Kyoshi's Technique of the Week


Technique of the Week (June 14th, 2009)

From Kyoshi David Baker,
Chief Operating Officer
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA
founded by Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro
under the direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione
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Chishi Training


The chishi is a traditional Okinawan weight training device comprised simply of a
weight atop a wooden handle. Hanshi formalized our chishi exercises upon return
from his trip to Okinawa 20 years ago.
A. Circles to the front and side:
Front:
Starting position: Arm in front of body, shoulder height, elbow straight,
chishi held perpendicular to the deck. Eyes straight ahead.
Do 10 repetitions circling to the front using the right hand, alternating
circles to the left and to the right sides of the head. Returning each time
to the starting position in front of the body. Then do 10 reps the same
way using the left hand.
Side:
Starting position: Arm out to the side of the body,
shoulder height, elbow straight, chishi held perpendicular
to the deck. Eyes to the same side as the chishi.
Do 10 repetitions circling to the right side using the right
hand, alternating circles to the inside and the outside of
the head. Returning each time to the starting position to the
side of the body. Then do 10 reps the same way to the left side of the body
using the left hand.
Repeat this circling exercise, to the front and to the side, having each deshi
counting in sequence, around the room. Each deshi counts 10 repetitions for
each hand, the first deshi counting for the front, the next deshi for the side.
Technique:
a. Drop the chishi head (the weight) straight out, away from the
body, so that the chishi is parallel to the deck (using the muscles of
the forearm and hand.) Pause a fraction of a second, just long
enough to stop the chishi’s inertia, so that at all times you’re using
your muscles to move the chishi around your head, under control,
rather than using the momentum of the weight itself to “sling” the
chishi around your head.
b. Circle the chishi horizontally around your head with a straight elbow at
first, the elbow then bends as you bring it behind the back, stopping behind
the back at its midline, where the chishi head will then hang as low it can,
with elbow fully bent. (This circle uses the deltoids and traps.) Pause a fraction
of a second, just long enough to stop the chishi’s inertia. (If the chishi crosses
the midline of the back, it means that you’re incorrectly slinging it around.)
B. Specific, isolated muscle exercises:
Construction:
There are two types of chishi that we’ve built at Hombu over the years. One version is
a simple 1” diameter wooden dowel, approximately 12” in height, with a 2-pound head
made of cast metal. This is a smaller variant of the chishi shown in Master Nagamine’s
book on page 248 (paperback edition), the head of which which appears to be made
of cement. The other version we’ve built is comprised of dumbbell weights atop
wooden, commercially available long hammer / short hand axe handles, approximately
14 – 16” in height. Typical dumbbell weights used are 1.25-lb, 2.5-lb, 5-lb, or a
combination of them.
Note: Line art drawings are by William Cummins, from the Shorin-Ryu Okinawan Karate
Question and Answer Book.
Use the same starting position for the front-facing, circles, above, for each:
Instructor can count for the group. One set only for each exercise.
1. Drop the head of the chishi forward and then return it upright, 10 repetitions
with each hand. (This is the first motion of the front circle, above: “a”.)
2. Arc the chishi up and behind the back, bending the elbow in the backward
arc, then straightening the elbow when returning it to the starting position,
10 repetitions with each hand. (These are repetitions forward and back of the
last two motions of the front circle, above: “c” and “d”.) Again, use the lat
muscle to pull it down to its starting position, rather than merely letting it fall.
A fast count will force the deshi to use their lats to keep up with the count.
3. Drop the head of the chishi to the left side, return it upright, drop to right
side, return it upright. Rather than counting, instructor can give “hajime”
command, and then say “switch” when it’s time to change hands.
4. “Figure 8” wrist rotations, develops flexibility in the wrist as you
strengthen the muscles, by bringing the head of the chishi as close to one’s
forearm as possible on each stroke. Again, you can use “hajime” and “switch”.
5. “Punch” chishi straight forward from the pocket while keeping it
perpendicular to the deck, returning chishi to the pocket on the same count.
10 repetitions with each hand.
c. Lift the chishi straight up behind the head as high as you can, straightening
the elbow. (This lift uses the traps and triceps.)
d. Pull the chishi down in a vertical arc, in front of the body while keeping
the elbow straight, to the starting position. (Use the lat muscle to pull it down,
rather than just letting it drop.)
Reminder:
Keep the chishi at shoulder height or higher throughout the exercise. (Except
when it’s behind the back.) Maintain a distinct half circle around and then a
straight line up, while using the muscles in isolation, and the lower body quiet.

 

B. Specific, isolated muscle exercises:
Construction:
There are two types of chishi that we’ve built at Hombu over the years. One version is
a simple 1” diameter wooden dowel, approximately 12” in height, with a 2-pound head
made of cast metal. This is a smaller variant of the chishi shown in Master Nagamine’s
book on page 248 (paperback edition), the head of which which appears to be made
of cement. The other version we’ve built is comprised of dumbbell weights atop
wooden, commercially available long hammer / short hand axe handles, approximately
14 – 16” in height. Typical dumbbell weights used are 1.25-lb, 2.5-lb, 5-lb, or a
combination of them.


Domo Arigato,
Kyoshi David Baker,
Chief Operating Officer
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA