March Newsletter


March 2019

Doug King’s Tournament, Merriam Avenue Elementary School, Newton, NJ – March 24th.

Brown Belt and Black Belt session Friday, March 15th.

Make Monday Positive – paraphrased from “Simple Truths

Positivity is more inspiring and valuable than negativity; however, it always seems harder to look on the bright side. The good news is, you can change this and be surprised by how easy it is to be positive with everyone. Focusing on the good in life by saying and doing positive things. By asking a simple “why not?” matters may change and negativity is let go. Consciously, put positivity in the world this month. When life feels out of reach, try turning it into a “why not?” and see where it leads. Lastly, think back to someone who made a difference in your life and call, write or email to let him or her know. See what happens when you’re a true force of positivity, because being positive matters and so do you.

Live with Purpose

Although we can’t choose how we’re born, we do get to choose how we live.
This means that choices matter. Understanding that you matter is the first step in living a life with purpose. After that, it’s about taking one Monday, one action at a time – leading to a change in your life and those around you.

Start Here: Make Monday Joyful

Joy surrounds us – we can create it, experience it and share it. It comes in different forms! When was the last time you did something just for the fun of it? How often do you laugh until it hurts? Can you recall taking a moment to love the little things? If you can’t remember, make it a point to start each day taking a few minutes to think about joyfulness and what it means.

 

Congratulations to the people that participated in the January 17th Golden Rule Tournament.

Winners were: Tom Schroeder – 3rd Place Weapons, Kristyn Wheeler, 3rd Place Weapons and 4th Place Kata, Jake Brader – 2nd Place Kata, Daniel Tankel – Third Place Kata, Rachel Tankel, 3rd Place Kata, Dominic Jovino – 2nd Place Kata and Sparring, Trinity White – First Place Kata (tie).

 

There have been discussions at the dojo lately about the starting and ending points when performing katas.

The following is a short text has been taken from the Encyclopedia of Okinawa Karate and Kobudo. It was written by senior Uechi-ryū practitioner Tōbaru Keich and it gives a good overview about the topic of enbusen. With uke-waza (defenses), tsuki-waza (strikes), and keri-waza (kicks), the kata of karate also include skills such as tsukame-waza (seizing), nage-waza (throwing), and kansetsu-waza (joint locking, grappling). In addition, every kata has a so-called enbusen 演武線, or “trajectories of martial kata performances”. Assuming attacks from the front, back, left and right, and performing defenses, strikes, and kicks etc. against a visualized opponent, individual techniques are being combined into a series of techniques. Kata is the representation of lines systematized as a whole. The course of the footwork used to perform these attacks and defenses are the enbusen.

Envisioning effective and appropriate techniques of offense and defense against opponents from all directions and integrating it with footwork into a series of movements, the performance of the enbusen is one of the key elements for the acquisition of techniques in Karate. As the basic forms of enbusen, there is the ‘I-shaped enbusen‘ (ijikei)  which assumes the enemy in the front and back, the horizontal enbusen (yokoichijikei) which assumes the enemy on the left and right, the cross-shaped enbusen‘ (jūjikei) which assumes the enemy from four directions, the all directions enbusen (shihōhappō) which assumes the enemy in all directions, and the enbusen in which the directions and footwork radiates to all directions’ (happō hōshakei). Additionally, depending on the type of kata, various other enbusen exist, such as the ‘T-shaped’ (teijikei), the ‘reversed-T-shaped’, and the ‘tree-kanji-shape’ (kijikei) enbusen.

In addition to the aesthetic or practical ideas of the inventor, from the perspective of larger and smaller training places as well as from the specific martial arts tradition, the starting point and the end point of the enbusen – referred to as matomari 纏まり in the Japanese language, meaning both consistency and conclusion – have to be consistent. That is, the start and end points are assumed to have been designed so as to return to the original starting spot when finishing the kata. However, due to differences in the physique, expressive power, stepping, footwork of the performer, the start and end point are not always exactly consistent. Especially in old kata of Kobudō, such a consistency in the start and end points is even harder to find. Therefore, this consistency might be a more modern necessity.

While there are various trajectories based on the inventor’s viewpoint and ideas of martial arts, none of the enbusen of kata shows large deviations from the standard. Every kata includes a martial performance flowing along the enbusen, and even if there is some deviation, the kata ends within the radius of about 1 meter from the starting point. As a part of traditional kata, together with functionality and combative characteristics, the matomari has become something for handing down information.

There are some things to consider when it comes to pre-1900 Karate. First of all, while the (almost) identical start and end point is certainly a classic feature of kata in Karate, the term matomari 纏まり doesn’t seem to be that old. Secondly, there are variuos possible reasons for the (almost) identical start and end point. For example, one might argue that it is the result of boundaries, such as in indoor training or when training larger groups of people. While the starting and ending points of kata are almost identical, it is said that with Kobudo or weapons kata, this is not generally found.

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