to Mount Holyoke College Bushido-Kai Karate
Bushido-Kai Karate is the Mount Holyoke College Karate Club and a member of Shito-Ryu
International Karate Do Kai and the International
Karate Association. As a member of Shito-Ryu Karate and the
IKA the club is fortunate to have two of the world's finest Grand
Masters (Soke) as its Master teachers. Bushido-Kai Karate is dedicated to teaching
traditional Karate-Do and self-defense through the philosophies
of both Shito-Ryu International Karate Do Kai http://www.seitoshitoryu.com and the International
Karate Association. http://www.ikakarate.org
Bushido-Kai Karate is headed by Barbara A. Arrighi, Sensei, 8th Degree Black belt. Arrighi Sensei was awarded Hanshi on August 2, 2015 by Tsukasa Mabuni, 3rd Soke Shito-Ryu International Karate-Do Kai.
Sensei, was promoted to 7th Degree Black Belt and Kyoshi by Mabuni Kenzo, 2nd Soke
International Karate Do Kai.
Assistant Instructor David Wiley, was
elevated to Godan, 5th Degree Black Belt by Mabuni Soke
at the 2003 International Seito Shito-Ryu Karate Championships held in Oregon.
KARATE CLUB INFORMATION
Bushido-Kai Karate Club training session is Wednesday Dance Studio 3, 5:30pm-7:00pm at Kendall
Hall the year
round. Students are taught Kihon, Ippon, Nihon, and Sanbon kumite, kata and bunkai,
and jiyu kumite (free style) fighting.
The Karate club is taught in a traditional Japanese style with
formal opening and closing of class. For more information please email Arrighi Sensei at firstname.lastname@example.org
Students are encouraged to attend class
if they are interested in training in traditional Japanese style
Karate Do. Class begins promptly at 6:00PM. Please arrive early dress comfortably
and speak with the instructor prior to taking the first class.
When meeting with the instructor you will receive information
about the training course, club expectations and student responsibilities.
As members of Shito-Ryu USA Karate-Do
Kai there are monthly organizational trainings with advanced instructors
open to all Shito-Ryu USA Karate-Do Kai dojos. They are announced
in advance and are free to all students.
Directions to Kendall Hall
Bushido-Kai Karate Dojo
Bushido-Kai Advanced Training
McGinness, Hanshi far left
back row, Arrighi, Hanshi standing center middle
Bushido-Kai Karate Dojo
from several dojos are pictured
- Sensei - Teacher
- Shihan - Teacher of Teachers (Master)
- Soke - Originator, headmaster
- Sempai - Senior student
- Kohai - Junior student
- Karateka - Student of Karate
- Kumaete - Assume a ready position
- Naotte - Relax or return
- Seiza - Kneeling
- Kihon - Basic
- Kata - Form
- Kumite - Engaged hands
- Hadari - Left
- Migi - Right
- Bushido - "The way of the Warrior"
- Kime - Focus
Dojo - Training Hall or Place of the Way
- Way of the Empty Hand
- Yudansha - Black belt ranked students
- Shomen - Front or head
- Kai - Organization
- Do Gi - Uniform worn in Karate
- Hai - Yes
- Iie - No
- Hajime - Begin
- Yama - Stop
- Rei - Bow
- Kiai - Sprit shout
- Dan - Level or degree
- Kyu - Grade below black belt
- Zanshin - Alertness/awareness
- Embusen - The footwork/pattern in kata
- Standing bow to Sensei
- Sensei sits (formal sitting position), the class sits in seiza
facing shomen and prepares for class. Head student (sempai) calls
means "Close your eyes and Clear your mind!" After about
a minute, the sempai student calls out:
means: "Open your eyes!"
- Next the class performs three zarei or sitting bows. The head
student calls out:
Shomen ni rei! This means "Bow to the front of the dojo." After
the class finishes this bow, the Sensei will turn around and face the class
and the head student will call out:
Sensei ni rei! - This means "Bow to the Teacher!" As the class bows
to the teacher, the teacher will return the bow. As each student bows, they
recite "Onegaishimasu" which means "Please teach
Otagai ni rei! - This means "Bow to each other!" Both the teacher
and the students will bow to each other at the same time. This is to acknowledge
that we are all students of
the art of Karate Do. At this point
the Sensei will indicate that the class should stand up and practice
For more information and to join the
Karate club please see class hours above: Or contact Ms. Arrighi,
Sensei at (413) 538-2304 or on campus ext. 3303 at the Campus Police Department, or student Karate Club President.
Bushido-Kai Karate is under the direction
of Ms. Barbara A Arrighi, Hachidan and Hanshi. Shitoryu USA Karate Do Kai.
Arrighi, Sensei with Mabuni
Kenzo, Soke 1995
As head of the Karate Club Arrighi, Sensei is both a
licensed Hanshi ( Teacher of Masters). As such, she is the highest ranking
woman and only woman Hanshi in the Shito-Ryu style. She
is a founding member of Shito-Ryu USA Karate Do Kai and a member
of the Board of Directors. In addition, she is the founder and
editor of Shito-Ryu Times the national organizations
In 1994, Arrighi Sensei was elivated to 5th Degree black
belt and was awarded her Shihan licence by Grand
Master Takayuki (Tak) Kubota in Gosoku-Ryu Karate Do.
On July 5, 2015 Arrighi Sensei was promoted to 5th Degree Black belt Kubotan Instructor by Kubota Soke.
Arrighi Sensei was certified as a Kubotan instructor trained by
Grand Master Kubota himself the inventor of the Kubotan. Arrighi Sensei has been associated with the International
Karate Association since 1981 under Grand Master Kubota's teaching.
Arrighi Sensei has learned many of the "street" karate
and self-defense techniques taught in Gosoku-Ryu system and has
passed the techniques onto her students. She has studied and trained
with Kubota Soke continuously since 1981, and in those years she
has attempted to learn as much Gosoku-Ryu karate and self-defense
as is possible. http://www.ikakarate.org/
Takayuki Kubota, Soke Gosoku-Ryu
Ms. Arrighi is the Deputy Chief of Campus Police at Mount
Holyoke College and has trained in Karate-Do since 1972. She has
taught Karate/self defense courses at the College through the
Department of Physical Education since 1975 where she teaches
8 one credit RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) Basic physical defense
and Keychain Option classes. http://www.mtholyoke.edu/offices/campuspolice/
In July 2000, Ms. Arrighi was elevated to a Staff Instructor for RAD Keychain self-defense program. Ms. Arrighi teaches Seito Shito-Ryu Karate and 8-1 credit RAD (Rape
Aggression Defense) Basic physical defense classes.
