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#398040 - 05/31/08 03:58 PM Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – old
Victor Smith Offline
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I was recently reading several interviews with senior Okinawan Shorin-ryu instructors, Iha Seikichi and Miyahira Katsuya, and in the course of those discussions they both made the same point about kicking.

http://www.okinawankarateandkobudoinstitute.com/Seikichi%20Iha%20Sensei.htm

“In the “old days,” the kick was never extended past the extended punch. You always kicked within the extended fist. It is too difficult to do nowadays and students just ignore this concept. Nowadays, the students often seek the easier way and extend their kicks way past their fist. This is the sport kick, but it is okay for those who do not really understand kicking.”

“Remember that in kicking, the foot itself must be tight with the leg loose. You then hinge the kick out. The kick must be chambered, then kick and then re-chambered before the foot is set down. All the kicks in Shorin-ryu are done with the toes. I think that 85% of all the kicks are done mid-body. We then do have a thrust made to the head, but only about 15% of the time.”

Miyahira Katsuya stated, “The Shorin-ryu stydent must work on retracting their kicks quickly. They must also practice kicking within an arm’s reach. This is highly important in doing good Shorin-ryu kicks. The kick does not extend out but within the length of one’s arm.”

IMO, this fully describes how Shimabuku Sensei was kicking in our video reference of his technique.

Kicking at the range of direct engagement, striking distance. Fully raising the leg and then kicking out and retracting the kick, at a very close distance.
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#398041 - 06/02/08 04:42 PM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – [Re: Victor Smith]
Ogoun Offline
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Registered: 03/22/04
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Interesting article, I enjoyed reading it. Thank you.

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#398042 - 06/02/08 06:08 PM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – [Re: Ogoun]
Shonuff Offline
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Interesting point Victor.

I realised some time ago that particularly in Shotokan traditionally the front kick was always (or at least as I saw) a short snapping motion as opposed to the easier to hit with thrusting kick. The snap kick is much more useful for close quarter and below the belt kicking.
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#398043 - 06/02/08 09:43 PM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – old [Re: Victor Smith]
student_of_life Offline
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thanks for that victor, i like reading stuff from the older karate guys. their words are prety much bs free, and contain only truth from their training. for the most part, lol.

its interesting that they talk about kicking while inside the reach of your extended arms, its a preference of mine to use the knee to hit tragets the close instead of the foot. however, i have been exposed to a karate instructor of mine using a front kick from a back stance position while holding onto my sleves, where his kick hit my throat. snap kicks for in close, thrust kicks for farther away is a good rule of thumb.
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#398044 - 06/02/08 10:31 PM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – old [Re: Victor Smith]
cxt Offline
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Victor

Thanks!

Good read.
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#398045 - 06/03/08 05:01 AM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – old [Re: cxt]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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I believe the "old style" snap kick is of tremendous value. We still use it in our dojo.

I have noted over the years that this particular kick has largely been completely replaced by a more penetrating front kick, which is very different in effect. I think this is because the latter is visually far more impressive and "powerful". It is also the kick one uses on a heavy bag, which has become more popular in karate training. In my experience, the short snapping front kick isn't really possible to practice on a heavy bag (at least it looks and feels awful when you try).

By contrast the short snapping front kick can be practised very well on a kickshield held by a partner.

The short snapping front kick imparts a "hydrostatic shock" rather than a "push", so it doesn't look as "powerful" when you are hitting things like heavy bags, but is still very much felt by someone holding a kick shield. It is very useful against the bladder or groin. The quick retraction means you don't run the risk of having your leg caught. It is also useful in tight quarters when a knee kick is just out of range.

Simple physics explain the operation of the short snapping front kick. Consider this theoretical model: If all your energy in kicking is imparted as destructive energy your opponent should, theoretically, fall on the spot. The more that your energy is converted into kinetic or "moving" energy in your opponent, the less destructive energy is being imparted. Thus a kick that pushes your opponent the furthest might not cause any real injury at all (as is the case with any "push" rather than "strike", when you think about it).

