(USRKUSA) THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
Thoughts on Bunkai
We often hear the phrase "The essence of Karate is Kata" but what is
the essence of kata? The definition of kata is, "Form - an organized
series of prearranged defensive and offensive movements symbolizing an imaginary fight between several opponents and performed in a
geometrical pattern. Handed down and perfected by masters of a system of karate".
So why was kata invented and composed?
Before kata there was likely only what we now refer to as "Bunkai".
Possibly individual responses to real life situations, attacks.
Defensive and offensive options were practiced for practical purposes.Then they were strung together for practice purposes to help train and perfect body response. This is a theory accepted in the martial arts community of which we are a part of.
"Bunkai" means to separate, break down and take apart ("bun") then
understand and comprehend ("kai"). Bunkai for our kata in Shorinryu
karate means to analyze and dissect our kata and then use the
movements, all of the movements for practical application. So why do
we need to think about application if we know our kata?
As karate spread throughout the world in the early 1900's the teaching and learning vehicle "kata" remained while the application part, the "bunkai" lost emphasis. Kata can easily by illustrated and described
in print and moving image. The parts can be defined. We call a punch
a punch a block a block and a kick a kick. Was this the original
intended application? Very unlikely. Couldn't a punch be something
else, anything else? Could a block be a strike? Could any change of
direction be a throw, could every step be a sweep?
It would be much more difficult to illustrate the endless options of
bunkai. The split second decisions are a response to a dynamic
changing environment. The intension of the response can often be
brutal, but controlled. I have often responded to an "inappropriate"
attack during kata/bunkai practice that I could never explain much less document. As an exercise in bunkai practice the kata with the attack coming from front, back and all sides for each move, 360 degrees. Slow things down at first, clear your mind and try to use just the movements of the kata as your response. Let go of the notion of block and punches. Use extreme control to avoid injury. Think of effective disabling ways to use the movements of the kata. Try to work a little outside your box.When your fist returns to the chambered position it might just have something in it, like your opponents ear.
We kick high in practice and in kata to develop good range and strength but "old style" karateka only used low kicks, mostly to the legs and groin area. There is an old karate saying that says "if you want to kick someone in the head you should throw him on the ground first".
Daniel Gobillot, shihan - shichidan, Northampton Ueshiro Karate
FIRST MOVE of kata.
The first move of every kata is a BLOCK. This is consistent with the basic philosophy of karate.
From the most basic gedan uke (lower block) used in the first move of Fukyugata Ichi to advanced blocking techniques like hangetsu-barai-uke (half-moon foot block) in Rohai and Passai, Master Nagamine discusses 32 different ukekata (blocking techniques) in The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do. To paraphrase Hanshi, there is much there to research!
Master Nagamine states, “The ultimate goal of all martial arts is to defeat the enemy without fighting back. This notion is intimately connected with the essence of karate-do, and is expressed as the philosophy of karate in the proverb, karate ni sente nashi (there is no first attack in karate, or karate begins only with the defensive form.) There are always some persons around who do violence to good citizens; the blocking techniques have been developed to meet such violence.”
If the first blocking move of kata is done with full commitment, with kiai, it can END the fight. If we practice the first move of our kata as if it is the LAST move of the fight it will have a tremendous effect, setting the tone and temper of the entire kata. Even when practicing half-speed-and-power, when the first move is done with intention, focus and full engagement, it elevates our entire kata. And when practicing basic techniques across the deck, Hanshi has often said that the “most important” move is the first move. It sets the tone for everything to come.
Domo arigato gozaimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei and all Deshi.
Sensei Bob Dobrow
Shihan, Ueshiro Northfield Shorin-Ryu Dojo
Onegai-shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei, Shihan and Fellow Deshi,
In executing our techniques, we should move (and breathe) quietly, like a tiger.
Stepping loudly is often the product of stepping high, which is generally incorrect.
Similarly, breathing loudly is often a sign of having lost control over one’s breath,
risking/betraying fatigue and weakness.
Keep moving forward . . . quietly . . .
Domo arigato gozaimasu to all.
