I was fortunate to have participate the promotions examination on November 12 in Okinawa.
This made me reflect on the opportunities that have been present throughout my lifetime.
I recently visited the grave of O’sensei Shoshin Nagamine and Soke Takayoshi Nagamine in Okinawa on November 10th 2017. It made me reflect on how short our time on this planet really is. Make sure that you appreciate the opportunities and people that are in your life. You never know how long we will have them in our lives.
Happy Birthday Mrs. Patricia
It is said that one of Kyan Sensei’s favorite kata was passai. He was also very good with the Bo
Remembering John Mitchell on this day
Keikoken (forefinger knuckle punch) was a favorite technique of Motobu
Shoshin Nagamine created the methodologies from the teachings of his instructors and peers. Kuba, Iha, Shimabukuro, Arakaki, Motobu and Kyan were all very influential in Nagamine Sensei’s life. Each instructor taught him a different value and lesson. Miyagi Chojun’s friendship is also said to have great helped Nagamine Sensei.
Study kata strictly and correctly.
6/24/17 Nagamine Sensei did not believe in training in karate for sport. Sport Karate teaches the individual the wrong messages. While there is nothing wrong with pushing yourself to do better by setting goals and using tournament as a way to set makers of improvement. Somewhere along the way an ego develops. The focus of making yourself a humble person changes to Grand Champion or World Champion. The focus becomes about beating others rather than improvement on oneself.
Most movement are found repeatedly
in kata if you look for them.
Your dojo has quite a few makiwara, two by the front door, and more along the side, what is the aim for you when you train with this tool?
“The makiwara allows you to practice making “impact” in a moment, over a short distance. We learn to use our hips with power as we train with “koshi”. This means we don’t wind-up our hips, or push with our body. Instead we use koshi. Like an explosion it comes from our hara, and this makes karate very hard to deal with. The older you get the more you have to make your karate have this kind of power, and not be a big drain for your body.”
“You see, if you want to have big power, then most people will train to have big movement, big wind-up and twist and so on. But this kind of technique takes time [to execute] and is very powerful but a little slow. Also you need more distance between you and opponent so you have space to do the big wind-up. But, in our karate we have a saying: “Go from minimum distance, to maximum power.” Then, we include the three dimensions of the block, shifting, and attack at the same time. This is how we get power in our karate.”
– Takayoshi Nagamine Sensei
Always Relax and breath.
Many instructors over complicate techniques they discover in kata.
Keep it simple
Twist the wrist in addition to the hips to create snap.
Find relaxation in chaos.
Soke always stressed the 3 Elbow Extensions to help create snap in your punches
Cross stance is easily made by placing the front foot of a cat stance behind you. There is no need to do anything besides lifting the foot and placing it behind. The angle should remain the same.
The chamber on the front kick is equally as important if not more so than the extension. This is the case with the majority of our techniques
When using an inside chest bock, think of pulling the opponent in rather than pushing the opponent away
Naihanchi Shodan is the first kata that goes to right. Many people over look this kata.
Never take things or people for granted. We never know how long they will be in our lives.
The Year 2017 marks an important time for Matsubayashi Ryu.
1907 O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine was born (110 Year Anniversary)
1947 The style was named Matsubayashi Ryu (70 Year Anniversary)
1997 O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine Passed away (20 Year Anniversary)
2012 Soke Nagamine Passed away (5 Year Anniversary)
1-23-17 Always Remember those that helped you and inspired you.
Thank you Sensei Dave Williams
We will never forget you
One of the most important lesson that karate teaches is humility.
I heard Soke say the ultimate goal of karate is to develop and shape you character.
We must first purify our minds.
The statement seems simple. Everyday we are faced with challenges that try to derail our visions.
Happy New Year.
Time to set those goals.
It is important to have a strong bond and good relationship with those you train with. Karate brings people from all walks of life together.
When punching, remember to properly align the hand , elbow shoulder, hips knees, ankles and feet. This statement is very obvious to perform a good punch. One of the things people tend to do is neglect the line of sight.
Eyes , Chin, neck and back are crucial to completing the technique.
The new song always stay Humble and and Kind is something this world needs to listen to.
“Humble And Kind”
Don’t forget the key’s under the mat
Childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind
Go to church ’cause your momma says to
Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won’t be wasted time
Always stay humble and kindHold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kindDon’t expect a free ride from no one
Don’t hold a grudge or a chip and here’s why
Bitterness keeps you from flyin’
Always stay humble and kind
Know the difference between sleeping with someone
And sleeping with someone you love
“I love you” ain’t no pick up line so
Always stay humble and kindHold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got mountains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When those dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kindWhen it’s hot, eat a root beer popsicle
Shut off the AC and roll the windows down
Let that summer sun shine
Always stay humble and kind
Don’t take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you’re goin
Don’t forget turn back around
And help the next one in line
Always stay humble and kind
Sleep is a very underrated necessity that our body needs. Sometimes we over look this.
Motobu secretly studied kumite by watching Matsumora through the fence. Back then, students had to earn the blessing to train.
Today, there is a school in every neighborhood that teaches some type of martial arts. The student walks in and “signs up ” for classes. Yet sometimes, this is not enough. The same student will be training in more than one style of martial art. The same student will train in more than one schools or attend multiple seminars. They study books, videos and other forms of teaching information.
What are they searching for?
Many people will claim that they are trying to expand their understanding and knowledge. Others will say that the style or art is not complete.
What you usually find is the student does not spend enough time on the things that are important. It is essential to work on all of the basics, kata, footwork, etc…. I would even say that it is important to work on the kobudo ( weapons) that are taught in the school. ( we will elaborate on this at a later time)
Spend the time working on a few techniques, kata, etc.
Master a few things …. it is better to have a sharp balanced sword than 10 rusty broken knives.
I was recently asked about the division of Matsubayashi Ryu. The question through me off. Division of Matsubayashi Ryu? I never really looked at it like that before. Matsubayashi Ryu Karate was create by O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine. He gave the style a name in 1947. In the 1990’s, he appointed his son, Takayoshi Nagamine as his successor. Those that truly were in it for the right reasons followed O’Sensei Nagamines wishes and supported Soke Nagamine and their organization. Those who did not support him or had alternative motives left the organization abandoning the request of O’Sensei Nagamine. At that moment, are they still a part of Matsubayashi Ryu? Disrespecting the wishes of the creator is not the way to show the way of the idea that was established.
Karate is about respect and as the “Recommendation for study” say: “Study karate on the basis of its history and traditions.”
Why do others that criticize and put us down care about our acceptance or opinions?
Follow our YouTube channel for examples of the Bunkai that Matsubayashi Ryu has to offer. There is a correct Bunkai for each kata in Matsubayashi Ryu. Our YouTube channel has the basic kata and the bunkai routine.
For the advanced Bunkai … you have to come to the dojo :)!
opinions do not define your reality
You only fail if you quit
Positive thoughts create positive things.
Whenever you get frustrated, return to the basics.
O’sensei Shoshin Nagamine and Soke Takayoshi Nagamine had a desire for those that practiced the art of Matsubayashi Ryu to support their organization and follow the guidelines set forth.
Always training with a beginners mind.
Shoshin (初心) is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind”. It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would
Each of us is unique. We can learn from everyone and we can share our knowledge. Keep an open mind.
In our dojo, we have many students that attend multiple classes. Some students, both junior and adult students will attend as many as 6 classes in one week.
We have many students that have trained since the age of 4 years old ( with the exception of a few that started earlier) that are now in their 20’s.
Our dojo uses strict guidelines and has a set curriculum for promotions.
As a youth, you learn the same basics and kata from the age of 4 years old. For those students that continue their training with consistency and show maturity and dedication, they are given a promotion test. The test consists of Knowledge of history, basics, kata, yakusoku kumite, physical fitness, sparring and other aspects of karate training. Before the student promotes, he or she is observed in class. In addition, we watch them before class and after class as they interact with others. If the student is a child, we will ask the parents how things are going at home and school. This process repeats throughout the persons training. As time goes on, the student will advance in rank. Every individual is different and some advancements take longer than others. In most cases, a student will promote to Blackbelt or Junior Black Belt between 7 and 10 years of consistent training. A junior Blackbelt is anyone that can meet the standards of adult black belt but is under the age of 16.
A few things to remember about rank:
A white belt adult out ranks a Junior Blackbelt.
Blackbelt merely means that you are efficient at the basics and are ready to start the real training.
So let the real training begin.
Soke once said: Martial arts cannot compete with sports because they have a different philosophy. In sport you compete against someone else, or perhaps your own record, but in martial arts you only compete against your ‘self’.
In our dojo, I encourage all of our students to attend the WMKA seminars and to join us on our trips to Okinawa. I realize that taking 2 weeks to a month off of work to travel around the world is not always an easy task. I think that it is important for our students to have the opportunity to learn from the Senior Masters in Okinawa. Seeing positive reinforcement of our teaching is crucial to the development of our training.
It is also important as an instructor to keep the politics out of the dojo and to steer the students clear of those that wish to take advantage of them.
It is important to keep working on the basics. Looks for applications from all angles. There are hundreds of ways to apply a single technique.
Remembering Sensei Dave Williams
There is an old poem that goes like this:
No matter how you may excel in the art of te, and in your scholastic endeavors, nothing is more important than your behavior and your humanity as observed in daily life.
Remembering Dave Williams on this day.
I often wonder what happens to people once they have been in the arts for a while. It is unfortunate but there are many that think they have seen all there is to see or learn all there is to learn.
My teacher once told me, he would help someone with a correction 3 times. If the person is stubborn and refuses to make an effort to change, he would smile and say “good job” and not help them with any other changes. I can see some of those people in the Matsubayashi Ryu community today. The whole time they think they had it so figured out and were doing a good job. They decided to open their own organization or want to teach seminars because they were “doing a good job”.
We need to remember that we are never finished learning. There is so much out there to enhance our lives and understanding of the arts.
Do not be closed minded. Search out the instructors that are teaching for the right reason. Not for money, fame, power or because they are “doing a good job” 🙂
What is the difference between a goal and wish?
We make a wish. Most of the time nothing happens. Once in a while, we get lucky. Either way, we do not earn it or work for it.
A goal is something that we want but we also are willing to work to achieve it.
Is your wish to be a Blackbelt or is your goal to be a Blackbelt?
It has been a while since my last post. I have had many privileges in my life and am thankful for everything and everyone. I appreciate the support of my Family, Friends and students that make this website possible.
Learning a kata routine is 10%
Studying the kata and its applications are 90%
Do not be too quick to try to learn the next kata.
What do you stand for?
Remembering O’Sensei Nagamine on this day
Over your training time, you will hear many examples of things that make you techniques better. In Kata, to have the correct body mechanics, the body must function as a spring. Soke talked about this principal in the 2011 seminar. In Pinan Shodan, when performing the cross stance, the practitioner creates a spring like effect when attacking the elbow.
The center of your body is one of the keys to understanding how to move.
When you look at 2 individuals that are of the same rank, you can see similarities but you should also see many differences.
Sometimes, we have to make choices in life. Choose the path that you know is the correct path. It can be difficult, but it is the right decision.
Kata, Kihon, Kumite, Makiwara
Practice kata strictly and correctly. This statement found in the Recommendations for Study by O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine can have many meanings. While to most, it means do not change the kata. You can look at in as an effort statement as well. If you never put effort into performing the kata. You will not develop the techniques properly. In addition to the technique developments, you need to work on your timing, breathing and stamina. Work on your Kiai in the kata. Work on the application of the techniques that are in the kata to gain a understanding of what the meaning and purpose of each.
