Dec 05 2017

Holiday Wishes

It’s that time of year again where we remember all the good people we have in our common training interest.  I’ve heard many say how elementary our system is when in truth, it is the most diverse system I know and I’ve studied a few.

Straight and hard simplifies it’s intent where the target is determined and your attack is established and directed.  Our system is mostly circular and half soft where your targets and usage can be infinite.  That’s why there are so many differences in opinion regarding how our movements are used.  Circular has so many different points of contact in it’s path.  Hard and soft with a full understanding will allow all participants the usage of every movement in our system.  This is regardless if you are the strongest and the biggest who’ll blast through everything in your path or the smallest where you rely more on skill and technique to achieve your goal. 

The most important thing for us to remember is to respect each other and our ideas.  We are all knowledgeable martial artist who dedicated many years to our study of Uechi-Ryu.  We must be tolerant to the difference we see and hear form our esteem brothers and sisters.  No one person knows everything. 

During this season of peace and good will, let us recognize the enormous effort we’ve all invested in our art and respect the fact that the next person is no less invested.

With that said, I hope you’ve had a bountiful Thanksgiving and wish you the merriest holiday season this year and every year to come.  I wish you good health and prosperity.  Stay healthy and workout to your fullest.  Knowledge is never ending.

Love and Peace to All,

Darin Yee      

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Nov 30 2017

Teaching Tips

Some of my students are looking in my Black Belt Test Guide by Sensei George Mattson and questioning some of the content.  Our discussions were mainly on the section of “time in grade”.  Seems every student and their mothers think their little ninja is an exceptional student.  If not, it’s the sensei’s fault and they will leave and find a sensei who’ll believe their child is exceptional.  Please be informed this applies for adult rank more so then children as according to the guide, real black belts are awarded only to students 16 years of age and over. 

 I see many children wearing black belts and I must admit are very good.  The huge difference is they do not have the strength of an adult and regardless, they do not have the mentality of an adult.  A real black belt is someone with not only the knowledge and the physical abilities but one who has the proper mind set, attitude and control. 

Sensei Mattson listed in the kyu rank section the suggested workout hours required along with the time expected.  However, this was not so clear in the dan (black belt) section.  Therefore, it’s become an issue of discussion and there are many who’ll spin the wording to circumvent the spirit and intention of the guide and rules for self gratification and unwarranted gains.      

My explanation on this subject of “time in grade” is meant for a student to mature in their present rank.  That “time in grade” give that student time to workout and become more familiar with the movements in our system, gain greater strength and acquire an understanding of oneself.  We need to know what our strengths are and understand our personal limitations.  And that changes with age.  

We lose speed but we gain in knowledge.  This can only be realized if we have time spent on a dojo floor working out.  If we past our precious time watching television, playing on our computers or just staying home, we gain nothing.  Yet I see people coming back for promotions simply because they have the “required” time in grade and no evidence of working out.

A dojo must insist on dojo workouts along with that time passed (time in grade) to insure this student has really improved and obtained enough improvements to earn a promotion.

An average student works out twice a week which adds up to 104 workouts a year.  Taking holidays into consideration, I suppose we could accept workouts in the mid 80s plus their “time in grade” to be considered “average”. 

An exceptional student has little to do with their physical abilities but is a student who dedicates more of their time to working out and the understanding of the arts.  Those who commits an “exceptional” time to their study of karate are “exceptional” students.  A student is described as someone who studies not someone who is most physically fit.  You need to study in order to be a student.  The more you study, the more exceptional you are as a student.

I hope all senseis take my suggestions to heart and consider all factors before we promote.  We should not offer promotions to keep a student in our registry.  If we do not control some of the run-a-way promotions, we will hurt ourselves and weaken our entire system.  We must maintain respect by honoring the spirit of our regulations and suggested guides from pioneers and visionaries such as Sensei George Mattson.