In 1994 Ms. Arrighi was awarded the "Susan B. Anthony Award"
and in 2005 the "Instructor's
Award" (TIV) by
Inc. in appreciation for dedicated service and for being a regular contributor
to the Organizational Newsletter. In 2007, Ms. Arrighi was again awarded the
"Instructor's Voice Award". http://www.rad-systems.com/index.html
Ms. Arrighi has been teaching (RAD) Basic Physical Defense
since 1994. In addition, Ms. Arrighi
teaches the Advanced RAD, RAD Kids, Keychain Defense, Weapon defense and RAD for Seniors. Certified
in 2001, by the National Self defense Institue's SAFE Instructor
program she hopes to bring the self defense and safety awareness
program to many women. As a Domestic Violence instructor for Massachusetts
and RAD she teaches women about the cycle of violence and safety
Ms. Arrighi is the Deputy Chief of Campus Police at Mount
Holyoke College and has trained in Karate-Do since 1972. She is
a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, and Holyoke Community
College majoring in Police Administration and Criminal Justice
and a graduate of the Massachusetts State Police Academy. She
is certified Massachusetts Police Defensive Tactics Instructor,
Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence investigator. As a DT Instructor
she has taught regularly at the regional police academy.
to Arrighi Sensei, training in Shito-Ryu again was like coming home to an
friend. Arrighi Sensei and her
students were very excited about having the opportunity to both
train with and learn from Kenzo Mabuni Soke.
In 1996, Arrighi Sensei was invited to
train at the Hombu Dojo in Osaka Japan. She along with five other
Shihans trained with Kenzo Mabuni Soke at the Hombu Dojo in Japan for
three weeks. Arrighi Sensei reported, "it was a trip of a
life time." To be in the place where so many karate masters
trained, taught, and developed Shito-Ryu and other karate styles
was an overwhelming experience. Arrighi Sensei said she felt emotionally
overwhelmed most of the time and the opportunity to train at the
Hombu Dojo was beyond her wildest imagination. Arrighi Sensei
felt the spirit of the great masters in the Hombu dojo at all
times. No matter how hard you trained, you could feel their spirits
asking you to train even harder, which I did.
In addition, there are several assistant black belt instructors
that assist Arrighi Sensei in teaching karate classes. All instructors
are certified through both Shito-Ryu International Karate Do Kai
and the International Karate Association. Each instructor has
had many years of training and teaching experience.
Mr. David Wiley, Sensei 5th Degree Black belt has trained
since 1972 along with Arrighi, Sensei. He is certified as a 5th
degree black belt through both Shito-Ryu International Karate
Do Kai and the International Karate Association.
Mr. Newton Bowdan, MD. 3rd Degree Black belt has trained
with Arrighi, Sensei for many years.
Bushido-Kai Karate Club is a member of Shito-Ryu USA Karate
Do Kai and Shito-Ryu International Karate Do Kai and affiliated
with the International Karate Association. Students learn
the traditional, kihon and katas of Seito Shito-Ryu. In learning
Shito-Ryu Karate students will learn the ancient katas of Shito-Ryu
and Bunkai and the "street" fighting and self-defense
techniques that are applied to each kata.
Both styles are Japanese styles in teaching, tradition and
philosophy. Under the direction of Tsukasa Mabuni, Soke (Shito-Ryu)
and Kubota Takayuki, Soke (Gosoku-Ryu) Arrighi, Sensei has taken
the best of both styles and used them as the frame work for her
Arrighi, Sensei has enjoyed the teachings of both Headmasters
and feels they are without exception two of the finest karate
master teachers and people she has ever known. Bushido-Kai Karate
is very lucky to be associated with these two great teachers.
Introducing the 3rd Soke:
My name is Tsukasa Mabuni. My grandfather is Kenwa Mabuni, the founder of Shito-Ryu. My father, Kenzo Mabuni, succeeded as the 2nd Soke of Shito-Ryu when my grandfather passed away in 1952.Continuing with Budo tradition, I have succeeded the role of 3rd Soke of Shito-Ryu, upon the recent passing of my father.The organization of Shito-Ryu International Karate Do Kai will continue on with the same objectives. I urge all Shito-Ryu Karate-ka worldwide to support the organization which my grandfather founded. The same organization which my father developed as an international entity teaching Seito, or authentic, Shito-Ryu. I met many of you at the 2005 Shito-Ryu International Championships in Osaka in July 2005. I look forward to meeting you all again, and meeting those I did not see this year, sometime soon in the future.TSUKASA MABUNI, Soke of Shito-Ryu
Seito Shito-Ryu Karate-Do
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our teacher and mentor, Mabuni Kenzo Soke, at 2:45pm 26 June 2005. Kenzo Mabuni (30 May 1927 - 26 June 2005) Soke of Shito-Ryu, President of Shito-Ryu Nippon Karate Do Kai & Shito-Ryu International Karate Do Kai
Shito-Ryu International Karate Do Kai
and Head Master
Soke 10th Dan
Kenzo Soke, Son of Founder and Grandmaster Mabuni Kenwa
Shito-Ryu is headed by Mabuni Kenzo,
Soke Shito-Ryu Nippon Karate Do Kai.Mabuni Soke is the son of
originating Shito-Ryu Grand Master Kenwa Mabuni. Mabuni Kenzo,
Soke teaches Seito Shito-Ryu "Pure" Shito-Ryu as originally
taught by his father.
After Kenwa Mabuni's death, his wife
approached their third son, Kenzo, and asked that he take over
the system. Kenzo had begun his karate training with his father
at age 14, but as an adult had never considered taking on the
grave responsibility of assuming his father's position. Kenzo
took two years to weigh the commitment before stepping for ward
to become head of Seito Shito-Ryu. From that time he has dedicated
his life to preserving the true lineage of his father's karate.
Now in his seventies, Kenzo Mabuni is considered one of the world's
foremost instructors of Shito-Ryu. He travels regularly throughout
Asia, South America and the United States educating practitioners
in the extensive body of information left by his father.
Since 1994, Mabuni Soke has visited and
taught at Mount Holyoke College many times. In
July 1996, Mount Holyoke College hosted the First Seito Shito-Ryu
International Karate Do Championships. Seito Shito-Ryu karate
practitioners from all over the world attended the tree day event
at the College. From all reports the event was a great success
and everyone had a wonderful time.
Below is the Go Do Shin, it is
the "Spirit" and teaching philosophy of Seito Shito-Ryu
Way Spirit or path of Shito-Ryu Karate Do
GO DO SHIN
1. Always remember the spirit
of first beginning (Will)
2. Always be courteous (Morality)
3. Always give your best effort
4. Always follow your heart (Common
5. Always maintain harmony (Peace)
Left: Pechin Sakugawa
(1733-1815) Shuri-Te----- Right: Ankoh Itosu (1830-1915)
Kanryo Higashionna (1853-1915)
Traditional picture Shito-Ryu Karate Do Founder and Grandmaster
Mabuni Kenwa (1889-1952)
Mabuni Kenwa utilizing protective gear
Karate was forged by the Samurai (Bushi
or Peichin) class of Okinawa as the means of both self-defense
and law enforcement. Its development was substantially influenced
by the Chinese boxing arts, especially those around Fukien, China.
