visit would consist of two seminars and a Dan Grading. The plane from Luton Airport was on time and we were met at the airport by the Chief Instructor and President of SSKI Hungary, Sensei Zohner Szilard 5th Dan and his lovely wife Ildiko. After exchanging greetings and a quick coffee we were shown to our hotel, to prepare for the early start in the dojo the very next day. The first seminar was at ten o’clock on the Saturday morning in the Performing Arts building in Budapest, and after meeting the students, Sensei Phipps started the first session in earnest. The students had already been warmed up by Sensei Santa Tibor and were ready to go. The first session consisted of different kumite techniques, first with three opponents, then with two and finally with one. The attackers came in from all different angles and this involved punching and kicking attacks and the defences and counter attacks required for these techniques. One of the main points of the counter attacks was spinning, first with uraken uchi (back fist strike) and then with ushiro-geri (back thrust kick). These proved to be very popular with the students, which were mainly senior grades and indeed adults. The next part of this session was to be aimed at improving stances. First, there was a zenkutsu-dachi (front stance) routine, then a kokutsu-dachi (back stance) routine and finally a multikicking routine. Each of these were like mini-kata and the students picked these routines up very quickly, until Sensei Phipps put them all together, but again these superb students mastered these routines very quick-
ly and made the whole seminar extremely worthwhile. In this first session Sensei Phipps, was ably assisted by Sensei Thurlow. This seminar lasted for two hours and then there was to be a three-hour break before the second seminar, which would be followed by the Dan grading. And so it was off to lunch to sample the local Goulash, which was out of this world. We were then taken on a whistle-stop tour of certain parts of this stunning city and landed up on a hill that overlooked the two parts of the city, Buda and Pest and the beautiful River Danube that parted them down the centre. This was an absolutely awesome sight and one that would stay in the memory forever. After another brief café stop it was back to the dojo for the second session. Again the students were warmed-up and ready to go and Sensei Thurlow took the first half of this session. Sensei Thurlow worked on the timing and kime of techniques and the common weaknesses of zenkutsu-dachi. Sensei Phipps took over for the second half of this session and worked on empi-waza (elbow techniques), where he first taught the movements of the six, basic empi-waza of Shotokan and then put them into a kumite routine that also involved all six. This was followed by a kata (empi-waza-no-kata) that also involved all six elbow strikes. This second session by both instructors was very well received and it was obvious that the students had thoroughly enjoyed training with these two very efficient instructors. At the end of this session both UK sensei were presented with presents and thanked for their teaching in the Budapest dojo. The Dan grading followed and after a very thorough grading, two students passed their shodan grading in style, with one sadly not making it this time. The two successful participants were, Barabas Zoltan and Szephegyi Gabor. Congratulations to these two new shodans. One student, Santa Barnabas also passed his first kyu examination.
in a traditional Hungarian restaurant with nearly all of the local students. The next day was taken up by a sightseeing tour of this beautiful city. We were taken just about everywhere and nothing was too much for Sensei Szilard and his wife Ildiko. The stunning church in the centre of the city, The Basilica of St. Stephen is worth a trip to Budapest alone. I have never witnessed such a stunning building, outside and inside. Sensei Szilard and Ildiko then disappeared into a local bookshop and presented us both with beautiful books on Hungary, which they both signed, thanking us and reminding us of such a wonderful time in their lovely country. At one point of this quick tour we were driven about fortyfive kilometres to a stunning little village, Berkenye for lunch, and again sampled the local Goulash and a very powerful herbal, alcoholic beverage, Unicum. This little drink blew your socks off! And Sensei Szilard insisted we downed it one. What followed was a lot of spluttering, coughing and drying of eyes! Sadly, this whistle-stop visit was drawing to a close. We arrived back at Ferighy-1 Airport, via the football ground of Kispest Honved, which was the first club of Sensei Phipps’ favourite footballer of all time, Ferenc Puskas and many of the Hungarian Golden Team of the midfifties. Showing his age again. Absolutely nothing was too much for our wonderful hosts, Szilard and Ildiko. I would just like to thank them both and their students for such a wonderful trip. Here’s to the next time. In actual fact we shall meet again at the WUKO World Championships in Torrent, near Valencia in Spain in June of this year. Can’t wait!
It was then back to the hotel for a quick shower and then out again for a superb meal WWW.KARATEMAG..CO.UK TRADITIONAL KARATE 39
Published on Dec 23, 2007