Saturday, December 20, 2008

HEIJOSHIN

In his book Flashing Steel, Masayaki Shimabukuro Sensei examines the essence of the Martial Artist and what sets him apart from others in society.

Peace of mind – which we all are looking forward to as a mean to achieve something else or an end in itself, is what Shimabukuro Sensei refers to as heijoshin:


Heijoshin (or peace of mind) is the by-product of a persons complete inner being. It can only be achieved by refining the whole inner essence and this can only be accomplished if ones intellect, emotions, and character are developed in balance. Heijoshin literally translated means constant stable spirit. Such a translation hardly does it justice. To understand the full nature of heijoshin one has to look to the nuances of the Japanese language. Heijoshin is comprised of three kanji (ideograms):


I) Hei - peaceful, calm, steady




ii) Jo - always, constant, continually




iii) Shin - translates as heart or the whole inner essence of the individual




Combining the kanji heijoshin is the whole inner being of person being continually at peace. One has peace of mind. Heijoshin is best understood not as a single attribute but as a culmination of several character traits. As mentioned above, to achieve heijoshin requires a high degree of mental development in three key areas: intellect, emotions, and integrity (or character).

Why is heijoshin important to us as martial artists? Although our bodies may give way to time and age, we can continue to practice and develop our character and mental faculties. Heijoshin is an unlimited quality. As martial artists, and in life, there is always room for more knowledge, greater compassion, stronger love, and a higher level of character development.

To achieve heijoshin as a martial artist requires a lifestyle of discipline, effort, sacrifice and commitment. Such a commitment to developing excellence of character is what sets the martial artist apart from most people in a confused and unhappy society. As we discover, the true nature of martial arts training leads us to a fuller understanding of the nature of life itself. With this understanding comes peace of mind and true and lasting happiness.


Some practice Zen to calm their minds, and they may reach elsewhere. Some practice to reach enlightenment. They may never find it, but might find Heijoshin. I do not think they are the same thing, but hey, I am not enlightened, so who knows ?

Lately I have been struggling trying to reconcile Martial Arts and Zen. They have a lot in common, and then, there is that precept : Do not Kill....

I understand that under certain circumstances, killing might be the only alternative. In that case one should be ready.

This is a difficult question, it might take a while, and it won't be through reading other's books or listening to self appointed experts or masters.


Nothing comes for free, I have no choice, we have no choice – Let’s train hard !


Shimabukuro Sensei will teach a seminar in Muso Jikiden Eishin-Ryu Iaijutsu in Pensacola on March 6, 7 and 8, 2009. The seminar will be held at the Pensacola dojo (Big Green Drum Japanese Martial Arts.)


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Zen and George Brassens

Last Sunday I officially became a Zen Buddhist during a JUKAI or discipleship ceremony held at the Atlanta Soto Zen center


During this ceremon
y : I received and vowed to follow the Soto Zen Precepts - This is materialized by my receiving the RAKUSU, a garment that symbolizes the Kesa robe of the Buddhist monks, and a new Dharma name.

Not every school of Buddhism have exactly the same precepts, or express them in the same way.

Soto Zen has 16 precepts :

The Three Treasures:

  1. I take refuge in the Buddha - The teacher
  2. I take refuge in the Dharma - The Buddha’s teachings
  3. I take refuge in the Sangha - The Buddhist community, past and present

The Three Pure Precepts are general vows to abstain from evil and to practice good, not just for one’s self but also others:

  1. Avoiding all evil (actions leading to attachment) by respecting the precepts.
  2. Practicing all good.(Make effort to live in enlightenment)
  3. Doing good for others. (Help others live in enlightenment)

The Ten Grave Precepts

  1. Do not kill
  2. Do not steal
  3. Do not misuse sexuality
  4. Do not lie.
  5. Refrain from Intoxicants (Do not cloud the mind)
  6. Do not discuss others errors and faults
  7. Do not praise yourself and blame others
  8. Give generously: Do not withhold the teachings of Buddha
  9. Refrain from anger
  10. Do not defile the Three Treasures


A very nice program, and difficult to achieve. As Elliston Sensei put it during the ceremony: "Sometimes we practice the precepts by breaking them"

Some of these seem to be contradictory.