Much of modern day karate can be traced back through one of two
renowned Okinawans, Itosu Yasutsune (1830-1915) or Higashionna
Kanryo (1845-1915 or 1916 depending on source), who are widely
recognized as the founders of the two main lines of Karate, Shuri-Te
(Shorin Ryu) and Naha-Te (Shorei Ryu), respectively.
Shito-Ryu Karate is unique in that its
lineage descends directly from both Itosu and Higashionna as its
founder Mabuni Kenwa (1889-1952) was a direct student of both
of these great masters. Mabuni Kenwa started his training at age
13 with Itosu where he quickly absorbed many of the Shuri-Te forms.
According to Mabuni Kenzo, after only one and a half years of
intense training, Itosu recommended that Mabuni seek out Higashionna.
From that time, every day Mabuni would go to Itosu and train after
school and then it was off to Higashionna for training until midnight.
Mabuni was around 27 years of age when both Itosu and Higashionna
died, both dying within one year of each other. According to John
Sells in his book Unante, The Secrets of Karate,
Mabuni was so saddened by Itosu's death "that he built a
small shrine in front of his teacher's grave and stayed nearby
for a full year." After the death of his two primary teachers,
Mabuni trained with a number of other martial artist including
Arakaki and Gokenki and over time became one of the most respected
martial artist of the time.
During the 1920's, when Karate was gaining
interest and support on mainland Japan, Mabuni ventured to Osaka,
Japan at the request of the Japanese government. In 1927 he moved
to Osaka, never to return to his homeland. There he established
a small dojo and began teaching his unique art. As time proceeded,
his students began to call his Karate Hanko Ryu or Half-Hard Style.
In the early 1930's, when pressed by the Japanese government to
formalize a name for his Karate, Mabuni choose the name Shito-Ryu
which has no literal meaning. Instead, Mabuni formed this name
by taking the first characters (kanji) from the names of his two
primary teachers, Itosu and Higashionna. When viewed
in this context, the characters take on the "on-yomi" or Chinese rendering
so that Ito-Higashi becomes Shi-toh. In this way, Mabuni chose the name of his
style to honor and respect his
Mabuni Kenwa taught many great practitioners
who in turn taught other well known and respected modern practitioners,
including Fumio Demura, Hayashi Teruo and Kuniba Shojyo, and the
spread of Shito-Ryu Karate is now worldwide. However, Mabuni Kenwa
only issued five Shihan Menjo in his life and died without naming
an inheritor. When he died, Mabuni had two of three sons survive
him, Kenei and Kenzo (no information on the third son.) Mabuni
Kenei had long left the family and lived in Tokyo where, although
he had no formal karate training with his father, had established
the Shito Kai with Iwata Manzo (one of the five to receive a Shihan
Menjo from Mabuni Kenwa.) Mabuni Kenzo had begun his karate training
with his father at the age of 14 and continued diligently until
his father's death in 1952. After his father's death, it was his
mother that came to Mabuni Kenzo and requested that he take over
the style. Mabuni Kenzo could not decide at that time and went
into seclusion for two years to contemplate this great responsibility.
Of course as we all know, he decided to accept this responsibility
and is the inheritor of his father's lineage.
From that time, Mabuni Kenzo dedicated
his life to preserving the true lineage of his father's karate.
He was not concerned politics or image and remained unknown to
the outside world while his older brother and others were spreading
their influence in the name of Shito-Ryu Karate. In 1993, upon
the request of his good friend Ozawa, Mabuni Kenzo traveled to
Las Vegas and and exposed the world to Seito (pure) Shito-Ryu,
the true karate of his father, Mabuni Kenwa. In April of 1994,
Mabuni Kenzo conducted seminars in Albany, New York and Phoenix,
Arizona. Subsequent to these seminars, Mabuni Kenzo established
the Shito-Ryu Karate Do Kai of America comprised of dojos that
had requested of him consideration as his direct students and
received formal acceptance by his senior instructors, the Nippon
Karate Do Kai Shihan Kai.
Kenwa, Sensei right with Konishi Sensei
Bassai Sho & Dai
Kosokun Sho & Dai
12 Shito-Ryu Dosa Kata
Heiko dachi Dai Ichi, Dai Ni, Dai, Dai San, Dia Yon
Nekoashi dachi Dai Ichi, Dai Ni, Dai San, Dai Yon
Zenkutsu dachi Dai Ichi, Dai Ni, Dai San, Dai Yon
You may be asking yourself, what is kata?
Kata has been described as simulated fighting, as one locked into
mortal combat with a dangerous enemy, and one seeking perfection
in their karate techniques. Kata is all of this and more. Kata
is the heart and soul of Karate-Do. Without kata we are no better
than street fighters with no history, lineage, or art to pass
on to the next generation. Karate is alive and well today because
of kata and the dedication of those that passed it along to their
students. Kata was handed down from one generation of karateka
to the next. In its history, karate training was forbidden by
law and it was an executable offense if one was caught training
in karate. Many karate masters risked their very lives as they
trained in darkness and in secret so that Karate could continue.
Kata is the most difficult part of karate
training. It requires a student to work on perfecting technique,
power, kime, zanshin, kiai, embusen, breathing, and much more.
In addition, each kata has bunkai which is the actual application
of the kata fighting techniques. Many hours can be spent on learning
the kata, bunkai and its defense and counter attack techniques.
A kata that is well performed is a work of art and the student
that understands and performs the bunkai well, understands the
battle within the battle. For kata is not just a series of moves
linked together, it is a series of battles one or lost by the
karatekas understanding of the kata.
As was mention in the Style section,
Bushido Kai Karate is associated with two styles of Karate. Both
Shito-Ryu and Gosoku-Ryu have a number of katas within the curriculum.
Shito-Ryu has the most kata of any karate style numbering over
60. This is because Shito-Ryu katas derive from two great masters
Itosu Yasutsune and Higashionna Kanryo both teachers of Grand
Master Mabuni Kenwa. In addition, Mabuni Kenwa developed a number
of his own katas. Both Shito-Ryu and Gosoku-Ryu are Japanese styles
therefore the katas have similar roots.