Many things can get us off of our daily routine. What is important is to remember that tomorrow is a new day.
Caring is word that has deep meaning.
1.displaying kindness and concern for others.noun
We all need to be a little more CARING towards things and each other.
1.the work or practice of looking after those unable to care for themselves, especially sick and elderly people.
It is easy to get out of sync.
Sometimes our lives throw up a curve ball. We get sick, injured or have issues in our lives that break our rhythm. It changes our schedules and sometimes kills our motivation or momentum.
The first step to recovering our rhythm, motivation or momentum is simply to remember the reasons why you were driven to work so hard. If necessary, write those reasons down.
The 2nd step is simply to do (as Bruce Lee used to say) Get up off the couch, show up to class, etc.
Once you start back on the DOING, the rest will come back over time.
Many important principals that are found in our style.
Soke would give this poster as a gift and had one hanging in the Honbu dojo.
The Kempo Hakku (The eight laws of the fist)
1. The mind is one with heaven and earth.
2. The circulatory rythm of the body is similar to the cycle of the sun and the moon.
3. The way of inhaling and exhaling is both hardness and softness.
4. Act in accordance with time and change.
5. Techniques will occur in the absense of conscious thought.
6. The feet must advance and retreat separate and meet.
7. The eyes do not miss even the slightest change.
8. The ears listen well in all directions.
Concepts of Kenpo (in poem form) that stems from the Bubishi.
This is a translation:
The Kempo Hakku.
The very important eight poems of the martial arts.
Jinshin wa tenchi ni onaji
The mind is one with heaven and earth
Ketsumyaku wa nichigetsu ni nitari
The circulatory rhythm of the body is similar to the cycle of the sun and the moon
Ho wa goju wo tondo su
The way of inhaling and exhaling is both hardness and softness
Mi wa toki ni shitagai hen ni ozu
Act in accordance with time and change
Te wa ku ni ai sunawachi hairu
Techniques will occur in the absence of conscious thought
Shintai wa hakarite riho su
The feet must advance and retreat, separate and meet
Me wa shiho wo miru wo yosu
The eyes do not miss even the slightest change
Mimi wa yoku happo wo kiku
The ears listen well in all directions
When practicing in Okinawa, you will find that each sensei has their own take or belief of what a techniques application might be. I appreciate the different views and try to teach that there are many ways to apply or interpret them.
Always train with a clear mind!
You should practice kobudo (weapons) to help learn about extensions and boundaries.
Soke often spoke about support. I used to chuckle at a voice that he once left. He said ” I want to support your support and thank you very much for your support”
Take time to warm up and cool down your muscles. It is also important to warm up and cool down your mind.
When practicing kata, relax the muscles in your face. Keep your chin up and eyes forward.
Always say thank you and show appreciation. It goes a long way.
Use the new year as a fresh start for your training.
I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. I am grateful for everything and everyone. I am hopeful that 2015 brings many blessings.
It was an honor to train with Shinzato Sensei in Okinawa in 2013
Happy Birthday Brandon
Merry Christmas to all of the people that read this blog. I wish you peace, joy and happiness.
Adults- It is important to practice on the makiwara. Not for big knuckles but for strong bones, good form, stronger fingers and wrist strength and many other benefits. Start off slow and study in from many angles. Study the makiwara and striking it in a standing position but also moving.
Sometimes Dojo owners have to make decisions that not understood. I try to keep my students out of the politics and gossip that follows the martial arts. I too always try to avoid those things.
As Individuals, always try to put positive messages into your daily living. It will help you in many more ways than you realize.
When performing Neko ashi if you drive with your hips and push off of your back foot. Never drag your foot.
As instructors, It is important to lead by example. I work really hard to practice kata, basics and other avenues of my karate. After last months trip to Okinawa, I realize how little I truly know. In addition to practicing, I read, plan, study and research. I network with positive people that have interests in support the Nagamine family style and organization. It is important to remain humble and help others. Networking with the right people is a good way to exchange information and share experiences.
- Thou Shalt Not Talk More Than You Train
Training is hard. Talking is easy. As human beings, we inevitably gravitate towards the easier things in life. That’s why we sometimes avoid the really hard stuff in training. Sometimes by accident, sometimes by purpose. But Karate training wasn’t made to be easy. So, unless talking actually develops your Karate, save the chatter for the dressing room. Cry in the dojo – laugh on the battlefield.
- Thou Shalt Think For Yourself
Getting stuck in routine is normal. Expected, even. But you and I are not normal. We try to actively find new ways to improve our Karate, no matter how unexpected it appears. We don’t blindly follow rules and regulations. Thinking outside the box is hard, sure, and will sometimes make you feel uneasy, yes. But it’s always worth it. As long as you are moving in the right direction, anything goes. Unconventional does not equal unfavorable.
- Thou Shalt Promote Real Karate
Everyone aren’t as blessed as you and me in finding a great dojo. Just like we can’t choose our parents, many people can’t choose a good dojo. Often they don’t have much choice. And when you’re a beginner, everything looks the same anyway! So let’s help people out. If you see a McDojo™ victim, educate him. Tell about real Karate. The purpose of knowledge is not to have it, it’s to share it – because that’s when it turns to wisdom.
4. Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor’s Rank
Comparing ourselves to people around us is a trap we all fall into. It’s an inescapable part of the human condition to compete with others, hard-wired into our DNA. But, measuring our success in Karate by comparing belts with other people is a dead-end that only leads to frustration, jealousy and sadness in the long run. Never try to be better than the next man. Silence the lizard brain. The higher you climb, the less a rank will mean anyway.
- Thou Shalt Never Be Afraid of Questioning
The day you stop questioning is the day you commit intellectual suicide. Much of what we are taught is so rooted in unchallenged tradition that we often forget to ask ourselves if things are really productive to our progress in Karate. So ask. Ask smart questions. Ask stupid questions. It’s better to look a fool for a second than remain an emotionally insecure wreck for life. Never be afraid of questioning anything. Anywhere. Anytime. But remember to always do it respectfully.
- Thou Shalt Honor Thy Sensei
Your sensei is a treasure trove of information. The sum of decades of experience in the art of Karate. But your sensei is human too, and all humans – especially ones who spend their days helping other people – need to be seen and respected for what they do. Make sure your sensei knows that you truly appreciate every last bit of wisdom you get. It’s the best way to unlock more personal feedback in the future and will propel you forward in Karate faster than you think. As a bonus, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
- Thou Shalt Know Your History
Sometimes we forget that Karate is not just a “social activity”, “sport” or “exotic hobby”. It is, above all, a cultural heritage from the tiny island of Okinawa, from where it spread through Japan into the rest of the world. As such, it is our duty to research our past in order to understand our present and embrace our future. Karate is too valuable, rich and unique in its nature to ever dismiss as just any other martial art. Know your lineage, know your history.
- Thou Shalt Embrace All Parts of Karate
Whether you are interested in the strictly combative side of Karate, the spiritual side, the theoretical side, the technical side, the philosophical side, the cultural side or the historical side; there’s too much amazing stuff to learn in Karate to ever lock oneself into one department. Embrace the full spectrum of Karate, and you will always find yourself invigorated no matter what, where, or with whom you train. The art of Karate is best enjoyed from a 360 degree perspective. Realize this now, or learn it the hard way later.
- Thou Shalt Never Be Afraid of Progress
Progress inevitably means change. But change doesn’t always equal progress. That’s why change invokes uncertainty and fear in some people. But as long as you feel that change is going in the right direction, never be afraid of progress. Momentum is your friend. Constantly have a mindset of learning and improving. One day you will realize that this mentality is just as valuable inside the dojo as outside.
10. Thou Shalt Keep Holy Thy Dojo
The dojo is unlike any other place for practice. It is a special place (“jo”) where we study the Way (“do”). Hence, the term “dojo” symbolizes a place dedicated to not only our improvement in Karate, but the Way of life in general. And the Way of life, as we all too often realize, is an intricate and delicate path that involves many hardships and battles. As such, the place for studying the Way requires the utmost respect. This is why we bow when we enter and exit the dojo. Because Karate begins and ends with respect.
The Urban Dictionary:
Our WMKA renewal is happening now. Every year, we collect a small token of appreciation and send it to Okinawa in support of the WMKA to help the Nagamine Families association and style to continue to grow. The association has been doing a great job focusing on training and holding up the standards the Soke and O’Sensei put into motion. They have an importance on studying the style and making corrections when needed. The dues help to make sure the teachers are teaching correctly and by providing instruction on the higher levels with regards to culture, philosophy and ethics (in addition to techniques).
Today’s date is unique. I will never see this date again in my lifetime. When we look at our lives, we all have a unique talent or gift. Use your gift for the good and help others.
There are many theories behind the meaning of the patch that we wear today on our uniform. Some are deeper than others.
Start in the center and draw the 8 directions of Fukyugata ichi then connect the outer dots.
When sparring, remember that cat stance is used only as transitional stance. Never use Cat stance as the ready position for Kumite.
Within the art that we study, you will find many ways to enhance your training as you age. We have hard and soft techniques. Internal and external power, punches and techniques that create a snapping effect as well as techniques that create a vibrating force as it penetrates the targeted area. Always relax as you train in your karate especially during kata practice.
Remembering Dave Williams that passed away on this day in 2008. You are still remembered my friend.
Why do some individuals think they so talented that they need to teach at other peoples schools? I am a very giving person and would help out anyone within my abilities. I have been invited to teach at many schools around the globe. Each time I am asked, I politely decline based on a conversation that Soke and I had. It is ok to work with the dojo owner and help him or her out. It is impolite to teach their students. That is the dojo owners job. If a person asks to teach at your school, they truly do not know or follow Bushido. These individuals usually do not own their own school and have never been able to keep a successful school open. Many of them are in search of answers and think that by “teaching at your school” that they will actually learn something. Certain individuals are looked down on by the in the martial arts community because they have not trained with anyone above them for a number of years. In their mind, somehow they are better than you.
I have much to learn in the arts. I have much to give in the arts. I would help anyone I can to succeed in their journey. Please do not contact me and ask to teach at my school especially if you are not support the Nagamine family organization.
It is hard to believe we are in the last month of year. Time really does seem to fly as we grow older. It is important to remember those in your lives that matter. Things in life that seem to matter least often take up much of time.
Spend time with your family and friends this holiday season. Let them know they matter.
My recent post spoke of the core principles of Matsubayashi Ryu.
I had many people message me asking me what this meant
Some thought it had to do with a technique or basic. Others thought it had to do with Kata.
The beginning foundations have to do with the Spirit and developing the reasoning for the your training. The spirit must be tuned and maintained. It is easy to get out sync. Many Karate practitioners never work on this aspect of the art. To them, karate is a sport or activity. Thus, it loses meaning and purpose.
O’Sensei cautioned others not to train for sport and not to open a commercial school. It is for this reason that I still maintain an outside career.
When studying the art of Matsubayashi-Ryu, you will discover through basics, Kata, Yakusoku kumite and Kobudo that your body will start to change and transform. Your movements will be more efficient and refined. Many students only focus on the external side of the art. Creating muscle memory, stronger muscles, hardened bones, flexible joints and other noticeable bodily traits that are obvious. Remember that the external development is only a portion of what is needed to protect oneself. External energy is great and will help us in most cases. Stay with your art and continue to study. You will find an internal energy that will also help you develop power. You will discover a softer side of the art that compliments the harder side.
