PDA

View Full Version : Wow!!! What the heck happened?



Tatsu
17th May 2002, 00:52
Things look pretty pitiful on this forum. Let me try and spark some convo...

Although many karateka and masters alike, claim that Shorin in very linear in form and technique, why is it that some ryuha (Kobayashi, Matsumura Orthodox) teach a crescent-stepping pattern whereas Matsubayashi and others teach a linear-stepping pattern? Does the classification only apply to hand techs or is the description indicative of all precepts within a system? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both, if any?

What is your guys' take on this training subtlety?

Later...

johnst_nhb
17th May 2002, 17:52
Just FYI,

Matsumura Seito and other offshoots do not use a cresent step. They use linear stepping. There are exceptions in some kata, but its rare.

-j

kusanku
17th May 2002, 22:00
Most Shorin ryuha actually do teach straight stepping.Crescent stepping is to go with sanchin and seisan stances from kata of same names, and if system does not use stances or kata named, though some shorin systems do, and they may do crescent steps, then they will use straight steps.

The sanchin and seisan kata do come from naha ti, and the shorin kata tend to use standup, short front, or t type, or cat stances, and those don't really work well with crescent steps.

The styles using zenkutsu and crescent steps, once used seisan stances or sanchin.The steps got mixed and carried over.

Btw, there are two ways of doing a straight step, one is to bring the rear foot forward and let the now rear leg come forward into proper alignment, the other is to shift the front foot forty five and step straight into stance.One is okay for striking only, the other seems telegraphic but if you are locked on an opponent's arm, the turn prior to the step unbalances the opponent forward and the step takes him down.

Crescent step in sanchin or seisan is for entering footwork, and for protection of inner thigh and groin areas.

Both straight and crescent footwork, have their advantages and disadvantages. I would remind all, that karate is originally conceived to be against an attacker who is coming in at you, and to see the footwork in this context, as not much karate footwork is really good for covering offensive distances quickly, and this is why Shotokan tournaments for instance, use kendo stepping, foot way off the ground and leap in, to cover distance.

Okinawan karate is defensive in nature,perhaps counteroffensive would be a better weay to put it, so footwork is designed to counter an attacking entry by opponent.Crescent step goes around to outside, straight step either turns and goes outside or goes straight down the cneter of incoming attack a la Hsin Yi.

Regards

Tatsu
17th May 2002, 22:02
FYI, I've studied both Shorinkan (Kobayashi) and Matsumura Seito (currently with Kyoshi Ronald Lindsey student of Soken, Kise and Seizan Kinjo) and both styles use a crescent stepping motions in their kata. When I did Matsubayashi we used linear stepping.

Are you a Matsumura Seito Shorin Ryu KarateJutsu practitioner, or a Matsumura Kenpo guy? Do you even study Shorin? Just wondering. Thanks for your input, but I disagree with your assessment.

Any other takers?

Tatsu
17th May 2002, 22:08
Thanks Ku... Your analysis made total sense. I'm asking this question b/c in Shorinkan (Shuguro Nakazato's school) and Matsumura Seito (at least sensei Lindsey's) straight steps are not used in our forms. I have seen some guys claim Matsumura Seito heritage using a linear step, and there is nothing wrong with that, but I've always been taught the other way.

kusanku
17th May 2002, 22:21
Hi Bryan-
Well, I do Matsubayashi Ryu, straight step, and have seen Matsumura done as by Phil Koeppel, also thought that is done with with straight steps but understand there are other ways of doing it.Kobayashi Ryu does use crescent steps as does Okinawan kenpo, both Shorin forms, and they may go back to that seisan step.

I think it may have been who else the instructors learned from rather than the main teachers, because some Naha influence seems to be present in both above styles that do crescent steps.

Couple friends of mine are in Okinawa now training with Nakazato Shugoro, maybe when they come back I'll ask one about the xrescent steps.

Someone said they say Nakazato Sensei once do seisan with tension, not a part of the system curriculum but apparently he learned it from someone.We all pick stuff up here and there from other styles, I guess.

