20131106-100640.jpg

Taira Shinken (R) demonstrating soto uke and ura nage on Mabuni Kenwa (L) From Nakasone G & Mabuni K (1938) Kobo Kenpo Karatedo Nyumon

I rarely talk about specific applications of techniques from kata in this blog mostly because I feel they need to be practiced in the dojo over and over again under the watchful eyes of a good teacher. That said since I’ve been translating “Kobo Kenpo Karatedo Nyumon” so I don’t think I’m giving anything away by showing this photo of the application of “soto uke, ura nage” or “outside deflection, rear throw” (外受裏投) from the same book.

Sesan, Vancouver, Karate, Kobudo, Kitsilano, Higaonna Kanyu Kanzaki sensei performing Kanyu no Sesan kata

From time to time Kanzaki sensei would recollect to me about his time learning Tou’on-ryu from Kyoda Juhatsu in the 1950s and 1960s. He shared some great stories, but often he would tell me how much of an influence Higaonna Kanryo had on Kyoda. I don’t doubt this as there are many anecdotes and much circumstantial evidence to support this. One only has to look at the name of Kyoda’s style Tou’on-ryu [東恩流] which uses the first two kanji of Kanryo’s last name, Higaonna [東恩納]. However, I think there is more going on in that name than meets the eye.

Things are slowly returning to normal in some places and I’m happy to see that, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for Karateka and Kobudoka. It will probably be some time before we are able to practice together and even then, we won’t be sure what that will consist of. In the meantime we can continue to practice and study by ourselves.

I was surfing on the web the other day and stumbled on a karate video on Youtube where a teacher referred to himself as “zokucho”; then another one where a different teacher called himself “gunshi”. I almost fell out of my seat laughing. It was an absolutely brilliant display of using  Japanese completely wrong.

Kanzaki Shigekazu sensei demonstrating Bechurin
Kanzaki sensei performing ura-uke from Bechurin kata.

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.

https://www.facebook.com/100106401649306/videos/222858902311769/

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’.

Keep on reading!