• The IRKRS, KU & 2-Person Drills.

    … what you need to read!

    Here’s something you probably didn’t know about the IRKRS, KU & our “Long” Drills …

    “Blessed are they who have learned to admire but not envy, to follow but not imitate, to praise but not flatter and to lead but not manipulate.”

    As the director of the, “The International Ryukyu Karate-jutsu Research Society [Ryukyu Karate-jutsu Kokusai Kenkyukai/琉球唐手術国際研究会 in Japanese, aka, IRKRS] I would like to take a moment to tell you something about our group, the study of Koryu Uchinadi, the HAPV-Theory and its Futari Renzoku-geiko [i.e. the 2-person flow drills of KU].

    IRKRS pre-History

    The idea of forming the IRKRS first unfolded in late 1980’s during the time I was residing in Japan. Having then been part of a multi-style Budo group [called JMAS; Japan Martial Arts Society], I found that I wasn’t getting the opportunity to do as much Karate training with other members as I had expected. JMAS, in Japan, was predominately made up of Aiki, Iai, Jo and Kendo stylist, with fewer Karate members. I made new friends within the group, attended its meetings learned much and enjoyed many indelible memories during my time with them. I was even asked by its director, Phil Relnick, if I would consider becoming the admin for the group. However, as Karate was my principal concern, I decided to focus my attention elsewhere and respectfully declined the generous offer. By then, I had already started meeting and training with a few of my foreign expat Karate friends, and a couple of JMAS members. The suggestion about finding a place where we could all meet and train on a more regular basis. Thanks to my friendship with a local Kendo instructor [Kawaguchi Sensei] in my neighbourhood, I was able to secure a public dojo at the Fujisawa Shiminkaikan [藤沢市民会館] a couple of times a week. I called my dojo the Koryukan [古流館] and it served as the base which gave rise to forming a small Kenkyukai [研究会], targeting just the study of Ryukyu Karate and related practices.

    Like many expatriates, my international friends were typically transient professionals, who came and went rather frequently [i.e. every year or so]. As such, the idea of building long-lasting style-based foundation practices, while working with short term training partners, to say nothing of the issue of them being from different styles, created quite an interesting challenge. Under such circumstances the idea of focusing exclusively upon 2-person application-based practices, became quite normal. At that time my HAPV-Theory was still in its embryonic stages albeit still based upon the idea that all styles of self-defence shared at least two indistinguishable features: #1. The uniqueness of the human body [i.e. that the way we all move is governed by universal science], and #2. That the [empty-handed and one-against-one] acts of physical violence, with which all self-defence methods habitually address in domestic society, do NOT discriminate. Therefore, and beyond considering the obvious variables, it didn’t really matter who you were [i.e. gender, age, ethnicity or nationality or even from what era in which one lived, etc.] only that this truth was understood, and that there was a functional pathway upon which one could reach competency by following.

    The training was so much fun as we not only enjoyed working effortlessly together, irrespective of political and stylistic differences, the pathway was was proving to empower everyone’s overall art. Most interestingly, I also discovered that such scenario-based training not only brought ‘new’ meaning to the old tradition for everyone, and did so without ever adversely threatening the cosmetic appearance of their styles, it was easy and fun to learn. The beauty of understanding this simple message lies in discovering that what brings all styles together is more FAR MORE IMPORTANT than anything that separates them… isn’t this the true spirit of the art. As such, my small group of like-minded people served as the cradle from which the IRKRS was ultimately born. Although we remained relatively small in size over those Japan-based years, before my immigration to Australia in 1995, many of our Japan-based friendships continued on even to this day; Avi Nardia, Joe Swift, Mario McKenna, Heiko Bittmann, Grant Campbell and Mark Tankosich represent a few of the most recognisable instructors still supporting our movement.

    A link to the Past can be your Bridge to the Future

    Koryu Uchinadi

    Koryu Uchinadi is a unique system of application practices ~ likened to pathway bridging the gap between kata and kumite, which serves to strengthen the delivery system of any traditional Japanese/Okinawan Karate style without adversely affecting its cosmetic appearance or taking anything away from its cultural heritage.

