Archive for category Okinawan Karate
Perhaps you’ve seen the movie, Equilibrium. Great movie, with a ‘gun kata’ in it.
Interestingly, I ran into a fellow one day, and we started talking, and we got on the issue of mechanics and martial arts and gun control. There were some interesting points made, and I’ll tell you about them right after the video.
He described gun control the exact same way I was describing martial arts.
And we were both surprised, because other people don’t understand these types of physics.
A physics apart, and i had run into one of the few people in the world who could understand, and had even made inroads, into the physics behind everything.
I’ve seen them in Golf (probably got me started, my dad taught me gold and we had all these mags every month, and in the mags were geometrical renderings of swings and things.) A fe other plaes, but in all places only in bits and pieces.
It seems that the world can only see in pieces.
Anyway, it was interesting.
The Gun Kata.
It’s all he same if you can only put the pieces together.
Check out my further thoughts on the matter of Karate at Monster Martial Arts.
To practice this you should loop it and do it in sequence maybe ten times. Don’t do it just once, keep doing it.
Concentrate on the moment of focusing energy down, and letting yourself float sideways to the next position. Have the differences between these two things firmly in your mind.
Have a partner and mirror each other. Critique each other, and get lower and longer and more explosive. Be twins in motion and structure.
Practice just standing in the horse stance (called Kiba Dachi in Japanese). This is called Horse Meditation, and if you can hold the pose for just five minutes, you will have an immensely strong stance, and you will be generating tons of pure, raw power.
Above all, do it every day.
And, most important, look for applications,a nd practice those applications until you can make them work against anybody, and in situation or environment.
Remember, when you do the horse stance you are gripping the ground, enabling yourself to move over slick surfaces, and this could mean on wet grass, oily cement, or even through puddles of blood, and yet still hold your balance and footwork.
Drop by my site, Monster Martial Arts, and check out Temple Karate. I’ve got ten forms plus the one you see on this page, fully broken down and set for combat.
You see, the idea is to get more weight in a smaller area.
If you swing a mallet with a big head, maybe three inches across, you are putting weight to nine square inches. So if you put ninety pounds into your swing, and you get ten pounds per square inch. This dissipates the force, spreads it out, and weakens it. You swing a screw driver, and maybe put only thirty pounds in it, but the force is into an eighth inch square. That means 64 times 30 pounds, and you are striking with 1920 pounds per square inch!
That’s why a screw driver penetrates, while a mallet flattens.
Now, you think there would be more to it than this, and, you’d be right. You see, time also enters into the equation, and you’ll find that this has a lot to do with a punch.
The longer the amount of time a fist is in contact with a target, the more some of that weight will go back up the arm.
So, if you punch somebody and the punch is a thrust, and travels through, and is in contact with the striking surface (his face) for a long time–let’s say a full second, which is not real, but it is a good number to illustrate what is happening–then one second times 60 pounds of weight equals sixty pounds of impact.
But if you are in contact for 1/2 second, 1/2 times 60 = 120 pounds of impact! And if you get down to 1/8 of a second, then you have 1/8 times 60, which equals 480 pounds of impact! The force of the punch, you see, has less time to travel back up the arm, and more weight is left in your poor opponent’s ugly face!
Now, that is the physics, and that is the secret of the hardest punch in the world. All you have to do is understand these physics, and then do the exercises in The Punch (a book I wrote) and your punch is going to be able to knock down a freakin’ elephant! The physics are the secret, you see, but they are just the start. There is so much more to them, and so much you can do with them, once you understand them and what you are trying to really do with your punch. So check out The Punch at Monster Martial Arts. You’ll be glad you did.
So many systems, which one is right? Which one is the Real Karate?
Well, let’s see. The Americans created their versions from Japan, for the most part.
The Japanese created their versions from the Okinawans, for the most part.
The Okinawans created their versions from the Chinese, for the most part.
Hmmm. Could their be no True Karate?
Well, there is, but it is not what you think. See, if you render Karate into simple moves based in physics, then you end up with MAtrix Karate, and from that one could extrapolate all versions.
That’s right, Matrix Karate isn’t a version. It is the scienctific breakdown of all Karate systems, and the result is something slick and sweet and easy to learn.
Don’t believe me?
First, check out the video right below. It shows me dissecting Pinan Five, maning sense out of a form that people say you have study for years to understand.
Next, head over to my site and take a free lesson. See if what I say is simple and easy to do…and makes sense. If it does, then you know you’re in the right place. The name of the site is Learn Karate Online, and it is the home of Real Karate.
Here is what Leo DaVinci said (from his notebooks) about the perfect shape. This would be the ‘Vitruvian Man.’ In looking over these figures I find myself less than perfect, and some things can’t be corrected. At any rate, it does some wonderful food for thought as to what type of karate you should study, what your ideal shape is for the martial arts, and so on.
