Shotokan Karate of America and Special Training

Discussion in 'Karate' started by YoshiroShin, Jul 29, 2022.

  1. YoshiroShin

    YoshiroShin Valued Member

    Meh, it's a safer-than-sorry type thing. These guys seem nuts, they brag about challenges to the death, the black belt who harassed me previously seemed unhinged, and the dojo leader may or may not have issued me a challenge. I have no strong feelings on the secrecy though.

    This might make sense to me.

    The JKA method is somehow more open-minded about change by comparison to SKA (SKA still doesn't practice ushiro geri / spinning back kick for instance because it doesn't appear in Karate-do Kyohan). SKA is all about being "the original" Karate that Funakoshi Sensei taught (they overlook Yoshitaka Funakoshi's contributions to the system entirely - I think he even influenced the Karate shown in Karate-do Kyohan as well; they also overlook that Funakoshi Sensei's Karate was constantly evolving itself as well which is very apparent if you compare Karate-do Kyoshan to his earlier publication To-Te Jitsu).

    Interestingly they claim that Ohshima Sensei himself created the modern competition judging system used to this day back in 1952. I don't know whether or not to accept this as they've claimed other things to me in person that turned out not to be true (such as having exclusive lineage to Funakoshi Sensei, or being the best way to do Shotokan or even Karate as a whole).

    SKA training is also more aligned towards mental hardheadedness than it is to technical proficiency - this has had an effect via behaviour modification as well as via selection alone on their top black belts and I think it's part of why a cult of personality formed around Ohshima Sensei. JKA training seems to be a lot more technically exact I think, which leads to everyone's kata looking almost the exact same as each other rather than being more personalized. JKA training will also break everything down into steps that you progress upon slowly before going hard or fast. SKA training will show you the basic movement and then you're quickly expected to repeat them again and again at full intensity.

    The final SKA practice that I went to was like this in a nutshell. They showed us an evasion that we practiced on our own ten times, then a stepping pattern for attacking that we practiced maybe 10 times, before putting us all into full-speed sanbon kumite targeting both the chest and the head. Most of the people in this class were new and were only practicing for two months, so I refused to attack them full speed. Even so, I still managed to hit one of them in the face anyways. The bigger problem was the larger young males in the class not having any control and going ham on their attacks to each other, which could've caused needless harm. So instead of focusing on one evasion or one block, we were just told to not get hit so most of us were sloppily scrambling instead of executing clean technique. Moreover, this wasn't the first time they had everyone target the new students with full intensity oi tsukis as well either - an ippon kumite practice where one of each student was attacked by a line up of others in quick succession occurred previously as well. Again, it's about spirit and fear rather than learning good technique.

    Another detail relating to this is that if you join the organization they don't reset your rank, so they've had black belts (with terrible form and a huge chip on their shoulders) join, as well as brown belts, and they're allowed to keep their rank - it just means that during Special Training they will do 3 90-minute practices a day instead of only 2 before they do their black belt testing. Again, spirit, not technique. As I mentioned in the original post, they sent a 20 year-old who didn't know her Heian kata to the ST as well. Normally, this kind of practice, if done at all, should be restricted to those who are already black belts in the system / have been practicing for four years at least. I would also make it optional rather than compulsory for shodan grading.

    So perhaps this slightly-more-openness to technical evolution and greater focus on technical accuracy might've produced better fighters, but that's speculation as I don't have more than a little experience with jiyu kumite in the dojo.

    Can you tell me more per chance though? I love learning about this sort of history.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2022
  2. YoshiroShin

    YoshiroShin Valued Member

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  3. YoshiroShin

    YoshiroShin Valued Member

    Did a Tai Chi drop-in class. Big wow.

    1/3 of it was standing meditation focusing on body alignment and spine

    Another 1/3 was silk reeling

    Last 1/3 was forms

    I asked the Sifu some questions after - he's a student of Chen Yingjun. He was very friendly, down-to-Earth, and when I asked him about martial practice he told me he had never done paired practice or pushing hands, nor martial practice, but despite that I wasn’t able to budge him at all when he asked me to push him. He gave his arm and asked me to lock it and I did and he began to slip out. I transitioned into the wrist lock that I learned to do once the elbow lock fails and I couldn’t hold him either. It's one thing seeing it on video, but being able to feel it was mind-blowing. He said it was just bio mechanics and smaller muscles.

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  4. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Well, glad he understands the mechanics, but personally, a TCC insturctor that never did any sort of two person, push hands or martial practice at all would be a deal breaker for me.