Age Uke - Upper block
Kosa Uke - Cross arm block
Yoko Uchi - Forearm inward block
Kote Uke - Back of the hand block
Yoko Uke - Forarm outward side block
Kakiwake - Wedged block
Yoko Barai - Forearm outward side parry
Gedan Barai / Harai Uke - Downward parry block
Wa Uke - Two arm circle block
Ko Uke - Wrist block
Tsuki Uke - Thrust block
Sashite - Inward sweeping palm block
Ninoude - Back of forarm inward block
Kensasae Uke - Two hand outward block (open hand at fist)
Hijisasae Uke - Two hand outward block (closed fist at
Tsukidome - Withdrawing forearm block
Kakete Uke - Hooking hand block
Sukui Uke - Scooping block
Ura Uke - Inverted block (small circle with wrist
Ukenagashi - Inward palm sweeping block
Shotei - Palm heel block
Shuto Uke - Knife hand block
Gassho Uke - Praying hands block
Hariyuki - Two knife hand pushing block
Kara Uke - Empty or void block
Oura Uke - large circle inverted forearm block
Seiken chudan tuski - center thrust
Age tsuki - Rising thrust
Seiken Jodan tsuki - upper thrst
Furi tsuki - round house thrust
Uraken uchi - back fist strike
Ipponken - one knuckle thrust
Hariken tsuki - four knuckle thrust
Nukite - spear hand
Tateken tsuki - verticle forefist thrust
Morote tsuki - Two arm, two level thrust
Shuto uchi - knife hand strike
Urashuto - Ridge hand
Kentsui uchi - hammer fist
Shuho - back knuckles peaked hand
Hiji chudan ate - center elbow strike
Hiji otoshi ate - downward elbow strike
Hiji age ate - rising elbow strike
Hiji jodan ate - upper elbow strike
Hiji yoko ate - side elbow strike
Hiji ushiro ate - rear elbow strike
Hiza Geri - Knee kick
Yoko Geri - side kick
Chudan Geri - center kick
Koshu Geri - Back heel kick
Jodan Geri - upper level kick
Kakato Geri - Heel stomp
Sokko Geri - Groin kick
Ushiro Geri - Back kick
Sokuto Geri - knee joint kick
Hizagaeshi - knee sweeping kick
Mawashi Geri - round house kick
Fumioroshi - Toe stomping kick
Heisoku dachi - feet together
Heiko dachi - Forward parallel
Musubi dachi - Open toed stance
Zenkutsu dachi - forward stance
Namiheiko dachi - Parallel stance
Kokutsu dachi - Back stance
Uchihachiji dachi - Toes inward
Nekoashi dachi - Cat stance
Sotohachiji dachi - Toes outward
Sanchin dachi - 3 Point stance
Shiko dachi - Sumo stance
Kosa dachi - Cross leg stance
Seito Shito-Ryu Karate Titles
HANSHI (Leader, 8th Dan)
KYOSHI (Full Teacher, 7th Dan)
TATSUSHI (Expert Teacher, 6th Dan)
RENSHI (High Example, 5th Dan)
SHIHAN (License to Teach, 5th Dan)
JAPANESE CLASSICAL MARTIAL ARTS
Yokogawa Kakuhan a warrior-monk of Yoshino (armed with a nagamaki) in
combat with Sato Tadanobu, a loyal retainer of Minamoto Yoshitsume. While
fleeing from the persecution of his half-brother, Yoritomo, the latter
was attacked by allies of Yoritomo at Yoshino. To allow Yoshitsune time
to escape, Tadanobu donned the armor of his leader and single handedly
fought a larger force led by Yokogawa Kakuhan.
Karate dojo is committed to teaching karate, self-defense and Japanese
Classical Martial Arts (koryu bujutsu).
In the summer of 2004 the karate club hosted a regional
training in Jodo, Masaki Ryu Bujutsu Kenkyukai (MBK) taught by Sensei
John F. Quinn
The seminar included basic techniques (kihon) and prearranged forms
(seiteigata) of Jodo. While living in Japan for over 20 years Quinn Sensei
trained in both modern Karate and Japanese Classical Martial Arts. Quinn
Sensei is a highly skilled instructor and founder of the MasakiRyu Bujutsu
Kenkyukai (MBK) a group dedicated to teaching and preserving the arts
taught by Nawa Yumio Sensei - 10 generation headmaster of Masaki Ryu.
In December 2014, Arrighi Sensei was promoted to Shodan in the art of Jodo by Sensei John Quinn. This was a very great honor for me and I am dedicated to my continued training with Sensei.
Kagami Biraki 2006 -
an annual event sponsored by the Hobykan (MD) directed by Dr. David A.
Hall (seated front
left) yagyu Shinkage Ryu (kenjutsu) Jikishinkage Ryu (kenjutsu), Shindo
Muso Ryu (jojutsu) and Masaki Ryu (manriki and kusarigama-jutsu) Sensei John
F. Quinn (seated front right)
The Shito-Ryu Times, is the official organizational
newsletter of Shito-Ryu USA Karate Do Kai and is intended to enhance,
encourage and continue the development and growth of Shito-Ryu Karate
Do through the exchange of information, ideas, training methods, and
technique. Shito-Ryu USA Karate Do Kai Shihan Kai extends and welcomes
articles to this newsletter by any member of Shito-Ryu USA Karate-do
Kai and its affiliate members. See Shito-Ryu Times, Editor Fax # and
email at the end of this Home page. The Editor and/or Shihan Kai reserves
the right to refuse any article found to be inappropriate in their opinion
for this newsletter.
July 27, 2007
The 6th Shito-Ryu International Karate Do Championships,
Taikai 2007, will be held in Lake Pacid, New York on 27-30 July 2007. The
Taikai is the most important event in our organization and I urge all
members to support it. The Lake Placid Taikai Organizing
Committee have developed a website with all of the information there
for download. The site is www.seitoshitoryukarate.org
I met many of you at the 2005 Shito-Ryu International
Championships in Osaka in July 2005. I look forward to meeting you all
again, and meeting
those I did not see, at this upcoming Taikai. For any
questions or queries regarding Taikai 2007, please contact the organizers
See you in Lake Placid.
TSUKASA MABUNI, Soke of Shito-Ryu
July 8, 2005
While in Osaka Japan for the 5th International Seito Shito-Ryu
Taikai it is was announced by the Shito-Ryu Nippon Karate-Do Supreme
Council that the new Soke would be Mabuni Kenzo's eldes daughter Miwako.
She will be known as Mabuni Tsukasa, Soke and be the third Soke of Seito
Shito Ryu Karate-Do. We would like to congratulate Mabuni Tsukasa, Soke
and know that she will bring great strength and wisdom during this transitional
The Shito-Ryu Times, is the official
organizational newsletter of Shito-Ryu USA Karate Do Kai
and is intended to enhance, encourage and continue the development
and growth of Shito-Ryu Karate Do through the exchange of information,
ideas, training methods, and technique. Shito-Ryu USA Karate Do
Kai Shihan Kai extends and welcomes articles to this newsletter
by any member of Shito-Ryu USA Karate-do Kai and its affiliate
members. See Shito-Ryu Times, Editor Fax # and email at the end
of this Home page. The Editor and/or Shihan Kai reserves the right
to refuse any article found to be inappropriate in their opinion
for this newsletter.
