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tatsujin
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Joined: 12 Oct 2021
Posts: 162

Styles: Ryusei-ha Ryukyu Kempo Karate-jutsu

PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2022 10:51 am    Post subject: KishimotoDi Reply with quote

I have been having a great time reading through the blog of our very own "Wastelander". As I joked with him privately, I didn't know that we had someone here who is "internet famous"! LOL! I would like to impose upon him a bit more by asking some questions. Since I thought it might be of interest and/or benefit to others, I am doing it here. I did get his permission to do so and also got permission to link back to his blog so folks can see the first hand source material that I am referencing. In particular, what I am asking about is located here:

https://www.karateobsession.com/kishimotodi

Just as a general disclaimer, it would be important to state at the outset that I am in NO way questioning Wastelander or his art. On the contrary, I am hugely interested in it and am just seeking clarification on things that jumped into my mind and things I am just curious about.

You refer to KishimotoDi as a "style". Since we are discussing an Okinawan combative system using English words, I just want to make sure that I am ascribing the correct meaning of the word here. Or, I guess, I want to make sure I am thinking of the meaning of the word "style" in the same way that you are in using it. So, when I think "style" (in the terms of any combative art) I am thinking of a "complete system". Hmmm...no...the wording could have the wrong connotations. Sorry to anyone reading this for any confusion. I tend to write as I am thinking. So, sometimes my ramblings do get confusing. I am thinking of a style as being a "standalone" set of teachings that is not a set of principles or techniques that are designed to be applied to another more complete or whole curriculum. I still don't like the way that I worded that, but hopefully you (and others) can see what I am trying to ask.

There is a reason that I ask that about being a "style". You go on to state that Kishimotodi only has four (4) katas (Tachimura no Naihanchi, Nidanbu, Tachimura no Passai, and Tachimura no Kusanku). On one hand, I am struck that there are so few of them. On the other, I do see (based upon the reading of historical figures of the Okinawan combative arts of the past) that this does tie into how they taught. At least in the fact that many of these past historical figures only taught (at most) a handful of katas. Nowadays, even someone that would be "very traditional" like Oyata Sensei had a total of nine (9) kata in his system (while I think it accurate to say that he "knew" many more). And, if I am not mistaken, Soken Sensei taught 12 kata in his system (someone correct me if I am wrong here please...I have never trained in any version of Shorin-ryu). Of course, move outside of the realm of Okinawan and you have something like Shotokan that can have katas that range in the area of 20 to 30 (depending on the specific "flavor" of Shotokan) and then something like Hayashi-Ha Shito-Ryu that has like 50 or more kata in their system.

OK, so in terms of the kata commentary above, I guess the specific question would be:

1. In my mind (perhaps incorrectly), kata that "you" teach should contain the combative principles that define "your" system. Would that be how Kishimotodi looks at things and those four (4) kata encapsulate everything?

2. When it comes to Tachimura no Naihanchi, do you consider that to be a primarily "grappling" kata? In watching the video of Sensei Karlsson showing the combative applications, I do see both striking and grappling in it.

More general questions...

1. Are kyusho (急所) specifically taught in Kishimotodi? In this case, I mean at a more indepth level than just "hit here" type of thing. I am curious in that case because as an Okinawan version of te or di that (I am assuming) was not directly influenced by the Southern Chinese arts like others were, it would be interesting to know if the concept of kyusho was already present or not.

2. In the question above, I kind of made the assumption that Kishimotodi did not have an influence from the Southern Chinese combative arts the way that other versions of te/di did. Is that a correct assumption on my part? Did Kishimotodi remain "pure" in its palace art origin or was there any Chinese influence at all?

3. While I was never fortunate enough to meet Uehara Sensei while in Okinawa, I was exposed to others in Motobu Udundi and also have some really old footage of him. Is there any kind of "crossover" between Kishimotodi and Motobu Udundi?

4. If I am correctly reading what you wrote, at least certain aspects of Kishimotodi were kept private or considered hiden (秘伝)? Or is/was the entire art taught that way (hiden)? I ask this in particular due to the "argument" among martial artists of all stripes that say things were not hidden in the martial arts and those that say the opposite. I can say that this is the case in some instances. A personal "for instance"...I know that Matayoshi Sensei of Matayoshi kobudo fame never demonstrated the "real" hakutsuru (白鶴) kata from the Kingai-ryu lineage (金硬流) in public. He said that it was "close", but he only taught the "real" kata "indoors".

