David sent me this wonderful book on the day Sue and I were leaving for Summerfest. I had time to open the package and scan the contents before heading for the airport. With all the lugage. . . nearly all Susan’s of course. . . I forgot to put the book into my backpack! My …View full post
by Dr. Paul Haydu Stance and Structure Sanchin is an Adduction Stance. Sanchin provides strength in 7 of 8 directions, unless you make an adjustment, which allows coverage of the eighth direction. The ground is an unlimited source of power. Study how to access that power: Sound structure, sensitivity, experimentation, proper positioning and relaxation into …View full post
This year’s Winterfest featured, what I consider to be, a very interesting and important self-defense topic and test.The ability to combine a calm alertness with the skill to go from a normal walking or standing posture into a reaction-ready fighting mode able to deliver a strike within a fraction of a second . I’ve been training …View full post
Oct 22 2016
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Sep 14 2016
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Aug 28 2016
David sent me this wonderful book on the day Sue and I were leaving for Summerfest. I had time to open the package and scan the contents before heading for the airport. With all the lugage. . . nearly all Susan’s of course. . . I forgot to put the book into my backpack!
I finally got an opportunity to read the entire book last week and must say that it was an enjoyable and exciting experience. No, it isn’t a picture book on how to perform kata, but the kata and everything else that makes Uechi-ryu important was explored and discussed.
In the Forward, Professor Greg Malszecki writes:
“Sensei David Mott appears to wear three sky-high hats in authoring this book: gifted teacher, reflective writer, advanced student in the art of feeling human. But like our very arbitrary categories of ‘body, mind, spirit’, he reveals his rare talent for story-telling with rippling circles of deeply-layered meaning. Like the Elder he is, he guides the reader to recognize why no significant progress beyond to the peaks aloft superior to all ranks and Dans and juried appraisals or titles or legends of performance within specific traditions those universal peaks of humane experience where martial arts becomes the arena of personal evolution through warrior-discipline integrating the obvious and hidden places, the suppressed or repressed traits, the apparently separate domains of effort as well as the wild places with no names in our real lives.”
This is a book that every martial artist will enjoy. Please contact David for information how to purchase a copy. David Mott (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/david-motts-new-book/
Aug 27 2016
by Dr. Paul Haydu
Stance and Structure
Sanchin is an Adduction Stance. Sanchin provides strength in 7 of 8 directions, unless you make an adjustment, which allows coverage of the eighth direction.
The ground is an unlimited source of power. Study how to access that power:
Sound structure, sensitivity, experimentation, proper positioning and relaxation into structure are required. Remember the “Nine-bending pearl”, and release any blockages.
Familiarize yourself with the four quadrants of the bottom of your feet. Experiment with placing emphasis in each one. Keep your plantar arches full and strong. Learn the “bubbling-well” point behind the second and third metatarsal-phalangeal joints; this is the center of your feet’s sensitivity and power.
Remember the “elevator” within you. It can go from the top floor to the basement, without you outwardly manifesting any movement of the body. Nevertheless, as your center (of attention as well as activity) sinks, you thereby greatly stabilize your stance and structure.
Testing Foundation and Stepping
Step with awareness of the outside edges of your feet, as if they were curved knife-edges. Skim and graze the ground. Practice bringing the stepping foot to the midline, as you step through. Visualize sweeping your opponent with the outside of your foot when stepping forward, and with the inside of your foot when stepping to the rear.
Test your structure starting in Sanchin stance. Without moving your feet, shift your weight forward and backward. Then side to side. Your greatest power and stability will be if your hips are kept just in front of your ankles. Examine this for yourself. It places you slightly on your toes, and creates a light “spring-energy” forward.
Test yourself in natural stance with feet parallel and shoulder width. Test all your other stances, as well.
Become well familiar with your toes. They are not idle accessories, but the key to an active, alive stance. Learn toe exercises to strengthen them, including how to pull yourself forward with just the toes. Stepping, whether walking or Sanchin is not a controlled-falling-forward process. It is at first deliberate and exact. It should serve you and your Art. After careful practice, like all other skills, it will become automatic.
Use the “Eight Form” exercise, to practice both light and heavy stepping. Light for speed and quiet; heavy for stability and immovability. You should be able to automatically adjust your stance emphasis as the situation or need requires; this is like the suspension on a sports car.
Verify your stance ability with the help of your partner. Begin with the Static Punch test. The puncher has contact on the partner’s sternum, and by stepping forward should move him back. If unable, then the punch will only be a weak arm movement, with no serious intent or result. Next test high, medium and low. Next verify stability from the sides, by gradually pushing on the shoulders. Then step forward with the partner holding the belt knot while in leaning stance. Adjust resistance to allow the stepping practitioner to move forward, but with some effort and need for adjustment.