    Edit: right after I typed this, my school released a video clip of our Tai Sigung seminars a few months ago. It included the Tai Chi Chuan seminar, which was a bag work drill specifically for Tai Chi! It was most awesome! And it reinforced to me that I love TCC as a complete martial art. Just saying that things like this are a crucial element for my TCC training. Your mileage may vary.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
  5. YoshiroShin

    YoshiroShin Valued Member

    That's fair; it was the first Tai Chi class I've ever really had. When I was 13, all I had was a book of the Zheng Manqing form and an Erle Montaigue tape of the Yang Chengfu long form and my own approximation of the product. I was able to achieve immovability before getting depressed in high school and giving everything up, so this was an epic treat. So many corrections though! It was very difficult!
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  6. Grond

    Grond Valued Member

    I just did a one on one with my current instructor today. I don't want to call him my "Tai chi' instructor because what he's teaching me covers a huge range. He had me training with two waxwood staffs today, just to feel my core power better. Sweatball.

    I don't believe he's ever competed in full contact but this man is a foot shorter, and his body strikes are a mile high in strength. He asks me to resist, I do. Sometimes he doesn't tell me how to respond, and how I respond? It's a mashup of Shotokan, boxing, and Tai Chi. Haven't been dropped yet, but I've come close.
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  7. YoshiroShin

    YoshiroShin Valued Member

    Around a decade ago I knew someone who studied "drunken boxing" (he was an alcoholic) from a school that taught several styles out on the West coast and he said that those who study Tai Chi (in my paraphrase) are immediately trying to get at the ultimate aim with movement in a martial art. He had good sensitivity with his chi sao... he used to say that Ba Gua would fit my personality because of the endless theory associated with it (there is a Baguazhang teacher in the area but they don't offer in-person classes through the winter - I'm looking for a group that I can go to in-person year-round).

    Another sentiment I've heard is that those who study "internal" styles start from the softness, relaxation, alignment, and they slowly become more and more martial, while those who study "external" styles start from the macro movements, the obviously destructive and martial ones, and over time the slowly become more and more efficient with their structure and energy. It seems to be a matter of priorities.

    I certainly admire the martial arts that in some way include breathing exercises / qigong / sanchin / iron thread for this purpose. To me it makes it more complete.

    Honestly, when it comes to a karate system such as Shotokan, for example, I don't see it as a complete system on its own. I think that it's perfectly and imho necessarily complimentary to Judo and Aikido. I think Shotokan Karate, Judo, and Aikido together form a complete system, but one of those three on its own is a specialization of a greater whole. This doesn't seem so with a karate system like Goju or Uechi, or certain Chinese systems, like Hung Gar and probably CLF to pick some examples.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2022
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  8. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    YoshiroShin, Just wondering......are you aware that CLF has internal forms as part of their training? The ones I know are some of my favorite forms. (To be fair, I have a LOT of favorites overall. It is easier and quicker to name the few that are NOT my favorites. :p)
  9. YoshiroShin

    YoshiroShin Valued Member

    I didn't know, but I'm not surprised - CLF and HG seem like what someone might call "master" systems (I don't know very much at all about the Northern systems like Tonglong and Mizong). I'm intrigued though - are any of those internal forms on these pages?

    Choy Lee Fut Fist Forms
    Lohan Qigong Forms | Chan Family Choy Lee Fut
  10. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Keep in mind that that page is a different lineage than mine. I know of a lot of the forms on that page. But there are a few I am not familiar with at all. Of the ones I know about that are in common with my lineage, these forms are considered internal in my school.

    Snake Form
    Dragon Bot Gwa (Going to learn that one next level)
    Buddha Palm. (It is the first Internal set I learned.)

    Here is a weird side tangent. The crane is considered an internal animal style, but I am a bit confused because the crane form looks mostly external to me. I am pretty sure it is an external set of an internal animal. So It confuses me. I mean, I see internal elements in the crane strikes, but it isn't practiced slowly like the other internal sets. I am going to learn this one (so excited) after my next test, so I will know more about this soon .

    Dragon form is a mix of external and internal, just as the Dragon animal style is.

    Eight Drunken immortals might be? We have a Drunken Lohan set that is internal, so I suspect this one is as well. This is a form our Federation GM has, but my school does not have yet.

    Assuming I am translating different spelling from the Lohan link, and they are the same as my lineage....

