Sunday, December 28, 2008

Suparinpe 108

“Suparinpe” means 108 (= one hundred and eight) in Chinese Hokkien dialect. According to Buddhism, human beings have 108 problems or troubles. Here in Japan, at the midnight of 31st December, Buddhist monks strike the large bell in temple 108 times to solve those 108 problems of human beings, and we enter the clean and brand new year. So, maybe, if we practice “Suparinpe”, trouble we have might be solved. Maybe …

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Saifa

サイファー Saifa




According to Mr. Akio Kinjo, a karate researcher, the name "Saifa" is derived from "Sai", a Chinese word meaning a lion. I agree with him. I suppose "Sai" is a Fukien dialect for a lion. Actually in Indonesian language, a lion dance is called "Barong Sai". "Barong" is an Indonesia word, while "Sai" is a Chinese word. In the kata of Saifa, there is a double knuckle strike, which resembles a lion's paws.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Eku or Weeku (= an oar) of Ryukyu Kobudo

琉球古武道 ウェーク(櫂) Eku or Weeku (= an oar)



Eku or Weeku is an Okinawan word for an oar. It becomes a weapon in Ryukyu Kobudo. My teacher learned most of Ryukyu Kobudo including Eku from Shimpo Matayoshi. Recently I have got a message from my friend that he would like to see my Eku Kata, so this morning I performed it in the park and made this video clip. Now it is autumn here in Japan.







Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nunchaku



琉球古武道 ヌンチャク Nunchaku
I performed the same Kata of Nunchaku in 1984 when Seiko Higa’s 50th dojo anniversary demonstration was held in Naha, Okinawa. More than 24 years have passed since then, but I still practice the same Kata even today.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gekisai Ichi

撃砕一 Gekisai Ichi

Gekisai Ichi is the so-called unified Kata. It was created for both Naha-te school and Shuri-te school, so even if you are not a Goju-ryu stylist, you can understand it and can perform it easily.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bo-jutsu

棒術 Bo-jutsu

I have just started teaching Bo-jutsu to several members of my friend's Eisa (= Okinawan drum dance) team, so at this time the level of our performance is still very low. However, I really would like to show you how the Bo-jutsuis is like if we practice according to the Bo-jutsu Manual I posted the other day.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Seinchin



型 セーインチン Seinchin
Seinchin has many Shiko-dachi stances, and no kicking at all. If you practice the Kata, your Shiko-dachi stance would be improved. I think Sanchin, Tensho and Seinchin are the so-called Chi-kung. It generates our "Ki" or inner energy of life.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Gekisai Ni

Gekisai Ni 撃砕二
During my lunch break at work, I walked to the nearby park for a refreshing change. There I took a video clip of Kata "Gekisai Ni" with the self-timer.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bo-jutsu Manual (English Version)


BO-JUTSU MANUAL
Created by Eikichi Fukumoto
Noted and Translated by Sanzinsoo

Bo-jutsu (Former Part) * Defense *

1 Middle Left Side Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the lefft side strike.

2 Lower Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the lower area strike.

3 Upper Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the upper area strike.

4 Middle Right Side Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the right side strike.

5 Middle Left Side Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the left side strike.

6 Shin Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Strike the shin.

7 Block the thrust.
Block the thrust with the back end part of the staff.

8 Middle Right Side Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Srike the right side.

9 Lower Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Srike the lower area.

10 Upper Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Srike the upper area.

11 Middle Left Side Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Srike the left side.

12 Middle Right Side Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Srike the right side.

13 Shin Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the strike to your shin.

14 Thrust
Rotate the back end of the staff 180 degrees counter-clockwise. Pull a little and thrust.

15 Middle Left Side Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the left side strike.

16 Shin Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Strike the shin.

17 Upper Diagonal Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the upper diagonal strike with the front end part of the staff.

18 Upper Diagonal Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the upper diagonal strike with the back end part of the staff.

19 Middle Right Side Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Srike the right side.

20 Shin Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the strike to your shin.

21 Upper Diagonal Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Srike the upper diagonal area with the front end part of the staff.

22 Upper Diagonal Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Srike the upper diagonal area with the back end part of the staff.

23 Upper Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Srike the upper area.
Bo-jutsu (Latter Part) * Defense *

24 Thrust
Pull the staff back a little and thrust.

25 Pressed
Your staff is pressed down by the opponent's staff.

26 Shin Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Strike the shin.

27 Upper Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the upper area strike.

28 Jump
Jump to avoid the foot sweep.

29 Lower Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the lower area strike.

30 Upper Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the upper area strike.

31 Parry the thrust.
Slide back with your left foot making a cat stance. Parry the thrust.

32 Press down the staff.
Press down the opponent's staff with your staff.

33 Lift up your right foot.
Lift up your right foot to avoid the strike to your shin.

34 Upper Strike
Srike the upper area.

35 Foot Sweep
Step forward with your left foot while twirling the staff over your head. Sweep the feet.

36 Lower Strike
Stand up and strike the lower area.

37 Upper Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Srike the upper area.

38 Upper Diagonal Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the upper diagonal strike with the back end part of the staff.

39 Upper Diagonal Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Slide the hands along the staff and change the hand position.
Strike the upper diagonal area with the back end part of the staff.

40 Return to the starting stance.
Step backward with your right foot while sliding the hands along the staff and change the hand position.
Return to the starting stance.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bo-jutsu Manual (English Version)


BO-JUTSU MANUAL
Created by Eikichi Fukumoto
Noted and Translated by Sanzinsoo

Bo-jutsu (Former Part) * Attack *


1 Middle Right Side Strike
Step forward with your right foot while twirling the staff over your head. Srike the right side.