When studying some of the core principals and mindsets, we will learn how to preserve our self and those things that we care about. We will learn how to focus our mind and channel our energy into things that matter.
Over time, you will learn meridians and pressure points that are used for injuring, damaging or striking an opponent to create a desired outcome. I would challenge you to work on the healing principals and underlying fundamentals that accompany the same meridians and pressure points. To injure is easy. To help and heal someone is much harder.
We will continue on this topic at a later date.
I received some very sad news that one of my former students passed away last week. He was 17 years old. Ben had made it to the rank of Brown Belt and had been a student for many years. As with many of our Junior students, Ben left to pursue other sports. He was a very kind, respectful and caring individual. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.
There are many core principals in Matsubayashi ryu that many people do not talk about. Some long time practitioners never learned things outside of the realm of basics, kata or yakusoku.
Remember that we need to approach things with a beginners mind. Do not think because you have practiced all of the kata thousands of times that the learning is finished.
Research the style and things outside of your comfort zone.
Realize that there are many ways to interrupt a technique.
Keep training hard everyday to get better.
Fukyugata Ichi Bunkai:
There are those out there that make many false claims. Why as a martial artist do we find it necessary to do such things?
The goal of the martial arts is to develop ones character.
This blog is an outlet for me to share my experiences and thoughts. I make many mistakes. I am not a perfect person. I give way too much and yet I am also selfish.
How do we know what we are truly designed for? What is the purpose that we were created for? Why do bad things happen to good people?
There are many questions that I ask myself on a daily basis. Many times I have no answers. Other times, my answer changes.
Visiting another part of world, teaches us how lucky we are to have the means to travel.
It also gives us a different view on how other cultures function and live. I hope that someday, more people will adopt a peaceful society that cares deeply about one another. Okinawa is a place that functions with a caring mentally. Many people go out of their way to help you. It is a place that teaches us about putting others before ourselves.
Back in the USA
Most people ask the question: How was your trip?
Still suffering from Jet Lag, It is not an easy question to answer. Further more, I never look at my experiences in Okinawa as a trip. Okinawa is a revival or center of motivation, a time of reflection and a place to receive corrections. While it is a great time to catch up with friends from around the world or a chance to meet new friends, Okinawa has a culture that is beautiful to watch. Our hotel staff spoke no English but their actions, caring and ability to be quick thinkers made our stay a delightful experience. The people of Okinawa are very happy that you are enjoying their country. I was pleased to meet some new friends that own a restaurant that was near our hotel. The owners were more than kind and served very good food on the first experience. Because our first experience was so well received and the food was good, we went back a 2nd and 3rd time. Anytime you visit a small establishment in Okinawa more than one time, you are treated like royalty because they are so appreciative that you would return. I wish that more places in the USA demonstrated an appreciation for people that were regulars at an establishment. Okinawa is place that is rich with history and sights that provide a learning platform to advance our thinking in the history and reasoning of the techniques that we work on for countless hours. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to visit Okinawa and am already looking forward to my next visit.
MORE to follow!
Happy Birthday Kayla – I am happy that I am in Okinawa but I am sad that I miss your birthday.
Off to Okinawa
Always begin with the end in mind!
People that continue to train during hardships in their lives will live a better life. There are many instances that I have seen karate training prevent an injury, mental breakdown and even prevent a death. It is easy to quit. As a parent, it is easy to get allow our children to quit I look at the studies of karate the same as I do the study of Algebra, english or history. While it seems silly for most kids to learn some of things that our education system is teaching them, they still do it and as a parent, we make them learn it. For most people, the skills that you learn in the dojo will be used much more than Algebra, History or even english. Confidence, health, control of emotions, defense, positive thinking, relaxation, goal setting and many other areas of self improve are a small fraction of what is learned in our dojo.
Many people believe that bowing in karate is primarily a religious act. This is simply not true.
O’sensei Shoshin Nagamine was awarded his Renshi Rank in the city of Kyoto on Mainland Japan. While he was there, he was also awarded the rank of Sandan in the art of Kendo
Never waste the talents that you were given. Everyone is gifted in areas of their lives. Be sure to share you gift with others to make things better.
There is only one you!
Happy Birthday Mrs. Patricia
Study and Practice Karate on the basis of its history and traditions
It is nice to have people to train with.
The are always those individuals that think they are experts in a style or discipline. They want to come to your school to teach or travel to other states or even countries to pass on their knowledge. Many if not all of these individuals do not have their own schools. They could never keep them open because various reasons. Even if you train on a daily basis, you are not teaching on a daily basis. How can you suddenly be the answer that those school owners that teach daily are searching for?
In addition to not teaching on a daily basis, most of those individuals that are running around trying to teach others their wisdom have not trained with anyone above them or have not been affiliated with anyone that can guide them for many years. I recently watched a video of one of these individuals performing kata on social media. Usually I refrain from any comments positive or negative. In this case, I have to say that it would better to not post the video. There were a multitude of mistakes, bad form, incorrect stances and posture. While I am certainly not one to criticize or think that I am any better than anyone, I have to say that posting this was not beneficial for himself.
Soke always stressed helping and supporting one another. He also tried to make it clear that we are responsible for our own dojos and students. We need to make sure that we share information and ideas and help those individuals that support the Nagamine Family and their organization in Okinawa. We are a Matsubayashi Ryu Family.
Since the late 1990’s, we have supported the Nagamine Family Matsubayashi Ryu organization.
We only report to the board in Okinawa and discuss our concerns with them. I feel a sense of brotherhood with those individuals that have the patience, tolerance and feelings that support the Nagamine Family Matsubayashi Ryu Organization.
I bring this up after spending a long weekend in Canada. I really enjoyed seeing and talking with individuals from around the globe. The same comradery the seemed to appear in mid 2000’s was present and very alive. I feel very blessed to know the individuals that are in my life.
Soke Nagamine used to say ” only worry about your dojo and your students”. He also spoke of those instructors out there that cannot keep a dojo open or operational. It says a lot about the ones character when you can not keep a the doors open or keep a healthy student base.
On of my goals in life is to teach humbleness. In the martial arts, people worry about their own agendas. They worry about rank and who has more students. There are people that try to show how much they know and “show off” their teaching abilities. In our school, we do not worry about rank, belts or other things like that. Karate is about developing ones character.
Recently, Matsubayashi Ryu has been in social media and magazines. I even saw a glimpse of the Nagamine dojo in a Power Ranger episode. The art and Soke Nagamine’s organization has certainly grown a lot in the last 5 years. With the passing of Soke, I was concerned that the organization would have difficulties. I believe that they (the WMKA board) has done a great job in continuing to reach out to the members and have continued to hold up the vision that Soke Nagamine has set out to accomplish. He wanted to unit and recognize those individuals that he felt had honored and help further his fathers art. It is important to belong to something and have affiliation with an organization in some form. Soke Nagamine spoiled us by handling all of the duties that the new board is handling in Okinawa. He was a rare gem on this earth and I miss him everyday.
Always use the things you learn from training to better the world. Never approach the art with greed or power in mind.
Soke Nagamine was very clear about things that need to happen in the matsubayashi ryu kata. Having the privilege to train and teach in Okinawa, I always appreciate the different views and perspective of each individual instructor. On my last visit to Okinawa, I was able to learn in 6 different dojo’s. Each instructor has a characteristic or flavor to the way that they approached the art. They all were very consistent when it came to kata. An example was the kata Chinto. Many people around the world perform this kata with many different views. If you learn the traditional bunkai, it helps to clear up many misconceptions. One of the most common mistakes happens at the end of the kata. The left foot should be brought back but many people who do not know the bunkai will bring the right foot back. There are many specific reasons for doing this.
It is said that 1 in 100 students make it to Black belt. This factors in all of the McDojo’s and belt factories of the world. In our school, there are no guarantees when it comes to rank. With that said, if the person shows up to class and listens to lesson and then goes home and practices what he or she has learned, they are well on their way to blackbelt. It is necessary to make changes and correct mistakes. It is required to maintain a consistent attitude of humbleness.
I am always sad to see a longtime student leave. Sometimes it is on good terms. Other times, they are “asked to leave”.
While all of our life journeys have different outcomes, I am hopeful that I have been able to better the persons life.
Does your teacher have an instructors license?
This question never comes up but is important.
Dont’ you think?
I have heard a lot about the “Old Way” of training. Many people today still talk about it. To most, the Old Way of training involves things that they used to do in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. It involves thousands of punches and kicks. While these techniques are the foundations of training, they should not take up the entire class time if you are an instructor. Back in the early days, the classes were run differently than today. I remember 3 hour long classes. I remember classes where all we did were punches and kicks.
There is a difference between teaching and working out. Many nights, we would show up and just work out. Looking back, I think a lot of the things that we did were time fillers. When our teachers were younger, they too were less experienced and did not know as much as they know today. As they learned and progressed, their teaching skills followed. Performing our basics thousands and thousands of times are mandatory but this should be done during your personal training.
I have heard it said by other instructors that they do not want to be affiliated with any organization. Some decide to start their own because the other organizations are too controlling.
Most people make these posts on public forms. Most of these people have been kicked out for various reasons and do not want to admit to themselves that they messed up.
I have been invited to participate in many organizations of the past 24 years of teaching. I politely decline.
I do belong to one organization. Like all organizations, there are politics and things about it that I do not like. With that said, I have never seen an organization that gives the individual so much and requires so little. From 2002 until the passing of Soke Nagamine, I reported directly to him. I sent my dues to directly to him. I taught what I wanted, used my own manuals and books, performed my own tests. There was no middle man or anyone that told me what to do. Soke Nagamine spoiled us as he handled affairs and made decisions himself. There are many people out there that were misinformed or misguided and thought that Soke was influenced by others. This is simply not the case. He told me many times that some of his students really disappointed him with the decisions that they had made. It made him sad that people chose to not talk to him or decided to not support the organization that he was trying to build. He had big plans to honor some of the individuals that had impacted Matsubayashi ryu. I really wish that he would have been able to have done this prior to his passing. I think it would have changed the mindset of many people out there.
I can not change the minds of those that do not want to be changed. I can only offer the truth and let them decide for themselves.
Karate schools today.
As you drive down the street, you will see a martial arts school in every neighborhood. The statistics show the McDojos of the world are sprouting up in bunches. In our city, you can open a school with no credentials. All you need is money. Too often, people do not do the research and end up getting locked into a long term contract or worse. There have been convicted sex offenders that have been allowed to teach children because the statute has run out. Sometimes, people get the itch to open up businesses once they retire from their career or think that teaching is an easy way to make extra money. Some of the retired individuals have not trained in more than 10 years and suddenly, they are certified to teach people.
My advice is to do the research. Google the school. Look at the student base. Ask questions.
When you are in your teens, 20’s and 30’s, you take your body for granted.
Always try to live a healthy lifestyle.
Always live a humble life
It is easy to find fault. It is harder to create peace.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SENSEI MITCHELL
WE MISS YOU!
Soke used to speak about a spring effect when performing cross stance.
Intermediate movements are fighting postures that act as links between the paired units
On April 26th, we held a special class to celebrate the memorial of Soke Nagamine.
Always try to leave things better than you found them.
Ethics Of The dojo
Courtesy, Cleanliness, and Diligence
First of all, purify your mind.
Cultivate the power of perseverance by strengthening your body and overcoming the difficulties that arise during training.
The dojo is a place where “guts” are fostered and superior human nature is bread through the ecstasy of sweating through hard work. The dojo is a sacred place where the human spirit is polished.