    The four individual, and original, sources from which the art of Karate comes are:

    Tegumi [手組] was originally a form of grappling dating back to the time of Tametomo [11th century Japan]. The discipline is believed to have been originally derived from Chinese Wrestling [Jiao Li/角力 from which comes Shuai Jiao/摔角 — new name est. 1928] and evolved into a unique form of wrestling before finally became a rule-bound sport called Ryukyu/Okinawan Sumo.

    Torite [Chin Na/Qinna/擒拿 in Mandarin Chinese] is the Chinese Shaolin-based method of seizing and restraining an opponent. Once vigorously embraced by law enforcement officials, security agencies and correctional officers during Okinawa’s old Ryukyu Kingdom Period, the solo re-enactment of this practice can be found in Kata.

    Kata [Hsing/Xing 型/形 in Mandarin Chinese], in spite of its vigorous local cultivation during Okinawa’s old Ryukyu Kingdom Period [see my Kumemura theory], are solo fighting routines which trace their origins back to [Fujian] Chinese quanfa [拳法]; e.g. Yongchun Crane Boxing, Monk Fist and Southern Praying Mantis styles, etc. Used as forms of human movement, and unique ways of personal training, they were popularised by the Chinese as ways of promoting physical fitness, mental conditioning and holistic well-being.

    Ti’gwa [手小] was Okinawa’s plebeian form of percussive impact—–aka “Te,” “Ti,” “Di” [手 meaning hand/s] orOkinawa-te and Uchinadi. It was an art that depended principally upon the use of clenched fists to strike an opponent [in contrast to the open hand method preferred by Chinese arts, according to both Kyan Chotoku & Miyagi Chojun] although the head, feet, shins, elbows and knees were also favoured.

    HAPV-Theory

    The Habitual Acts of Physical Violence Theory [aka HAPV-Theory] is the principal focus of attention in KU as it serves as the common denominator bringing not just EVERY style together, in principle, but the entire art of self-defence, itself.

    HAPV-based 2-Person Drill Practice Simplified

     #1. The habitual acts of physical violence (i.e., headlock, bear-hug, strangle, being impacted, or tackled from behind, etc.) are identified as the contextual premise of kata. Each is identified and methodically introduced to the learner in order of distance and simplicity (i.e. kicking, punching, trapping, and clinching distance). There are 36 habitual acts of physical violence and no fewer than 72 variations on these common themes, representing a total of one hundred and eight different scenarios.

    #2. The habitual acts of physical violence are taught individually so that each learner can understand its dynamics, what makes them dangerous and which prescribed defensive tactics are best suited to effectively negotiate them.

    #3. A single prescribed application is practiced with a partner back and forth at passive resistance, before variations are considered, thereby promoting familiarity with both the act of physical violence and its prescribed counter. Once an acceptable level competency is reached the attacker and defender are encouraged to gradually increase the intensity of the attack until the two-person scenario can be performed with aggressive resistance and confidence about understanding and effectively negotiating unpredictability is established.

    #4. Learners are then asked to practice the prescribed application by themselves in solo re-enactment rehearsals. Shaped into template-like rituals these solo rehearsals become the individual composites which, when linked together into choreographed routines, becomes something greater than the sum total of their individual parts: Kata!

    In spite of the diametrically opposite way that kata are taught today, I believe this formula best represents the way they were originally conceived and passed on.

    Hindsight is Always 20/20

    As my theory was so diametrically opposite to anything that existed in traditional Karate at the time, I received widespread criticism during in the 1990's when introducing the results of my research. Over time, however, it has since gone on to become one of the most imitated practices worldwide. While I am deeply grateful for being able to have made a contribution, which has literally become "commonplace," I can't help but remember the lesson learned from Arthur Schopenhauer; "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Thinking back to the incredible amounts of criticism I received through social media during the 1990's, what I find most amusing is seeing others being congratulated for teaching what they so harshly criticised me for. It brings new meaning to the saying, "Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery." :-)

    2-Person Practices “ARE” The Art

    The premise of my study was based upon the idea that Kata was never originally meant to teach you anything but rather culminate the lessons one should have already learned in 2-person practices. Therefore, the focus of attention, if anything, should be placed upon HAPV-Driven 2-person practices: i.e. conditioning, percussive impact, joint manipulation and limb entanglement, blood and air depravation, balance displacement, clinch work, dirty fighting, groundwork and escapes & counters, etc.

