We are so lucky, being able to communicate through Facebook or other social media.
Many of us, use Facebook to post pictures of there daily life… but now, it is also a essential communication channel for all of us.
We stay connected and we can express our thoughts, our worries and even our anger.
In consequence, we see, how important it is, what you spread in your Facebook account.
For this period, I would like to spread some thoughts of mine.
We know, that the life of human being includes different energy levels.
In martial arts we separate those energy levels:
LowerDantien, the etheric realm
Middle Dantien, the astral realm
Higher Dantien, the celestial realm
The lowerDantien connects and controls the physical body and the body’s energy.
The middle Dantien connects and controls the deep emotional aspects.
The higher Dantien connects us to the spiritual world.
The human being, as a microcosmos, give us a hint, how we can treat this Corona situation.
Also now, we have three totally different aspects, to which we can pay intention.
We strive for a balanced solution of all three energy levels (dantiens).
Otherwise, we could eventually miss the chance for a balanced learning process, and it is evident, that the human race has a chance of a inner evolution, not only a outer „Corona“ problem.
Therefore it could be a solution to look at each level:
There is the body level, that means we should do the most to strengthen our immune system. – Fresh air – Healthy food – Moderate physical training – Positiv mind state.
What can we learn within our deep emotional realm?
That includes all the social contacts and the aspects of living together with other human beings. What can we learn on the level of communication with others? What can we do for a more harmonized cooperation between our family and friends? What is our part for a long-sighted dealing with our nature? What is my contribution to a the acceptable treatment of all animals? Even though, the government claims for social distancing, I’m convinced, that we have to keep a close emotional contacts to family and friends.
Then we also have the celestial realm, which has his own laws.
We could use this situation to build up a strong trust, that the spiritual world is helping us. For centuries we have the confirmation of highly developed spiritual leaders, that the spiritual world is helping us and that Gaia should also evolve into a higher frequency. The time is ideal, to remember that we do not only have a body, emotions and a intellect. We are spiritual beings, having a physical body. We could now look more often in total silence to our inner world, which will then also answer to us. It is evident, that this inner work is not a matter of intellectual searching… we have to go beyond brain functions. It is much more than „positiv thinking“ or praying, using mantras aso. It’s a inner exploration in a relaxed state of mind and with a joyful feeling and with trust and a dynamic believe, that the higher world will give us answers in total silence.
Many of my friends in Gojukai Karate Do wondered why I left the Karate Do, in order to further study the internal art of Taiji. I worked, as many of my friends know, for four decades within the Gojukai Organization and I was graded years ago as a Shihan Kyoshi 7 th. Dan within the International Karate Do Gojukai Association.
Also, since almost three decades, I have been researching the roots of Gojukai Karate Do and in consequence, I started to study about chinese martial arts; for almost one decade I have been fully engaged in Taiji Training and stopped to do my Karate Do training.
Even though I don’t regularly practice Karate anymore, my aim is to share some of my results and conclusions, after a long time of researching the internal aspects in martial arts.
I had to research many years to get to those results, which I will present now in this essay.
Open and Close
To open and close a movement is an almost lost treasure of karate-do. In order to explain it in detail, I have to start with a well known symbol, because it includes more, than you can say with words and I have to ask you to keep the Yin/Yang Symbol in mind and to guide your intention and awareness towards the understanding and the meaning of it, even then, if you think, you might have already understood it, to some degree.
The Yin/Yang Symbol is the base of the nature as well as it expresses a contrastive relationship that obtains between two or more things and therefore also about the function of a movement in Karate Do or other moving arts.
There is no „Yin“ (Ju) without „Yang“ (Go), there is no „Yang“ (Go) without „Yin“ (Ju), „Yin“ (Ju) and „Yang“ (Go) are smoothly exchanged in each motion. Interesting is to see, that the Japanese Karate Do starts with „Go“ followed by „Ju“. In China, the „Yin“ (Ju) is mentioned always before „Yang“ (Go). That is maybe also a hint, what is more emphasized… “Yin“ is the receptive (dark) and „Yang“ (bright) the active principle
Just like the development of the everlasting universe, in which we find the harmony of „Go“ (positive) and „Ju“ (negative), the way of Goju School Karate Do should be a development of the splendid harmony of free endless Martial Arts and elegant spirit“
Gogen Yamaguchi Kaisso
Before I’m able to give you some of the above-mentioned traditional details, you have to be sure that the following information about reverse breathing is well understood.
First of all, we have to learn about the reverse breathing. In Karate it is essential to learn it. Maybe you know it already, but I would like to ask you, to be 100% sure, that you really understand it and that you can apply it in motion, otherwise you miss the whole point.
Don’t expect a sudden change, it is a process to get used to it. At first, it seems like it needs strength to compress and lift the Dantien, when you breath inn, but this is just because we are not used to breathe like this. After a while, it will be a normal way to breathe and you will be able to switch from normal to reverse breathing instantly.
Please also refer to the below drawing.
You lift up the energy from the ground and from the perineum slightly.