Your seniors and Black Belts are well aware of these facts and therefore you, the beginners, are requested to help make your dojo a sacred place, by keeping in your mind the above things and strictly observing the following:
1/ Always keep your karate-gi clean and take them home after use.
2/ Help clean the dojo.
3/ Be well versed in the precepts for mastering karate-do.
4/ After use, be sure to place the training equipment where it belongs.
It has been said that Kusanku was the instructor of To-de Sakugawa. Sakugawa was the primary instructor of Matsumura.
Soke once said”
In the Naihanchi Kata, it is important to stay at 1 level once you have dropped into horse stance.
Karate teaches humility and builds character. Sometimes we forget there is more to karate training. It is easy to get caught up in learning the next kata or sparring technique.
Always work at your own pace when coming back from an injury or illness. Sometimes we can allow things to push us and end up re-injuring ourselves.
Practice your kata facing many different directions.
Every movement, every step requires one to have complete commitment and focus of oneself.
O’Sensei once said ” The study of Karate-do takes one on a path of self discovery”
Timing… recently in class, I have witnessed many students that have been struggling with timing during our sparring sessions. Many students are having trouble while trying to use a kicking technique. To improve the timing of the kick , try to switch your hand positions before throwing the kick. Take your rear had and move it to the front position a split second before the kick goes out. This will improve your defense, increase the velocity by change the movement and distract your partner by making their eyes follow the hands. This will allow the kick to be delivered and your defense to be ready in the event of a counter attack.
It is important to listen to your body. I am guilty of ignoring things that my body tries to tell me. For many years, I would teach, go to work and other functions in life while sick or after an injury. I used to think that I had to do everything myself. What usually happened is the sickness or injury would get much worse. Today, I listen to what my body is telling me. I am thankful for those around me that are in my life. This makes me feel at ease. I realize that I can not do everything myself.
Working with others in class creates a sense of appreciation for others. It teaches us to get along with people that are different from ourselves. Teaching creates patience and understanding if done properly.
Study and Practice Karate based on its history and traditions. (Do not change those things that keep the art in tact)
Why do you train in the martial arts? Over time, you will change your answer. Make notes along your journey. As time goes by, review your notes and enjoy the journey.
An excerpt from Shoshin Nagamine’s autobiography “In April 1936, I was sent to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, as a trainee policeman, and, during a six-month period I had a chance to receive some advice about peculiar Kumite movements from then celebrated master of Karate, Mr. Choki Motobu in Hongo ward, Tokyo. After returning to Okinawa, I continued to serve as a policeman of Okinawa Prefectural Police force.”
In March 1928, Shoshin Nagamine began to study martial arts full-time, moving to Shuri and training under Taro Shimabuku (島袋善良)and Ankichi Arakaki
Always keep your mind clean and right.
Motivation: I am often asked how can one stay motivated to participate in the one thing for more than 3 decades. I believe that if you are always looking for ways to make something better (meaning your own self and those around) and if you are looking to discover new things, you will be able to stay interested and motivated to continue to pursue those parts of your life. The problems occur when people think they know it all or have found the solution. Always keep on open mind and try to explore different scenarios. Remember to change your routine when it becomes easy or boring. Always challenge your self to get to the next level.
Today we honored a great friend and mentor. Sensei David Williams. His birthday was today. We held a special training session to celebrate his memory.
Since the beginning of winter, we have seen some very low temperatures. This week, it is suppose below zero for much of the week.
We need to remember this when we decide to work out. Always pay attention to your body. Warm up, stretch and cool down appropriately.
I have noticed that kids today seem stiffer and less flexible than kids 10 or 15 years ago. I have also noticed that people today are patient and more demanding than 5 or 10 years ago. We are becoming more used to fast food, multi-tasking and having everything readily available. People want to learn the next kata when they hardly can get through the kata that had been working on.
Karate teaches us patience, control, and self discipline. Karate develops flexibility, restraint, character and a calm mind. As instructors, we need to remember to be role models for the next generation.
Kodatsu Iha was a top student of Kokan Matumora. During his high school years, O’Sensei Nagamine had the opportunity to study under Iha Sensei
Extension and retraction of a strike are used to create snap.
O’Sensei Nagamine wrote in the Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do and he warns ” The formal training methods of the great masters of the past must be observed because karate was meant to be pursued as a martial art, not a sport where the goal is defeating an opponent or winning points. Karate has an ancient heritage, full of wisdom. Let us follow the way of karate shown to us by the masters.”
Tomorrow is the first training session of the year.
Happy NEW YEAR. I really am thankful for all of the support and dedication. Please be safe tonight.
Happy Birthday Brandon…. I can not believe that you are 14 years old. I am very proud of you.
I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.
Today was our last training session at the dojo for 2013. We ended with very focused classes. I am thankful to all of the students that have continued to show growth, improvement and dedication. I am confident that 2014 will be our best year ever.
Thank you for all of your support.
Today is another sad day in the art of Matsubayashi -Ryu karate. At 3:00pm in Okinawa, the WMKA board members are holding the last workout at the Honbu dojo. It saddens me to see the style suffer another blow. I realize that everything must adapt and change. Nothing stays the same or lasts forever. To some people, this is just a building. O’Sensei and Soke Nagamine are both gone. They live through us when we train, teach, tell stories and try to make our lives better.
Being able to visit the Honbu dojo and step on the floor that O’Sensei and Soke taught on brought a sense of closeness and a feeling of connection that will now and forever be lost.
Many people offered to donate their money in efforts to help purchase the building. Others flew to Okinawa to be a part of the last workout. Around the world, people held simultaneous workouts to show a commitment to the art.
I am hopeful that our style and art does not lose its history and traditions now that the building that so many people longed to visit will soon be gone.
Always look for the best in others. If you are force to confront someone, stick to the facts and control your emotions. Do not let anger force you to say or do something that you will regret.
Remembering Dave Williams on this day
As the weather gets cold: remember to stretch as much as possible. Warm your body up slowly and stay active during the cold weather months. It is easy to get off track.
We all have much to be thankful for. Please share your thanks to other around you.
When training in class with others, always look for something good that others are doing. It is easy to sit back and find flaws with someone. We all have flaws and areas that we need to improve in.
This news was given to us when we were in Okinawa back in October.
Yes, It was a true honor to be able to be able to visit this historical site. Bunshiro has to go away to teach Elementary School and is not able to remain at the honbu during this time period. The Dojo is owned by the Nagamine family but the land that the dojo sits on is owned by someone else. If there is no Nagamine Family member that is teaching and training in the building, it nullifies the agreement. The landowner wants to build condos since the dojo sits one block off of the most popular street in Okinawa. We all should feel fortunate to have been able to train and teach in a building that has such close ties to the origins of karate. It is hard to believe that the government would not register this as a true historical landmark since it is one of the oldest dojos in Okinawa.
Click on the link / picture to read the official announcement of the closing of the Honbu dojo.
Karate teaches us tolerance.
When you begin training in the martial arts, you realize that you have to work with people that you do not know. You also have to take instructions from people that you do not know. All personalities do not gel. Sometimes instructors, assistant instructor or classmates seem to hit a nerve in your body. They can create anger, fear, aggravation, boredom, jealousy and many other emotions. Is this bad or wrong? Once we get out into the real world we must face these emotions when dealing with people in our every day lives. It is not always easy. In class, when working with a partner that upsets you, try to be the example and role model. If they achieve a new rank or learn a new kata, encourage them. If you are learning from an instructor/ assistant instructor that you do not care for, remember to work on yourself. Pick one or two things and strive to become better.
Sometimes people get frustrated with organizations because someone got promoted or for other reasons. Maybe they do not like to train with others that they do not care for. If we follow our own advice about learning to get along with others in class, should we not learn to get along with others in the our own style or other styles that maybe we do not care for?
On page 55 in the Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do, you will see a picture of the class performing warm ups at the honbu dojo. If you look to back right hand corner of the book, you will see the late Rick Kemper. In the top left hand corner is Sensei Shinjo.
11/5/13 Happy Sweet 16 Kayla
Kobudo means an extension of oneself. (repost)
When practicing, training, sparring, always breath naturally. Many times people hold their breath when they are performing kata of sparring. This makes you tired and depletes your stamina.
Concentrate on natural movements during your basic and kata practice.
Remembering O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine.
Have a safe and Happy Halloween.
Follow your heart, listen to your thoughts and put all of your efforts into your dreams.
As I reflect and recover from Jet Lag, I think about the words of Shinjo Sensei. He said ” Mastin, you are Sokes student, do it Soke’s way”.
This day brought a close to our training. It was fitting that the final day of training was back at the Honbu dojo. The floor was very slippery as it was humid. We worked on our 2nd bo kata and practiced kata. I had the opportunity to teach bunkai. I was special as Pinan Godan Bunkai was taught by Soke at the 2011 Seminar that I had the opportunity to host in Ohio.
Sunday we traveled north to the Aquarium. I was a rainy day but cleared up as we arrived. The aquarium is a nice spot to relax. After the aquarium we toured the Royal Gardens. It was very beautiful.
On Saturday morning, we were back to Shinzato Sensei’s dojo. We worked the basics, bunkai and yakusoku kumite. Afterwards, we met at Kenny’s restaurant with the WMKA board to discuss any questions or concerns. I was very appreciative for the job the they were doing.
Thursday evening, was a very memorable night for me. It was the first time that I had the opportunity to train in the Nagamine Dojo since the passing of Soke. Shinjo Sensei taught us a bo kata. Bunshiro Nagamine was working very hard on his basics and kata. He looked very strong. Training in the dojo brought back many feelings. I will be sad when it is gone.
Wednesday we walked from the mall to Miyagi Sensei’s dojo. We arrived early so we decided to cross the street and get something to drink. Miyagi Sensei spotted us and told us to change. We began class more than an hour before our scheduled time. Miyagi Sensei demonstrated dropping into the full splits and a weapons kata with each weapon.
Zack, Lora and I trained in the basics, kata and bunkai through Pinan Godan.
On Tuesday, we trained with Arakaki Sensei. First in the morning, on his main dojo. It was a great class. Later that evening, we traveled to his larger dojo. That session was enjoyable. His student Miyagi performed the kata passai. It was that night that I learned a new term. “CAR PARTY”
Tome Sensei had class at 4:00pm. It was the earliest training of the weekdays. The dojo was the farthest away from our hotel. Tome Sensei was very kind and stern on the performance of basics.
Sunday was the Tug of War that is held in Naha. O’sensei Shoshin Nagamine write about this event in the Tales of Okinawa’s Great Masters. It is truly an amazing site to see. It was fun to be a part of it.
Shinzato Sensei was our Saturday morning training session.
He is a very warm and caring individual. Shinzato Sensei warms up and stretches a little longer than most. Something that my body definitely needed. We worked on Basics, kata and Bunkai.
Training day 2 was at Arakaki Sensei’s dojo. This was a lot of fun. Arakaki Sensei is an amazing man. The workout involved kata and yakusoku drills. After the training, he invited us to his house and we enjoyed enjoyed pizza and stories.
Toured the dojos and locations to see where our training was going to take place.
The weather is 86 degrees and humid.
The first night was Taira Sensei. A 2 hour workout. Very heavy on the basics.
My body was still not adjusted to the heat, time change or recovered the travel.
It was great to see the students from New Zealand, Canada and other places.
Left for Okinawa today.
Flew from Cincinnati to Chicago. A small layover and then off to Tokyo. We changed planes in Tokyo and headed for Naha.
