Sunday, 31 August 2014


In August, Lo-san visited us from her dojo in Shanghai.  She has been training at both the daytime and evening sessions every day at the Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo during August in order to improve her kata and pick up a lot of useful tips and advice for when she returns to China. In one month, Lo-san has worked very hard and made great progress.  On Friday night there was a farewell party for her as it was her last day at the dojo.  However, we hope she can return again soon to train with us or even take part in tournaments. We wish her well back home in China!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Muchimi 1

Muchimi is a unique quality of traditional Okinawan karate by which a heavy, sticky feeling is incorporated into any body movement.  Good examples include the movement of the arms during kakie and the opening hand techniques in the Seiyunchin kata.  The ultimate aim is to maintain control of an opponent, for if you don’t "stick" to the opponent, you are not in control. 

Muchimi is not achieved with muscle power alone or with stiffness or tension. On the contrary, the muscles should be relaxed.  Muchimi is not something that can be verbally explained, but is learned through practice and application.  A metaphor often given to aid understanding is to imagine oneself moving in a giant vat of honey or glue – strongly, slowly, smoothly, and with great power, deliberation and economy.

As is often the case, some hints regarding this concept can also be found in Miyamoto Musashi’s “The Book of Five Rings, as seen in these two quotes:

The Body of Lacquer and Glue
The heart of Lacquer and Glue is that when you have come close to the body of your opponent, stick to it without separating…stick to it with strength - head, body and feet.

Applying Glue

Continue to apply swords as if you were applying glue, and close in.  The heart of this stickiness is to make it difficult for your swords to separate, but you must be mindful not to use too much strength…do so with great tranquility.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Bowing in Seiza

The appropriate way to bow to the front of the dojo in seiza at the beginning and end of training sessions, as well as at other times, is to place both hands palm down on the thighs, fingers pointing inwards at 45 degrees. The left hand is placed on the floor first at the same angle, then followed by the right hand. Finally, the head is brought down so as to be between the hands, but not so far as to touch the floor.  Seiza is performed as indicated in a previous post., and the whole process is, as always, done in a state of readiness or kamae. In other words, being continually aware of one's surroundings rather than merely looking directly at the floor.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Visit by Jaromir Musil

Last week the Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo was visited by our old friend Jaromir Musil from the Czech Republic.  Jaromir is OGKK chief instructor in Europe and teaches at the Nidoshinkan dojo in Brno.  His profile is available here.  Jaromir is traveling in Japan to enjoy some of the sights, and then on to Okinawa to train with the OGKK. We hope he has an enjoyable visit, good training in Okinawa, and wish him a safe journey home. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Dojo Summer Holiday

The  Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo is closed this week for the Obon summer festival in Japan.  Obon is Japan's version of the Buddhist festival of the dead.  Though the festival often takes place mid-July in the Tokyo region, most of Japan closes up in mid-August for several days. The dojo will reopen August 18.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Rating a Dojo

Despite the title, "59 Signs Your Dojo is Awesome" provides many interesting pointers for what to look for in the ideal venue for training in karate and other martial arts. The only one I might slightly disagree on is #53 - you are there to prove something, but only to yourself.  

The Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo definitely fulfills all criteria.