Lets take an example : I am walking in the country, all of a sudden, I see a kid running away with his pockets full of apple. A farmer runs behind him with his shotgun. The kid turns right and hides in a ditch. The farmer comes to me and asks me where he is, Should I tell him ? He is liable to shoot him after all. So I’ll lie…

Quand je croise un voleur malchanceux,
Poursuivi par un cul-terreux;
Je lance la patte et pourquoi le taire,
Le cul-terreux se retrouve par terre
Je ne fait pourtant de tort à personne,

En laissant courir les voleurs de pommes.

(Georges Brassens : La Mauvaise reputation)

Precepts are not the dictates of a God who would send us to hell if we break them, they are to be adapted. We have however to be very careful in the way we adapt them, for it would be very easy to justify horrific behaviors by broadly adapting them.

There is no clear demarcation line between “adapting” and “corrupting”, and we should be extremely careful on this matter.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Iai Jutsu class in Pensacola, FL, December 6

Here are my NOTES on this class during which Patty Sensei tried to impress on our thick brains what she had been taught by Shimabukuro Sensei during last november's MJER instructors seminar at the Sakura Budokan Dojo.

If you think wazas were changed, well, you are mistaken, these apparent changes actually are nothing but
"REFINEMENTS"...

Good luck, Train hard...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Meditation and the Autonomous Nervous System

Zazen is the word used by Zen Buddhists for "Sitting Meditation" - The practice of Zazen is the only valuable way to actually progress in Buddhism. The following is part of an article by Gudo Nishijima about the relation between Zazen and the regulation of our Autonomous Nervous System.

My theory about the relation between the autonomic nervous system and Buddhism is only my supposition, but I have been utilizing it in explaining Buddhism for many years. And since I first arrived at this proposition many years ago, I have not met a case that caused me to change my theory. Therefore I would like to express my primitive proposition to the audience for reference. Of course, I am only a Buddhist monk and do not have sufficient knowledge of physiology, psychology, and so forth. However, in my experience, I have found it very useful to explain Buddhism on the basis of scientific knowledge, and so I would like to express my proposition on this occasion.

- Click here for the full article -


That the practice of Zazen helps balancing the 2 antagonistic sympathetic and para sympathetic parts of the autonomous Nervous system is a fascinating concept, and even better, it makes perfect sense.

Somehow, Mr Nishijima's hypothesis can be compared to Carl Jung's concepts of Typologies. Zazen would be a way to achieve Individuation, or the total integration of the antagonistic aspects of individual personality.

This of course is a different story, a very interesting one maybe, which we could further discuss, Let us not forget however, that the most important part is the practice of Zazen, not its discussion, or intellectual understanding...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

THANKSGIVINGS


When I came back from Korea to France, in 1989, Sensei Rolland Hernaez allowed me to open a Dojo to teach Nihon Tai Jitsu.

The first year, I had 5 students. 2 of these stayed with me until I moved to the United States. They later placed 5 and 6 at the National Championship in their category.

One of them, Mathieu, a tall skinny guy, was a little shy to start with. Little by little he developed a very friendly and happy attitude as well as great throwing abilities! Mathieu was raised by a single Mom. It was uncommon in our remote part of Picardie, and sometimes he had been picked on because of that.

At the end of 1992, during Christmas Dinner, Mathieu’s mother came to thank me for what I had done for him.
Thinking that she was making reference to his ability in Martial Arts, I told her that it was my job, I had just helped the kid train hard and develop his skills.