These suggestions are already in place.  I am simply adding to the explanation to keep poorer, less honorable students from exploiting our organization.  I want people to view IUKF black belts as respected, quality students.  What would the world think of organizations who passes out promotion once a year regardless of the dedication, commitment, knowledge and maturity that only working out in that “time in grade” can provide us?  There is a lack of Bushido when you try to fool others.  It’s even worst when you fool yourself.  You are the one who’ll always know who you are regardless of the paperwork you’ve convinced other to issue you.

Darin Yee                 

Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/teaching-tips-2/

Nov 19 2017

Hole in 1 today! Can take off my bucket list!

Good day at golf today. . .

  1. Hole in one (160 yards)
  2. #1 in “B” division
  3. Closest to the pin #3 hold
  4. #1 Team competition

 

😊

Best,

George

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Nov 11 2017

Darin Yee Visits Cuba

Dear Sensei Darin Yee:
I hope that you arrive home well and that everyone is well.
Thank you so much for everything. All my students and I are very grateful.
I can go to seminary with any teacher and I can receive advice from any teacher, but you can sleep peacefully and confidently that MY teacher is you and I will always be waiting for you for your teachings.
I do not consider it just my sensei since it has passed the knowledge barrier. You are my father to me, here you have a son who does not have his blood. Be aware that we are always waiting for you.
God bless you.
Noslem
==============================================

Dear Sensei Darin Yee:
Espero que allá llegando bien y que encuentre a todos bien.
Muchas gracias por todo. Todos mis alumnos y yo le estamos muy agradecidos.
Yo puedo pasar seminario con cualquier maestro y puedo recibir consejos de cualquier maestro, pero puede dormir tranquilo y seguro que MI maestro es usted y siempre estaré esperando por usted para sus enseñanzas.
No lo considero mi Sensei ya que ha pasado la barrera del conocimiento. Usted para mi es mi padre, aquí tiene un hijo que no tiene sus sangre. Cuídese que siempre lo estamos esperando.
Dios lo bendiga.
Noslem

 

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Oct 29 2017

WinterFest – 2018 –

WinterFest 2018

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Oct 03 2017

Teaching tips-Sanchin stepping

While we are teaching this system, our sanchin stepping is our first hurtle.  I feel my students are very well balanced and extremely stable within their fighting positions because of their understanding and usage of the sanchin stance.

First, I explain why our back foot is expected to be straight regardless of how awkward it feels at the moment and why most great fighters (if truth be known) do not fight with their back foot straight.  Those of you who believe you are a great fighter, please have someone take their cell phone with a video camera and ask them to record you sparring.  If you can honestly say you maintained a straight back foot while fighting effectively, you are indeed special. 

I find my back foot straightens as I deliver a strike because that will allow my hips to rotate into position and along with my speed, I can access 100% of my force.  If my back foot is not straight, my body will be restricted full rotation and I will not be able to access 100% of my mass into the force of the punch.  My back foot angled will diminish my rotation and take away some of my mass and much of my speed.

As for the front foot being slightly angled, it is because in a karate match and your average street fight, we do not discuss regulations and ban kicking.  While our front foot is slightly angled, our leg has a tendency to rise center mass when we lift it up to block kicks.  If our front foot is straight, that is how our leg would come up leaving the center opened.  I would suggest angling your front foot if you plan to use it to block kicks.

There are a lot of people who teach the “old heel to toe” method.  I feel this is too technical for beginners and not very accurate.  I believe “heel to toe” is a little shallow and does not provide for enough stability front to back.  Side to side was always shoulder width.  Again, that is a little measured.  How many of us will take the time to look at our stances to insure we standing text book measurement and tolerance. 

I simply teach the fact that we’ve practiced sanchin stepping our entire life.  As we learned to walk since we were less than a year old, we’ve learn to step forward into balance.  I don’t mean those ridiculous giant steps while we are fooling around or speed step when we are in a hurry and stretch our distance out.  I mean just the normal walking steps at a normal pace.  Our body will find our best distance because we’ve been doing it our whole life.