2 Lower Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Srike the lower area.

3 Upper Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Srike the upper area.

4 Middle Left Side Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Srike the left side.

5 Middle Right Side Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Srike the right side.

6 Shin Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the strike to your shin.

7 Thrust
Rotate the back end of the staff 180 degrees counter-clockwise. Pull a little and thrust.

8 Middle Left Side Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the lefft side strike.

9 Lower Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the lower area strike.

10 Upper Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the upper area strike.

11 Middle Right Side Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the right side strike.

12 Middle Left Side Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the left side strike.

13 Shin Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Strike the shin.

14 Block the thrust.
Block the thrust with the back end part of the staff.

15 Middle Right Side Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Srike the right side.

16 Shin Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the strike to your shin.

17 Upper Diagonal Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Srike the upper diagonal area with the front end part of the staff.

18 Upper Diagonal Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Srike the upper diagonal area with the back end part of the staff.

19 Middle Left Side Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the left side strike.

20 Shin Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Strike the shin.

21 Upper Diagonal Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the upper diagonal strike with the front end part of the staff.

22 Upper Diagonal Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the upper diagonal strike with the back end part of the staff.

23 Upper Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the upper area strike.

Bo-jutsu (Latter Part) * Attack *

24 Parry the thrust.
Slide back with your left foot making a cat stance. Parry the thrust.

25 Press down the staff.
Press down the opponent's staff with your staff.

26 Lift up your right foot.
Lift up your right foot to avoid the strike to your shin.

27 Upper Strike
Srike the upper area.

28 Foot Sweep
Step forward with your left foot while twirling the staff over your head. Sweep the feet.

29 Lower Strike
Stand up and strike the lower area.

30 Upper Strike
Step forward with your right foot. Srike the upper area.

31 Thrust
Pull the staff back a little and thrust.

32 Pressed
Your staff is pressed down by the opponent's staff.

33 Shin Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Strike the shin.

34 Upper Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the upper area strike.

35 Jump
Jump to avoid the foot sweep.

36 Lower Block
Step backward with your right foot. Block the lower area strike.

37 Upper Block
Step backward with your left foot. Block the upper area strike.

38 Upper Diagonal Strike
Step forward with your left foot. Srike the upper diagonal area with the back end part of the staff.

39 Upper Diagonal Block
Step backward with your left foot. Slide the hands along the staff and change the hand position.
Block the upper diagonal strike with the back end part of the staff.

40 Return to the starting stance.
Step backward with your right foot while sliding the hands along the staff and change the hand position.
Return to the starting stance.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tonfa


琉球古武道 トンファー

This morning, as usual, I practiced karate in the park. I also practiced Tonfa, one of ancient karate weapons of Okinawa. My teacher taught me this Kata of Tonfa. Here’s my video clip. I myself performed Kata of Tonfa. I hope you enjoy it.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sepai

セーパイ 十八
Today is a good Sunday for "Hanami" which literally means seeing Sakura or cherry blossoms. They are in full bloom. This time I performed Kata "Sepai" in front of Sakura. Sepai means eighteen. Maybe this name derives from famous Shaolin kungfu, Shih-pa Lohan Shou or Eighteen Lohan Hands. I have no idea whether this kata has something to do with the Shaolin kungfu or not.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Suparinpe

スーパーリンペー 壱百零八

Just a few weeks ago, at last I bought a digital camera. It costs 6,200 yen (= about US$60.-). I can take a very short movie or video clip, maximum 3 minutes. Today I asked my friend to take a video clip by that camera just for testing the camera. I performed Kata "Suparinpe". Our Suparinpe ends in Neko-Ashi-Dachi stance. I hope you enjoy it.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

THE MEETING OF OKINAWAN KARATE MASTERS IN 1936


Remarks: This is a part of the meeting records. It appears as an appendix in the book, "Karatedo Dai Hokan" written by Kanken Toyama. Pages 377-392 (Tsuru Shobo, 1960).

Translated by Sanzinsoo

The Meeting of Okinawan Karate Masters in 1936

Date and Time: October 25, 1936 (= 11th year of Showa Era) at 4:00 p.m.
Location: Showa Kaikan Hall, Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture
The Organizers: Ryukyu Shimpo Newspaper Company

Attendees:

Karate Masters:
Chomo Hanashiro
Kyan Chotoku
Choki Motobu
Chojun Miyagi
Juhatsu Kyoda
Choshin Chibana
Shimpan Gusukuma
Chotei Oroku
Genwa Nakasone, Karate Kenkyusha (affiliated with Shudokan of Kanken Toyama)

Guests:
Koichi Sato, Manager of Educational Affairs Department
Zenpatsu Shimabukuro, Director of Okinawa Prefectural Library
Kitsuma Fukushima, Regimental Headquarters Adjutant
Eizo Kita, Chief of Okinawa Prefectural Police Affairs Section
Chosho Goeku, Chief of Okinawa Prefetural Security Section
Gizaburo Furukawa, Supervisor of Physical Education of Okinawa Prefecture
Sei Ando, a writer
Choshiki Ota, President of Ryukyu Shimpo Newspaper Company
Kowa Matayoshi, Chief Editor of Ryukyu Shimpo
Zensoku Yamaguchi, Director of Ryukyu Shimpo Newspaper Company
Tamashiro, a reporter of Ryukyu Shimpo



Nakasone: When karate was first introduced in Tokyo, the capital of Japan, "karate" was written in Kanji (= Chinese character) as "Chinese Hand". This name sounded exotic, and gradually accepted among people in Tokyo. However, some people thought this Kanji "Chinese Hand" was not appropriate at schools. In order to avoid the use of this Kanji, some karate dojo wrote "karate" in Hirakana (= Japanese phonetic letters) instead of Kanji. This is an example of temporary use of the word. In Tokyo, most karate dojo use the Kanji "Empty Hand Way" for karate-do, although there are still a few dojo using the Kanji "Chinese Hand." In order to develop Japanese martial arts, I think Kanji for "karate" should be "Empty Hand" instead of "Chinese Hand" and "Karate-Do" should be the standard name. What do you think?

Chomo Hanashiro: In the old days, we, Okinawan people, used to call it "Toodii" or "Tode", not "Karate." We also called it just "Tii" or "Te." It means fighting with hands and fists.

*Translator’s note
Pronunciation for the Kanji written as "Chinese Hand" has two ways:
1) Toodii or Tode (Okinawan dialect)
2) Karate

Pronunciation for the Kanji written as "Empty Hand" has only one:
1) Karate

Ota: We, too, called it "Toodii" or "Tode."

Shimabukuro: Mr. Nakasone, I hear nowadays people call "Karate-Do" for karate. Does this mean people added the word "Do" (= literally means the Way) to the name "Karate" for emphasizing the importance of spiritual training like Judo and Kendo?

Nakasone: They use the word "Karate-Do" in the meaning of cultivation of the mind.

Ota: Mr. Miyagi, do you use the word "Chinese Hand" for karate?

Chojun Miyagi: Yes, I use the Kanji "Chinese Hand" as most people do so. It has minor meaning. Those who want to learn karate from me come to my home and say "Please teach me Tii or Te." So I think people used to call "Tii" or "Te" for karate. I think "Karate" is good in the meaning of the word. As Mr. Shimabukuro said, the name "Jujutsu" was changed to "Judo." In China, in the old days, people called Hakuda or Baida for Chinese kungfu, Kenpo or Chuanfa (= Quanfa). Like those examples, names changes according to times. I think the name "Karate-Do" is better than just "Karate." However, I will reserve decision on this matter, as I think we should hear other people's opinions. We had a controversy on this matter at the meeting of Okinawa Branch of Dai Nippon Butokukai. We shelved this controversial problem. In the mean time, we, members of Okinawa Branch, use the name "Karate-Do" written in Kanji as "The Way of Chinese Hand." Shinkokai (= a karate promotion center) will be formed soon, so we would like to have a good name.

Oroku: Mr. Miyagi, did you go all the way to China for studying karate?

Chojun Miyagi: At the beginning I had no plan to practice kungfu in China, but I found the kungfu excellent, so I leaned it.

Oroku: Have there been our own "Te" here in our prefecture, Okinawa, for a long time?

Chojun Miyagi: There have been "Te" in Okinawa. It has been improved and developed like Judo, Kendo and boxing.

Kyoda Juhatsu: I agree to Mr. Nakasone's opinion. However, I am opposed to making a formal decision right now at this meeting. Most Okinawan people still use the word "Chinese Hand" for karate, so we should listen to karate practitioners and karate researchers in Okinawa, and also we should study it thoroughly at our study group before making a decision.

Chojun Miyagi: We do not make a decision immediately at this meeting.

Matayoshi: Please express your opinion honestly.

Chomo Hanashiro: In my old notebooks, I found using the kanji (= Chinese character), "Empty Hand" for karate. Since August 1905, I have been using the kanji "Empty Hand" for karate, such as "Karate Kumite."

Goeku: I would like to make a comment, as I have a relation with Okinawa branch of Dai Nippon Butokukai. Karate was recognized as a fighting art by Okinawa branch of Dai Nippon Butokukai in 1933. At that time, Master Chojun Miyagi wrote karate as "Chinese Hand." We should change his writing "Chinese Hand" into "Empty Hand" at Okinawa branch if we change the Kanji into "Empty Hand." We would like to approve this change immediately and follow procedure, as we need to have approval of the headquarters of Dai Nippon Butokukai.

Ota: Mr. Chomo Hanashiro is the first person who used the kanji "Empty Hand" for karate in 1905. If something become popular in Tokyo, it will automatically become popular and common in other part of Japan. Maybe Okinawan people do not like changing the kanji (= Chinese character) of karate. But we would be marginalized if the word "Chinese Hand" is regarded as a local thing, while the word "Empty Hand" is regarded as a common name for karate as a Japanese fighting art. Therefore we had better use the word "Empty Hand" for karate.

Nakasone: So far the speakers are those who have been living in Okinawa for a long time. Now I would like to have a comment from Mr. Sato, the director of the School Affairs Office. He came to Okinawa recently.

Sato: I have almost no knowledge about karate, but I think the word "Empty Hand" is good, as the word "Chinese Hand" is groundless according to the researchers.

Furukawa: The kanji written as "Empty Hand" is attractive for us who came from outside Okinawa, and we regard it as an aggressive fighting art. I was disappointed when I saw the kanji "Chinese Hand" for karate.

Nakasone: This time, I would like to have a comment from Mr. Fukushima, the Regimental Headquarters Adjutant.

Fukushima: The kanji "Empty Hand" for karate is appropriate. The kanji "Chinese Hand" for karate is difficult to understand for those who do not know karate.

Ota: There is no one who do not like the word "Empty Hand" for karate, but there are people who do not like the word "Chinese Hand" for karate.

Chojun Miyagi: Well, when I visited Hawaii, Chinese people there seemed to have friendly feeling toward the word "Chinese Hand" for karate.

Shimabukuro: Here in Okinawa, we used to call "Tii" or "Te" for karate. To differentiate from it, we called "Toodii" or "Tode" for karate that was brought from China.

Nakasone: I think we have almost made clear about the name of karate. Now we would like to discuss about the promotion of karate. It is regrettable that karate is no popular in Okinawa at present. We need to find a solution to promote karate in the fields of physical education and martial arts education.

Furukawa: There are a lot of Ryu or styles in karate now. I think we have to unify them at any cost. I hear there are small differences between Shuri style karate and Naha style karate. I think both styles should be unified and we should make Kata of Japanese Karate-do. In the old days, we had about 200 styles of Kendo (= swordsmanship), but now they have been unified and we have the standard Kata of Japanese Kendo. I think karate would become popular all over the country if we had the unified Kata. For example, we can newly establish ten Kata as Japanese Karate. The name of each Kata should be changed into Japanese, such as Junan-No-Kata (soft and stretch kata), Kogeki-No-Kata (= offensive kata) and so on. In this way, we can conform the name of Kata to its content. And I also think we should make karate a competitive sport, so we should study how to hold a game of karate. We would like to make a uniform of karate and standardize contents and forms.

