Shihan Bud Morgan, Dojo-cho.

Shihan Bud Morgan, Dojo-cho.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Precepts of Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura

You must first resolve to study if you wish to understand the truth of martial arts. This resolve is very important.

Fundamentally, the arts and the martial arts are the same.
Each has three fundamental elements.

As far as Art is concerned they are Shisho-no-Gaku, Kunko-no-Gaku and Jussha-no-Gaku.

Shisho-no-Gaku is the art of creative writing and reading – in a word, literature.
Kunko-no-Gaku means to study the past and gain an understanding of ethics by relating past events to our way of life.

Both Shisho-no-Gaku and Kunko-no-Gaku are incomplete until supplemented by Jussha-no-Gaku, (the study of the moral aspects of the teaching of Confucius).

Have a tranquil heart and you can prevail over a village, a country, or the world. The study of Jussha-no-Gaku is the supreme study over both Shisho-no-Gaku and Kunko-no-Gaku.
These then are the three elements necessary for the study of the Arts.

If we consider Budo, there are also three precepts. They are Gukushi-no-Bugei, Meimoko-no-Bugei and Budo-no-Bugei.

Gukushi-no-Bugei is nothing more than a technical knowledge of Bugei. Like a woman, it is just superficial and has no depth.

Meimoko-no-Bugei refers to a person who has physical understanding of Bugei. He can be a powerful and violent person who can easily defeat other men. He has no self-control and is dangerous and can even harm his own family.

Budo-no-Bugei is what I admire. With this you can let the enemy destroy himself – just wait with a calm heart and the enemy will defeat himself.

People who practice Budo-no-Bugei are loyal to their friends, their parents and their country. They will do nothing that is unnatural and contrary to nature.

We have “Seven Virtues of Bu”. They are:
Bu prohibits violence.
Bu keeps discipline in soldiers.
Bu keeps control among the population.
Bu spreads virtue.
Bu gives a peaceful heart.
Bu helps keep peace between people.
Bu makes people or a nation prosperous.

Our forefathers handed these seven virtues down to us.
Just as Jussha-no-Gaku is supreme in the arts, so Budo-no-Bugei is supreme in the martial arts.

“Mon-Bu” (Art and Martial Arts) have the same common elements. We do not need Gukushi-no-Bugei or Meimoko-no-Bugei – this is the most important thing.

I leave these words to my wise and beloved deshi Kuwae.
- Bucho Matsumura

Around the turn of the century, Ankoh Itosu introduced Karate (Tode) to the Okinawan Board of Education, and was asked to develop a program suitable for inclusion in the Physical Education curriculum. This Karate was to be distinguished by a different Kanji, being read as “Kute” or as “Empty Hand”, instead of “Tode” or “China Hand”, however both are pronounced as “Karate”.

In 1904, Itosu introduced the “Pinan” Kata 1-5.

He also designated a total of fourteen kata for his PE karate program. The kata’s named were Pinan Shodan, Pinan Nidan, Pinan Sandan, Pinan Yondan, Pinan Godan, Naihanchi Shodan, Naihanchi Nidan, Naihanchi Sandan, Bassai Dai, Bassai Sho, Kosokun Dai, Kosokun Sho, Chinto, and Gojushiho.

In 1908, Itosu presented his “Toudi Jakkajo” (Karate Report) to outline his less lethal form of Te by way of his famous “Ten Teachings”.

10 precepts from Yasutsune “Ankoh” Itosu

°Tode did not develop from the way of Buddhism or Confucianism. In the recent past Shorin-ryu and Shorei-ryu were brought over from China. They both have similar strong points, so, before there are too many changes, I should like to write these down.

°Tode is primarily for the benefit of health. In order to protect one’s parents or one’s master, it is proper to attack a foe regardless of one’s own life. Never attack a lone adversary. If one meets a villain or a ruffian one should not use tode but simply parry and step aside.

°The purpose of tode is to make the body hard like stones and iron; hands and feet should be used like the points of arrows; hearts should be strong and brave. If children were to practice tode from their elementary-school days, they would be well prepared for military service. When Wellington and Napoleon met they discussed that ‘tomorrow’s victory will come from today’s playground’.

