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#355032 - 08/07/07 07:00 PM Udundi Kata Anyone?
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Interesting. A predecessor to "modern karate." A version of the original art of the Okinawan Bodyguards to the king before Matsumura and others got their hands on it.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=...h&plindex=1

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#355033 - 08/07/07 10:11 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: medulanet]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi Med,

The question of course is this original or later day Udundi?

And will we ever know?
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#355034 - 08/07/07 10:18 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Victor Smith]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Well, until we find the secret scrolls with the movements and detailed explaination we won't. Its just a look at what it could be more or less. That is why I referred to it as a version of it. Maybe I should have said a variation. I believe it contains many of the same elements as the style which predates modern karate. Of course Uehara may have simply made it all up. Which might explain his cowboy outfit in some of his other videos. I'm sure he may have had a laugh exclaiming, "And they actually believed all of that stuff!"

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#355035 - 08/07/07 11:27 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: medulanet]
ButterflyPalm Offline
Enigma

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 2637
Loc: Malaysia
Quote:

Of course Uehara may have simply made it all up.




Would you do it?

If not, then why would he?
_________________________
I'll rather be happy than right, anytime.

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#355036 - 08/07/07 11:39 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: ButterflyPalm]
medulanet Offline
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Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Quote:

Quote:

Of course Uehara may have simply made it all up.




Would you do it?

If not, then why would he?




Some people do. But, why would anyone? I don't know him just like I don't know those people that do "make up" stuff and try to pass it off as something it is not. So I don't know why he or anybody would. Fame, noterity, money, women, all of the above. Of course if you read my first post you would know that I don't believe he would. I was simply responding to Victor's questioning of the video.

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#355037 - 08/08/07 05:05 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: medulanet]
Victor Smith Offline
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Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Hi Med,

Beyond simply looking (which is all I can do) I have heard the name of this form translates literally as "Dance of the Feudal Lords' Technique".
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#355038 - 08/12/07 05:52 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: medulanet]
shoshinkan Offline
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Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
IMO it is not an origonal Ti kata from the Ryukyu period (there wern't any is my belief),

More likely a researched presentation by Uehara Sensei and an accurate representation of the Ti art as he understands it should be,

I do not have much direct experience of this kind of thing but the movement fits what I percieve to be Ryukyu period Ti, soft and aikido like when performed alone/in training.

ie before the Chinese quan influence and the synthesis to form 'karate'.

But thats a whole lot of guess work !
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355039 - 08/12/07 07:23 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
WuXing Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/05
Posts: 481
Loc: Idaho, USA
A lot of it looks like sword techniques without the sword. Some very obviously so, like around 1:01. That's one thing that makes it look similar to aikido.

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#355040 - 08/12/07 10:31 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
medulanet Offline
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Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Sho, are you saying that Uehara did not learn this kata from Choyo Motobu who in turn learned it from his father and so on and so forth?

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#355041 - 08/13/07 02:48 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: medulanet]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
yes that what I believe.

also Ti was a weapons led art IMO, personal military weapons so sword would feature highly.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355042 - 08/13/07 02:57 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
medulanet Offline
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Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Well, you are correct about the fact that Ti is a weapons based art. However, his movements were based on sword handling techniques. And, similar to some kenjutsu arts, the empty hand techniques are based on the weapons handling.

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#355043 - 08/13/07 07:22 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: medulanet]
shoshinkan Offline
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Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
yes that would make sense, I think he did significant research with the traditional Ryukyu dance people to come up with this kata - hence my ocmment it was proberly not passed down through the ages.

Higa Sensei did similair (ie create kata) with a few kata practised at the Bugeikan, however these were specifically empty hand kata.

However my understanding/expierience of sword arts is not significant so I could easily be wrong.

Its certianly an interesting kata and very different from the majority of classical karate kata.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355044 - 08/15/07 07:14 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
It is my understanding that the Kata's that have appeared in Motobu Udun Ti are all relatively late developments. In 1994 there was a total of 8 kata taught: 2 versions of what is called Mutu nu di,3 versions of kasshin-di, 2 versions of Shihan Kyozai, 1 kata called Ti-nu-mutu and of course Anji-Kata-nu-mai-nu-di, which is the one being discussed here, also known as Anji No Mai No Te Kata.

Anji No Mai No Te Kata, is usually translated as Dance hand of the Lords, which has already been established in this thread. It is correct that this allegedly higher level kata, the Anji No Mai No Te Kata was one that Seikichi Uehara did not manage to learn from his teacher Choyu Motobu, before Uehara emigrated to the Philippines in 1926.
In 1992 Seikichi Uehara in his publication Bu no Mai Ryukyu Oke hiden bujutsu (Martial Dance of the Ryukyu)stated that he had not learnt this kata from Choyu Motobu but also added that 'strangely enough, this is the hand form (tigata) of the graceful womens dances (Onna Dori)of the Ryukyu's'. The research which was done to formulate the Anji no mekata and create the present form actually took place between September 1974 and February 1976 and involved Shimabukuro Mitsuhiro chair of Murasaki no Kai (Purple Association) and involved looking at classical womens dance forms (Onna Dori). Some sources have stated that Takeo Miyagi (one of Uehara Sensei's senior students) was also involved in its research, it is clear that he wrote a column for the Okinawan Times to promote an event that involved Dance and Te and may have been involved in the modification of the kata that has occurred over time.

In 1996 Sensei Uehara in an interview with Richard Florence stated that he did not regard Anji No mai no Te kata as a kata in the strictest sense but regarded it as the ultimate method of movement in all kata that changed depending on whether it was performed with and without a weapon.

Apparently the three main movements that can be found in this kata which represent some of the characteristic techniques of Motobu Udun Ti can be found in the prayer ceremonies used by Okinawan Priestesses. These movements are: Rising (Ogami Te = Prayer hand),Reversing (Coneri Te = Twist hand) and Lowering (Oshi Te = push hand).
The Anji No Mai No Te Kata is the most advanced
empty hand form in Uehara's Motobu Udun Ti system.

In Mark Bishop's Okinawan Karate Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques there is mention of the botanist Shinju Tawata having seen a Ti like kata which looked more like a dance performed by Choyu Motobu, it is believed by some that this could have been the original Anjikata no Mekata (Anji No Mai no Te Kata).

As regards the Motobu Udun Ti secret scroll containing the teachings of Motobu Udun Ti about which Medulanet
wrote 'until we find the secret scrolls with the movements and detailed explaination we won't'.

Unfortunately we will not be able to find these secret scrolls as: 'The Motobu Makimono which was given to Seikichi Uehara on the 24 December 1926 was in his rucksack whilst he was meeting the call of nature whilst in the Philipines in World War 2 sometime between 1941 and 1945 when a Amerucan bomb fell on it' (Florence 1996:70).

As for Mr Seitoku Higa and his Kata, there are 4 Ti kata which can be classified into 2 groups that are allegedly passed down from his teacher; Kishomoto, although in my humble opinion it is very likely that Mr Higa may have made these up on the basis of the techniques that he was taught. Again as Jim is very much aware, these have also been subject to some modification over time.


Regards

Chris Norman

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#355045 - 08/16/07 07:17 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
welcome and thanks Chris,

the information is very interesting and far better put,
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355046 - 08/27/07 12:01 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
CVV Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
I was watching an old video with an interview with Seikichi Uehara on Mutobu Udon ti.

He stated that Choyou Motobu was the last of the instructors to the royal family of the royal martial art Udon ti. So not the royal bodyguards but the royal family (maybe the bodyguards were also family ???, they were at least nobleman). The Motobu family did this for 11 generations, Choyou Motobu being the last one.

After the 1879, when the kingdom was abolished and Okinawa became part of Japan, Choyou Motobu teached his art to 2 persons: his son Chomo and Seikichi Uehara. Seikichi Uehara was a student for 7 years in the 1920ies. After WWII Seikichu Uehara started to teach the art in public.

The biggest part of Motobu Udon ti is weapons. The techniques are also found in the dance of Okinawa, in particular there is a direct link between the female dance called RyuKyu Bujo and the Motobu style. The techniques correpond in particular to the staff and sword techniques. So these techniques were disguised as dances to pass on to next generations. All masterdancers of the royal family wrer male. So by passing on the dances they also passed on the secret techniques. There is however no connection to the male dances.

As it was forbidden to draw a weapon in the castle, or even to start a fight, unarmed restraining techniques were necesary to control an adversary using practically no violence. These unarmed techniques are not like karate techniques (tsuki and uchi) but are the circular techniques found in the dances wich are based on the techniques of the sword.


Edited by CVV (08/27/07 12:07 PM)

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#355047 - 08/28/07 08:43 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: CVV]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
very good point re the Royal family (and aristocrats?) and the actual bodyguards perhaps training in different ways for different reasons, clearly makes sense.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355048 - 08/31/07 06:54 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: CVV]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Just curious which old video were you watching? The only ones that I am aware of with an interview was the Okinawan BuJutsu Seikichi Uehara 10th Dan released by Budo International Video Production, plus some short footage on the Uchina Video: Okinawa Karate Masters, which you may be more able to translate the narration better than I can, given your location and the original language of the film maker of the latter. If this latter one is the one which you are referring to I would be very interested in what is actually being said.

You are correct in that the Motobu Udun Ti system was instructed to the Okinawan Royal Family, the body guards to that family were at one point allegedly taught by Bushi Matsumura. As for Chomo Motobu, the seciond son of Choyu Motobu's three sons, he was unwilling to take on the respnsibility of the family martial arts system, so we are told, and moved to Wakayama prefecture, although there is little doubt that he had learnt some of the family system, as in early 1924 Choyu Motobu sent Seikichi Uehara to Wakayama to teach him. Chomo died during world war 2 during an air raid, so we will never know how much he was actually taught or whether he would have ever inherited the system.

As you correctly state a big part of Motobu udun Ti is weapons, though I am not certain what you mean by RyuKyu Bujo? Do you mean Bu as in Bu No Mai, which refers to dance? or do you mean Bu as in martial and Jo as in the weapon?

I am only aware of the following clasifications of Ryukyu dances, (but I am no expert, even with my ethnomusicology and Anthropology background):
1. Rojin Odori Dances of the elderly
2. Wakashu Dori Boys dances
3. Onna Dori Womens Dances
4. Nisai Dori Young Mens dances
5. Zo Odori Miscellanoeous dances

There is clearly a link between Onna Dori (Classical womens dances) but this is a relatively late conclusion following the research with Seikichi Uehara in conjunction with Mitsuhiro Shimabukuro (See the article in the Okinawa Times dated 25th November 1974 written by Takeo Miyagi). Of course that does not mean that it was not always there.

I think it is fair to say that there is some evidence of old Okinawan Te in the Onnna Dori (Womens Dances), but I think that it is going a little bit too far to say that 'The techniques correpond in particular to the staff and sword techniques So these techniques were disguised as dances to pass on to next generations' Though I will not doubt the probability, its certainly one perspective on it the at has been put about. Do you per chance have a source for this conclusion? The interview with Uehara perhaps?


The reason I am a little sceptical is some years ago when I was studying at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, I had an opportunity to see some, though not all, of these dances performed under the careful direction of Noho Miyagi and since then I have remained unconvined of this argument. But as I say, I saw some, not all of the dances.

Another reason for my sceptism is that the kata which is being discussed in this thread the Anji No Mekata, the Dance of teh Feudal Lords, the pinnacle of Motobu Udun Ti, was not learnt by Seikichi Uehara from his teacher Choyu Motobu.

Yes, I agree that there is some sword and staff in the Ryukyu dances but it does not correspond directly to the sword and staff techniques in Motobu Udun Ti, but I will not doubt that there is something of a corelation. I also still have questions about the Bo No Dori of the Jigen Ryu, which was a folk dance taught to villagers to protect themselves and wonder how this may relate.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355049 - 09/01/07 05:37 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
CVV Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
The video is 'Les maitres D'Okinawa' from Karate Bushido.
Karate Bushido is a French MA magazine and also offers DVD's and so fort on the subject. This is a video from somewhere in the 90ies and is no longer in production.

The narator translating Uehara's words, said Ryukyu Bujo when referring about the link between the female dances (multiples) and Mutobu Udon Ti. Cannot tell you more about it.

Quote:


I think it is fair to say that there is some evidence of old Okinawan Te in the Onnna Dori (Womens Dances), but I think that it is going a little bit too far to say that 'The techniques correpond in particular to the staff and sword techniques So these techniques were disguised as dances to pass on to next generations' Though I will not doubt the probability, its certainly one perspective on it the at has been put about. Do you per chance have a source for this conclusion? The interview with Uehara perhaps?




Yes, it comes from the interview. Uehara sensei is demonstrating it as upward cutting and downward cutting movement with the sword(without actually holding a sword) with closed hands, and then showing the dance movements with open hand.
This comes back when he demonstrates empty hand techniques and its relation to sword techniques and dance movements. In this case it is a vertical cut first in direction east to west then back west to east whe the hands would turn.

But I heared about the link of dance and ti also from other masters. I remember a video where a Goju-ryu master (I think Morio Higaonna) discussed the relation between dances / ti postures and karate. I think the other master was Shoshin Nagamine. But I cannot remember what video it was. But it was about the hand position and the resablance to keiko-ken.


Edited by CVV (09/01/07 05:52 PM)

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#355050 - 09/06/07 06:39 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: CVV]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
The Uchina Video: Okinawa Karate Masters video I mentioned before has the French title 'Les maitres D'Okinawa'. It is indeed an interesting video and is as you state not so readily available as some of the other material. It is nevertheless IMHO an important piece of footage and is certainly the one that shows the clearest relationship between Seikichi Uehara's Okinawan Ti and Dance. Shame you cannot say much more about it though. Bsides we are always likely to run into problems translating accurately from Okinawan dialect into French and back to English and getting the original intended meaning.

Whilst I am not disputing the relationship between Ti and Dance as that is clearly there, its just that the emphasis placed on its correspondence at times is not always as solid as its made out to be. This is unfortunate because often this results in mising out on the careful study of a lot of interesting tales of old Okinawa and demonstrations of old Okinawan martial arts in the various dances and drama's for example take the Kumidori drama's composed by Tasato Chochoku (1703-73) for the investure of King Sho Boku in 1756. One such tale is the Ogusuku Kuzure, the fall of Ogusuku castle, the Royal castle before Shuri, where there is a story of old Okinawa and some martial arts scenes portrayed as dance, there are numerous others examples. Only thing is that the dance and drama's of the Ryukyu's that have been passed down to the present day were laid down in the 18th Century, Motobu Udun Ti claims to be much older. This is not to say that the dances and drama's do not have their seed of origins in an earlier period. It just makes it difficult to substantiate the claim that there is a direct correspondence with Ti techniques hidden in dance and having some exactitude.

I am aware of the footage you refer to with Morio Higaonna and the discussion about and demonstration of Okinawan Dance and its relationship to Goju Ryu Karate (which is of relatively recent origin in terms of Okinawan styles), although some would say that the relationship discussed there is not quite the same as that as seen between what Uehara is demonstrating in the 'Les maitres D'Okinawa' video relating classical Okinawan dance to the type of Ti that he practises. Personally I prefer to keep an open mind on that particular matter and think that there is some merit in what you are saying.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355051 - 09/09/07 05:48 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
I post this simply as its in front of me (I got this book over 15 years ago and continue to re-read it!), from Mark Bishops Okinawan Karate book, 1st edition -

from page 64/65, Bushi Matsumuras letter to his student Ryosei Kuwae ((written very late 1800's)-

The three kinds of fighting arts are -

1. those of the court instructors (Bishop references this being likely describing Motobu Ryu, ie Ti)

2. nominal styles (described by Matsumura as people who do not practise regulary etc etc, im not sure of this clasification apart form a reference to the lack of effort and sincerity from many in their training perhaps?)

3. the true fighting arts (I can only assume he is refering to his shorin ryu karate, ie based on the classical kata amongst other things)

The court instructors styles are practised in a very unusual way, movements are never the same, formless and light, becoming (like women) more and more dance like as the proponents mature

further on he says -

'Court Instructors and nominal styles are useless'

Now this is just what Mr Bishop has written, so its his translation but it is from a document of a relevant time, from a significant master.

I have an interest in RyuKyu Ti, it is an area I research to a degree, but these words are fairly powerful IMO, and it supports the 'gap' I suspect was always there between tode and Ryukyu Ti.

Certainly the video footage I have seen from Motobu Ryu, Bugeikan and Mark Bishop would indicate the Ti they all practise is not combat led (not making them inferior etc etc, perhaps they just have other goals?), but for something else primarily, with 'some function'.

but as with all these things, the water is murky and to be 'correct' is difficult at best.

_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355052 - 09/09/07 12:49 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Hi Jim,
I am aware of the quote, I am told that somewhere there is another translation of the same, though I have not seen it, it would be interesting to see if the quote is translated using the same words.

Whilst we may say that the Motobu Udun Ti is not combat orientated (although it has made claims to be) it was certainly meant to be a means of self protection for those who practised it.

However when we look to the Bugeikan version of Ti (which is not IMHO a Court instructors style of Ti) and provided we try to ignore the Motobu Udun Ti and more recent modifications and influences of which you and I are both aware, we have a line that goes back to Kishomoto and his teacher Bushi Takemura, a contemporary of and possibly a training partner, senior or junior, to Bushi Mutsumura.

The waters at this point do indeed become very murky. I think we have to be very careful in defining Ti and not categorising all Ti as Go Ten Te or Palace Hand (such as is Motobu Udun Ti).

What can be said of the Bugeikan Ti, in its original, rather than its more recently modified version, is that it is direct and to the point and makes no claim to being a Go Ten Te or Palace hand style.

Ti or Te or di whilst its direct translation is generally rendered as hand it can according to some be read imply a lot more in the sense of meaning Jutsu or Art and the term has been occassionally used to describe Pre-Tode, pre-kata martial arts methods of Okinawa.

Some may think that this is no more than Semantics but: Tegumi; Te Gumi, Tode; To de (di)Tuite; Tui Te and if we hop to the mainland Torite; Tori Te.
Regards

Chris Norman

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#355053 - 09/09/07 03:35 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Hi Chris,

I am of course in-famous for my generalisations and sweeping statements , it goes with not being as clever as most..............

As always your comments are a superb addition to the thread, my thanks for your writing it and making the waters a little less murky for me and im sure others.

I have to agree that elements of the deceased Higa O'Sensei Ti seem very functional, as you say modernisms would seem to have changed the focus a little at the Bugeikan,

something I didn't drill down into on this thread, as I didn't think of it.................

grey areas in the arts always exsist, nothing is black or white when trying to nail this stuff down.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355054 - 10/24/07 06:01 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
I've been studying motoburyu udunti for seven months now in Japan. Not long, I know, but my shihan studied under Uehara sensei and I have had the opportunity to learn from him and speak (in Japanese) with him at length one-to-one.

I'd caution anyone from making judgements about udunti based on what is readily available over the internet or even in print. Uehara sensei appears to have been very concerned with protecting the integrity of what he had learned by limiting its accessibility. Even in Japan today, there are only a handful of places to study udunti.

