Tuesday, July 31, 2012


  The most used word by Taika (when describing the practice of RyuTe®) was the word perseverance ("Nintai" in Japanese) Dictionary.com defines perseverance, as “steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement ”.
Taika devoted the vast majority of his life (66+/-years) to the study of understanding the practical application of physically protecting one's self from an aggressor. He focused his attention on deciphering kata motion and understanding how those motions would/should/could be applied.
  Kata, are essentially the combined motions of prior protection experts/pioneer's preferred techniques. Though possibly having been recorded (at one time), any such writings have since been lost over time (because of numerous circumstances, not the least of which was the advent of WWII).
  The only difference for Taika (compared to those who did the same before him), was the guidance provided by his instructor's (Wakinaguri & Uhugushiku). Using their examples and the guidance he had received from them, he began his (own) deciphering of the kata motions. This research continued until the final weeks of his life. 
  Many of the finalized versions of his (previous) exercises and kata variations/interpretations, were based upon this research. Taika's research went beyond the (simplistic) comparison of motion to technique, his bunkai included variations that are often forgotten or ignored by other practitioner's.
  Unlike the majority of person's doing similar research, Taika didn't settle with having determined only a single interpretation (or two, LOL) for each motion. Taika examined every movement, every twist and/or turn of the hand/arm and body. Each motion held significance to him.
  He combined those individual motions with different motions from different kata, and additionally with reversed versions of previously observed/known techniques and motions. Unlike the rest of us, Taika had his entire day/life to work on these applications, and the results were what he shared and taught to us.
  Through his example, Taika demonstrated the very essence of the definition for perseverance that is required of any student that is striving to attain their own ultimate level of ability. 
  For many of us, just being able to discover a single interpretation for a motion would be an achievement, for Taika it was only a beginning. The majority of us (instructor's and students alike) don't have the ability to devote the greater part of our free time (much less, our whole lifetime, as Taika was able to) towards personal training in the martial art of our choice.
  Despite that deficiency, we are still able to devote as much time as our lives will allow (even if that only amounts to a few hours a week). Though few of us will ever experience anything close to that same level of ability/opportunity that Taika had (to devote to the study of our art of choice), that doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to try, despite the inevitable failures, to strive, regardless of our own limited abilities, to Persevere,     Nintai...


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ebony “Pot” Talk

Elitists: a person having, thought to have, or professing superior intellect or talent, power, wealth, or membership in the upper echelons of society” http://dictionary.reference.com
  Having recently been accused of being such, I found it interesting that my “accuser” found it necessary to align himself with individual's who positioned, and proclaim themselves to be something unique enough to create and bestow upon themselves their own “titles”? (but...but...“I”....am the elitist! ,..arg!..I'm so confuzed? LOL).
  If one reviews my posts, you'll find that “I” will not provide any “advertisement” opportunities for these individual's by calling them out by name. I have no need (much less a reason) to do so (as was exemplified by their own ability to illustrate the level of their ridiculous if not pathetic excuses and threats).
  At any rate, those individual's will not be receiving any (more) free advertisement on this blog. I'll only allow comments (regarding any of them) from reader's that utilize their initials (no full names). This will help prevent any google or bot searches from finding their names.
  I found it odd that this individual felt the need to profess a threat upon my associate (Yes, I'm aware that he believed my associate writes this blog, LOL). I suppose that means he (kind of?) was threatening me? Oh well, God knows I've faced a hell of a lot more serious threats in my life, LOL (and being familiar with my associate's life, I definitely know that he has).
  Regardless, these individual's do not effect any aspect of neither my own, nor that of my associate's life. They are no longer a part of RyuTe and are now pursuing their own interpretations of Taika's teaching's (albeit teachings from 10 or more years ago).
  Over the past 6 months, RyuTe has suffered some seriously unsettling losses. That hardly equates to being at a loss for knowledge and/or information. It also doesn't surprise me that these individual's have began their attempts at establishing some form of  a dominance play.
  For the sake of public appearance (at least), I'm hopeful that the new Ryute board will soon consolidate their task's at hand. Doing so will eliminate the prevailing uncertainty that's lingering over the membership.
  Not providing, nor having answer's, can easily lead to speculation, and rumor. Either of these undesirable occurrences can prove detrimental to the future of the association.
  Maybe (by their definitions) I'm being an “elitist”, LOL, because I disagree with how these individual's have done (everything) the things that they did. So be it. As I've repeatedly stated, their opinion means nothing to me.
 If they show themselves to be as (even more) asinine as I suspect that they will, LOL, I have no problem publicly detailing (all) the transgressions of their new "masters" being booted from the association. 
 As "Mike" had stated in his comment, If they held Taika in such "High Regard", then why did they see fit to cheat and lie to him (while making money off of his name)? 