You lift up the dantien slightly
You pull in the abdomen
You round the lower back, by compressing the abdomen backwards to the Mingmen point, which is located on the spine, opposite the navel. (in between L2 / L3)
While breathing inn, the energy of the abdomen (prebirth Chi) combines, with the oxygen (postbirth chi), which you breath in at the diaphragm.
You release the compressed abdomen.
You lower the diaphragm
Your abdomen is releasing to the normal position.
The dantien is pressed downwards. (it depends in what situation. You can just release it, when you do soft breathing exercises, but you push it downwards, when you do for instance a strike and a kiai)
The sudden lowering of the dantien sends the energy to the sole of the feet and bounce back to the dantien and the opening channels.
Be careful, that you don’t use too much strength. After regular practice, it will be an almost natural way to breathe. The intention to do it, will be enough to start to breathe like this
Once you are familiar with the reverse breathing, you can start to connect this breathing to the closing and opening of each movement.
Basically, you can say, that everybody does to a certain degree the opening and closing (because the positions in Goju Ryu Karate Do are made for it), but without a conscious training and step by step learning, you will not fully understand the value of it.
In the past, the Sanchin Danchi showed, how the closing and opening is done. Today in modern Karate, the Sanchin Dachi is done mostly in such a way, that it looks strong from the outside.
But in Sanchin Dach, you have two opposite functions, close and open, only a few karate masters understand the deeper meaning of it.
Traditional karate training could bring back these bits of informations into the current karate practices. The generated power of a correct opening and closing is using internal forces (pressures) rather than muscles strength.
You close the movement, when you breathe inn, and you open the movement, when you breathe out.
Now you can connect the breathing to the internal closing and opening,
Most important will be, that you start the closing and the opening with the Dantien area. It means, that you pull with the movement of the Dantien the whole body through the elastic chi tissue, which will be formed more and more, when you do it with you consiousness.
In details, the closing is done, by pulling your connectiv tissues, such as
the faszias, but also
the tendons and
the Yin Meridians as well as
the chi tissues
towards the dantien, which is slightly lifted up. The channel for the closing starts at the big toe and ends at the thumb. The channels for closing are mainly in front of the body.
You have 3 Bows to use, the arms, the legs, and the spine.
The bow controlling the feet are connected at the base chakra (Perineum),
The bow of the arms are connected at the chakra of the chest. (heart chakra)
The bow controlling the spine is connected to the mingmen point/Dantien.
inside the leg
inside the arms
While you breathe inn, you pull the whole connective tissue from the big toe to the thumb towards the dantien, as you would wear a suit and as you could suck inn energy to the Dantien. At the time, when you breath in and lift the dantien slightly and try to make the lower back flexible through the mingmen point. The whole suit reacts at the same time. (at first, you have to visualize it, later the breathing will more and more pull on the suit)
Important fact: try to feel your body as a mass of elastic tissue, rather than a solid body with bones and muscles.
On the pictures, the closing and opening are shown as inside (close) – outside (open) force, but by using the closing/opening correctly, the energy is a spiraling force as you see on this traditional drawing.
After having closed the movement correctly, you have to shift the awareness to the Yang Channels as described below. While you breathe out, you shift internally the intention to the connection of the little toe to the little finger. Before you really open the whole Channel, your intention goes from the Dantien to the sole of the feet, from where the force, due to the pushing down of the dantien, is rebounced back to the Dantien and from there to the opening channels, which are connected on the back as well as outside the legs.
outside the legs
point between the shoulder blades
outside the arms
„From „Go“ to „Ju“ or from „Ju“ to „Go“ there should be freedom and ease of change in movement.
Gogen Yamaguchi, Kaisso
At the beginning, to work in such a way seems very complicate, but after a while you will feel it as very simple, after being used to the new way of breathing and when you can apply the understanding of how you activate the closing and opening channels.
In order to learn the new way, you must switch the intention and the awareness to the breathing and the closing and opening channels and not simply repeat motions.
Like that, the quality of the motion will be changed. Each motion must follow that process of closing and opening. If you don’t do it, of course you can still do fast and powerful technics, but those technics will always rely on the power of your muscles and the motion will not be as smooth as when you do the closing and the opening.
In older age, it’s more and more difficult to use the muscles in the way, as you can do it, when you are young. With the closing/opening, you can do smooth and powerful motions, also when you get older….
Sanchin Kata and Tensho Kata are the tools to learn it.
Don’t rush, because it is a completely different movement from what you probably do now.
The first step is to be sure of the reverse breathing, then you can shift the awareness to the body suit – the channels to close and open, then you connect the Yin and Yang, as you see it on the Taiji Symbol, there is a constant change, without interruption! Each opening will have a closing within and each closing will have an opening within.
The change of power is generated just with the Dantien, but the forces are transmitted with the expansion of the whole-body suit.
What it means to work with forces, rather than working with muscles, you can clearly see on animals. There movements seems to be so easy and effortless. This has mainly to do, because they work with the forces, they contract by closing and expand with the opening the whole elastic body suit.
There are many more aspects of a harmonized motion, but those aspects, like the state of mind, the mind intention, the awareness or the internal energy, are subjects to other articles….
FROHE WEIHNACHTEN und ein GLÜCKLICHES NEUES JAHR 2020
In Japan gibt es das Sprichwort:
„ichi-go / ichi-e“
was man mit „ein Treffen / eine Chance“ übersetzen kann.