Shihan, Boston Chinatown Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate Club
Regarding Tandren Kumite
Onegai Shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei and SRKUSA Deshi
Considerations Regarding Tandren Kumite – Adjust the force / power to provide a spirited exchange, but limit the force / power to the capability of each training partner
Shorin Ryu Karate encompasses traditional karate training techniques centered around kata development and practice. Other techniques are employed such as Yakusoku Kumite (pre-arranged fighting) and develop a controlled response to a realistic attack. Tandren Kumite (three point arm training and high low punch/block) is another controlled technique/exercise where training partners develop a feel for a strike and block minimizing the risk of injury. Responsible practice dictates that the use of force and power during Tandren Kumite be gradually developed so as to prevent injury. It is imperative that Deshi communicate with each other during Tandren Kumite to adjust the striking force to the limit of the smaller / weaker Deshi.
It is simply too easy to overpower and injure a weaker, smaller Deshi. There have been periodic complaints where one Deshi seeks to overpower the other causing much arm bruising and pain. This is not allowed and is not effective training. Rather than overpowering, communicate and adjust the force to allow the weaker/newer/smaller deshi (especially women and children) to dictate the striking force level.
It is suggested that during each class where these techniques are practiced, the instructor inform the class regarding this practice and the controlled use of striking force to prevent injury.
Additional information regarding Tandren Kumite and other techniques can be researched in Shorin Ryu Okinanwan Karate Question and Answer Book (Red Book) page 44. Also, see Building Warrior Spirit (Green Book) pages 22-25.
Sensei Ron MarchettiShihan, Ueshiro Cocoa Dojo
Shorin-Ryu is a natural style
Shorin-Ryu is a natural style with little wasted motion, no exaggerated breathing; and there is no technique, if done properly, that poses risk of self-injury
Here are some examples of what we might consider deviations from “natural” movement that other styles teach:
· The Chinese styles use circular movements of hand and foot, that take longer to execute than direct techniques
· Chinese-influenced Okinawan styles, like Goju-ryu, also use circular movements, especially their foot pattern while stepping, that requires extra time to execute
· Some styles, like Shotokan, use a 90° angled step forward that doubles the length of foot movement
· Shotokan students also keep their forward knee bent even in their high stance
· Isshin-ryu teaches to land the punch vertically, and then angle the top of the fist (thumb side up) downward, which eliminates the additional force that we generate when we twist the fist fully horizontal
· Goju-ryu uses a guttural, constricted breathing called “sanshin” that, if not trained precisely, by an expert, can cause internal harm
· Sport Tae Kwon Do uses high, jumping and spinning kicks that pose risk to oneself, both because of the exaggerated exposure to counterattack and because of the blind dismount into a landing zone already tangled with the body, legs and feet of one’s opponent
Master Ueshiro had the utmost respect for every traditional martial art, insisting that it is more important the time and effort put into its practice than which specific art is chosen. And the practitioners of the other styles no doubt believe that their “unnatural” techniques hold benefits greater than their liabilities, but my point is that Shorin-Ryu is a natural style with little wasted motion, no exaggerated breathing; and there is no technique, if done properly, that poses risk of self-injury.
Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Kyoshi David Baker,
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA
founded by Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro
under the direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione
Onegai-shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Denshi, Sensei, Sempai and Karateka
How we should make our fist?
Assume a well rooted foundation of natural stance (shizentai-dachi)
Straighten your hands with arms horizontally Close your 4 fingers and then close your thumb strong over first 2 fingers and turn your fists
Your fists must be straight with your arms all the time, especially when you perform kata or when you do push-ups; all must be straight including when you strengthen your fingers and your fists via makiwara training
This will protect your hands from being damaged/injured in case of a fight. You must train in this way all the time when performing kata -- keeping your fists straight and closed!
Domo Arigato Hanshi and to All
Onegai shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei and all fellow deshi,
During the workouts at our 50th anniversary celebration, Hanshi focussed often on the hands. He admonished us to keep our hands in the shuto position, or in tight fists, as appropriate to the move or stance. This came up again and again and at the time, I simply did it as directed. Reflection came later, when I realized that this technique is absolutely fundamental to our karate.
Students learning nekoashi dachi have many details to absorb; this is a stance that is markedly different from what they have been doing in the earlier kata. They are lucky if they can even remember where to position the hands. As a result, the hands themselves often become floppy and this is carried forward and becomes a bad habit. The hands may even develop a cupped position, from which they will never achieve the knife-like strike they are meant to do. Remembering to hold the shuto position will result in saltational improvement to the students nekoashi dachi stance. As Hanshi suggested, incorporate the shuto hand and the tight fist into your introductory stretches, as well as kata and other exercises. These changes alone will markedly strengthen your foundation.
