Excellent 2 part interview with Hanshi Patrick McCarthy @ Ikigai Way

Just a heads-up – Sensei posted a note on the KU-SA Facebook page that linked to an interview with Koryu Uchinadi founder Hanshi Patrick McCarthy, and guess what? It was from Matt over at Ikigai Way! Given that our club is now training exclusively in Koryu Uchinadi and that I’m trying to train my mind in lieu of some injuries that are keeping me from training physically at the moment, I’m reading up and studying information on the style, as well as viewing footage of the techniques and drills so that I’m not too rubbish when I start back in class again, so this is great timing.

It was great getting a digest of Hanshi’s varied training and experiences, but it was the discussion on KU philosophies and the extra bonus of mentioning the hakutsuru style that has particularly piqued my interested, as I’ve talked about this with Matt in the past after he mentioned one-legged kata in the syllabus. It re-affirms my interest in grabbing a copy of Hanshi’s Bubishi: The Classic Manual of Combat, though I’m currently ploughing through some study at the moment, so recreational reading has been on-hold for a while and is likely to roll on into early 2011 at this stage.

But enough of that – head over to Ikigai Way and read Part 1 and Part 2 of the interview!

Share

… and I’m back!

Apologies for the unplanned break – a handful of unfortunate issues cropped up over the last couple of months, along with a couple of annoying injuries that have kept training somewhat sporadic since June.

But that’s the past – I’d rather look to the future. I’ve got plenty of material to write about which I’ll be rolling out over the next couple of weeks, as well as regular insight into my training in the Koryu Uchinadi system. On the amputee side of things, I’ve just started to get the ball rolling to have my prosthesis (which is from 2006) replaced with a new one, included some new options for the socket design and knee. Should be interesting!

I’m also out of whack with what a lot of my fellow bloggers are writing about, so I’ll be jumping back into the loop to get up to speed over there as well.

I’d also like to fire across a big thanks to those of you who e-mailed me during my blogging absence with questions or feedback, to my Sensei and fellow students for being understanding of my situation, and to Wifey for putting up with a grumpy husband the last couple of months πŸ™‚

That’s it from me for now – more updates will come, stay tuned to the blog!

Share

A change is in the air – from Shotokan to Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo Jutsu

At the end of training this week, we finished about 15 minutes early and were asked to grab a chair and sit in a circle with Sensei and Dai-Sensei. As it sounded pretty serious, my first fear was that I had somehow broken yet another karate club. Turns out that while it was still a serious conversation we all had, it wasn’t about the end of the karate club. Rather, it was arguably a case of sowing seeds for the future.

When Sensei had us sit down for a chat, it was to announce that the club will no longer be teaching shotokan karate, but instead will be moving to teaching Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo Jutsu in its place. I’ve discussed Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo Justu before, owing to Sensei’s interest in the system and having attended some excellent seminars that Renshi Jason Griffiths has hosted in the past, so I’m not surprised that he has been working hard in the background to get his teaching certification and permission from Hanshi McCarthy to begin teaching Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo Jutsu. For him, having practiced shotokan for 22 years, found that while he loved the style, there were gaps that he felt were missing from making it an outwardly “complete” system. Having trained in hapkido, jujutsu, kobudo and kenpo in addition to his years studying karate, I can respect and understand his belief in this move, and his conviction moving forward with this decision, having discussed it with Dai-Sensei and some of our senior students as well, before presenting us with the news.

For me, the eye-opening thing was that Sensei has the conviction to put aside 22 years of shotokan training to move forward with this system – for me, I see that as a sign that there is real merit with the shift to Koyru Uchinadi. What is even more eye-opening is that Dai-Sensei, who has been a shotokan karateka for 35 years, has decided to put his black belt aside and join the rest of us in line to start afresh with Koryu Uchinadi.

My first reaction at the change was one of shock – I mean, I really enjoy shotokan, even though it traditionally had some big gaps as a system unless you knew how to dissect technique from kata (which I’ve found to really enjoy). However, having had the opportunity to train in Koryu Uchinadi, and having seen the extent of the syllabus, I’m very excited at the prospect of moving forward and broadening my experience with this system. I don’t even mind rebooting back to a lower grade – it’s a different style, and just as I went back to 10th kyu when I started learning pure shotokan vs the hybrid style I used to learn, I think it’s appropriate to go back to the start with a new syllabus. It’s not as though the past 6 years of training have been for naught either, as experience is experience, and having studied a couple of styles now, it will be easy to translate that experience in embracing this new style.

I think for those in the class that haven’t had the opportunity to experience some of the Koryu Uchinadi syllabus, the move is probably a bit more daunting – for me, having had the chance to train with Renshi on a few occasions, I have no qualms moving forward. It’s not like we’re moving to some dodgy “discount variety warehouse” style (Rex Kwon Do, anyone? :D), Koryu Uchinadi is an extensive, well-researched and globally organised style that offers an alternative view of traditional karate as most of us understand it today dervied from extensive practice and research on traditional Okinawan systems of self-defense. I also like how it offers an academic side as well, given its integration with the International Ryukyu Karate-jutsu Research Society founded by Hanshi McCarthy, and that the syllabus has been drawn from such a strong dedication to research into pre-modern karate.