Isn't Ron Lindsey also a White Crane guy? Buddy of mine went to a seminar, picked up a few kata from him, didn't really look Okinawan.Maybe the Chinese influence got in?They often use circle steps.But of this, I know little.

johnst_nhb
17th May 2002, 22:41
Kuda Yuichi shinshii used a straight step in Matsumura Kenpo-the one in which the lead foot turns 45 degrees first. However, in our version of rohai, we use a (albeit mild) circular step.

We do not have sanchin and sesan in our kata.

Kuda shinshii told me directly that he got the straight step from Soken.

j

CEB
18th May 2002, 04:07
Originally posted by Tatsu
....
Matsumura Seito (at least sensei Lindsey's) straight steps are not used in our forms. ....

Interesting, they used to be in your forms.

Tatsu
18th May 2002, 05:59
I have been to many kata seminars and have noticed that a lot of the other karateka that no longer train with Mr. Lindsey, do their stepping in a linear fashion. Coming from a root of Kobayashi, I didn't see any problem with it. I've read many articles that stated what you guys are saying. They always refer to Shorin movement as linear. I was just wondering, why the difference in ways of moving between the ryuha?

Mr. Lindsey's Crane may have seeped into his Matsumura training, I dunno. I was just wondering if any other Matsumura Seito guys out there trained stepping in this same manner? When I did Matsubayashi, I felt that their footwork was very good. Stances were a little wide and long (the same can be said for Kobayashi), but the movement was fast with good power.

Cool. Thanks senseis and feel free to add to anything you said before.

Victor
18th May 2002, 09:01
As an Isshinryu stylist who uses the crescent step for all of my kata I'd like to add a few observations.

I've come to realize the crescent step a little different from John's description: "Crescent step in sanchin or seisan is for entering footwork, and for protection of inner thigh and groin areas."

I see this version of stepping as using the first portion of the step, bringing the rear leg alongside the front leg, not as defensive, but as a means to pull into your centerline, and then to be able to explode, or drive from your center, to generate more power in the following technique.

This portion of centering creats more energy (IMVHO) and I accompany it with a different timing of movement too. I use 2/3's of the step compressing into the centerline and 1/3rd of the step to complete the movement.

There's actually a lot more involved than just the stepping, but it is a component of power as I see it.

John also writes "Crescent step goes around to outside", which brings up another favorite theme of my studies. A kata technique can be described in many ways. It doesn't necessarily have to stop with the punch. I sometimes call it 'Use the Following Step'. In this case the following stepping motion uses the crescent step for the sweep or takedown to 'Down the Opponent' (Borrowing that categorization from Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming).

I believe there is a very sound case which can be made for the sweeping motion of the crescent step, if you unlock your mind as to where a kata technique stops and starts.

As my research moves forward I keep trying to understand what I'm not seeing.

Respectfully,

Victor Smith
Bushi No Te Isshinryu

kusanku
18th May 2002, 18:08
Actually I gave a simplified description on crescent stepping, now you mention it, Victor, it is also a sweep,. but usually, as mentioned, to the outside.:-)Though you could do it as an o uchi gari to inside.

Now as to the power component, that is how we used in in reverse punch in Okinawan Kenpo, Isshinryu's first cousin which also had a large Naha ti component.

But as for the reasons, I think it had to do with kata, seisan and or sanchin. John however, the other John, brings up that in Rohai, there was a not pronounced but present crescent step. This is interesting, as in Matsubayashi ryu Rohai, there is not.But someone put one in at least one version, for some reason.

As to kata's many uses, I am in complete agreement with Victor, if you don't believe it, do a Google search for Genjumin's World, at the Baylor University Karate Club's site, that's me, and read the articles I wrote on kata there, those articles date from as much as four years ago.Possibillity is the name of the game.

However, not wishing to show off:D, I merely confined self to mention of few points of crescent step.It can also be sweep, crescent kick, , hooking as in Judo Gake or Kake waza, reap,trip, trap, or even lying down leg take down.It can also be hooking kick, and also a technique known as a cut kick to the tendons and nerves along outside or inside of leg,ankle or shin.And probably even more.