Domo arigato gozaimasu
Mary McKitrick, San-dan
Rip Through It: A useful image for practicing striking techniques
When striking an object, if we are trying to achieve the maximum disruption to the structural integrity of that object, then we need to attain speed as well as power. However, some of the ways we tend to talk about the moment of impact emphasize power over speed. For example, we commonly talk about smashing objects. One way to highlight the role of speed is to visualize ripping through objects. For example, when practicing strikes such as the open hand strike in Fukyugata Ni and the opened hand reinforced chest block from Wankan, it helps to focus on getting enough speed to rip through the (real or imagined) object. This also applies to kicks. If deliver a kicking strike to a door with intense, accelerating speed, the kick will likely result in ripping through the door; without speed, the result might just be the forcible pushing open of the door. To borrow from the sport of baseball to give another application of this concept, I remember my struggle to hit the ball out of the infield. What helped me get past this limitation was being told to hit the ball as though I was trying to rip open its seams. Of course I was little back then (maybe 2 or 3 years old!!), but this powerful idea has stayed with me and helped with my karate training as well.
Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Kyoshi Matt Kaplan
Shihan, Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family Club
State College, PA
The most important aspect of karate is your
systematic training schedule in the dojo.
It is strongly suggested as follows:
beginners: 2x weekly- minimum
intermediates: 3x weekly- minimum
advanced: 4x weekly- minimum
This refers to in the dojo training, a class participation schedule.
In every area of sports/physical arts/athletics the
"superstars" / higher ranks train more vigorously and more often.
There are no shortcuts here.
In order to experience the joy and vigor of a strenuous workout
we need to show up, suit up and participate. It never comes
from thinking about it, only from doing it.
The most common cause of injury, malaise, illness and
depression is inconsistent physical exercise or not training at all.
The advanced kata demand much more physical strength and
prowess than the basic kata. If you are too "busy " to meet this
schedule then you need to find a way to break out of the rut.
"The dojo is the place where courage is fostered and superior
human nature is bred through the ecstasy of sweating in hard work.
It is the sacred place where the human spirit is polished."
Keep training. Research this well.
Attendance. The single most important thing you can do which effects the dojo and everyone in the dojo is to "show up". Participate in scheduled workouts, testings, promotions, travel, anniversaries, demonstrations, visits by people in our organization who travel into town and whenever else you may be needed. The person who will benefit the most from this is "you". Circulate do not isolate. This takes an hour or two twice a week for group training, twice a year for promotions or demonstrations, once every five years for organization anniversaries, as often as you wish for travel and from time to time for visitors.
Tomoe-zuki (Circular Block and double punch)
Reference SRKUSA Technique Bulletin # 9
This technique is introduced to the deshi in F2 and is used to deliver a blow to the chest and abdomen simultaneously. As Hanshi has observed:
“These punches deliver a shock to the body – floating ribs, spleen, heart, and liver – as opposed to a surgical strike..”
In F2, tomoe-zuki is delivered from the zenkutsu-dachi stance. The punch is preceded by a double chest block & chamber.
The upper punch is locked out, (as a reverse punch) with a slight bend in the lower arm, which augments the reverse punch (and spreads the delivered shock to the opponent). This sequence is then repeated in the following move using the opposite foot and hand
Typical errors associated with the execution of the F2 “double” tomoe-zuki technique include:
1) Not locking out (rushing) the double chest punch & chamber prior to executing the punch
2) Wrong upper hand utilized in punch (should be opposite hand of the foot that is forward)
3) Not staying low when switching the feet for the second block/punch
4) Aiming the upper punch at the solar plexus (vs. a broader target such as floating ribs/spleen/kidney)
Domo Arigato-Sensei Joe Knight, Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Northern VA Karate Club
Best Way To Learn
“Get low,” “squat,” “step first,” “breathe!” On the deck we hear our sensei repeat the words over and over. Most times we don’t even think about it, just try to do it, work harder, push more. But other times, for whatever reason, something that’s been said to you a thousand times suddenly stands out and hits you in a totally new and unexpected way.
I had such an epiphany two weeks ago when Hanshi was in Minnesota leading our training. “Breathe,” he called out. “Breathe. . . THAT'S HOW WE GET OUR ENERGY.”
So obvious, but it hit me like a mae-geri kick to the solar plexus. We breathe for ENERGY. And there’s a direct relationship between our breathing and our energy level--—power, intensity, kiai—--on the deck. I began to visualize the process of getting stronger with every new inhale, and I tried to lose myself in embracing my breath.
