Oct 07 2010

Master Gushi’s Karate and Kobudo Seminar

Dear Friends,

It is my honor and pleasure to host Okinawan Karate and Kobudo Master Shinyu Gushi for a weekend seminar October 23 & 24, 2010, at my dojo in Milford, MA. Come join us for an informative and enjoyable time.

Master Gushi’s senseis, all direct students of Kanbun Uechi, included Saburo Uehara, Seiyu Shinjo, Seiki Itokazu, and Kanei Uechi. Master Gushi is known world wide and his Sanchin gami physique photo as a teenager is famous. He is truly a Uechi treasure.

I am also happy to announce that my friend and fellow student of Master Gushi’s, Kirk “Makoto” Fukumoto, 6-Dan, RyuKoKaku Karate and Kobudo Association, will be on hand to assist Gushi sensei including any translating as may be necessary.

Come join us for an interesting and fun seminar and wonderful camaraderie.

Best Regards,
Joe Graziano


PS. For more information, send Joe an E-mail

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Sep 28 2010

From Nidan to Sandan, Virtually!

From Nidan to Sandan, Virtually.

by Dan Maestas

We, as a society, have become extremely reliant on a virtual world. Many products and services are offered and delivered from a nonexistent entity, the internet. Sports fans play fantasy sports, businesses conduct virtual meetings and students can even get a college degree online. But what about learning karate via a virtual dojo, is it possible to learn an art by some remote method and become proficient. That is what George Mattson set out to find out when he started the Mattson Academy Virtual Dojo and I was one of his first students to give it a try.

I started studying Uechi Ryu in 1990 under the instruction of Steve Vosa (please excuse the informality, no disrespect is intended by referring to him by his name). Steve Vosa was an excellent teacher and under his instruction I earned up to the rank of Nidan. After earning the rank of Nidan, my martial arts training seemed to plateau. There were a lot of factors which contributed to my plateau. Some of it was time constraints and other factors were mental or physical. Needless to say I grew frustrated and decided to take a hiatus from martial arts.

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Sep 23 2010

Review: Meditations on Violence

Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence
Author: Sgt. Rory Miller
There are many interesting Martial Arts (MA) books on the market. I thought about first reviewing a Uechi-ryu book such as The Way of Karate by George Mattson or Karate: A Master’s Secrets of Uechi-Ryu by Ihor Rymaruk. As I went through my collection, I began to think “Why do most people train in MA?”. Why do you train? That’s when I knew which book to start with.
Whatever your specific reasons are for training, they will invariably be related to violence. Whether it’s you or someone you know having been bullied, mugged or worse; or simply wanting to learn “self-defense” because of all the local news stories, it all relates to violence.
Sgt. Miller is a corrections officer with years of fighting experience in multiple situations. He does a great job of explaining the different kinds of violence, people’s perceptions of it and how we deal with it afterwards. I appreciate the fact that he states upfront that he is only telling you about his experiences and observations. Take them for what they are and remember that nothing is more important than your own experiences. That said, he does provide useful insights and training for your body and most importantly, your mind.
Many martial artists will take issue with Sgt. Miller’s assertions that MA will really not help you in an “out of the dojo” attack. That your training and mindset are perfect for the controlled environment but not when you are attacked while in a calm, normal state of mind. According to Sgt. Miller’s experience, the “perfect” fighting distance taught in some MA styles rarely happens in real life – in a parking lot, a bar, bus station or in your own home; nor are the situations that some train for very realistic.
Sgt. Rory does not offer any one MA style or ‘way’ of fighting as a solution since none covers everything one needs to know. But he does give great training advice and outlines what kind of training will help prepare you for the types of attacks you may face and the physiological and brain reactions to being attacked unexpectantly. The book categorizes violence into different types with general defenses to combat them. These include training for surprise attacks (though it isn’t really a surprise if you’re expecting it), using confidence and boredom, and knowing when to flee and use counter attacks.
I realized before starting training in Uechi-ryu Karate that it wasn’t going to make me a “kick-ass” fighter like on TV, though I expected to and have learned some great offensive and defensive tools. According to the book, part of the issue with MA is that you usually only work on certain moves and many people going into dojos get their concepts of violence from Jackie Chan and Jason Statham movies. Training with this mindset can be dangerous to yourself and your fellow students. Time and distance are crucial in a fight and the simplest counter attacks are often the most effective.
I do like Sgt. Rory’s insights on the psychological aspects of violence for both the attacker and victim, and of the “Monkey Dance”. I have no real experience in this to the degree he presents but he provoked me into learning more about it. Challenging assumptions is a large part of this book and many of the author’s assertions can be very useful. I saw myself in some of the examples and am trying to improve on the ones I feel I need to work on the most.
So how does Sanchin and Uechi fit into all of this? Opinions differ greatly but this is what I can say.
Honestly I don’t know. I haven’t reached the black belt level. Black Belt training is where you really start getting into the “hardcore” Uechi training. As a 2 Kyu in my school, we do get trained in the basics of striking hard, fast and at your opponent’s weakest area available to you. This training is similar to some of what’s advocated in this book.
Sanchin training conditions your body to at least absorb some blows and protects your core. This may give you the opportunity to quickly counter-strike, get out of the way or run. As for the rest, I will find out more as I progress.
Meditations on Violence is a fresh offering in a sea of self-defense and Martial Arts books. It consists of one person sharing his experiences and observations on the causes of, types of and combating violence. The book has generated discussion on multiple forums and blogs and deservedly so. I agree with much of what is in the book, not all, and believe it should be required reading for all self-defense /martial arts teachers and students. It provides great information, advice and examples. Most of all, it makes you question your assumptions and way of thinking.

