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Thread: Bunkai in Pyung Ahn Sa Dan (videos)

  1. #46
    robertmrivers is offline
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    Re: Bunkai in Pyung Ahn Sa Dan (videos)

    The Channan debate is a long and windy one... Researchers should read all of the info and come to their own conclusions.

    My opinion is that Itosu created a basic set of kata...a kihon (basic) set , if you will, that he first called "Channan". This kata, as it was created by a master of karate, contains most basic postures that one would need to have the foundation to truly master karate. He then, at some point, changed the name to Pinan. The number of kata that were originally taught, then refined, and then set in stone are irrelevant. Itosu could have put techniques not found in the Kusanku kata into a Pinan kata if he felt they were fundamental. Most of the techniques people speak of that are not found in Kusanku that MUST be attributed to a mystery kata are in fact in several other kata taught in ITosu's curriculum including Passai, Naihanchi, Chinto, and others. For example, our kata currilculum does not have a "dropping elbow" like technique. However, we do have a basic elbow set, that was creating well after the fact, to include this technique as it is fundamental.

    Of course, the predominant arguement for Channan is the reference by Motobu Choki:

    I visited him one day at his home near the school, where we sat talking about the martial arts and current affairs. While I was there, 2-3 students also dropped by and sat talking with us. Itosu Sensei turned to the students and said 'show us a kata.' The kata that they performed was very similar to the Channan kata that I knew, but there were some differences also. Upon asking the student what the kata was, he replied 'It is Pinan no Kata.' The students left shortly after that, upon which I turned to Itosu Sensei and said 'I learned a kata called Channan, but the kata that those students just performed now was different. What is going on?' Itosu Sensei replied 'Yes, the kata is slightly different, but the kata that you just saw is the kata that I have decided upon. The students all told me that the name Pinan is better, so I went along with the opinions of the young people.' These kata, which were developed by Itosu Sensei, underwent change even during his own lifetime." (Murakami, 1991; 120)
    The important thing to note here is he is referring to Pinan AND Channan both as a singular kata...we know that he is actually referring to a SET of kata called CHANNAN, which he later changed the name to PINAN. I don't think there is one Channan kata.

    I asked Motobu Chosei Soke about this and the impression I received is just as I explained. There is also discussion that Motobu Choki learned the kata "Channan" but now calls it "Shirokuma". I don't think this is true as Shirokuma is only one kata, not a series of kata and the movements in Pinan that are not in Kusanku are certainly not in Shirokuma ( I do know Shirokuma). Shirokuma serves as the fundamental kata of Motobu Ryu.

    If you take only four of the core kata taught by Itosu before he created the Pinan; Kusanku (dai), Passai (Dai), Naihanchi Shodan, and Chinto you will be able to find every technique that make up the Pinan set.

    Upnorth...excellent answers to the questions by the way. On question 5, consider that you never "look" elsewhere to see the opponent. He is almost always in front of you. One of the videos will show this visually. You may already be able to see it (in fact, when you do your throws...you are actually demonstrating it...) so I don't want to beat a dead horse. Once you watch it you will be able to then start applying it to everything.

    Fun Fun Fun

    Talk to you all later

    Rob Rivers

  2. #47
    robertmrivers is offline
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    Re: Bunkai in Pyung Ahn Sa Dan (videos)

    Upnorth

    I was reading some of the posts you had linked on the last post concerning kata, practicality, drills, etc.

    Let me add to what was quoted in there: "There are no secrets in Karate"...

    Well, actually there is more to it. In Okinawa they might say the same thing, but, think of it more like "There are no secrets in Karate, only material you have not learned". What the "no secrets" in karate means to do is express to the student that there aren't these mysterious techniques that you will never be able to learn. All of the secrets are right there for you to learn. But, you will learn them when you are ready. Now, just a word of caution...keeping that in mind, the un-secrets we are talking about are in the kata. In order to learn them you have to have the "code" of unlocking them which is taught to the student by a knowledgable instructor. You cannot just eliminate the kata or the "mundane" practice of kata and only practice "what you think" are the actual one-on-one techniques for self defense. If we all knew the highest level of understanding of karate and self defense and were able to execute the techniques flawlessly, then we could develop a system of teaching our interpretation and eliminate kata practice altogether if we deem it prudent. But, then it would not be karate.