There is much in our literature on breathing. See, for instance, the Tanden chapter in the Green Book and the subsection on “The Breath of Life” (pp 64-67). A basic principal is to contract on the exhale, squeezing the air out, and relax on the inhale, drawing the air into the body---natural breathing.
Try doing some repeated kata focusing 100% on your breathing. Maybe visualize the air in the dojo as a colored foggy medium filled with energy. Picture it coming into your body, filling you up and moving out. Picture yourself getting stronger with each intake of the breath. Try to develop a smooth, natural rhythm coordinating the breathing with the kata.
The general principle is to breathe in on the blocks and out with the punches and kicks. In kata, when punch follows block, such as the first moves of Fukyugata Ich, it might be a little easier to develop an in-and-out rhythm. When there are several punches or blocks in a row, the general principle might have to be modified, also based on the speed in which you are working. Most important, however, is to never hold your breath, never restrict the flow of air, the flow of energy. Work the rhythm for yourself, but emphasize natural movements and relaxed, smooth and continual in-and-out breathing. In through the nose, into the diaphragm, filling up the lower and then upper lungs, taking in as much energy as you can, and then pushing out through the mouth. The contraction should be on the exhale, the inhale should be natural and not forced. The mouth is slightly open to vent the body. Breathe in, breathe out.
I remember a particularly intense workout one year in Florida. The senior black belts were working with small groups of students. Our group was dripping with sweat, and Sensei Barnes had us suddenly shift gears and do repeated kata half speed and power, with and without the count, concentrating completely on our breathing. It was a transformative experience. When it came time to do it full speed and power, I think all of us felt that our kata had moved to a higher level. We had ten times more energy then when we started and our group exploded with power.
This week, remember to BREATHE!!!
“Karate requires a harmony between breath and action. Therefore, we must learn to adjust our breathing until we reach the point where each breath coincides with each of the movements during practice.” – Master Shoshin Nagamine, “The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do”
“To master one’s breathing is to master one’s self.” – Hanshi Robert Scaglione
Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Bob Dobrow, Ni-Dan
Ueshiro Northfield Shorin-Ryu Karate Dojo of Minnesota
Please click the link below for the Technique of the Week.
Sensei Kurt Tezel
Shihan Ueshiro Merritt Island Karate Dojo
March 18th, 2012
Onegai-shimasu Ueshiro SRKUSA
Don't rush your kata. Savor every move and make it count.
Domo Arigato Gozaimasu
Tamir Sensei, Denshi-Shihan
Ueshiro Suntree Karate Dojo
March 5th, 2012
19 February 2012
Gan – Hanshi states in the Green Book, Building Warrior Spirit, Gan is a most important principle. The eyes are not fixed on a single point of focus, but rather seeing all and perceiving all. The gaze is relaxed with eyes slightly narrowed with no expression. The other senses are also employed to sense your opponent.
Do not roll your eyes
Do not look down or up, but keep your gaze level with your surroundings
Do not close your eyes
Nature provides many examples of martial arts precepts. The photo below is striking in that the precept of Gan is fully employed. Note how the gaze is relaxed, but the body is fully in action. Read more about this in the Green Book.
Domo Arigato, Sensei Marchetti
2012 Florida Karate Weekend
The 2012 Florida Karate Weekend got off with a rousing start on Friday evening at the Merritt Island Dojo. A large and enthusiastic class was overseen by Hanshi and led by Kyoshi Seeger. The class began with warm-ups which served as a reminder that despite the diversity of schools represented, the students in every school perform the stretches in a uniform manner. There was a heavy emphasis on perfecting the across the deck exercises. Kyoshi Seeger broke down Fukykata Ich and Ni into great detail. He demonstrated the application of each individual technique and its devastating impact if done properly. Students continued to work with each other long after the formal class had ended.
The training continued Saturday morning at 9am on the beach. Kyoshi Seeger lined up the deshi along I Dream of Jeanie Lane as Hanshi made his entrance to lead us with another day full of training. Domo Arigato Hanshi for beginning the class with an extended meditation, which allowed us to fully enjoy the sound of the gently lapping waves. The Shihan flanked Hanshi as he led us through a wide variety of challenging techniques from a jigotai-dachi stance. Hanshi exhorted the Shihan to not only set a good example, but to encourage all the deshi to give their maximum effort. Here we were treated to many repetitions of Fukykata San. Hanshi asked each of us to visualize the photographs of Master Ueshiro demonstrating Fukykata San in the Red Book. Master Ueshiro’s chambered arm was straight back. After bowing out around noon, many enjoyed further training in the ocean. Kyoshi Seeger videotaped F 3 for the 50th Anniversary archives.
