Kodokan Martial Arts

"Karate and Kobudo Under One Roof"

Author: @dmin

Anshin Ryu Karate-Do Book By Sensei Fred Bateman

Over the years I have been teaching many students have asked me if there is a book specific on Anshin Ryu Karate. My simple answer was “No”. I was continually asked to write one, but just didn’t have the time. That is until now!

My first book on this subject is called:

Anshin Ryu Karate-Do Volume 1: Insight from 8th Kyu to 5th Kyu.

It’s purpose is to provide the student with an aid to their training for Tsuki (punches and strikes), Keri (kicks) and Use (blocks) from White Belt to Red Belt. The book provides numerous photos and their explanation to each of the movements in the application of the techniques. In addition I have provided an insight to Renraku Waza (combination techniques), Kata (form) and Bunkai (Kata application). It has topics that explains Dojo Etiquette and the geography, Warm up Exercises, Stances and much more. At the end of the book there is a Glossary of terminology that is used in the martial arts

Here are excerpts from the Foreword:

From his foreword: Sensei Roy Stanhope, Hanshi Kudan – Shukokai

Apart from being very informative, regarding what’s required of the student in terms of a grading syllabus, I was pleased to see a ‘Code of Ethics’, which was understandable, given his own views on what constitutes a good martial artist. I was particularly pleased that there was an element of strengthening exercises, coupled with stretching and joint manipulation.”

From his foreword: Sensei Franco Sanguinetti, Nana Dan – Okinawa Goju Ryu, Hachi Dan -Matayoshi Kobudo

Reading through this publication I can see the deep knowledge of his karate style and equally the importance of his desire to share it with his students for their benefit

 

It can be purchased on Amazon, cost £15

 

There is a Volume 2 in the planning stages that is going to be similar to Volume 1, but covering from 4th Kyu to Shodan (1st Dan Black Belt). It is hopefully going to be due sometime in the New Year, 2019.

The Role of Senpai by Marc Faux

The Role of Senpai

By Marc Faux
Shodan in Matayoshi Kobudo

In recent times I have been given the title of Senpai in my Dojo, having become the student with the highest grade. I feel the role is one of responsibility, and I try to assist my Sensei in the Dojo, support the group by whatever means necessary and to lead by example, in all things ‘Budo’. But what exactly does the role entail? What does the term mean? And why does it exist? Like many Japanese terms we adopt in our study of martial arts, we have our own western ideas, but with little understanding as to the real values it holds in Japanese society.

 

Senpai is pronounced as ‘Sempai’, and the literal translation in Japanese is senior. The term is often applied in school, business, the arts, and of course, the martial ways and refers to a senior or early member of a group. The meaning, however, for those in a traditional martial arts group and in Japanese society as a whole is much deeper.

The Senpai tradition has existed since the beginning of Japanese history, but the role cannot be fully understood in isolation. It is the Senpai – Kohai relationship that we should consider, Kohai meaning junior or later member. This system employs a method called On-Giri, meaning deputy or obligation. The Kohai has a certain debt which is owed to his Senpai by virtue of their willingness to impart knowledge. This relationship of a vertical hierarchy in Japan was primarily evolved from three main factors; Confucianism, the Japanese family system and the Civil Code of 1898.

Confucianism came from China between the 6th and 9th centuries, and its teachings of loyalty and respect for elders were well accepted by the Japanese. At this time, loyalty was taken as loyalty to a feudal lord or the Emperor. In the Japanese family system, the father, as the male head of the household, had absolute power over the family and the eldest son inherited the family property. Because of this, reverence for superior, or elders was considered a virtue and from the earliest age a Japanese citizen was indoctrinated into these attitudes. The Civil Code of 1898 further strengthened the rules of privilege of seniority and reinforced the traditional family system, giving clear definitions of hierarchical values. This was called Koshusei, meaning family-head system, giving the head of the household the right to command his family, with the eldest son due to inherit the position. This tiered family system can still be seen in other cultures, such as the British Royal family, for example, where the eldest son is the natural heir to the throne. In Japanese society, however, this attitude is deeply ingrained into the culture. The code was abolished after the Second World War, when many things changed, but, by then had played a key role in shaping relationships in Japanese society.

In the Japan of today, the Senpai – Kohai relationship applies to great extent in junior and senior high schools, where older students have great powers and influence over their younger pupils. The seniority system is also a cornerstone in interpersonal relations within the Japanese business world. For example, at meetings the lower-level employee should sit in the seat closest to the door, while the senior employee sits next to an important guest. The terms of kamiza and shimoza are used in describing the layout of the board room, in a similar fashion to that of the dojo. Most Japanese people, even those who are critical of it, accept the senpai – kohai system as a common sense aspect of society.