Uehara sensei stated himself that he only learned "how to walk" for his first five years of study. I have heard complaints that the pace of study has been quickened to match modern lifestyles, but there are still many things I will not be taught until much later. I can't imagine he would have consented to perfom anything BUT a demonstration for Japanese or French television crews searching for the mysteries of Okinawa.

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#355055 - 10/24/07 02:21 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Hello and welcome Chofukainoa,
I would agree with your statement entirely, internet and print and even video footage does not allow one to appreciate the subtleties of Udun Ti. Uehara as you say was concerned with protecting the integrity of his art and I would hasten to add that he was also concerned that one day that it would revert back to the Motobu family, which it has. However he did produce some materials both in print and in film that were to help popularise his art and provide something of a record.

There are elements of Udunti that have been taught outside of Okinawa for example through Shian Toma's Seidokan organisation and by Mark Bishop who taught a small number of people in the UK, among whom we can include a member of this forum Mick Powell. Admittedly in neither of these cases is it the complete transmission of Uehara's system.

The Motobu Udun Ti system that Seikichi Uehara taught has now, as aforestated, reverted back to the Motobu family and headed by Chosei Motobu, are you training as part of that line? or the Sakon Ryu or another line?

I am genuinely interested in the perspective that you may be able to bear on this discussion.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355056 - 10/24/07 04:10 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
CVV Offline
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Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
Hi Chofukainoa,

Indeed the video and print cannot grasp the actual depth of the system. As a pure Ti system my interest is especially around the links with karate/toudi. Certainly as the system contains a kata that resambles alot to the goju-ryu sanchin kata.
As far as I understand, the link of native ti and toudi is about practical fighting knowledge, sort like the chi-na techniques you find in shaolin quanfa.
I mentioned the French video, because Uehara sensei explained the link with the RyuKyu court dance.
It is very interesting also to hear reputable karate masters draw comparison with folklore dances of Okinawa where certain karate postures, be it hand or foot or stance, can be found back in those dances. Also folklore activities, like the tug of war competition and boat races between the villages, have had their influence in karate and vice/versa.
These forums do not try to grasp the depth of the art, merely share knowledge beyond the point of individual technical ability. We welcome the input you can give. Feel free to participate in the discussions.

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#355057 - 10/24/07 11:13 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
I am a member of Shudoukan, which is in Motoburyu Udunti Kobujutsu Kyokai headed by Chosei Motobu. There is some association with Motoburyu Kenpo.
Shudoukan's Ikeda shihan is, I believe, kaicho in the larger organization.
Recently a good amount of information has been made available from the following site, although it is all in Japanese (an English translation may come soon):
Motoburyu

As for the larger question in this thread about the link between dance and kata: interesting, but ultimately probably impossible to establish provenance. Okinawan dance and martial arts evolved in the same cultural context, so I would be more surprised by glaring differences rather than subtle similarities. I think the idea that fighting movements were deliberately hidden in court dances is a misunderstanding of Uehara sensei's feeling that dance could illuminate some aspects of udunti because of a shared concept of the body and movement.

I've heard that the kata taught in udunti were comparatively recently systematized to make them easier to teach in a broader setting. That doesn't mean that they were "made up".
What we learn as "kata" are:
motode 1,2
kasshinde 3,4,5
and two more complicated ones that i've forgotten the Okinawan pronunciation of at the moment...it is written with the characters for "married couple", or "fuufu" in Japanese.

There are also weapons kata.

Ti-no-moto is not considered a kata. It is the only part of our training that does not have an immediate practical application, in that it is designed to reinforce basic posture and breathing. It's only done as a warm-up and cool-down.

Women who don't want to do sparring and grappling are sometimes taught dance. I have seen my sensei "dancing" as well.

Udunti is refined in the sense that excess movement is pared away to allow for fighting a number of opponents without tiring quickly. We are constantly reminded to think about how basic movements can be applied when faced with opponents. Kata are definitely only seen as a training tool, not as an endpoint. Given that we do not do full-contact sparring, I've only so far practiced how to neutralize threat rather than take someone out. However, I have been given a little instruction as to how to do that if necessary.
I've often been on the receiving end of being neutralized by my sensei or shihan. It's not fake.

Certainly there are people more knowledgeable than I. Just giving my impressions of what I have learned.

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#355058 - 10/25/07 11:00 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
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Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukainoa,

Thanks for that information. Your perspective is in my opinion a great contribution to this thread. There are some that were a little sceptical of the Motobu Udun Ti legacy when it returned to the Motobu family, mainly because they felt that Chosei Motobu would focus mainly on his fathers, Choku Motobu's Karate Kempo. Your post confirms that the Udun Ti legacy lives on in that line, that others within Chosei Motobu's organisation trained with Seikichi Uehara and have continued the legacy which is good to hear.

In the Motode do you do their version of the Sanchin kata? Are you able to enlighten us as to its origins? There has been some speculation about this in another section of this forum, some time back, in part because Seikichi Uehara once visited Uechi Kanbun in Wakayama in 1924 and trained with him for a week.

As you may also be aware Choyu Motobu and Chojun Miyagi also shared a Dojo when they established the Karate Kenkyu club in 1926, this is the same year in December that Seikichi Uehara immigrated to the Philippines to join his brother. So this is another possible origin of that Sanchin Kata.

Some have said that orginally there were no kata in Motobu Udun Ti and others have stated that the kata's in Motobu Udun Ti were introduced into the system in the 1980's. Seikichi Uehara stated in Bu No Mai (1992) page 108: ' There are no kamae or kata in Motobu Udun di...', In 1994 Seikichi Uehara in an interview with Richard Florence corrected this to say that what he meant was 'We do not have Kata with Chinese names'. However it is well known that Choyu Motobu both knew and taught Kata and the Karate Kenkyu club and that kata is present in the Motobu Udun Ti system. Do you know when the kata in Motibu Udun Ti were systemised? Could this have been what happened in the 1980's?

Could the name for married couple be Mefutode= husband and wife hands, a hand position mentioned by Choku Motobu in his Watashi no Karate jutsu and a common Ti hand position?

As for the comparison with Udun Ti and dance I would agree with you that it is imposible to establish provenance on this and that the idea of Motobu Udun Ti techniques being hidden in the dances is in all likelihood a misunderstanding of Uehara's feeling that there were shared body dynamics that could illuminate aspects of Udun Ti, which seems much more likely. How much of this speculation is based on the quote Shoshinkan makes from Bushi Matsumura quoted by Mark Bishop which reads 'The court instructors styles are practised in a very unusual way; movements are formless and light, becoming (like women)more and more dance like as the proponents mature' (Bishop 1999:56).

It is research by one of Seikichi Uehara's senior students Takeo Miyagi, who is often quoted in support of the dance theory, though the following quote by Takeo Miyagi is often overlooked: 'Ancient theatre and Bujutsu: these two have been said said that they have similarities, but I could only take the opinion as a unique one, and could not take it seriously. The purpose of the research was to look at similarities and differences between the two'.

The research done with Murasaki no Kai under Mitsushiro Shimabukuro which resulted in them doing demonstrations with Motobu Ryu and Seikichi Uehara was in order to show what they had in common culturally. There is also mention of various dances in which Okinawan weapons are used.

I think that a further point of confusion is the use of the term Bu No Mai in a book published by Uehara, where as Mai may man dance it can I understand also refer to turning movements that characterise some aspects of Udun di.

The dance drama's do demonstrate some martial art skills and techniques, although these are in theatrical mode, and as I have previously stated I personally would not link them directly to Motobu Udun Ti in the sense that techniques are hidden in those dances.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355059 - 10/25/07 11:44 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
shoshinkan Offline
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Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
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great conversation going on,

Chris, in realtion to this

'Could the name for married couple be Mefutode= husband and wife hands, a hand position mentioned by Choku Motobu in his Watashi no Karate jutsu and a common Ti hand position?'

I was taught that this 'concept' in Okinawan karate specifically relating to the strong side forward kamae.

The link to husband and wife being historically the women would walk a little behind the man,

however in karate terms what this means is that our front 'srong' arm deals with the initial engagement and the deadly gyakute or reverse hand follows.............

I can't contribute any other specific thread subject matter, but thought I would mention this.

It may well have meaning in Ti etc etc as well, or have come from there?
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355060 - 10/25/07 12:45 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Okay, quite a number of questions, and I will have to get back to you on some of them!

Motode and the openings to kasshinde 3,4 look like sanchin kata, but the legs are always kept completely straight and sometimes we are up on the balls of our feet. This is a basic characteristic of udunti. As for origins, I'll have to look into it a little more, as well as the question of when exactly the kata were systematized.
I really am drawing a blank on the name of the other 2 kata. We haven't been doing them recently because we are preparing for an enbu in november. I'll get it next practice.

Again, the kata seem to be mainly teaching tools, and more advanced students don't spend a lot of time on them. The ideal is to achieve a naturalness of motion so that fighting becomes like walking (or dancing). Therefore the walking practice in udunti is very important and useful. There is also a huge emphasis (even in the kata) on being able to move in all directions.

So the dance connection is definitely there in terms of similar mechanics and economy of motion, but I think some people draw the wrong conclusions from it either to exoticize or denigrate udunti, depending on their perspective.

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#355061 - 10/26/07 09:39 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
Gesar Offline
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Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Jim,

There in you find part of the Ti in your Karate with that very hand position.

What differs between the Ti and the Karate/Kempo is application and the underlying body dynamics.

Yes it is Side forward Kamae, one fist is behind the other, but in Mefutode, the rear fist is at the elbow. Both hands are often used at same time.

Your quote:
'In karate terms what this means is that our front 'strong' arm deals with the initial engagement and the deadly gyakute or reverse hand follows.............'

Choku Motobu stated that the approach you mentioned, if you mean that the rear hand relied upon for the Gyaku Zuki, leads to front hand becoming what he called shite or 'a dead hand'.

He also emphasised that 'in the case of an actual fight both hands should be used together. The lead hand should be capable of defence and offense and the rear hand used only when the front hand cannot accomplish the intended outcome' (Motobu 1932 Transl McCarthy 2002:83).


Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (10/26/07 09:58 AM)

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#355062 - 10/26/07 10:25 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
I spontaneously remembered what my sensei calls the other two kata: "me-oto-te". The hands are held palms out to one side of the body, as if you were pushing up against a wall. This position switches from side to side...kind of difficult to explain. But one hand is sometimes behind (closer to the body) than the other, so maybe that is where the name comes from. (I will confirm this tomorrow.)

There is a kamae with one hand at the elbow used in other contexts.

We are supposed to be able to use two hands and a leg simultaneously to attack/defend at all times, and me-oto-te is probably designed to build that ability.


Edited by chofukainoa (10/26/07 10:29 AM)

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#355063 - 10/26/07 03:55 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
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Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukainoa,
I think I know what you are referring to with the push against the wall and changing sides, I have seen some film of Motobu Udun Ti Kata's where this is done.

The Kamae with one hand at the elbow, the Mefutode, that I was referring to is sometimes loosely called the 'Gentleman Jim's boxing posture' as it resembles some early European boxing hand positions. This posture has been used by Seikichi Uehara, Seitoku Higa, Choku Motobu and Shigeru Nakamura among others. Shoshinkan did have some photos of this posture on his blog spot, but they seem to have disappeared recently.

This very same posture, which I think we are both referring to: 'Being the Kamae used in other contexts' in which there is a push off the balls of the feet and both hands can perform strikes, or even a double block, whilst there is also a front kick using the front leg.

Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (10/26/07 03:56 PM)

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#355064 - 10/26/07 09:36 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
I've never heard the fist-at-elbow kamae referred to as anything but "kamae". I've been told it is just a variation on motode, which it is if one arm is rotated in so the fist touches the other elbow. I'm aware that other Okinawan masters used this position, so it doesn't seem to be anything unique to udunti.

The way you describe it used is basically correct in that both fists are used to simultaneously strike and block. The attacking partner adopts this kamae in sparring.

However, sensei only uses this kamae when instructing. I've never seen him use it in free sparring and I've never seen our shihan use it at all. More advanced practitioners seem to prefer open-hand techniques and waza, as mentioned in Mark Bishop's Okinawan Karate.

This can be seen in the kata as well, where progression is made from closed-fist to open-hand. For example, kasshinde 5 is all open-hand, as is much of me-oto-te.

It just struck me that not only might this be essential to the Ti style, but also that perhaps the kata used today in udunti are designed to help practitioners of karate adapt (or unlearn?) what they have been taught by starting (in motode 1 and kasshinde 3) from familiar forms. This would make sense, since most people today come to udunti after other studies. If we take the history of udunti at face value, kamae and some aspects of the kata would have been unnecessary if the student had only been taught udunti from childhood.

Anyway, in udunti sparring, any of the arm positions from the kata are used--always both arms. There's never any blocking with one hand extended and the other at the body, like I have seen in some karate. We get yelled at for that! If one arm blocks, the other has to be attacking at the same time.
As you say, the forward leg is used to kick, block kicks, or trip the opponent.

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#355065 - 10/27/07 05:10 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Sorry to double post on myself, but I promised to get some answers, which I failed to do because sensei was preoccupied with preparations for our enbu in two weeks. Promise I will keep looking into stuff.

Also been looking at things available mostly on youtube, and I can understand why people kind of rag on the one of Uehara sensei in the cowboy hat, just like the responses to the videos in the Bunkai methods thread in this forum. In his defense, he was probably in his 80s or 90s when it was made, but the attackers do go a little overboard with the reactions...

All I can say is that in actuality I think we train pretty hard and real. I think Motobu-ryu Udunti would do good to get some more clips up that are more representative of how people practice, but perhaps there are reasons not to as well, as I mentioned before.

We did a bunch of 3 vs. 1 sparring with sensei today, and in this we are supposed to aim for the throat or face with our punches and not pull them. Of course, no one ever landed one on him and we were each brought to the ground in turn, and not always gently. This happens in the round, so it is rather dancelike, as sensei is constantly turning to face a new attacker (or throw one into the other) while remaining calm and composed.

From talking to sensei, I know he did karate for years before switching to udunti and also was perhaps a little hotheaded in his youth. Let's just say I think he knows the value that some techniques can have if violence is unavoidable.

Sometimes I feel like I am blathering on and my posts are too long, but I also kind of feel like someone has to stand up for udunti because it is not so well known and there are a lot of misconceptions about it.

I hope people reading this thread find it interesting. I'd also like to hear from other people who have studied udunti in Okinawa to see if their experiences jive with what I've been saying. No one should regard me as an expert on these matters!

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#355066 - 10/27/07 05:45 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
I also made a mistake in an earlier post. Uehara Kenji is kaicho (president) of the Motobu organization. Ikeda shihan is rijicho, or director.

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#355067 - 10/27/07 08:20 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
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Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukainoa,
The common thing with that Kamae, is that it is very old and is therefore representative of pre-war Okinawan martial arts, as you say it is in no way unique to Udun Ti, the uniqueness is in the way that it is used with the underlying body dynamics in Udun Ti and other Ti (i.e. Bugeikan) which also includes, as you say open hand techniques such as the use of a particular form of Nukite where the thumb plays an important part.

You make some very good and what appear to be valid points about kata in Udun Ti and its reason being to help Karateka unlearn/adapt to Udun Ti, I have heard this said before and it does seem a very likely explanation, certainly the Moto di Sanchin is very different from various other Sanchin's and according to Mark Bishop was in order to get rid of some karate habits.

The film material that is available of Seikichi Uehara on youtube is made up mostly of extracts from videos that were made, when as you say Seikichi Uehara is in his 80's and 90's, in my view these are only show case material to publicise the art and preserve some public record, they do not in anyway show the subtleties of Udun Ti, which as you are obviously aware, cannot be appreciated without actual practise.

What would be interesting to see would be Seikichi Uehara in his younger days when he demonstrated Motobu Udun Ti in Okinawa of which there are some photos, but so far no videos that have been made publicly available.

There are only a handful of people who have trained in Motobu Udun Ti in Okinawa for any length of time. See this thread for some names of people who have studied Udun Ti http://www.fightingarts.com/ubbthreads/s...e#Post15938290.

Apart from these there are people within Shian Toma's (who trained with Uehara) organisation that have trained in Go Ten Te there at Toma Sensei's Seidokan Dojo. The only additions that I can make to Mike Powell's post are Jody Paul, who is also Seidokan and trained directly with Uehara as did a Robert Bryner of Los Angeles.

There is also a Kodokai group on Rhode Island have been making some visits to a Motobu Udun Ti dojo in Okinawa and training with Takeo Miyagi Sensei as well during the last couple of years.

Joe Swift has also done some training in the Sakon Ryu line of Kanenori Sakon and does occassionally post on these forums.

Personally I dont think that you are blathering on in your posts, I think that standing up for Udun Ti and making an effort to deal with the misconceptions is an honorable thing to do.

Regards

Chris Norman
P.s. I will PM you some details of how you may be able to get in touch with people that trained in Udun Ti in Okinawa

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#355068 - 11/06/07 06:16 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
CVV Offline
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Registered: 08/06/04
Posts: 605
Loc: Belgium
In Testuhiro Hokama's book 'History and Traditions of Okinawan Karate', discussing the origins of martial arts in Okinawa, there is a reference to ti and Okinawan folklore dance.

Quote:


In addition to the influence of several style, other, non-martial arts are believed to have fuelled the evolution of Karate and Kobudo.
An interesting note concerning this assimilation process is that elements of a style of ancient native Okinawan dance 'mekata' (literally, 'way of dancing') and specifically, a dance form known as 'ti mai', were intigrated into this hybrid system....





In the book a mr. Shiroma is demonstrating classical ti postures.
At the end of the book, 2 westeners and a female oriental are displaying dance and ti postures with their application. Some of these postures I recognise also in karate kata.

Tetsuhiro Hokama is a top Goju-ryu instructor and Kobudo practitioner and researcher but also the propriator of the only Karate museum on Okinawa.


Edited by CVV (11/06/07 06:17 AM)

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#355069 - 11/06/07 07:08 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: CVV]
Gesar Offline
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Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
CVV,
Yes I am aware of the book, page 29 shows Mr Shiroma in a classical Ti posture with the quote above the picture, I am also aware that Mr. Shiroma (who has trained in Motobu Udun ti) has been known to perform Ti moves to the accompaniment of the Okinawan Sanshin. The section at the end of the book to which you refer, with the pictures, starting on page 137 makes reference to Okinawan Folk Dances rather than the 'classical' court dances that are often mentioned in relation to Udun Ti.

There is also another reference to dance which may be of interest, this time in Matsuo Kanenori Sakon's book The Secret Royal Martial Arts of Ryukyu Translated by Joe Swift on page 131 which states:

'...on either side of the Ocean, no matter whether East or West, one can find this graceful, flowing movements in the various dances. Not only in the ancient Ryukyu buyo (Okinawan Dance) but also in Western dance one can apply the techniques of Koneri di [Twisting hand] and Oshi-di [Pushing hand]to defeat an opponent'.

