Dear Sensei Mattson:
I would first like to thank you for the wonderful seminar that you did for us two weekends ago. It still amazes me that almost one man started Uechi-ryu in the USA only at the age of 18! The things that you taught me will greatly help me with my karate. The hardest thing I have had trouble fixing is in Seisan–the elbow strike. You told me that my back foot’s heel was sticking up. I have been trying to fix this, but every time I try to put my heel down I feel pain, so I have been trying not to take such a big step to do the strike, and so far it has been working.
The easiest thing I had fixing was when you told us when doing any kind of movement, to start off slow then accelerate. I originally struggled a little bit, because I had always thought that if you started off really fast, that my strike would be very powerful. But now I have been accelerating and I have found my strikes to be much more powerful. During the seminar you kept on stressing that while doing a movement, your hands and arms should always be in that unbreakable Sanchin position. While doing the hammer fist strike, mostly every person in the class was starting with their fists right next to their heads and swinging it around.
A better idea is that we are supposed to do start with our fist in a Sanchin position and thrust outwards and hit the hand. When in an actual fight, before it starts, the best way to defend yourself is the flinch. You told us to pretend that we were arguing with someone and all of the sudden they just throw a punch at you. What you have to do is quickly raise your hands into a Sanchin position, and most likely you have blocked the attack. While doing Kanshu and Seichin you had to stop us because we were doing the arm crossing, then breaking, wrong.
What happens is when you cross your arms too much, they end up becoming a target for your opponent to get a punch right into your chest. So when crossing your arms you are supposed to just barely cross, so your hands are back to back. I greatly admire all the hard work you have done over the years. I can’t imagine how long it takes to become a 9th degree black belt. This is because even though I am 13 years old, I have been doing Uechi-ryu for eight years, and I am now a brown belt.