USA KARATE DO KAI
Volume 6 Issue 1 July-October 2001
Barbara A. Arrighi, Editor
Inside This Issue:
1 JAPAN AND TAIKAI 2001
2 JOHN SELLS, HANSHI
3 "KATA CORNER" KATA VIDEOS
4 TRAINING & GASSHUKU 2001
5. SAKAI SHIHAN VISITS W.COAST
TAIKAI 2001 JAPAN:
There are no words to express our deep
gratitude to Mabuni Soke and the Japanese Shihan Kai for all of
their hospitality while we were in Japan.
Taikai 2001 held in Sakai City Japan
Sunday May 20th the Taikai was a resounding successful, fun, and
educational. On Saturday May 19th during the seminar session we
reviewed Unshu kata taught by Masui and Tsukide Senseis and the
bunkai applications. It was wonderful training again with so many
Seito Shito-Ryu karateka from all over the world and we appreciate
all the efforts by the Japanese Shihan Kai to make our stay comfortable
At the Taikai 2001 there were excellent
kata and kumite competition, master demonstrations, and heartfelt
On Monday after the Taikai, many of
us took tours of Nara and other historic sites. During the next
week, some of us toured and visited with friends around Japan,
while others stayed behind to train and visit with members of
the Japanese Shihan Kai.
Meetings were held to discuss where
the next Taikai would be held. We are happy to announce that Taikai
2003 will be held in Eugene, Oregon and will be hosted by Del
Japan May 2001
(L to R back row)
McGuinner Sensei (MA), Carol McGuinness, Arrighi Sensei (MA),
and Yoshida Sensei (Japan)
(L to R front row)
Annie Arrighi-Allisan and Marla Allisan
Congratulations to the Oregon
Home of Taikai 2003
Details to follow over the next months.
Remember to keep on practicing; Taikai 2003 is just around the
Congratulations to Mr. John Sells who was named Hanshi by Mabuni
Soke and the Japanese Shihan Kai while we were in Japan. It was
great news for the American Shihan Kai that Sells Sensei was given
the well-deserved title of Hanshi. The American and Japanese Shihan
Kai celebrated his elevation by sharing dinner and drinks at a
local restaurant in Sakai City Japan the site of Taikai 2001.
For those who are unfamiliar with what
the title Hanshi means, it means Teacher of Shihans. He will be
understood he will teach members of the Shihan Kai, who will,
in turn teach their students.
1. Soke - Grandmaster (Head of house/style)
2. Hanshi - Teacher of Shihans
3. Shihan - Teacher of Teachers
4. Sensei - Teacher
Gasshuku 2001 was held at the Albany
College of Pharmacy Dojo of Moon Shihan. We would like to extend
our gratitude to Moon Shihan and his students for making the Gasshuku
such a success and for making everyone feel very welcomed.
As in past years, the training was excellent.
Sells Sensei, the guest instructor, really helped us to stretch
our abilities. He taught very advanced kobudo katas and we greatly
enjoyed learning these katas.
The sessions began at 9:30 am on Saturday
Oct. 6 with basic techniques. We then moved to a Bo kata named, "Matsumura no Kon" which
by all accounts was a very difficult and advanced Bo kata. He then taught Sai
After lunch some worked on the Bo kata
while others did Sai and Tonfa Katas.
This was all followed by rank testing
before Sells, Moon, McGuinness, Dean, Bartholomay, Fracchia, and
On Sunday October 7th, Sells Sensei
taught Kata principals. Sells Sensei emphasized the importance
of proper zanshin and taught how to apply kata attitude, kime,
zanshin, breathing and the inner soul of kata performance. He
reminded us that ultimately all kata is meant for street self-defense.
We must do kata as if our very lives depended on it because that
was the why it was developed to begin with.
We then reviewed Matsumura no Kon Bo
kata. To give you an idea of just how difficult this kata was
by the end of the final session only two out of the entire group
had the kata down from memory. Congratulations
To all of our delight, Sells Sensei
then taught an empty hand Kata named Hakutsuru. Hakutsuru is a
White Crane kata taught by Go Kenki, a Chinese attaché.
It was a very challenging and advanced kata and very different
from Seito Shito-Ryu katas. It was an exciting and delightful
kata to learn. This White Crane kata utilized both Crane stance
and many open hand techniques. After several hours, there were
a few of us that were able to do the kata from memory.
Thank you Sells Sensei for the gift
of Hakutsuru kata. Now comes the hard part; really learning the
kata and its bunkai. For those who are interested in purchasing
a copy of the White Crane katas including Hakutsuru kata performed
by Sells Sensei and the bunkai, go to:
SEITO SHITO RYU VIDEOS
If you have not purchased your copy
of the Seito Shito-Ryu Kata videos performed by McGuinness Sensei
and produced by the Martial Source you are missing out on a great
opportunity to learn the Seito Katas as they were meant to be
performed. McGuinness Sensei performs the katas half speed facing
the camera and then you are given a side view of the same kata
as he both performs and narrates each kata move.
Tape #1 Katas by Itosu
Tape #2 Katas by Hogoshionna
Tape #3 Katas by Mabuni Kenwa.
For details, please contact Bartholomay Sensei through the www.martialsource.com
TAIKAI 2001 VIDEO:
by Barbara A. Arrighi
While at the Gasshuku we had the opportunity
to view the Taikai 2001 video produced by the Japanese Shihan
Kai. IT IS FANTASTIC!!!!
I highly recommend that you order a
copy for your collection. It captures the Taikai competition,
Mabuni Kenwa Ryuso Sai celebration (memorial service) and the
Shihan demonstrations. If you are interested in getting a copy
of this tape contact your Sensei who will order it from Japan.
Cost for Taikai 2001 tape:
$30.00 plus $15.00 S&H = $45.00. Payment:
INTERNATIONAL USA Post Service money order or cashiers check.
2001 OSAKA, JAPAN:
This is a wonderful and exciting time for Seito Shito-Ryu
and a great opportunity to train and visit Japan. 3rd International
Seito Shito-Ryu Taikai 2001 May 18-21.
Seito-Shito-Ryu Karate Do
5th International Tai Kai,
July 8, 2005 in Osaka Japan Shito-Ryu Nippon Karate Do Kai
will host the 5th Seito Shito-Ryu International Taikai. The tentative
Taikai weekend schedule is below:
1. July 8, 2005 Hotel Checkin 13:00-2130
. July 9, 2005 5th International
Seito Shito-Ryu Karate Do Taikai
will begin) Individual and team kata and kumite
competition Ohama-Gym 9:00-17:00 hours
3. July 10, 2005 Seminar, Promotional
tests, Demonstartions and Final compitition
9:00-1645 hours Ohama Gym, Sakai City
4. July 11, 2005 Bus trip to Kyoto and evening farewell party Righa Royal
6th International Tai Kai, Lake Placid
Lake Placid, New York
27-30 July 2007
The 6th Shito-Ryu International Karate Do Championships, Taikai 2007, will
be held in Lake Pacid, New York on 27-30 July 2007.
The Taikai is the most important event in our organization and I urge all
members to support it.