Die hochschwingende Idee hinter diesem Sprichwort ist, dass wir jedes, auch zufälliges Treffen bewusst gestalten und uns so eine einmalige Chance schaffen, denn dieser spezielle Moment ist einzigartig und wird es nicht mehr geben.
Das Sprichwort lehrt uns, jeden Augenblick bewusst wahrzunehmen.
In diesem Sinne wünsche ich euch allen alles Gute fürs neue Jahr 2020!
Willkommen auf meiner Webseite walter-seeholzer.ch
Hier werde ich meine Aktivitäten rund um die Themen Taiji und Gesundheit beschreiben und mein Wissen, das ich mir in den letzten 40 Jahren in Japan, China, Taiwan und der Schweiz angeeignet habe, mit euch teilen. Die aktuellen Kurse und Seminare, welche ich in Deutschland, (Raum Nordrhein Westfalen, der Schweiz und in Ungarn abhalte, werde ich hier publizieren.)
Traditionslinien, unter denen ich ausgebildet wurde
Karate hat sich zu einem sehr leistungsfähigen Kampfstil entwickelt. Obwohl das Goju Ryu Karate Do beide Pole, den äusserlichen Aspekt „Go“ (Yang) wie auch den inneren Aspekt „Ju“ (Yin) enthält, ist es sehr schwierig die inneren Aspekte zu vermitteln. Dafür braucht es ein spezielles Training, welches über Jahre hinweg die inneren Sinne schult. Die Körperintelligenz reagiert immer auf der Ebene, auf der wir uns mit unserem Geist befinden. Da die äusseren Stile auch die äusseren Sinne resp. den oberflächlichen Geist (Superficial Mind) ansprechen, reagiert der Körper über diese Sinne.
Als Beispiel zu nennen ist hier die Kontraktion.
Ein Angriff oder ein Eindringen in meine Sphäre löst sofort eine Reaktion im vegetativen Nervensystem, dem Sympathikus aus, was zu verschiedenen chemischen Reaktionen führt, welche die Muskeln in Alarmbereitschaft bringen. Die Muskeln spannen sich an, das ganze Körpersystem reagiert und stellt sich auf den Fluchtmodus ein. Dies ist ein normaler Vorgang unserer Körperintelligenz. Durch die Schulung und die Fokussierung auf die inneren Sinne, kann diese Kontraktion vermieden werden, indem wir die Kraft, die auf uns zukommt nicht mit Anspannung beantworten, sondern sofort bewusst einen Muskelzyklus einleiten:
Ein Zyklus besteht aus 5 Phasen (5 Elemente) 1) Aktivierung (Kontraktion), 2) Enstpannung, 3) Dehnung,4) Ent-Dehnung, 5) Neutraler Zustand.
Mit anderen Worten eine Kraft wird über ein kurzes Aktivieren und der nachfolgenden Entspannung und der Dehnung elastisch aufgenommen und über die Ent-Dehnung des Muskels wiedergegeben. Die Kraft wird dabei wie bei einem Ball, der am Boden aufspringt, aufgenommen und gespeichert, bevor die elastische Dehnung des Balles mit einer schnellen Ent-Dehnung vom Boden wieder aufspringt.
sind in jeder Bewegung vorhanden.
Um diese spüren zu lernen braucht es ein Training, das über die inneren Sinne anstelle dem oberflächlichen Geist (Superficial Mind) ausgeführt wird.
Zudem ist ein beharrliches, resp. ausdauernde Schulung unter einem Lehrer, der diese innere Schulung über eine Traditionslinie gelernt hat nötig, um diese Geheimnisse zu entdecken und für sich selbst zu integrieren.
Die wichtigste Vorbedingung für das Erspüren dieser Muskelzyklen ist der Wechsel vom oberflächlichen Geist (Superficial mind) zum Tiefengeist (Deep mind).
Nur dann, wenn wir mit einem tieferen Bereich des Geistes arbeiten, können wir den Körper so umprogrammieren, dass die elastische Kraft genutzt werden kann.
So ist ein geübter Praktizierender des Taiji in der Lage über Gewahrsein und Intention die Intelligenz des Körpers zu verändern.
Muskelstatus (5 Phasen)
Gelenkspositionen (Ausrichtung / Aligning)
Um wirklich mit den inneren Sinnen trainieren zu können ist es wichtig, dass wir den Fokus und das Gewahrsein nach innen verlegen. Dies erreichen wir durch tiefes Entspannen und durch tiefes Atmen, so als möchten wir uns dem Schlaf übergeben. Sobald wir diesen tiefen Zustand erreicht und fast einschlafen, werden wir einen träumerischen Zustand erreichen, dann ist es nötig unsere Aufmerksamkeit nach innen zu verlegen und mit den inneren Sinnen wahrzunehmen.
Dies ist anfangs schwierig, aber nach einiger Zeit passiert dies halb automatisch, sobald wir unsere Aufmerksamkeit nach innen verlegen.
Erst in diesem Zustand können wir die einzelnen Muskelzyklen wahrnehmen und können über die Drucksensoren die Kräfte un Körper erkennen und damit arbeiten.