°Tode cannot be learned quickly. Like a slow moving bull, that eventually walks a thousand miles, if one studies seriously every day, in three or four years one will understand what tode is about. The very shape of one’s bones will change. Those who study as follows will discover the essence of tode:

°In tode the hands and feet are important so they should be trained thoroughly on the makiwara. In so doing drop your shoulders, open your lungs, take hold of your strength, grip the floor with your feet and sink your intrinsic energy to your lower abdomen. Practice with each arm one or two hundred times.

°When practicing tode forms (kata) make sure your back is straight, drop your shoulders, take your strength and put it in your legs, stand firmly and put the intrinsic energy in your lower abdomen, the top and bottom of which must be held together tightly.

°The bunkai (application of kata techniques) should be carefully practiced, one by one, many times. Because these techniques are passed on by word of mouth, take the trouble to learn the explanations and decide when and in what context it would be possible to use them. Observe principles of torite(grappling) and applications will be more easily understand.

°You must decide whether tode is for cultivating a healthy body or for defense.

°During practice you should imagine you are on the battle field. When blocking and striking make the eyes glare, drop the shoulders and harden the body. Now block the enemy’s punch and strike! Always practice with this spirit so that, when on the real battlefield, you will naturally be prepared.

°Do not overexert yourself during practice because the intrinsic energy will rise up your face and eyes will turn red and your body will be harmed. Be careful.

°In the past many of those who have mastered tode have lived to an old age. This is because tode aids the development of the bones and sinews, it helps the digestive organs and is good for the circulation of the blood. Therefore, from now on tode should become the foundation of all sports lessons from elementary schools onward. If this is put into practice there will, I think, be many men who can win against ten aggressors.

The reason for stating all this is that it is my opinion that all students at the Okinawa Prefectural Teachers’ Training College should practice tode, so that when they graduate from here they can teach the children in the schools exactly as I have taught them. Within ten years tode will spread all over Okinawa and to the Japanese mainland. This will be a great asset to our militaristic society. I hope you will carefully study the words I have written.

Itosu Ankoh 1908

Following are twenty oral transmissions (Kuden) for the understanding of kata as taught by Kubota Shozan (a student of Gichin Funakoshi), from his student, Higaki Gennosuke:

1. Countering: Motobu Choki commented that the blocking hand must immediately become the attacking hand. It is not a true martial technique to block with one hand and counter with another. When the block and counter-attack are simultaneous that is true martial technique. “There cannot be multiple attacks against true Okinawan karate, because if an attack is countered properly, there can be no further attack.”

2. Immobilize the Opponent before Striking: The opponent must be rendered into such a state s/he cannot attack again, or even move, before executing a strike or kick.

3. The Names of Movements have been Disguised: Originally there were no names for the movements. It wasn’t until about 1935 that Shotokan established the terminology to teach large groups. However the terminology hid the meaning of the techniques. Many “blocks” were actually attacks.

4. There are no Techniques that End with a Block: There is no combative movement that ends with a block; there is always a counteroffensive movement. Moves that are called blocks are really attacks.

5. Block with Both Hands: In reality it is difficult to block an attack with one hand. When the hands cross across the chest, it hides a double block, which holds the true meaning. This is based on the fact that it is a natural movement to raise both hands when something comes suddenly at you.

6. Grabbing Hand and Pulling Hand: You pull your hand to your hip because that pulls the opponent into position for attack. The opponent will be pulled off-balance, you double the speed and power and the grabbing and pulling can be used for the beginning of throws and joint techniques.

7. The Front Hand is the Attacking Hand: By attacking with the front hand you attack from the closest possible distance. (The back hand is the blocking hand).

8. Perform a Movement that Consists of Two Counts in One Count: Many movements in kata that are shown as two count are really one-count techniques, which can be explained by a switch step.

9. Switch Step (Fumi kae): Most of the movements in kata use a walking gait. To correctly use the movements, it is necessary to change to a switch step. When this is understood, the meaning of kata will deepen. More power can be applied to the punch when the feet slide and the distance can be adjusted between you and the opponent as well.

10. Kicks are Performed Low While Grabbing the Opponent: “Kicks are meant to be delivered below the belt.” In most of kata bunkai, kicks are executed when grabbing the opponent. This helps stabilize a person when “standing on one leg.” Also, in close fighting where one can grab an opponent, the field of vision is limited, so it is difficult to defend against a low kick.