Why do some styles use this step, others not?I think straight is implied in crescent or circle step and circle is implied in straight step.

But I think, overall preference is what is shown by main stepping methods.:-)

It took me some time to get used to Matsubayashi ryu step after doing naha step in Okinawan Kenpo.But both have their purposes.

Someone mentioned, Bryan perhaps,that Matsubayashi stances are long and wide.They are not at all wide,if done as Nagamine Sensei teaches even in his book, a fists width between the legs.As for long, it is not my experience that Matsubayashi ryu stances are long, either, except a low zenkutsu, not the normal one used.Even the naihanchi and jigotai or shiko stance used in Matsubayashiryu is not that deep compared with some.

I think what happens, its that the styles mix in America, and people do Shotokan or Taekwondo versions of the stances, wide open and groin exposed.That is not the way of Shorin ryu, whose narrow stances become a leg trap if a kosa dachi is assumed as a kick is initiated, which is why exact training is called for here.:D.I should also have mentioned, that crescent step uses a wider stance of necessity but the front leg turns in to protect groin and inner thighs.Which is why I mentioned that particular aspect.I also shoulsd mention that with a crescent step , the knees can turn inward and flex if kicked so as to escape harm and facilitate a turning or spinning movement if needed.
In straight stance fighting, one should keep weight fifty fifty at most and be able to remove all weight from front leg as needed, so to escape injury. cat stance is for this.Used also in styles that crescent step.


I do apologize for any confusion caused by my incomplete and overly simplistic explanation.I should have been more complete in exposition.:-)

I see nothing contradictory in what the others here, have said.Course, we still don't know why some do one way and some do the other.As far as any method of stepping being ain any way superior to others- I think it a matter of preference.

Now, having said this-crescent step does enable generation of superior hip rotational power.Shorin styles, Kobayashi and Kenpo excepted, tend not to overly emphasize such, rather making use of body alignment previous to actual execution to enable putting the hip into technique, whereas Goju and all styles related, use that crescent step and hip rotation.

The less a style uses that rotational power, the faster they get into action but the weaker the actual body involvement is short of prior alignment.The more it uses rotational power, the stronger the actual technique.What makes Okinawan styles similar is that all teach a body alignment where the legs, hips and upper body are along one of several 'power lines' as or before the technique is executed.

In kata bunkai, grappling or lock and throw techniques require this power line to be established either as or after the lock is applied( Goju and related styles including Isshinryu and Kenpo, hip goes in and Opponent goes down), or before, as in some Shorin with the previous forty-five turn of the foot establishing the power line before you actually apply, or if you are already locking on, as you apply. This too is somewhat simplified, as I am sure Goju and Isshin and Kenpo( latter of which I have done for thirty years) sometimes align before and shorin sometimes after.

What I do like about the crescent step is that from the semicircle can be extrapolated the entire circle and all leg techniques, and what I like about the straight step is its speed and capacity to enter , using the rear foot to guide it, to any angle.

Both styles alike use also, crossing footwork, rear and forward, which enables other things, such as instantaneous evasion while retaining countering position close in.

What is not instantly apparent is that straight stepping with prior turn of foot, enables power in locking and throwing that has to be done with partner to be believed.That little prior turn takes all their balance and power away.But crescent step and hip rotation enables joint attacks that break, too.Also crescent step enables somewhat better hip throwing usage.Which, at range used body to body, may be better.So, I think Goju styles may have beetter judo, Shorin styles a quicker jujitsu or aiki whatsis.

Six of one, half dozen of other.Interesting discussion, however.Good interacting with all, and to all, great respect and regards.

Regards

Tatsu
20th May 2002, 08:50
Originally posted by kusanku
Hi Bryan-
Well, I do Matsubayashi Ryu, straight step, and have seen Matsumura done as by Phil Koeppel, also thought that is done with with straight steps but understand there are other ways of doing it.

John V.: You make some very interesting points. Many of the explanations you have for the functionality of crescent stepping are exactly what I've been taught. After studying ShuriTe for many years these intricacies became apparent, and I agree with your assessments completely.

