Killing me softly

General discussions on Wado Ryu karate and associated martial arts.
kato
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Re: Killing me softly

Post by kato »

Toby Threadgill used a sword against another sword and he connected to the opponent's center via his sword thru their sword and rooted them. I used the first movement from kihon kumite 8 to do the same.
(..)
All I do is extend myself into them at the point of contact with my arm and connect to their center. Toby Threadgill does it holding a sword and extending his energy thru his sword into their sword up their arm and into their center.


I find these concepts interesting. I have been practising Taiji for some time, developing different taiji forces mainly for health purposes. Especially in the past 10 years I have discovered more and more similarities between Wado stances and techniques from the south school of Taiji, various daoyins (old chinese health exercises) and also Bagua. Nai Hanchi, kihon kumite and Junzuki no tsukomi are some examples.

It would be great if you could explain a bit more how you connect and how you extend yourself, e.g. if you mostly use mind force (put your "mind"/intention in the opponents hara) or use vibrational force, if you extend your energy from hara, the ground or the arms, etc.
Cato Bruar
Wado International Karate-Do Federation (WIKF)
TSYR
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Re: Killing me softly

Post by TSYR »

kato wrote:
I find these concepts interesting. I have been practising Taiji for some time, developing different taiji forces mainly for health purposes. Especially in the past 10 years I have discovered more and more similarities between Wado stances and techniques from the south school of Taiji, various daoyins (old chinese health exercises) and also Bagua. Nai Hanchi, kihon kumite and Junzuki no tsukomi are some examples.

It would be great if you could explain a bit more how you connect and how you extend yourself, e.g. if you mostly use mind force (put your "mind"/intention in the opponents hara) or use vibrational force, if you extend your energy from hara, the ground or the arms, etc.
Hello Kato,

The nairiki no gyo kata in Shindo Yoshin ryu, which informed Ohtsuka's jujutsu training are supposedly descended from southern Chinese martial traditions. So yes, they are essentially Japanese modifications of the Chinese daoyins found in many Chinese internal training traditions (Jigong).

Talking about these things in detail on a discussion forum is almost impossible because an accurate and accepted lexicon does not exist. The Chinese and Japanese created their own lexicon based on unique cultural concepts that are very different from those embraced by European cultures. Consequently, when westerners translate eastern concepts via an eastern lexicon they frequently misunderstand or totally obliterate the context. An example of this is your use of "mind force" or "vibrational force". To most westerners this takes what is actually quite concrete and moves it into the realm most people would think is mystical or magical. This approach makes learning this stuff extremely difficult if not impossible. Why? Because there is no such thing as magic! Some stuff looks like magic and can even feel like magic, but its not. It's physical with a dash of mental manipulation thrown in. I try very hard to steer clear of mystical terminology when discussing this stuff because it has the two fold effect of hampering a good students progress while encouraging students who want to believe in magic. Sometimes a quasi-mystical term is all we have, so it must suffice, but it is not ideal. In the end, talking about this stuff is just talk. You must feel it in person to even grasp what's going on.

So......In my own lexicon I will explain it like this.

The nairiki no gyo are a series of training methods intended to create what my teacher called a budo body. This is a body capable of unified, powerful and relaxed movement that also manifests an extremely expanded level of sensitivity. So, by utilizing a properly connected body structure I am able to avoid the inherent weaknesses associated with independent muscular movement. Essentially I create a body structure capable of subtle, coordinated and extremely efficient power transfer. This type of body structure also allows me to develop a highly sensitive neuro-feedback network. I can feel not only inside my structure, but through someones else's body structure the moment they touch me. At the moment of contact I employ almost imperceptible movement to generate and project force through the attacking structure.

There is an element of mental force involved in this. I frequently use mental visualization as I steer this force through the structure of the adversary, but I must warn people. If you focus on mental skills too strongly, it will send you on a dead end detour that can upset your training for years. Mental visualization is very subtle and can be effective but it cannot really be taught. I prefer to say it is arrived at through experience. I can after 20 years mentally think right shoulder, and the adversary will fall right. I can mentally picture pelvis back and the adversaries structure will collapse backward at the hips. Maybe this what you are calling mind force but I prefer to say it is just very advanced mind/body coordination. Everyone one of us is capable of this sort of thing with enough practice. Do we mentally think, turn the door knob right? No, we just open the door. Same thing here, but its just more advanced and nuanced. I wish I could mentally think "fall down" to someone across the room, and they'd fall down, but alas, it doesn't work. This stuff is physical manipulation reinforced by the mental manipulation. (FWIW, I can throw people without touching them but its something else all togerther and is not always successful. It depends on a unique type of mental inertia or visual disruption and does not reflect any level of mental powers.)

