Monday, December 19, 2005

Hanging Out With Onimitsu2004 Again

I spent last Saturday at Onimitsu2004's house when he was home from Hawaii visiting his folks in Texas for the holidays. It really was great seeing him again, as it's been roughly a year-and-a-half since I last saw him in person. And just like old times, we spent hours doing our karate together.

Unlike old times, he is now studying Pat Nakata's method of Shorin Ryu, thus being a Chibana Chosin method of Shorin Ryu (Kobayashi), as Nakata-Sensei was a direct student of legendary karate master Chibana. Nakata is also well-known among the Okinawans for being able to knock people out. Consequently, he would always use these terms like osae and backpull in ways I didn't understand. Or, he would come up with all these stories about Chibana which were pretty sweet. As time passed, he began to develop a physical understanding of these terms and gradually became able to do them with regularity. Whenever I saw the videos of the way he and Nakata performed the kata in their particular manner (which just looks kind of weird), I wasn't exactly skeptical, but I was very curious what it was all about. Last Saturday, I was able to feel the results. And as we say in karate, "feeling is believing".

I asked him to punch me (as I do many people) just to see how hard it is. Normally, most people (myself included) tend to punch in a manner that has a lot of surface impact but not a lot of penetration. Granted, I didn't block or even tense up to receive the blow (I normally don't), but he hit me far harder than all but a handful of people I've ever had hit me. I was doubled over for about ten seconds or so. I probably could've straightened up, but I was still in surprise at how hard it was. I was able to be just fine after that, but I felt him hit me in the chest and it felt like a mallet slammed me in the gut. He says I was supposed to feel it go straight in rather than drop, but since I kind of dropped too, I guess it was okay.

The rest of the time was spent comparing kata, explanations for various moves, and me trying to understand as much about all those terms Onimitsu2004 tosses around like leaves on a windy day. He would humorously sound like a someone from Hawaii whenever he tried to explain something in depth. He admitted that he couldn't help but adopt some mannerisms of his teacher when doing so. You could tell that not only is Nakata really good, but he is a good teacher as well, since Onimitsu2004 was able to explain things pretty well in person.

It really was like old times, although I found myself learning much more from him. All the same, I was able to hear many things that I have been told in my style (and Onimitsu2004's former style) of Shorinkan Shorin Ryu but didn't quite have it stick with me (stop looking down, "royal" posture, slow down more, etc.). All in all, it was a heck of a lot of fun. I look forward to the day that Onimitsu2004 comes out here to Goodfellow for Intel training next summer as there will be some overlap between my time here and his.

At the same time, it was almost kind of sad. There is a definite divergence between my karate and his. For now, I can see myself staying in the Shorin Ryu Shorinkan, but Onimitsu2004 will now most definitely remain a student of Nakata (and for good reason, too). His karate has become much more powerful like Nakata's while mine wants to become softer. I know I won't see him at a lot of the Shorinkan camps I go to. I seem to have chosen my way and he has chosen his. But you know, that's why I said "almost kind of sad", and not "kind of sad". In some ways, this represents the manner in which karate is supposed to evolve: along individual lines. If our karate remained identical, then it truly would be sad. I can see us decades down the road, sending students to each other just to see what "the other side" is about. And that is kind of cool.

After we did all our karate stuff, we went to a dessert party at someone else's house (which for a non-junk food eater like me simply involved a lot of talking and some fruit). After that, we went back to the house and sat around talking with his family, which was enjoyable as well. I'm sure Onimitsu2004 just loved all the stories that all parents love to tell about their kid when guests are over. I spent the night there and headed out the next morning. All told, well-worth the 8-9 hours of driving roundtrip.



Assorted Babble by Suzie said...

After you recover from that long trip, you need to come down here and teach me some pointers...on protecting myself. (smiling)

Better idea, why not use your skills to take care of the ACLU and NY Times!! (smiling)If they do not stop...we are going to have the terrorists knowing all our classified information.

Take care....
MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family.

Bujutsu Blogger said...

If only it was that easy. I certainly have been tempted...but then there's all those pesky laws and rules I'd have to deal with (not that the ACLU or the NYTimes worries about those).

Right now, I'm home in Guntersville, Alabama visiting the folks. Merry Christmas!

drunken monkey said...

it happens and it is great no matter how sad it might feel at first.
for a long time, i was taught and trained in the soft "not be there" way of chi sau where the main idea is that on pressure you move to where there is none (sorta....).
someone i met in the barber shop i go to, was a student of the harder version of chi sau that pushed forwards constantly.

at first, it was like how we did things were directly contrasting which was very strange as we were essentially students of the two sons of yip man (down a generation or two) and it was odd why they seemed to be so diametrically opposed. As he would press forward with a relatively fixed structure, I would slip by and flow around his forms and yet we were both without a doubt still following the same principles. Two sides of the same coin as it were. I ended up training with these guys for about a year while i was still in the area and it remains one of the best year of training I have ever had as it was showing me a side I didn't usually see and an envirnoment where not everyone was doing things the same way that i was.
The same but not the same.
The rational explaination is that we were both only taught one side of chi sau and hence wing chun as subsequently, I have been more able to apply my wing chun outside of the closed environment of my regular class (and style) much more easily now.