    18 Lohan (my favorite warm up!)
    Tai Gik (Git)
    Mo Gik (Git)

    Since this topic interests you, I want to share this. It is a condensed short version of one of my favorites! Kwan Yin Seated in Lotus Form. I love doing this form. This is my cooldown at the end of a workout form.

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  11. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

    JKA Shotokan does have a kata that serves a similar function as Sanchin for Okinawan karate: Hangetsu. I don't think it's part of SKA Shotokan. One of the guys I used to train with was very into Hangetsu, and from the stance to the breathing, it's a very very very different experience than your typical Shotokan kata like Bassai Dai, Kanku Dai, etc.

    I think that's a fair point, but I wouldn't characterize it as an internal-versus-external thing, but a striking-versus-grappling thing. Shotokan can be a good base for your striking game (with the right training methodologies, of course), but if you want to do MMA or something like that, you're going to need Judo or BJJ to be the core of your grappling game. See, e.g., Lyoto Machida.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2022
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  12. YoshiroShin

    YoshiroShin Valued Member

    Hello Mitlov

    Funny you mention that because...

    Hangetsu is part of the kata that was outlined in the Karate-do Kyohan so it's included in the scope of SKA training... sort of.

    Back in 1998, Ohshima Sensei published his book Notes on Training and in it he says a few, uh, interesting things, such as the following:

    "Master Funakoshi wrote that Hangetsu comes from the Seisan form, but Hangetsu is completely different and I could not find any similar points with the ancient Seisan kata after I researched both katas. I still respect this kata as Master Funakoshi's Hangetsu."

    I don't know how he can say this when one can look at Seisan of Chibana Sensei's lineage in Kyudokan, Kyan Sensei's lineage in Seibukan, and even the Seisan that exists in Goju ryu and Uechi ryu. I really don't know how.

    In the next paragraph he said that "Hangetsu is a very doubtful kata. It is one of the most mistransmitted katas from senior to junior in Shotokan, and it's very difficult to find this order in any of the ancient forms of the kata. After my study of Hangetsu, I think the stance transmitted to me was exaggerated and opened the centerline too much to the opponent. Originally there was a much narrower stance. We should go back to the original to make a realistic stance which hides your vital points and still lets you make effective kicks or hand techniques."

    He later told his students that Hangetsu is an "incomplete" kata and that no one in SKA should pick this as their favourite kata for study after he chose it as his own favourite kata for maybe a couple of decades or more, certainly since 1984. As a result, seniors in SKA will tell you that you are not to choose Hangetsu as a favourite kata and they will not do studies of it. If you ask why, like I did, they will only be able to tell you "because Mr. Ohshima says so" without being able to elaborate further.

    One of the black belts even told me that when someone tests or demonstrates in front of Ohshima Sensei and they choose Hangetsu as their kata, when they're done, Ohshima Sensei will verbally dismantle and humiliate them and their form, and that he observed this happening at least once.

    On his points about the centerline that might sound unusual to other Shotokan karateka: in SKA, oi tsuki and all uke movements are done with the torso facing 45 degrees from the front or more, instead of with the shoulders square. The only time the shoulder faces square is during gyaku zuki. They do this because they believe that they are protecting their centerline from attack by the opponent, but then I think about mawashi geri...

    This is why the senior student leading the second JKA practice I went to took me aside and had me re-learn how to walk and punch. I managed to pick it up quickly despite the senior's communication abilities because I've seen video of JKA folks doing it (and maybe my experience so far in MA also helped me).

    For reference, the kata included in SKA syllabus are the following:

    Ten no Kata
    Taikyoku Shodan
    Heian 1-5
    Tekki 1-3
    Bassai Dai, known only as "Bassai"
    Kanku Dai, known only as "Kanku" or "Kwanku"
    Hangetsu (again, sort of).

    All other kata that other Shotokan organizations practice are excluded (Kanku Sho, Nijushiho, Meikyo, etc.)

    I have no desire to ring fight or anything like that, I was just thinking about filling in gaps. It almost sometimes seems like they're pieces of one puzzle.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2022
  13. YoshiroShin

    YoshiroShin Valued Member

    Because of the exc
    Because of this exchange, I emailed another instructor who teaches Yang style Tai Chi. He was the one I may have mentioned but not sure who didn't post his fees on his website and whose schedule had ambiguous codes in it.
    In his reply he told me that they don't do drop-in classes because it's not appropriate for traditional training, but that they do offer push hands practice for those who have "completed" the long form, and that while they look at the martial applications of the movements for proper understanding of the movements, they don't do the martial side of practice.