    This is Kata

    Historically speaking, and only through empirical study, these timeless practices were ultimately ritualised into individual reenactment templates, which could be fused together into abstract solo-routines, where the end result was greater than the sum total of its individual parts, hence, culminating its lessons.

    More on The HAPV-Theory

    I coined the acronym, “HAPV,” after my study into aggressive behaviour and physical violence in domestic culture and its habitual nature. Working largely from what has been reported, as the most common forms of non-lethal and empty-handed [one-against-one] attack scenarios, I explored random and unscripted exchanges of percussive impact [hitting/striking/bashing/smashing], kicking, pushing, tripping and clinch-like grappling [in both the ‘classic’ stand up and on the ground positions] along with every combination in between. I did it this way in contrast to the very different, ‘rules of engagement,’ surrounding the rule-bound sporting arena, weapon-related brutality, multiple-attackers/gang violence and/or military-related battlefield conflict, etc.. The end result allowed me to make a seemingly innocuous deduction; that being the identification of the contextual premise by which all self-defence theories ultimately evolved into competent physical practices; i.e. all functional application practices conceived in any fighting art are invariably against, “Habitual Acts of Physical Violence.” Irrespective of however simplistic my discovery seemed to appear, what I found most interesting was that no one else had ever quantified this, as it is paramount to understanding the very nature of, “How it all Works,” not to mention forming the basis upon which Kata evolved. As such, it only seemed reasonable that the contextual premise be described as the, “HABITUAL ACTS of PHYSICAL VIOLENCE.”

    Following this breakthrough, I spent several years developing 2-person scenario-driven HAPV-practices systematised contextual premise, See more here http://www.koryu-uchinadi.org/KU_HAPV.pdf

    Compliancy, without an End-game, remains a Timeless Problem

     Individual HAPV are identified, described in detail and studied [so that the learner comes to understand its mechanics, the principles that make it work, why it’s dangerous and how it can be effectively negotiated] before being recreated in Futari-geiko/二人稽古.

    In 2-person drills, the attacker recreates the HAPV, with passive resistance [i.e. learning speed] while the defender rehearses its corresponding defensive theme, also with passive resistance. The exercise is continued on until the learner gains familiarity with the practice. This is to say that the learner can now progress to the next level after feeling comfortably proficient: If only in the reenactment process.

    In stage number two, the attacker is required to gradually-to-exponentially increase the intensity of aggressiveness until such time that each engagement is virtually equal to the brutality of a real scenario and any/all glitches in defender’s ability to effectively use the defensive template are resolved.

    In level number three line-drills [i.e. working back and forth with various other partners; e.g. big, small, young, old, male, female, fast, hard, compliant and non-compliant, etc.] are continually used in subsequent training in order to take the learner outside their normal comfort zone.

    This is the stage of practice where much discovery is unveiled about, “Murphy’s Law” [Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong], the brutality of physical violence, and the constant variables that surround function and competency. As the learner arrives at a functional understanding the training experience is culminated mnemonically; i.e. saving the defensive theme [for the exampled HAPV] into a solo reenactment practice or ritualised template [Kata/型].

    KU Futari-geiko http://www.koryu-uchinadi.com/koryu-uchinadi-futari-geiko古…/

    What is KU Futari-geiko [2-Person Practice]?

    KU Futari-geiko is NOT a style! It’s a completely systematised and style-free method of 2-person application practices.

    Highly functional practices which transcend style and are NOT bound by rules KU, Futari-geiko is the one single thread which weaves together the very fabric of all traditional karate.

