really awesome event that im participating in.

Discussion in 'Karate' started by TSDTexan, Sep 21, 2018.

  1. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    20180920_172219.jpg

    Yesterday,
    I traveled about 400 miles with 12 others from my local dojo (in Oregon) to Boise Idaho.

    The Hanshi 10° Dan of our organisation comes to the USA 2x a year and conducts a special training for 4 days.

    Yesterday, i got to meet him and shake his hand for the first time. This gentleman, trained directly under Kanken Toyama from the 1940s up until Toyama's death in the 60's.

    He is (to look at him) a very old, and frail man. stick figure thin, from surviving stomach cancer.
    But his energy, and eyes were very alive and full of life.

    When he shook my hand, i was stunned, because he almost crushed my hand. it was on the verge of being painful. it was like shaking hands with a bear.

    Not at all what i was expecting.

    He is at death's door... and all he wants to do is share karate with his people. I am not the sentimental type... but this is hitting me in the feels.

    fixing to head to another training session.but I wanted to post this
     
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  2. Mitlov

    Mitlov Green Belt

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    Would love to hear more once all the training sessions are done :)
     
  3. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master Black Belt

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    Ah that sounds amazing, yeah would love to hear how it goes!

    And I love the name "Doshin kan". Doshin, way of the heart?
     
  4. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    update.

    At class today, Bo kata training stopped mid way, during the first session. And different dojos were called to line up., from a role call list, in sequence of rank, while everyone else was lined up along the walls.

    one dojo, lined up, then individuals were called forward, and promoted, and then they stepped back into the line up shoulder to shoulder facing shomen.

    out of 30-40 folk, 3-5 individuals would get promoted.

    Hanshi, had a list of everyone, and the list included date of last promotion. But I noticed that he wasn't promoting just by time in rank.

    i had observed that during the training he would stop certain people and have them announce there name to the class. But the individuals he had been asking this of.... had been demonstrating excellent form, tempo, coordination...

    He picked individuals that were textbook examples, on point.. His eyes were like a hawk. and it was like he was watching everybody.

    i made a few mistakes, and i was certain that they had not gone unnoticed. But i didn't dwell on it.
    Just refocused, and doubled my effort and intensity.

    So, when my dojo was called out... I told myself "dont expect a promotion, and its just a belt, so no big deal" The student to my right was called forward, and obtained his Nikyu (2nd brown) which puts him two belts from getting shodan.

    He is an outstanding karateka, and at that high school age were you have so much energy.

    so he stepped forward, got his brown belt. and stepped back. after a long wait, he called the next name. and i realized he was talking to me.

    So i stepped forward and said "Hai".
    he looks at my face, then at his paperwork, then at the yellow belt i am wearing.

    And he asks.... "aren't you a white belt?"

    i look down at my belt and calmly said: "No, I am a yellow belt (rokukyu)."

    So Hanshi, looks to his left where his Shihan/Assistant is standing, and they confere for what felt like a minute or two.

    Which felt like a really long time because about 150 pairs of eyes are looking at you.

    Then they called my school instructor forward, and talked for another 30 seconds or so.

    i just stayed relaxed, and tried to smile.

    after they finished the huddle... My teacher returned to heading up the line. and Hanshi called my name again. "Gokyu", He then announced.

    I said "arigato gasiemas" and stepped back into line".

    Confused and happy. Its been a year, of hard work, since the last promotion.

    In the Dojo photo, Hanshi is front center, My Shihan is to the right of him. and I am in the rear between them.

    5592.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
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  5. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    the heart way.
     
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  6. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master Black Belt

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    Awesome, love that name, sounds like a style I'd get into! :)

    Congrats on the promotion, well done! Would have been an awkward few minutes of waiting there haha but that's fantastic mate.

    And look how happy the Hanshi is :D
     
  7. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    the dude is always genuinely happy. its amazing.
     
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  8. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Congratulations on the multiple promotions. Sounds like he recognized your hard work and advanced technique.
     
  9. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    Its been challenging, having to retrain just about every technique. having decades of muscle memory to replace with new alternates, can be hard.

    So my advanced technique may not look as crisp as someone who was "pure" Doshinkan. But I am not that bad. :)

    But i was paid a few compliments, by higher ranks.
    I suspect that they wouldn't have offered them if knew the whole back story.

    Five more belts, and i get to be a shodan (again).
    But I really am enjoying the climb through the kyu ranks.

    The amazing thing is there are a lot of high level kata that are not gated by ranks. Its more about if you can catch it, its yours. A lot of low kyus just fumble along on the count, doing their best. But the better students capture the kata.

    There is an informal doctrine that you should be able to catch a kata by the third time that you perform it.

    Hanshi, made it a point to lecture us, that in Doshinkan nothing is secret, hidden or forbidden.
    Everything is taught openly. There are no inner circles that get to learn the stuff, that others don't get to. So pay attention.


    So if you have somebody demonstrating a high level kata.... and you watch carefully you can make it yours regardless of rank.

    which is pretty kool imo.
     
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  10. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    I like that mentality. At least on paper.