11. There is One Opponent to the Front: Do not be fooled by the embusen (performance line). As a rule, there is only one opponent to the front. S/he is actually being dragged to the front and rear and to the left and right in a Copernican (the method of tori maintaining the center) change.

12. Hang the Opponent to Sky: This is the same as a forearm twist (yuki chigai) in Aikido. It is represented in between techniques in kata.

13. Re-block and Re-grip: This refers to controlling the opponent by shutting down the attack by using both hands. The first three blocks of Heian Sandan cross the opponent’s arms (fushu in Chinese; juji garami in Aikido).

14. Take the Opponent’s Back: This is the most difficult position for an opponent to counter attack from.

15. Crossed Leg Stance: Signifies Body Rotation or a Joint Kick

16. Jumps and Body Shifts: Represent Throws

17. Break the Balance: in a triangle whose Base is the Base of the Opponent’s Feet, and the third point being the Head, the center of balance can be manipulated accordingly.

18. Me-oto-te (The Use of Both Hands Together): An example would be morote uke. The supporting hand (against the elbow) is the grabbing and pulling hand. The “blocking” hand makes the attack.

19. Cut the Forearm: Try to use a technique similar to kendo in which the forearm is “Chopped” leaving damage to the tendons.

20. The Kamae is an Invitation: When you know where the attack will occur, it is easier to defend against it.

The Shuri-te of Gusukuma Shinpan

Considerations for kicking:

1. When kicking in kata or kumite, the back must be straight and true so as to allow you to punch if blocked.
2. The quickest kicks are of the snapping variety.
3. The kata kicks are performed with the toe-tipped foot.
4. The most important kick is that done to the chudan (middle) area.
5. Consider the knee the "hinge" of the kick.
6. The ankle must be strong in kicking as the wrist is strong in punching.
7. The leg is loose and flexible while the toes are tight. Just like a punch, the arm is loose while the fist is tight.
8. When kicking, kick with both legs.

Considerations for punching:

1. The large knuckle finger and the thumb squeeze the index finger in a good fist.
2. In making a strong fist, the index finger is folded first.
3. Punching is done with a loose arm and tight fist.
4. You strike with the index knuckle first.

Kuden no Uke Waza:

1) Uke waza, like keri waza and tsuki waza, are impacting waza by nature. However the design of uke waza was meant to be used along with body change waza as a method of removing yourself from the line of attack, while at the same time aligning yourself for the counter attack, from a position of advantage.

2) Of primary importance is understanding that unlike keri waza and tsuki waza, the uke waza do not remain static as they appear in kata. Kicks, punches, and strikes symbolize "final" ending positions, while uke waza does not imply that at all. The position you see in kata reflect the "interim" position, or intermediate movement of uke waza only.

3) To not understand that uke waza allow you to lead the opponent to the application of torite waza, would be a shortcoming in fighting strategy.We have all heard the maxum, "There are no blocks in Karate", but this does not imply that they must only be strikes.

4) Also in this light, keep in mind the "movement analysis" (Bunkai) of all uke waza include the motion of the head, body, shoulders, upper arms, and elbows, waist and legs....not just the forearm and fist area of the blocking appendages.

5) Gedan Barai (as a waza) is descriptive of a "movement" (lower level sweeping). This movement once analyzed, plays many important roles, the least being a "blocking" tool (as viewed from the end of the fist/hand). IMHO far too much emphasis is placed on looking at the "end placement" of the hand/fist, and not on the action of the arm itself.

6) Its usefulness in karate should be observed as an "interim movement" that is continued into another waza, ie. lifting, sweeping, grabbing, pulling, throwing, and striking. From this perspective the Gedan Barai becomes a waza of prime importance, one that has a multitude of possibilities, and that is the reason that it is was always taught as one of the first techniques learned. It is really that important, and it is somewhat a shame that it has been relegated to such a lowly status in many modern styles.

7) The basic premise of receiving the attack includes body movement/shifting, which may or may not be the first action, as the controlling factor is/was/will be the speed/velocity of the attack itself, coupled to the surprise factor, and your individual readiness and capability to respond to it.