Chojun Miyagi: I agree to your opinion. With regard to Kata of karate, I ever submitted the opinion with explanation to the headquarters of Dai Nippon Butokukai (= national fighting arts association), when its Okinawa branch was established. As to karate clothes, we also would like to make karate uniform soon as we often have problems. As for terminology of karate, I think we will have to control it in the future. I am also advocating it, and I have been making new technical words and promoting them. Regarding Kata, I think traditional Kata should be preserved as old or classic Kata For the nationwide promotion of karate, I think we had better create new Kata. We will create both offensive and defensive Kata which are suitable for students of primary schools, high schools, universities and youth schools. Mainly, we, the members of Shinkokai (= karate promotion association), will make new Kata and promote them throughout Japan. Now there are Physical Education Association and Okinawa Branch of Butokukai. We also have senior students of karate and those who are interested in karate. We, therefore, cooperate with them to study and promote karate. If such organizations and experts study karate thoroughly, we can make a decision about the karate name issue and karate uniform relatively soon. I think the old Kata should be preserved without any modification while new Kata should be invented, otherwise I am convinced that no one will be interested in karate any longer in the world in the future.

Ota: How many karate organizations are there in Okinawa at present?

Chojun Miyagi: There are Okinawa Branch of Dai Nippon Butokukai, Physical Education Association of Okinawa Prefecture and Physical Education Association of Shuri City.

Ota: Mr. Chibana, how many students do you have now at your karate dojo?

Choshin Chibana: I have about 40 students at my karate dojo.

Chojun Miyagi: There is an opinion insisting that there are two Ryu or styles in karate, namely, Shorin-Ryu and Shorei-Ryu. I think such an opinion is wrong or false, as there is no evidence at all. However, if we have two styles in karate, we can categorize them by their teaching methods. In one style, they do not even differentiate between Fundamental Kata (= Kata such as Sanchin, Tensho and Naifanchi) and Kaishu Kata (= Kata other than Sanchin, Tensho and Naifanchi). They teach karate unsystematically and unmethodically. In the other style, they differentiate between Fundamental Kata and Kaishu Kata clearly. They teach karate systematically and methodically. My teacher (= Master Kanryo Higaonna) taught me karate in the way of the latter.

Ota: Karate masters we know did not go to China to study karate.

Chojun Miyagi: I have heard that Master Matsumura went to China and practiced karate there.

Choshin Chibana: Our teacher taught us Naifanchi as a Fundamental Kata.

Ota: Mr. Motobu, who taught you karate?

Choki Motobu: I learned karate from Master Itosu, Master Sakuma and Master Matsumora of Tomari village.

Ota: I thought you created your own karate on your own without learning from karate masters.

Choki Motobu: (laughing) No, I did not create my karate on my own.

Nakasone: Now we know every karate masters have agreed to the plan to establish a karate promotion association. As Mr. Furukawa told us the necessity of founding a karate promotion association, we think the other people also seem to agree to this plan. So we would like the members to start the preparation for establishing it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

THE LEGEND OF CHOKI MOTOBU (Full Version)

THE LEGEND OF CHOKI MOTOBU (Full Version)
実戦空手の先駆者 武勇・本部朝基(モトブヌサールー)
謝花 清人 著
翻訳 Sanzinsoo

Remarks: This is a complete translation of the article written by Mr. Seijin Jahana, the original title "Choki Motobu, a Forerunner of Combative Karate" appeared in the monthly magazine "Aoi Umi" (=Blue Sea) No.70 February 1978 issue (pages 106-110). This number features articles on Okinawan karate masters. The magazine was published in Okinawa but was already discontinued.

Translated by Sanzinsoo

I was in Okinawa in 1978. It seemed to rain soon in the early evening. I had to find his house soon, so I became hasty. A few drops of rain fell on my head when I succeeded in finding the home of Mr. Chozo Nakama, 80 years old, which was surrounded by a board wall.
When I was allowed to enter the house, the rain started falling. The ground of the courtyard was stamped flat. Maybe it was Mr. Nakama's training place of karate. There was a barbell got wet in the rain.

Mr. Nakama was awarded "Hanshi" (the highest title), 9th Dan(=degree) black belt. He teaches karate at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at a community center in Sakiyama, Shuri, Okinawa. He learned karate directly from Choki Motobu (1871-1944). It was about 1940 that Choki Motobu opened his own Dojo(=a training hall) in Nishishinmachi (=Kumecho now), Naha city after returning to Okinawa from Osaka, Japan.
I visited Mr. Nakama to hear the stories about his teacher, Choki Motobu during that time.

Choki Motobu passed away at his mistress's home in Tomari, Okinawa at the year when World War Two broke out. He died at the age of 73. His life was always with karate and karate.

He was born in Akahira, Shuri, Okinawa as the third son of Motobu Udun(=a feudal lord) in 1871. His elder brother was Choyu Motobu, the founder of Motobu-ryu karate. Choki Motobu was a rough fighter by nature. He began thrusting Makiwara(=a thrusting board) when he was a child and studied karate in his own way. Genius shows itself even in childhood. "Let's play karate fight, Grandpa!" He often said to his uncle who was "Ufuchiku" (=a police sergeant) as well as a teacher of Kobudo(=Okinawan classical weaponry arts) and used to visit Choki's father's home to have a chat.

Since he became strong enough after training in his own way, almost every night he went to a bar district such as Tsujimachi, and challenged a man who looks strong to street-fighting. Because of this, his reputation among karateka at that time was very bad. No one at his age could defeat him. Maybe he thought his street-fighting was one of his karate training.
Choki's fighting skills were created in the real fights, although people frowned upon his street-fighting. They said his fighting skills were full of variety and amazing. He created his Kumite(=sparring) techniques by himself. He rarely accepted disciples, as he was afraid that his Kumite(=sparring) techniques might be "stolen".

