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