    After many years of research in Japan, China and SE Asia, I introduced both the KU-theory and corresponding 2-person practices to the West in 1993. Over the past twenty-five years I have since taught hundreds of kata-based application seminars all over the world and to very receptive instructors of every traditional karate style.

    Based upon the HAPV-Theory KU’s Core 2-Person System Includes:

    #1. Giving & receiving percussive impact/blunt force trauma: Uchi/Uke-waza [29 techniques]

     #2. Negotiating the clinch: Tegumi: Kotekitai, Kakie, Ude Tanren and Muchimi-di, etc. [36 techniques]

     #3. Joint manipulation, cavity seizing & limb entanglement: Kansetsu/Tuite-waza [72 techniques]

     #4. Chokes/strangles-air/blood deprivation: Shime-waza [36 techniques]

     #5. Balance displacement: Nage-waza [55 techniques]

     #6. Submission-based ground fighting: Ne-waza [72 techniques]

     #7. Escapes & counters: Gyaku-waza [36 techniques]

    KU Futari-geiko can and does strengthen the delivery system of any traditional karate style without adversely affecting its cosmetic appearance. This is why KU Futari-geiko has become one of the most sought after and widely imitated 2-personal application-based methods of practice any where in the world today.

    The KU Futari-geiko drills are wonderful practices and can be easily learned through our educational DVD’s.

    Please see DVD Vol’s #1 and #11 thru #16 here http://www.koryu-uchinadi.com/shop/products-page/dvds/

    CAVEAT & CLARIFICATION

     Change is the only constant in life and yet, it is the one thing we tend to resist the most. What I have found most interesting over the years has been how perspective changes because of information and familiarity. What was once lost, forgotten [i.e., not remembered], or simply not known, can and often does resurface because of necessity. It becomes accepted and ultimately flourishes and very often to the point where a new generation of learner might never realise the such practices were once common but fell quietly dormant generations earlier. As mentioned previously, when I first began to publicly introduce my HAPV-Theory & corresponding 2-person drills 25-years ago, within the traditional karate community, there was mixed opinion. The accepted norm then was quite simple; “If you weren’t Japanese [e.g. Chinese, Korean, or some kind of oriental, etc,], and or the elected official representative of a particular style,” you really weren’t taken seriously. All throughout that entire era the so-called Japanese master was never ever challenged to pressure-test the terribly incongruous and highly dysfunctional practices being passed off as, “original,” “authentic” and “effective!” Moreover, if for some reason, the learner was incapable of getting such rule-bound drills to work, then it was deemed the learners fault, based upon [and however nicely it was conveyed], “their own lack of understanding and or inability to perform at the required level of competency, etc.” Simply put, no one within the traditional karate community ever “rocked the boat” for fear of being criticised, dishonoured and or ostracised. I only mention this to emphasise the kind of widespread mindset into which I was delivering a completely different theory and practice.

    Not a Secret … But, A Lost System

    Having come up through the 1960’s and 1970’s, and having traveled extensively throughout that era because of my competitive passion all the way up to the mid-1980’s, I can speak with first-hand experience about accepted trends and what was and was not common knowledge during that generation. First of all, let me make very clear that, “Some of the best fighters I ever saw came from that era!” The point simply being this, “Competitive fighting between able bodied, eager and willing participants [often at the peak of physical prowess] is not the same as “Joe average” learning traditional kata application practices for the exclusive use in practical self-defence!” But, that’s exactly what had been the accepted norm. Now, I am not trying to say all instructors were incompetent, as this was not the case. However, and as I’m trying to politely make clear, there is a VERY WIDE GAP between an instructor being functionally competent, because of his/her “individual” skill-set and what “Joe average” was being taught. I knew of many instructors within the traditional karate community who had first-hand experience with various application practices, most of course, were brought into their Karate curriculum from external sources; judo, jujutsu, kempo, JKD, Arnis & Silat, etc. In spite of however interesting this may have been, it was NEVER regarded as, “authentic Karate,” but usually as accepted adjunct self-defence training.