The travel was tough. The planes are so cramped in coach. It is important to drink lots of water and move around as much as possible.
In kata, O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine said that we should begin and end kata on the same point. Some people say that this was influenced by Arakaki’s dancing and his love for the arts.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MRS. PATRICIA
Soke said that Kobudo means: an extension of ones self
Stay true to your beliefs.
Remember, never to all yourself to give up. Determination, drive and focus can be the most dangerous weapons a martial artist can have. (Scott Mastin)
A teacher should be able to motivate others to become better regardless of age or skill level.
Practicing on a makiwara can be very beneficial. It can also lead to injury. Remember to practice at your level. Do not punch to injure your body. Punch to strengthen the techniques.
Many times throughout the week, I catch myself telling someone to breath when they are sparring or performing kata. We need to remember to do this during our daily activities as well.
One of the best times to practice your kata is when your body is very tired. You will notice that the techniques are smoother and less tense. Try to imitate this when your body feels fresh and awake. Remove the tension and allow the techniques to flow.
Pass on those things that are positive. Refrain from spreading negativity.
Sometimes, frustration will settle into our daily lives. It is easy to bring that frustration to the dojo and allow it to consume your training time. Try to empty your mind the moment that you tie your belt before you bow in. Concentrate on the class and your own efforts. Once the class is over, reflect back on those things that frustrated you. You will notice that the feeling is different. You might have even discovered an answer to a problem.
This is one of my favorite sayings:
Once when asked for a brief definition of a good Karate person, O’sensei Shoshin Nagamine replied: Kisshu fushin, Oni te hotoke kokoro. A demon’s hand, a saint’s heart. (O’sensei Shoshin Nagamine)
9/15/13A karateman must always try to keep his body and mind clean and right.(O’sensei Shoshin Nagamine)
Karate begins with courtesy and ends with it. Therefore, we must be courteous to seniors, juniors, friends, and even foes. (O’sensei Shoshin Nagamine)
Remembering Sensei John Mitchell.
“Karate Ni Sente Nashi” — There is No First Attack in Karate
Remember all of those individuals that lost their lives on this day. Also remember those individuals since September 11th that lost their lives defending our freedom.
In Matsubayashi Ryu, we never look down. Always look out even in movements found in Pinan Godan where we go down onto one knee.
In karate, when changing directions, remember to keep it simple and turn to face the opponent. Let your feet carry the hips.
Choki Motobu believed in the study of heavy makiwara training. He also believed that the practitioner only needed to know a few kata to be an effective fighter.
O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine always credited Chotoku Kyan with the mindset and thought of moving side to side or forward (and never backward) to avoid an attack.
O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine learned Wankan, Rohai, Wanshu, Passai and Chinto directly from Kodatsu Iha when he was a Senior in High School.
It was once said that Matsumora (Kosaku) lost a finger in a fight with a Samurai. The weapon that he used to protect himself was a wet towel. Even though he had lost a finger, Matsumora went on to become a master of Bo
Work on polishing the human spirit. Pass along positive messages and avoid negativity. On his last visit, Soke and I had a conversation after breakfast. He asked about my career. He asked about my views on politics. He asked about bed bugs. As the conversation continued, he ask why I only teach Matsubayashi Ryu in my school. Upon hearing my answer, he said you really Matsubayashi ryu, don’t you? I said that the style of Matsubayashi Ryu is all that I am going teach as long as I am alive. Soke had a tear in his in eye and said Thank you very much. It was a very touching moment. I really miss those talks that we had. That day, Soke taught me a sai kata. After the lesson, he said that his intention was to teach that sai kata at the World seminar that was going to be held in Okinawa in November 2013.
Students should always cherish the little moments that they are given with their teachers. You never know when it will be the last time you can see and talk to them.
Striking and blocking use similar techniques to create snap. The wrist should turn in both types of techniques. I use to observe Soke standing in the corner turn his hand over by using his other hand to twist the wrist.
Ankichi Arakaki studied under Chomo Hanishiro , Chosin Chibana and Chotoku Kyan.
Bushi Matsumura wrote the 7 Virtues of Bu:
1. Bu prohibits violence
2. Bu keeps discipline in soldiers
3. Bu keeps control among the population
4. Bu spreads virtue
5. Bu gives a peaceful heart
6. Bu helps keep peace between people
7. Bu makes people or a nation prosperous
Always strive to do the right thing, even in the face of adversity. Sometimes it is not easy to stand up to those that are the “popular” or authoritative types. It is important to always stand your ground if there are correct principles behind your reasons. In all cases, remain humble and calm. Do not let harsh or irrational words pollute the message that you are trying to convey. The ultimate goal of Matsubayashi Ryu is to develop character and humility. Remember that the next time a confrontation occurs.
Cat Stance is a transitional stance.
There are people that you might not get along with. There are times when you might not agree with each other. There are situations that will frustrate you. But once you train and understand the true meaning behind karate you will learn to properly handle those difficult situations. I never understand why people quit or leave their instructor when situations such as those mentioned above occur. I saw people come and go in the WMKA. Many people left because they thought that they were better or deserved rank. Others buckled under pressure or worse, let their egos get in the way. It is sad to see those individuals that turned their back on Soke Nagamine. Throughout our many conversations I know He was very upset and hurt by many people that he named and mentioned. As an instructor, when I look at the students that have left me for various reasons, it is frustrating. In Soke Nagamine’s case, it must have been even more hurtful. His goal and vision was to unite Matsubayashi Ryu. He worked very hard to handle the business practices himself to keep conflict between others from occurring. He created the EMKA to give identity to individuals in other parts of the world. If we look at the history of Matsubayashi Ryu, O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine asked his senior ranks and students to follow the path and support Soke as became the new head of the style. Students to the likes of Makishi, Taira and Akamine Sensei all honored O’Sensei’s wishes. Sadly, there are those that not only left the organization but created competing organizations and a few individuals that used O’Sensei’s teaching to create new styles. All of those individuals had their reasons. Everyone’s journey through the martial arts takes a different path. While I respect the path that those individuals chose, I still do not understand how one can cause pain to an individual like Soke Nagamine. Even though Soke is not with us, it is nice to see the WMKA still adding quality schools. My hope is to see the organization continue to make gains and grow in a positive ways that it has in the past 10 years. Thank you to those of you that have stuck through the hard times and supported Soke Nagamine and his fathers organization. It is nice to see that people can put aside differences and work together to grow. Maybe someday, what is left of Matsubayashi Ryu practitioners can look past their reasons for leaving and work together.
Never pass judgement on others.
I have received many emails to teach and questions regarding bunkai of certain kata.
It is not secret that Soke Nagamine taught many of the advanced lessons in the past 10 years. Most long time Matsubayashi Ryu practitioners were asking for weapons, bunkai and older techniques. I remember in 2011 the expression of gratitude from the late Rowden Sensei. Soke taught Pinan Godan Bunkai. (The first time ever)
I have been involved with Matsubayashi Ryu karate since my teenage years. I have been fortunate to have 2 instructors from Okinawa. I have seen many amazing things. I have taught Matsubayashi ryu karate consistently since 1991. Everytime that I would sit down with Soke and talk, he always asked me certain questions.
How is the dojo?
Do I still have a “real job” ?
He also made sure that I taught only my students. He said that it was ok to help out other dojo heads but make sure that I am not teaching their students. That was their job.
Be sure to study and cultivate the mind along with the body. Read about the martial arts, read O’sensei Shoshin Nagamine’s books and think about the message that is being delivered.
One of the primary objectives of hitting or striking the makiwara is to teach the student to coordinate the contraction and relaxation of certain muscle groups. This will teach the student how to generate maximum power once the correct timing of the coordination of those muscle groups is learned. When striking a makiwara, be sure to approach your training with the same focus as kata. Try to develop the zanshin mindset. Approach the makiwara from different angles. Eventually, you will learn to strike the makiwara from standing and moving positions. Children or youth should not strike the makiwara. It could damage knuckles, hands or wrist bones and even growth plates. Lastly, be sure to clean the makiwara before and after using it to prevent the spread of disease.
O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine wrote that the most important stance in Matsubayashi Ryu is Natural stance.
Aside from discipline, Soke believed that the most important thing that karate teaches you is HUMILITY. (repost)
I have tried to stay out of the politics that seem to be involved with the martial arts. If you go to a karate tournament, you will find politics. Sometimes you will have to join the tournament promoters organization. You might have to wear the organizations patch to be allowed to compete in their tournament. Many times, these tournaments have newly appointed black belts as referees. If it is a larger school that is hosting the tournament, they will be supplying many of the referees. What usually happens is the referee sides with the style that they are comfortable without her than who is the better competitor.
There are politics in karate organizations. You will see individuals that always seem to be stirring up trouble. They are questioning ranks, promotions or where the membership dues are going.
Our school is a member of one organization. That organization in the WMKA. Soke Nagamine and board of directors (in Okinawa) guided this organization until the passing of Soke Nagamine in April of 2012. Currently, Taira Sensei along with the board of directors (in Okinawa) are guiding the WMKA and are acting as “caretakers” while Bunshiro Nagamine is training so that he may take over the duties in the future. Soke Nagamine was a very personable leader and for the last 5 years of his life personally collected the membership dues, filled out rank certificates, handled the patches, arranged seminars and was there to take care of all other miscellaneous duties that were required. It was nice to have had a leader that was available to discuss matters with you by phone,email or in person. Soke Nagamine really cared.
I have seen many blogs and posting on various websites that have said the WMKA is dysfunctional. Upon reading the postings, I researched the author or authors of these. It always seemed to be a person that was kicked out of the organization for various reasons or these authors had not been involved for a long period of time.
I really do not understand why people take it upon themselves to think that their way is better? Karate is about respect, the building of ones character, humility and living a proper life. Yet many times, people decide that their way is better. These individuals believe that they should be higher ranks or in charge of an area of the country or a particular organization. They are usually the instructors that have a hard time keeping students or keeping a school open for more than a couple of years.
Many of these individuals start their own style, organization or self promote.
If we all followed the teaching of O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine and worked together our style and art would be much further than it is today. I had the privilege of training and talking to Soke Nagamine many times over the past decade. On one our our talks, he began to bring up names from the past. I could tell by the tone of his voice that he missed certain individuals while being frustrated with others. Soke Nagamine had a World Seminar planned for November of 2013 in Okinawa. One of his goals was to honor those individuals that he had felt furthered his fathers art. He talked about Jame Wax, Frank Grant, Ansei Ueshiro and many others. Soke Nagamine was really trying to build his organization and reach out to those people that have fallen by the wayside.
We all need to pull together and work on building each other up. Whatever walls were put up, tear them down and try to follow the path that Soke Nagamine has left for us.
Being an instructor can be lonely. Most people would question the statement. If you are teaching, you are always around people. How could you possibly be lonely?
O’sensei Shoshin Nagamine stated that Kyan often said “a mastery of karate does not depend on the learners physical constitution, it mainly on constant practice”
I have seen many students come and go. It is sad fact that most people that try karate class will eventually quit. There have been studies performed and the research shows that only 1 out of every 100 students will make it to the rank of Blackbelt. Other students say that number is much higher. (Keep in mind that once you earn a blackbelt, the real learning begins)People stop training for many reasons; Some have chosen the wrong school, sometimes people move while others simply get bored or give up.