The Lake Placid Taikai Organizing Committee have developed a website with
all of the information there for download. The site is www.seitoshitoryukarate.org
I met many of you at the 2005 Shito-Ryu International Championships in Osaka
in July 2005. I look forward to meeting you all again, and meeting those I
did not see, at this upcoming Taikai.
For any questions or queries regarding Taikai 2007, please contact the organizers
See you in Lake Placid.
TSUKASA MABUNI, Soke of Shito-Ryu
7th International Tai Kai, Osaka Japan:
Coming July 2009
THE MUSIC LESSON:
By Barbara Arrighi
As I have trained all these many years,
I have learned lots of valuable lessons. However none so valuable
as the music lesson I took in 1991. In 1991 after not competing
in a long time I decided to jump into the local regional tournament
for the fun of it. Not that it is ever really fun but I felt the
need to try out a Gosoku-Ryu kata I had been practicing for some
time. I felt this kata was strong and could possibly be successful
in the women's black belt kata division at a regional tournament.
I practiced the kata, I polished the kata and then I practiced
it some more. On the day of the tournament, at the last minute,
I decided I would also enter musical kata, weapons kata, and kumite
divisions. Musical kata was popular at the time and I thought
(wrongly of course as it would turn out later) that I could enter
with a traditional kata (Seienchin) and use Kubota Soke's Kubokido
meditation tape in the back ground as I performed the kata. I
did not have any illusions that I might win, but I didn't expect
what was about to happen.
The musical kata division was not very
large so I thought; perhaps I might at least place in the division.
The good news is, I placed third out of three competitors. The
bad news is placing third out of three tells you that maybe if
there were four I would have placed fourth and so on.
The musical kata division was called,
I was up first that was OK because then I could get it over quicker,
I had three other divisions to worry about women's black belt
kata, women's black belt kumite and weapons kata. I had already
made arrangements with one of my fellow karateka to put the tape
in and start it for me when I was to begin my kata. I had selected
Seienchin kata because it had to be performed slowly, deliberately,
and with kime. I felt the tape and the kata matched very well
together. And, I still believe they did go well together. But
that wasn't really the problem I was about to confront.
Actually, I performed the kata about
as well as I ever did and I was happy about that. However, my
competition was more than I had expected. My competition consisted
of two African American boys, age 12-14 years. They performed
kata never before seen in any traditional karate tournament. I
suspect the kata they performed that day will never be seen again
anywhere. Their background music, in contrast to my ominous bell
intonations and meditative chanting, consisted of rap music played
so loudly that the floor rocked with the beat. They performed
flips, rolls, splits, and flying kicks. They swiveled on the floor
on their backs and did everything but spin into a blur. I can't
even begin to tell you what kind of a kata they performed. It
was impressive and energetic. The crowd roared with enthusiasm.
It was like no other kata I had ever seen before or since. They
were young, athletic, and out of sight. We were definitely not
on the same planet. For that matter, we weren't even in the same
universe. To this day among my karate peers (many of whom were
present for the fiasco) I have never lived it down. I must add
here, I ended my musical kata competition career that day!
On a happier note, I did compete in
the other three divisions. Happily, I can report that I won first
place women's black belt kata performing kata Gosoku (one of Kubota,
Soke's Gosoku-Ryu katas), and second place women's black belt
kumite. However, it gets even better: I won "Tournament Grand
Champion Kata" performing Gosoku kata. I may have miscalculated
my competition in musical kata but in traditional kata I was right
Oh and by the way, my advice is never
to enter a competition without knowing:
1. What kind of compitition you are
2. Who your competition is and what
are their abilities.
In this case, a failed to realize both
and learned a hard and embarrassing lesson. All in all though,
they were really good competitors and they deserved to win!
By Barbara Arrighi
Sochin Kata, means Men or (Monks) of
Peace. Sochin Kata was first introduced in Naha, Okinawa by Arakaki
Seisho. Mabuni Kenwa learned Sochin kata directly from Arikaki
Sensei. Mabuni Kenwa was responsible for bringing Sochin kata
to Japan from Okinawa. The kata utilizes Nekoashi dachi, Shiko
dachi, Zenkutsu dachi and Heiko dachi. According to Sells Sensei,
in his book "Unante" "Sochin is considered
an advanced form though not particularly complex and was one of
Mabuni Kenwa's two favorite forms." The kata is performed
in the beginning slowly and with tension and then changes to explosive
techniques with snap and speed. To properly perform this kata
seek out a member of the Seito Shito-Ryu Shihan Kai for the correct
embusen, zanchin, kimae, and breathing.
0 Musubidachi both fist in front Kamaete.
1 Step forward R Nekoashidachi double
yoko uke, slowly chamber L fist then perform L chudan tsukidome.
2 Step forward L Nekoashidachi double
yoko uke, slowly chamber R fist then perform R chudan tsukidome.
3 Step forward R nekoashidachi double
yoko uke, slowly chamber L fist then perform L Chudan tsukidome.
4 R foot steps across in front as you
turn 180 deg. into L Nekoashidachi L Yoko Uke, right fist chambered
then perform R chudan tsukidome.
5 Step forward R Nekoashidachi Slowly
chamber L fist then perform L Chudan tsukidome.
6 Step L Nekoashidachi slowly chamber
R fist then perform R Chudan tsukidome.
7 Step forward L Shikodachi facing 90
deg. to the right simultaneously performing double chudan yoko
8 Pivot 45 deg. to the right into R
Zenkutsu dachi simultaneously performing double gedan barai.
9 Pivot left 90 deg. into L Nekoashidachi
simultaneously performing R. age uke and L yoko uke, then R Gedan
10 Pivot to the right 180 deg. into
R..Nekoashidachi simultaneously performing R kakete uke, L fist
chambered at side.
11 Step forward L Nekoashidachi L kakete
uke, R fist open at chest facing down (Itosu style kakete uke).
12 Step forward R Nekoashidachi R kakete
uke (Itosu style).
13 Pivot to the left 135 deg. into L
Heiko dachi simultaneously both fist chamber to the side.
14 Step forward L Zenkutsu dachi with
thrusting R. Jodan and L Chudan tsuki.
15 Step up in Namiheiko dachi simultaneously
perform L Uchiotoshi, as R fist is head high palm facing the ear,
slide forward still in Namiheiko dachi with L Yoko Uke, followed
by R Gedan Kensui.
16 Pivot to the right 45 deg. into R
Heiko dachi R kakete uke L fist chambered, then followed by L
17 Pivot to the left 90 deg. into L
Heiko dachi L kakete uke with R fist chambered, followed by R
18 Step back 45 deg. to the right with
the right leg into L Heiko dachi simultaneously performing L Ukenagashi.
19 Step back left leg into R Heiko dachi
simultaneously performing R Ukenagashi.
20 Step back right leg into L Heiko
dachi simultaneously performing L Ukenagashi.