As for vibrational force, I think I know what you mean. It sounds interesting but such terminology would confuse me as a student because I would think I needed to literally physically vibrate. I like the word "tone" better. I move with one tone. It describes the power generation and level of connection through a body structure. If you un-connect your structure and start depending on individual muscular movement, you start creating multiple tones of force. Between these tones are gaps. An adversary will intuitively perceive these gaps and attempt to exploit them. With one tone I can connect to a structure so softly that they are not aware of the connection. I can then raise the tone without increasing any force. When the adversary then attempts to move me or attack my structure, they inadvertently destroy their own structure because they were never aware that a connection already existed, reinforced by a very powerful tone. So when I touch an adversaries blade with my blade, I do it with one tone. This allows me to feel their entire structure and connect to their center of gravity. Any movement on their part except complete disengagement will compromise their structure because they run into my structure reinforced by my tone, so they die. To completely disengage will result in a blindingly fast attack, so they die.

This sort of ability is why you hear the stories of two samurai facing off all day and never engaging swords or attacking. To physically engage puts the initiator in extreme disadvantage so the best tactic was to attack through a gap, or counterattack in perfect synchronization with a weak or imperfect attack. If no one ever left an opening, there was no chance for a successful attack, and no chance for a successful counterattack. This is strategy and technique at its highest level. This is why kenjutsu is considered the king of the Japanese strategy schools. It is also why Wado ryu does not ascribe to Karate Ni Sente Nashi. In real Japanese budo, everything is sente.

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
Tobin E Threadgill
Takamura ha Shindo Yoshin Kai
http://www.shinyokai.com
Gusei21
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Re: Killing me softly

Post by Gusei21 »

Hi Kato,

Like Sensei Threadgill says, it is not really possible to explain how via the written medium ...but if you already have a background in Taiji ( I claim to know nothing about Taiji) then perhaps it would be easy for you to pick up on what I do.
I will be teaching in Sweden in July and Finland in September so if you have time then you are more than welcome to attend my seminars there and I can show you what I mean within the Wado context.
Here is the thing though. All this connection stuff as it ties to kihon kumite or tanto tori can be fun and fascinating but I think it is a bigger eye opener to integrate this to the kihon as in junzuki or jodan uke. it makes the technique faster and more powerful if done correctly. Gordon was kind enough to stub out a section in our Wadopedia and I plan to explore this stuff in the kihon section as soon as I get time away from work which is not happening anytime soon.
After being around Takagi Sensei for close to 35 years I am convinced he is doing this and that is why he is so much faster and more powerful than most. And the more I practice in this manner the faster and more powerful I am becoming. Just to be clear I am not saying Takagi Sensei does or knows Taiji. What I am saying is that he has superior knowledge about how to utilize body structure and how to connect to the ground. He is always saying to me in Japanese 'learn to get along with the ground' and I am only now starting to understand what he has been trying to get across to me all these years. Apparently I am not the brightest bulb in the bunch so it takes a bit of time and help from Sensei Threadgill to spell things out for me but now that things are clicking everything has been taken up a notch or two.
Simply put in the context of junzuki, you need to be grounded before, during and until the end of the technique. The punch needs to be connected to your body as in 'one tone' because ultimately you are not hitting with the arm. You are hitting with the entire body of which the arm is just a small part. It is the conduit but then again the whole body is a conduit right? Most people do kime with the arm. Unfortunately that only kills the power. The punch emanates from the body as does the kime. So you are just hitting. You as in ...i don't know...what is you? Your entire being. The tonality explodes? lol.. Now I am just goofing around with words because at some point it stops making any sense. It is just easier to do.

