Gallery − Okinawa, July 2009 − Page 1
On July 2009, I visited the Shinjinbukan Honbu Dōjō in Okinawa, Japan. I was accompanied by my deshi Satō Masaaki, who is a native from Nagano Prefecture, but trains with me in New York City. We had the opportunity to learn under my teacher Onaga Yoshimitsu Kaichō, as well as to train with other senior members of the Shinjinbukan School.
July 12, 2009 — At the end of the first evening session, Onaga Kaichō formally welcomed us to Okinawa and for ten days of training at our Shinjinbukan Honbu Dōjō. His message was clear: "Do your best and learn as much as you can...
Other Shinjinbukan members also members present were: Arakaki Shunichi Sensei (Secretary of the Honbu Dōjō), Jonathon Hallberg, Takaesu Shōhei, Melanie Petrak and Jūmonji Yōsuke.
July 14, 2009 - Every morning, Masaaki started the day with some basic drills: Tsuki, Keri & Tenshin.
Tachikata — Concepts
July 16, 2009 —Tonight Masaaki and I were fortunate enough to have a class alone with Onaga Kaichō. The setting at the Dōjō combined explanations regarding Onaga Kaichō's technical and philosophical concepts of Ti (ティー), followed by training drills, questions and answers and more detailed explanations. All those were interjected with some ceremonial toasts, which followed the Shinjinbukan Martial Arts etiquette, known as Reigi Sahō.
To start with, Onaga Kaichō explained Tachikata, including the basic structure of each stance and how the body transitions from one position to another. For us, understanding Tachikata is essential in order to understand Tenshin.
Dai Ichi Kihon Gata — Concepts
Kaichō also explained the evolution of Dai Ichi Kihon Gata through several generations. First, the basic Kihon was created by Chibana Chōshin Dai Sensei. This Form went trough a process of adaptions made by Higa Yūchoku Dai Sensei, and was further refined by Onaga Yoshimitsu Kaichō.
The opening moves of Dai Ichi Kihon Gata use a hand technique known as Kaki Di. Many Karate styles use a hand technique that resembles our Kaki Di, but in fact they are not the same. Onaga Kaichō demonstrated the application of Kaki Di with Satō Masaaki San. Kaichō's hand motion, tenshin and counter attack were executed effortlessly, with flowing motion and almost no power. However, he generated a tremendous amount of force from the center of his body, which pulled Satō San and threw him two meters.
Onaga Kaichō sat down and smiled. After finishing his glass of sake, he looked at us with his piercing eyes and said:
Onaga no Ti — Concepts
Onaga Kaichō finished his glass of Kentucky Bourbon. As part of Reigi Sahō, Masaaki San filled the cup once more for Onaga Kaichō. This setting provided an important learning experience for Masaaki San as a new Mago Deshi. Kaichō continued explaining the philosophy and concepts of Onaga no Ti: "Who am I? You must know yourself. I am weak and you are strong, but I will not loose..."
Next, Onaga Kaichō demonstrated shokusokugi through contact with the outside of Masaaki's wrist. (Image 1)
According to Onaga no Ti, by using different Kamae (Guarding Postures) we control our opponent and lead them into our counter attack. In addition, the concept of Karada wo Wakeru Hōhō divides our body into smaller sections, which fall under two categories: In and Yō. Below, a few examples of how to divide the body:
Image 4 — The X Form divides the body into four parts.
Tsuki wa Ue Kara hairimasu — In the photos below, Onaga Kaichō turns the aji uki into a counter attack as the tsuki enters from above. For Onaga Kaichō these positions are not defense tactics, but instead a way of controlling the opponent.
Each Kamae creates an opening that invites the opponent's attack. By choosing a Kamae, I am creating an opening for my opponent (a trap for my opponent). Therefore, I am in control and able to lead the counter attack.
Dai Ichi Kihon Gata — Applications
In the Shinjinbukan School, our understanding of Kata (Form) is the study of shapes or templates of all basic techniques. In the third part of Dai Ichi Kihon Gata, Aji Uki is used as a counter attack from above (a rising strike) and not a high block. In other words, the arm's upward motion creates an opening and enters into the opponent's space.
Another application of Dai Ichi Kihon Gata is nagashi tsuki, which is a hand strike with longer arm extension generated from the hip without unlocking the shoulder blade.
Next, Onaga Kaichō demonstrated other applications of the third Section of Dai Ichi Kihon Gata, by using Aji Uki with 180 degree turns and switching hands.
Neko Ashi — Multiple Variations
The term Neko Ashi is a short name for Neko Ashi Dachi, also know in English as Cat Stance. In Okinawan Karate there are many types of neko ashi which do not have a specific name.
In the pictures below, we can see examples of different types of neko ashi:
Below, we can see a few transitions between different types of Neko Ashi.
Neko Ashi — Applications for Iri Kumi
ONAGA KAICHŌ'S TEACHINGS:
OUR SCHOOL IN OKINAWA:
OTHER SENIOR DESHI:
NEW YORK, NEW YORK — USA:
RYŪKYŪ MARTIAL ARTS AND MORE:
NIHONGO — JAPANESE LANGUAGE: