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First of all...

PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 3:53 am
by Stevie B
Shintoism is the religion you should really be taking a look at concerning an Okinawan Art/or society...
Secondly, if you wish to understand Zen philosophy as it concerns towards Uechi Ryu... It is probably more so the state of mind during Sanchin Katai... Sometimes Shinjo Sensei would simply walk past us or next to us to see if we would take our focus from straight ahead to him. To realize someone if there and respond to the stimulus are two separate things.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 11:51 pm
by f.Channell
I think Zen was applied to Karate from the sword arts on mainland Japan when it was brought there, not Uechi necessarily but Shtokan etc.... Is Shinto-ism the same on Okinawa as in Japan? How did it seem to you to have influenced Karate while you were there? I can see shinto with the clapping during the opening and closing ritual but anywhre else?
I've checked out about 10 zen books in the past 2 months. Most were written during the 60's counter culture time. The awareness you were talking about is definately in zen, but not necessarily just there alone.

None of this makes anyone kick faster or punch harder, but it is interesting to look at I think.


OK... I'll do my best to explain...

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:31 am
by Stevie B a way it does effect their kicks and punches... Because to them they do ir for their Ancestors.. Their Angels, their Kami Sama... To them that are Uchi nana chu they use Japanese rituals to express their own beliefs.. Basically centered around Ancestry worship...Am O haka for instance is built in the shape of the Mother's womb.. signafying a sort of Full Circle of life..But the pressure for say Shuichi Shinjo to take the footsteps and live up to his Grandfather's(Seiyu Sensei) or his father's (Kiyohide Sensei)... So quick answer is that it absolutely effects their belief system and motivation behind their training...Plus, there are not too many Police that come to the snacks with a heavy military presence since 1600... So that has to do with it as well... As far as the Zen... Zen basically means nothingness.. so if I am say attacked, I will feel nothing as far as remorse, regret, stage fright, or any other emotion that may impede me from doing what my training dictates.. My belief system basically just motivates me to take the intensity of everything to a higher level...

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 12:57 pm
by f.Channell
Hi Stevie,
Yes I understand that aspect of Zen. As best as I can tell it really impacted martial arts in Japan after the beginning of the Tokugawa regime, when frankly the world was becoming safer for them than it had. By our standards still violent, but it ended a hundred years of constant struggle for them. The info on Shinto you provided was great, is this also reflected by the photo's of the previous masters on the wall as well? I always attributed that to possible Confucianism. I've been told that Shinto is dominant to Buddhism in Oki, do you agree with that?


Yes.. I think that you are pretty much on with that..

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:16 pm
by Stevie B
I'm not exactly sure that it is the same type of Shintoism that is practiced in Mainland Japan however..They do believe that a spirit will inhabit Rocks and trees... That part is consistant with Shintoism... Also for instance they have Shinto Kamidana rituals at New years and follow those traditions.. But my ex wife and Senseis over there would always say that it was Okinawan Religion.. A bit different from others...I guess sort of how a Catholic and a Babtist believe in the same God basically but in completely different view points..
I think as far as the Zen Buddism in the Dojo that you are also correct, and I point to Musashi's Book of 5 Rings (Go Rin Sho) particularly to the 21 precepts spelled out in "The Way of Walking Alone" as more of a mindset in the Dojos over there... In other words, they don't speak much during Class.. They come in to train and only that... After class Socialize, but during class, only do..Which I believe lends itself to the intensity level and concentration and focus during training... Very strictly enforced.. I once asked Shinjo Sensei "Why?" about something he taught me one night and they nearly had to call an abulance for me after he showed me why...LOL Never do that again.. :?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 1:21 pm
by Stevie B
As far as Confuinism... I really am not too educated to that religion to make a decent guess... But I do know that the Okinawans have a lot of Chinese culture mixed into their way of thinking and Society as a whole.. Many of the older Okinawans like to think of themselves as more Chinese tham Japanese.. But the younger Society is now more rooted to Japan instead..This goes to the giving back of Okinawa to Japan in 1972.. Before that it was Military Ocupation since WW2.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:20 pm
by f.Channell
I was fortunate enogh to train for 3 days with Shinjo Sensei in Connecticut in 2003. I totally understand what you are talking about. I'll never forget it.

At my shodan test in Iaido in 2007 two Japanese masters watched while we did the same 9 kata over and over for two hours. As soon as you stopped for a second to pretend to fix your hakama or whatever to rest they came bolting over. You would quickly have to get back to business.

Interesting terms and information you discussed. Definately keep it coming.

Prior to WWII of course they were occupied by the Japanese. At some point it became a policy of the Japanese to incorporate them, but clearly by Kanbun Uechi's departure not all felt like they were a part of the Empire. He would have become a bullet sponge in Russia or Manchuria, and what would we do with ourselves??

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:30 pm
by robb buckland
Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams....Great read !!

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:51 am
by f.Channell
Elke Sommers husband?
I read that at one point. Long time ago though.


Inspired ?

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:52 pm
by robb buckland
How'd he find time to write !!! 8O

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:59 pm
by f.Channell
I don't know.
But a guy who married a 17 year younger playboy bunny is certainly a guy to take advice from......

Worth rereading !!

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:03 pm
by robb buckland

PostPosted: Tue Nov 23, 2010 2:49 pm
by f.Channell
I have to check it out again as well.
I have it in my pile of books somewhere, unless I loaned it out.
Never do that with your martial arts books or DVD, they never make it home.
Ask Sensei Lewis about him, I'm sure he knew him.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:53 am
by f.Channell
I found the book, I will give it another read. One thing about Zen is that it is not simply a martial arts thing. One can find it within any "do" of Japan and among all lifelong arts such as poetry, gardening, the tea ceremony etc.. Most books I have read are from the counter culture era of the early seventies. As much as I have read, and written essays on the topic. It is a rough thing to pin down.
One description I have read is that explaining zen to someone is like explaining the sea to a fish. It is all around them and absolutely necessary. In that context, perhaps zen is not something to be ignored in how it has influenced karate-do.
Of course it is also meant not to be discovered, only pursued. Like training a kata, to never be mastered and put aside.


PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 6:54 am
by robb buckland
"Like training a kata, to never be mastered and put aside."