Make it yours. Kanei Uechi told them at
a seminar, although this style of karate is named after
the Uechi family, they were to make it theirs. There wasn’t
a lot of philosophizing last night, but it was still exciting.
To start, we did each kata twice, once with a count and
once without. Then we moved right into a 3 person Seisan
Bunkai; yes, 3 person. This is where Leyn began to show
how you make the karate your own.
Oh yeah, in between the kata and bunkai
we did a 3 person semi-Chinese (we only hit each arm once
instead of three times, both arms/each person) arm pounding
The Bunkai wasn’t like a multi-person
Kanshiwa Bunkai, as it maintained its formal 2-person sequence.
With Bruce on one side of Leyn and me on the other; Leyn
would stop at the appropriate place in the Bunkai and face
the person whose turn it was to provide the Bunkai’s
attack. Leyn pulled out each defensive technique and provided
multiple alternatives. For example, right off the bat, instead
of the standard palm/heel strike on the chest grab with
the crescent ridge hands to the ears, Leyn used the back
of his wrists to block down and then immediately applied
a double spear hand to the throat; or, the Closed Gate technique
blocking down on the chest grab and immediately if not sooner
a double fist to the chin; or, a double shuto to the chest
grab’s wrists followed by a finger strike to the eyes.
Moving on, as he faced my direction, where
the bicycle bushkins are used to block straight punches,
Leyn used an inside wrist block on the first secan followed
by a hook punch to the head off of the same hand, following
through with an elbow strike to the jaw.
I can’t remember what was done on
the crane stance, pull down, knee strike. But the three
step bear hug defense was all about feel. Neither Bruce
nor Leyn let themselves get hugged. Leyn showed a couple
of variations to the groin strike, the first being a full
shuto right to the groin. The second was grabbing one of
the bear hug arms, dropping into a horse stance and pulling
the attacker over on a take down.
Leyn showed the double shoken pull in and
toss move emphasizing the tucked under Sanchin stance.
The Sword attack/defense was done with a
wooden Samurai sword. I suggested that Bruce make his attack
from a right Sanchin as he was too close to Leyn attacking
off of his left foot. Bruce suggested that it would be a
stupid Samurai who used this attacked, and proceeded to
thrust the sword at Leyn. Who, in turn, blocked and grabbed
the sword with his right arm and hand, pinching the top
and side of the sword with his fingers and thumb and locking
his arm into Sanchin. Bruce suggested that he would just
draw the sword back. But Leyn countered by following the
sword to Bruce. They both agreed that the defender would
receive some damage.
There were alternatives given for the hammer
strike, the front kick, the knee strike and the spear hands.
But the exciting part was when Bruce introduced the old
left Sanchin sliding punch right front kick take down defense.
He said they used to do it (his dojo still does) after the
knee strike and before the circle block spear hand techniques.
It was something that filled in for the three Sanchin thrusts
after the knee strike. I can see why it was eliminated.
If you don’t have a rubber mat floor, then there could
be a lot of injuries from that take down.
As usual I objected to all the modifications,
suggesting that performing the standard curriculum techniques
over and over allowed you to perfect them. This wasn’t
met with jeers and name calling, as you may have expected.
It was handled with lots of analogies; this one from Bruce:
you play the piano, but only the scale. You play the scale
perfectly, never making a mistake, but you never experience
Beethoven or Mozart or Ellington or Basie.
We ended talking about Jim Maloney. They
had lots of stories.