Over the last 20 years I have seen different trends. Lately, parents that are praising the programs that we teach are removing their children from class because ” their child has grown and developed into a positive, confident person”. It seems that people today are looking for the quick fix for their lives. Once they have “fixed” it , they move on. Does this make any sense? I could tell countless stories about remarkable students that have totally transformed their lives. To see some of these transformations is inspiring. Some students gain confidence, some loose weight, others learn to control emotions such as anger or fear. What happens when you accomplish these amazing gains and then stop training or cut off the source that ave you those gains?
So far, this week has been filled with many ups and downs.
On Saturday, I had the honor and duty of testing 2 of my students. The first student was Jackson Louderback. Jackson has been with us for many years. (8 years) He is a very kind and dedicated individual. He is a very driven young man who is considerate of others. During his very well prepared speech, he became emotional. It demonstrated to me the passion that an individual can have for a hobby/ goal or way of life. We all need to capture that passion for things in our lives. Jackson passed his Junior shodan test. There are many instructors that say that children should not wear blackbelts. If those instructors would have seen the knowledge and skillset that was displayed, there would be no doubt that he was very deserving. (Remember that Soke Nagamine began his training at the age of 7)
The second participant was Tyrone Clark. Tyrone was originally a student of late Sensei Dave Williams. Tyrone also became emotional during his speech. He was talking about the lessons that he had learned from Sensei Williams. Tyrone successfully accomplished the rank of Sandan.
Monday was Soke Nagamine’s Birthday. I spent the day reflecting on many conversations that I had with him. Soke always appreciated the support that I had for him. He visited my dojo many times. I always felt like it was my duty to support him financially and any other means that he needed. During the time period that he lived in Columbus, I began to send my WMKA dues, request for rank certificates and other business related documents and funds directly to him. I continued that until the day of his passing. In 2008, Soke decided to take over the business side of the WMKA. Everyone else was given the opportunity to have the same dealings as I was given. Soke was so personable and spoiled us in the last 10 years of his life. As I reflected, I realized how lucky we all were. I hope other do as well.
On Tuesday of this week I visited and paid respects to one of my first Adult students that I taught I the early 90’s. Shannon Addis passed away from Diabetes at the age of 40. I had lost track of Shannon over the years but I have thought of her often. It is sad to see the effects of this disease. Looking back, I am grateful to have known Shannon.
Happy Birthday Soke
In today’s world, Bullying is happening everyday.
In Okinawa in the 1940’s bullying was happening. There was a large and powerful man that teased the youth of the village in Okinawa. His name was Matsuda.
One day, Chotuku Kyan approached Matsuda and demanded that he stopped his actions. Kyan was a very small and light individual. Kyans demands angered Matsuda to the point that he challenge Kyan to a fight. The fight took place in a vacant lot next to the Hija River. As the story goes, Matsuda tried to deliver a blow to Kyans stomach. Kyan moved to avoid the kick and kicked Matsuda in the thigh knocking him into the river.
This lesson demonstrated that you should stand up for those that can not defend themselves.
When a student quits. They are giving up. Giving up on their dedication, goals and even accomplishments. They are giving up their rank. Many say that they are going to resume training in the future. Many are under the impression that if they quit and come back in 2 years that they can walk in with the same rank. In most circumstances, this is not acceptable. If you give up your rank and walk out, how can you expect to walk in where you left off?
Karate training teaches us to get along with all types of people. Do not let others influence your decisions. Remain true to your goals and to yourself.
Precepts (in the Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do) says ” Pay your respects to your gods and Buddha but do not rely them for self improvement.
In karate training, you need to learn to have “relaxed alertness”
I have spent the majority of my life involved in the martial arts in some form. I have had the opportunity to teach in many different places including Okinawa. I have seen miracles happen from those people that have trained and pushed through the tough times. Karate training involves different periods. In the beginning, it is all new and exciting. Overtime it becomes frustrating and because of the repetition can be boring. (If your personality is so)
As you progress, you realize how little you truly know. I see so many people that start off and set their goal to obtain a Blackbelt. Our society has taught that a Blackbelt is the end or goal.
In my school, I try to teach that Blackbelt means you have completed the basics and are now ready to start learning the true art. In other words… Blackbelt is the start! No matter how willing your body, mind and spirit are…. You are not ready for most things that true Blackbelt training has to offer until you have trained for multiple years.
What saddens me is when a student that is finally making progress decides to quit. Some people take many years for this to finally “click” into place. Why would you spend a portion of your life molding your character and trying to develop humility though karate training and then stop? Do you want to say, I was almost a Blackbelt or I used to be a Blackbelt? If you stop training do you keep your Blackbelt? Are you a Blackbelt?
Most historians credit Anko Itosu with the creation of the Pinan kata. In the Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do, O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine lists 1907 as the year that the 5 Pinan kata were created/ introduced to the educations system in Japan. The word Pinan when translated means Peaceful mind.
Kusanku trained Sakugawa.
Sakugawa trained Matsumura.
Matsumura trained Itosu.
Itosu trained Kyan.
Kyan trained O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine
O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine decided to adopt the name of Matsubayashi-Ryu in honor of Matsumora and Matsumora.
There are always going to people that we do not get along with. When training in a karate class or seminar, you may have to work with one of those individuals. Having to train with those individuals that you do not get along with prepares you for the real world.
Matsubayashi- Ryu Weapons were developed as more of a hobby or as secondary training. The weapons of Matsubayashi – Ryu can be traced back to 2 individuals: Shinei Kyan and Chogi Kishaba.
Force = Mass x acceleration
Most people associate Shoshin Nagamine as having 3 main instructors. He mentions training with Chojin Kuba, Taro Shimabuku and Kodatsu Iha
O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine was given the nickname “chippai matsu” tenacious pine tree
Soke recommended reading ” The Book of 5 Rings” translated by William Scott
In Pinan Godan, people often mistake portion of the kata when you perform the Otoshi Uke for a Gedan Yoko barai uke.
On page 101 in the Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do, O’Sensei talks about the Buddha-hand fighting posture. The raised hand could be launched as a counter attack or block. (this is an intermediate movement.)
In Fukyugata Ni, the distance between the circular block punch at the end is 2 over and 1 down. (fists)
Happy 4th of July… Please be safe!
In Fukyugata Ni, Tomoe-zuki (circular block punch) is slightly higher than a chest block.
In Fukyugata Ni, Soke said (in regards to the shuto uke blocks) to make use a double block. Practice this move over and over and see if you can figure it out.
I have been reviewing some of notebooks and journals from the late 90’s and the early 2000’s. The journals containing notes from some of the talks that Soke and I would have at my kitchen table or after a training session. I am thankful that I had developed the habit of taking notes in my teenage years. In reading through them, I am amazed how much I had forgotten. My notes are a great teaching tool and a reminder to always pay attention and constantly look for a new lesson. I have seen many black belt students that go through the motions when performing basics or lower kata. They seem almost annoyed when asked to work with a beginner student. Instead, we need to look for a lesson in each training session. Always look to improve your basics and when given the opportunity to assist another person, regardless of their experience, treasure the moment.
The greatest part of our happiness depends on our disposition, not our circumstances. ( Martha Washington)
The above saying is a good topic to think about. Too often, we long for more things. Stop and appreciate all of the blessings that are in your life. Be thankful and live your life. If there is something in your life that you are no happy with, work on creating to plan to correct those things. Remember that sometimes change takes time.
Seek to always improve the intensity of your training . (Chotoku Kyan)
Happy Fathers day to all of the fathers that are deserving of the privilege to be called “father”
One of the most important functions of the makiwara is to develop Centrifugal Force from the center of the body.
Atemi (destructive power)= velocity + mass
On page 254 in the Essence of Okinawan Karate Do, O’sensei Nagamine writes about the 7 Yakusoku Kumite drills. One needs to practice with both sides of the body.
It is easy to favor one side because it feels stronger or maybe you have an injury. Be sure to do your best to be a balanced martial artists.
Tenshin no kamae means: body shifting / fighting posture. Pinan Godan is a great example of a Kata that emphasis Tenshin and body shifting
The kata Passai was a favorite kata of Chotoku Kyan. It was also one of Soke Nagamine’s favorite kata
Anko Itosu once said” When you train in karate you should train as though you were on the battlefield fighting the enemy.”
He also went on to say ” One should never fight over insignificant matters”
Rohai (means bright mirror)
was a kata from the village of Tomari
News Post: June 1, 2013
Yasuharu Makishi, Hanshi 10th Dan
This year, our students set out to try something different.
With this statement in mind …”It is time for a change!”
I have asked everyone (both students and parents) to make a conscious effort to improve their life and to better the individuals that are in their life.
Each month a new Challenge has been passed out. The goal was to start slow and build up different areas of the individuals lives. I asked that each person sign a letter of commitment. It looked something like this:
This month’s challenge seems very simple but can be the hardest of all.
It can be summed up in 3 steps.
1) Commit to working on every challenge for the whole year. Get the support of your family and friends to join you and motivate you.
2) Set in motion a plan to execute the challenge each month. This is where you designate the time in your life to complete the tasks.
3) Follow through
If you are committed to the Challenge, sign below.
The only cost is your time, sweat and determination.
We received a multitude of signed commitment sheets back the first 2 weeks of this year. This was expected as everyone is always looking for New Years Resolutions.
The participants were asked to identify where they were in the different areas of their lives and where they would like to be.
Next I asked them to think about things that they were thankful for and areas that need to be improved.
Finally, each person was given a list of things that they could chose to incorporate into their daily lives. Things such as:
* Eat a fruit and a vegetable everyday
* Drink at least 10 glasses of water daily
* Take a vitamin daily
* Brush your teeth, floss and visit the dentist at least once a year. (You have to schedule the appointment)
* Get a physical at least once a year (Needs to be scheduled) (All age appropriate exams mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.)
* Read at least 15 minutes per day in the morning
* Set aside 20 minutes per day to stretch
and many more options.
Once they made their choices, they were to document the results.
Each month we added a series of 3 to 6 things to work on.
Some were karate related, while other challenges had to do with organizing things in their lives.
Giving thanks and showing gratitude was usually included in the challenges.
This year, I started off with goals that I had set for myself. Many my goals were side tracked when my health and red blood cells threw me a curve ball. I am still working through some things but am starting to regain my strength. Stamina is a different story. That still has a long way. Through this journey, I had never lost sight of one of my goals.
I wanted to learn how to ride the dirt tracks / trails on a mountain bike. It has been years since I have ridden a bike so this would be a whole new world for me. As our anniversary presents, Patricia and I bought bikes together. This past Sunday, Patricia, myself and our 2 younger children went our first “stage one” track. It was a great adventure and I am looking forward to being able to try another track in the future.
This experience was a great teaching tool and has inspired me to continue to push myself to get better.
Remember that in life, there will always be set backs, illness and frustration. These things define the type of person that we are and lay the floor plan for the life that we will live. It is easy to sit home and give up when you are sick. It is hard to get up and go after those things in life that you would like to achieve.
I would rather take the hard path and attempt to do something great even if I fail rather than to do nothing and succeed.
We are approaching June, I have seen a decline in the recap sheets from the previous month’s challenge.
Ask yourself, are you completely happy in all areas of your life? If the answer is yes, help those around you to become a better person, if the answer is no….. GET BUSY!
Happy Memorial Day
I am thankful for all of the past, present and future individuals that have fought to protect our freedoms.
Senpai Wands is one of those individuals that has done this for all of us.
THANK YOU, SIR!
I recently had a parent that contacted me and said that martial arts has made a major impact in her sons life. It gave him confidence and helped him focus. She then went on to tell me that they were not going to be able to attend classes anymore because she wanted him to try new things. Did I miss something here???