Avoid Exertion / Don’t Contest for Space
Kote-Kitae involves both arm rubbing and arm pounding. Each is a separate exercise. Both are physical, testing accuracy of technique. In fact, the most useful result of this exercise is to test stance, stability, unobstructed energy flow, and the ability to pass through the opponent’s maze of strength without using undue force or effort. To reach this point, the student must begin with good stance and body position, and check his structure. Proper structure allows us to withstand opposing effort without tiring and without using equal force. This is done by superior leverage, positioning and intention. Though aggressiveness is of value, it is best to keep it in check, and simply think of becoming the predator, even when your opponent initiates the attack. You not only “beat him to the punch”, but you attack his center-line. Remember, the shortest distance to the target is a straight line. Though your intention should be stronger than his, do not contest for space, or try to use more effort than he. Be smarter, and move around and through. Never oppose force with force. Always flow around, like water.
During arm rubbing and pounding, let power flow through you from the ground.
If your arm is blocked, drop your elbow and go around. Always threaten his center-line with your legs and stance.
Striking with Movement
Always move when striking, whenever possible. Drive techniques through and past your opponent. Breathe and contract into your movements.
Remember, we can step, then block and then strike; we can step and block, then strike; we can block with the forward foot and strike as the rear foot comes up. The last is preferable, and most effective and powerful.
Alternate responses to an attack: We can block, then punch; or we can block and punch simultaneously; or we can strike and block with the same striking arm; or we can “stop-hit”. These represent a progression of understanding and effectiveness.
Mawashi-uke arm sequence is repeated in various ways in all the kata that utilize double arm movements. These are all variations on the same theme or concept.
Even when you can’t step, as with Ryote (double arm thrust in Sanchin), the body can rock forward and back within your stance. The observer may not see your body moving, but within there is shifting of the center of energy. This internal movement and shifting cannot be seen, but is accompanied by breathing and compression / expansion.
Development of Power
Learn and study the difference between Strength and Power.
Pangainoon has been translated as “half hard, half soft”. Another interpretation might be “part compressed, part relaxed”.
Stay relaxed. This saves more wind than rapid breathing does, and allows you to stay maximally alert. Remember that the core is the car and the hands the bumper.
Use your core for evasion-blocking, and for striking. The arms and legs are only useful when they are attached to and part of the core. This is why Sanchin arm position was developed. It defends and attacks with maximum structure and efficiency. The arm remains part of the body.
Use Sanchin hands with a “puddle in the palm”. Learn the Sanchin arm waypoints. When Sanchin striking keep lowered shoulders, and a flat arm with palm up, until 1/3 of the distance from the target. Remain relaxed until moment of contact and Kime. Contact involves core contraction, hip and shoulder action, breath control, and ideally stepping forward when possible. The step and strike should occur together, for maximum energy transfer and effect.
Use the core for blocking, evasion and striking. Its main purpose is the generation of energy which then fuels the power in our techniques. The arms and the legs are truly effective only as part of the core. The hands and feet are the nails, but the body is the hammer.
Think about the function and action of a long bull-whip: its action begins with the handle moving. But with angulation and acceleration a wave moves through its length, until the tip (which is the thinnest part, like the wrist and hand) snaps and breaks the sound barrier.
Keep in mind the principle of reciprocating power. When you block, intercept and grab the attacking part. When attacking do not let go, but rather pull your opponent toward your center while you strike with another arm or leg. Pull and strike; pull and kick. Allow this power and momentum to augment strikes and disrupt structure.
When you strike high, sink low. When you’re kicking, grab your opponent, (or your imagined opponent in Kata), and pull him into you. This enhances your force, balance and posture, while disrupting his structure, disturbing his focus and concentration. While he comes towards you with the grab, your strike extends toward him, thus multiplying your effectiveness.
When you hit, hit through. For example, in arm pounding do not hit the arm, but rather imagine passing through the arm. With no more use of strength, the technique will be much more penetrating. Also, relax into the strike instead of being stiff. Your force will thereby be unopposed (by your own muscles). Open-hand strikes or punches to the head or body should be administered the same way.