Although Choki studied karate in his own way, in fact he had three teachers. His first teacher was Anko Itosu, but he was soon refused to see Master Itosu, as Master Itosu received complaints about Choki's street-fighting.

His second teacher was Shitsunen Tokumine. Master Tokumine was a heavy drinker. Choki brought a bottle of Sake(=rice liquor) to him as a lesson fee. But later one day, Master Tokumine was very drunk and disorderly in Tsujimachi. He had a big fight with dozens of "Chikusaji" (=policemen) there, and eventually he was arrested by the police and exiled to a remote island in Yaeyama(=Ishigaki islands). He passed away in the remote island. Master Tokumine was a expert in karate and staff fighting arts. Chotoku Kyan alias Kyan Miigwaa(=small eyes) visited Yaeyama to learn Kata of staff fighting arts from Master Tokumine, however, at that time Master Tokumine had already passed away. Fortunately the owner of a small inn where Master Tokumine once stayed, had learned the Kata of staff fighting arts directly from Master Tokumine, so he taught the Kata to Master Kyan. In Yaeyama today still remains the Kata of staff fighting arts whose name is "Tokumine No Kun" (=The staff fighting arts of Master Tokumine).

After Master Tokumine was exiled to a remote island, Choki Motobu went to the karate Dojo of Master Kosaku Matsumora. When he asked the Master to teach him karate, he changed his name as Sesoko, not Motobu. He was afraid that Master Matsumora might also refuse to see him like his first teacher Master Anko Itosu. He was accepted by the Master Matsumora, but soon Choki's bad reputation of street-fighting disclosed his true name Choki Motobu alias Motobu Saaruu(=monkey). The Master Matsumora called him and questioned.
"Why did you tell me a lie that your name is Sesoko?"
"It's true, Master. I wouldn't tell you a lie. My name is not only Motobu but also Sesoko. My mother's family name is Sesoko. I was brought up in my mother's village when I was a child."
"I see. Never tell a lie!"
"No, never!"
Then he was formally accepted as a disciple.

Choki was very frank and open-minded, so he did not care about money at all. He always spent all the money he had. It was his later period of his life. When Mr. Nakama visited Choki's home, Choki invited him to go for a walk. At that time Choki received a pocket money with the exact amount for a meal, a taxi and so on from his mistress who had been living with him since staying in Osaka. She was worried that he would spend all the money with him if she gave him some extra money.

Needless to say, Choki could not save money. He could not make money either. His horse-carriage business in Okinawa was failed, so he and his family went to Osaka, Japan in about 1921.
There is a famous story that Choki had a match with a professional boxer when he was in Osaka. He worked as a guard at a cotton factory. It was an owner of a rooming house where Choki lived who suggested him to play a match with a boxer. The owner found an advertisement in the newspaper that a promoter seeking an opponent of a Russian boxer, Johnson. He explained the advertisement to Choki who could not read letters, and for a joke he suggested Choki to apply for this offer. Choki agreed with his suggestion seriously at once. The owner of a rooming house was surprised to hear Choki's reply, but he made an application for Choki.

Well, on the day of the boxing match, the ringside was crowded with a lot of people. The tall and big Russian boxer versus short Choki.
"That man (=Choki) must be a fool!" said many spectators.
Choki was told to put on the boxing gloves, but he refused to put on them.
"He is really crazy!" said the spectators again.

In the first round, the big Russian boxer was driving Choki into a corner of the ring. The boxer was stronger and tougher than expected. "I cannot defeat him. I will lose." thought Choki. "But If I easily lose this match, I would be very very sorry for my Okinawan fellow students of karate." The first round was over with much difficulty for Choki.

In the second round, the professional boxer, Johnson maybe thought that this match was too easy for him. He charged toward Choki with less guard. Seeing the unguarded moment, Choki immediately jumped. The big body of Johnson fell down to the mat. In a moment the spectators could not understand what happened. Then, knowing Choki won the match, they shouted and applauded with admiration. Some of them excitedly threw their money and precious watches into the ring.Choki jumped and hit the back of Johnson's ear with his fist. Choki Motobu or Motobu Saaruu's jumping and karate skills were really amazing.

The match was reported widely all over the country by newspapers and magazines, so the name of Choki Motobu and the power of karate became very famous. Some people visited him for asking him to teach them karate.
Choki also taught at university by request. When he taught there, the Okinawan student acting as interpreter was always beside him, as Choki could not speak Yamatoguchi(=standard Japanese language). The interpreter translated Choki's explanation of Kata etc in Uchinaaguchi(=Okinawan dialect) into standard Japanese. His illiteracy and lack of education might be helping to make a bad image of Choki such as a rude and rough fighter who has no good manners and so on. But in fact, he was polite and very rigid in good manners not only for himself but also for his disciples.

In about 1937 or 1938 Choki was in Okinawa, while his family was left in Osaka. A judo teacher whose name is Sudo came to Okinawa from Japan to study karate. He was a black belt of 8th Dan (later he became 10th Dan). He visited Mr. Kojun Yamashiro who was also a judo teacher at the Second Middle School (=now Naha High School). Sudo visited many karateka(=karate players) in Okinawa. One day he came to Choki and challenged him to a match. Choki accepted the challenge. They made rules before playing a match, because they might be severely injured or damaged if they really fight each other with real karate techniques without any rule or restriction.

