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Volume 1, Issue 1

April 5, 2010

The famous composer and pianist Ignacy Paderewski once said, If I dont practice for one day, I know it. If I dont practice for two days, the critics know it. If I dont practice for three days, the audience knows it. I have found that this statement holds true well beyond the world of music and can actually be applied to any skilled endeavor, including the martial arts. I find that, if I skip a day of practice, I feel a bit rusty, not quite right. Its probably not enough for anyone else to notice, but it is enough for me to notice. If I miss two days in a row, that feeling heightens, and an observant, knowledgeable outsider is probably able to tell that my movements are less crisp, less fluid. After three days, it is likely that

Principles and rules are intended to provide a thinking man with a frame of reference. Maj. Gen. Carl Von Clausewitz

Contributors: Eric Parsons..Sensei Matthew Ketcher...Ichi Kyu Dena Ketcher.Ichi Kyu Josh Bruce.San Kyu Editor: Matthew Ketcher

Blue River Martial Arts Club

A Word From Sensei

The Importance of Practicing Earnestly by Eric Parsons
even relative newcomers in the class can tell that Im not quite on, not quite feeling it. Now, none of us are professional martial artists, which unfortunately means that none of us can devote three, four, five, even six hours a day to the practice of the martial arts. Instead, we must do the following. One, take full advantage of the time that we do have, and two, follow Shihan John Roseberrys advice and, Do a little bit. Often. In addition, we can enhance our martial training by taking aspects from it and incorporating throughout our days. For example, breathing from the hara is vital to improvement in the martial arts but can easily be practiced at any time, whether it is while driving, in class, or even (especially) when getting ready to go to sleep at night. Similarly, any time we walk we can practice weight shifting, moving our bodies as a single unit, etc. Even techniques like a clearing block followed by a backfist can be practiced while riding as a passenger in a car or during the time in between classes. The more we incorporate our martial arts practice into our daily lives, the more it becomes ingrained into our movements and actions, and the quicker we will be able to access it if ever the need arises. Not surprisingly, it will also lead to marked improvement in our in class performance. Well, thats all for now. Keep training!

Coming events:
The Blue River Martial Arts Club meets every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:00 to 6:30 p. m. in AS 100. The Judo community education class meets every Wednesday at 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. in PSI 140. The Kobudo meets most Fridays from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. in AS 100. Dont forget that belt testing is approaching fast, do you know what you need to know?

Inside this issue:

Looking Back

A Frame of Reference
Zanshin 2

by Matthew Ketcher
Welcome to the first issue of Gaku, the Blue River Martial Arts Club newsletter. Every month we will be talking about the history, tradition, philosophy, training, techniques, and even media that pertains to martial arts. Our hope is that this newsletter will help you develop a complete framework for understanding your martial arts, especially Goju-Ryu. Hence, the name, Gaku. In Japanese a gaku is a frame, generally placed at the front of the dojo, that holds a picture of the founder of the style, a prominent teacher, a philosophy or a doctrine that is specific to that style. Figuratively speaking, that is what we hope this endeavor will be. A frame that encompasses all of those things - our history, philosophy and training priorities. Since the gym cant be permanently made into our dojo, this is where we hang our Gaku.

Women Warriors

Stay on Target

Centerline Concepts

The Book Review

Legendary Tales

Go shu go gaku Five practices of learning One - State of readiness One - Stance One - Distance One - Shifting Position One - Changing body angle


Looking Back
The Family Tree by Matthew Ketcher

Ryuru Ko

Goju-Ryu has a rich history, which legend traces to Daruma, a Buddhist monk from India. When he arrived in China in 475 A. D., He found the monks in such poor shape that they couldnt meditate without falling asleep. In order to strengthen them, he created an exercise regimen. These exercises became gongfu. History, however can only trace it to Ryuru Ko, a Chinese shoemaker with ties to Okinawa and the founder of Whooping Crane gongfu, a variant of