On Pages 132 - 137 are shown photographs of Tokuhira Yuriko Sensei, who is described as a Western dance specialist, demonstrating western ballroom dancing with Udun Ti applications. This is intended to introduce the techniques of Mai no te through Western Dance. Mai no te is part of Bu no Mai (Martial Dance) and it is stated that the movements depicted here if done holdinga sword in each hand become Uzumaki no Ken (whrlpool sword) and Tatsumaki no Ken (Tornado sword).

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355070 - 11/07/07 06:43 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Thanks to Gesar for the message and information.

I've been really busy leading up to the enbu we had on Sunday. It was extremely interesting, but I was in a daze for most of it because i was so nervous i had only slept about 2 hours the night before! But i did well and even earned a compliment from the shihan of a sister dojo.

There were both udunti and motoburyu kenpo groups there, and I have to say I don't really understand the naihanchi kata the kenpo groups do, probably because no one showed how to use it in fighting. The udunti dojo made a point of always following up their kata demonstration with fighting demonstrations. I think a lot of people would find the recording of the proceedings very interesting.

Anyway, some follow-up on this thread:
Sensei also says that udunti has no kata, so how is that for confusing? Basically, i think what he means is that what we call "kata" are just fighting moves strung together for ease of practice and learning. They are never meant to be used "as is" and the underlying principles are always supposed to be paramount (but isn't that the case in karate as well? or it should be). In fact, Shihan has often said that the order of moves in our kata is of no importance. In fact, we often do training where the kata are altered in some way.

Sensei says that when learning of udunti was only being transmitted one-to-one, there were no names for techniques, just "do this" and "now do like this".

He says that things started to be named only in the early Showa Period (1920s/30s) when Okinawan fighting arts were being introduced to mainland Japan. Udunti kata seem to have been formalized sometime between then and the 70s/80s when Uehara sensei finally authorized the establishment of udunti dojo on the japanese mainland.

Turns out Ikeda shihan has also written a number of articles in Japanese, so once I read those, I may have some better information.

Again, I find it hard to explain these things well since i am really just a beginner. I'd just like to caution again that no one make any judgements about udunti until really checking it out.

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#355071 - 11/08/07 05:23 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
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Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Hello Chofukainoa,

Naihanchi Kata is an old Shorin Ryu training Kata, it used to be the first Kata learnt before the Pinan's/Heians were introduced by Ankoh Itosu for schools karate. Naihanchi teaches specific basics relevant to Shorin Ryu like stepping, hip movement and basic strikes. The Kata was a favourite of Choyu Motobu's Brother, Choki Motobu and it does has applications, which are practised by the Motobu Kempo Group. There are a number of variations of the Kata, including a Ti (di) version still practised, though this is different from the Motobu Udun Ti line which does not practice it as part of what came from Choyu Motobu to Seikichi Uehara.

As for the Embu, yes I am sure that many, including myself, would find a recording of the proceedings very interesting.

Interesting what you say about Kata, I believe that I may have mentioned in an earlier post, quoting Seikichi Uehara, that the order of moves in Motobu Udun Ti Kata was not important and that these could be changed.

I must admit that often I wonder how much influence Seitoku Higa of the Bugeikan had on the development of the Motobu Udun Ti Kata, given the close relationship between these two men.

What you say about Karate Kata, at least in many of the older Okinawan styles rings true, Kata was often developed for a specific individual after the basic pattern was learnt. Much of Okinawan Karate and hence other martial arts, such as Ti, were as you say taught on a one to one basis often in small groups of people.

You mentioned Ikeda Shihan, I assume that you mean Ikeda Moritoshi, if so you may be interested to know that in 1998 he published a book called Scientific reserach into Ryukyu Oke Hiden Bujutsu Motobu Udundi.

As regards the dance and Udun di issue:

Uehara stated in 1992 'One thing that I am sure of is that Bujutsu and dances, which are precious assetts of Okinawan people, developed independently'(Uehara 1992 Bu No Mai)

In 1994 he stated that: 'When I talk about dances, I mean womens dances only. This is because the hand movements in female dances are similiar to sword fighting....you cannot find such movements in ordinary karate at all' (Uehara 1994 September).

Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (11/08/07 05:24 PM)

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#355072 - 11/25/07 06:08 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
ThunderboltLotus Offline
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Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 16
Loc: Cornwall, Great Britain
I have very limited Internet access at the moment, so here it goes.

Expanding on the posts of Chris, Cvv etc who to my mind have accurately presented alot of the information out there.

If this dance like form is the same as on the dvd gotente then this dance is called the Hamachidori (plover dance). This, Uehara taught as a “Martial dance”. He also called this Bu nu Mai or dance of martial arts/skills and has also referred to it as Anji Kata etc.


Just as some have “reversed engineered” the kata to reveal in their eyes the constituent elements that make up the principles etc, the same is true of the dance.
Broardly speaking it could be said or implied, that whereas ‘tegumi’ makes up part of kata,(or to some that tegumi needs to be understood to know how to use kata) tuidijutsu partly makes up dance. Tegumi is more strength directed and tuite ‘softer’ and subtle.
(although Shuri’s Tegumi called Mutou is thought to be more subtle and possibly with ways to remove a sword)

In Motobu Udun Ti, tuidi/tuite is based on the sword and in Uehara’s own words in the technique and inner teachings… “In the earlier stages of Taijutsu, the practitioner learns the so called “hard” techniques designed to down an opponent in a single blow. The purpose of Tuite, however is to cultivate “soft” techniques that can render an opponent unable to resist, but without causing undue injury…The ways in which an opponents hand is grasped and manipulated in the Tuite techniques are very similar to the movements used in Motobu Udundi swordplay.”

Fundamentally the footwork and hand positions are a type of chi kung like exercise called kiko. The aforementioned Ogami/Coneri/Oshi te make up the hand positions/principles of this kiko (as well as tuite principles) and the steps from the dances are a type of meditative walking. It is the introspective nature of the female dances among other things that sets them aside from the “dances that had Karate techniques put into them” and the two differences can be seen on The Way Of The Warrior Karate episode with Higaonna. Near the beginning is the female meditative stepping and later with dance teacher Miyagi is one of the newer/folk dance.

Although Uehara has previously denied kiko was in his art, Seitoku Higa (who received his 10th dan Hanshi in Motobu Ryu in 1975, and Mark Bishop teach/taught or described it as such.(As an all encompassing TI rather than just Udun ti)

Building from that base free form dance springs and in Seitoku Higa’s words “true softness cannot be found in the rigid karate forms” and Takao Miyagi (different person from Takamiyagi who started Udunti in 1990, Takao in 1972)“technique compounds technique and more comes to light…the real techniques are not to be found so much in the outward form, but more in the internal dance and body movements that can manifest all the martial strength together,” so this becomes their Anji Kata preserved at that point of time, and like Aikido’s Ueshiba who was said to never perform a technique the same twice, so it is with our own unique dance. Kiyohiko Higa’s Anji kata is far more dynamic and a reference can be found on it in Zen Kobudo (Bishop)

Mark Bishop as far as we are aware is the only person to have trained at both Higa’s and Uehara’s dojo for a number of years and has written about it extensively (in English) as well, in 2 books to date (two more are finished) and 20+ articles. He also researched/studied the female dances and was only permitted as “he already had a straight back” (private communication). He also learned and developed his Okinawan wife’s family Pressure point therapy alongside the “health massage” of Udun ti and the Shiatsu taught by Hiroshi Miyagi of the Bugeikan/Higa.


This is one aspect of four interrelated practises that I believe make up “ti” and how I was taught, practice and teach it.

Empty hand (goken and juken, Mark taught all juken – soft fist – the lowest trainee was already nidan in Karate)

Weapons (bladed and wooden)

Odori te/mai te (dance hand – Kiko and Meditative walking)

Therapeutic bodywork (shiatsu/massage/pressure point releasing etc)

Walking, neutralising with ‘softness’, pressure point releasing, and reversals, among other things are the essence of this art as taught to me. It is human nature to interpret a given method and Choyu Motobu would have adapted ti to his generation Uehara in his and his students in theirs now. That’s why Mark wrote “a flexible key ethos of te has survived through the ages and its called turning the other cheek and is the opposite of a revengeful eye for an eye.” If you look at some of Uehara’s translated work that’s what he was also implying. (Possibly also enhancing his longevity).


If there is interest I will run a day or weekend course in Cornwall UK soon by way of introduction and appropriately titled ‘A taste of Ti’
Alternatively, for those not wanting to study another art I can run for a limited time ‘Bridging the Gap’ seminars exploring the ti already covertly stored in some Karate styles/techniques.

All ‘levels’ all styles all peoples are welcome.
_________________________
Michael Powell

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#355073 - 11/26/07 03:37 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: ThunderboltLotus]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
welcome Mick,

thankyou for posting your view and experience.

There is alot in that post and im sure members will have lots of questions to discuss.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355074 - 12/01/07 01:04 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Michael,

'Although Uehara has previously denied kiko was in his art' Curious as to your source on this one?

The term just means energy exercise, so it must have been there given the purposes of some of kata's now incorporated in to Motobu Udun di by Seikichi Uehara

Anyway here is an interesting link on Kiko:
http://www.chikara.com.au/kiko1.htm


I assume that you may have meant that Seitoku Higa practised Kiko after training in Motobu Ryu Udun di?, the brackets did not make sense.

How do you know if it was practised by Seitoku Higa that it is not Seido? Do we know how the Kiko of Seikichi Uehara differed from that of Seitoku Higa?

Is it possible that Uehara awarded Seitoku Higa a 10th dan Hanshi under the Motobu Ryu Udun di umbrella in 1975 but was it specifically in Motobu Ryu Udun di? or was it for services to preserving what were being called ancient martial arts?

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355075 - 12/02/07 04:30 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
So I finally mentioned youtube to sensei, and he is considering posting some video of kata from our recent enbu, after he susses it out a little more. I didn't want to do it on my own!

I was also told recently that some of the kata we do were developed with the assistance of a karate-ka who helped adapt kata to the udunti style and mechanics. If true, I wonder if that person was perhaps Seitoku Higa?

Whatever the case, some of the questions here about kata just don't seem that interesting to my sensei and shihan. They believe deeply that the mechanics are more important than anything else, and that udunti is still in the midst of a period of formal evolution. There's a lot of tinkering that goes on in order to find the most efficient ways to teach and apply the essential mechanics.

It kind of makes it hard to ask, "well, who exactly developed this kata and when?" because there is often not a clearcut answer, and I also want to enjoy interacting with them as humans talking about the weather and other inconsequential stuff.

Also, having seen two enbu and trained a lot more with the bbs, I went back and watched the dvd of Uehara sensei as well as the anji kata on youtube. His abilities at the age of 90 are remarkable, and I understand a lot better (better, not completely) what he is doing. For instance, some of the movements that look sword-derived are actually used in tuite, or grappling.

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#355076 - 12/02/07 10:19 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Hello Chofukaino,

Do let us know if and when your Sensei posts those videos on YouTube, it would be interesting to see how they differ if at all from other available material.

I strongly suspect that Seitoku Higa would have been one of the people involved in this adaptation or even adoption of Kata, though there may have been otehrs as well.

Interesting what you have been told about the mechanics, for many Karate people the mechanics of a style come from the Kata. I think most would agree with you 'that it makes sense to ask who developed the kata and when?' though sounds like they are not going to say much more about it.

Interesting what you say about udundi is in the midst of a period of formal evolution, do you know who is leading this formulation? Is it just within your dojo or over the style as a whole and what part Chosei Motobu is playing in this if any?

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355077 - 12/02/07 08:48 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
As for mechanics and kata, first come the basic principles of body weight distribution, extended limbs, and moving into attacks (rather than standing ground and blocking). Once we kind of begin to understand those, kata are good for developing agility and speed, but sensei is not happy if we forsake the basics just to go through the motions of the kata.

I would think most karate-ka would feel the same about the kata in their respective styles, but maybe this feeling is enhanced for us because of the history of our modern kata being added only in the last century? When training with the bbs, only about 5-10 minutes are spent on kata, and I think that reflects the amount of importance they have in our style. Still, in sparring we are reminded to use certain movements from the kata, so they are useful as a kind of reference.

I mentioned before that we often do a kata in the opposite direction or with open hands or with a different kind of kick or whatever. The point being that we are expected to adapt our movements for a variety of situations. I think there has been resistance to writing an udunti training manual or something similar because of the feeling that would send the message that the kata are set in stone, instead of keeping them malleable.

As for the evolution, I think it is just a natural process rather than something being directed from above. It comes from the fact that udunti is no longer limited to one family or one man's dojo and there is not a tournament system in place to enforce rules, distribute awards, and in the process stifle experimentation.

The differences between dojo can be pretty apparent. For example, we have a sister dojo not far away, and our shihan and theirs are best friends from way back. The essentials of udunti are recognizably the same, but that dojo's style is rather flamboyant and acrobatic, whereas I think our dojo comes off as restrained and almost austere.

This kind of variation is perhaps acceptable while udunti is still small and relatively inaccessible, but finessing future growth is a matter of concern right now.

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#355078 - 12/05/07 07:00 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Hello Chofukainoa,
I agree with you that Kata are good for developing agility and speed and you should not, as you Sensei says, foresake the basics to go through the motions of kata.

However many Karateka may feel that the Kihon that they do is in order to provide a basis for good kata and that the kihon comes from the kata. I have no doubt that you are correct in what you say about the approach to kata you menation is enhanced due to the kata being relatively new to the style.

Some Karate styles would go from Kihon (taken from kata and building to Kata): to Kata: to Application: to Kumite.

What happens between the practise of kata and its application is its adaptation to specific situations and this can result in changes to kata, although there are in many Karate kata key moves by which you can recognise them. For example not all versions of Passai are the same.

The natural process of evolution that you mention in relation to Motobu Udun di has I think being going on for quite some time, including whilst Seikichi Uehara was alive, in an interview he gave back in the 1990's which can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5o7x5SHdu8
He said that the techniques were not his but those of his Master Choyu Motobu, although is suspect that though he meant this he did not rule out evolution of the style, hence why he researched Okinawan Dance. I was just curious as to whether Chosei Motobu had taken any lead with the style being returned to the Motobu family.

It is interesting what you say about the differences between Dojo's and their emphasis, that is something that I suspected would be the case, peoples early training always influences how they interpret things they learn later on. For example we have seen in Seitoku Higa's performance of Motobu Ryu Udun di elements of what he had learnt from Kishomoto and others, but it was still recognisable as a variant of Motobu Ryu Udun di.

Interesting what you say about future growth being a matter of concern, as this often leads to some degree of standardisation.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355079 - 12/06/07 12:47 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
"Kihon...provide a basis for good kata" is exactly what I have never been told, or even implied. And the idea that kihon come from kata is just not there. More like "kihon is everything"!

We were reminded before our recent examinations many times that the quality of one's kihon is judged much more heavily than performance of kata. As I mentioned before, we have another element to our kihon, which is the walking practice, and sensei has said many many times "as long as you can walk, you can do udunti".

I really haven't been able to discern any influence of Chosei Motobu yet. Although udunti is now affiliated and does enbu and such with the motoburyu kenpo dojo, there seems to still be a fairly clear line between the two styles. If anything, it seems kids are taught kenpo so that they can participate in tournaments, and move into udunti as adults. Of course, that may lead to more mixing in the future. As far as I know, our dojo is the only one in the tokyo area where kids are training in just udunti. There are only two of them (12 and 16), and they train right along with the adults!

Some of the tinkering that is going on with our kata seems to be in order to "fix" some of the karate influence and make it more udunti-like, especially with regards to limiting excess motion.

Also, the alterations to the kata at kata-practice stage are a lot more pronounced than I have yet seen in karate styles, especially for students at the beginning levels!

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#355080 - 12/06/07 12:02 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukainoa,
Thanks for your reply.
"Kihon...provide a basis for good kata" is exactly what I have never been told, or even implied. And the idea that kihon come from kata is just not there. More like "kihon is everything"! Actually this does not really surprise me and it would most certainly seem that way in respect of what you are telling us about your learning of Motobu Ryu Udun di and I have no reason to doubt you.

I was merely pointing out how it tends to work in Traditional Okinawan Karate and another Okinawan di system (Bugeikan).

An interesting point of note though is that when Richard Florence interviewed Seikichi Uehara on 7th September 1994 he told him: ' I meant to say that we did not have kata with Chinese names. They [Kata] have been handed down from generation to generation since the old days and are called mutu-ni-di' He then tells Florence (1996) these mutu-ni-di are Mutu-ni-di ichi, ni, san etc.

So I do wonder what Seikichi Uehara meant or whether Mr. Florence misunderstood what Seikichi Uehara meant.

I recall that when Mark Bishop (who had trained in Okinawa at the Bugeikan and at the Motobu Udun di of Uehara) was teaching Michael Powell and Michael Powell taught others Ti that there was focus on Kihon and no Kata whatsoever.

Given the emphasis in the style it sort of makes sense that it does not have kata in the Karate sense and to tinker with the kata that have emerged in order to lessen the karate emphasis.

Do you by any chance know anything about the history, origin and influences in the sword aspect of Motobu Udun di?

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355081 - 12/22/07 04:17 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
ThunderboltLotus Offline
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Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 16
Loc: Cornwall, Great Britain
Chris

'Although Uehara has previously denied kiko was in his art' Curious as to your source on this one?

Motobu ryu Udun di has no intrinsic-energy (ki) training. As Uehara explained it: ;Intrinsic energy is generally called kiko and many people are learning it these days. It is a big mistake to think that kiko can actually work. What I mean is that nobody can knock down an opponent without touching him. If somebody thinks he can beat me by kiko, I will accept his challenge any time. It may work if the opponent is your student because you teach him every day. However it will not work on a stranger"; (JAMA Vol5 No3 p.72 Article and interview by Richard Florence)

And

Uehara emphasised that the ki training of Motobu Ryu Kobujutsu is not the Chi Kung, that is Kiko, of Chinese Martial Arts, but is a unique Ki method more like the fluidity of Aiki. (William Durbin article) - I assume this came from Shian Toma

Chris wrote

The term just means energy exercise, so it must have been there given the purposes of some of kata's now incorporated in to Motobu Udun di by Seikichi Uehara

Anyway here is an interesting link on Kiko:
http://www.chikara.com.au/kiko1.htm


I assume that you may have meant that Seitoku Higa practised Kiko after training in Motobu Ryu Udun di?, the brackets did not make sense.

How do you know if it was practised by Seitoku Higa that it is not Seido? Do we know how the Kiko of Seikichi Uehara differed from that of Seitoku Higa


My experience is- Kiko and Chi kung mean yes to "exersise the energy". The article by Ryan I have a copy of from 10 years ago, that was, I believe originally featured in Steve Graystons Martial Arts plus, over here in the Uk. It is a classic example of putting "Chinese Theory" into a relatively simple method. The same is true of many modern shiatsu groups.