I’m in no way suggesting I’ve discovered the “golden egg” with Koryu Uchinadi, but I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen/practiced and am looking forward to studying it as my main style of martial arts. I feel I will still get all of my base techniques/tools out of it, just as I have with shotokan, but with the broader syllabus that incorporates more close-quarters techniques, grappling, groundwork, throws, etc, I feel it will help close some substantial gaps in my ability as a martial artist, as well as emphasise the theory/research side which I also really enjoy when studying a Japanese martial art. I have also noticed that the style also contains a strong kobudo element, which means there will be an opportunity to learn traditional Okinawan kobudo within the broader framework offered by the style.

So yes, there are changes afoot, and I will miss some aspects of learning shotokan. However, I strongly believe this represent a great opportunity to study a very extensive style with extremely strong ties to traditional Okinawan martial arts, which has always been why karate in general has been of great interest to me. Once classes change over, I’ll have to go back and update the About page with some information on the styles I’ve trained in and include the shift to exploring Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo Jutsu. For those who aren’t familiar with it, check out the entry on Wikipedia for a quick summary, and there’s also the official website with stacks of information.

I guess for those who haven’t trained in the style or want to know more about it, I’m hoping the posts detailing my experiences will help others understand aspects of the system from the perspective of a newbie with a degree of existing knowledge of karate, as well as allow myself to use this blog as a platform for working through my experiences learning Koryu Uchinadi. I’m looking forward to getting into training and will start posting up my experiences of it as early as next week hopefully, assuming I don’t get distracted and forget to post about it πŸ˜‰

Share

Catching up on what’s been happening

I thought I’d make my first proper post a bit of a catchup on what’s been happening with me over the last couple of months πŸ™‚

I’ve been training on and off since mid-late November due to a handful of injuries that have been rolling my way, probably the most persistent of which has been my stump’s ongoing issues since November. It actually started after I took our dog out for a walk after Wifey and I caught up with my brother and sister-in-law for a weekender, and ended up mangling the back of my stump. This wasn’t a biggie at first because I thought I’d just done some minor surface damage to the stump, but it ended up turning out to be more serious and on-going than I first imagined.

What ended up happening only started to get resolved maybe a month ago – what had happened was to do with some foam padding added to what’s called the “seat” of the prosthesis. This is the part of the socket that comes up to the base of your arse cheek and forms a foundation to hold your weight when you walk – by doing this, it means the weight and pressure of your body is spready out on your bum (which is handy, because it’s cushiony and generally has a large surface area!) and along the bottom of your stump, which can only physically take so much repeated pressure/impacts before struggling to hold your weight.

Anywho, because I’m pretty active, a while back my specialist put some tough foam-like padding (only a few mm thick) along the back of the seat of the prosthesis to soften the cutting-like impact walking was having on my socket liner. This is a good thing btw, more cushion = less direct impact. The issue was that a while ago, part of the foam padding broke off and I ignored it, because at first it wasn’t making a difference. However, after that long walk with our dog it happened to grind away so much skin that it caused an open wound (at the time though, I didn’t realise the extent of the damage). Roll on to December and I had two weeks off work over the x-mas break, which was great for my leg because I kept the prosthesis off for the most part. However, jumping back into work and all the goodies that comes with my work ethic, and again I had problems with my leg. It was getting very, very frustrating!

My lightbulb moment came in February – after getting into my socket and feeling the familiar soreness on the back of my stump, I put my finger between the liner and the socket where the pain was comgin from and took a look, and the exact spot where the sore happened to be was on the torn edge of the foam backing! Following this revelation, I made an appointment and had my specialist remove the offending material and replace it. The effect was immediate, and for the first time in months, my stump is slowly healing itself.

So, because of this in particular, training has been really erratic – I’ve only done a handful of classes this year so far, and am nowhere ready to grade next month (I also missed out the December grading due to the issues knocking me out solidly from November 2009 until the new year, so that’s two in a row as we generally hold gradings quaretly throughout the year), so I’ve been working on training at about 80% so as not to damage the stump. I’ve managed to do classes for the last two weeks without too much trouble, and for the last three weeks I’ve been able to finally get back into the yard as well and work on revamping the garden. Things are definitely looking up!

So, I’m at a good place at the moment. Over the course of my break form training, I also took the opportunity to do some reading on martial arts – I read Patrick and Yuriko McCarthy’s translated works on Gichin Funakoshi and Motobu Choki (regulars will know I’ve mentioned him when referring to Koryu Uchinadi Kenpo-jutsu and the International Ryukyu Karate-jutsu Research Society in the past – you can check out their website here, and read more on the books themselves here), finally read Tom Cleary’s translation of Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings (more info on the translation is at Musashi Miyamoto.com) and a translation of the Hagakure (can’t recall the translator for this one) – Wifey actually bought me those last two as a gift, isn’t she awesome? Down the road I’m planning on writing up something on my impressions of these books so that others interested in them can see some of my thoughts on them, being inspired by the martial arts book reviews section on Black Belt Mama’s website.

There’s been some other stuff happening as well on the injury front, but I’ll save that for another post in order to keep this one a little more focused!

Anywho, expect more regular updates form now on, I promise!

Share

Companion blogs

Calendar

October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031