December 16th 2012
Sal Scaglione, Shichi-Dan
The following thought of the week (TOTW) is a continuation of the excellent TOTW authored by Sensei Larry Link on 9 Dec 12. Among the many great aspects of Black Belt weekend, hosted by Kyoshi Mackay and Hombu Dojo, is the amount of knowledge given to all by Hanshi Scaglione and each of the Kyoshi. Additionally the cross-talk between each Black Belt and the sharing of training experiences serves to enhance the application of this wealth of knowledge and the lessons from Master Ueshiro and Hanshi Scaglione into our Karate training.
The techniques, concepts, and philosophy each Black Belt attendee receives is a vital part of propagating Shorin-Ryu Karate and can best be accomplished by each Black Belt taking the lessons learned and training tips attained during these very extensive and informative weekends back to their respective Dojo to further enhance the training of Deshi throughout the entire organization. The TOTW is another means to communicate the lessons learned and reach the entire SRKUSA family. This sharing of information facilitates common understanding and ensures Master Ueshiro and Hanshi Scagliones words live on and may be passed on to future Deshi following the tradition of our Shinden tribute.
One of the highlights from this years Black Belt weekend was the emphasis on Yakusoku Kumite training. On Saturday, both Kyoshi Seeger and Kyoshi Mackay led their Deshi through outstanding Yokusoku demonstrations displaying the sheer speed and power that can be generated from both a defensive and offensive perspective. On Sunday, Hanshi Scaglione led a seminar on fine tuning several basic aspects of Yakusoku for us all to take back to our Dojo and work with our Deshi.
Master Nagamine, refers to ma-ai in the The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do when introducing Yakusoku Kumite, specifically ones ability to move out of the line of fire from the opponent. It becomes a key strategic advantage for us to shift our body as an evasive maneuver away from the attacker rather than to continue to march backwards blocking and fending off attack. Hanshi Scaglione used specific moves from Y-2 and Y-3 to highlight the importance of moving our bodies skillfully and fluidly out of harms way causing our opponents strike attempt fizzle and hit empty air. At that very moment we can use exploit the movement and subsequent opening to our advantage with the winning counter attack. Both Y-2 and Y-3 provide excellent examples of the shift, Y-2 on the last move and Y-3 on the opening move. Each of the Yakosoku, 1-4, actually have the evasive maneuver incorporated within the exercise. By practicing and refining these techniques we can develop the ability to fight off attack with minimal effort, but more importantly we gain advantage of the situation enabling a swift counter attack to finish off our opponent.
One aspect of Yakusoku Kumite training that I personally love is that the defending side wins in each of the four Yakusoku we practice. Each has a counter attack that ends the fight after a series of blocks and counters. Through this training we are reminded that there is no first attack in Karate, and we execute our techniques properly, we gain the advantage and power to execute the final attack. To tie this concept into our Yakusoku training and to complete this TOTW, we should heed Master Nagamines advice on assuming that the last counter is in fact the last move. One should always assume a counter will be blocked and in-turn met with another attack. With this mindset, we ensure we are always ready to defend and therefore in the state of readiness.