As a parent of 4, anything that my children participated in that gave them confidence and focus would have priority.
O’Sensei gave credit to Choki Motobu as being the inspiration for his creation of the 7 yakusoku kumite
What does Koshi mean?
Wearing a Black Belt does not mean you are invincible….. It means you never gave up, worked past the pain, overcame the disappointments, didn’t cave into your doubts, faced your fears, and learned enough to realize how little you actually know.
Who dare to TEACH must never cease to LEARN.
This statement is one of the sayings that I live by. I am amazed by the number of black belts that quit training once they receive their belts. I am even more amazed by the number of Black Belts that go on to teach and stop training.
As an instructor, we do not know everything. There is not only 1 way to do everything. KEEP TRAINING AND KEEP LEARNING SO YOU CAN KEEP TEACHING!
During a training session with Soke Nagamine, he said ” Be sure to move , PAUSE, and then execute the technique. This develops zanshin”.
During one of the training sessions at my dojo in July of 2011, Soke spoke about developing a spring effect in the cross stance. We were studying Pinan Shodan. This spring effect allow you to turn away from the attackers punch and spring underneath to create an arm break.
3 points must be developed and acquired while practicing any stance.
1. Long Endurance
2. Stability and balance
3. Flexibility and mobility
The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do (page 57)
Generations of experience have shown that it usually requires 3 years to learn the basics and 7 years to acquire the fundamental proficiency of kata.
Practice of the basic movements enables the student to achieve a natural ,beautiful, swift, stable and powerful performance of kata. From this comes the reflexes and spontaneous movements that are necessary for defense and offense in actual combat.
A dojo is a place that we can develop a connection with our self. It is during these self discoveries that we can face our fears, anxieties, frustrations and other emotions. It is a place that we are confined to during our training sessions. Sometimes drills require us to face an opponent that is not our enemy but rather a training partner. This partner engages us and helps us to better understand ourselves.
A dojo is a place that prepares us for the real world. We can learn a lot about who we really are in a short amount of time. As we train inside the dojo with our partners, we make certain connections and conflicts that prepare us for the conflicts that await us outside of the dojo walls.
On a daily basis, we are faced with learning new things while training at the dojo. This self discovery is important and helps to shape us into the person that we hope to become.
This photo is very special to me. Soke Nagamine was teaching me a sai kata and my son Brandon is observing.
I am blessed with a great teaching staff. They work hard and show up consistently. If I am stuck at the office or can not make classes, they fill in and do a great job. Be sure to support your instructor, friends and yes.. support your students. It is a 2 way street.
Finally, we have had some days that are not cloudy and 40 degrees. Stop and look at the trees, the grass, the plants and look at the people. During those dreary months, people can have dreary attitudes. Try not to be one of those people.
On a different note: think about when the temperatures got above 60 degrees and the sun was shining above. The plants, trees and lawns all came to life with the vibrant colors that bring us joy. You too can come to life. SO LIVE!
Sometimes you have to ask yourself ” why do we do, what we do”? Always train and if you are fortunate enough to someday be able to teach, do it for the right reasons.
Some people do things to boost their name, ego or pocket book. This path will eventually lead to a lonely place.
It is sad to see traditional teachers turn to sport karate as a means to make a living. If you train for sport, then you are focusing on yourself.
Karate is about polishing ones character and developing harmony within yourself. By developing your character, you will soon learn to give back to others though karate.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Trapping techniques are called Fuji Komi waza
Soke once said that cat stance is used to create distance. It is not used as a fight stance.
In Zanshin the mind focuses completely on the body movements.
O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine once said ” Kata brings a person into total contact with the essence of his core”
Soke one told me to read ” The Book of Five Rings” (translated by William Scott)
It is important to practice sparring. Realize that sparring is not fighting. It is a means to develop distance and timing. It is a way to learn how to control your emotions. Fear and anger are 2 emotions that often arise during a confrontation. When you spar and get hit, these emotions often appear.
Happy Valentines Day
Study the use of the makiwara to develop atemi (destructive power)
We are approaching the one year anniversary of the passing of Soke Nagamine. It is still very hard to grasp the concept that he is not with us anymore. (physically)
I have been asked a lot recently if there are any plans to celebrate or memorialize his the date of his passing. I have been asked if there are any plans in Okinawa to honor this day.
In Okinawa, most anniversary’s are held on 3rd,7th,13th,25th & 33rd year after someone’s passing away in Okinawan tradition.
I have received word from Okinawa that there are no plans this year.
That does not mean we should train any less harder or lose consistency in our training and dedication to preserving and researching the art that Soke Nagamine taught us.
In other words, GET UP AND PRACTICE YOUR BASICS AND KATA!!!!
February is Heart Disease awareness month. With the new month, comes a new challenge. Be sure to pick up the challenge sheets in the lobby.
It is sad to report the passing of another Matsubayashi Ryu Pioneer : Sensei Joe Carbonarra
From time to time you will have new students come into the dojo to join. You will have former students who come to the dojo that want to resume their training and you will have students from the same style ask to join your program because of various circumstances in their past that keep them from training at their previous schools. I have always tried to see the best in people. I usually give people too many chances. Sometimes I am taken advantage of. I believe that the students true motives and reasons for training will eventually come out. The longer I train the more I discover that martial arts is about sharing and giving without expecting anything in return. Be a giver not a person that seeks fame or money from the martial arts. Create a humble atmosphere where egos do not exist. Teach out of strict kindness instead of seeing dollar signs.
Karate must be studied as a martial art with due stress on the practice of kumite as life or death match NOT for tournament purposes. O’Sensei goes on to say ” As I have always asserted, kata and kumite are to karate as mother and father are to children. Both must be fully studied and practiced with due consideration given to maintaining a properly balanced relationship between them”
In the “Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do” O’Sensei talks about Ma-ai. He says ” The most advantageous ma-ai is generated by placing the opponent in sight and simultaneously getting out of the opponents sight.
Ma-ai can mean the ready distance between 2 opponents.
One meaning of Atemi is : concentrated, destructive power. Makiwara is on of the tools that we use to help create this power.
Soke once said that O’Sensei did not care for the kama because it was a bladed weapon.
Kata requires 3 fundamental elements: Sight line, Posture and power
Matsubayashi -ryu uses 3 element to create a good technique. This is the essence of the style. Do you know what they are? (Hint.. this is a review)
Soke once said, ” You have to have a little room to get along with other people. You have to control what you are doing, or it will control you.
~Creating Complete individuals, Changed by Challenges begins today!~
Remember to always strive to create a humble spirit. Bring harmony to those in your life. Leave a place better than you found it. Make a difference.
As I reflect on the past year, I am thankful for many things.
I began the year still in shock and sadness over the loss of Sensei John Mitchell. Our family was also trying to unpack boxes and create a routine after our move into in a new (older) house. Changing homes is never easy and throughout the year, we faced many challenges with the home. In addition to the move, I was given more responsibility with my company. This kept me away from the dojo and made teaching on a daily basis much more difficult.
The winter weather months were kind to us. We did not have any days that we had to cancel or close due to snow. In March, I was contacted by Soke Nagamine. He wanted to come back to Ohio to teach for a couple of weeks. Sensei Gerard Capiello, Sensei Michael Norvell, Sensei Tony Gibson and myself spent many hours planning a 3 stop North American trip for Soke. On the same week of us purchasing the tickets, we found out that Soke Nagamine had suddenly passed away. It still hurts me to write those words. He was a very special and caring person. Upon the passing of Soke Nagamine, I was asked to go to Okinawa. I politely declined as there is a 49 day mourning period. To travel to Okinawa during this time period was not respectful as it brought more pressure to those who would have to host a guest from overseas during the 49 day period.
I was humbled by the collection and presentation of funds that I was given to help with the purchase of the airline ticket when I can make the journey.
This year our dojo also lost Troy Clabough. He was instrumental in assisting me at the Anderson Health Plex in the early days. Our style also lost Kensei Taba and Walter Rowden. Taba Sensei was an extraordinary pioneer of Matsubayashi Ryu. I am grateful to Sensei Tony Partlow for inviting me to his seminar and for having the opportunity to train with Taba Sensei. Sensei Walter Rowden was a very kind person who always went out of his way to help those around him . I appreciate the privileged of having his support for our 2011 Midwest Seminar last year.
This year we said good bye to the Health Plex programs. I was disappointed with the way that we were treated by the directors. However, there is always a bright side to every challenge. It is nice to have to the majority of the students still training with us and it is much easier to be able to teach all of the students under one traditional roof. I learned a valuable lesson: I refused to allow our parents and students to be treated with disrespect. I always went out of my way to make the healthplex programs successful. (by our numbers and the numbers of those students that made the change to the dojo, I am very happy with the results. ) In the end, they did not care about the individuals that were a part of our program or about their memberships. I teach to better the lives of others. That is my first priority. I hope in the future that the directors can find an instructor that teaches a traditional program with values. I fear that they may end up with someone that promotes sport karate through competition and tournament or worse, a belt factory that thrives on how much money can they take from the student instead of an instructor that gives all that he or she has to the student.
This year, we had 3 remembrance seminars. They honored Sensei Williams, Sensei Mitchell and Soke Nagamine.
We Introduced a new Black belt class format.
There was also an addition of a Kata Class that is held on Tuesday Nights. During the new class, we now work with weapons. It is nice to be able to teach weapons again.
This year we remodeled the dojo by adding new signs, pictures, new makiwara and an amazing floor. I believe that these additions have helped us in many ways.
2012 brought us many new motivated students. I had the fortune of promoting new black belts, Jr. Black-belts and moving some of our current black-belts up in rank.
We had 3 individuals that stepped up and assisted with the teaching duties. Zach Parr, Jessan and Lora Wert were great assets to the dojo. On a separate note, we are blessed to have Senpai Wands. He led by example and demonstrated the meaning of top student.
I think in closing, I would like to say thank you for all of the support and dedication through this year. I am excited about the upcoming year as we have many things planned.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Mrs. Patricia and I would like to thank each and every parent, student and friend of our dojo and programs. We feel very honored and truly blessed to have you all in our lives. I am grateful for all of the support and dedication that is shown.
I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful gift. I will be sure to put it to good use.
Soke once said “anyone can learn to punch and kick”, but to truly understand karate and the meaning behind it, one must first remove all of the ego-related distractions”
Our last promotion test went well. I am inspired by those people that have never given up when things were tough for them. It is motivating and encouraging to see the younger generation develop a passion for the art of Matsubayashi-ryu karate.
As we enter the last month of the year 2012, finish strong. This will give us momentum for the new year and a fresh start.
A lesson learned.
If things sound too go to be true….. you know the rest.
Always listen to your gut and seek the advice from others when it is out of your realm of knowledge.
A time of thanks.
We all need to stop and reflect on things that we are thankful for. We also need to define what is a “want” vs. a “need”
This was one of the outfits that Soke Nagamine wore when he was here in July of 2011. I feel very honored with all of the gifts that he had given me during his last stay. Most of all, I value the friendship, talks and special time. He told many stories and had drawn a picture during one of those stories. On the last day of his visit, he taught me a sai kata that he was going to teach at the 2013 Okinawa seminar. It is funny to watch the film because he was in his yellow shorts and white tshirt. I still remember the smell of his after shave. This outfit still smells like him and was very bitter sweet as we placed it in the box. I wanted to be able to share this with all who might have know him. I thought perhaps it might bring back a memory or special occasion that another individual might have had. He was a very caring and genuine person. (I am thankful to Mrs. Patricia for all of her hard work in putting this together for the dojo) The picture 2 the right of the shadow box is a gift of a funny and unique photo of Soke. Thank you for the gift Anthony Gibson
These 2 shadow boxes hang on the Entrance wall of the dojo. They are filled with items of Sensei John Mitchell.
