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#296395 - 11/20/06 05:44 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: Ed_Morris]
gaugustcrane Offline

Registered: 11/20/06
Posts: 21
Loc: Belgium

maybe the defense is poor in your eyes but you cannot judge the research as you haven't read the book.

Come back when you know more about Nathan's findings and then we can debate stuff properly.

And yes, only fools don't change their minds. I wasn't so keen on sai being part of certain kata but I have changed my mind having seen the work of Nathan.

Guess that means I'm no fool.(Careful with your replies guys. LOL)

#296396 - 11/20/06 05:58 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: gaugustcrane]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5843
Loc: USA

No, kata are NOT "universial"

As a goju-ka we do "our" Seisan differently than does Uechi-ryu

We also do it differently than they other goju groups.

And the Shorin Seisan is even MORE different.

Commemting on "why" a given group does "X" without studing that style or with that group is ludicrous.

Asserting that they all are the same or universial rather stongly imples another basic problem here---a lack of exposure or understanding of kata.

Actually no, AGAIN, having a weapon to use vs a non-armed oppt is NEVER "redundant" if anything its EXCELLENT planning.

So if the jutte is better and we know that the jutte was most defently used vs the sword---then why not use that?

Still waiting to read your background with sword traing for obvious reasons.

Because the whole "antipation" thing is smoke screen in terms of weapons--if your saying that "anticipation" is the "key" then one needs no weapon at all--thus the assumeing its "sai related" is erronous.

Your linking those 2 things as if one somehow "means" the other-and that just ain't so.

Again, there are other, much less complex and more historically accurate explinations for things--thus as Occams Razor would tell you--they are much likley to be "correct."

Where people developed the delusion that if one "CAN" claim/assert/argue something that somehow "MAKES" it correct is beyond me.

Edited by cxt (11/20/06 06:05 PM)
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#296397 - 11/20/06 06:33 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: CVV]
CVV Offline

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium


By understanding that Uechi Sanchin was the first taught in Okinawa, we have studied why Miyagi closed fists and perhaps what he hoped to achieve.
BUT we CAN NEVER be sure of any of this. Who can? None of your instructors. But the kata point to weapons, in just the same way that Sanchin, Rokushu and Naihanchin point to grappling and not multiple-opponent scenarios.

Where does the idea come from that the Uechi sanchin was first studied in Okinawa ? If you would state that the open hand sanchin was first studied, I would agree but not perse the Uechi form. KNow that the Higashiaonna form was imported before the Uechi form and that the Aragaki form was also known before the Higashioaonna form.
According to people who trained with Higashiaonna, the closed fist form was first introduced by him and not by Miyagi. Miyagi adopted it as the standard in Goju-ryu.
BTW wich closed fist Miyagi sanchin do you study, with or without turns ?

Do you study the Miyagi sanchin for grappling only or also like Goju-ryu as basic kata for understanding power sourcing and transition in coordination with body/mind/spirit ?
Do you apply the principle of sinkuchi or do you, like shorin does, primarely generate power through whipping like motion not locking the lower body ?
Have to admit that in some movements in kata the difference is not always clear to me but I lack a lot of klowledge in shorin ryu.

I saw the Uechi sanchin sai application on the Kodoryu site and have a question regarding. Kodobrighton described the sai use as restraining weapon for disarming, yet apart from once, one sai was used to block and lock and the other one to stab. Outcome is indeed disarmerment by fatal injury. To what point do you consider restraining and disarming ? Till mostly fatal injury or not ?

Still waiting on an answer here ?

#296398 - 11/20/06 07:06 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: CVV]
founderofryoute1 Offline

Registered: 02/22/06
Posts: 88
Loc: Birmingham, UK

Q3. During training how do you move from a gap to a position where you have both hands tied up in Naifuanchin lock type configuration. How do you subsequently prevent them from escaping using brute force?

Q4. Why do sai not have sharpened edges? Do you use the side prongs for trapping?



the quote was what was written on the amazon site in it's entirity. you are trying to confuse issues by splitting hairs, and to tell you the truth...I could care less.