The position that we, as martial artists are familiar with was prevalent in the Japanese Samurai and Okinawan Warrior Society as far back as records go. Originally Senpai was the most senior warrior in a group, under the group’s commander or leader. The Senpai was responsible for development and direction of the lower warriors, and, critically for protection of the leader. No other position in a warrior group had these responsibilities.

As time progressed, the role remained very much the same in Japanese martial arts, with Senpai sitting between Sensei and Kohai in the hierarchy of a martial arts dojo. Senpai would maintain the relationship between Sensei and the students. But the role could be a turbulent one, with Senpai constantly observing the Kohai with an element of distrust as to who may be looking to replace them in a power struggle.

As the senior member of the dojo, Senpai had trained under Sensei for many years. This developed an understanding of Sensei, their training methodologies and philosophies. There is, after all, more than a little of the art itself residing in the personality of the teacher. With this relationship, that was often more personal than others in the dojo, came trust from Sensei, reciprocated by responsibility from Senpai. With these privileges, Senpai had the sole responsibility of protecting Sensei with his life. In times of war, depending on the skill and strength, Senpai could either be the strongest or the weakest link in the command chain. A Senpei who was not the strongest, was therefore quickly replaced, out of necessity to survive.

In today’s society, and in particular Western Dojo’s the Senpai role has been diluted somewhat. You may find that the actual expectations and responsibilities in any particular school, differ from similar roles in Japanese dojos, but the title of Senpai still retains its essence in commitment to Sensei, the Dojo and responsibility for promoting the art and culture of Japanese and Okinawan Budo.

 

Within the dojo, Senpai is predominantly responsible for Kohai etiquette or reigi in Japanese. Senpai means that you are personally accountable for the training of your Kohai in reigi, and this is a key part of the role. If Sensei deems students to be lacking in this discipline, it is Senpai who is to blame. In this respect the Senpai of the dojo, is parallel to the role of Senpai in other aspects of Japanese society, as discussed earlier. As in business for example, some line managers are held responsible, not solely for their subordinate’s work, but also for their behaviour on a personal level and the manner in which they conduct themselves out side of work. In Western society, this would cross many ethical boundaries, but echoes the spirit of Japanese culture and its allegiance to the Senpai – Kohai system. In the dojo it was Senpai’s responsibility to immediately correct any breach in reigi toward Sensei from his Kohai. Senpai will lead by example in reigi so his kohai can follow. In doing so, Senpai sets and maintains the attitude in the dojo. But there will also be occasions when clear direction is given and even reprimanding of kohai if repeated failure to follow reigi occurs.

Sensei has the most valued skill and experience to impart knowledge of his art to the students, and the group should therefore cherish Sensei’s time. The delegation of responsibility for reigi to Senpai, means that more time can be dedicated to developing the art through Sensei’s teaching. Much of what martial arts teaches us, extends beyond the mere practice of the skills and develops our values. The teachings that are delivered in the true spirit of martial arts will help us to grow in confidence and stature, but to maintain humble thoughts and a culture of respect. This is another reason why Senpai is often called upon to deliver correct etiquette. While Sensei should and rightly does command respect, it could be seen as egotistical for Sensei to demand this respect on his own behalf, and so Senpai is there for guidance. Whenever I have attended Gasshuku’s in my chosen art, I have witnessed the Senpai remonstrating students for poor etiquette. On this occasion the Senpai was 5th Dan. This fact alone helps to remind us that regardless of skill and experience, we are all still Senpai with Sensei above us and Kohai beneath, with knowledge to impart and much to learn.

Part of the role, regarding reigi, in a traditional school is for Senpai to order the students to line up for Sensei at the start of class. This should be done as Sensei enters the Dojo, or, when Sensei is already in attendance, that it is obvious to Senpai that Sensei is ready to begin. This shows respect for Sensei in not keeping him waiting, and not wasting any training time. Senpai will align himself at the right of the dojo line. This is where the high grades line up at the high seat or Joseki. Elements of this tradition have crossovers into the board rooms of Japanese business, and most likely other ceremonial events.  It is traditional for Senpai to position himself slightly forward of the line and facing at a 45 degree angle, while the Kohai are facing forward, to Kamiza. In ancient times this positioning comes from Senpai’s role as protector of Sensei. He positions himself with this viewpoint to ensure he has a clear view of both Sensei and anyone who would be a potential attacker. While it is unlikely that a loyal student would deem to attack Sensei, there may have been occasions in wartime where enemies may try to infiltrate a dojo for such purposes. Depending on the art, and adherence to tradition, this position may vary slightly. Due to the unlikely threat from students in the modern Dojo, the position of Senpai may be in line with other students, or slightly forward, but facing direct to Kamiza. Senpai also leads the same protocol at the close of training following instruction from Sensei to do so.