Monday, July 23, 2012

Brave New World? ..ummm maybe.

  At this years summer conference, we only had one student to submit for Yudansha testing. It was a different manner of summer conference as in there were numerous (advanced) weapon's kata being taught (with only a few kihon that were being taught for the newer students).
  Being that Taika wasn't there, there was some concern over the attendance level (turned out it was higher than it had been in several summer's). It's difficult to assess what the next summer's attendance will be like. I'm sure we'll know better after January, LOL.
  For those that will go, it sounds like it will be different in numerous respects. For one thing, it's supposed to be less expensive to attend! (Yeah! I might be able to afford to go! LOL) The leadership is also accepting suggestions for the agenda (if your a RyuTe member, simply go to the RyuTe forum to enter your suggestions).
  I believe the release of the “New” Dojo Rules/Regulations will answer many of the questions that are out there (including mine, LOL).
  Our student (obviously) wasn't able to meet Taika, but he was able to be exposed to and mingle with the general membership. I encourage all of our student's to attend any association function that they are able to. If for nothing else, but to meet the other member's.
  We encourage our students to work with as many different people that they can (especially with Tuite). At this conference, Tuite practice was actually minimal (the BIG focus, was on the advanced weapon's kata).
  Not that it didn't occur, it was just greatly reduced from what normally is experienced. Evidently my associate made his usual (talented) impression upon those unfortunate enough to question (or even doubt) his tuite application abilities (which provided good natured entertainment for those involved, LOL). 
  Many of the “Bigger” questions about the association and the (New) Dojo Rules/Regulations are (obviously) on hold, until the new board members are able to get all the details hammered out. I'll be curious to see what other changes will be made (and I'm sure there will be some, LOL).
  As I've stated before, the (very) few that I've heard about, I'm in complete agreement with. My understanding is that there will be a much lower BS tolerance/acceptance level (let's hope they hold to it).
  If enough people request it, there will be a Tuite Instruction Training Seminar which would emphasize the 6 Basic Principles and how they should be introduced/explained to students. We've received numerous inquiries (about providing one), but we would prefer to train instructor's (first), so that they could introduce them to their student's.
  It's not our goal to become replacement instructors, we prefer to view it as “Continuing Education” seminars for the present instructor's.
  I was also approached about doing a Japanese Brush Calligraphy class (if not a complete course that could be offered through the association). This could be done at/for a seminar or at summer conference. There are actually numerous (related) options in that category. We'll have to see if there's any (real) interest, and if so what direction they're wanting to take it.
  The other subject was Law Enforcement orientated training (prisoner compliance, handgun retention, nightstick application). For instructor's that have students who are in Law Enforcement, this would provide them with subject specific training.
  Topics seem to be getting entered more and more (I presume as members become more comfortable with the format). I believe this closed medium (For RyuTe member's only) will prove very useful. At the very least, it offers the membership a forum to offer suggestions, and to voice their opinions (different forums, LOL).
  More importantly (to myself), is that it provides a place for debate. One-sided discussions (much like “blogs”, LOL) don't really accomplish much. Debate can provide perspectives that can be otherwise overlooked by one party or the other.
  Granted, there will always be individual's that will get all “Pissy” about (nothing) minor details, but having a closed forum (from non-association people) allows member's to more freely discuss the pro's and con's of a subject, and is (IMO) always preferable to speculation.
 (And BTW, our "1" student (that tested this year) did receive his Shodan Ranking, ....yeah! LOL)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

la Femme Fatale (Via RyuTe)

