Archive for July, 2008

Time and Attainment

July 29, 2008 1 comment

An interesting point to ponder – Shorin Ryu Sensei, R. Dauphin, writes on time and attainment…

How Do You Spend Your Time?

With the right amount of time all things are attainable. Initially most karateka feel clumsy, awkward and self-conscious. What can change this predicament is properly invested time. With twenty years of dedicated well-balanced time, the beginner can transform themselves into a karate master. The hardest part of karate mastery is investing the right amount of time in the proper place. The greatest danger lies in spending time foolishly because eventually time runs out.

Most beginner karateka have a hard time even lining up straight let alone executing a proper technique. Five years of properly invested time will change this. In five years, the beginner can go from being awkward and clumsy to being able to perform hundreds of intricate techniques. Eventually, these techniques are not only executed physically, but a certain amount of mind and spirit become present. The initial investment of five years will give most karateka ten basics, sixteen kata, a fairly advanced level of sparring and a rudimentary understanding of history and philosophy.

If the aforementioned can be achieved in five years, then what would happen if the karateka doubled the time they invested? With ten years of balanced time, the karateka should know the above on a much deeper level. A knowledge of Bunkai, history, and philosophy should be strongly rooted. Techniques should no longer be mindful repetitions but should slowly become part of the karateka. Investing ten years time should forge a strong spirit which reveals itself in everything the karateka does.

Let’s double the invested time again. Twenty years of properly invested time can produce a student who has a broad knowledge of the entire Shorin Ryu system. With twenty years of invested time, a karateka should be able to perform their karate with a very advanced level of body, mind and spirit. A person who trains for twenty years can call karate theirs because with that amount of time karate should become part of them. In executing techniques, thought should no longer be necessary. Twenty years of training should fuse the body, mind and spirit into one entity which shows itself in the sensei tries to teach you to spend time in these endeavours not only physically but mentally and spiritually. How many times during class does the sensei call for more spirit and how many times have push ups been done to remind the karateka to spend their time properly?

The karateka must balance their time correctly. To properly progress, all areas of karate must be trained. For example, if a karateka spends all of their time training their physical side how can they make any significant mental or spiritual gains? All areas of the being must be trained and progress together or the balance of body, mind and spirit will be thrown into disarray.

The key to spending time wisely and making balanced progress is honesty. Every karateka has problem areas, the solution to this is to spend more time in training the areas you do not excel in. Training your problem areas will bring them into balance with the rest of your karate. How often does the karateka who is weak in kata but strong in kumite spend time training kata? Their kata is probably trained very little because they want to train what they are good at. The danger here is that the more progress a karateka makes in just one area, the more out of balance and weaker their karate becomes. Eventually, the karateka who trains on only one level will find themselves inferior to the karateka who has achieved a balance of body, mind and spirit. Honesty is the solution to this problem, identify problem areas and then spend the time necessary (sometimes years) to bring them into balance.

The error in not managing time properly, is that time will run out. If a person is lucky, they will spend ninety to one hundred years on this planet. It is tragic to waste any amount of this time, wasting your time is like throwing your life away. As Sensei Legacy always says, “Lost time can never be regained.” This does not mean a karateka can never relax or have fun, it just means that time should be managed according to the goals they have. If a person works hard and commits to everything they do then when they die they will have lived a full life.

With five, ten or twenty years of training, a great deal can be accomplished. Balanced training in all areas of karate will very likely produce a karateka with a deep understanding of not only the body but the mind and spirit as well. Time, honesty, dedication and intestinal fortitude are a must to achieve these goals. Without the aforementioned qualities, in twenty years nothing can be achieved except the wasting of a large amount of time. In karate, there are no one week wonders; if you hear someone say, “I could never be as good in karate as the sensei,” tell them to make the same statement after they have trained for twenty years.

The next time you fail a grading or do not perform as you feel you should, ask yourself;
How am I investing my time?