Während dem ganzen Training müssen die tieferen Bereiche des Geistes aktiv sein, d.h. das Gehirnbewusstsein, das Alltagsbewusstsein (Superficial mind) muss so gut als möglich ausgeschaltet werden.
Es ist immer nur ein Annähern an den idealen Zustand, denn jede äussere Störung, jedes überstarkes Wollen (von Ego gesteuert) wird uns wieder etwas zurück zum oberflächlichen Geist bringen. Es ist also ein ständiges Vertiefen und Fokussieren auf das Innere nötig, um diesen Zustand des inneren Gewahrseins zu halten.
Was kann uns dieses Training im Goju Kai Karate Do bringen?
Ein Arbeiten an den inneren Prozessen im Körper bewirkt folgendes:
Anstelle von Muskelkraft werden Kräftewellen und in einem späteren Entwicklungsschritt Energiewellen erzeugt.
Anstelle einer Kontraktion lernen wir das Momentum der Kraft aufzunehmen, zu neutralisieren und auszusenden. Dies tönt einfach, ist aber erst durch jahrelange intensive Schulung möglich. Anfangs wird dieser Kreislauf äusserlich sehr gross sein und innerlich klein, weil wir ihn noch nicht im Detail spüren. Später wird der äussere Kreis reduziert, dafür wird der innere Kreis ausgeweitet.
Anstelle einer doppelten Kontraktion, z.B. durch das gleichzeitige Belasten beider Beine oder das Anspannen aller Muskeln die ein Gelenk halten, lernen wir immer nur ein Bein zu belasten und die doppelte Kontraktion in den Muskeln zu verringern und später ev. ganz wegzulassen.
Wir lernen mit elastischer Kraft zu arbeiten.
Schonung der Gelenke
Aufbau der körpereigenen Resourcen
Es kann ein enormer Gewinn sein, sich auf diese Reise zu begeben, da dabei das Bekannte noch besser verstanden wird und da viele neue Aspekte das Training bereichern können.
Sanchin oder Han-Zenkutsu Dachi
Um den inneren Muskelzyklus bei dieser Stellung zu lernen – gibt es eine gute Uebung, die 5. Loosening exercise von Master Huang
Wir bringen unseren Geist (unsere Aufmerksamkeit) zusammen mit der Bewegung vom vorderen Fuss über den Unterschenkel, Knie, Oberschenkel , dem Steissbein, Taille, Brust, Schultern, Nacken zum Scheitel.
Dabei bewegen wir den Körper etwas nach hinten, belassen aber die Kontrolle auf dem vorderen Fuss, bis der Körper ca. 2/3 der Distanz nach hinten verlegt wurde, dann beginnen wir zu sinken und den hinteren Fuss zu verbinden. Während diesem Weg bleibt das hintere Bein in der selben Beugung.
Jetzt beginnen wir zu sinken ca. ¼ der Höhe und verlagern den Körperschwerpunkt weiter nach hinten, so dass unser Steissbein über der Ferse ist. Das Sinken leiten wir ein, indem wir den unteren Rücken aus der „natürlichen“ Hohlkreuzkrümmung begradigen, dabei sinkt das Steissbein gegen unten. Es soll dabei keine Kraft aufgewendet werden, sondern wir arbeiten über die Entspannung.
Wir bleiben nicht in dieser Stellung sondern …
… sinken ca ¾ weiter und bewegen den Körper wieder nach vorne ins Zentrum und bauen die Spannung im hinteren Bein langsam auf, indem wir den Unterkörper langsam in eine Dehnung bringen. Das Gewicht des Oberkörpers schwebt einen Moment, d.h. das hintere Bein wird nicht sofort voll belastet. Wir geben dieses Gewicht dosiert ab so dass keine Kontraktion im hinteren Bein entsteht. Während wir weiter ins Zentrum sinken, werden die Muskeln gedehnt. Das vordere Bein wird jetzt etwas gebeugt. Während diesem Ablauf richtet sich der Oberkörper aus, indem wir den Rücken begradigen vom Lendenbereich bis zum Nacken. Dann lassen wir das Steissbein nochmals sanft sinken und lösen dadurch eine Rotation in der Hüfte gegen vorne aus.
Durch die Hüftrotation werden alle Muskeln nochmals leicht gedehnt, so dass das natürliche Ent-dehnen eingeleitet wird.
Vor dem Ent-dehnen schicken wir den Tiefengeist mit einer starken Intention voraus…d.h. wir stellen uns einen Punkt an der gegenüberliegenden Wand vor und schicken den Geist (mind) dorthin, so dass wir die Muskelspannung erhöhen können, ohne dass sich die Muskeln verkrampfen. Es ist sehr wichtig, dass wir mit einer tiefen Intention diesen Vorgang steuern, ansonsten werden sich die Muskeln verhärten.
5.Nach dem Ent-dehnen stabilisieren wir die Kräfte im vorderen Fuss. (neutrale Position)
bevor wir den Zyklus wieder mit dem Aktivieren des vorderen Beines beginnen. Das Stabilisieren im vorderen Bein geschieht ohne äussere sichtbare zusätzliche Bewegung, es passiert über die Entspannung des vorderen Beines, was ein Einsinken bewirkt.