As for side to side, what do we do with that?  Know it or not, as we walk, we are balanced on one leg while we are taking a step.  As we set our forward step, we need to widen to a minimum of shoulder width to maintain stability from side to side.  If we are too wide, our wide stance can hinder and slow down our movements.

So, take normal relaxed steps forward (or backwards) and anchor your front foot at a slight angle feeling full balance side to side as well as front to back without being too wide.

You will see that Uechi-Ryu is one of the best fighting systems you can learn because of the techniques and good habits taught in our katas. 

In future articles, I will discuss in depth the beauty of our training methods and how efficient our system is for attacking or defending.

Darin Yee                  

Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/teaching-tips-sanchin-stepping/

Sep 04 2017

Teaching Tips

This article is about the difference between teaching children and adults.  In most dojo children are the primary source of your income.  I realize teaching a children’s class takes a different path than teaching an adult class.  We need to be mindful of who is in front of you and how things can be said and explained. 

While teaching adults, we usually start their journey by teaching balance, foundation, increased flexibility and speed.    Strength will come automatically because the more we work out, the stronger we become.  I sometime encourage some of my students to begin a regimen of weight training where repetition of light weights for body toning takes president over the heavier weight for enhancement of strength.

 An adult usually wants to understand what they are doing, the purpose of their movements and the result to expect from their workout.  Some of the answers I hear from other dojo makes me laugh (to myself of course).  The silliest is “you have not been studying long enough to understand” or “you’ll learn later as you advance.”  If they will not understand, then they should not do whatever it is they don’t understand.  It’s a waste of time and energy.  It’s like telling someone to jump off a 6-story building telling them they’ll know why after they hit the ground.

It is much more beneficial for a student to perform movements knowing why they are doing it and doing it the way you’ve taught them.  Just going through motions does nothing for an intelligent student.  They now have an idea of what they are doing and why.  Every time that movement is performed, your student will see in their mind the expected result.  You will produce a better more proficient practitioner.  Knowing and understanding is the key to everything we teach.

When you have children in your classes, they are there for a few simple reasons.  They want to learn how to beat up people.  Their parent made them go to karate classes.  They have friends in your classes or about to sign up for your classes.  Whatever the case may be, they’re there to have fun.  If a student is frowning without getting accidentally hit, you need to find out what happened.

If a child comes to you for karate classes, you would hope to be able to keep that student until he/she completes high school.  If they stay beyond high school, consider yourself very fortunate.  There are always other sports and activities to consume their time.  Many of them are less expensive than karate classes. 

If you are trying to teach them all the katas, bunkais and kumites before they get to high school, you are doing yourself a colossal injustice.  Most children do not view the black belt as a new beginning.  Space out their promotions and make sure they have not only the knowledge but also the skills before each belt or even a stripe is awarded.  Have your students earn their rank and they will have more pride in their accomplishments. 

I use to have all my students test for their next belt.  This was to prepare them for their black belt test when they will have to perform in front of guest instructors.  I no longer do that now because of the disappointment factor.  In order for my students to advance to their next belt, they need to demonstrate the knowledge and proficiency for the belt that are wearing or the belt they wish to wear.  On the day each student is going to be awarded a new belt, I will post a notice naming the students who will be getting their next belt, there will be special attention on them to verify their dedication and ability.  Even though they have already proved to be deserving, they work out harder at the very least.  

Keep your students engaged and make sure they are having fun. 

Darin Yee

Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/teaching-tips/

Jul 27 2017

IUKF Teaching Suggestions

 

I have noticed a lot of Uechi-Ryu dojo declines these past 10 years.  I do admit I have not been to every dojo to assess the causes of our dojos shrinking but what I can do is write suggestions every few weeks or when I get a chance.  I have since 1970, gone to many different dojos to learn from other instructors of almost every style.  As they teach, I watch and analyze the dos and don’ts in teaching methods.