White Crane. In 1874 he became the teacher of Higashionna Kanryo, the son of a prominent trader from Naha. Higashionna returned to Okinawa in 1882. Personalizing what he learned in China, he created Naha-te. He took Miyagi Chojun as a student in 1902. The chosen heir to Naha-te, Miyagi refined what he had learned and created Goju-Ryu. Upon Miyagis death, Toguchi Seikichi, a senior student and close friend, created Shoreikan Goju-Ryu. Toguchi further refined Goju and introduced the Unified

katas. It was in 1956 that John Roseberry became Toguchis student. An accomplished boxer and Judo player, Roseberry founded the Sho Rei Shobu Kan and returned an emphasis on softness by reintroducing White Crane gongfu into Goju. His students are teaching around the world today. Sensei Firman founded the University of Missouri Sho Rei Shobu Kan, and is the teacher of Sensei Eric Parsons.

Higashionna Kanryo

Karate-do wa rei ni hajimari, rei ni owaru koto wo wasuruna by Matthew Ketcher
This is Funikoshi Gichins first precept of Karate-do. Roughly translated it means Do not forget that Karate-do begins and ends with courtesy. Each class and every partner drill begins and ends with a bow. Does the courtesy end there? Is it just for class? Just for our training partners? Of course not, we only have to look at our Katas. Each Kata is considered a complete fighting system and each one begins and ends with a bow or salutation. Think about that. The men who created these fighting systems chose to start and end their practice with courtesy and respect. Why? I think its obvious. Most fights could be avoided simply by being courteous and respectful to others. After all, isnt a fight avoided a fight won? Some words of courtesy: Rei - Bow, courtesy Dozo Onegaishimasu Please help me. Arigoto Gozaimus - Thank you very much Doita Shimashite - You are welcome Sumimasen - Pardon me Gomenasai - Im sorry

Miyagi Chojun

Toguchi Seikichi

Women Warriors
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone by Dena Ketcher
This can be a touchy subject for some students, but it is one that I feel very strongly about as a woman martial artist. On many occasions I have seen womens self-defense classes that were for women only or martial arts classes where the few women in class literally ran to one another when it came time for partner drills. Ladies, if you think you are only going to be attacked by women the same size as you; you really need to think again. For women, martial arts class is the time to put yourself in uncomfortable situations with a training partner who does not want to hurt you, so that you can find out what works against a larger attacker and what does not. When you work with someone who is bigger, stronger, or better than yourself, it only makes you grow as a martial artist. Women can actually become technically more proficient than their stronger male counterparts because of this. I believe that I would not be the same martial artists that I am today if it were not for the wonderful male training partners that have been there every week pushing me beyond my comfort level. I challenge the women in our club to seek out male training partners. Help yourself grow!

John Roseberry

Jeff Firman

Volume 1, Issue 1

Page 3

Stay on Target
By Matthew Ketcher

Aim at targets! Without fail this is said by either Sensei or the Sempai every class. It might seem obvious, but if you train to miss you WILL miss. So if it is so obvious, why does it have to be said so The military understands the necessity of target practice. much? More than likely its because we dont trust ourselves. We really dont want to hurt our training partners, so we purposely miss instead of accidently hurting them. This is a perfectly understandable response; however, it is also unreasonable. In a high stress situation our bodies work against us. Our heart rate goes up and adrenaline and other hormones are dumped into our blood stream. Under this

mental, physical and chemical assault, it is hard enough to hit a moving target. Dont train yourself or your partner to miss! A better response to the fear of hurting your partner would be to practice using control. Approach your training in a way that allows you to go as fast and hard as possible and still stop short of hurting your partner. Just like in the military, the best way to do this is with a lot of practice under controlled conditions. So go ahead, learn to trust yourself by practicing aiming at target!

Under stress It is hard enough to hit a moving target, dont train yourself to miss!

The Centerline
Target Availability by Matthew Ketcher
Understanding the Centerline concept is essential for martial artists. Attacking from your center ensures power for your strikes and controlling your opponents centerline is vital to disrupting their balance. It is also the most target rich axis, of both yours and your opponents bodies. Which is why any defensive stance should allow you to both passively and actively defend your centerline. Since a picture is said to be worth a thousand words, take the time to study the pictures on the right. Some very effective targets have been marked. If a vertical line was placed through Joshs center, how many targets would be near or on it?