Phase 1: der vordere Fuss bleibt solange als möglich ca. 2/3 des Weges verbunden. Der vordere Fuss bleibt substantiell und der hintere Fuss hat noch keine Verbindung. Die Verbindung des hinteren Fusses passiert erst während dem Sinken gegen Schluss der 2. Phase – im Uebergang zur 3. Phase
der hintere Fuss solange als möglich auf dem Weg nach vorne verbunden lassen, d.h. die Steuerung des Zentrums, wird möglichst lange hinten gehalten.
In dieser Phase bringen wir den Mind vom Fuss, Hüfte zur Brust und folgen dem Mind mit der Bewegung nach vorne.
Diese Uebung führen wir in einer etwas längeren Stellung als der üblichen Sanchin Dachi aus, eher in einer Han Zenkutsu Dachi, damit der äussere Kreis gut erkannt wird.
Später kann dieser Zyklus auch in der Sanchin Kata gemacht werden.
Ein chinesischer Lehrer würde diese Zyklen mit Metall (Kontraktion) Wasser (Entspannung) Holz (Dehnung) Feuer (Ent-Dehnung) und Erde (Neutrale Position) bezeichnen.
Dieser Zyklus der Elemente wird auch in der chinesischen Medizin verwendet, da jedes Organ einem Element zugeordnet ist, dabei unterstützt das eine Organ das Andere. Eine Verbesserung des einen Organ wird meistens dadurch erreicht, indem man das vorhergehende Organ stärkt. z.B. Leber (Holz) unterstützt das Herz (Feuer) usw.
Vorteile: Wenn wir lernen diesen Muskelkreislauf in den Bewegungen zu spüren, können wir ohne Kontraktion arbeiten, d.h. wir lernen auszuweichen, zu neutralisieren und abzugeben in einem elastischen Zustand.
Gogen Yamaguchi Kaiso (Founder of Japan Karate Do Goju Kai Assciation and International Karate Do Goju Kai Association) was a extraordenary Karate Master with a high reputation in and outside Japan. He was a legend already during his lifetime. After his dead he received the honorary title „Kensei“, which means enlighted or wise man. He was indeed a wise man with a strong vision. He lifed a very religious and spiritual life and combined the Karate Do, with Shinto and Yoga. The daily early morning meditation under his pyramide shaped his whole being. Although, he did not teach Karate anymore when he was in his eightees, he still sat in the dojo everyday and observed the training. It must have been around that time, when he originated the tokutei kata.
Kata in General
Originally, kata in general was designed to be used as mind-body training method which one could discipline and strenghten the core elements of karate-do.
Along with the popularization of karate-do, the competition aspect of it drew more people’s attention and due to that, many missunderstand the meaning of the kata. In fact, the kata training is made to enhance themselves, it is not designed to compare oneself to others. This simple and clear information unfortunately does not find so many listeners in our time. Too often, someone concentrate in his early days on competition and stop training after that period. Also there are so many influences from the competition szene, that a traditional karate ka suffers to see, when young students starts to modify katas or to use katas from other styles, just for the sake of winning a competition.
Kaiso Yamaguchi also realised, that many karate instructors stopped there own training, after they started to teach and too many instructors were putting too much emphasis on the competitive aspects of karate-do. That lead to the situation, that also very high kata are already taught to young competitors and the the focus shifted to win competitions and that the teachers hesitated to show there own kata.
In his mind he set 8 Tokutei Kata, 4 Crane Kata (from White Crane) and 4 Dragon Kata (from the Dragon God of Mt. Kiso) Then he grouped them with Heaven, Earth, Dark, Yellow. These 8 Katas are set in a octagon. Each of kata has eigth directions of defensive and offensive techniques.
Therefore Gogen Yamaguchi suggested that Tokutei Kata for Shihan needed to be invented. He found it important to create some kata that is designed for self-training and not for competitions. Those kata are solely taught to a Shihan of the IKGA.
Symbolic Names of the Kata
Kalligraphie is made from Saikoshihan Goshi Yamaguchi
1 Gen Kaku = Dark Crane
2. Chi Kaku = Earth Crane
3 Kô Ryu = Yellow Dragon
4 Ten Ryu = Heaven Dragon
5 Ten Kaku = Heaven Crane
6. Kô Kaku = Yellow Crane
7 Chi Ryu = Earth Dragon
8 Gen Ryu = Dark Dragon
Genkaku is the first of 8 Tokutei Kata. Gen has different meanings such as „Gen“ as it is used within his name „Gogen“, which also means expert. Other explanation of Gen is the nature of Dao, which was explained by Laôtse as the existing beyond time and space, the absolute roots of universe. Genkaku implicate profound and harmoniesed Goju techniques. In Genkaku there are 44 offensive and 44 defensive techniques included.
Chikaku means earth crane. Thus, Chi Kaku literally means hovering crane on earth. This kata enriches the fundamental principles of Goju with 44 defensive and 33 offensive techniques total 77 techniques performed in 8 directions.