 When I first began my study of RyuTe, what drew me to it and to a great degree, made me concerned over what was being taught, was the level of violence associated to it. Over time, I learned that the level of damage that was clearly possible, could be controlled and limited (depending upon the skill level of the practitioner).
 Having instructed numerous Female Self-defense classes/courses, I've always paid particular attention to anything that's been promoted as being designed specifically for female self-defense.
 I have no doubt's about the fact that Te, was originally, conceived, designed and intended to be performed by (only) “male” students. That's in no way intended to be taken as a chauvinistic statement, only as a statement of fact (prove me wrong? And Wing Chun doesn't count, it's Chinese, LOL).
 Now being aware of this (and to myself obvious) fact, the majority of system's that I've had interactions with, have (basically) attempted to turn their female students into (wanna-be?) butch-like martial art hermaphrodite's.
 This approach (aside from just being asinine) is ignoring the numerous advantageous and natural tendency's of females, that have to be taught to their male counterpart (student's).
 If any instructor has ever had a student who is or used to be a dance student (for which more female, than male students have tended to of been), they have probably seen the ease (if not boredom) of that student's learning of the required kata. A typical dance routine will contain 4 times the number of motions that the longest “kata” will have.
 The only difficulty that I've experienced with training a female student, has been the development of (transferable) power in a given technique (by that female student). The average male will instinctively know if/when a strike is weak (though will commonly perform it incorrectly, in their attempt to develop what they believe to be “power”). Most often, the male will (attempt to) muscle it.
 My experience with female student's, has been that they will often quit in frustration, before having been able to develop (what they believe to be) an acceptable level of power in their technique (and commonly, this can be attributed to their lower level of available mass ).
 It would seem (at least to myself, LOL) that (more so) with the female student, there is a physical((...mental?), disconnect between force and strength. In this case, power constitutes focused momentum of a mass, to a specific location. One's individual Strength, is not the relevant factor here, nor is their physical mass.
 If I were to drop a 95# weight on your arm, it will (tend to) hurt. If I form that weight into a 3/4” round rod, and stab your arm with it, it will (tend to) hurt more. If I form the end of that rod into a point, then shove it into your throat (basically anywhere, LOL), I doubt that you'll be up for doing much of anything for a while afterwords.
 Understanding (and believing) this example, is imperative for many of my (smaller) female student's to understand. It isn't necessary that those female student's strike (any) harder than what they are capable of. Only that they can effectively utilize all of their (body)weight when doing so, and are applying it properly (i.e. effectively).
 My experience with female student's has been such that when they honestly apply themselves, they (tend to) advance much faster than their male counterparts. Their Achilles heel (IMO), is understanding how to transfer their (natural) available power (body weight + momentum) into their technique.
 I believe (as an instructor) it's necessary to have several different methods of conveying this idea of “Power/Body Weight” transfer into a technique. Depending on which techniques are being worked on, there will also be different ways of transferring this power into a target. 
 Equally important to this subject, is accuracy. The higher the level of accuracy, the lower the level of (required) power (mass + momentum). Though (obviously) the greater those amounts are, the more beneficial to the implementer. But higher accuracy can (certainly) offset a significant portion of any mass and/or momentum deficiency's.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Faux, or No?