OK, I will leave it at that. Thank you so very much for taking the time to read all of this and provide any answers that you can. I am VERY interested to learn more. I know that it is difficult to say in the ever changing world of COVID that we are still living in, but are there any gatherings or seminars being scheduled for Kishimotodi in the US for 2022? I would absolutely love to be able to make one if so and learn more in a hands on setting!

Anyway, thank you again for the opportunity to ramble here and ask you some questions.

EDIT: I added additional information to #4 above that I accidently left out.
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For me bujutsu is not a set of techniques, but a state of the body. Once the principles are integrated, the techniques surge spontaneously because the body is capable of adapting instantaneously.
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Wastelander
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2628
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2022 11:28 am    Post subject: Re: KishimotoDi Reply with quote

I'll do my best to address your questions, but I will readily admit that I still have plenty to learn. While I'm one of very few people to have learned all 4 kata, I'm only cleared to teach 3 of them, so far, so I definitely have gaps to fill.

tatsujin wrote:

1. In my mind (perhaps incorrectly), kata that "you" teach should contain the combative principles that define "your" system. Would that be how Kishimotodi looks at things and those four (4) kata encapsulate everything?


Essentially, yes, but because the style has been preserved by an organization that also teaches other systems, it is pretty typical for practitioners to work additional material. The organization requires members to know Shuri Sanchin, for example, and many pick up Yamanni-Ryu bojutsu. The KishimotoDi material, by itself, however, is a pretty well-rounded collection, just within its four kata--at least, from an unarmed perspective. As I recall, Kishimoto Soko was skilled with bo and sai, but didn't teach them, which wasn't terribly uncommon for the time, so his students learned kobudo elsewhere.

tatsujin wrote:

2. When it comes to Tachimura no Naihanchi, do you consider that to be a primarily "grappling" kata? In watching the video of Sensei Karlsson showing the combative applications, I do see both striking and grappling in it.


I would say it has a decent combination of the two, but there is certainly a lean toward grappling methods. Honestly, that is the case for all of the kata--there are definitely strikes involved, but they tend to be considered the "mean" options .

tatsujin wrote:

More general questions...

1. Are kyusho (急所) specifically taught in Kishimotodi? In this case, I mean at a more indepth level than just "hit here" type of thing. I am curious in that case because as an Okinawan version of te or di that (I am assuming) was not directly influenced by the Southern Chinese arts like others were, it would be interesting to know if the concept of kyusho was already present or not.


As I have already learned some kyusho/chibudi from my Shorin-Ryu instructor, my KishimotoDi instructor hasn't really gone into it with me, but there are certainly applications from the kata that you are expected to use in conjunction with kyusho/chibudi. Striking the philtrum with the ipponken in Naihanchi, for example, or attacking the vagus nerve with the forearm, or kicking the sartorial nerve in the leg, or digging into the nerves between the knuckles when applying locks to the fingers (oral legend says that Kishimoto Soko liked to parry people's punches so that his ipponken hit between their knuckles, actually, but we all know how such legends can be).

tatsujin wrote:

2. In the question above, I kind of made the assumption that Kishimotodi did not have an influence from the Southern Chinese combative arts the way that other versions of te/di did. Is that a correct assumption on my part? Did Kishimotodi remain "pure" in its palace art origin or was there any Chinese influence at all?


I don't generally see Okinawan arts are "pure," but as far as we know, there was no direct Chinese martial arts influence from "Bushi" Tachimura on. Given that, as we understand it, he trained with "Tode" Sakugawa, however, it stands to reason that there was an older Chinese influence involved--after all, how does when get the nickname "Chinese/Tang hand," without having any experience in Chinese martial arts? Plus, there's the general belief that Sakugawa trained either directly with the Chinese official known as "Kusanku," or indirectly through the Yara family of Chatan. Additionally, "Bushi" Tachimura's great or great-great grandfather (I'm not 100% sure which) was actually made some sort of royal enquiry clerk for the Sapposhi of 1756, which is the same one that the famous Kusanku was a member of. Not entirely sure what an "enquiry clerk" does, but he did receive gifts of calligraphy from the chief and vice envoys of China. Both Chinese and Japanese cultures and martial arts have been integrated into Okinawa for so long that it's hard to identify a clear delineation for when those influences came and went.

tatsujin wrote:

3. While I was never fortunate enough to meet Uehara Sensei while in Okinawa, I was exposed to others in Motobu Udundi and also have some really old footage of him. Is there any kind of "crossover" between Kishimotodi and Motobu Udundi?