    What I think that means is that they'll go into the applications of some movements for the sake of understanding how to do them properly, but they won't be practiced on partners or drilled. No drop-ins being allowed does seem weird. The Chen Tai Chi teacher handles it differently; his website says that drop-ins are allowed on a fee-per-session basis, but that in order to benefit from the training, one should come on a regular basis. Unlike the Yang style teacher, the Chen style teacher posts his fees freely as well, with different monthly fees based on whether a student takes one, two, or three classes a week.

    Meanwhile, I've emailed the Meibukan teacher for a drop-in and he said I can try it out. I can see myself wanting to clear my head after all this because it's been a lot, but for now I want to see everything of what's around. If he says yes, he'll be the last one (the two other schools for Goju only do one hour a week for some reason, one of them will give two hours a week for brown and black belt but both on the same day, and the other only does classes for adults 8 months of the year).

    Still no response from Uechi ryu; the last time I heard from him was seven years ago... I wonder if he was physically affected by the pandemic or if he shut down his teaching. Back when I messaged him previously he was teaching out of a student's basement but I didn't have a car at the time to get across the city for the night practices.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2022
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  14. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    To me, not allowing a free class to check it out is a warning sign. If you are confident in the quality of what you teach, you let that be a selling point! Checking out everything before deciding is a wise course!
  15. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    It's nice to see you are trying all the options. :)
    Thanks for writing summaries, it's interesting.

    By a drop-in class - do they mean they don't like students dropping in occassionally for a fee per class, or does it also include not letting you try one class for free? While I can understand that they don't want a student coming once a month perhaps, as that would only be distractive to the class, as aaradia mentioned, not letting you try a class before becoming a student is strange.

    I hope you will be able to find a class you will enjoy! :)
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  16. YoshiroShin

    YoshiroShin Valued Member

    Alright, SO,

    I emailed the JKA school to ask which of their three evening classes and two noon classes (all one hour long each despite them having their own dojo), were led directly by their head Sensei (I suspected the evening ones). In true fashion for their dojo, they never replied, or at least they haven't yet and it's been a week. It's okay though, I've been turned off of Japanese-style Karate training for the time-being anyways, maybe forever.

    No problem! I'm glad that they can be of use. One of my purposes for reporting my experiences especially with the organization that I escaped, other than to process what I believe was trauma, was to put out there what I wasn't able to find back when I did my own research on the organization a decade ago in an attempt to help/warn others, since their members seem to be relatively tight-lipped online and the org withholds many specifics about their training environment, and about what their Special Training is like. I've noticed that once people are sucked into that org, it becomes almost all-enveloping and those on the inside seem to be in denial about what they're doing and being subjected to.

    You may find this next account interesting though Nachi;

    I tried the Meibukan Goju class today! It was really good stuff. Immediately I walked in and a few of the people there were older but there was a younger woman there too which was a good sign for some gender representation, and everyone in the class seemed really nice and down to Earth. The senior student who showed me the basics off on the side was particularly nice and had been practicing with the teacher for I think 30 years. This senior student had a completely different attitude than the one I practiced with at the JKA dojo by far.

    The first thing that struck me so hard it nearly floored me was that after the Sensei called for warm ups, the students did their own warm ups individually and one of the students even continued chatting!! She wasn't unserious I think, it was just a completely different vibe from the Japanese MA dojos I've been to where this would've been unacceptable. In Yoseikan some small amount of chit-chat is allowed during practice, and in SKA absolutely none is allowed at all. After the warm up, they did Sanchin and at the end of practice they did Tensho. One of the things I thought was cool is that when they do rei, they use the left open hand atop the right fist and bow - very cool to do it that way; seems like an intersection between China and Japan, which I suppose is natural.

    The Sensei himself seemed very nice and straightforward. He said that they didn't do competition or board breaking or anything like that (the local Isshin ryu dojo has board breaking as a requirement for shodan... as well as running 5 miles / 8 km in 40 minutes which is kind of nuts - I can do 5 km in 34 minutes currently). He also has done a lot of cross training including training in Wing Chun, Northern Shaolin, Tai Chi, Bagua, Xingyi, and I think he said Pigua, so they're Goju school exposes the students to some chi sau eventually as well, in addition to including some practice with bo, sai, and tonfa. While we were talking about different karate systems and the Japanese vs Okinawan way, etc. he mentioned that there were a lot of politics not just in Goju ryu but in all martial arts and that he stays far away from it, which is good.

