"The Author, it must be remembered, writes from his own standpoint!"
My personal "Interpretive" Lens!

Do You Have A Question?

If you have a question not covered in this blog feel free to send it to me at my email address, i.e. "snow" dot here "covered" dot here "bamboo" AT symbol here "gmail" dot here "com"

"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour

"Ideally, your self-defense will never get physical. Avoiding the situation and running or talking you way out - either of these is a higher order of strategy than winning a physical battle." - Wise Words of Rory Miller, Facing Violence: Chapter 7: after, subparagraph 7.1:medical

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

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I have a youtube video doing my kata, can you take a look and tell me if I have chinkuchi?

First, you can not "see" chinkuchi manifested in kata or kumite. There is no way to determine a person is or has chinkuchi and/or principles through a video. Two, the only way to determine if one has chinkuchi or principles applied is to feel it through training on the dojo floor. 

It is too limiting to see chinkuchi or principles applied through video since there are aspects that occur that are not perceived through the lens of a camera or the human eye. We can be fooled into thinking something is chinkuchi or principles. 

Take sequential locking and releasing. You can not see that and to think a strong muscle it appearance in performing karate denotes chinkuchi/principles is a mistake.

If you want to know if you are practicing correctly get on the training hall floor with one who is proficient/has expertise and determine it as you practice. 

Even then to observe chinkuchi takes someone who has pretty much mastered it over a long time of practice and who has also taught it over time. It takes an ability in perception that most karate-ka cannot or have not developed.

Even so called karate masters with high rank fail to understand the concept of chinkuchi and principles (one cannot live without the other) because they never developed the full spectrum (some manifest individual aspects of the whole and assume that is it but that fails in reality).

Am I an expert on chinkuchi/principles? 

No, yet I have a greater understanding to know that I cannot determine if one has it unless we train together over time on the training hall floor. Then maybe and mutually we karate-ka can determine the level and completeness we have gained in chinkuchi/principles.

Sparring, what is its value?

Sparring is not combat or even fighting. It has value but the extent of said value toward self-defense depends a lot on the context and intent of the sparring model. I do believe that sparring, as it exists currently, is more a dueling model, a social type fighting means of practice and training. Much like I expressed toward certain two person predefined drills. 

Sparring consists of a different emotional involvement. Both parties are willing participants. The model allows for getting a feel for the others fighting skills. In a lot of cases both parties are fairly equal in skill and ability. What happens if one or the other actually take it outside the dueling model and take it to some extreme fast and chaotic model that would test the others resolve and ability to handle it, both mentally and physically? What would happen if the role of tori were to not follow any protocol and that the tori would be bigger, stronger, and more skilled? What would happen if suddenly, without warning, you had the biggest, toughest and most skilled person in training attack someone outside of any context of sparring, etc.? 

Sparring is a great essential exercise to get novices outside their comfort zones. It can be used in a manner to stress the mind while stressing the body as well by taking it to a level of shugyo or austere type training, i.e. where the participants go until they drip and drop exhausted, spent and pretty much in a daze? Is this even possible?

Remember that the techniques necessary to defend against violence may not be as applicable during sparring, and vice versa. 

Pearlman, Steven J. "The Book of Martial Power." Overlook Press. N.Y. 2006.

Why don't all dojo have fundamental stance/movement basics/warmups?

In Aikido they do something referred to as a walking kata. It teaches footwork, posture and body movement. In karate, my system in particular, does not focus directly on such fundamentals. It seems to promote all the proper fundamental principles of martial systems as given in the book of martial power and considering the importance of such things in the overall scheme of martial arts, combative arts and/or self-defense I wonder why it does not exist.

Take a look at the post over at Patrick Parker's blog, "Mokuren Dojo." 

When I viewed his video I began to wonder why this is not, in some form, a part of the fundamental basics, i.e. in Isshinryu they use the upper and lower basic techniques as a warm-up/training for those basic techniques that are supposed to train a karate-ka in things like proper stances, transitions when done in a movement or walking manner, and kamae, etc. I just wonder since things like posture, body alignment and movement, etc. are so important that karate communities/dojo's don't focus on the assumption, movement and transitional aspects of just the stances along with incorporation of the fundamental principles before going into basics such as hand and foot techniques. 

Consider this theory, the assumption (although very brief in delivery of combinations, etc. and often on the move type stances) of stance or kamae while applying various techniques seems to detract from the importance of said stances. I feel that the stance and the Earth contribute a good deal to the transference of power to the adversary. 

Then I think of those maneuvers that require us to move, out of the way or off center of the adversary, while applying appropriate principles/techniques are not given more due diligence at the novice levels. I watch the walk, Aiki Tai Sabaki in the video, and can see how that would be of benefit in laying out a solid foundation for the art as well as for self-defense principles. Watching this video shows me movement beyond what most karate dojo practice in basics, i.e. the forward and backward straight line model. Is this why many karate-ka get stuck in that straight line model vs. something more adaptable to self-defense?

In my later years as a teacher I did move toward adaptation of stances, movement, etc. without hand techniques to keep the novices focus on proper stances with applied principles of martial systems because in my previous years observed many students lose site of proper stances, etc. and having to struggle with it later when changes are much harder. 

Some will speak up and say, that is what the basics are for as well as the kata but I find that so many are caught up in other aspects, i.e. applying hand and foot techniques, that they lose site of this part and then struggle longer to gain a modicum of proficiency. Over taxing the mind seems counter productive to me and when someone is learning the martial arts as a novice, i.e. absolutely no previous experience at all, then it seems to end up confusing or more difficult then it has to be. I attribute this to expediency vs. slow deliberate progress. 

It is great when you finally get to the "more fun stuff" in martial arts but without a solid foundation in principles/techniques you end up with useless stuff that may look good but may not work especially in the fight. 

What do you think?