Regarding the above quote: Phil Koeppel is a student of Ronald Lindsey (3rd Dan?). I asked Sensei Lindsey on Saturday if he has ever taught Matsumura Seito stepping (in kata especially) using the linear approach. He remarked that he teaches Matsumura Seito as he learned it in the 60s and 70s. The straight stepping used in forms and kihon training by Matsumura Orthodox guys nowadays is a manifestation of Sensei Kuda's derivative Matsumra Kenpo. He teaches only the crescent step because that is what he was taught. It's interesting to note that Ronnie is a Shihan in Matsumura Kenpo, and that at one time only he, Greg Ohl and Dr. Charles Tatum were authorized, by Yuichi Kuda himself, to teach his style of karate in the U.S..

Victor: Isshin Ryu seems to be very similar to Matsumura Seito in its methodology and approach towards karate training. Thanks for the valuable comments. BTW, my sensei has a very good article on Isshin great Steve Armstrong. His story is, at once, inspirational and heartbreaking. The respect my Sensei has for Isshin Ryu and Armstrong Sensei is tremendous. Good training and research brother.

OT: I attended a kata and Hohan Soken Fighting Techniques seminar this Saturday at Lindsey's Hakutsurukan. There were several styles represented there. Kobayashi-Shorinkan, Shobayashi, Shorinji Ryu, Matsumura Kenpo, Matsumura Orthodox (of course) and even Tang Soo Do. Different stylistic interpretations of the same kata were performed by all present, and the similarities as well as differences in technique and execution were apparent. Some styles were hard. Some hard/soft, and others pliable. In the end everyone looked great, and it was a very good thing to see different schools of thought get together and vibe like that. I especially liked the Crane katas that were performed. Shorinji Chinto stands out in my mind. That kata took over 3 minutes to perform! Regardless of how we step I think that in the end the most important thing is that you are moving towards self-actualization. I'm finally realizing that there are no good or bad Okinawan (or other) styles. It really is dependent upon the conveyer of information (the teacher) and the receiver of this knowledge (the student).

Thanks everyone for the input...
With the highest regards.

johnst_nhb
20th May 2002, 15:50
"The straight stepping used in forms and kihon training by Matsumura Orthodox guys nowadays is a manifestation of Sensei Kuda's derivative Matsumra Kenpo."

Interesting. This contradicts what I was told by Kuda shinshii. He told me that the circular stepping he used to do was from his training in Okinawa Kenpo and that it changed to the straight step when he began Matsumura Seito under Soken.

Anyway, whatever, this is Mr. Lindsey's viewpoint and thats ok. We all have our different interpretations based on our own experiences.

Thanks for sharing,

j

Tatsu
21st May 2002, 01:39
Thanks for your input Sensei Stebbins. I don't think that it matters that much, but I don't doubt your perspective. I know that Mr. Lindsey was a senior student of Kuda Sensei, though, as I stated previously.

Do you teach GJJ as part of your curriculum? I was wondering because I have some BJJ experience through the Gracie Torrance Academy (Ryron Gracie) and am friends with Carlos "Professor Caique" Elias (who I have also trained with). Just wondering what your MMA training entails. Are you affiliated in any way to Fred Ettish's school?

Thank you sir, and it looks like "traditional" karate is in good hands. The Matsumura saga continues...

johnst_nhb
21st May 2002, 19:20
Hey Bryan,

Thanks for your input. I am thouroghly aware of Mr. Lindsey's previous relationship with Kuda, and I respect his knowledge.

I do not teach BJJ as part of my normal classes, though i do continue to train in BJJ. i love it and find it a wonderful addition to my traning!

Fred Ettish is a very close friend of mine and we are both members of the Matsumura kenpo association. I have traveled with him to Okinawa numerous times to train with the Kudas.

Regards!

j

PingAnTu
29th May 2002, 09:42
Maybe everybody's right. As far as I can tell, all okinawa karate uses cresent stepping but not all use straight. All shorin styles do crecent-like steps like in the four shuto's of Kusanku. Cresent step is'nt for forward power but angle power whereas straight stepping is for linear power. Yamanni-Chinen Ryu is mostly straight but there are also off-angle cresents. Shuri-te was once a weapons and empty hand art propogated from Sakugawa to Matsumura. So traditional shurite most likely was mostly straight but also with off-angle cresents.

