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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
Newbie

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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