I think one of the problems with learning this stuff is that there is no language to get there, no real road map. Takagi Sensei does amazing stuff but he can't really explain it in a way that will help you replicate what he does. And if you ask him about Taiji or grounding or whatever he will just shrug his shoulders because that is meaningless to him. He just figured it out in his own way from studying with Otsuka Sensei and it settled in his body.
I think me being the lifelong programmer (I don't know how to do anything else - I guess I can go flip burgers at McDonalds) I am always trying to create an algorithm or some sort of methodology so others can replicate what I learned to do because for me unless I can have someone replicate what I do I find what I do to be suspect - luck - odd body formation..whatever.
A lot of Wado people only do generic karate. Tanto tori does not Wado make. Neither does kihon kumite or ohyo kumite or whatever. Wado is something deeper than that. And unless those ingredients are present then it is not Wado. Putting Wado into junzuki makes junzuki an endless journey of fun.
Putting Wado into the nine katas is more than enough study for one's lifetime.
I will never forget the dumbass who complained that all Takagi Sensei ever taught at a seminar is junzuki. The dumbass is so clueless....but then again who's to blame? Perhaps Wado is not meant to be approachable by the common man? There has to be a way to teach this stuff so more people can understand it. I am not saying I understand. Another reason I can't make videos or write a book. When i think I get it then inevitably my teachers show me something that ends up having me toss what I knew out the window and revisit things from square one. Just when I say 'this is it' I change it next month... hopeless...I should have listened to my uncle when he said only stupid people do martial arts....He has a 5th dan in judo.
Bob Nash
Tim49
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Re: Killing me softly

Post by Tim49 »

Gusei21 wrote:I will never forget the dumbass who complained that all Takagi Sensei ever taught at a seminar is junzuki. The dumbass is so clueless....but then again who's to blame? Perhaps Wado is not meant to be approachable by the common man? There has to be a way to teach this stuff so more people can understand it.
Ah, yes, yes! Maybe if enough people say this the message might begin to sink in, particularly amongst the ‘advice resistant’ elements of our wider Wado community.

Tim Shaw
Essex UK
wadoka
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Re: Killing me softly

Post by wadoka »

Taking of that, I was teaching someone the other day and we started off doing some light movements (like shiai) just to warm up. Also quickly switching from okuri ashi to tsugi ashi to ayumi ashi. They could not do smooth light movements, their feet kept on sticking to the floor like dead weights.

In trying to explain I went right around the houses and guess where I ended up, back to junzuki. If you are stomping around in junzuki, or cannot do the transition from junzuki to gyakuzuki (sonabade ippon toru) without having to lift and plonk the foot or not at all, then everything else is immediately harder.

Who said body-centric!
Tim49
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Re: Killing me softly

Post by Tim49 »

wadoka wrote:Taking of that, I was teaching someone the other day and we started off doing some light movements (like shiai) just to warm up. Also quickly switching from okuri ashi to tsugi ashi to ayumi ashi. They could not do smooth light movements, their feet kept on sticking to the floor like dead weights.

In trying to explain I went right around the houses and guess where I ended up, back to junzuki. If you are stomping around in junzuki, or cannot do the transition from junzuki to gyakuzuki (sonabade ippon toru) without having to lift and plonk the foot or not at all, then everything else is immediately harder.

Who said body-centric!
That was me!

Tim Shaw
Essex
oneya
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Re: Killing me softly

Post by oneya »

Hi,
Having been there and almost worn the mandarin collar I have to say, although you may find a connection in taiji/qigong, it should be quickly evident that it is not the actual pathway but rather only a gateway to something similar - and I am still trying to unlock the damn gate after a few decades tinkering with the qigong lock - and because it too is quite different so it has its own baggage. Of course this would not be the first side track though, by now it should be widely known that the Okinawan element within wado ryu came with its own previously mentioned 'karate ni sente nashi’ baggage which has left many western practitioners heading down a yellow brick road. So much so that in the study of this Okinawan condiments element I believe it becomes more practical to see this as the actual opponent that should come with the advisory ‘know your enemy’ that the remaining aspects of wado ryu are meant to bring it to heel, perhaps in the known wado world of its beginnings the only known note-worthy opponent of its kind if we weren’t seemingly only going to replicate Aikido.

Wado ryu is probably fifty something years on now in the west and I am beginning to feel that these killing me softly developments are never going to feature as part of the western study except in small pockets as long as one eye is on the brass bell of the tournament milieu, unless it looks instead to kihon and items like junzuki and wado principles as the prize. Again though, after 50 something years of western mauling it is probably necessary now to rethink and refine one’s understanding of Junzuki because although there was a time when junzuki itself came from the budo dojo lexicon, it now is a term from the retail trade so each successive generation will understand it less and less. There was also a time when language differences were an issue in attempting one’s first ayumiashi towards the wado ryu and gradually this was crow-barred into a dojo shorthand that erred on the side of western regional dialects and a temporal convenience - if only to keep the Gorei moving - until it became more than just the lexicon that we now find wanting.

