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Hombu dojo of 
Shorin-Ryu Karate
    U. S. A.

Kyoshi Michael Mackay
   
Shihan  email Sensei Mackay

109 East 50th St.
New York, NY 10022

 

 

 

 

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Calligraphy - "Soku" - Foundation and balance

A typical class at the Midtown Karate Dojo

The following video clips illustrate various aspects of a typical class that students can expect to see when they visit or join the Ueshiro Midtown Karate Dojo. 

Some of the exercises may seem advanced. However, all students work at their own pace and within their own constraints.  Beginner students are never required to participate in the more difficult exercises until they are ready.

 Welcome

They say, "A journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step." The journey towards mastery of Shorin-Ryu Karate begins with a stroll down Park Ave. and through the famous NYC landmark, St. Barts Cathedral. Reminiscent of the ancient Shoalin monks, the "sacred training hall" of karate-do in Midtown Manhattan is situated in the Athletic Center of the St. Barts Community Center - a vibrant outreach facility dedicated to improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers.

 

 Pre-class exercises

Before each class students gather to train informally. Sometimes the focus is on makiwara training - body conditioning by strikes to a traditional Okinawan striking post. Other times it's strength building through the shishi - an ancient free weight used by 16th Century Okinawans. Still others may work pre-arranged fighting exercises to develop timing and spacial awareness with a "live" opponent.

 

 Warmups

All classes begin with a few moments of meditation followed by a formal bow-in. The students ask the instructor "Onegai shimasu [Please teach me]" and the instructor responds, "Onegai shimasu," symbolizing the mutual respect and learning opportunity between all participants. The class then goes through a standard series of warm-ups designed to stretch out the body and help the students "break a sweat."

 

 Knuckle push-ups
and punching

After warm-ups the class often goes right into knuckle pushups. Beginner students usually do a modified version, such as pushups from the hands and knees. These are followed by squat punches to loosen up the arms. Shorin-Ryu is a "hard" style; techniques involve forceful strikes with the fists, elbows, knees and feet.

 

 Basics

Every class includes a series of "basics" (kihon) that develop the most effective blocking and striking techniques of Shorin-Ryu karate. These are the core self-defense moves that are practiced hundreds of times until they become automatic reflexes. All ranks - from beginner to senior black belt - practice these moves diligently each time they train.

 

 

 2nd Beginner Kata
Fukyugata Ni

Following the review of basics, the class then moves on to the core training tool: kata. Kata is "a series of defensive and offensive moves performed in a linear pattern against one or more opponents." Kata is practiced in slow motion (as in the current video), light "snap" or full speed and power, depending on the student's proficiency or the need to break down and scrutinize the details of each move.

 

 

 Kata Fukyugata Ni
Bunkai

Kata are the ancient "forms" developed by the karate masters to help a physically smaller person defend against multiple assailants. The 19 kata of Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu are the essence of karate-do, and develop the student from inexperienced beginner to seasoned black belt. While many repetitions of kata are performed against "imaginary opponents," we also practice kata against real opponents to test their effectiveness in a life and death situation. In this video, three black belts demonstrate the use of moves from the second white belt kata ("Fukyugata Ni"). This type of exercise, called "Bunkai," is introduced after beginners have passed their first rank test, typically after two months of training.

 

 Kata Fukyugata San

Kata training comprises at least 50% of every class. The kata push each student to go beyond his or her self-imposed limits challenging body, mind and spirit. The result is an ever-increasing sense of personal mastery as students become more adept at progressively difficult forms and techniques. In this video, students perform Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro's kata, "Fukyugata San." The kata is characterized by low stances and aggressively moving forward with combinations of defensive and offensive techniques.

 

 Kata Pinan Yon-Dan

Over time students learn to respect both the beauty and deadly effectiveness of the moves in kata. This appreciation leads to a sense of humility and a great reluctance to ever use such force except in dire situations. The kata and bunkai in this video demonstrate both the grace and brutal force found in a style of karate that traces its roots to 16th Century Asia.

 

 Partner Exercises

At the end of each class, students pair off and work on physical conditioning, either with calesthetics or arm training exercises. These are followed by basic sparring drills: three offensive and defensive moves practiced slow motion, then 3/4 speed, and finally full speed and power. The emphasis during these drills is on safety and developing an understanding of distance and timing needed for effective blocks and counter attacks. After the three-point sparring exercises the class does some light stretching, then bows out as they began class.

 

 

 


 

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