8) The uke/blocking/parrying action may actually come at the same time, or in front of, or behind the body shift. This will be determined by your response time, and therefore your actual ability at perceiving the threat in real time.

9) Block with the whole arm vs just the wrist or hand, and utilyze mawashi-uke style when/if your attacker allows. This is a blocking and/or receiving method that has great flexibilty, and can be used at all levels and with several directions. This is connected to change-body waza.

10) What happens next is what determines the outcome of the attack. Are you able to utilize your response as a bridge to allow you to control the situation further to it's conclusion? Must you implement serious waza, and risk serious injury to your opponent? If it has to be done, it must be done without fear or hesitation, nor remorse. You heart will lead you in battle. Your mind can overcome many things. Your body will likely be worn, and ragged, and possibly broken. Such is the nature of true combat.

Kuden, by Shihan Morgan

The Goals of the Shojukan Dojo:

1. To provide a legitimate pathway of instruction to all students and friends of our Dojo, so that they might find the true path to correct Okinawa-te, and to the Seito Karate-do and the Kobujutsu, the true ways of the Okinawa Bushi.

2. To lead by example, seeking the Truth, and most importantly sharing the Truth. Be humble in your search, for many know the Way, and many are further along the path than you. They are your Sempai, regardless of style or affiliation. They are the key to learning, and must be respected accordingly.

3. In Karate, all things begin and end in Rei.

Kata - a list of kata currently being studied at the Shojukan Dojo, concerning Japanese/Okinawan Karate-do.

Also included below are the kata of Ryukyu Kobudo/Kobujutsu as well as the less common kata that are present with our method of Ryukyu Kempo.

From Shotokan-ryu:

Heian Shodan
Heian Nidan
Heian Sandan
Heian Yondan
Heian Godan
Tekki Shodan

From Seito Karate-do:

Pinan Shodan
Pinan Nidan
Pinan Sandan
Pinan Yondan
Pinan Godan

From Ryukyu Kobujutsu:

Choun no Kun
Shushi no Kun
Tsuken Akachu no Eku Di
Matayoshi no Tunfa
Matayoshi no Sai
Takamitsu no Kama
Takamitsu no Nunchaku
Maezato no Tekko
Sakugawa no Kun

The Ryukyu Kempo Kata that are included at the Shojukan Dojo are a grouping of specific kata related directly to that system. These include:


As well as others:

This is a total of 39 Kata at the disposal of our Dojo for training. Not all persons will learn every kata, and they are in no way required as a total that must be learned. We simply do not approach Kata training in that manner. Further, at our Dojo we include the following outline to describe the information that is important to our members. It is our Training Syllabus so to speak, and is simply my attempt to list those things that each person should learn in the course of his studies here at the Shojukan Dojo.

Atemi Waza

Chudan kyusho - Middle body vital points

Shofu - Side of neck
Sonu - Base of throat
Hichu - Adam's apple
Danchu - Sternum upper level
Kyototsu - Base if sternum
Suigetsu - solar-plexus
Kyoei - Armpits
Ganchu - Below the nipples
Denko - Between 7th and 8th ribs
Inazuma - Sides, above hips
Myojo - Below the navel
Soda - Between the shoulder blades
Kodenko - Base of spine
Wanshun - Triceps
Hijizume - Elbow joint
Udekansetsu - Arm and shoulder joint
Kote - Wrist
Uchijakuzawa - Inside forearm at pulse
Sotojakuzawa - Wrist edge above pulse
Shuko - Back of hand

Jodan Kyusho - Upper body vital points
Tendo - Crown of the head
Tento - Area between crown and forehead
Komekami - Temples
Mimi - Ears
Miken - Bridge of nose
Seidon - Area above and below the eyes
Gansei - Eyeballs
Jinchu - Region below nose in middle of upper lip
Gekon - Below lower lip
Mikazuki - Jaw
Dokko - Behind the ears or the mastoid process
Keichu/nape - back of neck where it meets skull

Gedan Kyusho - Lower body vital points
Kinteki - Testicles
Yako - Inside upper thigh
Fukuto - Outside lower thigh
Hizakansetsu - Knee joint
Sobi - Base of calf muscle
Kokotsu - Shin
Kori - Instep
Kusagakure - Outside top of foot
Bitei - Coccyx/Tailbone
Ushiro Inazuma - Below buttocks at junction of leg