21 While in L Heiko dachi both hands
cross in front open hands palms facing the floor double gedan
22 Still maintaining Heiko dachi simultaneously
both hands in Shuto slowly rise to each side of the head palms
facing forward and the right knee at the same time rises slowly
to chudan level.
23 Simultaneously perform R Sokko geri
and Shuto Chudan Kosa Uke with Kiai!
24 Step back into L Zenkutsu dachi,
L Chudan Yoko Barai to the front, R Chudan tsuki.
25 Step back Musubi dachi, both
hands palm to palm chamber to the left side, right hand comes
across ura uke to the right side to chamber and both hands push
out in front left chudan, right gedan shotei oishi. Naotte.
By Barbara Arrighi
The Kata below (Kururunha) is a Higashionna Ke Kata and was
taught at Taikai 1999 in Lynnwood, WA. on July 23 and 25, 1999
by Mabuni Soke during his two seminars.
While many of the Shihans in attendance were familiar with
the kata, (having learned it during his prior trips to the USA,)
it was still a great opportunity to examine the kata in detail.
This was an opportunity to perfect the stances, blocks, strikes,
zanchin, kimae, embusen and breathing in addition to reviewing
the bunkai. Remember when performing Higashionna Ke Kata the front
foot should be turned in when in Heiko dachi. To properly perform
this kata seek out a member of the Seito Shito-Ryu Shihan Kai
for the correct embusen, zanchin, kimae, and breathing.) I want
to take this opportunity to thank Mabuni Soke for sharing his
knowledge with us and for giving us Seito Shito-Ryu Kururunha
0. Musubi dachi kumaete.
1. Step 90 deg. Left into nekoashi dachi, left chudan shuto
uke, left sokuto geri.
2. Drop left foot down facing 90 deg. into right nekoashi
dachi, right shuto chudan uke, right sokuto geri.
3. Step forward 90 deg. into right heiko dachi, block with
right ura uke and left shuto gedan uke.
4. Pivot on the balls of your feet (josokute) to the left,
simultaneously right shuto gedan barai and left hand shuto at
chest palm facing up, immediately return back into right ura uke,
and left shuto gedan barai.
5. Step forward into left heiko dachi, left ura uke, right
shuto gedan barai.
6. Pivot on the balls of your feet (josokute) to the right,
simultaneously left shuto gedan barai, and right shuto at chest
palm facing up, immediately return back into left ura uke, right
shuto gedan barai.
7. Step forward into right heiko dachi, right ura uke, left
shuto gedan barai.
8. Pivot on the balls of your feet (josokute) to the left,
simultaneously right shuto gedan barai and left hand shuto at
chest palm facing up, immediately return back into right ura uke
and left shuto gedan barai.
9. Step back and away to the right 45 deg. into left nekoashi
dachi, left ura uke, right hand at chest palm facing forward.
10. Skip forward with left uraken tsuki, immediately followed
by right chudan geri, right shuto hiji jodan ate right shiko dachi
11. Step back and away facing shomen, left nekoashi dachi,
left and right hands in front at chest palm to palm left hand
on top elbows facing out.
12. Step back and away to the left 45 deg. into right nekoashi
dachi, right ura uke, left palm at chest facing forward.
13. Skip forward with right uraken tsuki, immediately followed
by left chudan geri, left shuto hiji jodan ate in left shiko dachi
14. Step back and away into right nekoashi dachi facing shomen
both hands in front at chest palm to palm right hand on top elbows
15. While still in right nekoashi dachi, perform ura uke shotei
Oshii (mawashi uke), pushing out with both hands left hand chudan
level, right hand gedan and breath out.
16. Pivot to the left 90 deg. into left heiko dachi, left
ura uke, right hand palm facing up on top of left elbow, immediately
kakete uke left hand.
17. Step right foot across in front, pivot on the balls of
the feet (josokute) turn 180 deg. into left heiko dachi, simultaneously
performing left hiji chudan ate and right hiji ushiro ate.
18. Step forward right leg, right heiko dachi, right ura uke,
left hand facing up on top of right elbow, immediately kakete
uke right hand.
19. Step across left foot in front, pivot on the balls of
the feet (josokute) turn 180 deg. into right heiko dachi simultaneously
performing right hiji chudan ate and left hiji ushiro ate.
20. Step forward left leg 90 deg. facing to the right into
namiheiko dachi, both arms straight out to the sides in shuto
palms to the floor, immediately both palms are pulled inward to
the shoulders fingers pointing to the ceiling, them immediately
drive both hands back to back in shuto above the head, drop down
into shiko dachi driving both closed fists into your chest, immediately
and simultaneously strike both open hands behind you striking
groin and drive your head back into a head butt, chin to the sky.
21. Step forward right Zenkutsu dachi, Shuto jodan kosa uke.
22. Step up with the left leg and turn 180 deg. standing straight
up into heisoku dachi, both hands still over head in a closed
23. Bend over with both closed fists to the floor, step 45
deg. right leg into right Zenkutsu dachi, simultaneously performing
left gedan sukuia uke, then right gedan sukui uke, both hands
chamber to the left and then perform palm to palm morote gedan
24. Step 90 deg. to the left with left leg into left Zenkutsu
dachi, simultaneously performing right gedan sukui uke, then left
gedan sukui uke, both hands chamber to the right side palm to
palm morote gedan tsuki.
25. Step up 45 deg. and turn 180 deg. facing shomen into left
nekoashi dachi, both hands chamber palm to palm to the right side,
left hand ura uke to waist and right hand to shoulder, push out
open hands right chudan, left gedan breathing.
26. Step back left leg Musubi dachi both hands flat in front,
then drop down in front. Naotte
By Barbara Arrighi
(The kata below was taught by Mabuni Kenzo during his October
1998 visit to the USA. Developed by his father Mabuni Kenwa in
1947 this was the first time it had been taught in the USA. It
is considered a Higashionna Ke kata, and therefore, when utilizing
Heikodachi the front foot is turned in slightly. The kata is performed
in the beginning slowly and with tension and then changes to techniques
with snap and speed. To properly perform this kata seek out a
member of the Seito Shito-Ryu Shihan Kai for the correct embusen,
zanchin, kimae, and breathing.)
0. Musubidachi Kamaete.
1. Pivot on balls of feet to Sotohachiji dachi drawing both
hands to sides in Shuto.
2. Step forward (Higashionna Ke) R Heiko dachi, double Shuto
Yoko Uke, L Chudan Nukite Tsuki, step forward L Heiko dachi, R
Chudan Nukite Tsuki, step forward R Heiko dachi, L Nukite Tsuki.
3. Pivot L 45 deg Heiko dachi L Kakete Uke, R and L Chudan
Tuski, step forward R Shiko dachi R Hiji Chudan Ate, pivot on
ball of feet into R Zenkutsu dachi R Gedan Barai, L Chudan Tsuki.