    I would urge everyone not to join the hordes of practitioners who have this "epiphany" that you don't need kata and all you really need to do is research the ultra-effective techniques...and practice them one on one and ultimately that is all one truly needs to be good at.

    This was my point, but I think you got confused as to what side of the coin I am on. My point is you can do kata as a basic curriculum requirement in which all it is is a collection of basic techniques or you can learn what it really is.

    So many people over the last 100 years have had the same epiphany you all are having. For example, if I am blocking, and I want it to be effective, why am I crossing my hands? The mistake most make is that instead of sitting back and thinking about a practical reason for crossing the hands, they simply eliminate the crossing hands and strip the movement down to a basic block.

    Perhaps we are told that there is more to this kata stuff than we think...but rather than teach/ support antiquated dogma, we "revolutionize" the practice of kata and the martial arts and turn what we do into "ultra-efficient" self defence.

    If karate, and its principle teaching methodology, kata, has survived several hundred years of strife, oppression and combat, don't you think it is inherently "ultra-efficient" and you just don't know it all yet?

    If this ultra-efficient art has a technique that appears to be inefficient, don't you think that it is perhaps your understanding of it that is making it inefficient?

    If you are crossing your hands on a technique in kata, is it the students who should deem the technique inefficient?

    If someone tells you that the "outside middle block" is not a block when it is preceeded by a crossing hand technique, should we eliminate the crossing hand...erasing hundreds of years of tradition and the "secret" of the technique, or should we stick around and learn what the crossing hand means?

    Just a few questions to answer for yourselves, not for me or this forum. If anything, I hope we are all starting to develop a real sense of why we are doing what we do. Reflection on the purpose of our training often reveals truth.


    Regards

    Rob

    "Regardless of how far one travels down the wrong road, turn around"

  3. #48
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    Re: Bunkai in Pyung Ahn Sa Dan (videos)

    Quote Originally Posted by robertmrivers View Post
    Question1: Why do you cross your hands before you block?
    Question 2: How much more power are you REALLY getting out of it?
    Question 3: If you are crossing your hands, why not just block with the crossing hand?
    Question 4: If you were sparring or in a fight, would you cross your hands before you block?
    Question 5: Why are you looking left? You are facing your opponent. He is not to the left.
    Question 6: Why have kata? If all you are doing is a basic block and a basic punch...don't you learn those in the first month of training? Why not just get good at that? Kata seems irrelevant...
    1: The first purpose of crossing is defense. Whenever you cross you arms in anything, you're shielding your solar plexus, ribs, etc. This can also be thought of as trapping an attack. Next, One arm slides over the other into the block. Again, this also applies if you've caught your opponent's arm and are twisting it. The last part of the block varies with purpose. As discussed in the thread upnorthkyosa mentions, a block is not so much bent on stopping an attack as redirecting it. But without that first cross, you were open all the time your opponent was coming at you.

    2: You'd be surprised. With the cross, it's a lot easier to get the motion of both arms into the block, causing more waist twist and hence more power. A very fast block, perhaps in a sparring situation where it's last minute, might get away with using just one arm, but I'd much rather use both arms in blocking.

    3: read above. Without the other arm, you end up, oftentimes, just putting out the one arm where it needs to be. The crossing action not only starts from an initial defensive position, but it allows for the action of the opposite hand coming back as the other one goes out.

    4: If I thought of it, probably. Generally what happens in sparring is people come in with kicks, so a one-arm low block is easy to pull out if you can't think of anyone else, but if I was interested in doing some really hurtful setups in sparring, I'd get more blocks involved. I'd want to practice this a heck of a lot, but hey, I'm a martial artist. If it were easy, I wouldn't like it as much.

    5: Upnorthkyosa is right. In the pyung ahn forms, you're being attacked from many directions, and the first direction is from your left, which is why you look to see your opponent before executing the counter. If it's different in your style, I'd be interested to hear how it is for you, though.

