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More Owaza Jupon



Here's a couple more of my students working on Owaza Jupon (10 major throws) from a 2-hand grab entry. I think you'll notice that the exercise flows something like this...

  • Uke grabs and tori demonstrates 2 basic themes - turning uke into a backfall (guruma; A.K.A. tenchinage) or stretching him out into a linear fall (otoshi).
  • After this, uke grabs and will not allow the previous tenchinage, so tori grabs the arm wherever he can and turns for the other 2 forms of guruma, which look a lot like seoinage.
  • The iriminage is missing from this video, but you see the shihonage and ushiroate and kotegaeshi that are characteristic of Owaza and also similar to Koryu Dai Go.
  • The shortcut from iriminage into ushiro kubigatame
  • shizumiotoshi - clipping a knee if nothing else works



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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Obviously flawed

So, which way do you duck on shizumiotoshi?  Or, put another way, if you were going to knee-clip someone lunging at you, would you rather clip their front knee or their back knee?  I mentioned in a conversation on YouTube that I'd go for the front knee, like my students demoed on their video and like Kyle does here:



...and Sensei Strange replied that this was flawed and obviously not so good - that you want to go for the back leg like Kyle does here...



Well, Strange, you had me doubting myself there for a few minutes.  I was asking myself, "Where in the world did I get such nutty ideas?"  So I went back to my sources.
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KG, on his instructional video in which LF and Craig demo the Owaza, explicitly says, and emphasizes it over and over, "Aim for the front, unmoving knee so you don't get kicked in the head."  I want to say I've also heard Henry emphasize this in his seminars at MSU, but I don't have video to prove it.
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Of course, KG et al. might not be your ultimate resource, so I went back to Lee Ah Loi's blue kata book and skimmed through it looking for anything roughly like this thing that's in Owaza (anything named sukuinage or senkuinage or tenkai seukui nage, etc...) and found that with the possible exception of one clip in Nikata, all the clips and scoops are done to the front, weightbearing, unmoving leg.
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So my ideas are not necessarily all that obviously flawed.   At least if they are flawed, I'm in pretty good company. ;-)
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You've got a good point, Strange, about the dangerousness of this technique.  There is the potential for injury to whichever knee you clip, even if you do the back knee.  That is why we take precautions:

  • Don't do this thing in randori - only in kata and only with a partner who knows it's coming
  • Don't go fast - slower is safer
  • Don't deliberately try to lock out his knee - drop in front of his knee, perhaps not even touching his leg, but keep in mind that in a bad spot you could have dropped on the knee.
  • Don't try to make these things look like some imagined conception of "reality."  Trying to make these things look more realistic is a great way to get hurt or hurt someone else.

I think the most surprising thing you said, Strange, in your comment, was that you could cover your head with your hand to keep from getting kicked.  Really?  You'd jump headfirst into a knee strike from a guy who is lunging at you, confident that you could block that knee?  You're a ninja for sure.  I'm slow and I'd sure rather hide my head beside the guy's weightbearing, unmoving leg.
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I'm enjoying this conversation with you and Kyle.  I think you and Kyle both have great knowledge and skill and interesting POV's on this thing.  I guess the bottom line is, like Kyle said, you can do it either way, and he didn't say one was right and the other wrong, just that they demonstrate different principles or different degrees of otoshi and guruma.
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So, anyone else have an opinion or idea about this sort of movement?  Leave me a comment and share.


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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On the flip side...


Photo courtesy of Stephen Poff
The interaction of our natural side-preference with the aikido and judo techniques is interesting.  I've written about this before.  Aikido (the way we teach it) is mostly evenly balanced left-and-right up till about shodan, at which point the exercises and kata tend to only be done on one side.  In judo we almost exclusively teach right-sided techniques.  it turns out that neither system is incomplete if it is done one-sided.
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But in demonstrations and quick examples where I'm showing something to the class, I almost always choose my preferred side (right side) just for convenience and comfort.
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I've decided to make January 2010 Left-handed martial arts month.  At our dojo we will only practice left-sided aikido and judo.  No right-sided practice.  Should be interesting.  Anyone want to take up this challenge with me and see what comes of it?  Nick?  Strange?  Dojo Rat? Anyone?


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Kyuzo Mifune Goshin Jutsu

Interesting alternate form of Goshin Jutsu from Kyuzo Mifune.