As you are aware there are many ways of practising Chi Kung from standing still to spontaneous movement and it is impossible not to be doing kiko/chi kung or whatever name when doing what I have titled the Odori te. Both this and the shiatsu/therapeutic bodywork have one main goal in mind (or intent) - to release negative energy blockages. One is with a partner the other generally without. (This process starts with potentially defusing a nasty situation all the way to dealing with those that "refuse to desist"

Seitoku Higa (according to an article by Rick Woodhams 1994 Traditional Karate) first learned Ki exersise from Kishimoto and was "celebrating his 60th" year of doing so. Interestingly enough I decided to spend some research time re going through two Seidokan pamphlets !977 and 1981. Two photos clearly show some dance like kiko with a partner (Uehara and a female student) that is remarkably similar in my opinion to some Seido exercises. These photos are 1976/7.
(Seido supposedly came about in the 80's)

Cho

Moving in on attacks was very disconcerting when I first began this study. (I had already practiced the blocking and countering for almost 14 years). Now having practised this for the same length of time and for the last 4 years I have practised no kata and soon will be able to answer Ed Morris (I believe) to the question "5 years no kata" Seikichi Uehara was clear for his students "to make new kata befitting a new era." Matsuo Kanenori Sakon "Just as Uehara has created some kata for the purposes of popularising his art I feel that kata are also necessary to this extent". And Mark Bishop was clear to me to make up ti kata if I felt it would help teach principles and techniques etc. But and this is a big but, this is advise to Senior practitioners and not beginners or intermediates looking not to go through the hard work that you are clearly being taught (from your descriptions). So as I have previously stated on another thread, myself and you seem to be saying the same "Kata is not the heart and soul of Udunti"

Warm regards
_________________________
Michael Powell

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#355082 - 12/23/07 10:14 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: ThunderboltLotus]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK

Mike,
'Uehara has previously denied kiko was in his art' (JAMA Vol5 No3 p.72) so he does. Interesting that he makes a comment about 'What I mean is that nobody can knock down an opponent without touching them' I wonder if he was making a comment on somebody else here.

As to the question:

How do you know if it was practised by Seitoku Higa that it is not Seido?

It relates specifically to this quote:
Although Uehara has previously denied kiko was in his art, Seitoku Higa (who received his 10th dan Hanshi in Motobu Ryu in 1975, and Mark Bishop teach/taught or described it as such.(As an all encompassing TI rather than just Udun ti)

Do we know how the Kiko of Seikichi Uehara differed from that of Seitoku Higa?

or more specifically do we know what the differences are between what came from Kishomoto to Higa and Uehara to Higa?

On a further note it is interesting that the Bugeikan Ti Kata's Nidan Pabu and Sanpabu were made in the 1920's at the Bugeikan and that the Motobu Udun di Kata's did not get introduced until after Seitoku Higa's involvement in Udun di.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355083 - 12/26/07 06:46 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Been busy again...just popping in for a bit...
Wondering if maybe we should move some of the more recent discussion to a more general udunti thread? Not strictly forms and applications anymore...
And by the way, still waiting on my sensei to post anything on youtube...

As for the kiko question, I haven't been taught anything resembling kiko as of yet...and I did a few workshops in qi gong with an acupunturist here a few years ago, so have some experience with the Chinese version.

However, we do have teaching of tsubo for fighting applications and I know my shihan is interested in breathing techniques. Our ti-no-moto exercises may also seem somewhat kiko-like, but again the ideas of energy creation and storage are not explicit. Why we do it has always been given a more mechanical explanation, so as to prepare the heart, lungs, and tendons...perhaps not so different in practice...

Also, I think "ti" is sometimes misunderstood as meaning something similar to "ki/qi", but the "ti" in udunti is the same as the "te" in karate. We don't use "ti" other than in compounds like udunti and ti-no-moto, etc.

There's a big misunderstanding from Uehara sensei's dvd that he is supposedly knocking his uke down without touching them, when in fact they are doing what they have been trained to do to avoid his weapon and get in position to attack again--nothing to do with "ki" power transmission whatsoever (you see that stuff on Japanese TV every once in a while).

Is the idea of a family of related "ti" systems primarily Mark Bishop's interpretation? I'm not sure that term is used in Japan that way (definitely not by my sensei, though he may be biased!)

Gesar--
No information for you on the history of sword arts in udunti. Still reading through a bunch of other stuff in Japanese. I know some people say it was developed from sword techniques, but we're always told the empty hand is primary. Weapons are whatever you find available and use them with the same basic movements as with the empty hand. Again, I doubt there will ever be a definitive answer as to what came first, other than tooth, nail, stick, rock. I'm only just starting to be introduced to sword training, however...

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#355084 - 12/29/07 12:52 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Actually, there's a good explanation of the usage of the term "ti" in the Japanese wikipedia...if that helps...
Not sure if this link will work:
http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%89%8B_%28%E6%B2%96%E7%B8%84%E6%AD%A6%E8%A1%93%29

Well, it helped me because my post above was pretty confused on the point...but understandable in that the term has been used to refer to Okinawan martial arts in general, the chinese-derived martial arts that came to be known as karate (toudi/karate), and the "indigenous" martial arts with connections to Okinawan dance (uchinadi).

I think maybe there is a better term than just "ti" for the latter in English. The confusion of "ti" with "ki" is not something Mark Bishop intended at all, but an acquaintence asked me because he was confused by the term, thinking that I've been learning how to harness and utilize "ti".

And the average Japanese budoka would likely not recognize the term at all.

Another thing I'd like to see is standardation of english orthography for terms, because now it is a mess with some things transliterated from Okinawan pronunciations and others from Japanese pronunciations and some a mixture of both! The best minds should get together and make some decisions here...starting with "udundi/udunti/udonde"!

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#355085 - 12/29/07 05:05 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Rascal Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
At the Kodokai, In Rhode Island, USA, we haggled over the use of "UdunTi" vs. UdunDi". After carefully listening and also asking Takamiyagui Sensei, we decided that UdunDi" was the most accurate based upon how the Okinawan practitioners were pronouncing the word. We figured that it was their language so their pronunciation was the best way to write it (so our students visiting Okinawa would pronounce it accurately).

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#355086 - 12/29/07 06:18 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
i used "ti" first out of habit...that was the spelling i had first encountered, but "di" is better...

the vowel sounds are harder to approximate, but "udundi" would appear to be the best-accepted romanization
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okinawan_writing_system

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#355087 - 12/29/07 08:17 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Di just as it is correct to say Dao for Tao in Chinese, showing a clear connection between the cultures of China and Okinawa through language.

In common parlance the terms Ti/Te/di are used inter changeably by most people in the west, in all probability on the basis of the writings of Mark Bishop. I think you are right that he did not intend for the term Ti to be muddled with Ki, but his own ti was Shiatsu related and so went the way that Mike Powell is talking about.

I am sure that even if a standardisation of Motobu Udun di terms did take place that discussions will still carry on using these other terms when discussing Ti/Te/di more generally or whatever it is that people think they mean. Take the Wade Giles and Pin Yin systems for Romanizing the Chinese language, you will end up with slightly different phoentics with the same meanings across two systems.

Anyway, I posted some of the Bugeikan Ti/Te/di Demo's on Youtube recently for purposes of comparison and comment. I would be especially interested in any comments as to how these compare to Motobu Udun Di that people have learnt

Di Kihon combined with soem Karate:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuhHlaqhHlU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DC3NfDdlLhg

Tuidi/grappling:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KjIU3JIS8M

Tuidi 2 against 1 grappling:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsZVLzCCgrA

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355088 - 12/30/07 08:51 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
Rascal Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
I'm thrilled to see these video's, thank you!
I notice a couple of differences from what I am being taught (at Seidokan,Okinawa).

1. The use of weight in these video's seems to be employed by leaning into the technique (bending at the waist). We are taught to step into the technique or to pivot 180 degrees to generate pushing type of force. We are not to generate any force from our upper body strength.

2. The other most noticable difference is the footwork (which influences that mentioned above). We are vigorously corrected if we fail to use what they call "mai", stepping into the technique with the same side foot and hand. As we step we are to protect our groin by twisting the hips and crossing the knee of the foot coming forward in front of the other knee to cover. We do this when we punch or when we throw a maegeri (the only kick that we use). We are to use a very light touch with the hands, not a firm grab. So any torque generating action must come from our bodies movements rather than our hand or arm movements.

3. Another related difference is the general attitude and posture while waiting for the attack. We are taught not to kamae- no hopping, no excitement, no holding the hands up in readiness. More like the calm walking that Uehara Sensei demonstrates in his video's that seems to baffle or be underestimated by so many who view them!

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#355089 - 12/30/07 01:21 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Rascal,
Thank you for your comments.

1. I agree that there does as you say seem to be a lot of leaning into the techniques with the upper body in these grappling scenarios, something that is clearly not present in all of the available footage of Uehara Sensei and his students.

2. I was of the impression that the footwork between Motobu Udun di and Bugeikan di was very different, whilst some of the Kihon seems to demonstrate lead leg and lead hand this does not seem to be present in the grappling aspects shown in these videos.

As regards the light touch aspect
In the book Shindoryu yumemaboroshi no jutsu which is about Seitoku Higa, which has sometimes been amusingly translated as 'The Incredible techniques of Shinto Ryu Jutsu of Seitoku Higa' the writer apparently talks about in the beginning about the “light” touch of Seitoku Higa when doing techniques. Higa said when coming in contact with the opponent attacking arm, you should not push, pull or grip the arm. Instead you should “ride” (guide) the opponent’s movement. He seems to be implying that one should not give any energy (force/strength) to the opponent that he can use (yield to and reverse). Higa here seems to be talking about the very light touch, like what you are referring to here, but which is missing from this material I have posted.

3. There is clearly a very specific dynamic in terms of the Bugeikan material shown in these videos which differs greatly from what is available in terms of Motobu Udun di material. As you say the hands are held up, there is also the hopping type movement which seems to characterise a lot of the early Bugeikan material.

Given that Seitoku Higa has been mentioned in this thread a few times and that there are some clear differences between the di of the Bugeikan which comes from one source and Motobu Udun di of Seikichi Uehara,which Seitoku Higa also trained in, I have posted a couple of clips of Seitoku Higa doing some demonstrations.

What I would like to determine here is whether or not these clips of Seitoku Higa show a high level of performance of what can recognisably be called Motobu Udun di or something else.

The clips:
The first of these shows the use of empty hand against Naginata: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOukiIAnxSg

The second shows firstly the way the sword has been used in this school, including the footwork, this is followed by empty hand against sword and can be found here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCL6-euwYVM

as regards this last clip, I would be specifically interested to know if the solo sword work done at the beginning is the same as in Motobu Ryu Udun di that people have experienced.

As regards the Mark Bishop and Te/Ti/Ki thing, in his second book Zen Kobudo: Mysteries of Okinawan Weaponry and Te (and Te is the spelling used throughout), he states on page 144 the following: a large part of the training nowadays is dance "to noursih the secret principles of Ki (intrinsic energy) which includes the Ki of heaven and earth in a martial context" He is of course speaking about the Bugeikan here and the development of what is called Seido there would seem to bear this out.

Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (12/30/07 01:43 PM)

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#355090 - 12/30/07 07:05 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
Rascal Offline
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Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
These video's are so interesting!
First, I am not an expert in any way- only a student. I make that fact perfectly clear to those who come to our practice sessions. My interest in Udun Di developed out of pure fascination with the art. A few of us started practicing regularly and more and more people watched and wanted to participate. We were enjoying it so much and felt guilty for not letting others join us but I was not qualified to teach. Last January, I, along with one of my students, was asked to teach here in America by Taira Sensei of the Seidokan. Now we accept others into our practice and have about a dozen students. I am still just learning and loaded with questions, but I am truly appreciating this art more and more. Our focus has been on dance and what Seiki Toma collectively called "goshin-jutsu". While I have seen others practicing and demonstrating various weapons, I have only been taught the bo and the tiniest bit of sword.
Based upon what I have seen both of these clips seem to be Udun Di. And yes, the solo sword basics are absolutely consistant with what I have been shown.

Hope this helps!
Sincerely,
Dennis Branchaud

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#355091 - 12/30/07 09:58 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Dennis,
I am glad that you found the video material interesting.
Thanks for your comments, they are indeed helpful, especially the point on the sword basics.

I was merely trying to ascertain peoples opinions on the basis of their personal experience within Motobu Ryu Udun Di from people on this forum such as yourself and Chofukaino whom I know are students of that line.

I had suspected that the films of Seitoku Higa doing the displays that I posted were of Motobu Udun Di. Whilst there are some clear differences between what has come out of the Bugeikan and Motobu Udun Di (the earlier videos posted), there are also, as one would expect, given Seitoku Higa's training background some clear similarities (the latter videos posted).

So do you have any ideas on this Kiko that has come up in this thread that Mike Powell mentioned earlier in relation to Di and dance but which Chofukiano tells us he has not experienced as of yet?

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355092 - 12/31/07 03:09 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
Rascal Offline
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Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
We have not encountered any unique "kiko" exercises or emphasis. Any mention of ki has been simply in properly relaxing our bodies to let ki flow- little more than that. No mention of ki during the dance practice, and we enjoyed quite a bit of private instruction with detailed explanations.
We have done no kata and, though it seems to be a common practice in the southern school (Uehara Sensei, son of Seikichi), it seems to be of little importance to the school of Taira Sensei.

Last January we enjoyed some unique exposure to techniques that their regular students hadn't seen in ten years. They were astounded by many of the things being shown by Taira Sensei. He was pleased by our visit and progress so was in a very positive mood and was clearly happy to break the silence about some techniques. The more surprised and elated his students were the more he showed. But no talk of kiko- only physical explanation of technique.
Of course, this doesn't mean that there isn't some type of kiko exercise. This just means that I haven't seen any. They don't seem to be hiding much from us, in fact they bombard us with technique after technique. They point out the fact that they are giving us advanced techniques and have skipped the basic training. Perhaps this is why we aren't exposed to kata, and who knows, maybe there is some kiko exercise that we have inadvertenly circumnavigated as well.
It's all very interesting. One thing is clear. The Seidokan does not have a standardized teaching curriculum. It is taught more one on one where individuals diverge into groups that spontaneously are rearranged throughout practice. Each group works on select techniques based upon experience amd ukemi abilities. The atmosphere is very relaxed. Very little punching and kicking is practiced but this could be because everyone was once (or still is) a karate person (some did judo). The punch or kick practice seems simply to be focused on unlearning karate punches.

Sincerely,
Dennis Branchaud

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#355093 - 12/31/07 07:21 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
"Ti" would be appropriate used alone, "di" in compounds (similar to consonant changes that happen in chinese and japanese).
My problem with "ti" as used by western commentators is that it implies the indigenous Okinawan arts (as opposed to toudi) are the only true martial art, since the term was originally basically equivalent to "bujutsu". Imagine saying judo is bujutsu but aikido is not!

I don't think kiko-like practices are absent in what i am doing, just not explicit. This may explain some of Uehara sensei's seeming inconsistencies--aspects were present in what he learned, but just not labeled yet. Understandable, as he spent a long time outside of the mainstream during the period of the popularization of karate and the other fighting arts in Japan.

The Bugeikan clips were very interesting, but a little difficult to see clearly. One thing I noticed was Higa sensei's use of "ducking" moves vs. the naginata. In contrast, Ikeda shihan moves very similar to the way Uehara sensei does in the video on youtube. Also, as Dennis Branchaud notes, the Bugeikan footwork is springier and use of kamae is different.

Honestly, I wasn't much impressed with the sword work I saw...I am certainly no expert, but sensei would be saying to me "all arms!" We do train against those basic kinds of moves, but the more advanced sword techniques are one-handed, getting a few inches of the tip in to vulnerable areas. In contrast with the Japanese use of the sword, the whole body moves rather than just the wrist or the arm. Describing these things with just words is so difficult!

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#355094 - 12/31/07 09:44 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukaino,
I agree with what you are saying about Ti and di, hence why we have the term Toudi which implies an Chinese Martial art that could be found in Okinawa. Personally I think when talking about Ti or di we need to be specific such as in Motobu Udun Di or Toudi or Takemura's Di. When we are not being specific then it should be taken that we are talking about Ti or Di as a collection of Martial arts that can or could be found in Okinawa.

Anyway here is an interesting link about Ti and one which strongly emphasises that Ti should not be muddled with Ki:
http://www.shinjinbukan.com/system_1.html


As you say some of the Bugeikan footage is not as clear as it could be, but these are very old films which have been taken from analogue to digital.

As regards Higa Sensei, others who have seen these clips (before I recently posted them on Youtube) feel that although he may have studied Motobu Udun Di he was still influenced by his earlier training.

Dennis and Chofukaino thanks for your responses on the Kiko aspect. One of the reasons that I am particularly interested in this Kiko aspect is that it is most definitely an explicit aspect of the Bugeikan's Seido and I would like to try and make some distinctions between this Kiko in Seido and what may or may not be present in Motobu Udun Di. At some point when I have compressed the files I may upload some of this Bugeikan Seido and post the link here.

Happy New Year all.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355095 - 01/01/08 12:17 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Ok here is that link that I promised of Bugeikan Seido:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htmGhKSuz-g,

The first part shows this Kiko, or meditative walking, this is then followed by some techniques against multiple Uke's, followed by some more of this Kiko and then something else done from Seiza.

Comments?

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355096 - 01/01/08 02:42 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
Rascal Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
I have seen nothing like this at the Seidokan!

Interesting. It reminds me of the things you see in Shintaido. Takamiyagi Sensei, one of the Udun Di people who helps us out quite a lot, is very interested in Shintaido and hopes to someday travel to Japan to learn. This type of thing is very interesting to him. Perhaps he has been exposed to this type of exercise in Udun Di. I can't easily ask him about this Seido since I am now in the U.S. and these questions are best asked in person.
Dennis Branchaud

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#355097 - 01/01/08 05:33 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
medulanet Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Quote:

Ok here is that link that I promised of Bugeikan Seido:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htmGhKSuz-g,

The first part shows this Kiko, or meditative walking, this is then followed by some techniques against multiple Uke's, followed by some more of this Kiko and then something else done from Seiza.

Comments?

Regards

Chris Norman




This video is a big load of what I just put in my toilet. Until I see a video of him doing these techniques on people other than his students who don't like him and want to hurt him this will always be a diservice to okinawan martial arts. This is not udundi, its garbage.
_________________________
Dulaney Dojo

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#355098 - 01/01/08 05:57 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: medulanet]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Medulanet,
When I said comments? I was in expectation of the response you gave. In fact I had expected several more comments on the same lines and sooner to tell you the truth.

There is absolutely no way that I am going to attempt to defend the performance shown in the video, as like you I simply don't buy into it and agree that it is a diservice.

What got me best of all was the way that one of the girls managed after the 'remote projection' to roll away and carefully avoid falling on her class mate!!!

Nobody has said that this was Udun Di it is something called Seido from the Bugeikan. The relevance of it to this thread was to determine whether the Kiko (meditative walking)referred to earlier in this thread and shown at the beginning of the video was in anyway comparable to Motobu Udun Di, which the person shown in the video has also allegedly trained in.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355099 - 01/02/08 08:21 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
WE DO NOT DO ANYTHING LIKE THIS WHATSOEVER IN MOTOBURYU UDUNDI!!!!!!!!!

are you really sure this is not someone taking the [censored]? the whole atmosphere is like a community festival where someone might do a parody of "secret arts" or something...but no one is laughing...