    The senior student leading me through basics had makiwara knuckles (and he does bare-knuckle pushups at home), but he told me that makiwara use was not mandatory when I asked; for me if I ever use makiwara I intend it to be very soft and pliable, and I'd use it with gloves so as to have it be an exercise in targeting and punching through a target, rather than to callous my knuckles - I don't believe in old-style knuckle-hardening practice. For anything involving power I think a bag (with gloves) would be better to use - something with give to it.

    During the basics, his explanations always had application as a reasoning for everything, from transitory movements during blocking, to the actual punches, blocks, and kicks themselves, and he and the Sensei always were ready to answer any of my questions. The senior student's arms seemed pretty tough when he was blocking my punches during our stepping drill practice, and I wasn't subjected to extreme pressure as I've seen new students in SKA either. This was a certainly a very positive environment.

    While were talking about kicking, I asked about kicking surface area with the foot because SKA was making us try to kick with the ball of the foot on mawashi geri to the opponent's chest even if one's toes couldn't bend backward 90 degrees to protect them (I actually injured my index toe in July doing this and it still hurts... maybe I should see a doctor...) the Sensei said that they use the ball of their foot for mawashi geri only when they target the opponent's knee with it. When they kick the opponent's inner thigh, then they use the top of their foot. I find this much better than where I was coming from. He then said that Uechi ryu people kick with their toes and that "they're absolutely crazy" and I laughed out loud xD

    The senior student taught me the movement pattern for Sanchin but without the breathing at this stage and he told me that I might find it very boring but on the contrary I thought it was really cool finally being taught Sanchin! I was very happy to learn it and to me it seems to be the backbone of Goju ryu, so I'm happy to do it over and over. Moreover, I'm already used to doing 100 continuous Tekki Shodan in 90 minutes anyways now, so to me Sanchin is actually even better, especially for home practice away from the dojo, for breathing practice, and for stepping practice as they do a lot of things in Sanchin dachi, which I'm going to need to get used to, like during our stepping drill when I was having trouble not stepping too far back in zenkutsu dachi to receive the senior's attacks. Another thing to get used to would be shiko dachi, which for me is difficult because I kept almost getting into kiba dachi while stepping backwards in shiko dachi every time.

    A few other things to note:
    • The Sensei said that their classes emphasized conditioning (I saw him shime testing the students a little during a second round of Sanchin) because, in my paraphrase, "yes the techniques are one thing, but if you fold when you get hit once by an attacker, the techniques won't help you" (for reference, the SKA answer to this is not getting hit as well as mental fortitude - you ignore all pain and keep getting up until or unless you're finally killed).
    • They do the forearm conditioning somewhat like I saw in the Choy Li Fut class, but when I asked the Sensei, he said that it wasn't about bone density building as much as it was about developing good blocking technique, such as twisting the forearm upon contact... I think this may have been another good sign - in the CLF class the Sifu and one of his senior students both told me that they once went so hard at different points in their practice that they developed welts and a lump or something and that they needed to ease off when it happened, if I remember their story correctly.
    • The club is completely non-profit or not-for-profit, and they charge only what is needed to rent the space - the senior student told me $150 for the year - the CLF club was $100 for the first month and then after that you have to pay for 3 months at a time at a rate of about $93 a month, and the JKA club is $110 a month. The Chen Taijiquan practices are $80, $120, and $160 a month for one, two, or three classes a week. I can afford any of those but the contrast was staggering.
    I told them that I filled up my schedule for the fall with sports and dance classes to take a break from MA until at least January after everything that's happened and that I was visiting multiple schools. They said to let them know by email if I decided to train with them and they didn't react negatively and the senior student said that he hoped to see me back with them at some point.

    I think that's everything... these guys were really great - they really seemed like an authentic and a very good-natured group. The contrast in personality to what I'm coming from is beyond night and day, such that I'm not sure if words could do it justice, though this entire thread seems to be making a good attempt at doing so with respect to the training environment I've come from.

    So yeah. I now know the #1 kung fu place and the #1 karate place in town now. No matter what happens, I'll know what to recommend to anyone who asks me. For now I think I'm going to clear my head with sports, dance classes, and yoga before making up my mind in January given the data I've collected - earlier today I was almost thinking about just quitting traditional martial arts altogether and just learning how to box and be done with it, but that might not happen. We shall see. I think my relationship with Shotokan as a whole though might actually be over, and it might even be necessary.