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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The otoshi and the guruma that aren't

The other day, in our explorations of otoshi and guruma in judo and in aikido, we came across a couple of interesting examples of otoshi and guruma.  Interesting in that they really suck as examples of these two types of motion.  Kataguruma doesn't appear to have much to do with guruma motion and shizumiotoshi doesn't seem to have much to do with otoshi.  I sure would like some of you smart folks to tell me what makes kataguruma a guruma when it feels so much like an otoshi?



And shizumiotoshi feels really guruma, so why is it an otoshi?


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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ABG 2009 - Sessions 7 and 8

I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to see my aiki buddies this past few days and getting to work in such detail on my avorite of all the aikido exercises - Owaza Jupon

  • Session 7 - Owaza from the classical lunging through ma-ai attack.
  • Session 8 - Owaza from ryotemochi attack.

Lord, deliver me from any more budo this year!
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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ABG 2009 - Session 6

Perhaps we picked too much material for this clinic - We'd intended to do sankata and owaza, but we've made such a meal out of owaza that we ended up not spending much time on sankata. Tonight's session was sankata section A - suwariwaza
  • oshitaoshi
  • gyakugamaeate
  • kotegaeshi
  • sukuinage
  • tenkai kotehineri
  • shihonage
  • gedanate
  • hijikime

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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ABG 2009 - Session 5 - video

Warmed up with ryotemochi tenchinage and then played all the Owaza material from ryotemochi.  This is really a fabulous way to reduce the intensity of the exercise so that you can work on this material without taking so much punishment from the ukemi.  Good way to focus on the concepts surrounding Owaza - namely otoshi and guruma.




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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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ABG 2009 - Session 4

Warmed up with an easy version of guruma - ryotemochi tenchinage, then moved into the second half of Owaza - the SUKUS techniques:

  • shihonage
  • ushiroate
  • kotegaeshi
  • ushiro kubigatame
  • shizumiotoshi

This was followed by a super-fun session of standing judo randori.  I started seeing koshiguruma popping up in randori from having practiced it earlier today!
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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ABG 2009 - Session 3

Warmed up with an otoshi-guruma version of kotegaeshi then moved into Owaza working on the gurumas from the POV of throwing with progressively greater slack between uke and tori.

  • kubiguruma
  • udeguruma
  • hijiguruma
  • kataguruma

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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ABG 2009 - Session 2

Warmed up with the guruma entry for the floating throws from junana, then moved into the otoshi-guruma concept:

  • kata otoshi
  • kubiguruma
  • koshiguruma
  • ashiguruma
  • hizaguruma
  • taiotoshi

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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ABG 2009 - Session 1

Everyone is going to be dragging into the ABG this year on different days.  Last night we had a nice 2-hour practice but we decided to wait till this morning to get cranked up on the sankata and owaza, so last night we worked on wrist control techniques from junana and previewed the guruma action that we'll be warming up with today.

  • kotehineri (sankyo)
  • kotegaeshi
  • tenkai kotehineri (sankyo)
  • shihonage
  • guruma offbalance from ukiwaza


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Iron Man 2 - I can hardly wait!


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Get outta the way!


Photo courtesy of Oncle Tom
The first, and most important pre-requisite to doing good aikido is to get out of the way of the attacker.  Sometimes we refer to this as tai sabaki (body shifting), sometimes we call it the aiki brushoff, and sometimes we just say, "Get outta the way," but however you say it, you have to do it or your aiki is going to suck.
  • The line of attack - If you wait until the moment the attacker commits to his attack, then draw a line between your center and his,  this is called the line of attack.  Getting off of the line of attack is the most important part of every technique.  We can teach you all the intricate aikido moves in the world, but until you start getting out of the attacker's way, nothing will ever work right for you.
  • The shoulder/hip test - Here's a test to see if tori is really getting off the line of attack.  Uke, after the first step of your attack, when you have lunged through ma-ai, see if you can touch tori with your shoulder or your hip.  If so, he's not out of your way.  Keep practicing until there is no way uke can touch you with his hip or shoulder after your evasion.
  • Evasion is vital for smaller aikidoka - This is important for everyone but it is vital for the smaller, weaker tori.  You absolutely do not want to grapple with a larger person, and the first part of learning not to fight the big-guy's fight is to learn to get out of his way.
  • Evasion is vital for larger aikidoka - It is also important for the larger, stronger tori if you are ever going to learn to do good aiki without having to fall back on your superior strength and mass.
So, get outta the way!  Do it every time before you do anything else!

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Cross-over points in kata


Photo courtesy of Szift
Another interesting thing about kata practice is what I call cross-over points.  There are places where the flow of one kata intersects with the flow of another one.  I'm sure you've noticed this - you'll be sailing along doing one kata and then you realize you ended up in some other kata.  Somehow ou just fell out of one kata into another one.
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This can be an anoying thing when you are working on learning one particular kata, but it can also be an interesting, valuable thing if you take a broader perspective.  Each of these cross-over points represents an option, a fork in the road.
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An interesting thing to do when your kata practice becomes stale, is start doing one kata, and whenever you get to a cross-over point, take it.   You might set a timer for 5 minutes and do kata the whole time, meandering through your kata set taking one alternate fork after another. 
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Doing this, you can start to see all of your individual kata as parts of one giant, mixed-up kata with wormholes from one place to another and cross-over points scattered throughout.  It is as if this one giant kata is your hometown, and you might walk around town taking different paths every day.  You might behave differently as you walk through some parts of your hometown than you do in others.  But they are all still your hometown.
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Learning your way around this one giant hometown kata is an important skill.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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December 2009 misc video


Some of the stuff we've been working on in aikido and judo classes at Mokuren Dojo this past month or so.  Enjoy.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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SCAMPER technique for creative kata bunkai


Photo courtesy of BLMurch
There has always been, and always will be controversy about whether kata is vital or useless in martial arts practice. I like kata as a training method and consider it vital, but I'll readily admit that if it does have a problem, it is that done repititiously and mindlessly, kata rapidly becomes stale.
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You have to have kata practice, but not all of it should be kata-mode. At least some of your kata practice should include creative variation. Here is a good method to introduce some variability and some creativity to an otherwise stale kata practice. It is called the SCAMPER method.
  • S - Substitute. Try swapping logical moves in and out. For instance, anywhere there is a lunge punch, try a triple-punch or a frontkick-lunge punch combo. It will put you in the same position ready to continue the kata but it will break up some of the stagnation in your mind and give you some new ideas.
  • C - Combine. Try combining 2-3 movements in a different way or try changing the timing between a couple of the movements of the kata.
  • A - Add. Try dropping a piece of another kata right in the middle of this one, then continuing where you left off. Practice your goshinjutsu (self-defense techniques) with your partner attacking you in the middle of a kata. Perform the goshinjutsu and then pick back where you left off on the kata.
  • M - Maximize or minimize. Make your steps and motions as large or as small as possible. Maximize or minimize the importance of any particular movement. Try tying an arm to your belt to minimize the movement on that side.
  • P - Put to another use. Reimagine obvious uses of movements. Something that you're sure is a lunge punch, figure out how it could be a grappling move. Something you're sure is a grappling move, reimagine as a pressure point technique.
  • E - Eliminate. Eliminate large chunks of the kata, reducing the remainder to a short drill that you can repeat many times in a short space. Eliminate extra weight shifts. Eliminate chambering punches. See what you end up with.
  • R - Rearrange or reverse. What if the order of the movements in the kata is not gospel? What if you step back here instead of forward? What if you turn left here instead of right? What if he grabs you in response to your punching him instead of you punching him because he grabbed you?
Whenever you get so accustomed to your kata that it starts getting tiresome, and you're sure that you have THE one and only correct bunkai that was handed down from God to the ancestors, try SCAMPERING the kata and you'll literally find a lifetime of study in any one kata (Remember Funakoshi even called Taikyoku, "The Universal kata").


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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A judo Christmas song for Santa

In the tradition of A Mississippi Aikido Christmas Eve, and Ebony Hakama, this year I give you...

A Judo Christmas Song for Santa

I'm dreaming of a white dogi
The ones I wear once looked so nice.
But now yellow sweatstains,
Darkened bloodstains, and dirt
Don't come out in the wash.

I'm dreaming of a white dogi
With every judoka I grab.
My gi would be merry and bright
If I could turn my dogi back white

I'm dreaming of a white dogi
That would be such a pleasant gift.
A size-6 Mizuno, what a sight!
And please send my new dogi in WHITE.


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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Something to consider

It helps for you to consider this sort of thing before you get into a violent encounter.
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What constitutes an attack that you are willing to use force to defend against? How bad does a problem have to get before you would use your martial arts skills to try to solve it? Where is the line beyond which you will no longer turn the other cheek?
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Hmmmm

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Dreaming of wakigatame


My Latin teacher in high school told us that you never really know a language until you start dreaming in that language. Last night I dreamt that I was at some sort of martial arts seminar and the instructor kept building up to this super-mysterious technique. This amazing thing from historical European martial arts. Finally, when he showed the technique, it was a standing wakigatame falling with the guy into a side control (similar to the last example on the video above).
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I wonder if that means that I've mastered the "language" of martial arts, or just of wakigatame. Or perhaps it just means that I ate something unusual before bed last night...