My first observation is Uechi-Ryu is a very complicated system if taught to its full extent.  Most systems are linear and have only one objective and one end point.  Uechi-Ryu is mostly circular which enables multiple purposes and destinations for our movements.

Please follow my periodic suggestions and observations and hopefully I can be of some help.

When teaching, always keep in mind we put on our gis for a workout.  Children and adults.  No one takes the time to change into a workout uniform to hear you talk.  Keep them in motion as long and as often as you can.  When explaining an exercise or drill, just direct your students on what to do and how to do it.  The “why” can be explained as they are in motion.  If a few do not understand or are doing the exercise incorrectly, bring just those few together to reteach while the rest of the class continue to work out.

When students learns, its 15% learning through explanation and direction.  10% watching someone else and 75% doing the drills and feeling the motions do its job.  Your students will get more out of their workout and enjoy doing whatever they are doing instead of standing around doing nothing.  Out of 30 students maybe only 5 or 6 may need more help.  If we stop the entire class to explain to the 5 or 6, there’ll be another 25 standing around rolling their eyes and can’t wait for class to end.

If you are a new instructor and like these type of articles, please continue to follow my suggestions on teaching.  I realize a lot of teachers already know the things I will be bringing up.  It is still good to see that there are other teachers that thinks like you.     

 

Darin Yee

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Jul 01 2017

Tim Dando Renshi Thesis – Seiryu bunkai

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Jun 26 2017

Hope to see you at this year’s SummerFest!

As most know by now, there have been many exciting changes to George Mattson’s SummerFest this year. These changes have been brought about after many talks with senior presenters and SummerFest participants. We know that these changes are going to make this year’s training historic on many levels.

The biggest change is location. This year’s SummerFest will take place at the beautiful
DoubleTree by Hilton in Danvers, MA. This clean, air conditioned facility will provide participants with a safe and comfortable area to train. By moving to this facility, we are providing extra changing rooms, separate training rooms, on site food & lodging, as well as an on-site water park for those who wish to bring young family members.

Friday’s training schedule can only be described as an experience like no other. For the first time, all North American Uechiryu 10th Degree Black Belts will be together in the same room. This list includes George Mattson, Van Canna, Walter Mattson, Art Rabesa, James Thompson, Jim Maloney, and – succeeding his test – Buzz Durkin. All Grandmasters are prepared and eager to share their incredible knowledge of Uechiryu.

Saturday’s training is going to be fulfilling on every level. We have six main presenters: Bob Bethoney, Leyn Burrows, Tracy Rose, Dan Dovidio, David Kelley, and Roy Bedard. Each have prepared exciting and informative seminars. Like last year’s SummerFest, trainees will be separated by rank while the presenters rotate among the groups throughout the day – ensuring that every participant is able to work with each presenter.

Both Friday and Saturday include an exclusive group of bonus presenters who will be teaching either before or after the main training. These presenters will all provide a unique approach to their Uechiryu practice. Training participants are encouraged to choose who they would like to train with during the bonus seminars.

We also have a specially designed lesson plan for Saturday’s one hour Junior Seminar for trainees 14 years and below. During this special break-out, junior karate students will have the opportunity to work with master instructors including James Cameron, Steve Dionne, Matt Saindon, Nathan Harker, and Brandon Stickney – along with many other professional karate instructors. This training will separate participants by age and rank. Any participant 13 & 14 years old may train with the Saturday Adult Main Presenters with their sensei’s permission.

Lastly, we will be celebrating this historic gathering of Uechiryu students from all around the world with Friday night’s Master’s Banquet. This exclusive dinner will feature many special guests from around the martial arts world, live entertainment, and memories that will last a life time. If you love the martial arts, this will be an event you cannot miss.

Bill Leith
Buzz Durkin’s Karate School
Uechiryu Butokukai

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