Please use the search inside function on to look at the back cover and you will see that I am right. I don’t think that Nathan should be held to account for what is written on


Q7: How long are the sai, bo and sword in Kodo Ryu.


The sai were taught, WE believe, to stop a swordman or bo-weilder before they started swinging widely.

Q8: Let’s say the person who you are trying to arrest is “in full flow”. What happens then in the system?

Martin Clewett - Ryoute - Double Hand Grappling, Grip Grappling and Double Circle Grappling

#296399 - 11/20/06 07:32 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: gaugustcrane]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
'Teachers would have you believe that this kata explains how to fight lots of people at once (and in a paddy field or on a cliff edge - that is very precise anticipation); in fact how to anticipate certain moves from multiple attackers in a pre-ordained order. Surely that is very exagerrated.'

OK fair point that this kind of rubbish was commonly believed, and not so long ago, but hardly the case now is it.

There are several such statements and examples in the book and DVD and I have to say I felt it let the work down, as im sure Nathan and the other Kodo Ryu Seniors understand mainstream karate better than this 'image', and they know that many others do as well.
Jim Neeter

#296400 - 11/20/06 08:30 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: founderofryoute1]
kodobrighton2006 Offline

Registered: 10/25/06
Posts: 28
Q4. Sai were a civil arrest tool not a battlefeild weapon so the nature of the tool does not require them to have bladed edges.
Q8. If the swordsman draws his sword and starts attempting to cut the person attempting to arrest them they are in trouble just like when someone goes ballistic and it takes several police officers to pin them down and restrain them. The likelyhood is there would have been several people armed with sai disarming the swordsman.

#296401 - 11/20/06 08:45 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: CVV]
kodobrighton2006 Offline

Registered: 10/25/06
Posts: 28

According to which people that trained with Higaonna Kannryo did he introduce the closed fist Sanchin? could you point me to some sources?
Arakaki Seisho was the first known exponent of Sanchin on Okinawa he taught Kanryo Higoanna before he went to China so it may be possible that the version of Sanchin practised by Higoanna was the same originally as Arakaki's and Higoanna studied other kata in China. You are right that Uechi was the last of the three(Arakaki,Higaonna and Uechi) to bring back Sanchin.
The Miyagi Sanchin we practise is a later version with no turns and with the steps backwards. Yes we do practise it for power sourcing, breath control and coordination of mind body and spirit to name one of the three conflicts. The principles of float sink spit swallow are all practised too and provide different ways of practising Sanchin. Sink for example - heavy, rooted and powerful or if its practised with float in mind then light and soft force.
With regards to the Sai applications you saw there is no stabbing done at all. The pommel at the end of the handle is used to strike the arms only, no other part of the body is struck or hit as the aim is to simply disarm. the long middle tong is also used to strike the wrists and forearms much like a kosh.

Edited by kodobrighton2006 (11/20/06 08:50 PM)

#296402 - 11/20/06 09:32 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: founderofryoute1]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772

you are right about what exactly?

my summary: "his main argument/theory was that all kata were not intended for fighting, but rather for spiritual reasons"

amazon summary:

This brave new approach to the martial arts clearly demonstrates that the traditional movements of both Kung Fu and Karate grew from the spiritual practices of the Shaolin order of Buddhist monks and nuns. Contrary to popular assumption, Johnson contends that it was never intended to be an actual means of self-defense. Includes practical instructions for preforming kata.

amazon UK summary:

The author demonstrates that the traditional movements of both Kung Fu and Karate grew from the spiritual practices of the Shaolin order of Buddhist monks. Contrary to popular belief, they were not intended as a form of self defence, but used as a method of kinetic meditation to transcend fear.

Johnson shows how the traditional movements of Kung Fu and Karate grew from spiritual practices of the Buddhist Shaolin monks and nuns. He contends that the original use of such a system was the kinetic meditation between pairs of practitioners, and as a tool to assist in transcending fear. fact, I can't find summary anywhere online that doesn't mention those two summary points I made. non-fighting with spiritual origin.

the back cover you reference says the same thing. here it is, click on 'back cover' and people can judge for themselves.

