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April, 2006 MailBag
November 25, 2006: I've received hundreds of email from people who looked forward every month to my "MailBag" feature. Unfortunately, because of an ever increasing work load associated with my importing business, I can spend less and less time on the Uechi website. I do answer all email in a timely manner, but attempting to build a webpage at the end of every month was a task that kept getting more time consuming. I've been feeling a little guilty since April, when my work load prevented me from getting out the MailBag. During the months since Mayl, I've tried to figure out a way to revive the MailBag, while eliminating the work and time usually associated with this feature.
I try to keep on the "cutting edge" of web technology and from a personal necessity, am always looking for ways to provide the most interesting material with minimum programming and editing. My biggest problem is getting the rest of the martial art world (who frequent my sites) to take advantage of all this fancy technology. I still get at least a dozen phone calls a week from my close friends who ask if they can send something to me, that I in turn can publish to one of the self-publising areas of the site! :)
There is also that nagging feeling (I presume) among contributors, that if they first send something to me, I will edit out anything that might be grammatically incorrect or misspelled. (This has never bothered me, as you English majors may have already figured out) . People are funny. They enjoy seeing their articles and letters published, but at the same time, they are concerned that they may be laughed at or embarrassed by publishing something without the intervention of an editor.
So, my new Blog "MailBag" will remain a bit of a mystery for awhile. I'm going to make it as easy as possible to use. . . with a few safeguards in place to minimize the "troll" factor. . . and hope that all you hundreds of MailBag fans will make this feature as popular as the old MailBag.
I'm archiving all the old MailBag letters, as an incredible amount of very interesting material exists for those who wish to forage into the past.
Watch the "MailBag" link on the home page for the all new BlogMailBag. I'll be reading it every day and will be contributing often.
Note: In the course of a month I get literally thousands of e-mail. I don't normally place correspondence in the "Mailbag" that are either labeled "personal" or contain information of a personal nature. As I read and answer mail, if I find a letter that I find interesting, amusing, topical or educational, it gets filed in my "mailbag" for future use in this feature. I try to edit out any personal information like addresses or telephone numbers, unless the writer specifically requests that I publish it.
I welcome all e-mail and will answer everyone in as timely a manner as possible. Don't be surprised if you find (or don't find) your message in this section. However, if you are concerned about your letter finding its way into the "Mailbag", simply include in the header or at the beginning of message "personal" and I will honor your request. GEM
Subject: Wakayama tape
Dear Mr. Mattson,
greetings from Okinawa, Japan.
Good to hear from you and thanks for your interesting questions.
I asked the same questions back in the 60s when Tomoyose sensei, Charles Earle and I visited Tomoyose sensei's father in Wakiyama.
Ryuryu Tomoyose (the father) who was Kanbun Uechi's first and most famous student, argued with his son, that what he learned and was teaching, was the way Kanbun taught him.
Of course, people's recall of past events tends to change as do physical movements. Kanei Uechi, who according to Ryuko Tomoyose, spent more time with his father, working on the basics, is thought to have preserved the style, at least in the way the basics were taught, more closely to the way Kanbun taught.
There is lots of speculation regarding the subject going on in the Eastern Arts forums. You should ask your questions there in order to get many more theories.
The dojo in Wakiyama Japan was built for the Tomoyose family by the village people. I'm sure it is still there as it was very famous at the time I visited.
I don't remember what it was called, but I would guess the word "Uechi" would be part of the name.
New Dojo Listings
Sensei Mattson -
Looking for a teacher/dojo
Hi! I am trying to locate Janice Bass, located in or near Ft. Myers,FL. Any info? Thanks!
Sorry... I don't have any information on her. You might post a message on our "looking for a dojo/instructor" forum. Everyone reads that and will contact you with the information.
Anyways, its my understanding that you are now here in Mount Dora, Florida. I am in West Palm Beach. I stopped my training at the ni-kyu level and would really like to continue what I started years ago.
You are always welcome at my dojo Robert. Meanwhile, I believe Rik Potrekus is in your area. (tel # enclosed) GEM
hi: My name is Rafael Gonzalez, I'm from San Juan Puerto Rico. I've been looking incesantly over the internet to see if I could find a Uechi Ryu school here in Puerto Rico, unfortunately it seems there is none, the only name I could find was the one in your listed instructors at uechi-ryu.com, but when I dialed the number , someone else took the phone, it seems it doesn't belong to him anymore. His name is Guillermo Abudo. Do you think you could help me solving this matter? I will be most greatful if you do. I really, really want to learn this system. Thanks.
So what did you think of my bonkai/kumite? Should we continue to develop it? If you liked it, put in a commercial plug..."Only at the Hut!", etc...
Hope you had a good visit and I am sorry I missed you. I had a wonderful weekend in Paris with my family (my son's graduation gift).Paul Giella
Very impressive! Of course, I was expecting something spectacular and I wasn't disappointed.
I like that "shoulder butt" technique.... Really thinking "out of the box"!
