Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wooden Dummy "George"

Hello from London. Apologies for no updates on this page for a long time... needless to say, karate training continues as ever but in a different format. I now maintain training at my new home dojo with Sensei Nigel Thomas (IOGKF 6th dan) and everything is good. Just to be clear, I don't know if I will update this page anymore. However I have enjoyed the maintenance of this journal throughout the past decade. And I am still learning lots of "new" stuff, still writing it all down. Making notes from during your training (whether in the dojo, the wrestling gym, weight lifting schedule, yoga classes, running, cycling, swimming, etc) will always be an invaluable tool and I recommend that everyone who has the opportunity to do so should keep a personal training diary or some kind. My best tip: Be sure to write things down as soon as you can after the class ends, or risk forgetting small but important points.

Here is a great video that someone showed me recently, Nakamura Tetsuji Sensei practicing blocks and strikes using a wooden dummy.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Zayu no Mei Juichi Kajo: The 11 Martial Arts Mottoes of Mas Oyama

Oyama Sosai summed up his entire Martial Arts philosophy in these 11 mottoes, also known as the
Zayu no Mei Juichi Kajo, which are central in his teaching. Many of these hold practical
application even today.

1. The Martial Arts way begins and ends with courtesy. Therefore be properly and genuinely
courteous at all times.
2. Following the Martial Arts way is like scaling a cliff - continue upwards without rest. It
demands absolute and unfaltering devotion to the task at hand.
3. Strive to seize the initiative in all things, all the time guarding against actions stemming
from selfish animosity or thoughtlessness.
4. Even for the Martial Arts practitioner, the place of money cannot be ignored. Yet one should
be careful never to become attached to it.
5. The Martial Arts way is centered on posture. Strive to maintain correct posture at all times.
6. The Martial Arts way begins with one thousand days and is mastered after ten thousand days
of training.
7. In the Martial Arts, introspection begets wisdom. Always see contemplation on your actions
as an opportunity to improve.
8. The nature and purpose of Martial Arts is universal. All selfish desires should be roasted in
the tempering fires of hard training.
9. The Martial Arts begin with a point and end in a circle. Straight lines stem from this
10. The true essence of the Martial Way can only be realised through experience. Knowing this,
learn never to fear its demand.
11. Always remember - in the Martial Arts, the rewards of a confident and grateful heart are truly

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Double Chi'ishi

Morning karate class in the local tennis court, with double chi'ishi action for good measure!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sanchin Kata and Shime Testing

Here is a video recorded at the EGKA (English Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Association) 40th anniversary celebrations Gasshuku in Liverpool, England. The person performing the kata is the EGKA chief instructor, Sensei Ernie Molyneux, IOGKF 8th degree black belt. The kata he is performing is called Sanchin, this is the primary kata of the Goju-Ryu karate-do system. As Sensei Ernie performs the kata he is "tested" using a process known as Shime. This is a method to check the posture of one's Sanchin kata, as well as strength and focus. The shime testing being administered in this clip is provided by Master Morio Higaonna, 10th degree black belt, the founder of the IOGKF (International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Federation). No other kata in the Goju-Ryu is tested in such a fashion; only Sanchin.

It is worth noting that the shime testing that we see in this video clip is an advanced version of Sanchin kata testing. Checking a karate exponent's Sanchin kata takes much experience and is an endeavour that should not be performed by someone who unfamiliar with shime testing, as striking a person in the wrong area of the body or at the wrong time during kata can be highly dangerous.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

EGKA 40th Anniversary Gasshuku - Finale Demonstration

Last weekend there was a special Gasshuku held in Liverpool to recognise 40 years of Goju-Ryu karate training in England. The guest of honour at the event was Morio Higaonna Sensei, along with the IOGKF chief instructor Tetsuji Nakamura Sensei and other distinguished guests.

One of the participants at the seminar was Natsuko Mineghishi Sensei, a Melbourne Australia based opera singer. She was invited to the event especially by Higaonna Sensei, and gave several vocal performances during the weekend, including a demonstration at the end of proceedings where she performed 4 Shotokan kata whilst also singing, a most novel and interesting feat.

Many thanks to all who helped to make this Gasshuku happen, including Senseis Ernie Molyneux, Roy Flatt, Paul Nolan and all of the dojo instructors of the English Goju-Ryu Karate-Do Association. A great weekend of karate indeed!

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

He Is Human and So Am I

As seen in "The Essence Of Okinawan Karate-Do"; by Shoshin Nagamine.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hanwell Dojo, 15/07/2013

Very good class at Sensei Nigel Thomas's Hanwell Dojo yesterday evening. London is in the middle of a bit of a heatwave at present, so it was Okinawa style temperatures in the dojo for this session (Okinawa with the air conditioning on that is). The class included partner work, Saifa kata and Sanchin to finish. Enjoyable and sweaty.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Famous Karate Masters Photograph

Today I saw this photo of karate masters online and for the first time it also had names alongside. I have had a framed copy of this photograph on my wall for some years and I could only recognise Chojun Miyagi Sensei, much to my discredit. Only today have I learned the names of all of the other men alongside him. (Yes, I could have discovered their names a long time ago with a quick Google search, I know that!)

Front row (right to left): Chojun Miyagi. Chomo Hanashiro , Kentsu Yabu, Chotoku Kyan
Back row: Genwa Nakasone Taiken, Choshin Chibana, Choryo Maeshiro, Shinpan Shiroma