By 2pm the training was in full swing again at the Merritt Island Dojo. The training was a little less formal with various groups forming to work on rank specific katas. High ranking visitors graciously taught the white belts while Kyoshi Seeger took everyone else through the Pinan Katas. After training and working up a second sweat everyone adjourned to the back to enjoy some barbecue. Hanshi began by offering a compai to Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro recognizing the 50th anniversary of his bringing our style of karate to the United States. Moving toasts were also offered by Kyoshi Seeger, Sensei Sal Scaglione, Sensei Kevin Reymond and Sensei Chris Barnes. Each offered a unique perspective on their many, many years of karate training. Domo Arigato to Sempai Kevin Hutchenson (Ik-kyu) for all of his efforts in ensuring the success of the barbecue.
Sunday morning offered another chance to continue to train. This time the venue was the Cocoa YMCA gymnasium. Domo Arigato Sensei Marchetti for securing such a large and quiet (at least until our kiai’s filled the air) facility. Prior to bowing in, Ueshiro Shorin-ryu camaraderie was on full display as the different schools quickly and enthusiastically integrated with one another to work in small groups. There was an emphasis on weapons training as we had the chance to compare notes and techniques with one another. After bowing in and basics, Hanshi broke the deshi into three groups: Blackbelts, YonKyu to Ik-Kyu and White Belts. Kyoshi Seeger, Sensei Sal Scaglione and Sensei Kevin Reymond were each assigned a group to work kata. Hanshi had each of them work with one of the three groups for about 15 minutes before rotating to work with a different group of students. Hanshi oversaw the entire training and made sure that we adhered to the principals of each kata as was taught to him by Grandmaster Ueshiro. The class was then combined to work on Yakusoku Kumite. Each of us was reminded that it is important to show proper form and that, as an attacker, if we are moved off balance or in an awkward position we need to return to the proper technique. Hanshi emphasized the difference between learning and practicing pre-arranged fighting with a training partner versus its possible application in a street situation. As the morning wound down Sensei Sal Scaglione reminded all white belts that everyone training was once a white belt.
The sheer volume of corrections or “sugar” over the entire week-end was so great that it could fill volumes. It is always humbling to rub shoulders with fellow deshi who have accumulated such vast reservoirs of knowledge over 30 or 40 years of training. It seems as if no question goes unanswered no error uncorrected.
Domo Arigato to all of the kyu ranks that traveled far and wide to train with us. The prospect of training with so many high level blackbelts can be an intimidating prospect, but you did it! I’m sure most of you realize by now that your training took a mighty leap by participating.
Domo Arigato to all of the Dan ranks – your high level of dedication and spirit infused our decks and permeated our walls. It will last a long, long time. A special Domo Arigato to Kyoshi Seeger for your insight into each technique. Your insight coupled with your great sense of humor will keep our students buzzing for quite awhile.
And finally, to Hanshi Robert Scaglione for making sure that we always keep Master Ueshiro in our hearts, in our minds and in our karate. Domo Arigato Hanshi for making sure we always remain true to The Path and for your unwavering leadership and guidance. The spirit and energy from the past week-end will not only carry us through our February promotions but are a great start to the 50th anniversary celebrations August 9 through August 13, 2012 in New York City.
Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Sensei Kurt Tezel, Shihan
Ueshiro Merritt Island Karate Dojo
We bow to our Sensei.
We bow to each other before we begin partner training.
We bow at the beginning of a kata.
We bow at the ending of a kata.
We bow when we exit the deck and go home.
Below is referenced from the Technical Spec Sheet #1, Addressing the Chokuritsu-fudo-dachi stance, the Kio-tsuke Stance and Rei.
The heels are together with the toes pointing
out at a 60-degree angle.”
In kio-tsuke (attention) the fingers are lightly
touching the gi and are positioned slightly to the
front. They touch each other and the thumb
From the kio-tsuke position the body bends
forward at the waist with the eyes, neck and
shoulders moving together as one. The
fingertips lightly graze the gi as the body
moves. The bow should not be made too low.
Do not look down at the floor or up at your
imaginary opponent as the head and back are
lowered. Rather, the gaze remains fixed as if
painted onto the face, making maximum use of
This is our way of showing Hanshi, Kyoshi(s), our Sensei(s) and fellow deshi respect on the deck.