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Sep 23 2010

How I found Uechi-ryu

How I found Uechi-ryu
I started studying Uechi-ryu in 2006 when my son, not me, enrolled in a kids class. In my school, the children’s curriculum is more about focusing, listening, coordination and confidence. All of which are taken in small steps and kicks, and are measurable.  Not everyone can teach children this and keep their interest going – we were lucky. This is not a “belt factory”
for kids.

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Sep 09 2010

Whats Happening this month!

Webinar for Summerfest and Winterfest fans!

This year’s Summerfest was smaller than usual and caused a number of participants to contact Susan and me with suggestions for making future events more popular. I think a lot of people were concerned that we might stop hosting the events because of lack of interest.

I’m sure the economy has played a big part in people expressing interest in attending but not showing up. Others speculate that the interest in mixed martial arts has taken away excitement formally reserved for karate events. Whatever the reason, be assured that our SummerFest and WinterFest will continue!

During the next couple of months I will be hosting a series of online webinar focusing on different subjects and I would like our first Webinar to tackle the subject – “How can we make SummerFest more appealing to Martial Artist?”

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Aug 27 2010

Gang Fighting

Very interesting topic on Van Canna’s Self Defense Realities that involves gang attacks. We don’t spend a lot of time dealing with gang attacks in the dojo, although our advanced Konshiwa Bunkai is a multiple attack and part of the defense is making sure you move in such a way that you only have to deal with one attacker at a time. Jason posted a couple of clips in which one victim used this strategy quite well.

I’m not sure, but it appears that more and more gang violence is taking place now than any other time I can recall. Obviously avoidance is the best defense, but when you don’t have a choice, do you have a defense???

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Aug 13 2010

2010 SummerFest Slide Show

2010 SummerFest

Photos from the SummerFest.



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Aug 07 2010

Wheaton Terrior Available

So many people love our “Harley” (Wheaton Terrior) that when I learned that one is available for adoption, I wanted to give the Uechi world a “heads up”. My golfing buddy, Bill Hollingsworth,who is a volunteer for a Florida rescue center, requests that anyone interested in “Molly”, contact Melissa:

Melissa Nelson in Miami, Florida
Rescue Co-Coordinator
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of Greater Tampa Bay

Remember – Sue and I drove all the way to Kansas for “Harley” and would do it again in a second.

Here is more information:

George–this Molly is the dog that has to be placed in a new home due to financial reasons–the current owner has three Wheatens and is in a divorce process and can’t afford the upkeep on more than one dog–she is keeping the 13 year old — the third dog was placed  last Sun.–Molly is available (without a fee).

Molly is 10 years old and has been with the same owner since it was a puppy. she is AKC registered and a very sweet girl I’m told. I have not seen the dog but have talked to the current owner who is so sad she has to give the dog up!! Molly needs groomed and brought up-to-date on meds. Because the current owner had to go back to work the dogs are left alone for 10 hours a day and that is sad!!! If you can help find a home for her you would be a HERO and the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier Club of Fl. would be greatfull!! Thanks for looking and hopefully helping–Bill

This information is from the rescue center:

Molly and Morgan are pure bred Wheatens. They have been together since they were puppies and tragically, they now need a new home. Their person has fallen on hard times and can no longer afford to take care of them. Molly is 10 and Morgan is 13. If you are an older person, they would be a perfect pair for you. They are sweet, healthy dogs just looking for a loving home to live out their golden years. We would like to place them together but will separate them if we must. Could you find it in your heart to adopt these two wonderful dogs? They are located near Cocoa, FL. There would be no adoption fee. Please call us or go to our website at http://flwheatenclub.org/ and click on Rescue to fill out the adoption application.

Molly and Morgan is up-to-date with routine shots, house trained and spayed/neutered

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