    Thank you all for your support; MAP has always been the most positive MA forum I've ever known.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2022
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  17. Nachi

    Nachi Valued Member Supporter

    I'm glad you enjoyed the class!
    I have never done japanese karate, only Okinawan goju, so I don't have the comparison, but I, too, prefer a bit more personal, rather than strict approach where you can't even ask anything. That seems sontraproductive.

    What you mantion about makiwara - I wouldn't worry about getting bad makiwara knuckles. You probably won't, unless you do makiwara and knuckle push-ups rather often. A bit of hardened skin would help with these if you got into it, but don't worry about getting nasty calouses unless you really go for it. I am not sure if gloves and makiwara make much sense. Maybe the bag would be better for this. I find makiwara useful for body alignment and figuring out the mechanics of punches and learning to strike something hard. Sure, bag would probably work for this, too.
    Don't force yourself to try makiwara if you aren't into it, but if you do, trying gently at first is a good idea. Get the technique corrected first before trying a heavier strike.

    Hmm, interesting. As for mawashi geri, in the proper form, we also do kick with the ball of foot. Especially to the torso. That was, targeting the ribs, you can avoid the opponent's elbow and arms. Basically you have better reach and the power is focused into a smaller area. Of course, you would have to be trained and careful. I think this is also good in potential self-defence scenario when outside and with shoes on. Kicking with the tip of the shoe would help you reach further and depending on the type of the shoe might also be easier of the ankle.
    We do use ball of the foot especially targeting ribs. For legs we'd use probably shin, for head it would be top of the foot, like a slap.

    Glad you were able to learn Sanchin. Actually doing Sanchin kata over and over again a 100 times may not be the most effective training. If you include the breathing, doing that would be hard. If you don't include it, only going through the movements again and again may not be too effective, either. The movements/technique isn't the hard part of Sanchin. What's more important is the correct posture (like keeping the back as straight as possible), tension, the forceful tanden breathing, and synchronizing your movement and breath. If you haven't learned about the breathing, yet, try to practice your posture, transitions and tension. I'd say focus on that and do it slowly, rather than a huge number of repetitions. Do Sanchin dachi near a wall, try to touch the wall with your whole back and head, step forward and do the kata in this position. It is usually hard and I think that's what would help you most at the beginning.

    Shime testing is indeed a big part of Sanchin. It is not only hiting, also checking your stance, tesion, correct technique, etc. Not sure abotu how that school does that, but you probably won't really be hit until you perfect the posture. When you do get hit, though, mental fortitude is definitely also part of it. It does hurt.

    Conditioning is fun :) Well, at least I like it :) You indeed do learn to block and you also condition your arms/legs whatever. You get used to the impact. Also I am not bruising much anymore. So some conditioning must have happened :) I also had a lump a few times. But it is probably that I was hit into the wrong place.

    The salute with fist and palm does seem to be chinese. So the teacher might have mixed something in. We only bow the japanese way. Sai, Tonfa and Bo are part of Kobudo, which is very close to karate, Goju-ryu in particular, I think. Or was it only the style I tried? It is not really a part of karate, but I think it can broaden your horizons and the techniques should be of similar nature.

    I am glad you found the schools you enjoyed. No need to pressure yourself to start training right away. No one is rushing you to decide. But it does sound liek you're enthusiastic to start training, which is great :)
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  18. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    If you struggle with mawashi geri using the ball of the foot it may be worth trying some mobility drills like these Foot Exercises for Strength, Flexibility, Pain Relief, Ankle Mobility, Flat Feet and Balance - YouTube

    I've noticed an increasing number of students seem to struggle with this, certainly more than when I started teaching. I don't know why, but I do know that it has changed, which suggests it's environmental/activity based rather than anything else.

    Worth a try anyway :)
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  19. YoshiroShin

    YoshiroShin Valued Member


    I went with the Goju school. Everything felt right. It's been three and a half weeks and so far so good, in fact I get more confident with my choice as time progresses. I feel hopeful.

    It truly is a pleasure practicing Sanchin now after having only ever watched it and known about it for at least a decade, and they've already taught me Saifa and Shisochin.

    I'm really enjoying the Goju way so far. I'm glad I could keep practicing karatedo.

    Looking back on last summer, I feel a little embarrassed as to the magnitude of my emotions, but I realized since that the experience might've just been traumatic.

    Thanks again for your support
    David Harrison, Mitch and Nachi like this.
  20. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I'm glad to hear you're enjoying your Goju training, it's something I've always liked the look of but never had opportunity to try.
    YoshiroShin likes this.

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