Of course, in practice every kick will "move" your opponent some distance - I was speaking in theoretical terms only, so don't flame me. Furthermore there is room in karate for kicking with a penetrating power (that inevitably causes more movement). But I think it is regrettable that it has, in many dojos, completely displaced the short snapping kick of old karate - a very effective, and arguably the most undervalued technique in the martial arts...

My 2 cents...
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#398046 - 06/03/08 05:26 AM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – old [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Victor Smith Offline
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I’ve been thinking about this kicking concept for some time “In the "old days," the kick was never extended past the extended punch”.

First I think we must consider that the use of language (and of course translation) may not fully describe what is being done.

I can see this several different ways:

1. Delivering the kick as if you in distance to strike a wall, and instead using the kick.
i. Targeting the lower abdomen.
ii. Targeting the groin/legs
2. Delivering a kick with the same body alignment as if you were striking, and not shifting the hip into the strike. In that case your kick might hinge further than the fist.
3. Targeting a space one arm length from the body that the opponent will be moving into as your kick is delivered. That is not the same as kicking a static distance, but one where the opponent is moving into the space you have taken.

I see each as having a different launch mechanism in practice.

I tried doing a search but didn’t locate any video of IHA SEIKICHI SENSEI to watch.
I did locate some video of his contemporary, Miyahira Katsuya, but nothing that makes a case either way.

When I watch Shimabuku Sensei’s kicking technique in the 1966 Seisan kata versions, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyUMPjddzZc&feature=related , I see his marvelous chamber, and kicks that appear to strike to the groin or the legs. In that case I see striking the distance a fist can strike, reasonable. You can watch them yourself and make your own decision.

I’m not sure any explanations of a systems kicking technique can fully describe what they may do.

At one time or another I’ve been trained in kicking from several different Isshinryu traditions, Korean Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan, several different Chinese traditions (N. Shaolin and Tam Tuie) as well as Indonesian ones. They each have their time and place, execution theories and strategy.

I firmly believe in my Isshinryu core and teach it as I was taught, but even in that there is flex. I was taught that one’s kicking potential was taken as far as they could go, and in turn use my other studies as appropriate for student growth.
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#398047 - 06/04/08 03:22 PM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – old [Re: Victor Smith]
Ironfoot Offline
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Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
Quote:

...I firmly believe in my Isshinryu core and teach it as I was taught, but even in that there is flex. I was taught that one’s kicking potential was taken as far as they could go, and in turn use my other studies as appropriate for student growth.




There it is. I will use any kick that works, and my favorite isn't really an Isshinryu kick in that it's not one of our 8 or 9 basics, and not specifically in our katas.
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#398048 - 06/17/08 05:31 AM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – old [Re: Ironfoot]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
For those who may be interested, I've posted a video illustrating the difference in effect between the common "push" kick and the shorter "snap" or "shock" kick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4qeNOE_LtY

Note also the targets at which that the "shock" kicks are aimed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GmQM_Dxe4s

The push kick looks more impressive because it shifts your opponent further - but this is valuable energy being converted to kinetic energy as opposed to destructive energy.

On the other hand the effect of the shock kick is quite subtle: notice in the slow motion video how the opponent "shakes" after the kick. Having experienced both (through the shield and otherwise!) I can tell you I'd rather take the push kick any day...
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#398049 - 06/17/08 11:25 AM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – old [Re: dandjurdjevic]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
I've also just written a blog article on the subject of "visible power" vs. real power. I hope you don't mind Victor, but I quoted you! For those who are interested, take a look here:

http://dandjurdjevic.blogspot.com/2008/06/visible-power-vs-real-power.html
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#398050 - 07/15/08 02:18 PM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – old [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Ironfoot Offline
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Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 2682
Loc: St. Clair Shores, MI USA
Nice article, Dan. People see movies where a kick sends someone flying and think that's what power is, but I know from both sides of the issue that a proper kick sends the recipient straight to the floor.

Perhaps Westerners like the extended kick more because of the length of their legs, but they're sacrificing the ability to kick at very close ranges.
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#398051 - 07/16/08 03:41 AM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – old [Re: Ironfoot]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
Thanks Ironfoot.

Funnily enough, I was watching this video of Higaonna on Way of the Warrior - note his "old style" kicks at about 0:16:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uZPn5Ib_P8&feature=related.
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#398052 - 07/24/08 04:25 AM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – [Re: dandjurdjevic]
debushi Offline
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Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 11
Whip kicking is the old way. Push kicking became more prevalent as the result of jiyu kumite. Extended kicks in matches are easier to see and score. With the integration of modern ring oriented Muay Thai, the "teep' or pushing front kick was also adopted by many modern karate-ka and kickboxers.

I did see Michael MacDonald (K-1) connect with a high snapping toe-kick to an opponents throat which stunned him and resulted in a TKO win for Michael. The announcers didn't even understand what had happened until they replayed the tech like 4 times from various angles. Even then they thought that it contacted his jaw when it never did.

The Mae Geri Keage seen in Shotokan and other Modern Karate styles is a bit different than that seen in some Southern Chinese systems, Uechi Ryu and Matsumura Seito Karate Jutsu. Initially you may learn to whip kick from a bent knee chamber, but later in partner sets you transition to a no-chamber kick which whips from the ground up and SEEMS to come from a telegraphed chamber. You are also told to focus on using lead leg, not rear leg, kicks in the more Chinese influenced styles.

Even many styles of Okinawan Karate use the modern snap kick with the rear leg.

I liked your videos, DanDJ. Good stuff...


Edited by debushi (07/24/08 04:26 AM)

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#398053 - 07/24/08 09:47 AM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – [Re: debushi]
medulanet Offline
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Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Debushi, whip kicking with the rear leg is not about modern or old, its about fighting distance. Japanese and Euoprean style point fighters utilize the front leg kicking techniques extensively, but that is due to the distance at which they fight. The front kick is actually an inclose tech. Using the rear leg is utlized in close, especially when you are kicking your opponent's far leg and the other leg is blocked by your opponent's near leg.
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#398054 - 07/24/08 11:11 AM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – [Re: medulanet]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
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Loc: Australia
Quote:

Debushi, whip kicking with the rear leg is not about modern or old, its about fighting distance. Japanese and Euoprean style point fighters utilize the front leg kicking techniques extensively, but that is due to the distance at which they fight. The front kick is actually an inclose tech. Using the rear leg is utlized in close, especially when you are kicking your opponent's far leg and the other leg is blocked by your opponent's near leg.




Marcel I agree with most of your post. However I don't think Debushi was referring to "old" vs. "modern" karate as much as he was pointing out the karate vs. "modern arts" (eg. Muay Thai). Distance is a big factor (the "whip kick" is a close range technique for sure). As we discussed (and agreed to disagree) I'm of the view that closer fighting should be more dominant in karate. Having said this, I agree that a more penetrating kick or a "distance" kick is also part of karate's arsenal. Neither is anything like the "push kick" of the modern arts. I think Machida has demonstrated quite well the more "distance-oriented" mae geri of karate - still nothing like the "push kick" (ie. it actually hits instead of pushes).

So I think where we disagree is a matter of emphasis (specifically on distancing and tactics)...

Thanks for the kind remarks btw Debushi!
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#398055 - 07/24/08 11:27 AM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – [Re: dandjurdjevic]
medulanet Offline
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Registered: 09/03/03
Posts: 2142
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona USA
Quote:

As we discussed (and agreed to disagree) I'm of the view that closer fighting should be more dominant in karate.




