These words name the stages of learning to master an art. “Shu” is the reading of the character which means “protecting” or “keeping” as in “keep a promise”. The character for “ha” means “breaking” or “accomplishing”. The character for “ri” signifies “lining up side by side” or “separating”. In English we use the words “follow”, “adapt” and “master”. In any discipline, artistic, academic or physical, the stages of learning follow the same order. Read More
How many Karateka have you met that have some kind of injury? Sore arms, sore back, bruises, wonky shoulder, bad knees, the list of injuries that Karateka can sustain seems endless. Karate students tend to be a stoic bunch so they clench their teeth and get down to practice; rarely saying anything about what’s ailing them. Sure their injuries for the most part are not life-threatening or debilitating, but they can and often do interfere with the quality of their practice and performance. It seems injuries happen to all Karateka at one point or another in their training . Yet it is ironic that the very thing that they love could potentially be hurting them. Read More
I was reading an article titled ‘Japan’s honorific language about more than manners‘ that discussed the physicist Richard Feynman’s frustration with learning Japanese while he was working in Kyoto. Read More
Yabiku Moden was an important and prominent teacher of Kobudo on Okinawa and one of the principle teachers of Taira Shinken. Yet very little is know about his early life. So I have decided to present a brief biography of the man that first appeared in Japanese in Okinawa Dento Kobudo: Sono Rekishi to Tamashi’ by Nakamoto Masahiro – This is the original Japanese language text that has been recently translated into English. I think it provides a good overview of this important man.
Most older Karateka practice for the sheer love of their art and may give little thought to the health benefits it provides. Aging is inevitable, but how we age is just as important as regular practice. Indeed, if Karate is a lifelong pursuit then we have to be in the best of health in order to continue its practice as we get older. Read More
When I was still living in Japan I was finally able to see a kata that I was intensely curious about (this was pre-Youtube era). I got the chance to see the “shitei-gata” version on a video I had ordered and was both surprised and disappointed at its performance. You see I had read Konishi Yasuhiro’s account of his and Mabuni’s meeting with Uechi Kanbun in his book “Karate-do Jotatsu” (1955), and how after their encounter the kata Shinpa was formalized.
I’d like to present a short translation of Toyama Kanken’s writings on the importance of correct breathing in Karate from his book Okugi Hijutsu Karatedo. Read More