During training Senpai will conduct himself as a role model for others in the dojo. This extends to correct performance of reigi, consistently dedicated training and assistance to Sensei in demonstration and teaching where required.  As the senior, and most likely, the longest serving student, Senpai has a great deal of experience to pass to his kohai. It is Senpai’s role to tutor Kohai along whenever possible. Often the instruction is not as formal as the Sensei’s; rather it is given by example. Senpai should be positive, kind and display respect in his guidance, thus showing proper budo. The Senpai is acting more like a big brother, rather than the fatherly figure of Senpai. In this respect the role of Senpai is the first of many steps towards becoming Sensei. In return for their guidance Senpai learns new experiences from the Kohai by way of developing a sense of responsibility.

From a Western perspective, the Senpai of the modern dojo is the middle management of business, the big brother of the family and the ally of Sensei. He is a direct reflection of Sensei’s teachings, in the same way as the kohai are of Senpai’s example. From a Japanese viewpoint, the role is steeped in the traditions of loyalty and respect to figure heads and permeates the very fabric of all society. Such relationships are not easily translated or fully applicable in our own Western culture, but are an interesting insight into the culture from which martial arts stem.

Research

‘Being Senpai’ – Internet Article by Kobukai (2014)

‘Senpai vs Sempai’ – Internet Blog.

‘Senpai and Kohai Traditions’ – Internet Article by Dave Lowry

‘Senpai Responsibility’ – Internet Blog (2000)

‘Senpai and Kohai’ – Internet Article by Howard Collins (2013)

‘Okinawan Karate and Kobudo’ – Essays by Mike Jones (2011)

‘In the Dojo’ – Dave Lowry (2006)

‘The Senpai/Kohai relationship’ – Wikipedia.

‘The Heart of the Warrior’ – Catharina Bloomberg (1994)

Hiki-Te (Pulling Hand)

Below is a small article dealing with Hiki-Te, the pulling hand.

Hiki-Te (Pulling Hand)

This is a term that I refer to in Karate as the preparatory hand. The hand that is ready to strike or receive an attack. It is of course much more than this as it is the hand that has just finished a movement, such as in a block or a strike etc.

Most students tend to forget about the importance of this hand until they need it to strike with it or to block with it. They forget the hand that has just has just applied the technique and concentrate more on the hand that is applying the technique.

Before I carry on let’s just look at the term Hiki-Te. What does it mean? Well Hiki translates as “pulling” and of course Te is “hand”. So Hiki-Te is pulling hand. So, although I refer to the hand on the side of the ribs as Hiki-Te (which has just finished pulling) the hand extended is now the pulling hand, see picture:

The student in this picture has just committed a strike with her left hand. However, just prior to this strike the Hiki-Te hand (Right hand now on her ribs) has just finished pulling.

Most low kyu grade students only concentrate on the pushing hand in the strike (left hand in picture) and little attention is paid to the pulling action of this Hiki-Te. Why is it important? Well firstly there is a balance of rotation between both hands, equally pulling and pushing causing the correct centrifugal force that is needed in the strike, or block. Secondly it reinforces the momentum that is generated from our hips equally Thus, providing the power in the technique.

Hiki-Te is not only related to Karate, but also to Kobudo as well, no matter what the weapon is we should always not forget the Hiki-Te. See some example of where it can be applied below:

 

 

Similar to a strike in Karate

 

Although the hands are now linked with this Bo, it is important that the pulling hand does provide the same acceleration as the pushing hand to help create a powerful strike.

So, next time you train in either Karate or Kobudo, think about Hiki-Te and pay some more attention to it.

 

 

Beckie Challans – Shodan Essay

Apart of becoming a Shodan (1st Dan Black Belt) our students have to complete an Essay on a choice of Martial Art topics. This encourages them to research material on martial arts thus expanding their knowledge. They then have to submit this essay prior to taking the Shodan test. Below is Beckie San Essay of Enoeda Sensei.

Life of a Karate Master – Keinosuke Enoeda Sensei

Born on July 4th, 1935, in Kyushu, South Japan, Keinosuke Enoeda was widely known as ‘Tora’ – or, the Tiger. Gaining this nickname, through his reputation and skill as a competitive and extremely successful Karateka. It is not surprising that Enoeda Sensei was so highly revered by his fellow martial artists.

