Thursday, June 2, 2011

Quantum Physics & Traditional Shotokan Karate - (Counterintuitive)

So I'm reading the definition of "Quantum Physics" and I'm understanding none of it. But I come across a term which now becomes the perspective in which we are viewing part of the current group of focus's. 

Sensei would say "I don't know what you call it. Steel ball, steel ball, steel ball".
(Newton's Cradle)

One of our students was the inspiration of sensei bringing up the subject of reaction force. Since then we have spent 6 years studying the subject of reaction force. Breaking it down to the many variations, varieties and applications to movement & technique.

Sensei often spoke of things he had seen in everyday life. This "thing" became an inspiration for subjects covered in class. Many people of different disciplines do this as well. With few and simple words sensei had the ability to cover many subjects deeply. He often taught "principles" which allowed the student to apply "this" to other subjects. You have memorized that 2 + 2 is/are 4. You have not memorized every combination of numbers to add. But whatever combinations you are faced with you can easily add any numbers through you knowledge of the principles of addition. Sensei also had the magical ability of teaching deep subjects without speaking (you just had to be there). Also, if you knew sensei well then you knew about "the look" he spoke volumes to you (which would take lots of time) in an instant without saying a word, just by giving you "the look". Oh and if you were really paying attention you would see him give others "the look". That was really fascinating. You saw how he molded students to their next level.

Oh! "Quantum Physics", rather "Counterintuitive". We have the treasure accumulated by sensei. It is our job to increase the wealth not to exhaust it and to dispense it wisely. We must preserve and we must move forward in unchartered waters as he did. We must realize that there is knowledge in front of us that we do not see (now). We must tap into the knowledge in front of us that we do not see. It will take us to the next step & then to the next.

Our intuitiveness is based on our life's experiences. It can be used wisely or not as we choose. It will reap a certain result based on the circumstances. If we want to get a better result we must change. We must work "Counter-intuitively" (only until it then becomes our new intuition).

The treasure we have, done correctly is like medicine. Done incorrectly can be like poison. We must be careful!  The system we have must be understood throughly! 

The first step in Heain Sho dan, to the beginner is "Counterintuitive". To step to the left, with the left leg and the left arm. This is totally "Counterintuitive" to the "Program of Movement" that everyone has at this point of time. At the very basic level one learns the move, at a higher level one learns the hidden treasure buried. With good guidance we can understand to learn what this move really represents. Instead of getting past the next "move" we can learn the next buried treasure (hidden in plain sight) hidden there as well.

Every step of the kata, every step of the kihon, every step of the basic kumite, treasure at out feet. Then on to the next kyu level, so on and so forth. Then we MUST come back (1, 2, 3, 10,15, 20 years later) with a more knowledgeable eye to see what we missed the first time, then over & over again.

The new sub focus we have added to the current curriculum deals with a certain facet of a subtly of reaction force. How engaging this action is "Counterintuitive" but with training we can work past this point and make great progress. We now see how students have difficulty in movement when this action is not engaged or the the timing of applying it is off, it is pure physics of movement.

We must recognize when we are a point of stoppage. We must see this as point of lack of understanding. We must often times work "Counter-intuitively". Similar to a white belt's point of blockage in thought and movement (kyo). We must freely but cautiously move in unchartered waters to go where no one has gone before.

Quantim Physics I know not yet. Counterintuitive is coming to light. It is another gem at our feet.

Monday, May 16, 2011


We may not do Kihon, Kata or Kumite in every class but we do Mokuso in every class. 

It's so important in Traditional Krate that we do it twice in every class.

So then there are 2 Mokusos. The one prior (the opening Mokuso) to the physical training and the one after (the closing).

For the kids we have a pre Mokuso, to get them ready for the opening Mokuso. They need so sit and begin the process of focusing. They tend to be at the extremes, either very excited or a bit too sedate coming in to class.