He help me build the programs that so many students are a part of. He worked very hard and led by example. Let these serve to help us to remember to work hard, stay dedicated and remain humble. Those 3 traits were important to the person whose items are encased in these boxes.
Why do some instructors feel the need to teach at other peoples schools? If they were truly trying to help the dojo owner, why don’t they invite him or her to their school to train or train the dojo owner in private?
I believe that there are 2 reasons that people do this. The first reason is because they do not have enough or any real consistent students of their own. Running a school on a day to day basis is not easy. Especially if you work a full time job and teach at night. Soke always said “never teach karate as your profession” He also expressed that he was not happy with those that try to teach outside of their own schools. He felt like it took money away from him and that they were doing his job. Now that he is gone, nothing has changed with the rules or what his wishes were. I have spent a lot of time correcting students that currently train with me that came up under other instructors. If a person does not teach on a daily basis, they lose touch with how to communicate. Now factor in the different age groups that they might never taught before…. they are usually lost.
The second reason that others teach outside of their own school is either inflate their ego or build their name. This demonstrates a huge lack of knowledge and shows that they do not understand the rank that they were granted. The higher we go, the more humble we should be come. We should blend not stand out!
I think they might also be trying to make money off of others students or even “borrow” ideas for their own school.
I would say to those that are out there, follow the wishes of Soke Nagamine. Worry about your own training first and then your own school. (ONLY) If you are trying to help the lower ranking dojo owners then do it in a way that they can still be the one that their students look up to and allow them to benefit.
Remember, there was only one Soke Nagamine, one O’Sensei Nagamine and there is only one president of the WMKA.
Thank you to all who have served our country. A special thanks to Bill Wands who represents our country well. He is a true hero.
If you can believe it, the mind can achieve it.
– Ronnie Lott
With the holidays approaching fast, take time to reflect who you are in life. Look at the people in your life and how you treat them.
Challenge…. draw out the points of the kata on a piece of paper. See if you can find any similarities of each of the kata?
To succeed…You need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.
You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.
– Michael Jordan
Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do
85% of kata start towards the left. 90% of our front kicks in kata are toe kicks to the stomach.
Karate is a training of both mind and body, and leads one to a better understanding of both the self and the world.
O’Sensei once said” Devoting ones life to karate develops an indomitable spirit and unshakable faith. (re-post)
Soke often stressed the importance of karate as being a martial art….. not a sport. Our style is part of the Okinawan culture. Culture is not a sport.
Karate is the study of death and being alive.
There are 5 Basic Fundamental philosophies in Matsubayashi Ryu
1. Live in accordance with the principals of nature. Respect your parents
2.We study movement. Once you learn how to study movement, you have to know how function within your own body and be able to use these movements.
3. Learn from you experiences – experiences will teach you
4. Strive for a sense of history and culture.
5. Know what you can do and what you can learn from karate. You have to practice and learn from imagination.
Aside from discipline, the most important thing that karate is humility.
Congratulations to Noah Breitenbecher on his promotion to Junior Blackbelt.
Kayla Mastin was promoted to Junior Blackbelt level 2
John McNulty was promoted to Nidan
Zachary Parr was promoted to Nidan
Chris Koch was promoted to Sandan.
O’sensei Shoshin Nagamine fathers name was : Shoho
O’sensei Shoshin Nagamine mothers name was : Gozei
O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamines nickname was Chippaii Matsu – translation (tenacious pine tree)
Practice Kata slow
Practice kata fast
Practice kata in a small space
Practice kata on a hill
The point is to PRACTICE KATA!
It has been one year ago today that I lost my best friend. One year ago today, our dojo lost a large part of its heart and soul. I know there is a lesson in all of this somewhere. I have seen a big transformation take place at the dojo. I know that John would have liked to see it too. I am confident that he is up there smiling down and he would be happy with the results.
With what we lost with John, we have found a new leadership in others. We can never replace who he was or what he means to us but we must go on. This year was very difficult on our group and style and through of all the trials we have still continued to make gains. It would have been very easy to give up and quit. Our dojo has never been about giving up or quitting. We have been through a lot of hardship beginning in 2008 with the loss of our friend Dave Williams. We lost Sensei John Mitchell, Troy Clabough and our leader and my teacher Soke Nagamine. We have watched students of both high rank and beginners make poor decisions. Unfortunately, they are not with us anymore. We have had to restructure our dojo and classes because the Anderson and Western Hills Healthplexs did not see the value of the services that we were providing. They chose to insult some of the parents of our students and chose to not honor the agreements that they had written with us.
Through all of the sadness, loss, adversity and trials, we have still grown and made progress in skillsets, attitudes and efforts. The lesson is to always push through the hard times and keep trying better those around you.
Thank you Sensei Mitchell for giving us another lesson today!
Today I am another year older and I still feel like an infant in the martial arts world.
9/9/12 Soke once told me that his brother designed the Leafy border that was around the old rank certificates
9/7/12 If you open up the hard back ” Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do” books and look at the old drawings on the inside of the cover, look at the fist. (2nd picture on the top left corner) Taba Sensei’s fist was used as the example / model for that drawing.
by Senpai Wands
If you read past or current martial arts magazines or follow martial arts blogs on the internet, basics are one of the common topics discussed. The definition of basics for the purpose of this discussion are the fundamental techniques of blocking, punching, kicking and stances that we perform when practicing our art Matsubayashi Ryu. We can execute basics by staying in place or by stepping across the dojo floor. Placing the basics in a prearranged set of movements create the eighteen kata that we practice.
We start practicing basics as new students with the first class and then continue with this practice as long as we study our art. Do you remember how much you looked forward to each class as a new student learning how to punch and kick and use your body more effectively? However, as we progress, the basics became routine or mundane and we looked forward to learning more advanced kata and we rushed through our basics during that part of the class lacking the intensity we had as new students. Everyone is human and we all look forward to new and exciting things that increases our understanding of the art we study.
Please remember there is always something we can learn about our basics through consistent and dedicated practice. This consistent and dedicated practice will provide us with more knowledge about our basics and the strong punch we thought we were performing can be refined and become even stronger. I will repeat the last sentence in the first paragraph. “Placing the basics in a prearranged set of movements create the eighteen kata that we practice.” Basics are the foundation that our art is built on so make sure you have a strong foundation.
Tuesday night classes have been interesting. Since it is Kata Class, we have obviously been working on kata. In addition to open hand kata, we have been working with the Bo. We have also been working on bunkai and kata applications. I think this class was a great idea because we have made a lot of gains in our kata as a whole. Keep up the good work!
9/1/12 Karate is a training of both mind and body, and leads one to a better understanding of both self and world.
8/29/12 do mu gen: (translation) There is no end to learning!
8/27/12 O’Sensei once said: ” devoting ones life to karate developes an indomitable spirit and unshakable faith”
Congratulations to all of those that passed the promotion test. It is a testimate to all of your hard work and commitement. I am thankful for Mr. Wands, Miss Lora, Miss Katelynn, Mr. Zarr and Mr. Jessan for all of the assistance during the classes over the past few months. You are the reason for the success!
There is a meaning behind the current Matsubayashi-ryu patch. Do you know what it is?
Chōtoku Kyan’s motto “Effort is Everything”
Soke Nagamine began training at the age of 7
MESSAGE TO ALL: Please do not copy these notes and use them for purposes other than learning and furthering your knowledge of Matsubayashi- ryu.
8/17/12 The basic movements are the fundemental defensive and offensive movements. The intermediate movements serve to connect the basic movements.
8/16/12 The movements of kata are divided into basic and intermediate.
8/15/12 On July 14,2011 Soke said : Be sure to move (pause) and then execute the technique. This Developes Zanshin!
8/14/12 The 3 Essentials of Techniques: 1- Acceleration (Kasokudo) 2- Centrifugal force (Tenshin ryoku) 3-Leverage (teko)
Soke always said “you should never pivot on your heels.” (NEVER)
Happy Birthday Soke Nagamine…. we miss you
I am sickened by the recent arrest of the Tae Kwon Do Instructor from Pleasant Ridge that was arrested for inappropriate contact with a 7 year old girl. We as instructors have a duty to protect our students in every way!
(Click on LINK above in red to View Soke Nagamine and Hanshi Taira performing Yakusoku Kumite 1-7. I filmed this in Okinawa in 2010)
(Please excuse the unsteady camera)
I am humbled and honored by the amount of respect that our students have demonstrated.
I have taught Matsubayashi-ryu since 1991. I have had the honor of promoting many people to Black Belt. I have to say that in all my years of teaching that I have never had such an amazing group of black belts as I do at this period of time. The team of students that assist with classes and help the newer and younger students is amazing. Thank you!
I always teach to keep an open mind. There are many knowledgeable people in this world. NO ONE knows everything.
To know the kata is to know: how many kiai and where they are. Who created the kata and the timeframe associated with it.
Research the techniques in the kata and realize that learning is never finished.
Soke said many times that the most important portion of his fathers book was pages 99-101.
Do the research and figure out why.
The passing of Soke Nagamine has left a huge void in our hearts.
I feel very lost at times. During one of our discussions last year 2011 when Soke was staying with me. He asked me how I felt about the art that his father had created. My response was quick and simple. “that Matsubayashi ryu is the one and only art that I will ever teach.” Soke sat there a minute and with tears in his eyes, he said “you love Matsubayashi Ryu”? My reply was simple “hai”. He said ” I am very proud of you”
To this day, I can still hear his voice, smell his aftershave in the mornings before breakfast and feel the sting of the technique that he was demonstrating.
I will continue to teach as he would have wanted me to. I teach to benefit others. That is the reason that after all of these years, I have always kept a career to support my family instead of relying on the dojo income.
I am bothered by those who have disrespected Soke Nagamine and the style of Matsubayashi ryu in the past and now that he is gone, are suddenly the masters of Matsubayashi Ryu. Those that might have trained with Soke in the 70’s,80’s and 90’s and got good at the basics. Now all of the sudden, they are masters of the style. They do not realize that “most of the good stuff” as they say was not being taught during that time period. Some of the most recent things were techniques that Soke had discovered and decided to share in this decade.
While its not a fair comparison, I was not a very good teacher back in 1991. Even though I have had the honor of consistently teaching over 300 per year for more than 2 decades. I still do not feel like I am a good teacher. My understanding of techniques back then was not the same as it is now. I am sure that my understanding of techniques today will not be the same as my understanding of techniques in the future. Now think about Soke and the way his knowledge has grown.
Also consider the way that we teach individuals. Some students are taught techniques differently than other students. Sometimes it is because of their abilities, understanding or even attitudes.
Soke made it clear to all of us that we were to teach at our own school and help those in our style. That does not mean go to other peoples schools or events and expect to be paid or try to teach things that are not for public knowledge.
In July of 2004, Soke explained the meaning behind Bunkai. Most people say that Bunkai means application of Kata.
Bunkai actually means interpretation of Kata.
Oyo Bunkai means application of the interpretation of the kata
7/29/12 Soke Nagamine was born on August 12th, 1945. He began studying karate under his father at the age of 7 years old. 10 years earlier in life than his father O’Sensei Shoshin Nagamine