    6: Hyung are the heart and soul of learning the art. You can learn a technique, and do it well, but until you put it into practice and learn how techiques stack up, lead into each other, and apply in combat situations (I will avoid the current buzzword beginning with a b), you're going to be helpless in a fight, pretty much. I don't want to make it sound like I'm a great fighter (asthma is killer); I'm just thinking about it logically, with all I've learned.

    Also, I am not sure if you all do Kusanku, but Kusanku is essentially all of the pinan kata put together...rather, the pinan kata are Kusanku broken up into five pieces. You actually get a chance to see what transitioning from one pinan to another looks like when doing the kata.
    Heard of this. Very interested. We do do something like this; for cho-dan pretests (after 1st gup), students must perform gicho hyung sam bu through pyung ahn o dan without stopping. In fact, classes oftentimes see us doing all the pyung ahn forms, in order, without returning to ready stance. It's grueling, if you're even slightly out of practice or tired. It's tough even if you're feeling great. Its great practice. Care to enlighten us on the particulars of kunsaku, though?

    Looking forward to meeting you all in person one day soon.
    Same here. I hang around CMU campus, and I show up at the May All Martial-Arts Tournaments in Pittsburgh every year.



    Well, actually there is more to it. In Okinawa they might say the same thing, but, think of it more like "There are no secrets in Karate, only material you have not learned". What the "no secrets" in karate means to do is express to the student that there aren't these mysterious techniques that you will never be able to learn. All of the secrets are right there for you to learn. But, you will learn them when you are ready. Now, just a word of caution...keeping that in mind, the un-secrets we are talking about are in the kata. In order to learn them you have to have the "code" of unlocking them which is taught to the student by a knowledgable instructor. You cannot just eliminate the kata or the "mundane" practice of kata and only practice "what you think" are the actual one-on-one techniques for self defense. If we all knew the highest level of understanding of karate and self defense and were able to execute the techniques flawlessly, then we could develop a system of teaching our interpretation and eliminate kata practice altogether if we deem it prudent. But, then it would not be karate.
    Word. Can't wait to see your next martial minute, btw.
    Peace,
    JT

  4. #49
    robertmrivers is offline
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    Re: Bunkai in Pyung Ahn Sa Dan (videos)

    OK!!!

    Finally, a visual explanation (partial) of what I am talking about is available here: www.martialminute.com

    As always, we can't fit everything into a few minutes, but this will at least show you the mentality of our particular school.

    regards

    Rob

    Robert M Rivers
    5th Dan, Renshi
    www.martialminute.com

  5. #50
    JT_the_Ninja's Avatar
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    Re: Bunkai in Pyung Ahn Sa Dan (videos)

    Quote Originally Posted by robertmrivers View Post
    OK!!!

    Finally, a visual explanation (partial) of what I am talking about is available here: www.martialminute.com

    As always, we can't fit everything into a few minutes, but this will at least show you the mentality of our particular school.

    regards

    Rob

    Robert M Rivers
    5th Dan, Renshi
    www.martialminute.com
    Good stuff, as always! I always find something in your videos I can apply to my TSD training, despite the minor differences. One of the ones I saw was that in your front stance you were leaning forward slightly, with your back foot turned out - TSD involves more kicking above the waist, so my second attack is just as likely to be a kick to the gut as a punch or a grapple. Even so, your point about range was well taken here. In my school, the order is (1) look to see your opponent (especially if you're changing direction), (2) cross for the block, (3) turn your body so that you're facing your opponent, and (4) execute the technique. I agree that in an actual fight there's hardly a lot of time for all that, but when you drill in that time and time again, eventually it becomes second nature to cross as soon as you see that person's attacking part begin to move (if not sooner). I really like the way you portray crossing before a block, too. Some of our sparring drills involve a simple low block without a cross, just a redirection while you're moving forward to counter. Anytime else, though, and we're usually crossing, for the simple reason that, just as you say, the hand coming back is doing something. Likely as not, it's coming back from a previous technique, and the faster it comes back to the hip, the faster the other hand comes out.

    The other reason, though, is, as you say, there's something going on in between. The hand crossing might have just grabbed the opponents attack, thus setting me up for a joint lock or something of that nature. Possibilities aren't hard to think up, of course.