Choki and Sudo took a fighting stance, and watched sharply each other without moving. One minute passed. Two minutes passed. "I can't win. Please teach me karate!" said Sudo with loosening the stance.I suppose a true martial artist can see his opponent's ability and power if he look at the opponent's sharp eye when they face each other.Since that day, Sudo, a judo teacher came to Choki every day to study karate. He learned how to fight with a man wielding a knife, how he should respond by karate techniques if surrounded by many men, and so on. He studied practical karate by Choki Motobu, the pioneer of combative karate.There is another episode related to this match. When Choki met with Sudo to have a match, he wore Haori-Hakama(=a Japanese traditional black kimono with a coat over it, a formal suit at that time). He thought an ordinary clothes was lacking good manners, so Mr. Nakama, his disciple rented Haori-Hakama, a formal clothes for him. Choki did not have any formal clothes.

There are very few books of Choki Motobu. It is regrettable that there is no comprehensive book of Choki's Kumite(=sparring) techniques. I wish he had written such books. In fact, Choki had a plan for publishing karate books. There was the manuscript written at his dictation. When he was about to go to Osaka again, he asked Mr. Nakama to keep the manuscript for him. "Please send it to me immediately if I ask you." said Choki. It was a very thick manuscript. Mr. Nakama copied it in his four notebooks. Some days later, Mr. Nakama was asked to send the manuscript to Choki in Osaka soon. But eventually the book was not published. In fact, Choki sold his manuscript to someone else just for money. He had no choice but to sell it, because he needed money to pay the hospital. He had been in hospital due to ill.

Mr. Nakama's notebooks of the manuscript copy had been burnt to ashes due to air raid in Okinawa during World War Two. To whom or which publisher did Choki sell the original manuscript? Does that manuscript still exist?

The content of the manuscript consists of karate history, Kata, application of Kata, sparring techniques and so on. It must have been a comprehensive book of Choki Motobu's karate studies.People frowned on Choki's karate, as they thought his was just for the purpose of fighting. However, the truth was that he was always earnest or very serious about karate. Considering this, it is quite regrettable that Choki's comprehensive book made by all his life did not appear after all.
But it may be suitable for Choki Motobu who very rarely accepted disciples as he was afraid that his karate techniques might be "stolen". If he were still alive, maybe he would tell us not to "steal" other karateka's techniques but to create by ourselves.

Choki Motobu also known as Saaruu of Motobu was a legend even while he was still alive, because he was a strong man, and he had natural-born ability of martial arts. He sought a combative karate. He always challenged to street fights. So there were a lot of fighting stories about him. It made him a legend in the process of transmitting the exaggerated stories to the public. Some people says "That’s because he is a "Paafuchaa" (= a braggart in Okinawan dialect). Most of his fighting stories are questionalble."

In fact I have found small discrepancy in the situation when I investigated stories about Choki, even among stories which are said to be heard directly from him. Maybe that’s why he was called a Paafuchaa.

The person whose ability is better than others got the best and the worst reputations at the same time in his or her days. Choki is not a exception, either. Even today the reputation about Choki and his karate varies depending on who talks about him.

Some say that Choki Motobu is the strongest warrior in Okinawa. With his combative karate, he contributed to promotion of karate and let people know how powerful karate is. Others say that his karate is just for fights, and it is out of the Way of Karate-Do. He is not "Bushi" but "Busaa". "Bushi" is a karate expert who is not only good at karate but also is very well-mannered and observes the proprieties. On the other hand, "Busaa" is good at fighting, but he just shows off his fighting skill. He is a violent man in a short.

Choki Motobu was called "Paafuchaa" (= a braggart in Okinawan dialect), a great contributor to promotion of karate, a violent man. What kind of man was he?

Unfortunately, there are few articles written about Choki. Even if we find them, they tell us only about karate. There is no book written by Choki himself. He had been so enthusiastic about training in karate since childhood, he did not learn how to read or write. He was almost illiterate. I have a book entitled "Okinawa Kenpo Karate-Jutsu: Kumite by Choki Motobu" illustrated with photos of Kumite. But this book was written by dictation from Choki.

I need to interview directly with the persons who were close to Choki in order to find the true image of him. They talked about him that he was a strong fighter, but they talked less about his private life or his personality. One of them said to me, "Sorry, I can’t tell you about him. If I talk about him, it will sound as if I slander him."

Among them, I think the story talked by Mr. Nakama gave me the most real image of Choki Motobu who was also called Saaruu of Motobu. Therefore, I, Seijin Jahana, wrote this article based on the story told by Mr. Chozo Nakama.

END

Friday, January 18, 2008

MEMORIES OF MY SENSEI, CHOJUN MIYAGI (Full Version)

恩沢無量、人間の道を説く 武人・宮城 長順
仲井真 元楷 著
翻訳 Sanzinsoo

MEMORIES OF MY SENSEI, CHOJUN MIYAGI
(Full Version)

by Genkai Nakaima


Remarks: This is a translation of the original article "Chojun Miyagi the Karate Master. His kindness is infinite. He preaches morality." written by Mr. Genkai Nakaima which appeared in the local monthly magazine "Aoi Umi" No.70 February 1978 issue (pages 99-100) published by Aoi Umi Shuppansha. This special issue featured Okinawan karate masters. The magazine was already discontinued. The original Japanese title is "Ontaku Muryo, Ningen No Michi Wo Toku Bujin Miyagi Chojun".

Translated by Sanzinsoo

One day in the spring when I had just moved up to the second grade of middle school, my classmate, Bunshun Tamagusuku said to me, "Why don't we learn karate from Master Chojun Miyagi?" He had been asked by his uncle, Jin-an Shinzato. Those who were asked to learn karate from Master Chojun Miyagi by Jin-an Shinzato were Tatsutoku Sakiyama (his name at that time was Tatsutoku Senaha), Kiju Nanjo (his name at that time was Kiju Azama) and me.

Jin-an Shinzato was my next door neighbor. He had already graduated from Naha Commercial High School, so he was my senior. He resided in a rented house of Mr. Yukei Kuniyoshi.

In the evening Shinzato wearing white bandage around his neck appeared in front of the wooden gate of Mr. Kuniyoshi's rented house. Bunshun Tamagusuku, I, and sometimes Tatsutoku Sakiyama, got together there.