The opening move should satisfy those who don't like "blocks"! Interesting interpretation, but something we've been doing for ever.... Blocking as we destroy.... We don't worry about the incoming attacks, they just get in the way of our attacking the center-line! :)
I'm planning to be back to the Hut in May for another session. Hope to see you then.
Pleased to hear you enjoyed Paris. We all were worrying about your getting in the middle of all the protesting going on.
Take care and give everyone in your family a big hug for me.
Subject: simon laily suparunpei
sensei i just recieved the copy of simon lailys suparunpei,tiger comes down the mountain,dvd.during your interview with him laily sensei says that he recorded two forms,could you please tell me a little of this second kata and if it is available on dvd.
thank you for your help with this matter.yours in karate do,
I did a second interview with Simon some years after this first one. I’ll have to try and find it. If I do, and it contains any kata, I’ll contact you.
Dear Mr Mattson,
My name is Laura Jacobson and I am a brown belt in Goju-Ryu. For my black belt paper I am researching the highest ranking American in Uechi-ryu and Shorin-ryu who's lineage is in Okinawa. I was referred to you. If you could please assist me by answering a few questions?
1. What is your rank and who promoted you?
Thank You very much for your time.
Good luck with your project. My information enclosed. I'm not sure who to recommend you contact regarding shorin-ryu. Perhaps if I mention it in the next "MailBag", someone will respond. GEM
Applications of Seisan:
Not too long ago, I bicycled over to the "Hut" for the Sat. morning workout and found to my surprise that the floors were being refinished. No class for the week. A couple of other people had apparently shown up and left judging from the tire tracks. I was wondering about my next move when who shows up but Vinnie Christiano, Sensei from the Brandeis dojo. I expect he showed up just to make sure that any stragglers like myself got the word about the canceled class.
Vinnie agreed to go through a short workout, and we went through a set of kata, focusing on the three main, sanchin, seisan, and sanseiryu. I got a good opportunity to increase my understanding of what I believe to be one of the most, misunderstood moves in the kata Seisan: The hip level strike and grab and the turn of the adversary 90 degrees to the right.
Vinnie performs the strike and grab, close in with a seamless strike to grab transition that ends with his grab snapping the opponent as he ends in sanchin... Essentially, breaking the opponents balance. It is then an easier to turn the opponent. Vinnie has a compact build and a lower center of gravity and this he uses to great effect. I do not, but I started to see how this technique might be adapted.
The approaches I've seen that are different include a nukite strikes to the mid-section changing to a grab of the belt, or gi and trying to lift the opponent to turn them. Not going to happen unless you have the strength of Hercules and even then the opponent has the opportunity to head butt, grab the head, elbow strike and many other close in techniques. I've also seen people strike and grab and them turn themselves 90 degrees. Well, maybe - but is that a good application? If the idea is to avoid, why bother grabbing?
I believe that the nukite strikes, or perhaps even with boshinken to the hip seam or abdomen can transition, to grab with that "jerking" quickness that will essentially break the opponents balance. Now imagine instead of trying to lift the opponent you transition the grab by releasing and "lifting" with open palm hand under the elbow of the opponent or at the ribcage, or tricep. This will not just turn him 90 degrees you're going send him sprawling over the floor.
If you are a practitioner that believes this technique might be a thrust into the opponents skin and ripping out organs an then launching the carcass into the rafters, then I say you have too much sugar in your diet and watch too many video games. It is good to think of this as a "jacketed" technique. It's much more practical as a strike then a grab that utilizes the opponents coat or garmet to complete the unbalance. I can say with confidence that it is common that the clothes are often used to attack, or unbalance in many an altercation in the street, and also to defend. We should remember to look at the kata from that perspective as well.
New 2nd Edition of the Black Belt Test Guide
Thanks for the very kind review. Because I don't have the email addresses of all the IUKF members, if any IUKF member reads this and would like a copy of this e-Book, please write and request your copy. GEM
Subject: A quick hi
Subject: A Late Thank You
Hello Mr. Mattson,
I am a former student having studied at your school in the mid-70's with Robert Campbell and Darrin Yee. My brother, David Morimoto, also studied at this time. Perhaps you remember us. I have permanent memories of the classes, tournaments, demonstrations, lessons of respect, self-discipline and community. The overall experience greatly influenced who I have become today.
Although I have not continued training under the Uechi-Ryu system since then I am still active in practicing what I can remember. I have blended the basics of Uechi-Ryu with some elements of Thai Chi, my own system and breathing techniques. Both my body and mind serve me well at 46 years of age and I continue to get closer to being one in mind, body and energy. There are many plateaus yet to reach for me.
In our lives we are free to choose many different paths. I appreciate, respect and applaud what you and your instructors have chosen to do in bringing Uechi-Ryo to so many people. I hope to have my 9 year old come to understand the Uech-Ryu system. Currently, he studies in a different style (more Kung fu based).
If you have a chance, perhaps you could forward my email to Robert Campbell and Darrin Yee as a thank you to them from me.