    The third reason, though, and the one taught first, is that you don't want to be open. Better to have your arms hit than anything else, from our perspective. Judge that as you will. When we block, it's not just one arm crossing over the other. For a left-hand low block, for instance, the left fist comes up to rest on the right shoulder, left palm facing the neck, as the right arm punches down, making sure that any incoming low kick is either going to have to go for my left knee or plow through my right arm to get to my groin (which isn't going to be easy). At the same time, the elbows meet, left on top of right, in front of the solar plexus (myung chi), covering that area. The left hand slides down the outside of the right arm, as the right hand snaps back to the ribs, as I step into my stance (not uncommonly backward into front stance). That means that if I'm doing this in response to someone having grabbed my right hand, I'm sweeping their hand off mine as I pivot my hand free, leaving me free to grab that hand, kick them in the ribs, solar plexus, turn it into a strike to the elbow, sweep, what have you.

    There's a whole lot more behind every block than meets the eye. On that, we both agree.

    EDIT: green belt! all right!
    Peace,
    JT

  6. #51
    robertmrivers is offline
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    Re: Bunkai in Pyung Ahn Sa Dan (videos)

    JT

    Glad there's something for you to use.

    The forward leaning stance is actually slotted for next month's video.

    Making the back straight is actually a newer phenomenon. The Japanese started doing this to make everyone's posture look sharp. There are indeed reasons the back would be straight...but not on a punch and certainly not on the "downblock". The Japanese word for this stance is Zen Kutsu Dachi. It does not mean forward stance. It means forward LEANING stance. When you want to put power into and through a target you have to move in the direction of the target. But, as you punch, if at the last second you straighten your back to "improve your posture", you are actually sending your power backwards, away from the target.
    Likely as not, it's coming back from a previous technique, and the faster it comes back to the hip, the faster the other hand comes out.
    Nice, you do need to get the hand back ready to hit with it again...but not all the way to the hip. Trust me, you can punch just as hard bringing your hand only to your chest. The additional 8 inches to your hip (and then back to your chest on the counter punch...an additional 16 inches of travel) is not adding power, it is adding time. Therefore, we punch from the chest or the position the hand is in as it is grabbing. THAT brings about the question, if we know we are going to punch like this for real, why do we bring our hand to our hip in kata? The answer is, you NEVER bring your hand to your hip without having something in it...most especially when explicating kata. Otherwise, I am going to keep my hands in a position where I can hit my opponent quickly. (this is not my rendition of it...this is how the concept is taught in Okinawa and even China...they never pull the hand to the hip in Wing Chun for example)

    The only other thing I can say about the crossing hands is, as we teach it, it is not to protect yourself. The crossing motion is actually doing something pro-active. Don't confuse the cross with your guard. Putting your guard up (it doesn't have to be a classic boxers guard, you can have one hand high and one hand low) does not involve actually crossing your hands. One of our goals in self defese is to actually force our opponent to cross their hands. If I punch at you and you cross your hands before/ as you move, you are binding yourself up for me.

    We have this thing called a safety zone...no matter what I do, I must keep my hands in front of me and in between me and my opponent. The closer my hands are to me, the closer my opponent gets to me.

    JT, be careful, if you start picking up this stuff any faster you may be tempted by the dark side. You explanation of the wrist grab was spot on. And, think about it...you don't have to bring the hand to your hip/ ribs...

    Regards

    Rob

  7. #52
    Makalakumu's Avatar
    Makalakumu is offline Gonzo Karate Apocalypse


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    Re: Bunkai in Pyung Ahn Sa Dan (videos)

    I started a series of threads in the general TSD forum about Rob's videos.

    http://www.martialtalk.com/forum/62-tang-soo-do
    "You can lead from the front or stab from behind."

    Sensei

  8. #53
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    Re: Bunkai in Pyung Ahn Sa Dan (videos)

    robertmrivers: I try to apply from similar styles wherever possible, though, as I said, every style does things slightly differently.

    about the leaning, you're absolutely right that if you keep your shoulders square in a nice, upright stance, your punch is never going to make it to your opponent, with any power at least. That's why TSD focuses so much on rotating the waist. The waist rotates for extra reach on the punch, then pulls back to shoulders square -- and then onto twisting the other way for the other hand to punch, or staying forward for a kick, or whatever. We don't lean over, though, because TSD does a lot more high kicking, and leaning forward makes you a huge target.

