Archive for ‘Bujitsu’

January 1, 2012

Woods for Training Weapons

Here’s a great article/info page on hard woods used for making Martial Arts Weapons: http://arakiryu.org/wp/?page_id=544

May 24, 2011

Whats are the differences between the 4 branches of Shorin Ryu?

Shobayashi and Kobayashi (divided into Shidokan and Shorinkan) are very similar and the most like Matsumura’s original methods out of the 2 Itosu-Ha (or factions). Matsubayshi is based on the teachings of Chotoku Kyan (who influenced Shobayashi also), Koseku Matsumora (no relation to Sokon Matsumura) and Chokki Motobu (famous tough guy, bad-ass). It is the most Japanese and the furthest from original intent.

Matsumura Seito (or Orthodox) is the original Shorin (Shuri/Tomari Te) as taught to Hohan Soken, great grand nephew of Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura. The crane fist or “tsuruken” techniques were only taught to family members, and even great modern karate pioneers like Anko Itosu or Gichin Funakoshi, were not taught these “advanced” fighting principles. Shorin Ryu is a true Half-Hard, Half-Soft style. The practitioner starts off with extreme mental and physical rigidity, that eventually becomes yin/yang, then eventually, at the highest levels, almost completely “internal” or a soft style.

Kobayashi (especially Shorinkan) and Shobayashi (Seibukan in particular) as well as Matsumura Seito are very good combat sciences that deal with standing and ground fighting as well as the esoteric aspects such as Chinese acupuncture/medicine, and philosophy.

Matsubayashi Ryu is often singled out on Okinawa as a “school-boy” system. Although this statement is true, even of Kobayashi/Shobayashi, many use Shoshin Nagamine’s Matsubayashi as a term to describe karate that is “waki-waki” or not up to par. If a style is whack many Okinawan senseis will call it Matsubayashi Ryu. That sounds harsh, but that’s the truth. Still it is better than 98% of Japanese and Korean karate, as many soft principles still remain.

If you wanted to take ShuriTe for a lifetime it is best to start off in Matsumura Seito (also called Sukunai Hayashi by some organizations), so as to not develop bad “modern” sport habits. If Matsumura Orthodox is not available, Shorinkan (Kobayashi) or Seibukan Shobayashi are great fighting styles also. Shorinkan teaches every kick imaginable, high or low, and many tuite and other Okinawan “Jujutsu” concepts. Shorin Ryu is especially known for its punches and other hand techs, but many Southern and Northern Chinese kicking techs are taught (especially in Kobayashi).

There are many Shorin sites on the web. Check out some histories, and see what you like the best. There are quite a few Matsumura Orthodox sites, but watch out because many of its senseis are also “waki-waki”. Then again many are very skilled and knowledgeable.

If Matsubayashi Ryu is all that they have in your area try it out and see how you like it. It is a good introductory style to real Shorin. Uechi Ryu is also a very good system, with many Southern Chinese principles in its repertoire, but some Okinawans criticize it for being a little unnatural, with too much emphasis on Iron Body training. Still it is a unique, and awesome fighting style.

I have trained in all branches of Shorin (except Shobayashi) in the Philippines, on Okinawa and now stateside. I am a Yudansha (black belt) in Kobayashi Shorinkan and Matsumura Seito. Both systems have their merits, but Matsumura Orthodox is closer to the original combat intent. Some of the best instructors in the world are here and have left Asia. Shorin is often lumped together with all karate, but trust me it is real and effective.

-Author Unknown

July 28, 2010

Free-Styling Sparing

In Lion’s Roar Kempo, we do not practice any free styling sparing until the student has reached the rank of Brown Belt. And when we do free spar, we do it full contact wearing chest protectors, Kempo gloves, boxing head gear, mouth piece and cup.

The reasons are multi fold. First, I don’t believe a student is ready to preform free sparing until he has been practicing for several years. There is no way that they can correctly preform punches & kicks with any balance, power, technique or control in less then Brown Belt level. Most sparing done at lover levels of rank look like a slap fest of who tagged who first. Its sloppy and ridiculous! On top of that, none of the students have any confidence in themselves or in the techniques they are trying to apply when free sparing.

Most importantly, the reason we don’t free spar until Brown Belt is that Lion’s Roar Kempo is a true Martial Art and not a Martial Sport. All our techniques are geared towards self-preservation/self-defense. When we train, we have the attitude of seriousness knowing that  without focus in action, by not being serious, we could hurt our training partner or get seriously hurt ourselves. When we spar it is with technique and force. It is not done as a game of tag as I see in other schools.

What we do at the lower levels of rank is train in Kata, Bunkai of Kata and, Ippon & Gihon Kumite. In Lion’s Roar Kempo we have 20 ippon kumite and 10 gihon kumite to master. These 30 techniques  will take the student to Brown Belt level. They teach, proper technique, timing, distancing, control, and the proper way to interact with a training partner, something I see lacking in many American schools/dojo.

Lion’s Roar Kempo Karate & Jitsu feels the Ultimate in Self-Discipline, Self-Control & Self-Respect.

July 3, 2010

Recommended Reading

When it comes to Martial Arts books, most aren’t good for anything except using for toilet paper. This is especially true for Martial Arts magazines. But there are a few that are the exception to the rule and in this case its a 3 volume set written by the late Donn Draeger titled 1. Classical Budo; 2. Classical Bujutsu; and 3. Modern Bujitsu & Budo.

These books are an excellent treatment of the major veins of Japanese martial arts in the post-Edo era to present (okay, well, mid-70s to be precise). Anyone participating or considering participating in Japanese martial arts should read this book to contextualize their practice and offer opportunity to reflect on their goals, expectations, and perception of their chosen form. Draeger constructs a seamless bridge between the war era, Edo Bakufu, Meiji, and present day evolutionary processes shaping Japanese martial arts. His history of the Meiji Restoration is brief and readable, yet detailed and obviously well researched. This is the first work I’ve read looking at the long reaching effects of the Meiji and Taisho political agendas on the Japanese own perception their martial arts heritage.