  I was recently commenting on the RyuTe Website Chat-Board in response to something that another RyuTe member had stated. His displeasure (?) was in regards to (Taika's) the RyuTe Association's policy of allowing Yudansha applicant's to retain their held rank from their previously studied system in RyuTe (when joining the RyuTe association).
  This policy, is one that has troubled member's since the inception of RyuTe. Personally, I think it's a policy that should come to an abrupt end. No other system that I have ever had experience with, will allow another system's Yudansha member to retain that (same) rank in their system, without an extensive amount of exclusive time being spent in that system (if not requiring them to abandon teaching their previous system).
  Having stated that, I understand why many RyuTe Yudansha haven't abandoned what they were teaching (before joining the RyuTe Association). It isn't being based on practicality, or functionality, it's simple finance. The “other” systems are easier to make money at.
  Those other system's are also easier to teach (well, maybe I should say learn). RyuTe isn't one of those systems that you can show your buddies by sparring with them (to show it's effectiveness). It isn't something that can be (correctly) taught to adolescents and then after an hour, once or twice a week be picked-up by their SUV driving  karate-Mom's.
  For some, teaching that other Crap is what pays for their ability to pay for (their) RyuTe lessons. And frankly, if after only a few months of lessons (commonly learning RyuTe's version of the kata, and a few Tuite and Combination Techniques) that person is better off NOT teaching their students RyuTe (until they do learn what the hell they're doing).
  I am curious to see if the New Dojo Policy Handbook deals with this issue (or if it's simply ignored, as it has been, for years). I've written previous blogs about the level of subject (specific) knowledge that the average Yudansha has, and frankly, I find it to be somewhat lacking.
  There have been a large number who changed nothing when stating that they were (now?) teaching RyuTe. Again, to be fair, when I first began teaching my latest “group” of conversion student's, I too believed it wouldn't be that big of a deal. And I was wrong.
  The minute differences in position(s), motions and (all around) basics was far more different than I had (at first) believed. Just observing the differences in how the Naihanchi kata are being taught/performed should be evidence enough that standards need to be established (and maintained).
  The most commonly ignored skill set, is the performance of Stances. It matter's not the rank/level of the performer, I've seen 6th and 7th degree Yudansha perform stances that look worse than those done by 9th kyu students.
  What I find worse, is the fact that many of those individual's were people that tested-in (when joining RyuTe) at a higher Yudansha ranking. I believe there's something to be said for “paying your dues”.
  I believe this (in numerous ways) goes back to why Taika had the association quit the practice of wearing Black Belts (and he wasn't a great fan of the colored Mudansha belts either).
  It should be obvious who the Yudansha member's are. By their abilities, their mannerism’s and from their attitude (and I don't mean any stuck-up, I'm better than you, “Attitude”).
  The purpose of a Yudansha grading, is illustrate a level of knowledge. It is not to illustrate an ability to provide instruction/guidance to others. Not everyone is skilled at doing so. Teaching, is an acquired skill set, it can't (really) be awarded. The fact that someone has been presented a Yudansha (level) ranking, does not make them an instructor. Nor does having a higher Yudansha ranking make that someone more knowledgeable. Only experience can provide the opportunity for that to happen. 
 For an "Insta-Dan" (of any level) to imply that they have equivalent training in RyuTe (as a long term member) would be disingenuous at best. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Forgotten Budo Skill

In Day's of Old, (When Bushi were Bold) and Kata was not Forgotten,.....er, ..eh ..anyway,

  I was recently reading a book (yes, I can read) that referenced the (old) bushi, and I made note that one of their greatly admired skills was that of Shugi (Brush Calligraphy). Though not readily considered to be one of any great importance (today), during the time of the bushi's presence, it was considered to be a greatly admired (if not mandatory) skill to posses and to practice.
  In virtually every sword school that I've read about and having spoken to student's from several, Shuji is a required practice of those student's (and is usually a skill that's taught and practiced at their dojo).
  With the (so-called) emphasis today being on “practical” self-defense, many of the old-ways of training in a martial art, are being abandoned (by those modern schools).
  Being a practitioner of Oriental Brush Calligraphy, I'm (occasionally) asked questions about it. First off, what I teach is Nihon Shuji (Japanese Calligraphy), What I practice, is Shodo (Way of the Brush). There is a difference, LOL.
  As with most things, when you practice any skill set that involves motion, you begin to correlate those motions to nearly everything (else) that you do. I do the same thing with RyuTe, so finding similarity’s between the two was surprisingly easy (if not obvious!, LOL).
  In Taika's book, he even mentions the relationship between kanji and certain techniques that he was shown by his instructors (read the book, LOL).
  With the recent events in the RyuTe association, I've been giving (further) thought to our dojo's curriculum. I feel pretty comfortable with the technique curriculum we provide, and with the anatomical information that is included.
  Having been recently reviewing the various area's of information that's already being offered through the association, I was surprised to discover that Shuji is not one of the offered skill sets.
  Though not always considered to be a skill set of martial pursuit, brush calligraphy has been practiced by nearly every famous martial artist throughout the history of the far east.
  Though most often recognized in the practice of the sword arts (most sword schools require Shodo, or Tai Chi to be practiced in conjunction with their sword practice), Shodo provides a mental exercise in concentration (which can be translated into any/every martial art) and is similar (if not equal) to meditation.
  When one understands the techniques required to produce the strokes of the kanji (Chinese characters), it can relate to the manner which we view and perform the techniques we are shown in the practice of te.
  In Kendo, it is generally recognized that there are 8 possible manners of slicing, or strokes that can be performed with the sword. The strokes of the brush (for creating the kanji characters) can be simplified to represent those same 8 strokes as well.
  There exist several different schools (and styles if you will) of Japanese Calligraphy. Different schools count (how many) strokes that are required to be learned by their student's differently. As stated previously, they could be condensed to only 8 strokes. Nihon Shuji divides them into several categories (with individual variations) to provide a total of 28 (different types of strokes).
  Just as with the practice of te, breathing is an equally important (and emphasized) aspect for the proper performance of Shuji. Incorrect breathing can tarnish a piece of calligraphy, as much as sneezing in the middle of performing a stroke can! (been there, done that! LOL).
  The brush will convey all of the emotional/mental feelings that the writer has, at the time of brushing the piece. Numerous Japanese companies utilize handwriting analysis for newly hired employees (to better place them within their company) as a form of psychological analysis. Akin to how the F.B.I. uses handwriting analysis to understand criminals, many students of Shodo copy the brushed works of the past sword/karate masters (in the attempt to emulate their spirit).
  At the very least, a (basic) knowledge of the (few) kanji that the average martial artist encounters, would (IMO) make the student more knowledgeable (and/or less gullible?).
  I think (?) that it's still up in the air as to how their going to do the kyu certificates. As it stands now, when an instructor receives the (blank) certificate (from the association), they have to fill in the student's name, rank, date etc. Normally, this is done in English (which is fine, I suppose, LOL). But I've always considered the certificates done in kanji, to just look better/nicer (?, any opinions?...). Much like the Yudansha certificates are done, I think the Mudansha should be (at least offered) in kanji as well (which would also provide that student with knowing how their name is written in katakana).
  Seeing as how the new leadership is rather busy now, I'll probably wait to see if they'd care to offer it's instruction at the RyuTe summer seminar. If there's an interest, possibly it could be included in next years summer conference. But, I guess there would have to be an interest first, LOL. 