    I'm not sure what the actual literal translation of "chungul jase" is, though I'd be interested to learn.

    I should have corrected myself and said "back to ribs," but whatever. Good point about not absolutely needing to bring the hand back all that way, though my sa bom nim would disagree on most cases. In sparring drills, we do usually punch from the solar plexus, though. If you're blocking, though...you're not just going to be blocking, so that other hand is going to be doing something no matter what, really. The idiot who stops after he has blocked is the idiot who finds himself on the floor PDQ.

    I should mention that I realized there _is_ a "mahkee" where you don't cross, apart from knife-hand blocks: pakeso anero mahkee, outside-inside block. I always see this as more of a strike, though, so I'm not too bothered by that.
    Peace,
    JT

  9. #54
    robertmrivers is offline
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    Re: Bunkai in Pyung Ahn Sa Dan (videos)

    JT

    about the leaning, you're absolutely right that if you keep your shoulders square in a nice, upright stance, your punch is never going to make it to your opponent, with any power at least. That's why TSD focuses so much on rotating the waist. The waist rotates for extra reach on the punch, then pulls back to shoulders square -- and then onto twisting the other way for the other hand to punch, or staying forward for a kick, or whatever. We don't lean over, though, because TSD does a lot more high kicking, and leaning forward makes you a huge target.
    Just remember, we don't lean forward into a punch or block...when you see the forward stance...leaning or otherwise, with a block or punch, it is not what you think it is. It is just what it looks like in kata. Therefore, we would not be in the forward stance when there is an imminent kick.

    Also, and this is really hard to notice, we do not square up on the forward stance. Many people have their feet shoulder wide when in the stance. We have our feet almost on the same line. We also do not have our toes pointing forward. We have our feet, front and back, pointing almost 45 degrees. Then, the shoulders are turned with the lead shoulder aimed at the opponent. This turns the body at an angle to the attack, therefore, you are never squared to the attack, you are always "angled in", minimizing your opponent's target picture and taking your vital targets off of the center line.

    Then...

    We have to talk about the power line. Basically, if you think about a horse stance, the power angle is connecting the centers of my feet. Any attack perpendicular to the stance will put you off-balance. The forward stance is no different.

    If your feet are shoulder wide and you punch so that the fist ends up on the centerline or you're blocking an attack that is placed on that centerline, you are working a weak line of the forward stance. THE power line on a forward stance is, if you are looking at your feet, connecting the centers of your feet with a line. That is it. Then, punch so that your fist follows that same angle. This gives you more power, more rigidity, and more reach. This will be demo'ed on the next video. Just think about what the angle of a football players feet would be at if he was blocking. One in front of the other leading with the shoulder...this is where your maximum resistance is going to be. Resistance going the other way is power.

    Anyway, it is going to seem that every point one makes concerning the execution or explanation of a technique within a form (from a Korean stylists POV) is going to have about a million contradictions. This comes from someone teaching within the generation gap trying to "standardize" techniques and all explanations became "cookie cutter" in approach. Unfortunately, those researching the history are going to have to wade through this mess.

    Essentially, the forward stance used in a punch is different than that used in a down block, which is also different than that used for a middle block. Add to that, they are slightly different when moving forward versus moving backwards. In most Korean and Shotokan applications, there is no differentiation between the moments when a forward stance is used...they are all interpreted as having the same meaning, thus, the same execution.

    This goes for all stances. Cat stances moving forward are done differently than those moving backwards. It is not just the applications that CAN be different...it is that they are actually performed differently in the kata depending on what the upper body is doing.

    It is indeed a can of worms, brothers and sisters. But, this research (whether the source is me, literature or other instructors who know) is going to put you all at a different level than the typical Tang Soo Do Instructor. Most would just rather keep the blinders on...

    Regards

    Rob

  10. #55
    robertmrivers is offline
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    Re: Bunkai in Pyung Ahn Sa Dan (videos)

    All

    I posted the video page...but forgot to post the page about our free educational classes.

    http://www.virginiakempo.com/bridging_the_gap.htm

    Check it out. It would be an easy way for us to get together.

    Regards

    Rob

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