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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Legend of the Invincible Old Man

I was getting ready to post my latest article on martial arts urban legends. Today I was going to talk about what I call The Legend of the Invincible Old Man. You've heard it - the idea that there's this weak, out-of-shape, sickly, elderly man who is invincible against young, strong, fit experts. This legend is often used by young guys who want to justify lazy training, as if they are saying, "I don't have to remain fit because I want to be like that amazing, Invincible Old Man."
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I bet it's hard to find an Invincible Old Man who is impervious to cholesterol and high blood pressure, and I know for certain that you can't find an old man who is so awesome that he has transcended having to have enough strength and aerobic capacity to drag his butt out of bed to go to the toilet.
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That's what I was going to write about today, but then I remembered that Dave Chesser had written this very same article a couple of years ago on his Formosa Neijia blog. It was actually a series of two articles, if I remember correctly. Anyway two articles was all I could find on the subject looking thru his archives...
I think Dave's point still stands - young men who want to claim that they are doing combatives or self-defense or martial arts for health benefits do not need to be training (only) like their ancient predecessors.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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The Mysterious, Amazing Sensei Legend


Photo courtesy of Okinawa Soba
I've been doing a series of articles on various myths or legends or apocryphal stories that circulate amongst martial artists. Here you can see my previous posts on the Legend of the 3000 Year Old Martial Art, the Legend of the 8000 Techniques, and the Champion-Buster Legend. Today I'd like to talk about a super-common story that I like to call The Legend of The Mysterious, Amazing Sensei.
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I'm sure you've heard this one. Someone tells you a handful of anecdotes about things their amazing sensei did. He was a ninja warrior, a Vietnam vet who pulled someone's heart our with his bare hands, a Navy SEAL (It's amazing how many ex-SEALS I've met. They must all retire to my area!), counter-terrorist, studied on the mountain with demons, etc... The only problem is this amazing man has died/moved to Tibet/transcended this dimension (choose one).
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The story almost always wraps up with something like, "Since my mysterious sensei was the greatest warrior ever, and since I'm his only living student, I am obviously the best sensei you could ever hope to have (so you'd better stay here and keep paying me big money instead of going and studying with those inferior guys.)" Anyone ever hear something like this one?
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If you're the type to believe this sort of story, I just happen to have the perfect product for you...



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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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Helpful Handful: Breathing in Tegatana



Photo courtesy of Luna DiRimmel
The other day someone on a forum I read asked a question - basically, "What is the proper way to breathe during Tegatana no kata (our first kata - the walking exercise)?" They got several answers, none of which were wrong, but I thought I'd post my thinking on this subject here.
  • Breathe however you have to in order to avoid turning blue and passing out. Seems like a facetious answer, but it's only about half-smartalek. Your breathing is largely unconscious and your body can usually figure out pretty well how to entrain your breathing with your bodily motions.
  • A lot of people say exhale on the exertion and inhale on the recovery. But consider this - what part of the kata is the "exertion"? In the first two motions of the exercise, you step diagonally forward and then back to your starting point. Either of these can be the positive space in the kata, the thing you're actually practicing, so how do you know which to entrain your exhalation to?
  • Some people say exhale on the body drops and inhale on the body rises. This is okay also, and is basically just an alternative to the second point above. Here you treat each body motion as positive space, so you exhale as you drop forward, inhale as your recovery foot comes up under you, then exhale and inhale again as you step back to the origin. This is a good way to slow your kata way down because otherwise you'll hyperventillate and get dizzy.
  • Notice that abdominal breathing goes with slower, extending forward motions, while chest and shoulder breathing tends to go with quick retracting motions. Try as an experiment, snatching a breath as fast as you can and see don't you feel it in chest and neck and shoulders. Then breathe more slowly and see don't you feel it as more diaphragmatic and abdominal.
  • I like to play with different breathing patterns during the kata because this often suggests different applications for each motion in the exercise. When you change your breathing pattern, the same kata motions will take on wholly new meanings to you. There's not a proper way to do it, so play with different methods and mine the kata for alternative meanings.
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Patrick Parker is a Christian, husband, father, martial arts teacher, Program Director for a Cardiac Rehab, and a Ph.D. Contact: mokurendojo@gmail.com or phone 601.248.7282 木蓮
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