The Book Review:

Okinawan Goju-Ryu by Seikichi Toguchi
This book is a must read for all practitioners of Sho Rei Shobu Kan Goju-Ryu. Written by Seikichi Toguchi, it is the definitive text on Hookiyu Kata Dai Ichi, Gekisai Kata Dai Ichi, and Sanchin Kata. Sensei Toguchi not only includes a discussion and demonstration of kihon waza (basic techniques), he also includes some instructional and historical reference. Although it is a relatively small portion of the book, this alone is worth reading it for. However, this combined with the excellent pictures and succinct explanation of the katas and their bunkais makes this book a must for every practitioner of Goju-Ryu. Especially helpful is the section dedicated to Sanchin Kata, a
Review by Matthew Ketcher

fundamental kata for all of Okinawan Karate. Short, easy to read, and full of helpful photos, this book is guaranteed to be a book you will continue to reference for years to come. Definitely a five fist read!

Fifty thousand Blocks*

Legendary tales

Blue River Martial Arts Club

MCC-Blue River 20301 East 78 Highway Independence, Missouri 64057-20522 Phone:816-604-6746 Fax: 816-220-6449 E-mail: Eric.Parsons@MCCKC.edu

Once a boy wanted to learn a martial art. His first stop was a Kung Fu Kwoon. The Sifu met him at the door and said If you want to learn Kung Fu, you must learn to punch. He then showed the boy how to punch properly, saying you must practice this fifty thousand times. Excited, the boy practiced several times, and then thought This is hard, doing it 50,000 times will take weeks. So he left. His second stop was a Taekwondo Dojang. The Sabumnim met him at the door and said If you want to learn to Taekwondo, you must learn to kick. He then showed him how to kick properly, saying you must practice this fifty thousand times. Excited, the boy practiced several times, and then thought This is hard, doing it 50,000 times will take weeks. So he left. His third stop was a Karate Dojo. The Sensei met him at the door and said If you want to learn Karate, you must learn to block. He then showed the boy the proper way to block, saying You must practice this fifty thousand times. The boys heart fell. He practiced several times and then thought I will lie and tell him Im done and see what happens. The sensei hearing the boy say he had finished; took him to a weapons rack. This is much better! thought the boy. Grab the Bo from the top of the rack said the Sensei. The rack was very tall and the boy had to stand on his toes. His fingers could barely touch the staff and it fell on his head. Strange, said the Sensei, after fifty thousand blocks, most students would block that. Embarrassed the boy went back to practicing his blocks.
* Adapted from Legends of the Martial Arts Masters by Susan Lynn Peterson.

It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first.


Shugyo: Intense Training

Developing Hand and Arm Speed by Josh Bruce
In Goju Ryu Karate it is important to have good upper body quickness for blocks, punches, and grappling. One easy way you can improve your hand and arm speed on your own is by doing Reaction Arm Sprints. Simply find an empty piece of floor and sit down with your legs together and straight out in front of you. Then move your arms like you are running, as fast as you can for about 10 to 30 seconds. Rest for a minute and repeat up to ten times. Sounds simple right? Well there are some key points to make sure you get it right so lets go over them. First have good posture, keep your head up. Second, relax. Keep you hands and shoulders free from tension. Third, keep your elbows down and close to your body. As you do arm sprints you may find yourself going so fast that you start bouncing on the floor! Thats alright, just focus on being fast and relaxed. You can vary the way you do reaction arm sprints by changing your position. You can try kneeling, standing in one of your stances, or using light weights! You can even use your radio or television to tell you when to start. Simply pick something to respond to, either the start of a commercial, song, or something else that is easy to recognize. Now get out there and train!

Below: Reaction Arm Sprints seated. Right: Reaction Arm Sprints in zenkutsu dachi.