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hail to the Chief(s)

  It appears that the power's that be, have began the restructuring of the RyuTe Association. All of the details haven't been finalized, nor have all of the leadership positions been filled, but it has been decided that the RyuTe leadership will consist of a “committee”. That committee will be made up of 7 member's (4 permanent, and 3 rotating).
  Though having heard who the permanent member's will be, I don't feel that I'm at liberty to say (at this time). There are numerous rumors about numerous subjects, most of them (that I have heard) have been very positive (IMO).
  From reports that I heard, the summer conference went very well (though some glitches in event scheduling was reported, I understand that they were resolved).
  The changes that I am at liberty to mention are confirmations of the information that was released earlier in the year. ALL students at a school/dojo will be required to be registered members (and required to pay annual dues), this amounts to less than $2.50/month per student. This allows that student to attend any RyuTe function/seminar.
  Any school (owner) who hasn't payed their annual Dojo dues (again, depending upon how many student's a school has, less than $1.00/student on average) is first removed from the RyuTe Website listing (which is the authentication method for perspective students seeking instruction in RyuTe). This will provide an opportunity for the owner to make amends, if the owner chooses not to, then these can be followed by legal sanctions as well (which, unlike in the past, will now be pursued).
  The Dojo Handbooks (which contain all of the relevant information for the school owners) are being rewritten, and will become available when they are completed (I'm presuming they will be available on-line at the RyuTe website, when they are completed). That should be in the next month or so. 
  It's my understanding (from the attendees that were there) that the new leadership made it quite clear to those present, that there will be no tolerance of any questionable actions that are contrary to the distributed association rules. The new leadership (it would appear) is planning on weeding out those schools who do not wish to comply with the rules that are being assembled. The intention is to remove any schools that do not wish to grow as a part of, and for, the association.
  My assumption, is that the membership won't (drastically) change until next January (that's when the yearly Dojo/Student dues are charged). My guess, is that most that are going to, will leave then.
  When that weeding is completed, then the intention is to enlarge and expand the association. Unlike what we've seen occur in other alliances and coalitions, this will not be done through a reckless recruitment of displaced ex-members from other groups (with a guaranteed advancement of Rank from joining).
  One of the (few) justified complaints (from the present membership), has been the price of the summer conference. Many members have a difficult time paying for the price of (both) testing and attending the conference (which required doing both). That is being changed, as well as the price to attend those gatherings (summer and fall). With the financial situation that people (in general) are often in nowadays, it only seems prudent to modify that pricing.
 There will also be changes to the manner that Yudansha testing will be done as well (those that are familiar with what I'm writing about will understand). Testing individual's will perform all kata (basic form), meaning that "previously" performed manners (different from the RyuTe Association approved motions/method. ie. "another" systems arrangements of the kata) will not be considered acceptable (for a "passing" grade).
 One notation of import, the prior "Gag Order" that Taika had put in place, has been lifted. We are (now) free to talk about any of the  individual's that were Kicked-Out of the association (and all of which, have since been promoting the fact that they were associated with Taika).  If one reads the B.S. written on their websites, you'd think they were still with him, and have always been on great terms (one even lists that he lives several minutes from Taika's home?,...B.F.D!).