    A little backstory...
    I was getting ready to test for nidan when I got an offer for a graduate assistantship about 5 hours away. Long story short, life got in the way and almost 15 years later I started training again in a very similar style. Interesting thing is I remembered practically all my material; I just needed to polish it up a bit. Stuff like sometimes I’d have the wrong foot forward, I’d skip a step, etc. I started over at white belt, and have tested for every rank, minus two very early on (9th kyu and 7th kyu). I’ve been offered to test for 1st kyu in a few weeks.

    Getting back to my point:
    I see the higher ranks doing kata I know that are above my current rank. I’ve seen this since day one. Rather than spending any significant time working on the kata that I’m not responsible for, I work on the ones that I am responsible for (we’re responsible for everything below our current grade too). Very early on in my return, I was doing higher grade kata in and out of class simply because I was only responsible for 3-4 very basic kata. After that, I rarely did kata outside my rank. Why? What’s the point in doing something more advanced when I can still improve on what I’m currently supposed to be doing?

    I think taking time away from your current stuff to work on stuff above your grade short changes your current stuff. Why spend a lot of time doing a kata that’s got a ton of complex stuff when you haven’t nearly mastered the basic stances and turns of lower level stuff?

    If I was a teacher and I saw, say a 5th kyu, copying a shodan doing a shodan kata or the like, I wouldn’t be able to not say “improve what you’re supposed to know before you start trying to learn stuff above your rank.” It wouldn’t be because the higher stuff is sacred or I’d be trying to withhold information, it would be because I’d want the student to be the best he/she can possibly be at what they should know before they move on. I wouldn’t want a boxing student to start throwing insane punching combos before their jab was truly functional and effective. I wouldn’t want them trying to learn a crazy footwork drill if they’re still tripping over their own feet when they do basic forward, backward, and side stepping.

    The advanced stuff is more fun. People don’t sign up with dreams of repeating the basics over and over again. The sign up to one day do the stuff Bruce Lee did. They sign up to one day do what Mike Tyson did. That stuff will come in due time. And if all one is really interested in is doing some flashy advanced kata such as perhaps Unsu, then skip the lessons altogether, watch it on YouTube, and keep practicing it to your heart’s content. After a while, it’ll probably look good to the untrained eye if you’re athletic enough. But it’ll be like practicing a single sentence that you don’t know the meaning of in a foreign language - your accent will be way off, you’ll have no idea what it means, and you’ll have no idea what’s being said and how to respond if someone says something back to you.

    I guess what I’m getting at is what’s the rush, and why try stuff over your head if you haven’t relatively perfected stuff at your level. There’s no point to n me practicing Seiunchin at this point in my training. Tsuki-No kata can still use a good amount of work. It’s “good enough” right now, but good enough isn’t good enough for me.
     
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  11. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    Got to agree with that myself.

    Even if I'm not quite so strict - sort of...

    There's a few complex moves in higher grade patterns that I practice a little - if I get that far I'll have to do them at least reasonably, and given my age now I'll have an easier time learning now rather than in another 5+ years.

    There's also a few things that aren't part of the syllabus any more but are interesting to me, so I'll fiddle with them occasionally too.

    Also, sometimes I'll play with 'converting' kata from other arts by doing them roughly using tkd techniques.

    But, none of that is instead of my current level (and below) stuff, it's a sporadic and occasional extra for entertainment purposes. I don't feel it detracts from my concentration on that.
     
  12. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Well, yes, I agree. Advanced movement is really basic movement performed with different timing, speed, and power. They don't change radically just because they are contained in an "advanced" kata. Not sure if Kusanku and the Pinan forms are found in Doshinkan (they are in TSD as you likely know), but they are a good example of the same content being in both the basic and advanced forms - just performed differently.
     
  13. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    Doshinkan has the pinans, and kusanku.
    The pinans are the low kyu kata. 10th, 9th, and 8th kyus should already know the pinans.
     
  14. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    The interesting thing is at a special training, we only do about 1 low level kata. the rest of the kata are high level kata.

    The hanshi has the class line up with two rows of shihan in the center, from shomen to the back of the class.

    At this training, there were about 15 shihan. Then the kyu ranks line up to the outside on either side. we had about 18 kyu ranks, only two were brown belts. then then black belts 1st-4th lined up.
    outside the kyu ranks, and on the very outside we had Renshi, and Godan or higher.

    so for kyus we had Shihans and 8th dans right next to us on one side, and lower Bbs on the other.

    Now we did Unsu... "Cloud Hands" kata 10 or 12 times. the first 5 or so with a very slow cadence
    i saw white belts struggling for a bit. but after the seventh iteration, it was at the normal tempo for that kata. and because we train with "notice, think and do". method... the white belts had seen their mistakes and were performing the correct moment.

    By the 10th or 12th iteration they had a grip on the kata. they could own it.... and then it would become, for then, a kata to begin to polish, and put back on the shelf.

    In the 4 days of the special training. We had 6 sessions that were 3 to 5 hours in length. lets call it 24 hours average.

    we did two bo kata, Tan Ru, and To Ru.
    we did 5 kata. and one of them, Kasatsu, we did as part of our warm ups. (only doing them twice in the four days.)