No, she told me, you do not understand. When Mathieu started training with you, he was going in the wrong direction. Without a father at home, he was hanging around with the wrong kind of boys, and was aiming at troubles. I had no clue how to handle him. You put him back on the right track. Without you, he would probably be in jail today. I was touched, and thankful to her for having told me that.

Sensei Hiroyuki Koda – who came to the United states in 1969 sent by Grandmaster Yamamoto - used to say :

“We are the results of the influence of our parents, our friends, and our teachers.”


I had not realized the beneficial influence I had had on Mathieu. As instructors we can have a serious influence in the lives of our students, let’s be aware of this, and use it for their own good.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Zen and Martial Arts

Zen and Martial Arts : A short History of Yoshukai Karate


From India to China

Bodhidharma - Da Mo in Chinese, Daruma in Japan - was a blue-eyed guy and tended to stand out in a crowd. The Chinese, nicknamed him "The Blue-Eyed Demon.“ An Indian Prince and Buddhist priest, well-educated both in Vajramushti (an ancient Indian Martial Art synthesis of Pancratium and Raja Yoga) and in philosophy and theology, He combined Indian Buddhist philosophy with Daoist methodology, and came to China to preach his new synthesis: Zen.

“Zen” simply means meditation. In Sanskrit the word is "dhyana”. Dhyana and Zen appear to be unrelated words, but in fact they are similarly pronounced. Whenever a heavily voiced "D" precedes the "Y", as in “Did You”, the sounds are usually combined and pronounced as a "J". We say, "Di'ja go?." Ed-u-cate becomes "ejucate." Acad-i-an becomes "Cajun." Sanskrit's Dhyana (meditation) became "Jen" – written Chan in Chinese and pronounced Zen in Japanese.

The priests of Shao Lin Monastery in China were keeping a stale, orthodox regimen when "Blue Eyed Demon" arrived from India in the fifth century AD. They were following the "polishing" way of inactivity and removal, the way which claims victory over bodily temptations by avoiding other bodies and over contentious thoughts by erasing all thoughts. Too much sitting had numbed their brains and let their physical condition languish. The monks were not in good shape and definitely not able to defend themselves against gangs of thieves used to attacking them around the temple.

Bodhidharma designed a set of martial exercises designed to strengthen their minds and bodies. This was the beginning of the Shaolin Kung Fu (Shorin Ji Kempo in Japanese) style of boxing.

Bodhidharma's teachings became the basis for the majority of Chinese martial arts.

Or so legend has it.


OKINAWA

From China, Buddhism and Martial Arts went South to Okinawa, an island East of mainland China and South of Japan.

“Tode” (Chinese Hand) was the indigenous form of fighting developed in Okinawa. Because weapons had been banned on the Island, Okinawans had refined empty-hand techniques and trained in secret. It had evolved under the influence of Chinese merchants and sailors.

Te developed primarily in three Okinawan cities: Shuri, Naha and Tomari. Each of these towns was a center to a different sect of society: nobility, merchants, farmers and fishermen, respectively.


JAPAN

The first public demonstration of Karate in Japan was in 1917 by Gichin Funakoshi, at the Butoku-den in Kyoto.

In 1922, Dr. Jano Kano, founder of the Japanese art of Judo, invited Funakoshi to demonstrate at the famous Kodokan Dojo and to remain in Japan to teach karate.

The sponsorship of Dr Kano was instrumental in establishing a base for karate in Japan. As an Okinawan "peasant art," karate would have been scorned by the Japanese without the backing of so formidable a martial arts master.

The Chinese character “To”- Chinese - used to write “Tode” – Chinese Hand - could also be pronounced 'Kara'. Around 1935 a meeting of Okinawan masters decided to replace this character by another one, also pronounced “Kara” but meaning “Empty”. This is how Karate which originally meant Chinese Hand, came to mean Empty Hand.

This was later changed to Karate-do by Gichin Funakoshi. The Do in karate-do means 'way' or 'path', and is indicative of the discipline and philosophy of Karate with moral and spiritual connotations.