Always take time to practice your kata slowly. Just as Tai Chi Chuan is practiced slow but executed fast, do some repetitions of each kata slow enough that you can see your mistakes. This does not dilute “realism” in your practice. Rather, it improves natural breathing, encourages coordinated stepping and thrusting, and enhances true balance and coordination. Much of the strength in our kata occurs in the transitions between movements. Typically, most of us gloss over these in favor of the blocks and strikes. Yet, without natural balance and smooth transitions, we lack the foundation of true power.
Speed and power are less a goal than a byproduct of efficiency, relaxation and good technique.
Perfecting Natural Weapons
Never forget to harden your weapons. This doesn’t mean hurting them. Rather, slow and gradual daily training to allow you to develop strength in all your open hand and foot techniques, including nukite, shoken, boshiken, hiraken, koken, kakushiken and sokusen. What differentiates Karate from MMA is the use of open hand and foot techniques. Plus we target striking areas not allowed in organized sporting activities. Study the meridians and the striking points of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as noted in the Bubushi. Open-hand techniques make Karate and Gong Fu what they are. Examine Dim Mak and Kyusho. Since we want to avoid fighting unless our life or limb depends on it, there’s no reason not to use open-hand techniques to the opponent’s most vulnerable areas, in order to secure victory. This allows us to stop the violence from either side. Recall from MMA bouts, closed fist strikes to the head usually do not stop a determined opponent. Also recall from MMA that accidental strikes to the eyes or to the groin stop a scheduled bout. In actual combat, they along with other vital points are the key to victory. Use your strongest techniques against his weakest targets. Use hard techniques against soft targets, and use soft techniques against hard targets (i.e. Shoken against the neck, and palm-heel against the head/face). The idea is to hurt the opponent, but not hurt yourself.
Harden your weapons by gradual persistent practice. Without effective open-hand weapons capable of hitting and creating damage, the kata remain only embusen-movement patterns, but not effective techniques. Not long ago, people’s lives depended on the effectiveness of their techniques, and that still holds true.
Attacking and Defending the Centerline
Face your opponent’s centerline, and adjust your stance accordingly. By doing this you threaten his vital points, and weaken his resolve (this is understood subconsciously). Always protect your own centerline and maintain an awareness of how to protect it and prevent vulnerability to pre-emptive attack by your opponent. Respond to attack with vigor and penetrating intent, rather than hostility. The calmer you are, the more energy you save, and the more awareness is retained, for additional threats (other opponents and other attacks).
Blocks should not be an end to themselves. They should be a brief diversion of the incoming technique. Of greater importance is the strike, which is where our focus should lie. Attack the attacker. Threaten his center-line. Start second, but finish first. Watch his eyes, shoulders and hips. When you detect the start of an attack, hit him first.
Sanchin arm movement involves crossing the striking arm over the still arm. This is a chudan block, and is followed by a sinking forearm block. Keep aware of these functions, as you execute every Sanchin strike. The still arm is not idle (no position in Uechi-ryu is without purpose). Rather, the still arm is tied to your core and contains the function of a shield, to the striking arm’s sword-like function. Sink the elbow of the shield-arm, and unite that arm to your core. It is your protection, while your other arm circles and chambers for the strike.
Intention and Aggression
In Kamae-te the hands and arms are held in Tiger hand positions (Toro no Kamae-te). The palms and fingers are not flat, static or soft, but are active and dynamic. They are as keen as our Glare. They manifest one of Uechi-ryu’s main principles, that of “Grab and Strike”. Once we engage with the opponent we should attach and attack. There is no utility in letting go, since risk to us increases as the opponent gains distance and freedom to move.
In unavoidable conflict, there are sheep, wolves and hunters. The attacker may think he’s a wolf to our imagined sheep. Only later, does he discover that he’s tangled with the hunter. If attacked, take on a predator’s mind. Defense is not the ticket, since one cannot defend for long before being hit. Rather, become the determined aggressor, and strike his strike, but ultimately attack his Centerline until he is incapable of continuing violence. Your blocks and defense then, are only a means of positioning yourself to attack. He might start first, but we shall finish first.
Use the hands to divert hand attacks, and the legs to ward off leg and feet techniques. Do not reach down, since this exposes your head and upper body to simultaneous and secondary attacks.
Study the function of “sticky” or intercepting legs. When your legs are next to your opponents, there is always a way of disrupting his stability and stance using your knees and ankles. Coupled with the hands, your attack should overwhelm.
Funakoshi said “Karate ni sente nashi”, or “There is no first strike in Karate”. This means that we do not initiate attacks, but only defend. Our intention is peaceful, but we will not tolerate physical harm to ourselves, or our family and friends. We avoid conflict whenever possible, and verbalize our intention to avoid fighting. All present understand we wish no one harm. But if fighting should prove unavoidable, we proceed with full resolve and piercing intention. The angry or aggressive opponent’s shoulder lift, suddenly clenched fist, cocking hip, or dilating pupils may well signal the start of an attack. We keep fully aware of those signs, and are prepared to “beat him to the punch” if his attack launches first.