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#355100 - 01/02/08 10:05 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Rascal Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
I'm certainly not about to defend this as a martial art but we are looking at it completely out of context.
When Shintaido does this sort of thing its not supposed to be "real", its acting, pretending. They do it for artistic expression and exercise (and maybe for other purposes as well).
This reminds me of the stage hypnotists we see here at the county fairs where people do weird things as part of a performance. Are they supposed to be hypnotized?

It's deffinitely wacky and not my cup of tea but maybe they aren't trying to pass it off as real. Maybe it's just some weird exercise.

DB

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#355101 - 01/02/08 10:41 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
Gesar Offline
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Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukaino,
Its a demonstration done in Okinawa which one supposes is to a actually publicise this Seido. No unfortunately it is not as far as I and others are aware some one taking the [Censored].

Dennis,
I take your point here especially with Shintaido (which is a style which I do have some respect for) where the type of thing they do is an exercise and that is all that they claim it is. As regards this Bugeikan Seido it is an unfortunate fact, in both my own and others opinion, is that they do take it as being real and do try to pass it off as such.

I am very glad to hear that nothing like this is done in Motobu Udun Di.

So I take it that this means we can definitely say that the Kiko (meditative walking) done at the beginning is not part of Udun Di either.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355102 - 01/02/08 12:22 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
Rascal Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
I am confident that there is nothing like this Kiko in Udun Di.
Can't believe that is supposed to accepted as real! Wow.
DB

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#355103 - 01/02/08 09:10 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
At the very beginning of the video, it looked like he was going to start a version of our ti-no-moto exercise, but he was just goofing off. Ours looks a lot like qi gong standing exercises, but the tips of our fingers touch and we don't stand still.
But we never talk about tanden or ki or anything.
The walking kihon can be meditative in its more mild form (it gets quite intense), but it's an outward, attention-paying form and the focus is on efficent conversion of potential energy into kinetic energy--akin to aikido--rather than turning yourself into a mystical magnet or something.

My sensei are very careful about walking and moving udundi style throughout practice, even when attending to business or taking "breaks." The ideal is to integrate it into your daily movements. But this has a serious purpose in instilling alertness (more coarsely, fight-readiness) at all times.

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#355104 - 01/03/08 10:36 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Rascal Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
The experience that we have had at the Seidokan also has been on practical technical instruction with little or no mention of any unique energy methods. But as chofukainoa points out the walking kihon can be very meditative, in fact. The mindset of the practice does place a great emphasis on awareness, posture and attitude, and not simply when one is performing specific techniques. Zanshin is emphasized greatly and, although these concepts are also important in karate training, the Udun Di teachers have gone to great lengths to explain and remind us of these concepts- far beyond any karate instruction that I have experienced.
Between the loosening (as opposed to stretching) exercises done at the beginning of class and the relaxed body movements of the techniques and the unique mental state of the practice, I feel very different during and after practice. It is hard to describe and very unlike the kind of feeling I get from the hard work of karate where I am actually trying to generate and exert energy or power and finish class totally exhausted. The feeling is very similar to what I feel during Kinhin between periods of zazen. It is nothing mystical, but it is undeniable. It is one of those many things that the casual observer does not see when viewing the odd Udun Di demonstration.
The instructors point out frequently that this is good for the health, (better than karate, they repeat often)and it certainly feels better (I'm almost 50 years old)! There is much to the training that doesn't meet the eye but I agree, bogus mystics with magic power not only hurt those who fall for them but they damage the reputation of martial arts in general. Given that Udun Di is little known or understood in the first place, and that there are many skeptics who can't comprehend what they see with a legitimate demonstration or on the video's of Uehara Sensei, it is good that we try to clarify some of the misconceptions or misrepresentations that taint the art.

Respecfully,
Dennis Branchaud

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#355105 - 01/03/08 05:47 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Dennis and Chofukaino,
Thank you for your comments in relation to this Kiko, I hope that it helps to clear up any miscomprehensions anybody may have about the style that you both practice. It has certainly clarified somethings for me to some extent.

Dennis
I cannot agree with you more in respect of the following

'Bogus mystics with magic power not only hurt those who fall for them but they damage the reputation of martial arts in general'


It is an unfortunate fact that this mysticism IMHO has also damaged not only the reputation of martial arts in general but also the martial practice of those that practice this mysticism.


What is particularly interesting in all of this is that Seitoku Higa, who had founded the Bugeikan, at one time played a big part in helping get Motobu Udun Di promoted in Okinawa through his All Okinawa Karate Ancient Budo United Association of which both Seitoku Higa and Seikichi Uehara were directors.


I do wonder if the trend towards mysticism on the part of Mr Higa led to a departing of ways between him and Mr Uehara. The work Shindoryu yumemaboroshi no jutsu which is about the old Mr Higa, has several very over the top photos of him doing these mystical remote projections as well.

Personally I think that this is a very sad state of affairs and do wonder to some extent how much this may have led to Mr Uehara publicising his Motobu Udun Di through the video footage taken in later years. What is a shame is that no footage has turned up of the demonstrations Mr Uehara did annually in Okinawa in his younger years as I am sure this would sweep away a lot of peoples misconceptions.

Anyway as I pointed out earlier the demonstrator in the video posted previously, the son of old Mr Higa, also allegedly trained in Motobu Udun Di, but how much of this was under his father, who was described by Mark Bishop as being something of 'a mystic' and how much of it was directly under Mr Uehara is unknown to me at this point.


Here is another demonstration, it seems more upright in posture, it is distinguishable in many respects from the other material that was posted earlier of the Bugeikan style of Di, but alas, towards the end we get into something of those strange projections again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9vahyj85SI
I would be interested to know if you guys see any Motobu Udun Di influences in this at all?


Mike Powell earlier in this thread may reference to a more dynamic version of the Anji no Mekata,performed by the same demonstrator, this has been described as the demonstrators own rendition based mostly on Motobu udun Di influenced by his training in Aikido to some extent, at least as described by Mark Bishop in his book Zen Kobudo, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6oCZXVGEV0
This last video of the Kata was taken much earlier than the previous and is therefore, unfortunately, not as clear.


The video that I posted earlier of Bugeikan Seido was much later than any of this or the other material.

Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (01/03/08 05:49 PM)

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#355106 - 01/03/08 08:43 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
The thing that strikes me about the demonstrator (is it the same person? Higa's son?) in both of those clips is how sloppy his posture and footwork are, particularly in the first one. Watch how his feet and hands are all over the place and how off balance he seems. No offense, but it looks like he is just making stuff up (including the ki projection).

I've never seen a kata like the one performed with the ring. Looks more Balanchine than bujutsu. The sparring at the end is similar to what we do (without the ring), but he looks like a beginner in execution--the smoothness and speed is just not there, especially when dealing with the kicks. It looks like he saw someone doing udundi once and then tried to do it on his own without understanding the fundamental principles. Also, what is up with the dramatic flourishes of the ring after each takedown?

I'd love to see footage of Uehara sensei in his younger days as well, but the video we do have is not without value. With the weapons, he is just demonstrating how to smoothly get into range for them to be effective. People keep saying they want to see more resistance, but it is unclear to me how much resistance is wise with a spear pointed at your gut or daggers against your throat. Again, it is not ki and it is not because the uke like their sensei too much!

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#355107 - 01/04/08 10:10 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Rascal Offline
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Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
After viewing these recent video's it helps me realize why we would get chuckles from some Goju-ryu friends in Naha as they questioned why we wanted to learn Udundi! (Also, several of them thought Udun Di consisted only of weapons techniques- no empty hands!) It is unfortunate that this type of thing is believed to be Udun Di when it is not, at all.

I agree that these look like someone saw Udun Di and then got creative. So many basic concepts such as the footwork, "regal" posture and use of movement in general just aren't there. It would be very hard for someone to watch Udun Di and then figure out the technique without any instruction. I've been careful to limit the few techniques that I have on You Tube for this very reason. I'm afraid that one of the Americans claiming to teach Udun Di (or someone else) will ape these movements. I included some deliberate mis-steps and misuse of body movements so I could recognize plagerisim of the techniques. (I guess that this is a disservice but it seemed like a good idea at the time!)

Also, regarding resistance with the weapons, I couldn't agree more. My Bo-jutsu video on You Tube generates questions like "do you ever go all out to see if it will really work?" I don't need to be hit in the teeth with a stick to see if it will work and in my early days I injured someone badly when a bo broke and hit him on the head while practicing bunkai .

I've considered doing a simple explanation video to help those with open minds understand precisely how a couple of techniques work. I can understand some scepticism. It is difficult to see how some techniques work. Sometimes it is difficult even for the tori to feel that a technique was effective since force is not met, but used. The uke, however, has no trouble feeling the technique. The problem with demonstrations without explanations is that people with little experience or knowledge on the subject view them and judge them from a naive point of view.

It seems that the lack of exposure to proper Udun Di leaves the door open for lots of people passing off ju-jutsu, aikido or magic as Udundi Di. It might be a good thing to get more examples of the art out into the public realm. But again, it can be under-appreciated when people don't understand. People who haven't felt aiki-type techniques don't get it when they see someone rolling out of a throw. They think the person is simply cooperating.

Thanks,
Dennis


Edited by Rascal (01/04/08 10:16 AM)

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#355108 - 01/04/08 05:13 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukaino,

Yes the video footage is of Seitoku Higa's son, Kiyohiko Higa. Whilst we know that Seitoku Higa was definitely connected with Seikichi Uehara and Motobu Udun Di, there was so it seems a departure of ways. I strongly suspected that any training that Kiyohiko Higa had done was under his father, rather than directly under Seikichi Uehara. The question now of course is exactly how much training he did under his father and whether or not what he did do was ever actually really Motobu Udun Di. That is of course another question. It would be interesting to know what the status is of the Higa family and their Bugeikan in relation to Motobu Udun Di today.

I must admit that I did wonder about the Kata that I posted, I had earlier compared it to the Anji no Me Kata done by Seikichi Uehara that was posted on youtube whilst I could see some slight similarities there were also some quite major differences. I most certainly agree that it does look very Balanchine like. Yes, what was the flurry with the ring?

One of the reason that I posted the other clip with the kata was to show that the remote projection thing was actually part of what is done by these people and not someone taking the censored and to show that we were not looking of it out of context. No offense was taken by your comments on the material by the way, it looked to me like a lot of this stuff was made up too.

Dennis,
Yes I have also heard people say the Udun Di is mostly a weapons system as well and am glad that the material posted may have provided some insights into why you may have had some of the responses you have had regarding your study of Udun Di from your Goju friends in Naha. You would be even more amused if I posted some of the material of the Karate Kata but I will spare you that (If you are interested PM or e-mail me).

I do know what you mean about putting mistakes in things that are recorded for the reasons you state, I have done this myself in the past for similar reasons, I dont think it is a mis-service, really more a way of ensuring that the genuine article is preserved, whilst at the same time promoting what it is you do in such a way that you can spot the plagiarisers. Learning an art off a video is a ridiculous idea anyway, but nevertheless people do try to do so and as you say some one is bound to try and ape it.

I also agree with you that people who have not experienced true Aiki type techniques from those who practice the genuine article will never get the sense of these things and will make presumptions. I have dabbled in Aikido and been involved in grappling arts for years and have done so with some very respectable people and have heard similiar comments made about Aikido like the ones that are frequently said about Uehara and his art by those with little or no experience of arts such as these, so can sympathise with this situation.

As regards the resistance thing, I know for a fact that if I resisted some Aiki techniques I would not be getting back on the matt for several months if at all due to the type of injuries I would receive. There is of course a big difference between:

a) What could be performed realistically but practised in a safe manner (This relates to your comments on Udun Di)

and

b) What claims to be realistic but which in reality is little more than excuse for creative and lame techniques (Here I am referring to the video material posted and the comments made in this thread).

Both yours and Chofukaino's comments on this video material have been extremely helpful, they have confirmed a number of suspicions that have been held by myself and a limited number of others who have looked at this material, we were looking for something else mind you and had come to very similar conclusions.

My own personal view has been for quite some time that the limited amount of Di that had been passed on down through people who had trained with Shian Toma and Seiki Toma was more likely the genuine article than much of the material that has been presented here and that I have posted links to.

However all that said the Bugeikan did at one time have a genuine line of Di, which related to the samples of material posted earlier in the link here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsZVLzCCgrA and here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KjIU3JIS8M
You guys have seen these links so I only post them for purposes of reference. Those links relate to a different line of Ti from Motobu Udun Di and ties into a system that uses some old variations of classical Karate Kata that came from Bushi Takemura to Soko Kishomoto and which was passed to Seitoku Higa and Seiken Shukumine and 6 others before the war. This again is distinguishable from the Udun Di material of old man Seitoku Higa of which I posted one (Naginata vs Empty hands)of a few examples.

It is IMHO an unfortunate thing that the Bugeikan which was originally set up to preserve old martial arts of Okinawa has ended up with the mish mash that has developed by mixing in what was once good with some Aikido and a bit of aping of Udun Di, mysticism and goodness knows what else has resulted in the later material that I have posted here.

It thus does seem that some will always, in almost any art, wonder off the path and build their own kingdoms and get lost in the wilderness.

Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (01/04/08 05:24 PM)

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#355109 - 01/04/08 08:36 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Those clips are much more "for real." I think Dennis and I mentioned before how we could recognize similarities to udundi save for the jumpiness and use of kamae. Looking at them again, I also noticed the "ducking" type of movement I saw in the clips of the elder Higa and a use of upper body exertion (especially in the throws) that we try to limit.

I do wonder about the relations between the udundi and Bugeikan groups today, and also between the camps of the two Tomas and my organization headed now by the Motobu family.

I've been softly suggesting my sensei post some of our enbu footage exactly because I wanted people to see that we don't do mystical goo-goo. I'd thought since it was a public demonstration it would be okay, but there may be some reluctance precisely because of the points Dennis mentions. Oh well, we'll see...

As for resistance and aiki techniques, I guess you are both right that if someone has only been taught to tighten the body to take hits they can't really understand how resisting can be a bad thing. I am bigger and stronger than most of the people I train with (except for my sensei, who is very tall for a Japanese man), but I learned the hard way how resisting can lead to injuries. In one case, if my partner had not had good control, I may not be training today! Sometimes I hate training with other novices precisely because they know enough to be dangerous but lack the experience to avoid hurting their partner.

I guess people in the commercial mainstream of karate are always going to view controlled force and softness with suspicion, but in many ways that is their loss!

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#355110 - 01/04/08 08:51 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Rascal Offline
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Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
I agree with "that is their loss"! I don't try to convince anyone of anything. If they don't "get it" it's okay with me. I truly love what I am learning, it's good for me in so many ways, and that is enough. The outside validation is not important.

With that said, however, I think that Udun Di has a lot to offer our society (here in America. Through this practice people could relax and reduce the effects of stress, get some exercise (Udun Di can be gentle or very tiring, lots of older practitioners on Okinawa that go at their own pace) and learn some self defense skills- all without requiring aggression or mean-ness. I'd like to share my limited abilities with more people!
Best wishes,
Dennis

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#355111 - 01/05/08 04:04 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
I agree that udundi has a lot to offer, and people of all physical ability levels can participate. It can be intense and fast for the younger or athletic people, but still effective as a softer art for older people and women (and men) who might feel uncomfortable with getting too aggressive.

As for me, I did fencing in the States many years ago, and then took up yoga (Ashtanga--the hard kind!) after a health crisis. For almost 9 years in Japan, I searched for the Japanese art that would be right for me and nothing really clicked until I serendipitously discovered the Motobu udundi dojo.

As an American, one of my favorite things is the lack of unnecessary formality. No incessant bowing, no "osu", restrained use of kiai, no strict senpai/kohai crap. In fact, Japanese people who join have to be told to lose some of the formality they naturally have--this might be different on Okinawa!

Of course there are other things that we are supposed to do, but the reasons are always clearly explained in terms of being considerate and staying alert, prepared, and healthy. Oh, and we are told to keep drinking water during practice, which is a big plus compared to other Japanese dojo obsessed with "gaman".

Udundi also has an essential ethical component different from the fundamentally servile concepts of bushido, based on what Uehara sensei I believe talked about as the "compassion" of the Ryukyu kings. I was kind of skeptical at first that a tradition rooted in the highest class of a feudal culture could have relevance today, but it is basically about how to act responsibly when in a position of power--something that people in the martial arts need to learn along with the physical aspect, and something Americans in particular should hear more of!

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#355112 - 01/05/08 03:34 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Rascal Offline
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Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
Yes, the whole atmosphere of the Udun Di Dojo on Okinawa is extraordinarily laid back (compared to Karate Dojo's). Some of my younger Students (Nidan) where really turned off by their first visit to the dojo because they thought the manners were so lax- they were evaluating it by the standards in our karate Dojo. They mistook the relaxed behavior for lack of respect.

I'm not entirely sure "why" the Dojo is this way but I think it is very conducive to keeping the mind and body loose and relaxed during (and after) the practice. There is a bowl of hard candy in the dojo- it's to help you relax your face, jaw and mind during practice (when you aren't being tossed!) As you point out, water drinking is encouraged which is entirely different from my experience in Odo Sensei's karate Dojo.

A person watching our Udun Di class remarked at how quiet the class was since there is very little use of kiai. The relaxation combined with the awareness really does make the practice have an interesting effect on my overall demeanor.

The lack of kyu ranks is a major advantage. Without the emphasis on kata (we have not been taght any kata, although Toma Seiki Sensei referred to Udun Di dance as "Mai kata") it is far easier for me to have a group with mixed capabilities in the same room- all working at a level that works for each individual. In karate the structure seems very beneficial, it Udun Di the lack of structure is an advantage.
For these and so many other reasons it seems that this art could literally be "just what the doctor ordered" for many people!

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#355113 - 01/05/08 08:35 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
It's interesting to hear your experiences at the other Seidokan dojo, as I wondered if maybe that atmosphere was just in our dojos (but we don't get candy!). From what I've heard, Uehara sensei encouraged this seeming "laxness". But also more traditional Okinawan styles probably tend to be less regimented than the Japanized ones.

It's interesting also that you had students who were put off by the difference in manners. I've been told that formalities that create obedience are discouraged because they are seen to reduce the ability to act on contingencies, although we do have a basic societal level of formality (such as using proper greetings and saying please and thank you). So much of the "showing respect" in mainstream karate is just that--a show, often minus real respect, especially towards people who are lower in rank or weaker.

We're really encouraged to decide for ourselves what to do--what intensity to train at, where to stand during kata, what to do during sparring, etc. The basic precepts are simply to protect oneself and help or not get in the way of (or hurt) others. It really does make it easy for people of all ability levels to train together. I have often been in groups of mixed novices and advanced students ranging in age from age 13 to 70 with no problem--everyone gets what they can out of it for themselves.

I could see where this kind of system could break down in much larger groups or when there is someone who is overly aggressive. I've heard that our sensei had to kick people out because of this in the past. Other than that, strictness is seen as a hinderance unless it comes from the inside, where is seen as a great virtue.