I'm not trying to re-characterize his book ...the overwhelming majority of summary (including his own) have the basic premise I stated.

I'm getting conflicting characterizations of he works right here in this thread. What I want to know is: in his first book 'Zen Shaolin Karate', 1994, the focus is on Goju Sanchin and Shorin Naihanchi for grappling applications. then 6 years later, 'Barefoot Zen' is the theory kata is not designed for fighting. Then a year or two later he did a 6 volume set titled: "Martial Arts for the Mind: Essential Tips, Drills, and Combat Techniques". ('Combat techniques' - so I guess there was a change of thought) here is one of the volumes:

then, this year, we have the 'myth' book and DVD with accompanying seminar tour at $60 per head. private lessons at ~$60 an hour (~$30 per additional hour). marked-up chrome, aluminum and rubber sais:

It's likely he has less than 5 years of kobudo training from an unknown source, and he's selling sweeping theories in print. (notice too his earlier book draws from the goju sanchin for grappling...but then changes focus to the Uechi sanchin for sai - convienient since Uechi makes more convincing 'gripping' hand formations which match closer to the theory).

He probably is a really nice and sincere person...but the appearances of publishing actions, lack of supporting training background, (especially in kobudo), and questionable research raises huge and obvious flags.

anyone paying attention and willing to ask themselves tough questions will see the warning signs and save themselves money + time. nope, don't have to read the books. I'll use my common sense on this one.

#296403 - 11/20/06 10:30 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: shoshinkan]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH

You impugn my honor....a book received will be a book returned <GRIN>, but obviously you’ll have to experience it first before you believe it.

I highly doubt it will take me a month to fully review Mr. Johnson’s work ‘The Great Karate Myth’.
I do expect it will be an interesting experience

I also agree it is unfair to comment on a book one hasn’t read, on the other hand it is fair to comment on the discussion taking place here.

In general to this discussion the past few days is floating fast and free with claims and counter claims.

I realize what karate means is very different depending on which side of the pond your on. I doubt those in England and Europe can appreciate the varied state of karate here in the states, and similarly I doubt those of us here can appreciate how different things are over there. We may share a common passion but I doubt we mean the same things even using the same words.

Among the things I find interesting is that some might consider the study of karate for religious purposes. How quaint, in my 35 years I’ve never met such an individual.

Nor have I seen any sign of ‘zen’ (that which cannot be spoken) or meditation in the practice of kata or tai chi chaun. I’ve read of such things (such as Trevor Leggett’s ‘Zen and the Ways’ as well as the controversy around his claims), have know a Shorinji Kempo stylist who did practice zen meditation, and understand some karate instructors have been students of zen, but the reality I live in doesn’t find a religious cant to the arts. Then again one of my primary instructors is a minister and he doesn’t believe it either.

There is a tremendous amount of ‘retro-fitting’ that is taking place in the arts around the world. No problem what someone wants to see, but the problem always exists how to prove it retro-active of the current perception. I will be interested in seeing how Mr. Johnson addresses this.

Personally my study doesn’t lead itself to saying the practice of karate has any restrictions. It is a percussive art, it is a grappling and projecting art, it is a breaking art, and a lot more. All of aikido flows through karate’s technique as well as almost any art you can name.

The only limitations I see to what a technique usage might be is the limitation of the person who says, this isn’t there and is unwilling to practice to the point they can make that usage work.

Among the other interesting discussion points:

Rokushu Kata is a Goju Kata. Interesting because the only reference I can find is Tensho is a Goju kata. There is a theory that the 6 hands of the Bubishi were the inspiration of Tensho, but there are also very serious Goju researchers who hold that there is no relationship at all. The count is 50-50 last I called it, with no decisive proof either way that I’ve seen.

Sanchin. Let’s see the quickest source I have is John Sells ‘Unante II’ describing that the closed fist version was a Higashionna innovation in his later years, and ‘perfected’ by Miyagi.

Uechi kata had absolutely no historical relevance on the Okinawan scene. Uechi did train in China roughly after the time of Higashionna, but he returned to Japan in the early 1900’s (I’m not digging out the date at this time), and lived in an Okinawan community in Japan. This was due to so many Okinawan’s having to leave Okinawa because of lack of work. The Uechi family returned to Okinawa in the later 1940’s after WWII and began formally teaching their art there then. They were Okinawan’s and became an Okinawan tradition, but a later import.