Don't forget some of our commands we use on the deck:
"Otagai ni rei"------Bow to each other
"Shinden ni rei"------Bow to our founders/ancestors
"Sensei ni rei"------Bow to the teacher
If you have not already seen the Television Interview of Hanshi, Click on the link below:
Notice in the recent television interview and karate demonstration by Hanshi at the end of the kata and demonstration, Hanshi performed REI both in the kata...then turned and performed REI to the audience, as a courtesy and show of respect.
A proper "Rei" = Proper respect
Sensei Lorenzo Aguon
Ueshiro Hawaii Karate Dojo
January 8th 2012
Nekoashi-dachi (Cat stance)
This important stance first appears in the pinan katas but is introduced at the Go-Kyu level in special exercise oyotan-ren.
Master Nagamine writes in the Essence of Okinawan Karate that "Nekoashi-dachi as well as shizentai-dachi has been regarded as one of the most important stances in [Okinanwan karate] . . . though it seems to be rather neglected in the karate often observed in the United States and mainland Japan.”
The stance is formed from a shizentai-dachi natural walking stance “by assuming balance with the back leg, which must be bent and which carries all the weight. The front foot lightly touches the floor and the angle of the bent knee is deepened until there is a vertical line between the knee and the big toe.”
Cat stance is practiced “by quickly moving forward and backwards in a straight line, or from side to side. In actual fighting, this stance is most advantageous for attacking an opponent’s side. I want to emphasize that although nekoashi-dachi appears like a defensive stance, it is equally effective for offensive techniques. In this stance activity lives with inactivity, or in Miyamoto Musashi’s words, ‘Seichu do ari, dochu sei ari.’ (In stillness there is activity, in activity there is stillness.)”
In the green book, Hanshi states that for cat stance, “90% of the weight is on the rear foot, which should be flat down and gripping the deck while forming a 45-degree angle, and 10% of the weight is on the forward foot, held straight, toes gripping the deck and heel held high.”
Nekoashi-dachi is a low stance, as the height of the body is the same as jigotai or zenkutsu-dachi. To check balance, raise the forward foot off the deck without shifting your weight. Get lower! Touch the foot back down like a feather on the deck. To check position, stand up into shizentai-dachi. Check the position of the feet and then lower the rear of the body back down.
This is a hard and awkward stance for beginners, and can take at least a year before students feel some degree of familiarity in the technique. A common error is to lean forward creating imbalance, instability and potential lower back problems. The head should be centered over the body, with the back straight, perpendicular to the deck. When moving forward, lead with the belly, not the head. Tuck the groin in and sit back in the stance. Think cat: fierce, lithe, quick and deadly!
Study Hanshi’s nekoashi-dachi in the Kata DVD. And observe the famous picture of Master Ueshiro (attached) in cat stance performing kata Chinto. Look at his feet, his shoulders, his height. Especially take in his presence, his kiai---stillness in activity and activity in stillness.
Domo arigato gozaimasu
Bob Dobrow, Ni-dan
Shihan, Ueshiro Northfield Shorin-Ryu Karate of Minnesota
JANUARY 2nd 2012
Karate Instructor as “Sage on the Stage” or “Guide on the Side”
Lecture is one of the oldest forms of education there is. However, as education researchers are pointing out, there are limits to the effectiveness of straight lecture as a teaching technique. Whereas lecture is a great way to present factual information, it helps to supplement lecture with teaching methods that more actively engage learners in conversation and reflection, particularly when the goal is to help students gain a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts being taught and how they might apply these concepts to their lives.
Here are several examples of ways instructors can provide students with opportunities to be active and engaged learners that are in keeping with our karate traditions:
These teaching strategies encourage students to take greater responsibility for their training and learning. They also generate additional, spontaneous learning opportunities for the entire group. For example, we all learned much when Michael Hanold – a 12-year old San-kyu (Brown-tips) student – shared his insightful way of viewing the challenge of karate training during his compai toast at our December 18, 2011 holiday party:
“Karate is like a puzzle. Even though we keep working on it, there are still unfinished parts, but we get closer to completing the puzzle every day.”
In conclusion, the Karate Instructor is both, “Sage on the Stage” AND “Guide on the Side.”
Although our techniques and kata don’t change over time, we have a large arsenal of teaching techniques at our disposal.
Kyoshi Kaplan, Shihan
Ueshiro Okinawan Karate Family ClubState College, PA
Ueshiro Northern VA Karate
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK (TFTW)