FEBRUARY 23, 1998

Traning Methods

This week the technique is a re-cap of the use of various training methods i.e. kata, kumite, makiwara, bunkai, tanden-kumite (body-conditioning) and the use of kumite as a part of our training. I feel the misconception of kumite is due to the complicated nature of the physical exchange and body contact between practitioners using deadly physical force in karate practice. All the thoughts and principles expressed in this post have always been part of our training methods. We need only to reflect on our own experiences in karate classes from day one. It is impossible to do everything in every class, however we do review and reiterate all aspects of kata and kumite throughout our training. This is most important and must be considered by the Shihan, instructors and students.

I thank Hodes Sensei for his thoughts on the importance of kata over kumite, which were well researched. This letter is intended to complement and further that concept. I certainly appreciate Hodes Sensei's views as I appreciate the views of each Shihan and Director of the Dojo and Clubs of Shorin-Ryu Karate USA under the direction of Hanshi Ueshiro.

Kata, as we all know, is the most important aspect of karate training. Kumite, is second to kata practice and is also an integral part of karate training, primarily through the use of yakusoku kumite, bunkai, tanden kumite and also "one step sparring" as described in part in last week's technique bulletin. The final form of kumite - jyu kumite - is a relatively minor feature of our
training. We rarely spend time during class, for instance, practicing jyu kumite.

The primary use of jyu kumite is as part of the belt promotion for the higher ranks, especially for Dan ranks. This rule that Dan level promotion include jyu kumite is directly from Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro and has been in effect since 1962. I, myself initiated the jyu kumite at the last promotion in NYC as we always do at ALL of our dan-level tests.

Master Shoshin Nagamine also expressed his thoughts on the utility of jyu kumite on page 29 of The Essence of Okinawan Karate-do" under the heading "RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STUDY":  "3. Study and practice kumite (formalized and free-fighting not primarily for tournament purposes, but to acquire ma-ai, to develop the martial art sense of reading the opponent's movements, and to develop kiai and stamina, which cannot be fully attained through the practice of kata alone."

I, Kyoshi Scaglione, practice this and have been doing this
regularly in the classes I conduct. However not predominantly and always using the techniques from Shorin-Ryu Karate (kata) in kumite practice.

Also, on page 247 is:   "Karate must be studied as a martial art with due stress on the practice of kumite as a life-or-death match but not for tournament purposes. As I have always asserted, kata and kumite are to karate as mother and father are to children. Both must be fully studied and practiced with due consideration given to maintaining a properly balanced relationship between them.

The contact with another in kumite practice is invaluable training. The skills one has learned are tested through kumite in the unique mutual relationship established between one's self and the opponent. Testing one's self against another, not with the intention of harming the other or showing off one's skills for tournament purposes, but with the intention of committing one's whole being to the situation, makes kumite a marvelous learning experience. As in kata, self-development is the essence of kumite."

I feel this is imperative and re-state, from technique bulletin of 2/16, that there exist accepted and recognized kumite variations within our training regimens and it is the responsibility of the Shihan concerned for this instruction in each dojo.

Further, because Master Nagamine's dictates on page 29 under "RECOMMENDATIONS FOR STUDY" about all aspects of karate training are so critical, I have copied them below: "The following are important recommendations and mottoes under which karate-do should be learned and practiced: 

1. Develop karate-do on the basis of its history and tradition. 

2. Study and practice kata strictly and correctly. (In order to focus all possible strength into each movement of the kata, constant repetition is required. The body must be thoroughly trained, and this takes many years. Even after many years, kata practice is never finished, for there is always something new to be learned about executing a movement.) 

3. Study and practice kumite (formalized and free-fighting), not primarily for tournament purposes, but to acquire ma-ai, to develop the martial art sense of reading the opponent's movements, and to develop kiai and stamina, which cannot be fully attained through the practice of kata alone. 

4. Fully utilize such methods as rope-skipping, exercise with bar bells, dumbbells, chishi (an ancient form of dumbbell), sashi (iron hand-grip), etc., to develop the muscles and physical power. 

5. Study the use of makiwara form every possible angle in order to develop atemi, concentrated destructive power. This force is
manifested in such demonstrations as the breaking of boards, tiles, or bricks with the hands and feet. 

6. Include zazen (Zen training in a sitting position) in karate practice for further mind training and understanding of the essence of karate-do and Zen as one."

#1 is mandatory as described in the three mandatory texts, the above mentioned by Master Nagamine, the red and green book.

#2 Kata comprises 60% or more of every training session. Also as detailed in the technique bulletin of 12/28/97.

#3 Various forms of kumite are practiced and many are restated in the 2/16/98 technique bulletin.

#4 All the equipment mentioned is and was always a part of each dojo. Today there are more sophisticated modern equipment i.e. Nautilus, Med-Ex type equipment, etc. We may enhance our muscular or physical power development outside of the dojo (at the student's discretion).

#5 Makiwara is always encouraged, and explained in part in the technique bulletin of 11/1/97. Board & brick breaking are part of EVERY test and part of every formal karate demonstration.

#6 We sit seiza (a form of zazen) before and after every formal class (karate practice).

I list the above mentioned point of views in order to clarify the principles outlined in our system as evidenced by our past years of training, class participation and testings.

The principles are not new, are clearly spelled out in all three books: Okinawan Karate-do, Shorin-Ryu Q & A Book and Building Warrior Spirit.

Arigato, Kyoshi.

Deshi of  Shorin-Ryu Karate U.S.A. Click here to post a message about this week's Technique Bulletin.  Please note: This feature is only available to our deshi.

Click here to see an Index of Past Articles

ROBERT SCAGLIONE, 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.

|  Shorin-Ryu Home Page  |  Registration Form  |  General Store  |  Dojo listings  |
|  Shorin-Ryu Museum and Learning Annex  |  Email: info@shorinryu.com |