Shinzato hung from the bar of the wooden gate and pulled himself up until his chin was above the bar. He showed us how high his chin was above the bar. He demonstrated us many repetitions of chin up. He also taught us one arm chin up.

Later we often got together at the school playground of Naha Jinjo Koto Shogakko (= an elementary school) in the evening. We enjoyed doing various exercises on chin-up bars or horizontal bars. Thanks to Shinzato, we could perform Giant Swing, Backward Giant Swing, Somersault and other advanced techniques.

Before long, Jin-an Shinzato enrolled in the police academy.

The four of us, Bunshun Tamagusuku, Tatsutoku Sakiyama (= Tatsutoku Senaha), Kiju Nanjo (= Kiju Azama) and I (= Genkai Nakaima), decided to learn karate from Master Chojun Miyagi.

I had to ask for permission of my father first. My father was ten years old when Shuri Castle was occupied by Japanese troops, Ryukyu Kingdom was abolished and became a prefecture of Japan in 1879 (Meiji Era 12). He was three years old when Japanese Government established the Ryukyu Clan as an initial step in their program to abolish Ryukyu Kingdom and establish Okinawa prefecture in 1872 (Meji Era 5).

Because my father was born in such a time of transition and the ancestors of our family had come from China, our family did not allow him get an education of Japanese system called "Yamato Gakumon", so he did not go to school. However, he built up a powerful and flexible physique because of the hard work. I heard he was a strong Okinawan style sumo wrestler. He was very delighted when I received a big prize at athletic meeting.

It was Spring in 1923, I was 15 years old, when I told my father that I was going to learn karate from Miyagi Sensei (= Master Chojun Miyagi). He said to me "It's great if you learn from Bushi Miyagushiku (=Miyagi the Karate Master)!" and gave me permission. At that time Miyagi Sensei was already famous for his karate, so my father thought he was an ideal teacher for me.

We, Kumemura community people in Okinawa, were proud of Chinese lineage. We believed our ancestors came from China to Okinawa, so we highly respected not only Chinese literary arts but also fighting arts. As to literary arts, we established a school, "Meirindo" which was something like a college today, where the youth were educated. As for fighting arts such as karate and Bo (=staff fighting), I think we practiced individually in accordance with each physical strength and other conditions.

According to a program of the cultural festival at "Meirindo" school, there were performances of Bo (=staff fighting), Tesshaku or Tiechi (=Sai), "Sesan", "Chishokin", "Tohai" and "Suparinpe". Most performances of karate were the same as what Miyagi Sensei had taught us.

Well, lessons by Miyagi Sensei began. We had lessons three times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, after school from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Miyagi Sensei's home, not at Dojo (=a training hall) like these days. Some time later, quitted my classmate, Bunshun Tamagusuku whose uncle was a famous karateka Jin-an Shinzato, so remained three members: Tatsutoku Sakiyama whose family name at that time was Senaha, Kiju Nanjo whose family name was Azama at that time, and myself.

The process of our training consists of the preparatory exercises, the supplementary exercise and the foot movements of Sanchin.

According to the explanation of Miyagi Sensei about the preparatory exercise, by doing physical exercise, we can prepare for the formal karate training such as Sanchin and other Kata exercise. It also has an element as a warm-up.Another meaning of the preparatory exercise is building up our physical strength by training all the necessary muscles so that we can use the muscles in any situation. In short, we build up karate body by the preparatory exercise.The supplementary exercise is a kind of training mainly for learning basic technical components of Kata. It helps us to understand science and logic of karate, and at the same time, our skill of karate will be created with the development of our athletic ability and physical strength.
In this way, we can lay the foundations for karate by doing the preparatory exercise and the supplementary exercises.

Miyagi Sensei told us various stories for two or three hours after the practice was over. The topics of his stories were not only technical matters of karate but also the general world affairs, the present situation of karate circles, the origin of karate, his studying attitude toward karate and Buddhism, karate and Okinawan traditional performing arts, and so on. At that time we were just junior high school boys, but Miyagi Sensei preached to us about the truth of karate, the soul of karate master, the Way of karate, namely the Way of man or morality. I still remember his bright face with sharp eyes in which I find the true karate master's love and kindness.

Now I will tell you some of Miyagi Sensei's words as follows.

"If you practice only Sanchin all your life, you do not have to practice any other Kata. Sanchin is so essential and important." One day I asked him, "How many times do you practice Sanchin to think that you performed well?" He replied, "I think I performed Sanchin well only once out of 30 times practices." At that time he was young, 34 or 35 years old. His words are still impressive to me.

"The hand position at the ending of Sanchin is the same as that of a Buddha statue." Miyagi Sensei often told us this story. I think the hand position at the ending of Sanchin is the most beautiful expression of praying. In fact I saw the same hand position of Buddha statues in some temples.

"Goju is the willow tree blown by the strong wind," said Miyagi Sensei. The strong wind blows the willow. The willow never resists the wind, just remains passive, but will never be broken or destroyed. In this way we take advantage of the opponent's strength flow. It is a secret of the arts that we have to master through the practice.

I think it was 1926 when the National Athletic Meeting was held at the Outer Garden of the Meiji Shrine, Tokyo. Miyagi Sensei's disciple, Mr. Jin-an Shinzato participated in the Meeting to perform karate as a classical fighting arts. At that time he was suddenly asked by an official of the Meeting, "What is your style's name?" then he replied "Goju-ryu style." Later he explained this matter to Miyagi Sensei and Miyagi Sensei approved it. Since then we call ourselves Goju-ryu.

I asked, "Sensei, do you have eyes in the back of your head? They say that even if we follow you secretly and quietly, you immediately notice us and turn around quickly to find us." Miyagi Sensei replied, "There is no one who have eyes in the back of his head. However, when I walk along the road, in some cases I feel something strange. I think it is the so-called sixth sense."