Huh? That was not the disagreement. The disagreement was that I said karate is mainly a close range system and you said it was a middle(melee) range system.
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#398056 - 07/24/08 12:10 PM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – [Re: medulanet]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
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Ah. I misunderstood.

In any event the disagreement was based on the time one spends in the melee... I agree with your "close in" observation, just that, for me, is the finish, where most of the action is in the melee.
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#398057 - 07/24/08 06:48 PM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – [Re: dandjurdjevic]
shoshinkan Offline
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Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 2662
Loc: UK
just as a thought, when people talk about making the bag 'shudder' and jump as opposed to swing, ie with punches the same is true for the older method of Okinawan kicking.

It's very destructive in relation to impact, and very efficient with it (minamum set up, minamum loss of balance, quick recovery)

I still see benefit in the 'push' kicks of course (not that I use them much, prefering short kicks/hands combi's),
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#398058 - 07/24/08 07:06 PM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – [Re: shoshinkan]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Indeed Jim.

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#398059 - 07/24/08 08:03 PM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – [Re: medulanet]
debushi Offline
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Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 11
Quote:

Debushi, whip kicking with the rear leg is not about modern or old, its about fighting distance. Japanese and Euoprean style point fighters utilize the front leg kicking techniques extensively, but that is due to the distance at which they fight. The front kick is actually an inclose tech. Using the rear leg is utlized in close, especially when you are kicking your opponent's far leg and the other leg is blocked by your opponent's near leg.




I agree to an extent, but in close why would you kick? Headbutts, hands, elbows and knees (that's what kick chambering really teaches) are all much better options as are throws, trips, sweeps and the like. You should always try and use the weapon closest to your opponent. This sets up everything and can also be the decisive technique of many.

For the street, leaving one of your two points of balance is not the best option, so why would you use kicking with the rear or any leg as a primary weapon? Kicking for SD is not that smart. If you do it needs to be low, fast and at the minimum a lead for a unbalancing move, trip or throw entry.

Machida is a good example of why the lead vs. the reverse. He leads with his strong arm, but doesn't use it exclusively, just primarily. From a distance he kicks with both legs. By the way, some tend to deride Shotokan, but his brand is more in line with old Okinawan Shorin Ryu, and that's because his father knew the old style Shotokan before point competition became a focus. He trains karate as much or more tha the other aspects, and he's making some rethink what they thought real karate was (boosheet) as opposed to what REAl karate is (a very effective and efficient fighting system).

I think Dan was trying to show what is missing in the modern and it's the use of a whipping versus a thrusting kick. He used the term "snapping". Good kickboxers utilize both, and Savate guys are famous for their lead leg kicks, but most Muay Thai, Japanese Karate, TKD, TSD and other more modern martial artists neglect the lead leg whip kick. Savate is different in that it a street-based style adapted for the ring.

I know what you're saying though, and trust me I have always practiced both, especially in training because who knows what you'll need. Old style karate tends to focus about 80-90% on nonkicking techniques for a reason, imho.

Good thread...

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#398060 - 07/24/08 08:55 PM Re: Information pertaining to Isshinryu kicking – [Re: debushi]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Debushi, I like your term "whipping" as a descriptor.

Quote:

Kicking for SD is not that smart. If you do it needs to be low, fast and at the minimum a lead for a unbalancing move, trip or throw entry.




I also use it as an entry to hand techniques. A close in (not really close, but whip-kick close) kick aimed low is a good entry for strikes and punches as well as throws etc. But if you are going to use it, you should be snapping it back very fast! When I was a teen I used to "playfight" with a family acquaintance in his mid-20s who had grown up on the streets in South Africa (I'd usually end up with a bloody nose, split lip or bruised eye). He was untrained but he was tough as nails from a rather rough violent upbringing. He always used say: "snap back faster than you snap out". I've never forgotten this practical advice.

I agree that Machida uses his shotokan very much like shorin karate should be used. Good to see! I certainly respect shotokan and Machida is a good exponent from what I've seen of both his MMA and karate videos.
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