You are currently browsing the daily archive for December 26, 2008.

Some excellent vintage footage of a Uechi Ryu demonstration is up on YouTube, courtesy of Mario McKenna. The film is from a commemorative demonstration on the 25th anniversary of Uechi Kanbun’s death. Uechi Kanei and students show kata, kitae, knife defenses (that are refreshingly rugged) and sparring. Lots of good stuff to be seen. Enjoy!

Start here.

Here I am screaming like a girl when Gillian Russell locks my shoulder (yeah, I get the irony).

Follow this link to Nitobe’s  often cited work ” Bushido, the Soul of Japan” (full text included).

Not long ago Adam, a frequent comment poster here at TKRIblog brought this to my attention. Issues of Black Belt Magazine from January 1962 through  December 2004 are now available to read free at Google Books. Though I can hardly stand to look at current issues of the magazine, some of the older stuff is pretty interesting.

Click Here to take a look.

Happy post-holidays!

Last week I read about a disagreement between two dan grades in a shotokan school. In a nutshell, one was spouting off some Behavioral pseudo-science to the students about muscular reflexes and their role in efficient technique. After another dan grade debated him on the value of centering beginner’s training around outdated and irrelevant theories, a white belt who happened to be a medical doctor was consulted as an authority on anatomy and physiology. The white belt’s reply:  “he was not qualified to discuss this stuff with full black belts.” Let me frame the question that is hopefully coalescing in the reader’s mind: what in the hell does holding a dan grade have to do with authority in medical discussions? Does becoming a dan grade somehow turn one into a combination of Einstein (mass x speed = reverse punch), Clint Eastwood (“I know what you’re thinking- did he kiai five times, or six?”)  and Henry Grey? Nope. People in black belts are a dime a dozen, and there’s no reason to think that it’s a symbol of a superhuman feat or certification that one is a polymath. There’s an awful lot of bullshit in the air about what a black belt is, as evidenced by the M.D. who deferred a question about his field to someone with no medical training whatsoever- simply because he wore a dark piece of cloth around his waist…

Anyhow, below are a couple of gems from Charles Goodin and Tommy Pressimone that address this issue rather succinctly: What is a black belt, and when is a sensei above the role of the student?

Goodin’s post is here

Pressimone’s post is here

"Try to see yourself as you truly are and try to adopt what is meritorious in the work of others. As a karateka you will of course often watch others practice. When you do and you see strong points in the performance of others, try to incorporate them into your own technique. At the same time, if the trainee you are watching seems to be doing less than his best ask yourself whether you too may not be failing to practice with diligence. Each of us has good qualities and bad; the wise man seeks to emulate the good he perceives in others and avoid the bad."
Funakoshi Gichin


December 2008
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