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#355114 - 01/15/08 10:57 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Rascal Offline
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Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
Do either of you know anything about Shiroma Sensei who teaches on Okinawa? I beleive that the two Udun Di schools in South America are run by his students.

Also, a question for chofukainoa- Has there been any discussion regarding the the "Sei" in Seidokan? I realise that it has been proposed that this is a reference to the former royal family, but I wonder why the specific kanji (meaning "divine or holy") used in Udun Di was chosen since there are other choices for producing the sound "sei". Toma Seiki, by the way, used a different kanji for his Seidokan- the more commonly used "true, correct". I asked Takamiyagi Sensei about this difference and he stated that Toma Seiki and Uehara Sensei had a falling out. I don't know if Toma Seiki changed his choice of kanji or never used the other character in the first place. His first name also uses the same kanji as his dojo (True or correct).

Thanks,
Dennis

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#355115 - 01/15/08 07:21 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
Gesar Offline
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Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Hello Dennis,
Shiroma Sensei, so I understand has a representative in Argentina called Augustin Rossendi. Just curious who is the other representative in South America and where are they based, I have a contact in that part of the world who might be able to get some more info. I know that Shiroma Seihan broke away from Uehara and started his own group that was originally known as Jo-ryu Mai Te Gassen Karatekai, he originally trained in Uechi Ryu and Goju and did some Shorin Ryu as well, his style is now known as Moudi Motobu Ryu Gassen Tuite Rengokai,he claims the rank of 10th Dan in Udun Di. I have heard that he runs a drama school in Okinawa. Here is a link to a group in the Netherlands that is associated with them, that may tell you a bit more: http://www.seishindojo.be/new-page-3.htm

I dont know whether you are aware but others who have broken away, apart from Seitoku Higa (Bugeikan), that I have mentioned before, these are: Matsuo Kanenori Sakon, who started training with Seikichi Uehara in the mid 60's and teaches his own version of the Uehara's system in Kobe, Japan he calls it Ryukyu Oke hiden bujutsu Sakon Ryu which also incorporates Nitten Ichi Ryu (Musashi's style) and Shito Ryu karate. Then there is Seiichi Taba of the Renbukan and of course the Two Toma's, that you are aware of.

I know you asked Chofukainoa the question about the Sei in Seidokan, but yes there has been some discussion about the Sei part. A few years ago Stephen Chan of Shian Toma's Seidokan when on Okinawa had noted that both Seiki Toma and Shian Toma after studying with Seikichi Uehara changed their respective dojo names to Seidokan. Dr Chan's words were “The key here, from my own research, is that all three men, Seiki Toma, Shian Toma, and Seikichi Uehara, are Okinawan nationalists and the term ‘Seidokan’, apart from its normal translation, is also a barely coded reference to the House of the Way of Sho (written also as Sei) dynasty.” I guess this is what you meant about reference to the Okinawan royal family, sorry if I repeated something you already knew. Hopefully Chofukainoa may be able to expand on this.

Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (01/15/08 07:30 PM)

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#355116 - 01/16/08 06:42 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
No, I don't have a definitive answer for that. Admittedly, the "sei" in Uehara sensei's dojo name is a pretty charged character to use. I have not seen that character used for the Sho Dynasty (Gesar, do you have a reference--I mean an example of the use refered to by Stephan Chan?), although it is possible. In that case, it may refer to symbolic or religious functions of the king, as they apparently wielded authority over the priestesses. Or the fact that simply the kings had passed on, to be revered as ancestors. Or, containing a number of meanings in Chinese, Okinawan, and Japanese, Uehara sensei found it evocative.

I guess I can try to ask about it if I get a chance, but again, it is not a question I can just pop out with. Especially since it is not the name of my dojo, which is pretty banal!

I doubt Uehara sensei was "nationalistic" beyond believing in the continued existence of an Okinawan nation, which is pretty widely held among Okinawans in my experience. His ethics do not seem to be ethnically or racially bigoted, and there does not seem to be a fascination with purity characterized by other uses of the term "nationalist".

He may have viewed the Okinawan past rosily, akin to the Irish nationalists. But he obviously was accepting enough to teach mainland Japanese, who can be discriminated against by (as well as discriminatory towards) Okinawans.

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#355117 - 01/16/08 10:13 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
I did find "sho" reading for the "sei" character. Also, my japanese dictionary defines "sei" as "having wisdom and morality for which to be revered". It not necessarily limited to the Christian idea of divinity. "Sagacious" would be another interpretation.

That said, Shuri Castle IS said to stand on the site of a sacred grove of trees, and the Sho kings did likely invoke a Chinese style of divine right of rule.

But the use of the character by Uehara's dojo is probably not meant to be narrowly either religious or nationalistic. I think the wise/morally upstanding meaning is just as important as the the link to the royalty.

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#355118 - 01/16/08 11:20 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Rascal Offline
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Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
Thank you both for the information and thoughts. Toma Seiki Sensei was also an accomplished calligrapher. I have a very nice display piece from him with the same "Sei" that you refer to above (having wisdom and morality for which to be revered) combined with "ken" meaning "fist".

Also, the the back of the sign that Toma Sensei had on his dojo was very interesting. The front side, visible to the public, was for karate instruction. The back was for Udun Di Mae kata and Go Shin Jutsu. Also, In large characters reads "Go Sho Do". The "Go" means "restore". The "Sho" character is the same used by the Sho dynasty. And "Do", of course,is commonly used. Between the characters for Sho and Do he sqeezed in the character "ki"(maybe he added it later). I can send a photo if either of you want to see it.

Dennis Branchaud

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#355119 - 01/16/08 02:36 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukainoa,
The use referred to by Stephen Chan was in relation to the Dojo name, the quote given is as it was, not really expanded upon. I dont think that he meant it in the extreme form of Nationalism that you mention though,its more likely what you proposed the link to Royalty. As you correctly state there are various degrees of meaning attached to the term nationalism. Seikichi Uehara was after all teaching a number of Japanese as far back as the mid 1960's. I am guessing here but I think its more to do with Okinawa as a nation in its own right with its Royal Family and its ancient martial arts traditions separate from those of Japan or China. The promotion of Okinawan dance has also got nationalistic aspects, basically it promotes Okinawa as having its own national identity, despite the fact that there has been both Chinese and Japanese influences on the Kumi Dori tradition. There is a similiar phenomenon regarding nationalism in this sense in relation to South Korea and Shamanistic dance.

The quote by Stephen Chan that I gave appeared in an article by Roy J Hobbs in a magazine called Traditional Karate back in 1993, the article was about Seiki Toma's Seidokan and was entitled the other Seidokan. I have a scan of the article and could e-mail you it as an attachment if you wish to see it. Alternatively next time I am at SOAS I could try and speak to Dr.Chan and try and find out more. He is now Dean of the faculty where I did my postgraduate studies and runs a branch of Shian Toma's Seidokan there as well.

Dennis,
Yes it would be interesting to see the photo that you mention, I have never managed to upload anything on this site though, but my e-mail address is in my profile.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355120 - 01/16/08 08:38 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Chris,

Actually, I found the article "The Other Seidokan" on the internet...I had read it before, but forgot! The comment after Stephen Chan's quote is:
"Dr. Chan obtained this rather insightful information while accompanying Shian Toma on a tour of the restored Shuri Castle in Okinawa"
So I do wonder how much he spoke with Uehara sensei or people in his organization.

My comment on the use of "nationalist" and "coded reference" was just meant to clarify the terms for someone who might be reading these posts and interpret those terms how they might be used in relation to say, Germany or even Japan.

Okinawa after the war did experience a cultural reawakening in dance, music, and language as well as the martial arts. The masters active at that period were definitely a part of it. I would liken this revival to those in other colonized countries who sought to reestablish a cultural connection to the past, as you mention in regards to Korea, and also Ireland.

There is of course a quiet Okinawan independence movement as well, but I don't have any information about Uehara sensei's political persuasions. Did he wish for an actual political restoration of the Ryukyu monarchy or just a perpetuation of its cultural components?

I think this is a good discussion to have, because I wouldn't want to be part of an organization that was chauvinistic or quasi-fascist. I don't think Uehara sensei's message (or the concept of his dojo name) was a narrow one exhorting his followers to reject modernity and bring back a cleansing "holy" authoritarianism. His impluse instead seems to have been to universalize and make relevant a perhaps romanticized kind of Ryukyuan chivalry.

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#355121 - 01/17/08 02:42 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
shoshinkan Offline
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Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Good people,

whilst I recognise some relevance could I ask we move on from discussions around politics, religion etc etc,

This is a great thread and we don't need to go there to keep it that way which could risk the martial arts discussion.

Many thanks.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355122 - 01/17/08 12:34 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
Rascal Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
Gesar-
I will send you a photo. I think it's quite interesting and a unique bit of history. I'll take a photo tonight. The sign is in my dojo here in Rhode Island. One interesting note that I forgot to mention- He added some kanji to the sign regarding this topic just after I visited him in 2002!

If anyone is truly offended by this discussion I will quietly withdraw from the conversation. However, my experience on Okinawa is that a martial art is defined by more than a specific collection of techniques. The culture of the dojo has a tremendous influence on the way techniques are taught and practiced, what priorities are reflected in the art, How students should dress, carry themselves, interact with others, and so on is all part things that I have been taught.

A perfect example of this is the differnce that we have discussed regarding the atmosphere of an Udun Di dojo vs. the karate dojo that I enjoyed on Okinawa. They are more than schools of technique, they are schools of thought, as well. At least they are this way until they spread in such a way that things are lost or changed, or key concepts are not understood or emphasized.

It is essential that our dojo here in the states pays close attention to the culture of Udun di. The unique attitude of Udun di practice directly effects the way a student experiences techniques and developes certain habits while not developing other hapbits. If we don't establish the proper culture into our practice we will simply be karate guys doing Udun Di techniques. For instance, my karate students, as I did at first, want to learn techniques one step at a time. In Udun Di this approach is quickly rebuked.

With that said, here in America, so many instructors pick and choose parts of various arts. They mix Samurai philosophy with karate practice, I've seen kickboxers claim to teach Bushido- everything is hodgepodge. I guess that it's okay for people to mix whatever they want together but we have enough mixed-up philosophies over here for my taste.

I think that in order to best understand an old martial art it needs to be looked at as a whole (as best one can). Even in the early 1900's politics were a big reason for many of the developments in modernization of karate, judo and other arts.

It is possible, of course, to isolate the techniques from the rest of the practice. But lack of understanding the totality of a system has,in my opinion, lead to countless generic martial arts here in America (which later beome fused with some unrelated philosophy).

Sincerely,
Dennis Branchaud

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#355123 - 01/17/08 01:37 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Hi Dennis,

Please stick around and all I ask is we do not post about supposed politics or religious connections of particular systems or people, we may not be offended but they might!

Some things truly are better discussed via the pm function.

Im not trying to clip anyones wings, just want the thread to remain on topic and open, experience has shown me that most of us post things with the right intention.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355124 - 01/17/08 02:04 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
Rascal Offline
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Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
Thanks!I have little experience with on-line discussions.

Dennis

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#355125 - 01/17/08 05:57 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Jim,
With all due respect I dont think anybody was really discussing politics as such, at least not in anyway that was meant to be taken as offensive. Obviously I hold my hands up to raising what seems to have been construed as a political issue.

Anyway, hopefully you will permit me to clarify. If not delete my post by all means. I had merely quoted what an academic with a martial arts background had stated in an article concerning Seidokan in response to Dennis's question . In case anybody is or has been offended, I would just like to point out that the brief mention of the concepts regarding nationalism between Chofukainoa and myself was merely an attempt as classifying the terminology and trying to avoid the common often mistakenly held view of the concept that can and often does lead to highly charged 'political'discussion. I think that we successfully managed to do that. At least that is how I understood it.

Just for purposes of clarification and I am speaking as an academic here, the actual term nationalism is in academic use in cultural studies, anthropology and sociology (which I have taught and teach) as well as other areas of the social sciences (i.e. History) and the term was used, I believe by Dr Chan (in fact he is Professor Chan now) and certainly by us here in the following social science context, that is as a noun defined as:
1. The belief in, and feelings of belonging to, a people united by common historical, linguistic and perhaps ethnic or religious ties, where this people is identified with a particular territory and either constitutes [or at one time constituted]a Nation state or has aspirations to do so.

The term when used in this way is as a concept to explain the following: The felt need for collective social identity in large impersonal societies (Jary & Jary 1991).

We are after all looking at a phenomenon that originates on Island of people who were historically subject to occupation by others over a long period of time, in that sense they were absorbed into the cultural mileau of wider groups from geographically nearby areas. This was indeed a political situation but as such is a well documented cultural and historical fact and one we cannot really avoid when speaking about Okinawan Cultural phenomenon with the influences that came from China, Japan and elsewhere. This of course includes the change of name from Tang Te to that of Karate as well as the use of the term Di to distinguish this art from others. One of the points here is that Motobu Udun Di claims to have been a royal martial art and therefore ties into the concepts of Kingship and the Feudal Lords based at Shuri and that this martial art claims to have survived through the course of Okinawa's history and therefore is linked with the idea of an Okinawan Identity existing despite this. The type of identity we are referring to here of course also includes the badge that many Okinawan Karate people wear on their Keiogi, along with the use of Okinawan terms and concepts used within Okinawan Martial arts.

I believe that it is the Kanji on a badge and the name used by a small group of important Okinawan Dojo's that practice Udun Di that Dennis was originally referring to. Language and here Kanji is a generally seen as a legitimate means of determining concepts and meanings in relation to specific cultural phenomenon and as such often provides an insight into their deeper cultural aspects, in this case that of Motobu Udun Di. The common factor here is that Seikichi Uehara's dojo was called Seidokan and shortly after Seiki Toma and Shian Toma had trained with Uehara changed the name of their Dojo's to the same. This potentially reveals a lot about Udun Di, in that respect it reflects a certain often neglected yet very important aspect of that art. It is IMHO however extremely important to clarify terminology at the outset.

I agree with Dennis that any Koryu, and Udun Di lays claim to such, involves a lot more than the mere physical practice of technique, it also includes attitude and culture of the martial art practised, these are aspects that lead to the identity of that art and link it to its origins and these need to be looked at as a whole otherwise we only get a partial picture and this is one of the problems with Udun Di, the picture is always partial and this leaves far too much room for the type of conjecture that many have made concerning Udun Di and which has been discussed in this thread. With some things I can understand that there could be some controversy leading to highly charged issues, I do not really think that this is really the case with Udun Di though, at least there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest this.

Regards

Chris Norman LL.B (Hons) MA (SOAS London)


Edited by Gesar (01/17/08 06:11 PM)

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#355126 - 01/17/08 06:17 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
good people,

relax (and don't use big words please)

My comments were not directed at any one person, and were just a reminder that we are on a public forum (with a variety of users) and when discussing issues around politics and religion things can, and often do get heated as people have very different views.

It was a polite, nudge if you like nothing more.

Feel free to carry on with the discussion, just keep this in mind as I do not want or feel the need to edit anything, some great posts have been made. (which I agree with the vast majority of content).

Perhaps im being a little sensitive on this one, as it is rare we have such an interesting post,
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355127 - 01/18/08 09:02 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
I don't really mind laying off the religion and politics, particularly since maybe the point of this thread got a little off track, but that's the way conversations go. Just to be clear, at no point was I ever offended by anything that was said nor did I mean to offend anyone (my apologies to any quasi-facists out there!) with my comments.

The discussion about nationalism was as Chris explained, only to clarify the term. Despite its academic use, we have to recognize how the term is widely interpreted. For example, if I said I was part of a Japanese kenjutsu group with a nationalist agenda and dedicated to preservation of the Emperor system, I hope some eyebrows would be raised and that I would be questioned about what that entailed. To be sure, any such group would probably not have me as a member anyway!

Also, the talk about religion was prompted by Dennis asking about why the character for "holy" is used in Uehara's dojo name. It's a difficult question, because I think there is possibly some historical link to Okinawan religious practices through the ceremonial role of the Ryukyu kings, but there is no religious proselytization going on in the Motobu Udundi organization--there's not even a shinden in our dojo. Anyone of any race and faith I think would feel welcome.

Dennis and Chris are absolutely right that the differences between Udundi and other arts extend to more than just technique. Actually, as people have mentioned elsewhere, there is only so much you can do with a fist and a leg and an opponent's body, so most techniques in Udundi will be familiar to people who have studied other arts. The hardest technical part is mastering the fundamental difference in the way bodyweight is used. It's not at all easy, and as other commentators have mentioned, can be especially difficult for karate-ka who have been taught to drop their center of gravity for stability and "wind up" for strikes. It's also very hard on one's feet and ankles in the beginning!

Let me just paraphrase from the preface to Uehara sensei's book as to what he says udundi is: at the base, a bare-handed system of taijutsu based on punches and kicks PLUS kenjutsu, iaijutsu, training in various weapons, horsemanship (would be cool to learn!), ropework, etiquette, healing, and their application in daily life and on the battlefield. He also spends a lot of time in his book explaining how the ethical component of udundi is absolutely central, not something that was tacked on.

Uehara sensei is very explicit in saying that you cannot study udundi just in its technical aspects, and my sensei have all been very clear that udundi techniques alone are not always going to be enough to overcome an opponent, but the cultivation of preparedness, a certain mentality regarding oneself and others, and energy conservation among other things just might give one the necessary edge. Why else would I get a 15 minute lecture on why NOT to bow every single time I enter and exit the dojo, or how to pick up items such as weapons while still remaining alert and able to respond quickly (NOT from seiza!) I've had lessons where the time spent on these things and was longer than on any kata.

As for kata, anyone who is looking in udundi to study the ancient kata of the kings is going to be disappointed. Udundi maintains a strong tradition of individualized instruction, so any kata done at any time are simply for the education of the student--I'm sure that's the tradition Uehara sensei learned and maintained. That's why the kata we do now are just called 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Plus we have recently been doing two new ones introduced by our shihan because he thinks we are too slow. They're just called "punch kata" and "kick kata". Whether today's kata will be the same in 20 years is really an open question. The importance of this instructional philosophy will probably keep udundi a rather minor art and make the production of any kind of udundi "manual" impossible--probably as it should be.

Oh, and please don't anyone take me as an authority on any of the above! I am only reporting my perceptions on a small fraction of what I am being taught in order to clarify some really big misperceptions of udundi that have been around for far too long. I don't have as much skill or experience as many of the people on this forum, but I will gladly try to give my perspective from inside an udundi dojo for anyone who has any questions.

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#355128 - 01/19/08 03:02 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
chofukainoa,

at no point was I, and im sure anyone 'in' this thread offended - however there was a good chance that people outside of this thread may have become offended if the politics or religious aspects were continued etc etc.

Please simply bear in mind this is a mixed, open public forum, hence we need to keep within sensible realms, I felt (rightly or wrongly) that the conversation was drifting into some rather grey areas that are not so relevant, again directed at no one in particular.

Lets move on.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355129 - 01/19/08 03:42 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Jim,
I think you were right in asking us to cool it. My long post was just meant as a recap of what I felt were the salient points from this long and winding thread! Since it seems pretty played out, I vote we start a new one in another area for udundi-related discussions not involving kata.

