The two reviews from George
Mattson and myself usher in what we hope will prove a successful and enjoyable
feature. When first approached with this idea, I rather assumed we would
concentrate on martial arts works. Certainly there exists a need; a great
number of books and videos exist, many not worthy of the trees sacrificed
for their existence. We hope this section will highlight the gems and
warn about the dross. However, Sensei Mattson feels that a far broader
interest exists among the Readership. Thus, we would like to open this
up to any suggestions. Anyone may suggest a book to review, and anyone
may submit a review within the General Guidelines. We may solicit reviews
from the Readership or outside. Readers may similary recommend reviewers.
Depending on the response, we may even post "polls" for "next
book to review."
While we have not set limits,
as noted in the General Guidelines, we have little interest in fawning
or damning reviews of the latest partisan pundit's productions. There
are plenty of sources for such. However, if enough readers express interest
in a particular work we may consider it. We also welcome appropriate rebuttals
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All reviews are subject to
review, and we may ask the reviewer to clarify and correct sections as
appropriate. The final decision to publish a review remains with the Editor.
Name of book: In Search of the Warrior Spirit
Publisher: North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California
Copyright: 1990, 1992 by Richard Stozzi Heckler
Medical psychologist Jim Hardt is brought in to take the Green Beret team through an elaborate brain synchrony training program. In the initial session, Hardt explains the goals of the brainwave training to the men. He explains the intricacies of brainwave activity and how it can be measured and controlled. The men approve of the program, since there is a logic about it. "You can tell if you're making progress or not. One of the troubles with meditation is that you don't know if you're on the right track or not".
It was interesting the way Heckler interpreted how the warrior team of Green Berets conceived notions of gender, physical size, strength, or earning honor through combat. He recognized that the battlefield of the warrior must expand beyond the literal interpretation of war and destruction to include every moment of our lives. In order to live authentically with integrity, we must have a certain kind of courage. Ultimately Heckler defined bravery as not being afraid of yourself. "When we are no longer afraid of being who we are we act from integrity and authenticity."
The biofeedback training is designed so that the team would learn how to consciously induce in the Alpha brainwave, which runs between 8 and 13 cycles per second and is characteristic of a relaxed yet alert, high energy state. The Alpha state is conducive to accelerated learning and creative problem solving. Over-efforting, with accompanying muscle tension, moves us out of the multi-dimensional alpha state into a more linear, less open beta state. The biofeedback monitors automatically signal the loss.
Heckler found that some of the men picked up the technique quickly and ran with it. Others, significantly the Vietnam veterans, had a much more difficult time. Combat veterans seem not only to have anesthetize their capacity for Alpha in order to cope with the stress of battle, to defend against openness and relaxation as unmanageable and perhaps too vulnerable a state. Heckler concludes that this type of training would be an excellent way to work with posttraumatic stress syndrome so common among veterans. They would be able to relearn their Alpha capabilities in a safe, supportive environment.
Heckler also noted, following the biofeedback sessions, that the Warriors aikido performance improved significantly-due to their awareness and ability to transfer the biofeedback experience into the physical movements performed on the mat.
It is interesting to note, that back in the 60s during the time that Leary, Alpert and Metzner (the LSD professors) were training at my dojo, they were involved in these very same experiments. It was their contention, one that they were not able to complete experiments with that the Uechi ryu "Sanchin experience" had the same healing qualities that Heckler observed during his work with the Green Berets in 1972.
In this modern era of the martial art knowledge, the traditional systems are being under fire for not identifying valid reasons for people to study. Initially, teachers like me were contented to offer "the ultimate" in self defense to the public. This was sufficient motivation for people to fill the dojo. Studying a traditional martial art, in a traditional manner, will provide students with all the benefits of a warrior training-minus the "realist" component - where the warrior undergoes realistic scenario applications and stress, designed to test the warrior spirit in relative safety.
Not understanding the warrior benefits of traditional martial arts, and only being aware of the superficial self defense potential, traditional martial arts suffer under the spotlight of comparison with nontraditional and basic fighting methods. In other words, if you don't understand what you're teaching and why you were teaching it, you will accept the condemnation of anyone who poses the question: "can you fight, using your traditional martial art, as good as Mr. X., who is a simple streetfighter?"
If the traditionalist believes that what he is doing is for the same reason as a "streetfighter", he will soon close his doors... or relegate his reason for staying in business, based on completely different purposes-like a babysitting service or afterschool activity for children.
The traditional martial arts must have confidence in their traditional martial arts, if not understanding and believing in this, then they should engage in the kind of research that Heckler did so successfully.
Heckler used a formula of aikido, meditation and biofeedback to supplement the Green Berets "realist" training program. Traditional Uechi ryu contains all of the ingredients Hackler added to the Green Beret program, including some of the physical "realist" components contained in the regular Green Beret program.
It is my hope that someone in the Uechi ryu community will take on this challenge and confirm the multidimensional benefits of studying Uechi ryu, over and above the simplistic blocks kicks and punches that exist in the arsenal of any streetfighter.
A very interesting book and one that I would recommend to all martial artist. G.E.M.
A person who only fights is nothing more than a brawler.
A person who only practices his/her forms without being able to apply them, is nothing more than a dancer.
A person who theorizes about the martial arts without being able to demonstrate his/her knowledge is only an armchair theorist.
A person who practices all of these without applying the martial arts to the art of living misses the inner usefulness of all of this activity.
A person who practices all of these, applies it to the art of living and takes great pleasure from this effort, is a true martial artist.
-- Martial arts master Liang Shouyu
David Mott, Uechi-ryu Karate Kyoshi and 8th degree black belt, has once again published an important martial art program that will help teachers and students understand and master a side of the martial arts often overlooked.
I've studied David's eight techniques and plan to incorporate his "coiling" method of performing kata segments as a teaching method for both new and advanced students. It definitely works and helps Uechi practitioners understand the difficult concepts associated with advanced application methods. I've created a brief summary of David's excellent DVD here, so he can explain in his own words what his coiling silk exercises consist of and how they can help you become a better martial artist.
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Thanks to Chris McKaskell for sending us the following review. . .
I really like the DVD and the exercises. I'll probably need a few more for the various people
“David Mott recently made a DVD of Coiling Silk Exercises he has been quietly working on and sharing with his students at Cold Mountain School, in Toronto.
There are eight exercises in total and each derives its form from various physical phrases found directly in the practice of Uechi-Ryu.
I've shared them with my small class and have found them to be valuable in developing body integration, a deeper understanding of breath as it relates to movement, smoothing out small muscle control issues and opening a new chapter in the way Uechi kata can be perceived.
Besides that, performing these exercises makes me feel good.
Review: Uechi-ryu Karate: Advanced Applications of Katas & Applications. By Henry Thom. Available on the Uechi-ryu Store - $25
Shihan Henry Thom created this DVD for his Kyoshi requirements in 2007. Henry chose to focus on the practical applications (bunkai) of our advanced kata, Seisan and Sanseiryu. Henry began his Uechi training as one of my early students during the Hancock Dojo era. He was well known for his excellent fighting and self-defense skills, in both competitive venues and on the streets of China town, where he and his other Chinese friends were frequently the target of gangs from other areas of Boston.
Henry hasn't forgotten the practical side of the Uechi art and this DVD provides what he considers to be many of the best techniques found in the kata. The instruction is clear and easy to follow. The DVD is a real bargain at only $25.
Here is a brief summary of the introduction and a couple of the applications:
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