    Ananko
    Ananku
    Seidenko (we only did this for one day)
    Unsu

    So in a session, we may do many sets of Ananko, alternating with sets of Unsu.

    So we spent a very large amount of time working on a limited set of kata. This was an intensive training.
    The only higher intensive is the 7 day long "summer training" in Germany. usually 500 or more people go to that.


    i had struck up a number of freindships with people there. There was one whitebelt there who, like me, this was his first special training. I asked him are you learning anything?

    He said i learned a new kata today. i said which one.
    he said "Unsu".
    I asked him if he would want to show me?
    He said he would do it best, if, i did the count and he focused on the movements. His Japanese counting made him nervous.
    i said sure.

    So, i counted and he did the Kata.
    And he was not highly polished, but each technique, and movement/stance was there at the right time.


    So, this approach works, but this isnt intended as a replacement for your regular training throughout the week at a dojo.

    the amount of very high level instructors at the special trainings is off the charts. but then... Hanshi only comes to the US twice a year... and if your an 8th Dan Shihan, this will be the only person higher up then you who can teach you....

    its also gathering of others at your level who you can review other stuff with outside of the sessions.

    there were a lot of renshi, and other BBs that came to the house we rented, and they were doing sai, tonfa, and nunchaku kata review in the backyard.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
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  15. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Quite an interesting approach to teaching/learning. I don’t see the harm in doing that in the setting at all. I think it’s pretty cool.

    But day in and day out in the dojo, I just don’t know. Again, I’d rather a white belt work on really understanding and sharpening up Taikyoku 1 (that’s our white belt kata) than copying Unsu. But I’m not a karate teacher and I don’t run my own organization, so it’s all good.

    And I’m jealous you guys do Unsu, especially allowing the lower ranks to do it. That’s the kata I always wanted to learn. It was a sandan kata in my previous organization. It’s not in my current organization’s syllabus, so I won’t ever learn it.

    I’ve contemplated watching Kanazawa’s version of it on YouTube and copying it several times. But I’ve always had something better to do, like improve what I already know. And I know no matter how hard I tried, I’d probably never do the kata as well as I could if I was formally taught it.

    But maybe one of these days :)
     
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  16. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    our unsu isnt very close to mainstream (shotokan)

    we don't do the sweeping neko ashi datchi in the opening with the ippon-ztuki. instead, from the outreached arms / hachiji datchi, the right leg sweeps forward with an Ashi barrai then out to drop into sanchin dachi.

    the hands take a ippon-ztuki form but the arms cross low, and end the same position as sanchin. (elbows a fist width from the body) each arm face-ing out from the body (about 45° away from centerline)

    the first three movements forward are almso exactly like doing sanchin kata:
    chamber, step, strike-return
    chamber, step, strike-return
    chamber, step, strike-return

    but the step always has an ashi-barrai before settling into sanchin dachi.
    and instead seiken punches, its the single finger strike.

    The tempo suddenly changes right here... its not the slow measure of sanchin anymore, but fast quick.
    then the four direction strikes follow, but unlike the shotokan version, we dont drop to the ground to do the alternating horizontal mawashi geri, afterwards.

    not having those two kicks makes our unsu a little bit easier to learn. we still have the leaping sacrifice kick that end on our hands and knees in the reverse direction.

    that is challenging. and it takes a lot of practice.
     
  17. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master Black Belt

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    Wow, that is alot of training @TSDTexan! Sounds amazing, would jump at the chance to do that. Our training camps were always over 2 days or so, and maybe 10.5 hours or so?

    That is... so darn cool! Would be really fun and educational to do, and may help understand techniques in your current art even better, as you're applying what you know in a different form and sequence.

    Do iiiiiiiiiit ;)
     
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  18. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    Maybe one of these days when I’m really bored and don’t have anything that needs a lot of work :)
     
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  19. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    just work on it for 10 minutes per week and limit your self to two new movements.

    week 1. ten minutes of rei, opening movement.
    week 2. ten minutes of rei, opening movement, movement 1, movement 2
    week 3. rei, op, m1, m2, m3, m4
    week 4 ", " , " , ", ", ", m5, m6

    No rush, just ten minutes, plug it in wherever you want.

    You will enjoy it. And this will help you grow in an area that you have always wanted to.

    Alternatively, you can always ask your teacher for permission to take some private lessons to learn this Kata. He may decide to have you learn it and share it with others (off the books) since it is not in the curriculum.
     
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  20. _Simon_

    _Simon_ Master Black Belt

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    100% agree! I think private training and branching off learning things you always wanted to is so beneficial... of course having a teacher is ideal, but like in the thread I brought up awhile ago about learning higher up kata from other styles, if your foundation is good, it can be really eye opening, educational and motivating too.

    I like the 10 minute idea too! As 10 minutes a week is so easy to slot in, and as it's dedicated to that, there would be enough improvement over time.

    And I wonder if many teachers will teach specific things privately, there are kata I've always wanted to learn and thought about doing this... that's a great idea!
     

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