Kôryumeans the yellow dragon and it refers to strong Goju spirit and great dignity. Yellow is also the color of the soil or sun and could be interpretated as the center. Kôryu is with it’s 99 techniques the longest Tokutei Kata with 44 defensive and 55 offensive, a total of 99 techniques in 8 directions. The dragon itself has also the meaning of not being able to capture and implicate the hidden power of someone. In many asian countries, the dragon is a symbol of luck, fruitfulfness and represent the masculin power of the heaven. The dragon also master the yin and the yang force.
Tenryu, means the heaven dragon which is pursuing the ideal of Goju. Heaven is linked to the space and implicate the absolute oneness. This kata has 66 techniques performed in 8 directions, 33 defensive and 33 offensive tecniques. Saikoshihan Goshi Yamaguchi told me, that his father had the strong vision that the performance of this kata should be done, as the dragon will slovly disapear into the heaven and into the void. Saikoshihan performed this kata just recently in public. He told me, that he had, at the time of composing the Kata to make marks on the floor, in order to be able to keep the orientation, after so many turns of the circular motions.
The last motion of each of Tokutei Kata is also the first motion of the next kata, therefore all the Kata could be done one after the other. While performing the tokutai kata, the shihan can set his own timing and can slightly modify the Kata, as long as the offensive and defensive tecniques do not fluctuate. Only Shihans of the Karate Do Gojukai association are allowed to learn those Kata. It is strictly forbidden to make video, to post videos or to learn those kata per video. Never less, there are already some copies and interpretation from other organizations. It is a shame, that there is no hesitation and no respect of the intellectual property and heritage of the Yamaguchi family.
For those Shihans who deserved in decades of diligent training to learn those katas it is a great heritage, what Gogen Yamaguchi Kaiso and his son Goshi Yamaguchi Saikoshihan gave us and all of us should care very much on that heritage by the daily practice.
Although the Yamaguchi family created with those tokutei kata something very special for Shihans, all of younger instructors or students should realize, what is behind that idea and set back there own idea of kata to it’s original meaning. It is never important to know many kata, rather it is important to learn a kata in its depth.
Gogen Yamaguchi Kaiso also set that the Tokutai Kata have to be invented by the head of the Yamaguchi Family. Goshi Yamaguchi, the present Saikoshihan of the IKGA invented the first 4 Tokutei Kata with his father’s advice and will most likely advice his son Gohei Yamaguchi to invent the other 4 Tokutei Kata.
I have recorded my Kôryu Kata, which can be seen on this website. Since we do not want to spread videos of those katas, the page is locked with a code. A Shihan of the IKGA can ask me for the code: email@example.com
Sanchin Kata – the secret of the hidden muscle phases
written by Walter Seeholzer, Kyoshi Shihan 7.Dan International Karate Do Goju Kai
Within the traditional Gojukai Karate, the Sanchin Kata is with Tensho one of the two Kihon Gata, which carries the basic informations of the style. Both of them are important to pass on the traditional essence of the style. They are also considered as breathing Kata. In this essay, I mainly write about the first one, the Sanchin Kata, concentrating on informations, which are not so widely spread.
One of the interpretations of the name Sanchin which literally means three steps or three phases, is also three battles, which can be seen as the fight or the integration of the three levels, the physical, the astral and the celestial.
The name therefore implicate the work on the 3major body centers with the 3 energy levels of a person.
Three Energy Levels
The lower Dantien is the center of the physical body and the body etheric energy field. In martial arts, most of the training is done to strenghten this center. The lower Dantien include the etheric energy field, all infor-red, magnetic, electromagnetic and finer radiation given of by the body and extends out from the body to connect with its surroundings like an energy radar or responsiv energy net. 1
The middle Dantien, is the heart center the center of the emotional body or the astral body. It contains the solar plexus, the heart and the throat center. This center is enlarged about one arm length around the body, the so called large sphere, in which all the aspects of the person are included.
The upper Dantien is the center of the mental and spiritual realm. The upper Dantien is located in the center of the head (pituitari gland, hypothalamus, pineal gland).
Origin of Sanchin Kata
It has a great evindence, that the Sanchin Kata was strongly influenced by the white crane form „Babulien“, the 4th. set of the white crane. Kanryo Higaonna and Chojun Miyagi spent several years in Fuzhou, the south chinese city, where they used to train with Xie Zhongxian a master of the Fujian White Crane.
To master the Sanchin Kata is a life long task and we should put great emphasize to learn this kata and trying to go deeper. There is no end of the learning process, it is rather a infinite process, since each of the aim we realised, will show a new task, which comes to our consiousness, only after having mastered the previous step.
In the beginning it will be important to build a strong body and a strong mind and to use proper technics and having a good structure and a rooted stance. But we should always bear in mind, that the pure physical strength is just the first level of training.
Unbroken concentration from Yoi to Naote
On the first level of the training, our biggest task is to learn the proper breathing from the diaphragma, the proper body alignement, the stances and the accurate technics. We also try to build up the outer physical strength and the mental strength, our spirit. In Karate, when we talk about the spirit, mostly we imply that with a strong will power, which is generated from the depths of ones beeing.