            Sensei first started out as a martial artist at the age of seven, when he took up Judo, alongside other massively popular activities in Japan at the time; Kendo, and baseball. He proved to be very skilled, and the art came naturally to him, allowing him to achieve the grade of Nidan at the age of just sixteen, laying the foundations for his future life in the martial art world. Not long after achieving this grade, however, Enoeda Sensei found himself at a Karate demonstration, held at Takushoku University, and showcasing two of the main instructors of that group – Senseis Okazaki and Irea. He found himself to be inspired by what he saw that day, and upon enrolling on a degree in Economics, he joined the group, and began to train in Shotokan Karate.

            After just 2 years of tuition from instructors such as Okazaki and Irea, and even Sensei Gichin Funakoshi himself, Enoeda was awarded with his Shodan, the first of the eight dan grades he would achieve over his lifetime. A further 2 years saw him take on the role of Captain for the competition team associated with the university, which allowed him to enter a large number of competitions for the university, in particular within the kumite division of the JKA All-Japan Championships. With each year of entry, he saw evermore successful results, from 3rd in 1961, to 2nd in 1962, and he won the kumite title in 1963, the period in which he had earned his nickname of ‘Tora’.

            Following his graduation from the University, wherein he completed his degree, he enrolled in the JKA’s instructor’s programme, with the aim of gaining a teaching licence for Shotokan Karate, which would allow him to help spread the knowledge and prevalence of the system. He studied this course under the instruction and guidance of Sensei M. Nakayama, and Sensei H. Nishiyama, and after three years, he was permitted to begin his career teaching the art; Keinosuke Enoeda was now a Sensei.

            Not long after his completion of this course, Sensei found that his reputation from the many competitions he successfully completed, and his senior’s high regard for him, was to lead to him being specially selected by Master Nakayama to travel with him, first to Indonesia, to teach the presidential bodyguards, the police, and members of the military, for use in close combat and to assist their ability to handle and dispel violent situations quickly. His love of this was then combined with the respect of senior ranking members in the JKA, which saw him then moving on to travel all over the globe, to places such as South Africa and Hawaii, to help the JKA spread ‘true’ knowledge of their system, aiming to prevent mimicry and watering down of the style through links to the Japanese-based Honbu Dojo.

April 20th 1965 saw Sensei’s move to Percy Street, in Liverpool, England, being permanent. Venturing to the United Kingdom with Sensei Hirokazu Kanazawa, a good friend of his, and despite earlier hesitations and worried about the huge changes he inevitably faced, he fell in love with the British culture, and took up residency in the city’s centre, from where he began teaching classes, full time, at the Red Triangle Dojo, alongside his role as the Chief Instructor for the Karate Union of Great Britain. Notable alumni of this Dojo includes both Terry O’Neill and Andy Sherry, well known in the martial arts and competitive worlds.

 Sensei could be found every day at nearby Sefton Park, training with a small handful of his students, from 7.00 am, so he could keep his own personal training going, something he viewed as being extremely important, given that he had such an influential role over what the clubs under the KUGB’s umbrella, which quite clearly paid off. His time as Chief Instructor saw one of the most successful competitive groups under the recognition of the JKA, to date, with members such as Frank Brennan and Bob Poynton.

His role as Chief Instructor, and reputation for incredible fighting skill also attracted interest from the cinematic entertainment industry, seeing him hired to teach a large number of famous actors, working on some very large films, such as Sean Connery, whom he trained during his time in the role of James Bond, an extremely high profile British film franchise.

            Balanced between these jobs and his regular training and teaching, Sensei also wrote a number of textbooks for Shotokan Karate, publishing titles such as Karate: Defence and Attack, and Shotokan: Advanced Kata, plus many more. These were paired with various demonstration and instructional videos, providing an in-depth insight into his style and skill when training in Shotokan Karate throughout his (later) life. 1973 saw him take part in filming a live demonstration for the BBC, appearing on the programme Open Door, which became the first British TV programme dedicated solely to karate and its surrounding components. This saw Sensei showing his skills in Kihon, Kata, and Kumite, alongside some of his students, such as Dave Hazard, who demonstrated the breaking of Japanese hardwood boards.

            Sensei married his wife Reiko in 1969, following which he settled in Kinston, Surrey, to raise his 2 children, Daisuke and Maya. His final years of teaching were carried out at the Martial Street Baths, in London. Sensei Keinosuke Enoeda achieved 8th Dan before his death on March 29th 2003, leaving his legacy of a very high standard of Karate within the KUGB that he left behind. Sensei was quite quickly awarded, posthumously, the grade of 9th Dan, by the JKA, after his death, serving as an honour, to commemorate his life and his service to the karate world; not just in Japan or the UK, but internationally.

By Beckie Challans – Part of Shodan Testing

 

New Website

The website has had a complete overhaul, I hope you like it and find your way around easier than the old one.

This new Blog & News page will be where certain topic will be published. If you have any Martial Art topics then let me know. 

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