Picture of Shihan

December 2000

Volume 2 Issue 12

This  Issue...

1.  Some things to ponder on               

2.  Precept

3.  Historical Perspectives

The determination of whether a contact martial art is weak or missing applications, is in it's ability to successfully compete with other systems!

Aibudo Kanji

Special Dedication Advancement this month:

Mike Bodwell


5th Kyu Green

The Samurai (Continued from last month)

          Bushido has been variously defined, but it would seem that the definition most generally accepted is that Bushido is the unwritten code of laws governing the lives and conduct of the nobles of Japan, equivalent in many ways to the European chivalry.  The knights and nobles of feudal Japan were the Samurai, retainers of the daimyo.  Thus, Bushido was the code of conduct of the samurai, the aristocratic warrior class which arose during the wars of the 12th century between the Taira and Minamoto clans--and came to glorious fruition in the Tokugawa period.  The samurai cultivated the martial virtues, were indifferent to death and pain in their loyalty to their overlords.  Samurai were privileged to wear two swords, which were in turn "the soul of the samurai," according to Nitobe.

Excerpted from Bushido, The Soul of Japan, by Inazo Nitobe

Funakoshi's #12 Precept

"Don't think about winning;  Think about not losing!"

         Modern martial artists tend to focus on the No. 1 competitor and shun the rest.  Children, the mentally challenged and the physically handicapped, all should be welcome in the martial arts studio, because the arts emphasize not just winning, but never losing or giving up.  No student should ever feel like a loser.

          Excerpted from the article by Frank M. Kushner in BlackBelt Magazine, dated December 1999

Some unique attributes of Isshin-Ryu

Elimination of fancy techniques.

Low-line kicks, all below the waist.

Short, natural stances without wasted motion and major body shifting.

Even application of hand and foot techniques.

Close range techniques, useful for street fighting.

Snap punches and snap kicks, with the limb extended 90 percent and immediately retracted  for joint safety.

Both hard and soft blocking.

Blocks with the muscular part of the forearm rather than the bone.

Fist formed with the thumb on top of the clenched fist, rather than wrapped over the first two fingers.

The vertical punch, which increases speed and focus.

Multiple purpose techniques, allowing a block to become a blow and vice versa.


     Strategy, unlike what the outsider witnesses of the martial arts, is of the mind.  Irregardless of the stature, age or handicap of an individual, strategies can be utilized to "even the score", as it's said, utilizing little to no energy.  The more strategically knowledgeable you are, the less you have to work physically.  Time wise, development of mental strategies requires a longer amount of time to acquire, than the physical attributes.  Effective physical development, especially with the young, can come in less than a year.  Unlike physical capabilities though, the mind maintains the strategies fairly well, whereas the physical capabilities suffer tremendously in a very few short weeks of inactivity.  In a "nutshell', if you had to choose between physical capabilities and mental strategies for your  well-being, there is no contest.  No matter the system, study the mental strategies well, as they will still be there when the body has quit.