Chito Ryu and Yoshukai


Sensei Chitose


Chinen Tsuyoshi, later to be known by the name Chitose was born in Okinawa in1898. He was the grandson of the famous Matsumura Soken

Chitose began his study of Karate at the age of seven (1905) under Aragaki Seisho, Higashionna Kanryo One fellow student would become Miyagi Chojun the founder of modern Goju Ryu

Funakoshi Gichin Sensei was also Chitose Sensei’s primary school teacher.

In 1922 he was accepted as a student at the Tokyo University Medical Center and became a doctor in 1924. This is why he is called Dr Chitose.

He opened his first dojo in Kumamoto in 1946. Chitose would take the wording "Chito Ryu" by 1952.


Sensei Yamamoto


In 1951, Yamamoto Mamoru began training in Karate under Sensei Chitose.

From 1958 to 1960, Yamamoto Mamoru, the head student of Sensei Chitose, won the All Japan Karate Championships.

In 1961 he opened his own dojo the Yoshukan in Kitakyushu, Japan.

In 1963 Mamoru Yamamoto started his own organization Yoshukai Karate, independent from Dr Chitose’s Chito Ryu.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

IAI JUTSU Seminars


Next MJER IaiJutsu Seminars will be held :


  • On November 29, 2008 at : Chung's Taekwondo. 4100 AL Highway 14, Elmore, AL 36025 (Close to Montgomery, AL). It should start around 12:15 pm.
  • On Saturday, December 6, 2008 at : Big Green Drum Dojo 2447 Executive Plaza, Suite 5 Pensacola, Florida 32504. It should start by 11:30 a.m.


The instructor will be Patty HEATH, Head instructor of the Big Green Drum Iaijutsu Class.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tai CHi and Arthritis

Tai chi, the slow, stately Chinese exercise, may also reduce the chronic pain of people who suffer from osteoarthritis.

That is the finding of a study conducted by Chenchen Wang of the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston.

Local practitioners of the ancient Chinese art agree...

Read the Full article at : Tai chi combats arthritis, study shows

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ZEN Sitting

We had our first Zen meditation session yesterday at the Yoshukai Karate Dojo.

Zen meditation is not easy - It is however, the only way into Buddhism. 8 centuries ago, Master DOGEN, founder of Soto Zen, describe in his FUKAN ZAZENGI the basics of Zazen :

For practicing Zen, a quiet room is suitable. Eat and drink moderately. Put aside all involvements and suspend all affairs. Do not think "good" or "bad." Do not judge true or false. Give up the operations of mind, intellect, and consciousness; stop measuring with thoughts, ideas, and views. Have no designs on becoming a Buddha. How could that be limited to sitting or lying down?

At your sitting place, spread out a thick mat and put a cushion on it. Sit either in the full-lotus or half-lotus position. In the full-lotus position, first place your right foot on your left thigh, then your left foot on your right thigh. In the half-lotus, simply place your left foot on your right thigh. Tie your robes loosely and arrange them neatly. Then place your right hand on your left leg and your left hand on your right palm, thumb-tips lightly touching. Straighten your body and sit upright, leaning neither left nor right, neither forward nor backward. Align your ears with your shoulders and your nose with your navel. Rest the tip of your tongue against the front of the roof of your mouth, with teeth together and lips shut. Always keep your eyes open, and breathe softly through your nose.

Once you have adjusted your posture, take a breath and exhale fully, rock your body right and left, and settle into steady, immovable sitting. Think of not thinking. Not thinking — what kind of thinking is that? Nonthinking. This is the essential art of zazen.

This text was written in the 13th century for Japanese people used to sit on the ground and had probably never sat on a chair; the Lotus or half Lotus position were familiar to them.
Most people in the West get interested in Zen after the age of 40. Our bodies may not let us practice in positions (repeated injuries have damaged my knees, and they will absolutely NOT cooperate...). My interest in Martial Arts and Taoist meditation taught me that the most important thing is to keep the Spine erect and as straight as possible - to sit like a tower or pillar.