The cresent step is really just an exagurated straight step anyway. In both instances the feet pass each other as close as possible. the idea with a crecent step is that you can work angles defensively and offensively to get into the opponent or away from him. When the feet are close together in movement you can choose quickly which direction you want to go. So it seems all good to me.

Paul Adamson

kusanku
31st May 2002, 04:19
Well, I wasn't counting the cat steps but yes, they are crescent steps sort of. They kind of do have to be since you are going to forty-five etc.

So, perhaps so.Perhaps so.You have to step how you have to step to get where you need to be relative to attacker.

Especially if you are going to achieve the highest level of Okinawan Karate striking waza, nameley and to wit, braining the opponent without him seeing it coming after he initiates the lethal attempt on you first.

This necessitates particularly stealthy usage of defensive or countering footwork, and we all know what that means, don't we fellows?:D It means going right to his blind spot forty five to the front or rear.

Which may necessitate a de facto crescent step.But that was a seekret, Paul.:DThe Matsubayashi Ryu Oath, a copy of which I have never seen, prescribes absolutely never telling anyone we actually may use a crescent step.Remember?

Of course you must deny this as we were never to tell that such an oath existed either.:DIt doesn't, either.Doug will of course, tell you the same.:DSince all three of us deny such a thing exists, no one will be able to discover if it does, or not.Of cours,e it does not,That is the truth.(watch someone start a website now,, with mention of the Secret Matsubayashi Ryu Oath:-)I swear they will, someone has already pirated some of my stuff on a soke website.No kidding.I wanna know how they got to be tenth dan soke and I am nowhere near that.They should know twice what I do, that rank.:DAt least.But nooo, hadda go'n' swipe my stuff.I'm thinkin', Man, this guy really is making sense, Hey, those are my words!:D
Then I though, well, Heck, least he';'s givin' em good information.:-)
Regards

CEB
31st May 2002, 15:03
Originally posted by johnst_nhb


Interesting. This contradicts what I was told by Kuda shinshii. He told me that the circular stepping he used to do was from his training in Okinawa Kenpo and that it changed to the straight step when he began Matsumura Seito under Soken.

....
j

Hello Stebbins Shinshii

I concur with what you said. My son's sensei teaches straight stepping. I have Soken Hohan on tape performing Paisai Sho and he steps straight. Glad to have you on the forum. Take care.

Doug Daulton
1st June 2002, 15:14
Originally posted by kusanku ... Which may necessitate a de facto crescent step.But that was a seekret, Paul.:D The Matsubayashi Ryu Oath, a copy of which I have never seen, prescribes absolutely never telling anyone we actually may use a crescent step. Remember?

Of course you must deny this as we were never to tell that such an oath existed either.:D It doesn't, either. Doug will of course, tell you the same.:D Since all three of us deny such a thing exists, no one will be able to discover if it does, or not.I never use crescent stepping (not as far as you know at least). ;)

In all seriousness, I do use crescent stepping in certain kata and I have picked it by studying several folks much more senior than me. That said, it is not the pronounced crescent stepping found in Goju ryu. It is more the hint of a crescent than an actual arc.

IMO, the crescent step is a key element of learning and maintaining the ability to generate gamanku (hip power) in certain (but not all) waza. However, the crescent step never finds its way into kumite practice (ippon/sanbon, yakusoku or jiyu).

In application, the crescent disappears (to the eye) but remains in effect in the actual technique.

I hope that makes sense.

Regards,

kusanku
2nd June 2002, 02:49
Yep. That's sorta kinda the way I view this as well.:-)

It's like, you may kind of use one, in some certain kata, or some waza practice, but in the kumites, or in self defense, never see it.

What however, you Do see, and a lot of, in Matsubayashi Ryu, and its no secret:D, is a step around movement to achieve positioning on an incoming opponent, usually into cat stance, as in all the Pinans for instance.

This may well take the place of the more overt crescent step seen in other styles of karate.