I also treat the seiza as a physical exercise. How we should stand, how we should move into the kneeling position, when seated to activate the under used, neglected parts of the body (mainly between the shoulder blades and lats). The position on the head as to allow freedom of breath. The first adjustment breath and the ones there after. More on that another time. 

First off. As Mr Iyengar writes it's not sitting quiet that teaches us how to sit quiet but it's the (correct) physical practice, that teaches us how to settle the mind, so that we can sit quite, sit still and at ease (but alert and ready).

So it's "the opening Mokuso" that prepares us for the challenge that lies ahead of us. Much like when we are driving 2 hours to a competition or flying 6 hours to a competition. The mind is uneasy, we have fears, we worry, we stress, basically thinking about the past (that we can do nothing about), and or the unknown, the future.

We must calm and still the mind, yet be alert and ready. Reminiscent of  the scene at the beginning of Enter the Dragon, the scene with Bruce Lee and his teacher, replay that one over and over again and you will learn the secret of kumite.
Nishiyama sensei in seiza

(BTW - did sensei  ever tell you the story of when Bruce Lee and John Saxton came to Nishiyam sensei's house before they went into production of Enter the Dragon?)

Then the time is now and we must do. We must face the challenge at hand. We must do our best. Our best is based on how we treated the "nows' of the past. This is the "test" of all our previous efforts.

Now this is past. Now the challenge is over. Win or lose (also determining what is a win or a loss) this is what we have. It is over, it has passed and we have this great release.

Now we have the "closing Mokuso" 9the end is the beginning of the next move. 

Much like driving back 2 hours form a competition or flying 6 hours.

The one where we reflect on what we did, we analyze what we did well and what needs improvement. How we can use this experience to improve ourselves and perhaps help others (what good is knowledge if we don't pass it on). Much like saving data before shutting down the computer. 

We are planting the seeds for future development. We must feed, water and take care so these seed of knowledge grow straight and true. Now at the closing Mokuso just before we do the first bow (to pay respect to all past senior students, to all past instructors. One day students will pay respect to us.) now the mind is quite, now we are at ease, now we can sit still yet be aware and alert. we must then allow the seeds planted to grow so that when we return to yet another opening Mokuso, we can start off at place higher than the last.

We are proud to send two of our students to the inaugural AAKF Jr. Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia June18, 2011

Max 6 is one

and Ellen the other
Ellen (now 15) & Avi Rokah sensei 5/15/2011
Ellen is the 3rd girl to the right of  Nishiyama sensei at her first exam.

On 5-15-2011 we sent Ellen to one of Avi Rokah's Youth Tournaments. This was her first competition outside of our own in house competitions. This was her first driving Moksou. In June she will have her 6 hour flying Moksu. 
Now she has a deeper understanding of Mokuso. Now she knows a greater understanding of "deeper meaning". Sensei's karate was "deep" and he taught us how to look and go deeper.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Funakoshi Anniversary

Manhattan Beach Traditional Karate

April 28, Marks the anniversary of the passing of 
Master Funakoshi

       To search for the old is to understand the new.

       The old, the new
       This is a matter of time.

       In all things man must have a clear mind.

       The Way:
       Who will pass it on straight and well?

Poem by Master Funakoshi.

BornNovember 10, 1868
Shuri , Ryūkyū Kingdom
DiedApril 26, 1957 (aged 88)
Tokyo , Japan
Other namesShoto (pine waves)
StyleShōrei-ryū , Shōrin-ryū , and Shotokan Karate
Teacher(s)Ankō Asato , Ankō Itosu
Rank5th dan  karate (highest rank at that time)
Notable studentsHironori Ōtsuka , Gigō Funakoshi (his son),Isao Obata , Shigeru Egami , Teruyuki OkazakiMasatoshi Nakayama , Hidetaka Nishiyama , Tsutomu OhshimaTaiji Kase

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Welcome to the Launch of our Blog

Manhattan Beach Traditional Karate




Welcome to the Launch of our Blog
Please Stay Tuned
 Our Grand Opening!

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