It is perfectly possible to do so when kneeling in Seiza or sitting on a bench or chair.

Read the full version of FUKAN ZAZENGI

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thoughts on VETERANS DAY

90 years ago was signed the armistice for World War I, during which about 40 millions people were killed. 25 years later, about 70 millions people were killed during World War II. .. The main protagonists were Germany, Japan, France, Great Britain, the USA, the Soviet Union, Poland, Japan, China, ...

Last week, Kaicho Yamamoto, 10th degree Black Belt and founder of Yoshukai Karate was in Dothan with his grand Daughter and 3 other Karate Students.

A group of German people was here too who had come to meet him and to join his organization to practice under his umbrella.

We practiced together on Wednesday Night at the Dojo. Sensei Culbreth lined up one student of each nationality : USA, Germany, Japan, and they performed the same kata simultaneously. There were slight diffferences, but basically, these were clearly the same katas.

So here we had, 63 years after the end of the war, American, German, Japanese and French people, enjoying practicing Karate together and each other's company.

Why did we fight in the first place ?

Martial Arts - or Budo - are about much more than fighting. Budō is a compound of the root bu:ぶ), meaning war or martial; and (:どう), meaning path or way. However, the term "bu" is more accurately rendered as "a means to stop the conflict". This leads to an alternative translation of "Budo" as "a way to solve conflict".

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Meditation Bench

Here are instructions and blue prints to build your own meditation Bench.


This kind of bench is used by people who like to sit in a "seiza". In that position, it is important to not overstretch the ankles.

This Bench may be built from one only board. It should not cost more than $15.00 in purchased Material and Hardware.
It can be made with foldable or fixed feet. Fixed feet are a little sturdier, foldable feet makes it easier to move the bench around or take it to places with you.

I have build this one from a Board of beautiful Cedar wood. It smells really good , and does not need to be stained or varnished in anyway.

We had fun cutting Stuff with our Swords...


The Tameshigiri Seminar went very well. Our instructor Joe Byers joined us from Pensacola, Participants were : Nathalie Pugh Stephen and Shihan Travis Page from the Yoshukai Karate Dojo in Auburn, AL. Ron Swihart , aka "Vlad the Impaler" and myself from Dothan. Fred Ray could not attend as he was trying to prevent the nuclear holocaust, and Cody had forgotten that he was to work Saturday all day... He tried to join us on Sunday to finish the mats, but his car would not crank, or something ...


We cut 40 rolls of mats altogether, I used 2 beach matts rolled together for eac
h target.
We mostly cut with Katanas, but also used a Wakizashi and Tanto.

Some cuts were easy, some not so much. Joe was of great help explaining some details of alignment and hips moves.

I believe the first thing to properly cut is to have a good sharp blade designed for this purpose, I am using a Paul Chen Practical XL Katana. This blade costs less than $300, but it is perfect for the job. Nathalie fell in love with it...

Second thing is proper technique. No matter how good the blade is, if the move is
wrong, the best blade will scallop the target, and bend...
Third thing is, as usual, relaxation, let the blade do the work...

Shinkens are extremely sharp, and we were very careful to respect basic safety rules, hence we had minimum blood spill during the event and everybody went home intact.


We had a great time, and will probably organize an other session in the Spring, possibly in Auburn...

Friday, November 7, 2008

SHIMABUKURO Sensei's Interview


Quotes from a 2007 Interview of Shimabukuro Sensei in Black Belt Magazine.

You can read the entire document at : Shimabukuro Sensei's Exclusive Interview


What is the biggest misconception about the samurai sword?
Most people are surprised to find out that Japanese swordsmanship is not the same as you see in the movies. The chanbara movies show long fight scenes where samurai fight for minutes. In real combat, a sword fight takes seconds. The blink of an eye is all it takes to end a real battle.