There is an old Samurai maxim: “If you cut my skin, I cut your bones. If you cut my bones, I take your life.” The only tactic better than this, is to avoid conflict altogether. When wisdom and experience allow avoidance of conflict, no one gets hurt, and that’s the best possible outcome.
De-escalation and Avoidance
The central purpose of Karate, more important than its role in self-defense, is the perfection of character. This differentiates MMA from an Art or Way. Our techniques and their road toward elusive perfection are in reality a means to an end.
If we’ve studied long enough, and with enough traditional purpose, we no longer have the same need to be right, or to be victorious. We avoid situations that are known for trouble, and we take on a more humble and flexible posture. Instead of asking to have someone knock a chip off our shoulder, we have no problem saying “You’re right”, and walking away from a confrontation. Potential opponents can control us with words, only if we give them the power to do so. As prior masters have said, the opponent we all most need to conquer is ourselves. Conflict is the need of a hungry ego, and not the concern of an accomplished person.
December 21, 2009
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Mar 20 2016
This year’s Winterfest featured, what I consider to be, a very interesting and important self-defense topic and test.The ability to combine a calm alertness with the skill to go from a normal walking or standing posture into a reaction-ready fighting mode able to deliver a strike within a fraction of a second .
I’ve been training my karate classes, using the Herman interactive training system, to accomplish this and have included this program in my own workout sessions.
Herman is a pressure sensor affixed to a target. The pressure sensor communicates with software that can be loaded on any windows based computer system. The program provides a start stimulus using a human voice that begins with the word “ ready.” It follows with “ go”, the trigger to have the participant execute a strike (the anticipatory time frame for “go” varies from 1 second to 10 seconds).
Our test had the subject stand four feet from “ Bob”, a training dummy that supported a pad to which the Herman pressure sensors were affixed. The participant was required to stand in a neutral stance, with feet parallel and arms relaxed along the sides of their body. The attached sensors measured two variables, namely how long it takes a punch to be delivered onto the target (calculated in milliseconds) and how hard the punch landed, measured in “G-force”.
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/hit-fast-hit-hard-program-tested-at-winterfest/
Nov 19 2015
FantasInteractive Training Systemtic new way to measure Speed, Timing, Reflexes and Power! Highly recommended by George E. Mattson
Click image to order.Be Sure To Look At www.hermantrainer.com for action video clips on usage of the system.
NOVEMBER 18, 2015 ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE INVENTOR OF “HERMAN”
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Oct 30 2015
Going back to 1996, I was introduced to Hanshi George Mattson through a new friend I had met at a Jujitsu America convention, Steve DiOrio.
From that introduction, Steve and I asked permission (yes folks we did honorable things like that), from Hanshi to work a Kyusho Series of Videos within the main three Uechi Ryu Katas (Sanchin, Seisan and Sanseiru).
That began and involvement in the Art that I still practice today and that actually launched my international career, for which my gratitude to Hanshi Mattson can not be fully expressed.
The videos were developed in 1997 and with several instructional engagements with Hanshi and the International Uechi Ryu Karate Federation, was awarded the Shihan Title awarded (George Mattson I.U.R.K.F – 1999) for contributions to Uechi.
But the story does not end there as my passion for the art keeps evolving and growing, in 2001 I was again given the great honor to have a forward from Hanshi Mattson included in my first of 8 published books, “Kyusho Jitsu Vital Points”.
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/budo-international-interview-with-g-e-mattson/
Aug 27 2015
The wireless sensors are sturdy and weight about 1/2 oz and measure 1″X2″ and are 3/8″ deep. Being wireless gives the program tremendous versatility. Because the programs are created on the internet, you cannot alter them. You press “go” and the programs run. A voice gives minimum commands. . . “go” “stop” but do not interact with the participant like the old unit does.
The new unit has possibilities that the wired unit does not have, like hooking up the sensors to body armor during a sparring session and having the computer help in the judging by recording the first strike and/or the hardest one. No graphics other than a simple menu of measurements.
I would use the new unit to experiment with class, team and partner competition. My students liked the original system and absolutely love the new one. Every dojo should have at least one for training and testing purposes. Individuals will find the system perfect for monitoring their progress and individual workouts.