A buddy of mine in Shito Ryu tells me that the seniors in his style, use the step around as in Matsubayashi Ryu in their applications or kumites, but not in the kata.

Which is kind of funny, if you think about it, because they use the crescent step big time in the Higaonna-ke forms, ie Goju forms.

Anyway, it all goes to the question of gamanku or hip positioning and usage, I suppose. Good to hear from you Doug and all.

Regards

Rob Alvelais
2nd June 2002, 14:40
Perfect sense, Doug

Rob

kusanku
2nd June 2002, 22:56
And speaking of which, by the way,hows about we mention that in more advanced practice in about all Okinawan styles, sliding, and shifting direction during such, even though we in Matsubayashi Ryu as Doug has now told you in accordance with the Oath that does not exist, no it doesn't,Never:D use crescent steps, amounts to crescent movement anyway?

kenshorin
5th June 2002, 16:39
Originally posted by kusanku
Never:D use crescent steps, amounts to crescent movement anyway?

kusanku -
HEY! No talk of the secret Oath in public! :D

Funny story about this actually... A while ago my sensei and a few seniors went to Okinawa to train with Nagamine Shoshin. Well, one of the seniors thought he was a hotshot and always used the "pronounced" circular step like you see in Goju. From what I heard, he was doing kata in front of O-Sensei like that, and O-Sensei called him out on it, something to the extent of "You want Goju? They're down the street..." :laugh:

After this, there was a little tidbit dropped by O-Sensei that came back here. He basically said (and I'm paraphrasing here), circular steps are wrong. Linear steps are wrong too. Matter of fact, ANY FORCED UNNATURAL step is wrong. Just step. See?

Truth is, the human body doesn't move 100% linear. Nor does it move in giant concentric arcs. Naturally, it has its subtle curvature.

The point was, sometimes martial artists try to force stuff and add techniques where they aren't neccessary. So to take a quote from Nike, "Just Do It"

kusanku
5th June 2002, 23:57
Originally posted by kenshorin
[B]

kusanku -
HEY! No talk of the secret Oath in public! :D

Ossu!:D What Secret Oath?Never heard of any Secret Oath, have,m we , guys?Doesn't Exist, I tell you!:DAhem!That better?


Funny story about this actually... A while ago my sensei and a few seniors went to Okinawa to train with Nagamine Shoshin. Well, one of the seniors thought he was a hotshot and always used the "pronounced" circular step like you see in Goju. From what I heard, he was doing kata in front of O-Sensei like that, and O-Sensei called him out on it, something to the extent of "You want Goju? They're down the street..." :laugh:

That's funny.:DAnd as expected.He never heard of that oath, either!


After this, there was a little tidbit dropped by O-Sensei that came back here. He basically said (and I'm paraphrasing here), circular steps are wrong. Linear steps are wrong too. Matter of fact, ANY FORCED UNNATURAL step is wrong. Just step. See?

Actually, yes, and clearly.You force it , its not real.


Truth is, the human body doesn't move 100% linear. Nor does it move in giant concentric arcs. Naturally, it has its subtle curvature.

The point was, sometimes martial artists try to force stuff and add techniques where they aren't neccessary. So to take a quote from Nike, "Just Do It"

Well said, indeed.If someone attacks you, how will you step? However you really step, is how.

Good stuff, and plenty of it.

Tatsu
6th June 2002, 06:59
Thanks for all the feedback. You guys make great points. I actually have no preference when it comes to stepping. I was taught the 45 degree method and feel comfortable with it. I've been given numerous explanations as to why the styles I've trained in prefer this method over the traditional linear method: "You're sweeping the battlefield of debris; it's for sweeping the leg of your opponent; it generates more hip rotation momentive force." Basically many of the same points discussed thus far. I tend to think that some of the basic reasoning with training footwork in this way may be related to the fundamental definition of Okinawan Karate as a whole- that it makes use of Goho (Ijiki) and Juho (Soyora). Many newer styles of karate (especially those of ShuriTe lineage) emphasize offensive, linear actions (very Goho).