‘The length of a man’s outspread arms is equal to his height.
From the roots of his hair to the bottom of his chin is the tenth of a man’s height; from the bottom of the chin to the top of the head is one eighth of his height; from the top of the breast to the roots of the hair will be the seventh part of the whole man. From the nipples to the top of the head will be the fourth part of man. The greatest width of the shoulders contains in itself the fourth part of man. From the elbow to the tip of the hand will be the fifth part of a man; and from the elbow to the angle of the armpit will be the eighth part of man. The whole hand will be the tenth part of the man. The distance from the bottom of the chin to the nose and from the roots of the hair to the eyebrows is, in each case the same, and like the ear, a third of the face.’
This descirption does give me some problems. the main one is that I’m balding, so I either need to grow my body, or shrink my head. Hmmm.
Anyway, here is a further breakdown:
You should be
seven heads high
three heads shoulder to shoulder
four heads hips to toes
one head from tips of fingers to wrist
one head top to bottom of buttocks
two heads tips of fingers to elbow.
So, get out the measuring stick, measure your head, and find out if you are in perfect shape. Don’t be worried if you aren’t exactly in shape, Leo is said to have altered his measurements to suit his sculptures.
If you really want a perfect body, lean in muscle and able to move like lightening, you might want to check out Yogata (The Yoga Kata), it is Yoga designed by a martial artist for Martial Artists. Pick up a free book on the home page of the site.
Tekki Kata, also known as Haihanchi, is one of the best forms in all the martial arts. Many people refer to it as The Iron Horse. As this name indicates, it is a horse stance form, and the karateka moves from side to side while performing it.
The power generated by this Okinawan Karate form is absolutely awesome. The deep stance works the legs, and the tan tien starts to pump up, and one feels the chi power course through the frame almost from the get go. It is usually taught around black belt level in systems such as Kyokushinkai.
When I first learned Naihanchi I would practice while facing a partner and having ‘kata races.’ We would mirror each other, and go back and forth, building our speed and perfecting our moves. Eventually, we would find a harmony of motion that one will not see in many martial art patterns.
When I asked my instructor about it, he said it was designed for fighting in rice paddies. The footwork enabled one to grip the ground no matter how muddy. The sideways motion paralleled the earthwork in the rice paddies, where other foot patterns would result in loss of footing.
As my studies continued I came across the concept that the form was designed for riding a horse. Even if a warrior lost his weapons while riding a horse, he could keep fighting while gripping the horse with the leg strength built up by the form. I found this a fascinating notion, but it didn’t ring quite true.
In time, I happened across the book ‘Shotokan’s Secrets,’ written by Dr. Bruce Clayton. The good doctor claimed that the kata were actually designed for actual fighting in the Imperial throne room of old Okinawa. This theory at first seemed odd, but the more I thought about it the more sense it made.
Imagine the scene: invading troops attempt to capture the king of Okinawa, and the front row troops use the movements from the Pinan forms (Heian katas) to create confusion. Meanwhile, the advanced bodyguards move sideways across the back of the room while the king is hustled through a rear door and to safety. This theory not only made sense when analyzing the specific movements, but in the historical and psychological sense, too.
What the truth is will be debated as long as Karate is taught. Of course, it doesn’t matter as long as that fabulous form generates good, old fashioned ‘chi power’ by the bushel. Call it Naihanchi, Tekki, or just the Iron Horse, this is one Karate Kata that is good for the ages.
On of my favorite kata was Kima Chodan. It has several other names, Tekki, the Iron Horse, and so on. It was also the favorite of Giochin Funakoshi, he spent ten years playing with it.
The reason it is so great is that it is a power form. Getting low in the horse, stepping back and forth, just powers up the tan tien like nobody’s business.
One of my favorite things was to face a partner and mirror the form. We would race, find harmony, critique each other endlessly. A mirror that actually talked…how cool was that, eh?
For those who would like to go extreme, it’s fun to put a heavy weight vest and go crazy, or to hold dumbells and go crazy.
After a while the power jacks up, you start feeling like nobody in the world could stop you, and man, ain’t life a hoot!
Anyway, here’s my version of it. I learned it forty years ago, and I haven’t tweaked it much, so it’s a pretty pure version. Comes not through the Japanese lineage, but direct to the Okinawa Masters who taught Gichin Funakoshi. If you want to learn more about the old Karate forms surrounding Kima Chodan, or Tekki or the Iron Horse or whatever you call it, check out Temple Karate at Monster Martial Arts.
What does a Karate Kata mean? It’s a dance, it’s a book of techniques, it’s a method for controlling and teaching large numbers of people without the need for data. It’s zen, it’s one thing at a time, it’s a belt arrangement system.
It’s a recent invention that dates back two thousand years…and it shows you exactly and precisely and where to place them clodhoppers you call feets. It’s data arranged out of order in a set sequence. Whatever they are, do them long enough and you will know Karate.