We have to keep the focus on all those aspects from Yoi to Naote – from beginning to the end. Each session starts and end with the bow, the ritual beginning and ending of it. The bow is the outer demonstration of the inner respect which is done at each training session and which is also done when we enter or leave the place of Do, the Dojo. Each of the bow should show the respect to our own personal highest aim. It is a wrong understanding in the west, that peoples hesitate to bow, because they think, that it has something to do with hero or emperor worship.
On each of the trainings level there is this common task to keep the focus from the beginning to the end, and the concentration should not be interrupted. There is a constant change of the inbreathing and outbreathing. Inbreath and outbread are equally in length and intention. Within the cycle of the breathing, there should be no lost in concentration, nor should the energetic protection have any holes. The body should be as it would be covered with a energetic shield. The Ibuki Breathing plays a important roll to learn the first level of that kata. Ibuki is the strong fierce breathing, which is accompagnied with a strong muscle tension and a strong mental intention. The short intention of each breath together with the full contraction of the muscle strength, combined with one’s will power will build up step by step the power of a karate master, which has no limits. Whatever is in front will be penetrated with a fierce force, which is focussed to one point with the Kime. Kime means to focus the
Ki the Energy. The energy roots in the Dantien, which is connected to the feet by lowering the sacrum and is expressed through the waist, chest, shoulder, arm into the fist.
After having mastered the basic form, we can also starts to refine the movements, without loosing the first level of training, but we should go on and should search then for the internal sensations.
If at first, the strong breathing, the strong will power and the strength of the muscles are most important, then we have to switch our focus also to the inner changes, in order to integrate a new level of understanding.
A different level of understanding
On that new level of training we try to refine the movements from external movement to the internal movements and to the forces (pressure and stretches), which means to get access to a different form of power, which does not rely anymore just on muscle strength. Working with the forces or pressures means to feel the body not as a solid phyisical body anymore, but rather we feel it as a elastic ball.
On that level, the muscle strength is secondary, because we work on stretched muscles rather than contracted muscles. A stretched muscle can be generate forces about 10 times as much as a contracted muscle. In other words, we build up a power, which is
less obvious and far more effectiv.
In these days, the basic form and the the first level of training is well known and spread in many of the different Goju Ryu Styles. Therefore, I will not go too much into the details of the first level of training.
In my article, I would like to focus on other aspects, which are hidden and not visible at the first glance.
The understanding of the hidden phases in martial arts is based on some informations about using mind intention and using the inner senses to controll the muscle phases, rather than having a superficial body controll.
Goshi Yamaguchi, Saikoshihan of the IKGA
Saikoshihan Goshi Yamaguchi did not stopped to progress on a outer level. He always had a strong vision and he never missed searching for the deeper aspects of the martial art. When I started to learn from him in 1979, we already knew, that he and also some other Shihans like Kikuchi Shihan, who is one of the highest Shihans in the gojukai, started to do some internal training. They spoke about the Ki-Training but at that time, it was a training apart from the karate training.
Unknown to many members, Saikoshihan started some decades ago a new class, the wednesday morning class in Tokio, where he spread the knowledge of how to develop the internal energy. Most of the western karate visitors got the basic ideas of Saikoshihans higher martial art in this class. That training was clearly different to a karate class. Saikoshihan did not asked to wear the karate gi, nor he wanted to have a separation of the grades. Everybody, woman and men, young and old, sick or healthy learned together and he was partner to all of the the members in the group. In this class he did not only teach a lot of internal martial art, but spread a deep emotional love to the class, that no one left the class without having re-charged his own battery. He also encouraged the peoples to start such classes in there own country, because one of his aim was to teach the essence of what he knew to elderly peoples as well. In this class you could see the full depth of his ability. Although, there were not many members attening that class, he constantly taught from the bottom of his heart.
The essence of that training and the essence of what he learned within his own internal refinement he finally merged to the gojukai by teaching a new way of doing Sanchin/Tensho Kata, he called it the soft Sanchin/Tensho Kata.
The „soft Sanchin Kata“
While doing the softer way, we use the mind intentions and we use the two forces „kai and go“ which could be also interpretated as sinking and lifting or releasing and activation or magnetic and electric. In this way of training, the principle idea is to generate a elastic power, rather than using a solid power and to have access to the deeper parts of the mind.
When Saikoshihan explained the elastic power – he used to take a inflated ball and throw it to the floor. As stronger as he smashed it to the floor, as stronger the rebouncing was. So he always mentioned, that the lower body store the power and rebounce the power as it was obvious, when he demonstrated it with the ball. To execute a strong elastic punch, he explained, that the short and intense lowering of the Diaphragma has the same effect to the muscles as if the ball was smashed to the floor. In other words, the strong elastic force comes from a relaxed stretch of the muscles, then the wave of unstretching the muscles together with a deep intented force to the target generate the elastic power. Or again in other words. the power is stored in the muscles, as if the bow is in a full stretch, then the unstretch of the muscles is like releasing the arrow from the bow, it is a short intense unstretch of the muscle groups which are involved.