4. Step back R foot pivot 45 deg R Heiko dachi, R Kakete Uke,
L and R Chudan Tsuki, step forward L Shiko dachi L Hiji Chudan
Ate, pivot on ball of feet L Zenkutsu dachi L Gedan Barai, R Chudan
5. Step back and down the middle L Zenkutsu dachi, L Gedan
Barai, R Chudan Tsuki, KIAI.
6. Pivot and turn 180 deg R Zenkutsu dachi R Gedan barai,
L Chudan tsuki.
7. Step forward L Zenkutsu dachi L Gedan Barai, R. Chudan
8. Step forward R Nekoashi dachi R Hiji Sasae Uke, R Age Uke,
R Chudan Geri, L Chudan Tsuki.
9. Pivot and turn 180 deg L Nekoashi dachi, L Yoko Uke, R
and L Chudan Tsuki.
10. Double shuto Gedan Barai to both sides.
11. L foot steps back Musubi dachi, both hands flat in front,
then down in front.
12. Musubi Dachi Kamaete
In Traditional Karate, a student that trains diligently will
progress through the various levels of proficiency (Kyu ranks)
as he or she approaches the all important Shodan Test. A motivated
student will typically train rigorously for approximately five
years before being adequately prepared to take the Shodan Test.
Not many will make it. On average only one in every one hundred
students that pass through the dojo doors ever makes it far enough
to take the Shodan Test. When a student does make it, there is
cause for great celebration as the legacy of Karate has
yet another chance of survival into the next generation. The Shodan
Test is a comprehensive examination of a student's basic knowledge
of Traditional Karate. This examination should include both a
written and practical test to determine both the adequacy of the
self-defense capability as well as the development of the correct
Karate Mindset. At my dojo in Massachusetts, the candidate for
Shodan is required to complete and pass a comprehensive written
examination prior to taking the practical exam. This written test
includes the preparation of a minimum of two essays on various
topics involving the deeper meaning of a student's
training and development.
A recent Shodan Test was held for Meredith Yauckoes at my
dojo in Billerica. Prior to her practical exam, Meredith completed
the written examination. Her response on the written examination
was exemplary. In particular, I would like to share with you her
response to the question: What
is the purpose of Traditional Karate?
I am proud to say that Meredith passed her practical exam
as well and was promoted to Shodan on June 15, 2000. Congratulations
Master The Self
by Meredith Yauchoes
What is the purpose of Traditional Karate? The purpose remains
tied to the historical, anthropological, and philosophical framework
of Okinawan society, but has universal meaning which transcends
time and nation. Karate combines methods of defense with moral
obligation. Most importantly, it aims to provide its practitioners
with the tools for understanding the self
and negotiating any situation.
The roots of traditional Karate developed in Okinawa during the
sixteenth century during a time when a new centralized government,
in an attempt to end civil war, prohibited the use of weapons.
Patrick McCarthy's historical work Koryu Uchinadi: Ancient Okinawan
Martial Arts explains that Okinawan aristocrats devised their
own eclectic fighting methods influenced largely by Chinese gongfu
in order to defend themselves during this time of uncertainty
(McCarthy, 93). Over time, law enforcement officials systematized
and codified these self-defense methods, and passed along this
knowledge from father to son or to only a select few students.
Karate, a system of "empty hand" defense, grew out of
political and social need and was perpetuated through family and
Traditional Karate requires the practice of formal kata and today
is passed from Sensei to student through kata. As described by
Miyamoto Musashi in his Book of Five Rings, the teacher is the
needle and the disciple is the thread. One must practice ceaselessly
(Musashi, 14). Although Musashi was a member of Japan's samurai
class, his philosophy mirrors the student/ teacher connection
necessitated in Okinawan Karate. Kata have been patterned after
real life battles in which blood was shed and lives were lost.
In Traditional Karate, purpose lies in delving into these kata,
learning their stances, techniques, and complex meanings, and
keeping them alive from generation to generation. Dave Lowry translates
the pictograph of "Kata" to mean "the architecture
of meaning" in his book Sword and Brush, the Spirit of the
Martial Arts (Lowry, 27). Lowry compares the practice and study
of kata to the illumination of the recesses of a room - study
reveals the textures and subtleties of Karate, and of the inner
self. Traditional Okinawan Karate practitioners, as with the best
Chinese and Japanese military strategists and martial artists,
were, and are, bound by moral obligations. The purpose of Karate
lies in defense. Bubishi, detailing Monk Fist and White Crane
gongfu, is touted as a "manual of military prevention" in Patrick McCarthy's
translation. Karate giants Funakoshi Gichin, Higashionna Kanryo, Miyagi Chojun,
and Mabuni Kenwa were all influenced
by this anonymous Chinese work (McCarthy, 23). Likewise, the ultimate
victory, according to the Chinese classic Art of War, is one in
which no force is used (Kaufman, 27). The most valued traits of
the samurai warrior included not just veracity, courage, and loyalty,
but also sincerity of heart, and benevolence of soul. The first
principle listed in Musashi's epilogue to The Book of Water states:
Do not harbor sinister designs (Musashi, 16). Likewise, Funakoshi's
Karate-Do, My Way of Life admonishes us to be mindful of courtesy,
etiquette, and to avoid fighting if at all possible (Funakoshi,
112). karate teaches how to maim or kill. Yet, the empty hand
of Karate must never cause harm.
The ultimate goal of the Traditional Karate practitioner is to
take the self-reliance, discipline, and moral responsibility fostered
by training, and apply this to everything that we do. The 'way'
of Karate-Do is open to anyone willing to do so. Funakoshi's writing
reminds us that the challenge is to: "remain not master over
others, but over ourselves" (Funakoshi, 115). True power
comes not from domination, but from self-knowledge.
'Empty hands' should nurture within us clear minds, strong wills,
and hearts empty of the need to injure or destroy. thus, kata
should not only illuminate techniques and foster spontaneous responses,
but should also encourage inner reflection. We should not only
be prepared to bow to karate teachers and classmates, but also
to everyone that crosses our paths - everyone has something to
teach us. We fight with ferocity in the dojo but take care not
to injure our competitors. We must defend ourselves when threatened
but no more than we must in order to escape safely. Traditional
Karate's purpose brings us to a deeper understanding of self,
and teaches us to respond with spontaneity and responsibility
to any and every situation.
Certainly, Karate teaches self-defense and self-reliance and is
perpetuated through the transmission of technique and form from
Sensei to student. Likewise, Traditional Karate serves to create
a safe society of morally responsible, and responsive people.
Most importantly, Karate
teaches the invaluable mastery of self. Karate's purpose remains
as essential today as it ever has been. As long as road-rage is
accepted as normal, domestic violence deemed commonplace, and
school shootings viewed as a regular news bite, society needs
all of the presence of mind, strength of spirit, and abundance
of compassion that it can find.
Please send articles to Ms. Barbara
Arrighi, Editor Shito Ryu Times
Fax. # (413) 584-1624