    A Terribly Disgruntled Generation

    From a self-defence perspective, so many instructors had become frustrated with the incongruous drills and totally dysfunctional kata application practices that my HAPV-Theory and 2-Person practices were received with mixed opinion; fortunately, there was much more interest and excitement than there was apathy and repudiation. I think it’s no understatement to say, that an entire generation of karate enthusiasts have gone on to widely accept and eagerly embrace such practices. Judging by its popularity, it’s obvious that the international traditional karate community has learned and grown considerably from the concept, and to the point, where it has become one of the most imitated practices worldwide.

    That said, where and whenever there is a popularity trend, there is bound to be pale imitation, too! No where has this become more evident than within the traditional karate community! The nature of this phenomenon has attracted everyone from those seeking the rewards of highly functional practices to the total charlatans passing off implausible practices as, “old-school secrets,” and “authentic” or “the original,” all of which, of course, being described as, “highly functional!” Even Mike Tyson enjoyed saying, ”Everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

    Koryu Uchinadi’s Futari Renzoku-geiko [ 古流沖縄手の二人連続稽古]

    I sometimes hear an unfounded criticism aimed at KU that our 2-person continuous practices [i.e. KU Futari Renzoku-geiko] are somehow flawed, seemingly too long, certainly overly complex, even redundant and or just simply, NOT functional!

    I can only guess that whomever thought this up, says it or believes such a silly thing clearly does NOT understand the nature and purpose of such ritualised practices. True, that at least seven sets of our many drills collectively bring together nearly 350 different technical applications [please see HAPV-Theory KU’s Core 2-Person System above], but I am at a loss to understand how anyone could seriously considered such practices anything but truly remarkable!

    Such encyclopedic-like practices were NEVER conceived to EVER be learned, “As a flow drill,” but rather to serve as an, “end result,” collectively culminating all the brief individual 2-person lessons already learned over the previous weeks, months and or years. Additionally, these practices also served as reservoirs of scenario-driven lessons, which could be handed down generation after generation… in the same way they have in Japanese Koryu/古流 traditions for hundreds of years.

    Classical Tradition – Contemporary Insight

    KU Futari-geiko is the bridge linking Kata to Kumite. A bridge to the past can be your link to the future.

    Kata

     By linking together such ritualised templates into choreographed solo-routines, clearly something greater than the sum total of their individual parts becomes evident … in this light, it is my belief that, “Kata was never meant to teach anything but rather, culminate the lessons already imparted [in 2-person drills].” When the contextual premise is NOT present, or is misunderstood, and/or not supported by functional scenario-based 2-person drills [i.e. the “lost formula”] that Kata becomes something different from what it was originally meant to be.

    When learned indiscriminately, this profound time capsule is reduced to little more than a misunderstood cultural recreation. How many times have you learned Kata but remained completely in the dark with regards to its original defensive application? In this regard, I liken Kata to learning a song in a foreign language; an exciting melody to the ears, but without understanding the words in which it is sung its meaning forever remains a mystery. In 1905, French Philosopher, Henri Poincare, wrote: “Science is built upon facts much in the same way that a house is constructed of stone, however, the indiscriminate collection of facts is no more a science than a pile of stones is a house.”

    The KU Pathway

     KU is best known for its unique and totally empowering pathway formula, which fits comfortably under the foundation of any tradition, without ever challenging the cosmetic appearance of its style. Of equal importance is the truth behind quantifying what the legacy this cultural heritage truly represents: TRADITION is not about blindly following in the footsteps of the old masters, or even preserving their ashes for that matter, but rather it is in keeping the flame of their spirit alive, and continuing to seek out what they originally sought. Having already done the research, I’ve saved the learner the time and trouble of wandering through an endless minefield of myth and mysticism, and the quagmire of half-truths and self-serving propaganda. The KU pathway leaves no room for the kind of ambiguity exampled elsewhere in traditional Karate; i.e., the kind of ambiguity which has given kata such a “bad name.”