Since I haven't been able to get sensei to post our enbu videos, I'll leave you with some links to our dojo's website...they are just photos and as such, semi-posed, but maybe someone will find them interesting.
http://www.geocities.jp/shudoukanjp/new_page_6.htm
http://www.geocities.jp/shudoukanjp/new_page_20.htm
http://www.geocities.jp/shudoukanjp/new_page_19.htm
http://www.geocities.jp/shudoukanjp/new_page_12.htm
http://www.geocities.jp/shudoukanjp/new_page25.htm

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#355130 - 01/19/08 11:55 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukainoa,
Agreed. I think we have clarified the issues concerning the two issues that Jim has raised concerning this thread. Thanks for posting the web link pictures.

I would also agree that we are now a long way from the discussion of the Anji No Mekata that was at the beginning of this thread and which lasted for about 3 pages of it. Obviously it is up to the moderators but I think that the thread could be either:

1). Split from the point when we moved away from discussing Uehara's demonstration of the Anji no Me Kata, which he said was not a kata in the traditional sense,

or alternatively

2). The thread is moved out of the Kata section and renamed

I am only thinking in terms of the continuity here, as this discussion does have quite a lot of contributions and background information concerning Udun Di. A lot of clarification of issues surrounding Udun Di has occurred throughout the thread and starting an entirely new thread could mean going over a lot of old ground for any newcomers to the thread.

3). We could as you say start a new thread and reference it to this thread, which would be fine for those of us who have followed and contributed to this one.

If we do start a new thread then we will have to decide how to start it as a new one, that only really requires one of us to start it with an opening post and let everybody else know where the thread can be found.

Dennis,
Thanks for the picture, it is indeed very interesting, yes I did appreciate it.

Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (01/19/08 12:19 PM)

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#355131 - 01/19/08 06:24 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
Hi Chris,

im not sure we have the function to split threads, so it would seem we can leave it here or move the entire thread to another forum, or start a freash topic linking this one?

Personally im all for leaving as is, then everyone knows where it is and those who are interested can find it......
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355132 - 01/19/08 08:43 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Hi Jim,
You do have a point. Interestingly the weblink that Chofukainoa posted has a picture of Seitoku Higa and makes some reference to Kishomoto in the text as well. It can be found here:
http://motobu-ryu.org/michifukashi.aspx

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355133 - 01/19/08 09:37 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Looks like I double posted during the editing process whilst trying to work out the text on that site. http://motobu-ryu.org/michifukashi.aspx
Interestingly the weblink makes some reference to him as the old martial arts association leader. It also mentions Kishomoto and his 10 students and states (I think) that Takemura was associated with the Royal Court at Shuri in the text. There is also mention about Seitoku Higa's eldest son Kiyohiko Higa.
I thought that Bugeikan was no longer associated with Motobu Udun Di, so it is interesting to see that there is a contribution by Seitoku Higa to this website.

Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (01/19/08 09:51 PM)

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#355134 - 01/20/08 04:41 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Chris,
Good on you for finding that. I have been working on translating from the introductory material, so I had only glanced at that page of the site a few months ago!

It's an article Higa wrote in 1966, when he says he had been studying what was then just known as "Motobu-ryu" under Uehara sensei for five years.

It was interesting for me to read because I didn't really know much about Higa's background, even though when I looked back at Mark Bishop's Okinawan Karate, there was a lot there. Let's call my memory lapses information overload instead of early-onset Alzheimer's, shall we?

Anyway, Higa mentions that Takemura "was said to have been an important person in the old Ryukyu Kingdom," but not necessarily of the Udun or Anji class himself. In Bishop's book, he is called a tax collector.

Higa's son Kiyohiko (at that time, probably what we would call in America a middle or junior high school student) is mentioned as participating in the enbu in Kumamoto in 1963 (Bishop says 1964) which I guess is seen as Motobu-ryu's coming out?

Higa mentions in the seventh section the reaction of a female student from Tokyo University seeing the practice at Uehara's dojo. He quotes her as saying that for the first couple of months of training, the students are working hard and look angry, but by the third month, they are smiling and look like they are having a good time. I think maybe similar to Dennis's reaction? (If this is true, then my sensei needs to work on this aspect a little more, as he can be pretty tough on us! But I have to admit, my sensei and shihan are always asking, "are you having fun?" which at first I thought an odd question...)

The most interesting portion is at the very end, where he discusses the "sei" character which led to our foray into the morasses of nationalism and religion! He says Uehara sensei had a large display of two kanji in his living room: "ken" (fist) and "sei" (the character from his dojo name). I kind of understand but am having a hard time coming up with the right translation for Higa's interpretation of these characters. Basically, he seems to say the cultivation of softness and loss of anger in Uehara's students leads to a beautiful, elegant type of movement and a fighting art that becomes "sei". I'm going to go here with maybe "sublime", as that seems to be the word we might use in english (although philosophical purists may fault me). It's clear that it's the conscious cultivation of this state that he is talking about rather than something received from a divine source.

Of course, this could be Higa's mystical bent showing itself and Uehara still may have understood the characters as meaning "fist of the Sho", but I still have not found a reference with the Sho Dynasty being referred to with the "sei" character. (Sho is just an alternate reading).

The same character read as "hijiri" has specific meanings in Japanese Buddhism.

Have we made any progress or just opened up more mysteries? I might just come right out and ask my shihan tomorrow because this is starting to annoy me!

I don't really think it is odd that Higa's article is on the website, as it is probably one of the few eyewitness documents regarding the time when Uehara started opening his art to the wider world. I'd bet money that Higa's mysticism led to their parting. Looking back at Bishop's description of Bugeikan, there is a lot of mystical stuff there about Takemura and Kishimoto that is totally absent in the histories of Motobu-ryu Udundi. What do you think?

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#355135 - 01/20/08 08:49 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Rascal Offline
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Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
This, I suppose, explains Seiki Toma Sensei's inspiration for the large kanji that I have from him mentioned earlier. They are on two separate papers, one with "ken" and the other with "sei".

Something leads me to feel that the use of "Sei" may be more than a disguised reference to "Sho" since Toma Sensei openly used the character "Sho" (the character that typically refers to the kingdom on his dojo signboard) as well as the character "sei" on the same sign.

Dennis

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#355136 - 01/20/08 12:44 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukainoa,
I think we may have found something, but at the same time opened up some more mysteries as well. The reason I thought it odd was as Uehara and Higa had parted company with Seitoku Higa probably on the basis of some of Higa's later claims, for example Higa states that by means of coincidence he purchased some land where Ti or an early form of it was taught by Motobu Seijin (Motobu the Sage) back in the 6th Century, this Motobu Seijin then becomes a Kami that Higa relies on in order to discover the deeper mysteries of Ti. Higa's dojo the Bugeikan is built on this very same site. There is certainly some mystical stuff regarding Kishomoto such as the seeing of shadows, though I am not sure that this was the case with Bushi Takemura, who is believed to have been a Kohai of Bushi Matsumura, little else is known about him, but what we do know is that he had a son who was selected by the prefectural government of Okianwa to go to Kagoshima and learn Judo and was responsible for helping introduce it to Okinawa prior to 1918. We know that Kishomoto studied under Takemura and that Kishomoto had no more than 10 students in his life time, the junior to Higa was Seiken Shukimune, who founded Gensei Ryu and later Taido. Seitoku Higa, Seiken Shukumine, Seiki Higa and Seiichi Akamine were associated and that both Higa and Akamine took on some mystical aspects in their respective martial arts.

What is certain is that Seitoku Higa had not only been a student of Seikichi Uehara as well but was involved in helping with the promotion of Motobu Udun Di through his Ancient United Budo Association. Its hard to tell how much influence that Seitoku Higa had on certain aspects of Motobu Udun Di, but it has been suggested in certain circles that there was some cross fertilisation of ideas between Higa and Uehara and that this may well have included techniques as well. But as you say its also hard to determine how much of what has been said actually is due to Higa's own mystical bent and I would add also his own agenda of preserving what he believed to be ancient martial arts of the Ryukyu Kingdom. I will be interested to hear what answers you get from your Shihan.

Dennis,
I noticed that one set of the characters for Seidokan on the kanji you sent me, were the same as found in the Kanji on Shian Toma's Seidokan group. The Go Sho Do, seems to imply a lot more. I also suspect that you are right that the use of the Sei character implies a lot more than a mere disguised reference to Sho.

Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (01/20/08 12:59 PM)

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#355137 - 01/20/08 07:52 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Chris, the further information you give about Higa is--shall we say--interesting...

As for Takemura, in Okinawan Karate, Bishop relates two superhuman feats: one where he was able to shake a group of attackers off of him into the sea, and another where he performed an act of levitation. Of course, there are plenty of these tall tales that go around about past masters, but I have yet to hear a similar one about Motobu Choyu or Uehara.

Uehara's legend is partially based on his having actually used his art to save himself during the war in the Philippines. Instead of heroic, his experiences are always referred to as traumatic, and must have been a big influence on his promoting a style of training that was purged of anger.

I know that is what attracted Ikeda shihan to udundi. Apparently, he discovered it after acquiring a collapsed lung while doing Motobu-ryu karate, wondering what good would he be in a real altercation if he had been knocked out of commission just in training. I've never heard anything remotely mystical from him, but I'll see what he says today.

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#355138 - 01/21/08 10:11 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
ThunderboltLotus Offline
Newbie

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 16
Loc: Cornwall, Great Britain
Well this has moved on

I'm in a libary at the moment so this will be quick.

There are numerous references regarding Seikichi Uehara believing that Choyu Motobu must have had divine inspiration or words to that affect. This seems to be very prevalent with the 'older Okinawan mind'. There is so much to say on some of the comments on this thread and would say if things cannot be spoken of freely because they may offend then i suggest a new forum be set up for the uncensored discussion (and hopefully leading to practice) of Udunti/di. Just to clarify one earlier point Chris made (although i think i know what he meant) Mark Bishops 'ti' wasn t isn t based on shiatsu, but due to the stiffness of many martial artists both in body and mind, his emphasis was on this first, but is one aspect of the 4 i previously mentioned.

until i can get on again

regards
_________________________
Michael Powell

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#355139 - 01/21/08 05:17 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: ThunderboltLotus]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukainoa,
I had forget about the stories Mark Bishop had been told by Seitoku Higa about Bushi Takemura (The levitation incident and the shaking the attackers off). Bishop's book is the only source for these as far as I am aware and his source is as stated Seitoku Higa, whose mystical bent has already been pointed out.

Mike,
Dont take this the wrong way. But yes the thread has moved on, substantially, and I dont actually think that Mark Bishop's Ti has actually been discussed as part of this thread at all, it has limited relevance, and as such was briefly mentioned in places, mostly I hasten to add by yourself (especially see page 5 of this thread and your own post which seems to be the only mention of Shiatsu). Where Mark Bishop has been mentioned by myself and others it is not in the context that you have stated. You seem to have clearly attributed a quote to me that I did not actually make on this forum. Something that us academics find particularly annoying. But I guess in your case that it may very well be the time factor involved. I have just checked in case I had made such a reference, I am unable to find one and certainly cannot see the relevance of my having made such a quote in the context of what is being discussed in this thread. Besides I tend to leave the discussion of mark Bishop's Ti to yourself, as you have had more involvement with the man in question.

Anyway, for your benefit, to summarise what has actually been discussed is Motobu Udun Di of Seikichi Uehara and there has been recent mention of the possible relationship that Seitoku Higa and his Ancient United Budo Association has had with that. There is a page on the site that Chofukainoa had posted which contains a statement written in 1966 by Seitoku Higa about Uehara and Motobu Udun Di, but also mentions others, that is the more recent point we have arrived at, I believe.

As regards the issue of possible offence this concerned two specific terms that were in need of clarification surrounding the term Seidokan and some specific Kanji used by Seikichi Uehara, Seiki Toma and Shian Toma and a statement that Stephen Chan (Currently a Senior Grade of Shian Toma's Seidokan organisation and Dean of studies at SOAS my old University where I did postgraduate study and research training) had made which Roy J Hobbs (who had trained with both Seiki and Shian Toma) had quoted in article in relation to a question that Dennis had asked.

As regards the censorship issue; I do not think that the moderator, Jim Neeter, has censored the forum, far from it, he has merely asked for some caution to be observed regarding certain terminology which has specific academic meaning of which contributors to this thread are aware and understand but which holds other meanings in common parlance and which could be misunderstood because of that by others. This is something which Chofunkainoa and myself had discussed and been careful to clarify and have since agreed to avoid discussing on a public forum and for good reason. I think we are now someway beyond that.

I think that few of us reading this forum would be interested in these references to Choyu Motobu's divine inspiration, especially given the recent references to the Sho and Sei characters. Do you have any sources for these?

Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (01/21/08 05:24 PM)

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#355140 - 01/28/08 05:16 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Hey, where were we? Oh yeah, me asking about "seidokan." Well, I didn't get a chance to ask my shihan yet because I started telling him about things I had seen in English on udundi on the internet, and he wanted me to basically give him a rundown, so I didn't get to asking him about that specifically.

I did ask my sensei, and he pointed me to one of the five "essences" of udundi according to Uehara sensei. The last line is:
"The only way to the pinnacle of bu is to walk with mushin (often translated as no mind )."

He also mentions using a natural form, and calming/emptying the mind/heart/spirit.

So I wondered if it were possible for him to have gotten these very Zen concepts from Motobu Choyu (instead of adopting them later, for example). So I looked into the religious practices of the Cho Dynasty and found some very interesting articles in English:
http://chinajapan.org/articles/11.1/11.1steben39-60.pdf
http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/publications/jjrs/pdf/490.pdf
http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/g/j/gjs4/2000_Ambiguous_Boundaries.pdf
http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/g/j/gjs4/Smits_SF06.pdf

I hadn't known in detail about the Zen influence in Okinawa, but apparently many of the Zen concepts were adapted by Okinawan Confucians and Buddhism was officially discouraged from the 18th century.

Why go off on this tangent? Because I don't think that it is easy to define things like "sei" "mushin" "kyoshin" in this context--the meanings are likely to vary from mainland Zen.
But it seems entirely plausible that Uehara received this influence as part of his early training, as opposed to later, from Higa.

Another interesting point is that Uehara does not mention "ki" in his five essences. Actually, the character does not even appear once!

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#355141 - 01/28/08 05:49 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
shoshinkan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
for the benefit of the thread could you post -

five "essences" of udundi according to Uehara sensei,

that would be most in interesting.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355142 - 01/28/08 08:07 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Okay, I will try. Give me a few days.

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#355143 - 01/28/08 09:53 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
Rascal Offline
Newbie

Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
Nice work digging up these articles!

Interesting point, "The only way to the pinnacle of bu is to walk with mushin. When I mentioned in a previous post that I get a similar mental state as when walking kinhin, this must be what he is refering to. I have never been instructed about this particular frame of mind (in Udun di) It simply manifests itself when I practice what I have been taught.
I have practiced Soto Zen for many years and Udun di always seemed to fit like a glove (I was also attracted to the less violent defense skills). Incidently, Taira Sensei of the Seidokan is also a committed Zen practitioner.

Even today, as in the past, the major temples on Okinawa are Shingon Buddhist and there are a couple of Rinzai Zen places (no Soto Zen). There are some Soka Gakkai Dojo and a couple of other modern religions but the temples adjacent to the seven major shrines are Shingon.

We should be safe discussing these topics because whenever I have been asked (on Okinawa) about my religious affiliation my answer is "Buddhist" and they always laugh and tell me that it's not a religion!

Talk to you soon,
Dennis Branchaud

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#355144 - 01/28/08 04:34 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukaino,
Those articles are indeed very interesting and are very good academic sources, Gregory Smits article is of particular interest and something I shall look at in more detail this week. I do not think that Seikichi Uehara gained any particular religious influences from Seitoku Higa, who had went off on his own path and which may have contributed to the separation of seikichi Uehara from Seitoku Higa, I believe that the reference to Kiko and this power to knock people over that Uehara referred to as being a bit of a myth when Richard Florence interviewed him in the 1990's was in reference to this.

Anyway I do not know whether anybody has looked at William Lebra's Okinawan Religion: Belief, Ritual and Social Structure, which was an ethnographic work originally published in 1966 by the University of Hawaii Press. It sheds some intersting light on a few factors that may be of some interest.

In Lebra's work there is a chapter on state religion which has a very interesting section (pages 110 to 121) on the Chifjing Ganashi Mee or the Chief Priestess, which I shall briefly summarise here:

The Chifjing Ganashi Mee was selected from among the daighters of the reigning Sho family, she was thus usually older daughter or sister of the ruler and was not permitted to marry and had to remain continent whilst in office. Much, much later widows were pernitted to take on this role. There is some indication that at one point the King ruled on behalf of the Chief Priestess, however this changed in the reign of Sho Shin (1477-1526).

Up until the reign of Sho Shin in 1477-1526 the shrine of the Chifjing Ganashi Mee , called Sunuhiyan Utaki, was to be found in the gates of Shuri castle, that was until a previous ruler was forced to abdicate because of her involvement in state affairs (Smits article mentions something about this), after which the shrine was removed to the opposite side of Shuri (The site of Shuri junior high school). Here is the interesting part, within the Chief Priestess's shrine there were three Kami:

1. Kunkung Ganashii Mee: Kami of the first Chifijing
2. Ufu jimi Nu Mee: kami who controlled weather and plant life, believed to have been a real person once, possibly the first rulers or one of the Chifjing
3. Bideeting: Kami who produced future generations.

Bideeting is of particular interest as this Kami is borrowed from the Hindu and Buddhist pantheon of deities and is in Japan the same as Benten or Benzaiten, one of the seven Kami of good fortune. Intersting these Kami of good fortune from Japan do not form part of Okinawan belief and furthermore Bideeeting does not form part of the Okinawan rural belief systems. However at one time there was in Shuri a Buddhist temple devoted to Bideeting.

The Chifjing Ganashi Mee (Chief Priestess) who was only involved in officiating at national rites and to pray for the health of the ruler and prosperity of the country had four assistants, one whom performed day to day ritual, she was known as Ufu Gui (great Solicitor) who said daily prayers to the three Kami mentioned above and assisted in national ceremonies, and Wachi jichi who was in charge of the ceremonial paraphenalia and Utchu nu hanshi who was responsible for managing the household and cleaning the shrine. These women were selected from older women of Okinawan Gentry class, another assistant assistant was hanshi nu taari who was responsible for preparing ceremonial offerings, food and drink came from Kudaka Island. all of these women were forbidden from eating meat and there were also a number of pollution taboo's associated with these women such as not entering the shrine whilst in menses or sick for fear of offending the Kami. They were not allowed to enter the houses of the sick or those giving birth. Such pollution taboo's are very likely to be originally of a South Asian origin. The Chifjing Ganashi Mee and her assistants were at the pinnacle of the hierarchy of the Okinawan religious structure, this takes me to my next point:

Praying and Di as Dance:
In article written in the Okinawan Times by Takao Miyagi and based on material by Tatsue Nagazato an Okinawan Dance Instructor, there is a section headed Te/ti/di of Praying becomes Bu, part of which reads: 'it was women who danced as gods[Kami] in Okinawa. Especially those who danced as leaders of dancers to serve gods [Kami]....this kind of movement is different from that in mainland Japan' The article goes on and then states that 'we are left with the question of the relationship between "Mai-no-Te and "Ogami Te", Inori-Te which have the primary purpose of praying to the Kami'. As you are I am sure aware that these are references to Udun Di hand positions i.e. Ogami Ti/di refers to praying hand.