"We should always be cautious when we turn at the corner of a road, walk along a rainy street and climb up and down a ladder etc. It will become useful for self-defense if we have practiced karate sufficiently hard and are accustomed to being cautious. As the result of a long time training of karate, we can obtain the so-called sixth sense and can notice if someone is following."

"Studying karate nowadays is like walking in the dark without a lantern. We have to grope our way in the dark." said Miyagi Sensei. He also told me, "There are so many things in karate which does not make sense and there are a lot of things I cannot understand. Therefore, while our grand masters are still alive, we have to see them and ask many questions. I think it is still very difficult to find the answers even if we did so." I ever went with him to homes of the grand masters, Chomo Hanashiro Sensei and Itosu-No-Tanmee (=Itosu the Old Master) to hear their stories of karate.

In 1926 (the last year of Taisho era), karate masters got together and founded a club to research karate on the south side of Asahigaoka, Wakasamachi, Naha City. The masters who participated in the club were:

Chojun Miyagi, Juhatsu Kyoda, Ume of Motobu, Saaruu of Motobu (= Choki Motobu), Kenwa Mabuni, Taizo Tahara, Shinpan Gusukuma

On the first day and fifteenth day of each month, they worshiped Bushin or the God of Martial Arts. Tatsutoku Sakiyama (= Tatsutoku Senaha), Kiju Nanjo (= Kiju Azama), Kogyu Tazaki, Kamade Yagi (= He is now in South America), Seiko Kina and I (= Genkai Nakaima) also went to the club and got training in karate there.

Miyagi Sensei approved the change of writing "karate" in Kanji (= Chinese charcters) from "China Hand" to "Empty Hand". The kanji for karate: "China Hand" gradually was changed into the kanji for karate: "Empty Hand".

Like Jujutsu became Judo, he devoted himself for evolving karate from "karate" of a fighting art to "Karate-Do".

When Master Jigoro Kano of Kodokan judo visited Okinawa in 1925 (= Taisho 14), we demonstrated Goju-ryu karate for him at a public hall in Naha City. Miyagi Sensei himself explained it to Jigoro Kano. The friendly meeting of Kano and Miyagi, the two founders of martial arts, must be bright light for Karate-Do and good fortune for the development of Judo.

"Kenkoku Taiso" exercise was created in Japan during World War Two. In fact, the "Kenkoku Taiso" exercise consisted mostly of Kata of karate, so it might be a variation of karate.

As far as I know, Miyagi sensei has never tried to show off karate. Therefore, we also never talked about karate both at school and outside school. We bore firmly in mind that we should not show karate to other people in public.

When the high-ranking judo instructors of Kodokan came to Okinawa on the way to Taiwan, they asked us to show them karate. Tatsutoku Sakiyama (= Tatsutoku Senaha), Kiju Nanjo (= Kiju Azama) and I (= Genkai Nakaima) demonstrated karate at the judo training hall of Second Middle School. After the judo instructors left the school, Miyagi Sensei visited Sochoku Nakachi, a teacher of Second Middle School, and asked him “How was the karate demonstration by my students?"

When Prince Takamatsunomiya visited Okinawa, Miyagi Sensei appointed me to show him Sanchin as a representative of Goju-Ryu. I performed Sanchin only wearing a pair of pants just like a daily practice. Miyagi Sensei did not demonstrate karate.

The rhythm of karate drawn in the air is the wisdom of the blessing from the heaven. It is same as the rhythm of traditional Okinawan dance or Ryukyu Buyo.

Let’s continue walking and groping in the dark to succeed the great works Miyagi Sensei left us.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Spanish

Thank you for your Spanish translaiton, David!

http://www.karate-jutsu.net/forum.php?forum=2&fpage=1&msg=259&topic=126

(Spanish)

Asunto: Tai Chi Chuan y Goju Ryu05/01/2008 18:39 GMT

Yamada (Sanzinsoo) en su blog (http://yamada-san.blogspot.com/) escribe una pequeña reflexión sobre el Goju-ryu y el Tai Chi Chuan:Tai Chi Chuan y Goju-RyuAntes de que empezara a estudiar Goju-ryu hace 25 años, estuve aprendiendo la forma simplificada de Taichi Chuan (estilo Yang de 24 movimientos). Incluso hoy día, algunas veces practico Taichi Chuan además de practicar las katas de Goju-ryu. Para mi, casi no hay diferencia entre el Taichi Chuan y el karate Goju-ryu.

En el caso de Goju-ryu, aprendemos desde los aspectos "Go" (= dureza) y al final estudiamos los aspectos "Ju" (= suave). En Taichi Chuan, es otro camino, estudiamos los aspectos "Ju" y al final estudiamos "Go". Ambos estilos son diferentes pero intentan obtener el mismo objetivo, "Go" y "Ju". Como el Taichi es Chi-kung (= qi gong), Goju-ryu es también Chi-kung. Sanchin, Tensho y Seinchin son obviamente Chi-kung. Hacer que el Chi (= Ki en Japones) fluya correctamente es un elemento esencial en ambos, Taichi y Goju-ryu. Aunque histórica y técnicamente ambos son completamente diferentes, yo siento las cosas comunes en ellos. Pienso que si aprendemos Taichi, podremos entender los aspectos "Ju" del Goju-ryu más fácilmente y viceversa para los practicantes de Taichi.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I met with Samurai in Kyoto.


The House of Aizu Clan


Samurai and Sanzinsoo


Bo was used as one of official weapons by police in Edo Period.


I practiced Bo-Jutsu in front of an ancient house.



Today (January 4, 2008) I went to Uzumasa, Kyoto. I met with Samurai there. I also practiced Bo-jutsu in front of an ancient house. I had Tempura with drinking hot Sake for dinner.

For further information about Uzumasa Eiga Mura, visit the following website.

http://www.eigamura30.com/english/index.html