Why is traditional weapons training still an essential part of martial arts?
All traditional Japanese martial arts are based on the principles of combat with a weapon. Everyone’s empty-hand combat system is better understood after one has trained in a traditional weapons system—especially swordsmanship. The precision and etiquette required to master an ancient samurai art like that of the sword leads each of us to a better understanding of strategy in combat and our place in a peaceful society.

What was the most significant moment in your own traini
ng?
The moment I realized that setsu-do (discipline) and giri (obligation) were the foundation of living the highest life condition. These two things give [you] the responsibility for—and influence over—your training and your future.

What element of your personal development has been most positively influenced by the martial arts?
I thought karate was a tremendous martial art, but I learned dignity from the training I received in iaido. My introduction to sword training was definitely the most powerful influence on my development as a person. The principles of swordsmanship teach that ideals are more important than money or power.


Any closing thoughts? Culture and history are very important. You cannot [execute] correct swordsmanship without a correct teacher or without a true lineage. If you become like the samurai, you carry the same attitude. Swordsmanship is not like other arts. Other arts were not built around bushido. The sword teaches bushido.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

KAGAMI


KAGAMI is the official newsletter of Jikishin-kai International
Here previous issues available :

Kagami 1 : Winter 2006
Kagami 2 : Spring 2006
Kagami 3 : Summer 2006
Kagami 4 : Winter 2007
Kagami 5 : Spring 2007
Kagami 6 : Summer 2007
Kagami 7 : Fall 2007
Kagami 8 : Winter 2008
Kagami 9 : Spring 2008
Kagami 10 : Fall 2008

Tameshigiri Seminar


Joe should be arriving here in Headland this Saturday November 8 at 11:00 a.m. and the seminar will start as soon as we get changed.

The mats have been soaking since yesterday, they are quite wet now...
I'll charge $4.00 per mat. I soaked 40 of them

You should be able to perform 3 sets of cuts per mat, more, if you're accurate...

Then we'll eat. I'm slow- cooking a big ham, and am considering Rice and Tomates Provencales to go with it...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ZEN Meditation Group

Following the visit of Sensei Michael Elliston last October, we are now organizing a Sitting Meditation Group. Our goals are to practice meditation, and to discuss practical matters pertaining to it, as well as more general matters pertaining to Zen and Buddhism.

A first meditation session will be held on Wednesday November 12, 2008, from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Yoshukai Karate Dojo
1791 Ross Clark Circle, Dothan, AL 36301.

If you would like to join us, please bring a blanket or thick beach towel to sit on.

There will be no fee requested to participate in the group. Donations will be welcomed to help cover the costs of operation (purchases, travels...) However remember that even if you cannot donate anything, you are welcomed; this should not prevent you to come and get a taste of Zen.

Monday, November 3, 2008

ASTHMA and TAI CHI

Tai Chi and QiGong help the body maintain elevated DHEA levels. Low DHEA levels have been directly linked to allergies. High stress levels are linked to the frequency and intensity of asthmatic reactions as well.

Asthma sufferers may be able to better control their breathing and improve their exercise performance with some training in tai chi, new research indicates . . .

Scientists in Thailand enrolled 17 adult patients (average age 57) with persistent asthma in a six-week Tai Chi training program.

The researchers conclude that Tai Chi can help people control asthma and prove to be an effective, non-pharmacologic adjunctive therapy for people with persistent asthma.

The authors are on staff in the department of medicine at Ramathibodi Hospital in Thailand.

Read the entire article at:
http://www.webmd.com/asthma/news/20081028/tai-chi-may-help-control-asthma

Ancient Chinese Exercise Relieves Knee Pain


Released October 22, 2008

Tai chi is effective in the treatment of pain and physical impairment in people with severe knee osteoarthritis, according to research presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, Calif.