There has been some suggestion that many of the hand positions found in Motobu Udun Di may be found in the rituals of some of the Okinawan Priestess's rituals, photographic evidence of rituals performed by the Nuru Priestess would also seem to bear this out.

I get the impression that the Sei character that Dennis mentioned before infers something like the restoration of the Divine Rights of the Ryukyu Kings. This would seem to make some sort of sense, given that the rights of the Kings was through the Chifjing Ganashi Mee and that some of the Udun Di hand positions mentioned were from the ceremonial rites these priestess's performed.

Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (01/28/08 04:59 PM)

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#355145 - 01/29/08 10:36 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Dennis,
I think it's probable that Uehara is using Zen terms with different meanings. One of the articles by Smits talks about how the Confucian scholars appropriated concepts from Zen, giving them a ethico-social gloss. It's telling that Uehara isn't talking about achieving enlightenment or satori, but an enlightened, compassionate fighting art.

Chris,
Has anyone ever thought the opposite? That instead of "prayer becomes bu" it was "bu becomes prayer"? I'm just trying to imagine the guys of the court sitting around watching the priestesses dance and saying "Hey, that looks like I might be able to kick some butt doing that...I'll try that out next time."

Smits mentions how the high priestess's role was to mediate between the kami and the king, and priestesses were often meant to protect men from malevolent forces. So if the king had body guards, might not the female dancers in the court have acted as "spirit guards" and mimicked and ritualized fighting techniques they had seen? He also talks about how the role of both the priestesses and Buddhism was diminished from the eighteenth century, and I wonder how important they remained at the end of the nineteenth?

I said before that I don't think causation is possible or necessary to establish, but imagining other hypotheses might better reflect the complexity of the issue.

I've recently been being taught a dance, so I might have more insight later.

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#355146 - 01/29/08 05:50 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
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Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukainoa,
You make an interesting point about the reverse of what I previously stated and such a speculation does make sense on the basis you suggest. Although personally I have not as yet come across anything that does suggest that the rituals came from combat in the Ryukyu context. A brief detour through some of the available scholarship does provide some plausibility to this hypothesis and will illustrate the complexity of the issue. I agree that it is as you say not necessary to establish causation and its possibility is difficult to establish.

Various scholars have classified the Okinawan Priestess' as being of Shamanistic origin and the Cambridge Scholar Carmen Blacker (1992) for example has indicated a relationship between the practises to be found in Korea, Hokkaido and the Ryukyu Islands suggesting an original Northern stream of practises diffussed from Altaic or Tungus Shamanism with the Ryukyu stream being mixed with a southern sources possibly from Polynesia or Melanesia.

The French Scholar Roberte Hamayon (1995) looked at the ritual behaviour of various Shamans of the Northern line. Note here that the term Shaman comes from Tungus language and means to shake or move the limbs, thus the term is descriptive of shamanic performance. According to Hamayon (1995) Shamanic performance (dance) often represented battles with a perceived spirit world, particularly in what were regarded in specific cultural contexts with maleovelent spirits. This is something which as you state Smit states in his articles (hence why I wish to give them a close reading). It is therefore plausible, as you say, that the early rituals of these priestess's had the origin in combative behaviour....But there is a problem with this specifically in relation to Okinawa and that is 'ritual behaviour [of Okinawan] Religious specialists is characterised by restraint and decorum, at least in more recent days (Lebra 1966).

However that does not mean that the original performances of early Ryukyu Priestess's and/or her proposed early male counterpart the Shii (term originates from Shinrerikyu), who has long disappeared, did not represent combative behaviour during the time of the three Kingdoms when the Anji fought amongst each other. It is on this basis very likely that the Kami of some of these Anji may have represented maleovelent forces and played a part in early ritual performance. Unfortunately we cannot go back in time and see these, so we can never really confirm that this was ever the case. It does however provide an interesting and possible (though speculative) perspective on the Anji No Mekata (Dance Hand of the Lords) that has been stated by various sources as originally being the pinnacle of Motobu Udun Di.

Regards

Chris Norman


Edited by Gesar (01/29/08 05:52 PM)

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#355147 - 01/30/08 09:08 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Chris,
I'm aware of the literature on shamanism, which is why I question an interpretation whereby the ritual actions of the priestesses somehow became utilized by the guard. If we look at examples of weapons used in shamanic ritual, the shaman doesn't create the weapon first--it is an implement of war that is appropriated for use in a ritualized setting.
A fighting art is not likely to retain something that doesn't actually work just because the priestesses are doing it. I know this is all speculative, but I'd say the "prayer becomes bu" idea is just as speculative.

Jim,
Here's the first of the 5 essences of udundi, from my (Japanese) edition of Bu no mai
I don't have the English version, but people who do can check and critique my translation. Some terms I am leaving untranslated because I don't want to put too much of my interpretation into what are basically untranslatable concepts:

" Bu is not just found in a hard fist. Train to down an opponent with a hard fist in one blow as the foundation, and a soft fist will come from insight into the true meanings of kokoro and waza . This is where the true waza of the secret fighting arts of the Ryukyu kings can be found."

This pretty much describes the way training is done, where beginners start from "hard" forms and progress to softer ones. By "soft fist", Uehara doesn't mean fist in the narrow sense, but probably the open hand used both for thrusting and grabbing to apply waza or just soft/relaxed-ness in general.

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#355148 - 01/31/08 03:26 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
shoshinkan Offline
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Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
'Here's the first of the 5 essences of udundi, from my (Japanese) edition of Bu no mai
I don't have the English version, but people who do can check and critique my translation. Some terms I am leaving untranslated because I don't want to put too much of my interpretation into what are basically untranslatable concepts:

" Bu is not just found in a hard fist. Train to down an opponent with a hard fist in one blow as the foundation, and a soft fist will come from insight into the true meanings of kokoro and waza . This is where the true waza of the secret fighting arts of the Ryukyu kings can be found."

This pretty much describes the way training is done, where beginners start from "hard" forms and progress to softer ones. By "soft fist", Uehara doesn't mean fist in the narrow sense, but probably the open hand used both for thrusting and grabbing to apply waza or just soft/relaxed-ness in general. '

appriciate that, look forward to any others you can translate.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355149 - 01/31/08 10:12 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: shoshinkan]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Here's the second one:

"Relying only on waza , it is easy to injure an opponent. Instead of taking up arms, confronting an opponent and causing injury, physically subduing the opponent and causing him to surrender is the secret waza .
This is particularly important when dealing with multiple opponents.
Acquiring a grudge through causing injury cannot be called true bu ."

This was one of the things that was stressed to me in my first lesson, and my shihan repeats and repeats. That is not to say that being able to "down an opponent in one blow" is not important when it is necessary, just that if one has the option (and the skill) to subdue someone without injury (largely through tuide techniques), that is the preferred option.
In another part of the book, I believe Uehara sensei quotes Motobu Choyu as saying that "killing someone means you have to prepare two graves." That is, the person you killed and your own. This would have been an important point in the clan-based culture of Okinawa, but family and friends still do take revenge today.


Edited by chofukainoa (01/31/08 10:14 AM)

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#355150 - 02/07/08 02:39 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Kind of late, but here's the third one. There was a very ambiguous sentence that was giving me headaches.

"The secret bu of the Ryukyuan royal house does not just rely on 'the fist'.
Anything at hand can be used as a weapon.
The secret of getting an opponent to yield is in 'the sword'.
The pinnacle of bu is in mai ."

I've used 'the fist' and 'the sword' because Uehara seems to be making a play on the fact both are read "ken", but he is talking about bare-handed techniques vs. armed ones.

The points about weapons being "anything at hand", getting an opponent to yield, and the use of mai are what he demonstrates in the clip of armed practice that can be seen on youtube.

Mai is the technique used to get within striking range of the opponent. What I have been taught is that the blow of the weapon is delivered by turning the whole body and putting body weight into the weapon instead of arm-swinging or wrist-flicking. As a result, the lines of attack are straight thrusting or from the side or on the diagonal rather than overhead "chopping".

Differences from other kobudo in specific weapon usage are interesting, but too involved to get into here.

One of the main points, though, is that mai and weapons are used to access an opponent's vital points, but the opponent is supposed to make the ultimate decision about whether the blow is fatal by either continuing to fight and move into the weapon or backing off.

Thus we spend quite a bit of time practicing ukemi against weapons.

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#355151 - 02/07/08 01:38 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Rascal Offline
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Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 21
Loc: USA
Thanks for the translation! Mai is so essential to Udundi but it is another of those things that someone watching an udundi performance can easily miss altogether or at least, underappreciate! This, again, is one of the noteworthy things in the Bugeikan video's- the different use of footwork, stances and bodymovement all suggest something different from Udundi.
Speaking of the Bugeikan video's, I noticed that several of the practitioners were wearing blue or black obi's notted on the side rather than the typical "karate" type of belt. Taira Sensei of the Seidokan wears a similar sash. The only colors, however, are white or black. Does your dojo in Tokyo use these sashes or other colors?

Dennis

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#355152 - 02/07/08 07:46 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
I haven't seen any side-knotted sashes. Obi like that appear in old paintings and drawings, though. We only have white, brown, and black karate obi. The dan wear colored dogi sometimes though, like dark blue or olive green, but only for enbu.

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#355153 - 02/07/08 08:11 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
shoshinkan Offline
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Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
yes indeed, thankyou for your efforts here.

Interesting stuff.
_________________________
Jim Neeter

www.shoshinkanuk.blogspot.com

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#355154 - 02/08/08 05:39 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Rascal]
Gesar Offline
Member

Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Dennis,
Those Bugeikan Obi's tied on the side seem to have appeared in the 1990's as they were not present back in the 1970's at all, so it is possible that they are a Bugeikan Seido thing. It would also seem that it is only Blue sashes that are tied to the side like that. Other film material shows standard Obi for white, brown and Black Belts worn in the typical Karate manner.

As regards the different use of footwork, stances and body movement in the Bugeikan material is in all probability from Bushi Takemura, as similiar movements are to be found in the classical kata of that line. However how well this stuff is performed now in comparison to the original is of course open to question. Given that the ingredients of Seido are a bit diverse and it seems to have infilitrated everything else I think if there ever was any Udun Di there it has been lost in the soup.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355155 - 02/08/08 09:50 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
MattJ Offline
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Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Quote:


Those Bugeikan Obi's tied on the side seem to have appeared in the 1990's as they were not present back in the 1970's at all, so it is possible that they are a Bugeikan Seido thing. It would also seem that it is only Blue sashes that are tied to the side like that. Other film material shows standard Obi for white, brown and Black Belts worn in the typical Karate manner.






Interesting. Ed Parker American Kenpo is the only other karate style I know of that uses side-knot belts. Technically in EPAK, everyone below the highest rank at the school (ie; master or visiting master) is supposed to wear their belt knots to the side - men to the left, women to the right. Many EPAK schools do not follow that, however. Supposedly this came from Chinese traditions, although some suspect it was from Mormon teachings.

FWIW.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#355156 - 02/09/08 04:17 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: MattJ]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Here's a photo of Motobu Choki with a side-knotted obi. It's not a stiff, modern karate obi, either.
http://motobu-ryu.org/kenpowaza.aspx

It's funny that this subject came up because just today my sensei told a woman in our dojo who recently found out she was pregnant to find a soft cloth obi to wear instead. He said that he actually thought wide, soft obi (which were originally for kimono) are better because they wrap closer and tighter for support. But I can't imagine us switching to such obi because they would stand out too much!

It would be interesting to try in private and see the difference, though.

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#355157 - 02/10/08 01:04 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: ThunderboltLotus]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
I think I found the reference in Uehara's book about Motobu Choyu having "divine inspiration", but if so, I believe that interpretation to be based on a mistranslation.

Here's a translation from this site:
http://www.sakuratakekan.org/escuelas/motobu/motobu_ingles.htm

"Choyu Sensei always said that the "techniques of the Ryukyu king," in other words, Motobu Udundi, are a manifestation of the divine. I sparred with Choyu Sensei many times during my training, but I could never manage to touch him, even when he was seventy years old. He certainly did seem to possess divine skill."

To be fair, I think this may have been translated into Spanish and then English...not sure.

Anyway, the term that is being translated as "manifestation of the divine" and "divine skill" is kamiwaza . Actually, this means something more like phenomenal, marvelous, extraordinary, or even superhuman.

Hence, I would translate the passage like this:

"Choyu sensei always said that the waza of the Ryukyu kings was extraordinary...I was not able to touch him in training even when he was 70...He possessed a phenomenal number of waza ." (Or maybe, "a phenomenal/superhuman amount of skill"?)

I would say the same thing about Ikeda shihan now without meaning for it to imply divine inspiration.

Uehara does go on to say that he thought Choyu sensei would have been able to handle a number of opponents without injuring them, but does not clearly say he saw him do so himself.

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#355158 - 02/19/08 05:41 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
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Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukainoa,
The Sakurataken site quoted above is that of Boulahfa Mimoun, who is part of the Seidokan organisation of Shian Toma. I think that the way you that you have translated kamiwaza is most probably correct and does not imply divine, the site was I believe translated as you say from Spanish into English.

Anyway you seemed to imply in an earlier post that Bu No Mai has been translated at some point, do you have any further details of this?

I am reliably informed that in the Japanese edition of Bu No Mai that between pages 86 - 91 Seikichi Uehara's discusses something about his time in the Phillipines from 1926. It states that he settled at a community called Karinan near a Japanese school called Karinan Shogakko. Whilst there he apparently trained with an Okinawan in Go Ten Te and another Okinawan in Tode, a Japanese gentleman with whom he sparred regularly and later he apparently came into contact with Chinese martial arts there.
Do we have any idea who these Okinawans were?
Which Chinese system that Uehara came into contact with there? (I assume it was either Kun Tao or Ngo Cho Kun).

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355159 - 02/19/08 07:37 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
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Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Oh, you know, i thought an english version of Bu no Mai was available for some reason...maybe because i had seen translations like the one on the website i referenced and other people had made references to having read it. But looking around more, i guess i was mistaken.

That could explain a lot of the misconceptions that wouldn't be out there if people could just pick up a reliable translation!

I've still got the last two of Uehara's five points to put up here (i have to check with my sensei on them). Then i will take a close read at the passage you asked about. I have heard stories about Uehara sensei's time in the Philippines, but not anything about who he might have trained with there.

I don't see any clear connection to Kun Tao (also known as Silat??)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWhsb-DAEUQ
or Ngo Cho Kun
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5392132614120064416

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#355160 - 02/20/08 05:51 PM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
Gesar Offline
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Registered: 06/16/07
Posts: 77
Loc: England, UK
Chofukainoa,
I did wonder whether there was a translation of Bu no Mai, as I had not come across one, I think you are right, a reliable translation would in all probability get rid of many of the misconceptions. A project for the future perhaps?

Anyway; Yuk, that Kun Tao modern tournament stuff was not what I meant by Kun Tao, a Hokkien word used to describe various Chinese fighting systems which embrace both empty hand and weapons techniques. The term simply means Fist way. Silat is a separate art. although it is often regarded as the core of many native Indonesian fighting forms, it is distinguishable from Kun Tao, though these days there is some fusion of styles. This video is perhaps nearer to the type of stuff I was referring to
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFr13NvpFrg

As for Ngo Cho Kun it first appeared in the Phillipines in 1935 and it would appear that much reorganising of the style may have taken place there shortly after. Originally the style is from Fukkien province in China and consisted of a mix of Peho (White Crane) Koa Kun (Monkey Boxing) Tai Cho (Grand ancestor Boxing) Lohan (Internal Buddhist Boxing) and Tat Chun ( Tamo's Iron Body Training) it also does a Kata that is called Sam Chien which is a form of Sanchin Kata. I suspect that Ngo Cho Kun is probably the least likely, but then the Sanchin in Udun Di makes it a possibility, unless it came from Kanii Uechi who was an associate of Choyu Motobu who Seikichi Uehara once met on the mainland and delivered a letter to from his teacher. It is of course equally plausible that the Sanchin came from the Kenyu Kai where Choyu Motobu was a Supervisor and Shihan.

The characteristics of Ngo Cho Kun as a system are however as shown in the video link you posted. However there is little doubt that Ngo Cho Kun in the 18th and 19th Century exerted some influence on Okinawan Martial Arts due to the Fukkien basis of the style and trade between Fukkien and Okinawa.

Regards

Chris Norman

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#355161 - 02/28/08 10:30 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: Gesar]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Here's number four:

"From the rokushaku-bo, double short bo, sai, double nuuchiku, uchi-bo, toufa, ueiku and jo to yamagatana, banto, double-bladed spear, naginata and sword: if you practice their waza as if it were a matter of life or death, you will be able to use them effectively in a real battle as well. The secret of winning in one blow is the essence of Motobu udundi."

I did a bit of paraphrasing after the list of weapons...that's the gist of it.

"Winning in one blow" is probably more central to udundi than any specific form (note there are no mention of kata in any of the translations). It's what really has been confounding an experienced karateka who has recently joined our dojo. The combined (sometimes in one limb) block/attack or attack/block is carried over from bare hand techniques to weapons. The limb extension and narrow ball-of-foot-stance is really what makes much of it physically possible.

I also realized these are not from "Bu no Mai", but from Ikeda shihan's book. I got a photocopy of the former from my sensei, who added parts of the latter at the end. However, the parts I have been translating are attributed directly to Uehara sensei. There are also a number of the poems Uehara said he received from Motobu Choyu and memorized. Apparently, the original scroll was more like a parting letter, and did not contain illustrated details of secret techniques. At that time, it was assumed that transmission of the Motobu arts within the family had already been accomplished.

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#355162 - 03/13/08 06:12 AM Re: Udundi Kata Anyone? [Re: chofukainoa]
chofukainoa Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 146
Loc: tokyo, japan
Here's the last...pretty difficult...i have translated kokoro as "spirit" because it made the most sense. Also note the alternate translations.

"When one’s spirit is stilled, all is revealed in the spirit of bu .
Apprehending and developing this spirit through natural form leads to true bu .
The way to a bu that is still (receptive?) is through getting rid of bad habits (obstruction?) and being diligent in your training.
The only way to the pinnacle of bu is to walk in mushin ."

There is another interesting term, "kyoshin", that i have translated as "still" or "receptive". "Still" would of course not mean "passive".
I'm a year into my udundi training, and the "natural form" is being drilled to me more and more. Dropping kamae is becoming much more common, and the command I've been getting most often is "relax".
I can't say I know if I have "walked in mushin" yet. Anyway, it is not something we actively try to achieve. I think Uehara's concept of mushin is mostly psycho/somatic rather than religious or philosophical.

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