Subject: History of Okinawan Karate
Dear Mr. Mattson,
While it has been some time since I studied karate with Art Rabesa, I still find the history of the art quite fascinating. I came across a web site today that I thought I would share with you. While the title of the site is Karate and Martial Arts with Weaponry, there is a great section on the History of Okinawan Karate complete with videos of katas being performed by some of the true masters including Seiko Toyama demonstrating kata- sandairui. If you have already seen this site then I apologize. If not, I think you will find it interesting and a wonderful source of information. The URL is http://www.wonder-okinawa.jp/023/eng/index.html .
N.E. Junior Championships
Happy faces of tournament success. Here are 8 of the 16 kids who attended Sundays event that were in class Monday.
I would like to Thank all of those who made the effort to get there early on the first morning of Daylight Savings Time, those who encouraged and sent their students to participate and especially those who did an outstanding job in putting of a super tournament.
More on "Empty Force"
Hello Mr. Mattson,
Hello Mr. Mattson,
The link you requested was Morenski’s response to Sifu Mooney’s article, not mine.
Sifu Mooney was the person who claimed “empty” force powers and volunteered to be tested at my camp.
After the results of the test were published, Sifu Mooney wrote a rather strong letter (that I published in the articles’ section) saying that the test was not fair.
Morenski wrote the letter/article you requested, in response to Sifu Mooney’s letter.
Soon after, Sifu Mooney requested that I remove his letter, which I did.
I have the master copy of the independently video taped “double blind” test performed at my camp. I would have to have it transferred to dvd if you wish a copy (We don’t do video any longer) I’d be very happy to provide a copy of the test in DVD format for $50.
Thank you for the information. I appreciate it. I didn't really want to see the test footage however, but I trust the test wasn't fair as stated by Sifu Mooney. I'm sure his abilities are genuine based on everything I've seen or read to date on the subject. It's truly an amazing phenomena. I wish I knew how to do that, but I doubt I would have the discipline to stick with all the years of practice necessary to achieve results. I haven't practiced martial arts in years. There isn't any local schools where I live that I would be interested in attending, plus at 280 pounds of body weight, I lack the physical stamina usually needed in martial arts classes. I used to weigh 340 pounds at 6 1/2 tall until I got sick and lost nearly 100 pounds a couple of years ago. Then I put about 40 pounds back on. I'm in no shape to train in a rigorous martial arts program like I was when I was younger, but I do admire those who still do.
Books To Review!
Dear Mr. Mattson,
Lets Support Manny's August Tournament!
As we discusssed the last time we spoke, my family and I will be hosting our 9th "Bay State Karate Championships" on Saturday, August 19, 2006 at "The Lantana", Randolph, MA.
The tournament is open to all styles, children and adults.
There are lots of changes as compared to previous "Bay State" events. The BIG change is in the rules format. I will be using the "World Okinawa Karate-do Kobudo Shobukai Federation" competition rules which is the International format. The rules will be called the "Bay State Karate Championships Competition Rules". There will be IPPON's and WAZA-ARI's (at least for the adults) awarded at this transition event. Awards are Olympic style gold, silver and bronze medals with trophies going to the grand champs. Participation certificates to all the kids 12 and under.
(I'll be seeing you at your tournament in Bolton on Saturday, April 2. I'll bring flyers if that's ok.). Also, please send me the email of potential candidates that may be interested in center refereeing and side judging for me. As you know, it's really different and requires significant preliminary training and dedication to learning these rules. I've revised some of the rules to allow open competitors (not just karate people).
I don't expect alot of competitors due to the "newness" of the rules format. There won't be 6-foot trophies, no prize money, no rating services involved, Although I think there'll be more satisfacation, in the spirit of the martial arts, for everyone, if I can get the help to do it correctly. Please see attached flyer.
Good luck with your tournament Manny. We listen to all kinds of training suggestions, arguments over who's Uechi is the purest and what methods produce the best results. But few of our word warriors actually get out of their computer room and are willing to take advantage of the absolute best way to test their karate and in the process learn a bit about themselves and their "warrior spirit"! I appload your willingness to once again offer the New England karate community an opportuntiy to extend their training onto the tournament floor, using rules of International competition. What a great way to "put up or shut up"!
From: Andrew E. Moores
When you get the pictures up I'll take a peak. We've got a ton of wall space to cover.
Sure is Ethan! July 28, 29 and 30th. Please have him get in touch with me asap so I can list him in our schedule. I hope to have time in May to begin working on the SummerFest site! GEM
Smile. . . You will live longer and happier!
After Christmas, a teacher asked her young pupils how they spent their holiday away from school. One child wrote the following:
At their gate, there is a doll house with a little old man sitting in it. He watches all day so nobody can escape. Sometimes they sneak out.
They go cruising in their golf carts. Nobody there cooks, they just eat out. And, they eat the same thing every night: Early Birds.
Some of the people can't get out past the man in the doll house. The ones who do get out, bring food back to the wrecked center and call it pot luck.
My Grandma says that Grandpa worked all his life to earn his retardment and says I should work hard so I can be retarded someday too.