Well, maybe. Maybe not. After all if Gichin Funakoshi is to be believed, Karate is changing and changing…here is his direct quote.
“Hoping to see Karate included in the universal physical education taught in our public schools, I set about revising the kata so as to make them as simple as possible. Times change, the world changes, and obviously the martial arts must change too. The Karate that high school students practice today is not the same Karate that was practiced even as recently as ten years ago [this book was written in 1956], and it is a long way indeed from the Karate I learned when I was a child in Okinawa.”
The classical Kata attributed to Gichin Funakoshi are called Heian. This writer learned, from a lineage other than the Japanese, Karate forms called Pinan. And there were distinct and stark differences between the two.
The Heian are violent, forward stancing, explosive, in your face, one punch one kill. The Pinan have focus in the fist, work out of the more defensive back stance, modify the explosion exactly to the work being performed, are subtle and polite, and believe in getting along with your fellow man.
Of course, my bias holds, the Pinans are better. They were created before the young turks of the Japanese college system altered them for tournaments and power and fighting and power and glory and power and…well, power. The Pinans were created before lust was in vogue.
Of course, that said, this writer’s bias taken into account, one can modify the forms back to the way they were. All one has to do is adjust the angles and modify the mind. Ahh, modify the mind…perhaps it is not possible…but one can hope.
If you would like to view the original Pinans, maybe even take a free Karate lesson, try Learn Karate Online.
Karate Secrets, eh?
Sort of interesting, you hear about secrets, but, when you get there (black belt?) you find there aren’t any.
You find that water is wet, rocks are hard, and life goes on.
And the real martial arts secrets deal with things like geometry and math and…school stuff.
Well, you actually start to apply basic physics to the body, and you find the good stuff.
I’m not going to go deeply into this, because I don’t want to give away the store. You’re going to find the answers on the Matrix Karate Course, or the Master Instructor Course.
But, the universe is based on the square, the triangle, and the circle.
Karate happens to be the square. It creates the base, the foundation, and a rock solid platform to build all arts on.
Unfortunately, people tend to look for the secrets, instead of building the foundation.
That said, when you do Karate you should be looking for ways to apply a triangle, perhaps to angulat the stance a bit, that sort of thing.
And you should be looking for places where the circle exists, in the performing of a block, smoothing out the edges of a punch.
So the secret of Karate is to simply sink your weight into the stance, learn how to generate the explosion of the tan tien, study how the body moves, and keep doing it until you…transcend. Until you slide a bit out of the body, until you see energy, and can appreciate it, and even start to use it. At that point you can shift arts, but you shouldn’t until then, or you won’t really see all the glorious karate secrets, and the martial arts secrets, sitting in plain sight for all to see.
Goju Ryu Karate is the invention of Chojun Miyagi. That’s right, all you Karate Kid Aficionados, there really was a Mr. Miyagi. Interestingly, however, the real Mr. Miyagi was not a Karate purist.
I’ll tell you about this after the video.
Most people think of the founder of an art as pure, he studied only one style, and never dabbled. This is because of the true believer mentality inherent in many people who learn one thing, and hold to it as the most important thing ever learned in the history of mankind. The founders of martial arts systems, however, are a varied bunch; Aikido, Kung Fu, Taekwondo or whatever, the founders invariably studied many arts before settling on the method they thought was best.
Miyagi’s initial training in the martial arts was under Ryuko Aragaki. a neighbor of his, who was considered quite the fighter. Miyagi must have done well, for Aragaki introduced him to his teacher Kanryo Higashionna. Miyagi had 3-5 years of martial arts training at the time.
For thirteen years Miyagi studied with Higashionna. Higashionna was considered to be one of the foremost Karate men of the time, and he was renowned for his Sanchin Kata. He was fond of standing and letting up to four men push on him, and holding his ground.
After thirteen years Higashionna died, and Miyagi decided that to move on in the martial arts, he would have to study with the people who trained his teacher. Thus, he made the pilgrimage to Fujian province in China, where he studied Shaolin and Pa Kua Chang.
Now Miyagi was accomplished in both hard and soft style martial arts. He returned to Okinawa and taught his system, eventually choosing a name from the bible of Karate, the Bubishi. The name was goju–’hard/soft.’
The Gojo system is thus based on hard karate, but illustrates a development of hard to soft. There are hard blocks, and yet there are drills and concepts which take the student into the softer aspects of the martial arts. Being a full bodied martial art, the style became one of the few Karate styles to rival the mainstream karate of Funakoshi.
In the final assessment, Goju is a strong system. It has resulted in the systems of Jundokan, Meibukan, Shorei kan and isshinryu. But the strength of the system lies not solely in Karate, but in the strivings of a man to understand both the hard and the soft, and who then formulated the Goju Ryu Karate System. If you want to learn the truth about Karate, check out Matrix Karate at Monster Martial Arts.