Read the full article at : http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/545482/

Source: American College of Rheumatology (ACR)

TAI CHI Helps cut pain of Knee Arthritis

(Reuters; October 26, 2008) - The traditional Chinese form of exercise known as tai chi can help reduce pain and physical impairment in people who have knee arthritis, researchers said on Saturday.

In their study, one group of people in their 60s with severe knee osteoarthritis performed tai chi for an hour twice a week for 12 weeks while a similar group did the same amount of conventional stretching exercises over the same period.

Those who did Tai Chi experienced greater pain reduction, less depression and improvements in physical function and overall health, researchers led by Dr. Chenchen Wang of Tufts Medical Center in Boston reported at a meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in San Francisco.

(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Peter Cooney)
. . . read entire article at:

http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE49P0VB20081026

The belief and practice of Zen



In Zen we believe that there is a Buddha -nature that is the essence of the existence of the Universe, and that it is in all things.

In Zen meditation, we strive to uncover that Buddha-nature which is within ourselves.


This is so far the best explanation I could find about Zen, what it is about in belief and practice.

Of course, one could deeply expand on this matter, but it is good to state what it is about without getting lost in complicated rethorics and philosophical explanations. I chose Zen because it is a religion one trains in, just like we train in Karate, Iaido, Tai Chi or other martial arts.

It is quoted from the book "MOKU RAI" or Silent Thunder - the second volume of Matsuoka Roshi's teaching Archives.

Zengaku Soyu Matsuoka Roshi was my instructor's Master. He was born in Japan in 1912 and moved to the US in 1939. He founded the Zen Buddhist temple of Chicago, where he was also instructor of Zazen for the Chicago Judo-Karate School, where he was visited by Mas Oyama, founder of Kyokushinkai Karate.


This book "MOKU-RAI", as well as the first volume, "The Kyosaku", of Matsuoka Roshi's teachings can be ordered through the website of the Atlanta Soto Zen Center.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Muso Jikiden Eishin Ryu Program, April 2008

The last program of Study of MJER, JIKISHIN-KAI Program; from 7th Kyu to Go Dan. It probably covers 20 years of practice... Good Luck everyone...

I believe that the Tsukikage (Moon Shadow) Katachi - after which this blog is named - was accidentally dropped from the list. I hope it is later reinstated, because it is a beautiful and cool waza very nice to use in a demonstration, so we will keep practicing it.

And the Ukenagashi sono Ni of the Katachi is NOT in Flashing Steel, but is very close to the Okuden Tachiwaza version.

Wrist Stretching

Illustrated Article about wrist stretching. In traditional Ju Jitsu and Aikido, various wrist locks are applied. It is a wise precaution to stretch these joints before classes.

6 Acupuncture meridians flow through the wrist : 3 Yin : Heart, Pericardium and Lungs; and 3 Yang : Stomach, Small and Large Intestine. When you flex your wrist by bringing the pal of the hand toward the elbow, you stretch the Yang Meridians. When you extend your wrist by bringing the back of the hand toward the elbow, you stretch the Yin Meridians.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is said that "Chi follows Blood". This means that when blood or lymph do not circulate, the Chi is stopped and pain arises.

Stretching the wrists before a Tai Chi class loosens the little bones and help a better circulation of fluids - and Chi, through the joint. These exercises are also good to release tension in the forearms of persons suffering of Carpal Tunel Syndrome, or who simply spend lots of times typing on a keyboard.

Friday, October 31, 2008

TAI CHI Articles


A few articles about TAI CHI written in 2003 for the Acupuncture and Healing Arts Center of Dothan.
These short articles explain in a simple way - if at all possible in less than 2 pages - some basic principles of Chinese Medicine applied to Tai Chi. Please keep in mind that my goal was to provide a concise explanation of complicated matters, which is not easily done without having to take shortcuts that may be questioned by more knowledgeable practitioners. I welcome your comments on these matters.

YIN / YANG and Tai Chi : a concise explanation of the principles governing YIN and YANG.

