The Lower Body Powers The Technique
Shorin-ryu is a natural style. It is efficient. It uses the large lower body
muscles to supply the power regardless of whether the technique is a lower or
upper body technique.
To illustrate how this works, let's look at the sports that utilize a power
technique of the upper body. It is how a baseball batter hits the ball for
power. It is how a golfer drives the ball off the tee. It is how a basketball
player shoots a three point shot. It is how virtually all athletes use their
lower body to power an upper body technique.
To further illustrate the action, let's contrast it to an opposite example
where the lower body purposely remains static during an upper body action.
This is how a body builder lifts weights. (And, pointedly, how a power lifter
does not lift weights.)
When a body builder does an exercise, he isolates the
muscle being targeted. He locks his knees to do a standing bicep curl so that
the bicep and only the bicep works. How much easier would it be if he flexed
his knees before the lift and then straightened them to throw the weight upward for the curl? The weight would move much faster and he could do a lot
more "curls" doing it that way than if he isolated the biceps by locking his
knees, because the large quadriceps would be doing the exercise rather than
the small biceps. But that wouldn't build his bicep muscle which is what the
body builder is trying to accomplish. He wants to do the exercise as inefficiently as possible in order to build the individual muscles.
But that's not what we're trying to accomplish in a block or punch. We're trying to visit the maximum power possible to the target of that specific arm
technique. To punch as powerfully as we can or to block as powerfully as we
Further, since Newton's Second Law of Motion states that net force is equal
to mass times acceleration, we want to get as much body mass behind the technique as we can while remaining balanced. That requires moving our entire
body in the technique rather than just pushing out the punch, for instance,
with the triceps.
When first learning to use the lower body efficiently you probably will want
to make the motion of the hip fairly large so that the upper body has a sufficient interval of time to be affected by the motion of the lower body.
Exaggerate it a little if you wish to feel the upper body be "thrown" by the
legs and midsection.
Once you've learned to power the upper body by the motion of the lower body, you should begin to cut back on the degree of lower
body motion. Make it more graceful, more fluid. Think of a Mark McGwire homerun or a Tiger Woods tee shot or a Michael Jordan jumper.
Without a slow motion playback of their shot you'd probably never notice that
their legs and hips moved before their hands. You'd only notice the result.
Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Midtown Karate Dojo
Kyoshi, began his karate training 30 years ago in 1967. This
is his 25th anniversary as a Blackbelt under Grand Master Ansei
Ueshiro-Hanshi of the Shorin-Ryu Karate U.S.A. system. Kyoshi
Scaglione is the Chief Administrator of the original style in
the United States. He has traveled with Hanshi throughout the
U.S.A. and as his representative worldwide. Born
in Brooklyn, New York in 1938, Kyoshi served in the U.S. Navy
and in 1961 became a NYC Police Officer. He voluntarily worked
exclusively in high crime/ high hazard areas during his entire
20 year tenure with the NYPD. He served in many assignments in
all five boroughs of New York City including uniformed street
cop, undercover officer and as a Detective in the elite Special
Investigating Unit featured in the film "The French Connection."
He led the NYPD in felony arrests many times and has numerous
awards, citations and letters of commendation from Police Department
officials, Federal Agencies, District Attorneys, Grand jurors
and the civilian community. He retired from police service in
1981 in order to devote himself full time to the art of karate.
Kyoshi began his karate training in the NYPD. He continued his
training under Sensei Terry Maccarrone-Shihan of the Hegashi
Karate Dojo on Long Island, New York. He was Senior Instructor
at the St. James Dojo for five years. Hanshi Ueshiro, wanting
a dojo in Manhattan, asked Kyoshi to open a dojo in New York
City. He founded the NYC dojo in 1977, which became the headquarters
of Shorin-Ryu Karate USA several years later. After ten years,
in 1987, Kyoshi relocated to Merritt Island, Florida and founded
the Okinawan Karate Dojo leaving his senior student David Baker,
San Dan to continue operation of the NYC dojo.
Over 125 students began their training directly under Kyoshi
Scaglione and have attained blackbelt level. He continues to
work closely with all his blackbelts, including the ten who have
opened dojo on the mainland US, Hawaii, and in Israel. Among
his students are many professionals, doctors, lawyers, military
officers, police officers, business executives, artists, writers,
housewives, students and children.
Kyoshi is the co-author with artist Bill Cummins, Ni Dan of "The
Shorin-Ryu Karate Question and Answer Book" and has written
another entitled "Building Warrior Spirit." His student
David Seeger, Yon Dan, an Emmy Award winner, has produced several
karate videos with Kyoshi. Kyoshi is the Editor-at-large of this
30th Anniversary journal. He has written and assisted his students
in writing newspaper and magazine articles, film scripts on varied
subjects, novels, and stage plays. He has appeared on national
T.V. and radio, in stage productions, and at Universities and
schools giving karate demonstrations and lectures on self-defense
and assault prevention. Kyoshi's four sons, Sal, Robert
Jr., Dion, and Shane are all Ni Dan blackbelts.