 There have been numerous individual's who have contacted the association who have believed, that these individual's are still affiliated with Taika, and his association, they are not
 These individual's were Kicked-Out of Taika's association because they did things that Taika found to be reprehensible. Many of them still display pictures that imply that they are still in Taika's association (wearing RyuTe uniforms, pictures of Taika, listing all the events that they were at when Taika was there, etc.). 

  If one is familiar with the schools that “were” listed on the RyuTe Website, they'll see that there's fewer dojo being listed nowadays. Those removed, are schools that didn't pay their dues (yet have maintained their student count, Hmmmm...?). Some of those owners attended the summer conference, yet have chosen not to pay their schools/students dues (choosing to keep those funds for themselves?). 
  Not exactly fair to their student's (IMO). With the new leadership that's in place, I believe that will be changing in the (very) near future as well. We'll see.


Monday, July 16, 2012

The “Alpha” Tuite

  While performing another of my “google quests” recently, I became side-tracked while viewing the results for “Tuite”. The results consisted of numerous video links, and a (very) few written descriptions.
  I always get a chuckle from the (morons) people who prather on about how their instructor has always taught tuite (meaning only in the last15-20 years). Before that time, nobody had even heard the term (regardless of their style/system).
  What was commonly being taught, was Jujitsu, Aikido or Chi-Na (none of which compare to Tuite). Those systems/styles were being included with/to what-ever system was being taught at the time.
  After Taika began demonstrating his Tuite, everybody began renaming whatever they taught to (then) be “Tuite”. From my observations (and conversations), most of these wanna-be's have seen a seminar (or 2), and now assume that they are familiar with/know Taika's tuite, so that's what they call what they teach.
  What's even more hilarious (or pathetic), are the people going around doing seminars and displaying that they have a Yudansha ranking in “Tuite” (WTF! LMFAO!). As I've stated elsewhere, this is the same as saying that you have a “Black-Belt” in “Front-Kicks”. Exactly how big of an Dumb-Ass do you have to be, to fall for this nonsense?
  There's a Canadian club/school that (claims to) only teach tuite to adults because of the “danger” (?) of these techniques (sounds more like the instructor's must be “dangerous” to learn from).
  There's also a school down south (of me, I'm in K.C.MO.) in Atlanta that lists Kyusho as being their taught “art” and I'm sure they hand out Black Belts in Kyusho, LOL (see above). He's got a ton of video's, none of which are that great (or IMO, being done correctly). What he's doing is his version of (what he believes to be) tuite. Again, (yet) another person who either attended (or watched) a seminar (or was shown by someone who did) and they now believe that they know how to correctly perform tuite (and they don't).
  Am I being judgmental ?, you better believe I am. I've been doing  this for 30+ years. Everything that I see them doing wrong, I've already done (wrong myself) and have corrected.
  The fact that someone names themselves “Grand Wizard of Tuite”, doesn't mean that they know anything about the subject. That becomes readily apparent when you see a video of them performing some manner of technique, that's being done wrong.

  Tuite (as well as kyusho) is only a portion of the whole. Though it may be possible to utilize it singularly, it has always been intended to be used in conjunction with a system (in this case, RyuTe®).
  I've (pretty much) quit comparing RyuTe® to/with any other system (including Ryukyu Kempo). It's in it's own category. The direction that Taika was taking us in his final years, was apart from anything he'd taught previously (yet, the connections become more and more apparent).
 I tend to view what Taika taught to us, as being the building blocks for our continuing study. The tuite has been no exception to this either, much of what was originally shown (30 yrs. Ago) has been modified (often by Taika himself) in the last 10 years.
The egregious mistakes that are being (so obviously) made in the performance of tuite, can only be blamed on the performer's themselves. Taika taught us the kihon (basic) method of their execution. He expected us to improve them ourselves (and said so on numerous occasions).
 Start taking them apart, and reassemble them better than they were before. 