    Riai-Tegumi

     Riai-Tegumi [理合手組] represents the unscripted/random exchange of HAPV attacks, escapes & counters [using our RRCCR/receive, respond, capture, control & release concept], with varying levels of aggressive resistance, which starts from a stand-up position after, “Crossing hands,” and includes any/all other variables such as the clinch and the ground. Riai-Tegumi is also the principal mechanism by, and through, which the entire value of KU is realised. KU represents a clear and precise pathway to mastery. If and when followed methodically, I am confident that the KU method will produce more far-reaching results than if instructors work toward the same goal independently.

    The IRKRS

     琉球唐手術国際研究会にようこそ

     The International Ryukyu Karate Research Society, is where Like-minded People Meet to Learn, Become Empowered & Celebrate Personal Achievement & Camaraderie through the art of Karate.

    In addition to enjoying the privilege of being the very first style-free and information-based [non-sporting] traditional Karate organisation of its kind anywhere in the world [est. 1988 Japan], we are considered by many to be a wonderfully informative and deeply influential resource. We have warmly welcomed like-minded people from all over the world and many different kinds of styles and organisations for nearly 30 years. Becoming part of the IRKRS has nothing to do with rank, lineage and or time-in-grade, etc. ... as we’re an information-based group, our principal focus of attention is upon empowering its members through knowledge and understanding.

    Our historical research and published Japanese-to-English translations have long lead the way in our field and remain intact. We also have one of the rarest unlisted online video resources of Okinawan masters anywhere. The “Karate Study List” [both new & old KSL] archives remain a tremendous source of information … in fact, the footprints of several of those who currently run other similar [online] groups can be traced right back to here to the IRKRS. We have built a strong reputation within the international traditional Karate community and are widely respected by “Out of the box thinkers” who share our trailblazing philosophy: "Tradition is NOT about preserving ashes in a box, nor blindly following the men of old, but rather about continuing to seek out and improve that which the pioneers sough after.”

    The IRKRS frequently works closely with instructors, schools and various other styles to help construct more functional curricula, often because of mundane and incongruous application practices and otherwise outdated training methods handed down part of their tradition as, “Authentic!” We have long been known for opening doors to many seeking assistance either directly with Japan [Okinawa], China and SE Asia, the translation of documents [and other material], better understanding culture/language difficulties, obtaining rare books/docs and cross-grade rank/title accreditation, along with making recommendations when appropriate and or wherever our influence carries weight, etc. … this is especially welcome assistance for those who have been victims of political indifference. IRKRS members receive discounts on products and merchandise and, in some cases, receive special offers and opportunities that are NOT revealed to non-members. Also, our worldwide networking capacity and ability to link like-minded people together in support of common interest/goals is exceptional.

    Breaking down walls that divide, and building roads and bridges, the IRKRS boldly took an ambitious step in 1988 by being the first organisation to blaze a new and unique path upon which to unite like-minded learners in pursuit of common goals, irrespective of style or political affiliation. In the years which followed we established a strong foundation, received widespread support, international accolades and a sterling reputation from unreservedly serving our alumni, empowering learners, celebrating personal achievement and camaraderie through this wonderful art. In 1996 we initiated the Honour Roll as a platform upon which to recognise individuals whose exceptional dedication, commitment and contributions to the art of Karate, influence, inspire and touch the lives of so many.

    Conclusion

     I continue to oversee our worldwide movement largely because my elders taught me to appreciate the undeniable pedigree of our pioneers from which comes a deep and strongly rooted tradition that is principally about three key factors; evolution, functionality and preservation. Kata conditions the body, cultivates the mind & nurture the spirit,

    Deep roots strengthen the foundation of this art and yet wings are what provide us with the means to continue forth on the journey of discovery. Practicing the art of Karate inconspicuously links us to its past; through training together we forge important bonds of friendship, and by living the art we honour its heritage, which in turn, keeps this spirit alive.

    真の空手道は人生のためです

    www.koryu-uchinadi.com

    PATRICK MCCARTHY·FRIDAY, 31 AUGUST 2018