There is no doubt there is a relationship between the Sanchin taught by Higashionna, that of Goju and Tou’on ryu and that of Uechi ryu, but specifically what the relationship is remains undefined in a historically verifiable way.

And where I’m looking forward to seeing Johnson’s book about the original use of sai in the formation of Sanchin, is I’m curious how he makes his case.

In my mind it should be simple. Show me a Chinese instructor who has kept the practice, or if not that show me a serious Okinawan instructor or a serious Okinawan Uechi instructor and there will be no discussion from me. But baring that there will remain logical analysis of the premise.

I find it hard to accept that the Okinawan weapons traditions spawned the open hand ones. For example the Okinawan home guard lasted less than 24 hours in the 1500’s trying to stop the Japanese from taking over. Is it those highly effective weapons arts which formed the basis of empty hand technique? Or is it more dubious Chinese traditions?

Personally I really question that the Okinawan weapons studies were ever seriously used against any sort of armed attackers. Then again until the pioneering work of Taira Shinken, the many private weapons traditions were not available, nor may not still be. And his efforts likely drew out individuals like Matoyashi, Kashiba, Yammani and others, to open their own traditions.

But my words are just that words. Let your eye’s do some analysis.

Here is one Okinawan Sai tradition. The rounded fluid manner which the entire body uses the sai is similar to Shinken Taira, and Akamine’s sai work.

Ryukyu Kobujutsu - Sai

Then we can compare that motion to that of Mr. Johnson.

Ko-do Ryu Kobudo (Uechi) Sanchin

Notice how different the use of the body with the sai.

I think there is an explanation. The sai technique is being adapted to the karate technique and not the other way. Isshinryu has a sai tradition. Here is Isshinryu’s founder doing a walk through of his version of Taira’s Chatanyara no sai.

Admittedly not a high level performance. The body sai movement really is a parallel of basic Isshinryu kata technique. This is not a bad thing. Decades of work on the Isshinryu sai really re-inforces the bodies ability to fully utilize the empty hand kata applications. It is here, not as a took to impale someone, but as a way to generate increased power and then learning how to apply that power usage against attacks, where the kobudo training takes hold.

The world is vast. How we perceive it’s infinite potentials shapes our reality.
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#296404 - 11/20/06 11:39 PM Re: Kodoryu [Re: Victor Smith]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
just curious Victor...could you confirm something I don't remember seeing from the Uechi 'blue book'? Kobudo was not combined with Uechi ryu until after WWII...weapons were added to Uechi ryu from later cross-training by students of Kanbun Uechi. is that right? because I don't remember it attributing early Uechi with Kobudo.

also, your opinion, if you could... looking at Okinawn kata as a whole, couldn't it be argued fairly easily that 'Seisan' seems to be a central importance and wider reaching across style lines...much moreso than say 'Sanseiru' ?

also, you are correct about Tensho (as far as I've heard). The Rokushu-Tensho connection is based loosly on shape. At best, using a method of form-matching, one might say Tensho was perhaps partialy based or inspired by Rokushu...but again, it's opinion. It's well known Miyagi composed Tensho...and that is what was passed on. anything else studied which resembles some segments of it, such as Rokkushu (that must be the japanese word for there a chinese romanization?) - would certainly be an interesting study. I look forward to the time someone actually does take an in-depth look at that. Tensho in it's present form has an overwhelming amount of goodies...plenty to keep me busy.

People who I've spoken with that have decades of first-hand Okinawan Kobudo training have seen the 'sai sanchin' video and just shook their heads.... whats next? Gekkisai no sai? Fukyugata no kama?

hey Victor! have you seen 'bassai dai sai' yet?

shisochin no sai: (or is that 'Shisochin with sigh')

and my favorite:
"boba fett bassai dai wit sai"

I don't know...either people are bored with their study or they are trying to sell a new thing for the sake of selling a new thing. I don't get it.

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