I sometimes get emails asking me how Tou’on-ryu differs from Goju-ryu. These questions can range from the technical and mechanical, and into the philosophical. Read more →
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Today I would like to talk about a common technique found in both Goju-ryu and Tou’on-ryu known as ura uke. In Goju-ryu it is found in the kata kururunfa after performing three sukui uke, while in Tou’on-ryu it is found in bechurin after performing the tomoe uke, kake uke, shuto-uchi combinations.Read more →
Posted by The Invisible Sensei Podcast on Sunday, April 19, 2020
I originally published this post on Derek English sensei five years ago which included an interview conducted by Mike Clark sensei (thank you wherever you are), but I am republishing it to include a wonderful new interview with him on the Invisible Sensei Podcast.
Derek English is a true power-house of Okinawa Budo – proficient in both Goju-ryu Karate-do and Ryukyu Kobudo. I first met Derek in Japan way back in 1995 at a conference we were both attending in Kumamoto prefecture, but it wasn’t until a few years later that I finally caught up with him on Okinawa and was able to train very briefly with him and his teacher Uehara Ko at the latter’s dojo in Naha.
I hope everyone is keeping safe and well during these difficult times. It must not be easy on everyone and my thoughts are with you. Having more time that I normally do since teaching has completely stopped and most normal activities are out of the question, I have turned my attention to this blog and other projects that have been put on hold. One of those is the other ‘Karate-do Nyumon’.Read more →
Thank you to everyone who emailed me about trying to share my posts on Facebook, but were unable to. It seems that my website and/or posts don’t meet Facebook “community standards”. LOL. I have no idea what this means or how to fix it, but I’m not terribly concerned.
Since the lock-down as a result of Covid-19 I have had more time for self-training. This past week I was able to practice some Kobudo kata that I had been neglecting; in particular Soeishi no kon and Chatanyara no kon. After practice I began to think of a few years ago when I was visited by Fred Lohse and Russ Smith who put on a great empty-hand and Matayoshi Kobudo seminar in Vancouver. Afterwards we talked about “advanced” bo kata taught near the end of the Taira curriculum: Urasoe, Chinenshikiyanaka, Chatanyara, Sesoko, and Soeishi. These are very long and complicated kata that are typically taught only at the higher dan grades and after a long apprenticeship under a competent teacher. Read more →
Nepai was once an obscure kata in the Karate world but over the decades it has become common-place. I find the increase in the number of Nepai Karate kata that you can view on the internet baffling but the main reason I think this was is because Nepai was retained by very few Okinawa Karate styles. The only two that I am aware of were Mabuni Kenwa’s Shito-ryu and Kyoda Juhatsu’s Tou’on-ryu. As the story goes both men learned it from Go Kenki during their involvement in the Karate Study Group. Go Kenki, as we all know, was the Chinese tea merchant and supposed crane boxer who immigrated to Okinawa at the turn of the 20th century. Perhaps other students involved with the Karate Study Group may have been familiar with it, but as far as I know they never passed it down.Read more →
Hikimori (引きこもり) is a Japanese word usually reserved for young adults who lock themselves away for months or years at a time to avoid the stress of social contact. Although not self-imposed, I’m sure all of us are feeling the stress of being cooped up at home and anxiety about the future. It is certainly a hard time for everyone, and I consider myself fortunate that I am healthy and secure unlike others during this pandemic.
As I mentioned in my previous posts, since I have extra time I have temporarily restarted this blog to add a bit of light reading on Okinawa Karate-do and Kobudo. This week’s post is a translation of a short article entitled “On Karate Dance” that was originally published in “An Ethnography of Amami Oshima” in 1927. It does not reveal any great insights about the history of Karate, but certainly provides a bit of flavour regarding the then fledgling art. Particularly the author equates Karate as a kind of Ryukyu Dance and differentiates from it’s predecessor art of Karate-jutsu. It’s an interesting perspective and one that modern authors still debate (for example, read part 3 of the article “A Thousand Years of Traditional Okinawa Karate”.
Enjoy. Read more →