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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
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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
Newbie

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
Newbie

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
Member

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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