The Bugeikan, which is the headquarters of KishimotoDi, also teaches Motobu Udundi, and while there are some similarities, I feel that they are fairly distinct arts--at least, in my limited experience with Motobu Udundi. They both have the use of body movement instead of hip rotation for power generation, and an emphasis on entering, certainly.

tatsujin wrote:

4. If I am correctly reading what you wrote, at least certain aspects of Kishimotodi were kept private or considered hiden (秘伝)? Or is/was the entire art taught that way (hiden)? I ask this in particular due to the "argument" among martial artists of all stripes that say things were not hidden in the martial arts and those that say the opposite. I can say that this is the case in some instances. A personal "for instance"...I know that Matayoshi Sensei of Matayoshi kobudo fame never demonstrated the "real" hakutsuru (白鶴) kata from the Kingai-ryu lineage (金硬流) in public. He said that it was "close", but he only taught the "real" kata "indoors".


That came about because of some unscrupulous individuals in more modern times. People started recording videos of demonstrations of the kata, and then trying to learn them from the videos and claim they knew the system, when in fact they had no idea what they were doing, which reflected poorly on the people who did. "Demonstration versions" for Passai and Kusanku were developed so that it would be easy to point out who had and who had not actually received proper training, and no one was supposed to make videos publicly available of either of those two kata. Now, Kusanku is okay, but Higa Kiyohiko Sensei still wants Tachimura no Passai kept offline. Nothing was hidden from students, and as far as I'm aware, you don't have to be a particularly special "inside student" to receive "secrets" of KishimotoDi--my instructor even taught some at a seminar back in 2020 that he asked to keep out of any videos or descriptions posted online, so I think it just comes down to legitimate in-person training. Higa Sensei's requirements for joining the Bugeikan are "learn Shuri Sanchin and don't lie about what you do or where you learned it."

tatsujin wrote:

OK, I will leave it at that. Thank you so very much for taking the time to read all of this and provide any answers that you can. I am VERY interested to learn more. I know that it is difficult to say in the ever changing world of COVID that we are still living in, but are there any gatherings or seminars being scheduled for Kishimotodi in the US for 2022? I would absolutely love to be able to make one if so and learn more in a hands on setting!


We had originally planned on a US/Mexico tour for Ulf Karlsson Shihan in 2023, but with COVID we are bumping it to 2024, so we haven't purchased tickets and set dates, just yet, but probably March-April of that year. I'm always happy to teach seminars, myself, but that can be discussed privately
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Kishimoto-Di | 2014-Present | Sensei: Ulf Karlsson
Shorin-Ryu | 2010-Present: Nidan | Sensei: Richard Poage (RIP), Jeff Allred (RIP)
Shuri-Ryu | 2006-2010: Sankyu | Sensei: Joey Johnston, Joe Walker
Judo | 2007-2010: Gokyu | Sensei: Joe Walker, Adrian Rivera
Karate Obsession | Arizona Practical Karate
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tatsujin
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Joined: 12 Oct 2021
Posts: 162

Styles: Ryusei-ha Ryukyu Kempo Karate-jutsu

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2022 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome response sir! Thank you for taking the time to go through it all.
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For me bujutsu is not a set of techniques, but a state of the body. Once the principles are integrated, the techniques surge spontaneously because the body is capable of adapting instantaneously.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15773
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Mon Feb 28, 2022 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great back and forth discussions; thank you both for sharing your knowledge and experience in KishimotoDi. I'd say that Noah IS the in-house expert here in KF when it comes to KishimotoDi. Thank you, Noah!!



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Wastelander
KF Sensei
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Joined: 18 Oct 2010
Posts: 2628
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Styles: Shorin-Ryu, Shuri-Ryu, Judo, KishimotoDi

PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2022 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure if it helps, now, but I did get a bit of clarification on the kyusho/chibudi component. The way it was approached with me seems to be the way it's always been done in KishimotoDi--according to one of Kishimoto Soko's students, the idea of specific points and meridians was "preserved in Japanese jujutsu systems," and that particular student brought them into his teaching. Prior to that, it was just a "hit here and it hurts more" kind of approach.
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Kishimoto-Di | 2014-Present | Sensei: Ulf Karlsson
Shorin-Ryu | 2010-Present: Nidan | Sensei: Richard Poage (RIP), Jeff Allred (RIP)
Shuri-Ryu | 2006-2010: Sankyu | Sensei: Joey Johnston, Joe Walker
Judo | 2007-2010: Gokyu | Sensei: Joe Walker, Adrian Rivera
Karate Obsession | Arizona Practical Karate
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