Junzuki is still something that we can grasp but only if we understand the need for some elevating congruence across kihon or the more bountiful ‘If like this’ of Suzuki sensei’s dojo lexicon where ayumiashi or tsuriashi is seen as part of the result of wado movement instead of its intent or purpose. More especially, that we come to realise that the western 'punch' or ‘step’ labels do not convey its depth and complexities.

It is, as stressed all the way through this Roberta Flack melody and reiterated by Mr Threadgill: something only to be arrived at through working and reworking this particular aspect of the wado ryu experience for a couple of more decades yet.


oneya
Last edited by oneya on Fri May 04, 2012 6:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reg Kear.
Wado Kokusai San no Ya.

http://www.sannoya.com
Gusei21
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Re: Killing me softly

Post by Gusei21 »

oneya wrote:
Wado ryu is probably fifty something years on now in the west and I am beginning to feel that these killing me softly developments are never going to feature as part of the western study except in small pockets as long as one eye is on the brass bell of the tournament milieu, unless it looks instead to kihon and items like junzuki and wado principles as the prize.

There was also a time when language differences were an issue in attempting one’s first ayumiashi towards the wado ryu and gradually this was crow-barred into a dojo shorthand that erred on the side of western regional dialects and a temporal convenience
oneya
We have to find a way to keep both tracks alive concurrently. The tournament is vital to our development because it teaches speed, timing and distance if done correctly. (I don't want to hear from people who don't believe in tournaments because what you call competition is different from what the rest of us call competition. So don't even go down that road. Apples and Oranges. ) We just need to educate more people on the importance of both but that requires us to redefine how we are educating our people.
The message is slowly starting to get out there I think and at the end of the day the proof is in the pudding so to speak because some of us are actually doing this stuff in front of a lot of people on a regular basis and the numbers are growing. Sure there are pockets of resistance but I think in time...
I also realize there is hardly any written instructional material and no video. This is because the people who actually know how to do it realize that books and videos can't convey this stuff. So by default the only books and videos that get made are either quality rehashing of what we already have (not really helpful) or crappy videos from youtube land where every goober is king. (Seriously. why do I want to see someone place another crappy incorrect version of Seishan when we already have Takagi Sensei and a few other senior instructors doing it well?)

As Gordon said earlier, we have to start by making people understand that when we switch from junzuki to gyakuzuki the front foot shift does not drive the stance change but instead the foot is actually rather passive and that the actual foot movement is just the 'result of' correct body RE-alignment due to the change in the nature of the technique from junzuki to gyakuzuki.

On second thought though...I guess the people who put out the videos think what they do is ok so that is why they do it so I guess I can't fault them for that. You only know what you know. Your worldview is limited by the area of your own duck pond. I thought I knew it all when I was 25....and today I feel like I don't really know much about anything.
Bob Nash
oneya
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Re: Killing me softly

Post by oneya »

We have to find a way to keep both tracks alive concurrently. The tournament is vital to our development because it teaches speed, timing and distance if done correctly. (I don't want to hear from people who don't believe in tournaments because what you call competition is different from what the rest of us call competition. So don't even go down that road. Apples and Oranges. ) We just need to educate more people on the importance of both but that requires us to redefine how we are educating our people.
I agree Bob and just for the record I am not against tournament as such because it is that vital component. What is perhaps needed is for tournament to be seen in a better educational perspective as the first steps in a long road of personal and collective development. Our problem may well be that not everyone in the western world is able to see it this way.

It is not easy for a guy to get a handful of cookies out of the cookie jar without giving up a few.

oneya
Reg Kear.
Wado Kokusai San no Ya.

http://www.sannoya.com
wadopaul
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Re: Killing me softly

Post by wadopaul »

When Ohtsuka said the guy was dead and didn't even know it, i would have interpreted that as being, he had the opportunity to perform a lethal technique.
I wouldn't have imagined that remark would lead to such such detailed discussion. Keep up the good work folks, this kind of stuff is a real eye opener for me.
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