TAI CHI and Meridians : the basic principles of the circulation of Chi (Ki in Japanese) through Yin and Yang Meridians - without getting into the details of the individual meridians.

Tai Chi and Pain : how, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, pain is generated in the body when Chi does not flow, and how Tai Chi can help reduce or prevent pain.

How it Works : how Tai Chi can help improve flexibility, Strength, Balance, Stamina, Metabolism and Serenity.

TAI CHI Practice : the basic 3 main principles to concentrate on when practicing Tai CHi : Truth of moves, Proper Breathing, Harmonious Flowing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Women's Self Defense & Safety Seminar

This seminar, Free for all females of the Wiregrass Area will be held at the Westgate Recreation Center from 5:45 to 6:45 pm, on Thursday Nights on November 6, 13, 20 and December 4.

. Learn to recognize signs of danger and avoid potentially dangerous situations
. Learn hand defensive techniques
. Learn to use everyday, ordinary objects for protection
. KNOW YOU HAVE OPTIONS

Sponsored by Mike Culbreth of World Yoshukai Karate , the Dothan Department of Leisure Services, the Dothan Police Department, the District attorney's Office and Dr Brett Johnson

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SELF DEFENSE for Women

A Women's Self Defense & Safety Seminar - FREE for all females of the Wiregrass Area is offered at the Westgate Recreation Center from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. on Thursday Nights on November 6, 13, 20 and December 4
This Community service is sponsored by :
World Yoshukai Karate
The Department of Leisure Services
The Dothan Police Department
the District Attorney's Office
Dr Brett Johnson

Yoshukai Open Karate Tournament


Grand Master Kaicho Yamamoto - 10th degree black belt and the founder of Yoshukai Karate - will preside over the 29th Yoshukai Karate tournament this Saturday November 1st at the Dothan Civic Center.

The Dothan Yoshukai Karate Tournament is organized by Mike Culbreth's School of Martial Arts and the Department of Leisure Services of the City of Dothan. It is the longest existing Martial Arts tournament in the South East. Competitors from California, Japan and Germany will be competing this year.

Inscriptions start at 8:30 a.m., Competitions at 10:00 a.m. The entry fee is $45.00

Introduction to Zen Meditation


Last week end - October 26, 2008, Sensei Michael Elliston, Abbot of the Atlanta Soto Zen Center came to Dothan to speak about Zen Buddhism and lead a Meditation Seminar. The event was hosted by the Spiritual Enrichment Center.
30 people attended the Meditation seminar in the early afternoon.
A Sitting Meditation Group will begin meeting in November to practice Zen meditation and discuss various aspects of it.
These sessions will be held at the Yoshukai Karate Dojo
I will keep everyone informed of the date for our first meeting

Monday, October 27, 2008

Notes on Iai Jitsu Seminars and classes


Here are notes taken about several classes and seminar we had in Pensacola, FL or Dothan, AL :

October 2008 Seminar in Pensacola (Taught by Carl Long Sensei)
March 2007 Seminar in Pensacola (Taught by Carl Long Sensei)
April 2008 Class in Pensacola Taught by Patty Heath
January 2008 Class in Pensacola Taught by Patty Heath
June 2007 Class in Dothan Taught by Joe Byers
May 2007 Class in Pensacola Taught by Patty Heath
January 2007 Class in Dothan Taught by Patty Heath

Hello There...

I am creating this blog hoping that it will be a good tool to communicate with my students and other members of the Martial Arts and Zen sanghas.

I intend to post here technical material related to Martial Arts I practice and teach, mostly Yoshukai Karate, Tai Chi Chuan, Kendo and Eishin Ryu Iai Jutsu.

I will also post articles about Zen which shares with Fighting Arts - according to the legend - the same founder Boddhidarma, who came from India to China in the 5th century and taught Sitting Meditation and Open Hand Fighting to the monks of the Shaolin Temple.

I hope this blog will be helpful to all person genuinely interested in realizing themselves through these disciplines.