Friday, January 10, 2014


  When Oyata began teaching American servicemen (mid-late 60's), the “craze” in the Western world (at that time, like now) was competitive sparring. Oyata had not (yet) introduced his methodology to the west, and had been involved with promoting  “Bogu” kumite in Okinawa. This manner of competitive “sparring” (though popular) was more aggressive than what was commonly being seen at the time.
  After coming to the United States, these events provided a receptive “audience/crowd” for him to present his Life-Protection methodology and recruit additional students. He would commonly present a demonstration (performing examples of his methodology and of course, LOL, his infamous “knock-out” strikes). These events (over time) drew larger and larger audiences (though “competitors” tended to continually dwindle for the competitive sparring matches).
  At that time, no one in the United States was (really) familiar with “Bogu” kumite. It commonly consisted of 3 round/3 point (total) matches of 2 minutes each round (though this could vary per event). Both participants would wear (full) “Bogu” sparring gear. This gear consisted of the Men (a face and neck protector), which unlike what was commonly being worn, had a steel wire “face” protector, the “Do” (a chest and rib protector), a pair of Kote (the “gloves” which would often consist of the (Kung-Fu) “fingered” gloves, these would allow for grabbing) and a pair of Sune-ate (foot protector's, and {occasionally} they could also include shin protection as well).
  Wearing this equipment would allow the participants to engage with (nearly) Full power strikes and kicks, to nearly any part of the opponents body (including the head). The only restrictions were for the neck/throat and the groin.
  Though having an (obviously) higher risk of injury factor, many people considered it to be more realistic. This (of course) is debatable, seeing as how everyone is wearing protective equipment, and there are (still) limitations on where/how those strikes can be utilized. The practice of “sparring”, even with this extensive level of protective equipment, is still, only a “make-believe” confrontation.
  Oyata was aware of the short comings of this manner of competition, and after having gathered a following of (actual) students, had little to nothing to do with it's practice. Numerous schools (that separated from his association) have attempted to push this manner of practice as having been endorsed as one of Oyata's “main” training methods, though nothing could be further from the truth.
  After 1996 (? or so), Oyata had nothing more to do with any competitive tournaments (and certainly not “sparring” competitions). He had already gathered sufficient (in his opinion) student's to train in his Life Protection methodology. Oyata didn't believe in wasting time with non-productive practicing methodologies.
  Bogu Kumite, tameshiwari, makiwara, all of these (supposed) “training” methods/tools were more about impressing self or others (than being beneficial for learning “Life Protection”). The use of many of these “tools” was (more often) for quelling “Hot-Blooded” (overly aggressive/physical) students than for the practice of practical technique application. It is the very rules (and equipment) that make this practice safe (enough) to perform, that reduce it's practicality for defensive training.
  Are there benefit’s to some of these practices? (while remaining debatable) Yes. But to believe that their practice are (in any way) mandatory, is ridiculous.
  The majority of these “tools/methods” fall into the category of “testosterone enhancement”(or dissipation, LOL). Despite all of the glorification of/for/about “sparring” (being a “training” aid), explain how the (common) 80# female, is “learning” (anything) from competing with a 240# male (in that circumstance)? In “life”, there are no “weight” groups. That (weight) difference is actually quite common (between a female and a male partner and/or assailant).
  The practice of “breaking”(boards, bricks,..”Ice”??LOL) is only useful for learning “penetration” with one's strikes, so it rarely needs to be repeatedly practiced (one would hope, LOL). The use of a makiwara? Again, exampling the practice of penetration and weight transfer (which the same, and more can be exampled through the use of a good “body bag”). Aside from “weeding” out (supposedly) “uncommitted” students (?), The continuous (and/or mandated) use of these “tools” is debatable.
  When I was in my early 20's, Oyata had me striking upon these “tools” as well. He utilized a “2-arm” (type of) makiwara as well (one “arm” straight out, and another downward at a 45ยบ, both wrapped with rope). After doing so for a while (about 2 weeks worth of “a while”, LOL), and acquiring substantially bruised forearms, LOL, When he told me to do so again, I informed him that I was “done” (with that practice method). He laughed, and began showing me (individual) kata motions to practice (for equal, if not longer periods of time, LOL). I never struck another “makiwara” (of any type) again (and have never “missed” doing so).
  There appears to be a popular misconception that in order to be a “real” (martial art's) practitioner, you have to of physically abused your body/self in some manner (ie. Commonly Via one or more of the described or similar methods). This belief is ridiculous, and certainly isn't mandated by any (legitimate) training group/person.
  If it were true/accurate, then the only people involved with a martial study, would be young, healthy (and strong) MALE individual's (which certainly isn't the case). Those types of individual's rarely need this manner of training, and would example the pointlessness of anyone else attempting to do so.

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