Prices for the wireless units:
For the single sensor unit – $125
For the 2-sensor set – $250.
For the 4-sensor sets – $450.
CD with programs you can download to computer or iPad, Kindle – $20 (for use without wifi) Systems are available now
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/all-new-herman/
Aug 12 2015
I want to thank Sensei George Mattson and all the participants for another successful Summer Fest. It has always been a pleasure for me to see so many of the seniors whose spent a greater portion of their lives training, developing and sharing their individual skills and knowledge in this fascinating and adaptable art of Uechi-Ryu.
There is only one path for strong and hard which is straight forward, non-yielding and the development of more macho strength. In soft, the applications depends on the technician and his/her skill level. One must listen and learn from masters who have been around for numerous decades and determine if their accumulated knowledge can benefit you. As we age, the “hard” turns to “aches” and we must now rely on “soft”. There are no better ways to learn about the soft than from the masters who has trained in the soft method for years. When we find out we’re too mature (old) to continue training, it could be too late.
This camp provided all of that. There were masters who have been incredibly strong and powerful their entire careers teaching their hard, power techniques. There were masters who have trained both the hard and the soft teaching us how to overcome bigger and physically stronger opponents.
The Junior Fest was also well attended. There were all kinds of workouts and competitions where everyone had a chance to win and bring home individual and team prizes. Due to the size of the indoor air-conditioned facility, there were individual running races and team relay races. There were kicking, punching contest and sparring matches (for those who wanted to spar). A great time was had by all. Next year, I am expecting to triple our participation for Junior Fest.
I fully understand there are a few who believe they have a great sensei and they practice what they are taught. That loyalty is very commendable but no single individual knows everything. I’ve studied martial arts since 1960 and I’m still amazed at some of the incredible and talented people who come to the Summer Fest and share their knowledge and accomplishments.
Remember to keep the first week end of the first full week of August in your calendar reserved for the Summer Fest of 2016. It gets better every year. Meanwhile, I’m setting my sights on Winter Fest in Mt. Dora, Florida. We get to meet some of the big names from down south. It’s a great way to get away from the cold of the Northern States and spend a few days golfing and finish off the week with 2 days of karate and a group of good friends.
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Jul 20 2015
I’ve been working on the SummerFest schedule – Remember, many of the guest instructors will not be shown on the schedule. There will be a bulletin board on site with their photograph and day/time of their seminars. The 1st draft of the schedule can be downloaded HERE
I am hoping that this year’s SummerFest will be both an enjoyable and exciting experience for all participants. From Kyu belts, Black Belts, and Masters, juniors working out with Sensei Yee on Saturday, to those of us who are in our 60s, 70s and, yes, 80s. SummerFest is for us all!
The message I try to instill in all classes I teach, newsletters I create, and conferences I attend is, “Train Smart – Train Often.” What we practice is what we will do under stress, and HOW we train will affect how long we will be able to work out (and IF we will be able to work out!)
This year, once again, I will try to drive home the message that Uechi-ryu should be practiced for a lifetime and should contribute to a life-time of good health. I am encouraging all Presenters to conduct their seminars with this theme in mind.
Also, this year, I am asking all participants who wish to be on the dojo floor to be in a traditional white Gi. The primary reason for the Gi this year is to help celebrate the traditional and fraternal uniqueness of our beloved art, and to be proud of our history and commonality of what we will be doing this weekend.
I have been working with many of the regular presenters on how to select seminar subjects and the topics we believe will be most appreciated by the attendees. We came up with a number of subjects to be taught, along with the breakdown of attendees by rank and also subjects that are appropriate for all ranks. Because we have a large number of master instructors attending, each subject section (areas in the dojo) will have a seminar leader and other instructors who will assist in the session.
We will also will be honored with a number of very senior instructors who have agreed to spend time signing autographs, having pictures taken (with permission of course), critiquing kata and other components of Uechi-ryu, as well as answering questions about our art.
Additionally, we will have a number of guest instructors from other martial art systems who will be running basic, introductory sessions on elements of their art that relate to Uechi-ryu. This will include traditional Okinawa weaponry.
Sunday morning, following a formal bow-in, I will be conducting a traditional Uechi class for the Alumni of the Mattson Academy and students of the alumni. This class is free to all Summerfest participants. Fee for non-participants is $25. This class will also be a “white Gi” class.
I sincerely hope that you will attend the full weekend. I promise that you will enjoy yourself, plus have many stimulating and healthful workouts.
As always, if you have any questions, please call or send me an e-mail.
Permanent link to this article: http://uechi-ryu.com/summerfest-2015-2/