Kansetsu Waza

Ikkyo - first control elbow pin or press
Nikyo - second control wrist bend to side
Sankyo - third control wrist twist
Yonkyo - fourth control wrist/arm flex
Gokyo - fifth control wrist bend inward
Yubi Dori - finger control stretch
Kote Dori - wrist press
Hiji Kime - elbow lapel lock
Hiji Ate - elbow hyper-extending strike
Ude Gatame - forearm armlock
Hiza Gatame - knee armlock

Nage Waza

• O Goshi - major hip throw
• Hane Goshi - spring hip throw
• Harai Goshi - sweeping loin throw
• Koshi Guruma - loin wheel throw

• O Soto Gari - major outer reaping throw
• O Uchi Mata - major inner thigh reaping throw
• Ashi Barai - foot sweeping
• Tomoe Nage - stomach or high circle throw

• Seio Nage - shoulder throw
• Ushiro Nage - rearward throw
• Kata Guruma - shoulder wheel throw
• Sukui Nage - scooping throw

• Irimi Nage - entering/encircling neck throw
• Shiho Nage - four corners throw
• Kaiten Nage - arm wheel throw
• Kote Gaeshi - outer wrist twist throw

Tachi Kata-The Stances
• Musubi Dachi - Heel to heel attention stance
• Heisoku Dachi - Feet together attention stance
• Zenkutsu Dachi - Front stance
• Kokutsu Dachi - Back stance
• Kiba Dachi - Horse riding stance
• Shiko Dachi - Straddle leg stance
• Fudo Dachi - Immoveable stance
• Neko Ashi Dachi - Cat stance
• Kosa Dachi - Cross legged stance
• Sanchin Dachi - Hourglass stance
• Tsuru Dachi - Crane stance
• Tai Sabaki - Body Shifting

Uke Waza - Blocking techniques
 • Age Uke - Rising block
• Gedan Barai - Low block
• Uchi Uke - Inside block
• Ude Uke - Outside block
• Shuto Uke - Knife or sword hand block
• Morote Uke - Augnemted forearm block
• Juji Uke - X block or cross arm block
• Kakiwake Uke - Wedge block
• Haishu Uke - Backhand block
• Tettsui Uke - Bottom fist block
• Nagashi Uke - Sweeping block
• Osae Uke - Pressing block
• Sukui Uke - Scooping block
• Hasami Uke - Scissors block
• Nidan Uke - Two level block
• Yama Uke - Mountain block
• Mawashi Uke - Roundhouse block or circling block

Tsuki Waza - Punching techniques
• Oi Tsuki - Lunge punch
• Gyaku Tsuki - Reverse punch
• Tate Tsuki - Vertical or straight punch
• Kagi Tsuki - Hook punch
• Age Tsuki - Rising punch
• Ura Tsuki - Close punch
• Yama Tsuki - U-punch
• Morote Tsuki - Double punch

Uchi or Ate Waza - Striking Techniques

• Shuto Uchi - Sword or knife hand strike
• Haito Uchi - Ridge hand strike
• Nukite Uchi - Spear hand strike
• Uraken Uchi - Back fist strike
• Tettsui Uchi - Bottom fist strike
• Haishu Uchi - Back hand strike
• Teisho Uchi - Palm heel strike
• Empi Uchi - Elbow strike
• Ippon Kai Ni Kansetsu Uchi - Second knuckle of index finger strike
• Nihon Dai Ni Kansetsu Uchi - Second knuckle of middle finger strike
• Kote Uchi - Forearm strike

Keri Waza - Kicking Techniques
• Mae Geri - Front kick
• Yoko Geri - Side kick
• Mawashi Geri - Round kick
• Ushiro Geri - Back kick
• Hiza Geri - Knee kick
• Fumikomi Geri - Stomping kick
• Kaiten Geri - Wheel kick
• Kagi Geri - Hook kick
• Mae Tobi Geri - Jump front kick
• Nidan Tobi Geri - Double jump front kick
• Yoko Tobi Geri - Jump side kick or flying side kick
• Yoko Geri Keage - Side snap kick
• Mikazuki Geri - Crescent kick
• Ushiro Tobi Geri - Jump back kick


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