Mind intention – Phases of a motion
When we do the soft Sanchin Kate, we use a strong mind intention of taking the energy from the ground, bringing it up to the top of the head. This strong intention is done together with a rising wave of muscle contractions. When the contraction and mind is on top of the head, we start to release the muscles and at the same time our mind is releasing as well by sinking deeper. and we bring our mind down to lower dantien and further down to the feets and immediately back to the Dantien. These phases are done before we focus our intention to a target in front of us and releasing the internal force to that point.
After that, we remain in the neutral position, where the next motion starts.
When we look clearly at those informations, we see that this process is done in 5 Phases. Those phases will be explained in detail below.
Before explaining this mentioned process deeper, I would like to draw you to the difference of external- or internal motion and that we have to be aware, that beyond that, there is much more . The goal of any inner martial art is to refine the outer strength into inner strenth and target to a infinite progress to the inner developement, which includes not only the lower Dantien, but the middle and upper Dantien as well. It is the inner work of refinement, which basically means to reduce the influence of superficial parts of the mind and to have less and lesser control by the Ego.
After more than 40 years of deepening the gojukai karate do, my search, brought me some years ago to the chinese line of tradition, where our ancestors have learned. This line of tradition is spread in the West through Patrick Kelly – a master of the internal arts, who studied more than 20 years under Master Huang Xingxian, one of the most respected Taiji Master on earth. In this days, Patrick Kelly is bringing that wisdom back to China through his 9clouds studio in Shanghai. Beside that he has a base in Zürich and Aukland, where he regulary supervise the classes. Master Huang himself got his basic martial art knowledge from Xie Zhongxian the same teacher, as Master Higuaonna and Master Miyagi learned, when they were in Fuzhou the south chinese city.
The below informations comes from this line of tradition.
Whatever we do, we will do from the level on which our mind will be on that moment. Our daily actions are done with our everyday mind, the superficial mind, which constantly controll our thoughts and actions. If we wants to use a deeper part of the mind, we have at first shut down those superficial activities.
To close down the brain functions and to strengthen the deeper parts of the mind is the first aim, if we do the soft Sanchin Kata.
This sounds difficult, but we have to know, that only by being able to close down the superficial mind, we are able to go deeper and to get access to the deeper body sensations and to the body’s energy field.
It will help to know, that we shut down our brain activities everyday before going to sleep. This process is accompangied with a dreamy state, in which we usually slip to the sleep. In order to awaken an other way of feeling, we have at first to let go the superficial mind state until we reach this dreamy state. Usually we can do that with 2-3 deep breathes and by a relaxing on each outbreath. Then when we reach this dreamy state, we have to switch our concentration – otherwise we remain on a dreamy – on a daydream state, which is not usefull for our training, neither it is for the meditation. To switch the concentration means to know, that there are other senses, which will be used. So we shut down the outer senses and focus on the inner sensations.
5 Inner Senses
muscle state sense (relax, stretch, unstretch)
joint position sense (accurate movement, body alignment)
pressure and stretch sense (feeling the body as a elastic ball) –
temperature sense (warmth, fullness)
pains sense (tingling)
As soon, as we switch our superficial senses to the inner senses, we will loose the dreamy state and we will be even more awake and activ – but now on a much deeper level than being active on the superficial level.
It is a long process of internal refinement. Nobody should think to reach that without a great effort. And, without detailled explanation of a good teacher it will be hardly possible to learn that.
The difference of external and internal training
1) The idea to move initiate the motion.
2) The body moves by power and speed
3) We are aware of that movement In that case, the mind our our consiousness is slower than the body movement. Mostly the hand or the head is in ahead of the motion in a external training.
The reason, why the internal arts are done slowly is to give the mind the chance to lead before the body moves!
1) The deepmind forms a intention. 2) With that intention, there is a activation of the nervous system.
3) This activation gives a energy response in the muscles.
4) Then the pressure developes elastically in the body
5) Body moves
5 Elements – 5 Phases
In the classic they wrote, that each movment has to be done in accordance with the 5 Elements. Patrick Kelly was the first western person, who gave light to that expression. He also was the first person, who discribed the muscle phases. There lies the secret of the awesome elastic force of some masters. Only knowing about the muscle phases, there will be a possibility to use the muscles as a elastic. That is the reason, why at the very beginning of each training session, we have to close done the outers senses and listen to much deeper processes. The muscle phases of contract – release – stretch – unstretch – neutral can be felt only after a long training and with a deep listening to the inner changes. At first it cannot be felt, but by knowing where to listen and for what sensations we listen, we can step by step get access to it.
The 5 Phases in Detail
Phase 1: „contract“ refers to metall – it is the wave of activation and energising of the muscles,
Phase 2: „release and aligne“ refers to water – it means a controlled releasing of the muscle groups
Phase 3: „stretch“ refers to wood – means to store the tension – like pulling the string of the bow.
Phase 4: „un-stretch“ refers to fire – means to let go off the tension – like shooting the arrow
Phase 5: „neutral“ refers to earth – also the state of mind is neutral in that position
In a internal training it should be the minimum at every movement to listen to those phases of muscle changes.
Each of this muscle change can be realised only with the equivalent state of mind! That means, that we have to deepen the mind awareness, in order to find the different phases of the muscles. That is one of the most important learnings in a internal training.