By R. Dauphin, Nidan

Categories: Drop in the Bucket


Stances are not simply an exercise in balance and strength. They are also a vital part of the fighting applications of kata .  Stances are used in combat to ensure correct distribution of bodyweight and the correct position of the karateka’s centre of gravity. This is essential if techniques are to be effective, using the entire body, not just the striking limb, in order to obtain maximum power and speed.  It is not the stance itself that generates power, but the movement of the body into the stance (stance transition) that ensures the correct projection of the karateka’s bodyweight; using body rotation and propulsion dynamics. Stances are not intended to be static postures, but points of reference of the delivery of a technique.  Stances are also used to limit the opponent’s movement and to control their position.

All stances within katas are used in all of these ways.

The way in which one stands, obviously influences the actions that can be immediately taken. A very broad-based stance with a low centre of gravity is extremely stable and good for launching powerful punches and blocks. On the other hand, a narrow-based stance with a high centre of gravity is suited to quick movements.

Stance can engage for an instant during the apex of a technique.  Even elements of energy rooting learned from stance training can occur during technique.

Stances used in Wa-Ki-Ryu can be found in:

well…lemme just paste them in here…

Kake Dachi – Crossed stance (used in kata)

Kiba dachi – Horse-riding/energy stance

Kokutsu dachi – Back-stance

Kumite dachi – Fighting stance

Neko ashi dachi – Cat stance

Sanchin dachi – Hour-Glass stance

Teiji dachi – T stance

Yoi dachi – Ready stance

Zen-kutsu dachi – Forward-stance

Categories: Drop in the Bucket

Remembering Master Hitoshi Shiozaki – February 22nd, 1956 – August 29th, 2006…

July 22, 2008 9 comments

Master Hitoshi Shiozaki was a 6th dan black-belt of Yoshukai Karate in Japan and 2nd dan in Jujitsu. He was also the General Manager of the Osaka head office in Japan.  Shihan won the All Japan Full-Contact Karate Open Tournament 4 times from 1981 to 1985.  He had been practicing karate for 30 years and teaching for 20.

I remember the first time I saw Master Shiozaki…and it wasn’t at a tournament.  I was just finishing my 3rd or 4th class in True Vision Karate at the old dojo when I saw this man ride up on an old blue bicycle.  He had the thickest orange tinted glasses I had ever seen which made his eyes look two times too big…He saw my training partner, Jay also a new white-belt at the time, and I exiting the the dojo and immediately got off his bike to bow to us both…he let out the strongest “OSU!” I had heard at the time and I was quite unsure what to do except to smile a little and say, “hello”.  He then bowed into the dojo to talk to Sensei Chris and no doubt watch the advanced class.  It wasn’t until much later that I realized just who this man was when he showed up with a Brown belt in Yoshukai for my Sensei!  Imagine my surprise when I saw this Master talking to the class as I walked-in…I didn’t even bow back to him that day when he got off his bike to bow to me!  *groan* 

After seeing Shihan demonstrate Yoshukai @ Senei Jared/Grayson’s Shodan grading, I asked Sensei Chris for permission to cross train in Yoshukai.  I was very privilaged to be allowed to do this at green -belt but I soon learned that cross-training is harder than it looks! I was too sore and from the Yoshukai to keep up with my core style’s pace, and soon after decided to just focus on Wa-Ki-Ryu. I would occasionally drop in to Shihan’s dojo so his students could use me as “fresh meat” for kick training. 🙂  I remember being so eager to not insult Shihan in any way when training in his dojo that I was quite uptight the first time…then, of course, I was quite blown away by how easy it was to be around the Master.  He would always give you your say in a conversation and, if you had any questions for Shihan, you usually got good answers that  you could think about afterwards.  Shihan would never take any dojo dues from me…he would just say to me, “You Mitchi, just train, no money…it’s OK!” He knew I had my core style and was just looking to share energy – I guess as far as Shihan was concerned, that was good enough.

Shihan would always invite our dojo to his student promotions and demonstrations. We were always made welcome – whether we went there to train, or to simply watch in amazement.  I’ll never forget the sparring/training sessions I had with Shihan and his dojo…those few sessions impacted my core style in such a way that they will forever be a part of my training.  

Categories: The Knowledge Pool