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cleaning up

  When we are provided the opportunity, my associate and I spend a great deal of time correcting the application of Tuite being performed by students of RyuTe (both our own, and that of others).
  As I've stated previously, the (old) prior method of tuite instruction could often prove to be hazardous (to the uke) as well as only offering a limited amount of practice (time) before the participants were too sore to continue.
  Because of these flawed methodology's, what was commonly concluded to be correct (as to proper tuite performance), was more often than not (if not “simply”) muscling the technique.
  The prevailing concept of tuite application for the past 25 years, has been “if it don't work, then do it harder, and faster (so that it will)”. It is this manor of nonsensical reasoning, that has created the disparity of skilled individual's in the performance of Taika's form of tuite.
  Over the years, the influx of student's whom (supposedly) were of yudansha ranking and who subsequently began teaching RyuTe, has brought to light the fact that the majority of them have not received proper instruction in the performance of Tuite.
  Tuite, (like kyusho) is not the only aspect of RyuTe. But, it is something which RyuTe is (especially) known for. Though not (necessarily) through any fault of their own, numerous students (of varying ranks and time in the association) have become complacent in their knowledge and their ability to perform tuite.
  The majority that I've spoken and worked with, are basing their knowledge on (similar) techniques that they learned in prior systems. Many are unaware that though looking similar, Taika's techniques are performed differently.
  I've worked with numerous Yudansha that were unable to perform what our student's would consider basic Tuite applications (at least, without muscling/overpowering the uke). This isn't to say those individual's were (totally) unskilled, only that they weren't performing Taika's form of tuite.
  As I've written before, “I” believe much of this disparity to be the result of prior teaching methodology's. Like so many instructor's today, Taika taught as he was taught (as an Okinawan, to an Okinawan). Taika's instruction was often times...awkward (for us as American students, and as speakers of English). What had worked for Taika (as a student in Okinawa), did not always work for his student's here in America.
  (Way) Back, in the late 70's, early 80's, Taika would commonly demonstrate a technique, to teach it to you (and usually do so upon you, LOL). Though providing a clear understanding of how a technique should feel (if/when being done upon you), it provided very little as far as how that technique should (properly) be applied. It was with that understanding, that we assembled a program for the instruction of Tuite.
  Taika believed (and stated so,...often) that it was better that you should learn how to perform a technique, for yourself. Doing so, would lessen the chance of your forgetting it. Though being a true statement, the majority of people (at least those with real lives, LOL) don't have the time available for their own hours of research to figure these things out (at least to the level where they could instruct others in the performance of those techniques).
  Part of what we discovered, was that people were (mistakenly) believing that the uke's reaction was being caused by pain. Until that misconception is recognized, a student's progress in the application of tuite will be limited, at best.
  Second, that the application of tuite is not dependent upon strength. The physical size/strength of either the tori or the uke is completely irrelevant. We commonly use the smallest female present, to apply a technique upon the largest male present, to verify a techniques value and applicability.
  Physical size and/or stature should make no difference when utilizing tuite (properly). There's been numerous (often ridicules) examples put forth here (in comments from readers) that would attempt to dispute that statement. I defy anyone to put forth the individual that will not succumb to a properly applied tuite technique. For those that wish to argue the Drug Influenced (examples),... we've already been down that road, and yes it still works.
  What we have discovered (even within the RyuTe association), is that there are some individual's (who have been shown improper technique application and are basing their opinions upon that instruction) that will argue that certain techniques cannot/will not work upon them. I have encountered several of these individual's (my associate has as well).
  What should have taken place, was a concerted effort to discover why the technique(s) weren't working. When presented as being an investigation (in stead of a challenge), there is less ego-bruising and a better understanding of the technique is had by all.
  Another of the great ego-deflator's is to have one of the speed-king braggart's perform the techniques slowly. Granted, the techniques are not (usually) designed to be applied in that manner, but it does make for a more productive practice session (and usually a lot less painful, LOL). All (but possibly a couple) can be applied slowly, and will still produce the desired/expected results.
  Slow practice will also expose the tori to possible counter's (to the given technique) that might be attempted by an uke. As a rule, counter's are not possible with Taika's techniques (unless, the technique is being improperly applied).
  When Taika first began teaching his form of tuite, He taught it as a one-way methodology, when he completed the technique, the uke was (physically) incapable of (any form of) retaliation. Once coming to the United States, and encountering our Civil litigation laws, those methods had to be expanded.
  Taika's original instruction of his form of tuite only included disabling applications being used upon the uke/aggressor. He only taught a limited number of restraint (types of) techniques. When he discovered that my original instructor was a police officer, he began teaching numerous (additional) techniques (specifically for L.E. Personnel) to him (which we in turn learned, and began teaching to our L.E. students).
  The majority of these were modified tuite techniques (specifically for handgun retention, and prisoner compliance/restraint and escort). Though originally intended for L.E., they work equally well for litigation concerned (civilian) students.
  We believe (and the feedback we've received, tends to confirm) that the tuite program we've developed can be used by any RyuTe instructor to aid them in the instruction of their student's (at least as far as tuite is concerned, LOL). 


Friday, July 13, 2012

And Will the walls come a'tumblin' down?

  With the recent changes made within the RyuTe association, it's difficult to evaluate the direction that it will proceed in. I have been impressed with the amount of knowledge (exercises, weapon's kata, kyusho knowledge, open-hand kata) that has been archived for the association's use/reference.
  It will now be up to the membership, and the appointed leadership (whomever that may be) to decide if RyuTe Renmei will persevere, or be a passing note in history. I'm sure that many won't see fit to leave the association until the first of next year (Jan. 2013), that's when the yearly association dues are expected (not that everyone has been paying anyhow, yes,...we have numerous free-loader's. They're commonly identified by the amount of whining they do).
  It's my own understanding, that (supposedly) numerous “things” are to be decided at this years summer camp (in progress as I'm writing this). Until those decisions are made, it's all up in the air.
For anyone not affiliated with the association, (I'm sure) this is a very boring subject. For those of us that are though, what's decided will determine the direction and manner of future student instruction.
  I have (my own) suspicion's, that what-ever is decided (at summer-camp), will be modified numerous times before the first of the year. Frankly, very few of these people are familiar with how to run a business (much less an association), or to do so in the “family” manner that Taika wanted it to be (not that he was always able to do so either, LOL).
  My own “opinion” (which yes, I know nobody gives a flippin' F%&k about) is that anyone who runs a school/dojo full-time should be excluded from any position of authority/control. Decision's should be made by a committee/group (not by any sole individual).
  Rank, should be based on time spent in the association (otherwise, it's only the people who can afford to test, that will/can). It still would be, but that would limit (if not eliminate) the “suddenly” high-ranked student's (that have hardly any time in the association, yet have been able to purchase a high rank, and too often as being their first one that they acquire when joining the association).
  Doing so, might also eliminate/avoid the current problem of “too many chiefs, with not enough Indians” (not to mention, some of those “chiefs” have less “time” in the association than numerous Indians). As with nearly every single system that I've observed or been affiliated with, those of higher “rank” are not (necessarily) any more (or less) talented/knowledgeable than anyone else.
  Again, IMO... If someone requires recognition for their knowledge/ability in some particular aspect of RyuTe (for which I could name numerous individual's that would qualify), then those individual's should have certification(s) that state what that knowledge is (otherwise, it's only here-say). This would (help) eliminate the internal/personal “bickering” that is prevalent in every group/association (as well as make it more convenient for those seeking whom to contact for instruction in that subject).
  Looking at Every Single Member Who Has Been Kicked Out Of The RyuTe Association, They Have Promoted Themselves to Higher Ranks (than they earned while still in RyuTe). And They ALL Still Attempt to Profit off of Taika's name.
  I believe we (as an association) need to get away from the addiction to (ever) higher ranking. A (more accurate?) indication of knowledge/ability would be recognition of an individual's knowledge/ability through subject certification by/through the organization. If the organization has credibility, then the certification does also.
  Being able to present certification's (from a reputable association/group) carries greater respect than simply stating that (in your opinion) you think that your really, really good (and/or that your buddies think so too).
  I (personally) would feel much greater respect about receiving a certificate that stated that I (actually) had a particular skill/ability (rather than an arbitrary “rank”, that usually isn't recognized by any other system/school). It's much easier to prove a particular ability/skill, than it is to prove (or even justify) one's placement within an established hierarchy (especially a position of authority).

 But (again, LOL), I'm Nobody.