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5-17-07 Leyn Burrows Karate
 

A lot to try to remember and document, all seems to run together. There were three of us at the workout last night, me a two Masters. Although Bruce calls himself a political Master, long story. We warmed up for twenty minutes alternating between test form Sanchin and a called out combination of four hands and feet techniques. There were only two interruptions for deep breathing exercises, and we only took one and two breaths respectively.

There were no other Katas, Kumites or bag work performed. The class theme was using Kata techniques creatively; for example, Closed Gate. We/I normally think of Closed Gate as the ending of Sanchin and a showing of peace, control and preparedness. Leyn demonstrated Close Gate as a Uechi self defense technique to disarm a thrusting sword. The Closed Gate is implemented as a continuation of the second technique of Seirui, the double clamp block. Picture this: facing a sword wielding opponent at a distance of 4 to 6 paces; your opponent thrusts the sword at your chest. You pivot to the outside of sword arm while sliding in toward your opponent. Using your arm that's outside of the sword wielding arm, you perform a slight up block, almost a wrist block, but using your forearm. You then perform the Seirui clamp block (reversed if doing it from the left side, left arm becomes the top arm). You follow the Seirui block with the Closed Gate technique, pulling down into Sanchin, twisting the top arm down, and stepping through your opponent. If you didn't get stabbed, you probably disarmed your opponent and performed a take down.

Another self defense maneuver, with additional counter techniques, was taken from Kanshiwa (more visible from the Bunkai), the club attack defense. We've/I've always emphasized attacking the club wielding shoulder. Leyn emphasized a hard Shuto to club wielding wrist, along with the hand to the shoulder (right if club is held in right hand, left if club is held in left hand). In addition, a forearm/elbow strike (of the the hand that goes to the shoulder) is applied to the chest/neck area.

Circle Blocks with different grabbing locations were shown and practiced. We performed a left Circle Block on a left punch. But instead of completing the circle, and grabbing the arm; the Circle Block hand goes to the opponent's belt on the side of the block, grabbing the belt, pinning the opponent's arm against your body. You are then able to step through your opponent, placing reverse pressure on the opponent's shoulder joint; enough for a tap out, take down, and/or dislocation.

Another variation of the same Circle Block; but following through grabbing the back clothing of the opponent with both hands clamping the arm between the Circle Block arm and the arm the comes over the top in a Serui clamp block technique.

We pounded a hand held Makawara. Which brought up a discussion of correct fist, wrist, and arm striking positions. But first there was a discussion about closed fist striking, particularly Secans. Where did they come from? Not China, was answered. How many Secans are performed in the original Kata? None, was answered. Got me thinking. The lesson was: if you're developing proper technique to increase the power of your strikes, you need to have weapons that will deliver that power without them breaking down. Thus, the practice of hardening the hands and feet; and the strengthening of the fingers, toes and wrists. The alternative is the open hand strikes: Bushkins, fingertip flicks, Shutos, ridge hand strikes, etc. Which can be more effective than Secans; and less injurious to you.

More discussion on the study and practice of Uechi. Leyn gave props to the founders and developers of Uechi, for being able to build a foundation (Sanchin) and expand on it to the intermediate and advanced Kata, without compromising the foundation and always being able to trace the advanced techniques back to the core. Another eye opener.

Further discussion on what it takes to be a Master. Leyn grouped Buzz Durkin in the category as both he and Bruce began name dropping. I agreed, although, after I was given the criteria it takes to become a Master, I knew I was agreeing using false knowledge, or just guessing. Albeit good guesses.

They both asked where I wanted to go with my Karate. I was flattered and told them I had goals of achieving Godan, never dreaming I would reach Yondan. I told them I didn't just want to achieve Godan, I want to deserve being promoted to Godan. Meaning I want to have exceptional technique and understanding of the technique. I questioned whether my commitment, especially the amount of practice time, was enough. And after a three plus hour workout, Leyn said all you need is twenty to thirty minutes to work on corrected techniques, remembering the incorrect way as a means of reference.

There was more discussion on testing boards, Ryoko Tomyose, differences between Black Belt testing from Shodan to Godan versus Sixth Dan and above (simply achieving First to Fifth Dan is based on what Karate has given you; Sixth Dan and above is achieved based on what you have given Karate).

This class went three and a half hours, with all of the discussions and questions. I didn't get back until 2:30AM.

Good stuff.

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