Friday, 30 January 2015

Closure of the Dojo

The Gojuryu Karatedo Yoyogi Ryushinkan Dojo, which was founded in 1956, will close down permanently at the end of February 2015. This news is very sad, but unfortunately it is no longer feasible to maintain the Dojo on its current premises in Tokyo.  While the Dojo and location will close, Ryushinkan the organization will carry on. The details have yet to be finalized, but it is hoped that members will continue to train and practice alone and/or together and maintain the traditions, techniques and philosophy of Goju Ryu karate for future generations.  

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Tai Sabaki 3 - Higaonna Sensei: Basic Blocking and Tai Sabaki

Here is more on tai sabaki in Goju Ryu karate by Morio Higaonna Sensei.  From 10:44 there is are great examples of tai sabaki using the hips. The motion of the body itself becomes a part of, and foundation for, the block. 
In the kind of training in pairs shown around 14:37, it is essential to wait for the opponent to start the kick or other attack, then quickly react and change position. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Tai Sabaki 2 - body shifting in kumite

Body movement and footwork are used in all the martial arts, including ninjutsu, aikido and so on.  As well as suri-ashi, or sliding feet, which is the primary method of footwork in Goju Ryu, other terms and techniques can be found elsewhere, such as okuri-ashi, ayumi-ashi, and hiraki-ashi.

This video shows how tai sabaki can be applied with speed in kumite sparring in karate.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Tai Sabaki 1

Tai sabaki (体捌き), or "body movement," refers to the positioning of the body to avoid an attack and maneuver oneself into an advantageous position for counter-attack. Sabaki (or ashi-sabaki) itself is usually translated in the martial arts as "footwork."  In tai-sabaki, it should be understood that the whole body is moved simultaneously; this involves leading with the hips and trunk, rather than feet-first.  

In order to avoid an oncoming punch, strike or other attack, the movement in karate is often in a diagonal direction, in principle towards the "outside" of the opponent's body. The feet are not lifted, but rather slide or glide in suriashi.  In other cases, the hips can be rotated backwards to the left or right to avoid an oncoming kick.  In any event, all tai sabaki must be done speedily - when the footwork is slow, the technique is slow.

Below are examples of tai sabaki from ninjutsu, but the principles are the same in all the martial arts.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Higaonna Sensei - Sanchin Breathing and Application

Always good to start the New Year with a review of the basics - Sanchin Breathing and Applications.  Many of the applications found throughout the Goju Ryu kata are but variations on those in Sanchin, so these are truly the fundamental techniques and should be understood and practiced rigorously. 

Monday, 5 January 2015

Okinawa Goju Ryu Karate-do Precepts

In Morio Higaonna Sensei's book "Traditional Karate-Do: Okinawa Goju Ryu, Vol. 1:The Fundamental Techniques," he lists the precepts of Goju Ryu as he understood them from founder Miyagi Chojun Sensei. Through his training in the martial arts, Miyagi Chojun Sensei was contstantly searching for how human beings should be. Higaonna Sensei notes that "We should regard our training as a diamond, at first rough and dull. But with hard, austere and relentless training (or polishing), our techniques will begin to shine."

In summary, these three precepts are given as follows:

1.    It should be known that secret principles of Goju Ryu exist in the "Kata" - Kata are a crystallization of the essence of karate and it is only through the training of kata that you will reach "gokui," the essential teaching.
2.    Goju Ryu Karate-do is a manifestation within oneself of the harmonious accord of the universe - "As supple as a willow, as solid as Mount Tai."
3.   The way of Goju Ryu Karate-do is to seek the way of virtue - There is the concept of "to win", but to win through virtue. Heighten one's own virtue, master the strategy of winning without fighting and seek the ultimate secret.