At many traditional tournaments this attitude is displayed in the Kumite. With the exception of the few Chinese-flavored schools that sometimes enter, many of the fighters look very similar. They may be of Shorei or Shorin lineage, but to watch them you wouldn't be able to spot any subtleties or tell-tale signs of this. There are very few tricky or finesse techniques. They all look a little like controlled kickboxing, not really karate. Use of taisabaki is practically nonexistent, and usually those with a good urate (gyaku) tsuki, mawashi geri, yoko geri and mae geri are usually the strongest competitors. That's four techniques out of the myriad you learn in the dojo. These kihon are usually executed in a 'get in get out' manner. Circling the opponent rather than running in or backing up, is rare. BTW IMO, teaching softness and circular motion too soon can lead to weak, slow beginners and not-so-fast, flexible, yet soft, black belts/sashes. The middle path seems to be a good remedy for the over emphasis of ijiki or soyora.

You can reach your opponents "rear corner", or position yourself at a 45 degree angle to his anterior with linear steps. The thing is with all the walking kihon line training that predominates the modern dojo, the karateka may never, ever even think of moving to a position around his opponent, where use of all your weapons vs. only 2 of his is a distinct advantage in any fighting situation.

Use of crescent stepping, or more accurately 45 degree stepping, has helped me to understand this aspect of body positioning. It also reminds the karateka (at least in my case) to use his hips and bring the power up from your root and to the weapon you wanna use. When we do Hohan Soken's Fighting drills (2-man drills), the use of angles and positioning is a must. Many, but not all of the drills, use lateral movement and pivoting.

Stepping off-center to the right or left is facilitated with 45 deg. stepping. The action is really very linear, but not straight ahead. When I asked my Sensei what was the fundamental fighting philosophy of his Matsumra Seito he exclaimed, "Get out of the way"!!!

Thanks again, sirs. Looking forward to more interesting discussions.

kenshorin
6th June 2002, 19:55
Originally posted by Tatsu
I've been given numerous explanations as to why the styles I've trained in prefer this method over the traditional linear method: "You're sweeping the battlefield of debris; it's for sweeping the leg of your opponent; it generates more hip rotation momentive force." Basically many of the same points discussed thus far.

At many traditional tournaments this attitude is displayed in the Kumite. With the exception of the few Chinese-flavored schools that sometimes enter, many of the fighters look very similar. They may be of Shorei or Shorin lineage, but to watch them you wouldn't be able to spot any subtleties or tell-tale signs of this. There are very few tricky or finesse techniques. They all look a little like controlled kickboxing, not really karate. Use of taisabaki is practically nonexistent, and usually those with a good urate (gyaku) tsuki, mawashi geri, yoko geri and mae geri are usually the strongest competitors. That's four techniques out of the myriad you learn in the dojo. These kihon are usually executed in a 'get in get out' manner. Circling the opponent rather than running in or backing up, is rare.

Man, you aren't kidding. A lot of people pay no attention to what their feet are doing. I circle around A LOT, almost to the point of refusing to back up. It helps. I know people who have great techniques, but use no footwork (or the predictable in-out thing), and they can't touch me. I like that :)

You know how I said "sometimes martial artists try to force stuff" referring to funky steps? Well, for a while I was the funky step king. :D Forced steps galore. Had em in my kata, had em all over the place. Had them not even fully understanding why I was doing them. Just because it was the cool thing to do. I've trained with circular steps, linear steps, and natural steps like I described above. I tried to force a FULL linear step, and it was much too jerky. The circular step does help for sweeps; however, you have to do it right because it leaves you in a funny position to get swept too if your opponent catches you when your feet are close, and the more you do it, the more likely your opponent is going to catch it.

I found that a natural step is usually quicker (for me) because its just what I do. Not that I ignore the concepts of taisabaki, stance and balance, but I integrate those concepts seamlessly into how my body works. I allow the shifting between stance to just happen, and not try to integrate all these unnatural intermediary movements. That said, I'm glad I went through my funky step phase, because it taught me a lot about footwork, and the advantages, disadvantages, similarities, and differences of different types of movement. Because of that, I still use a circular step in kumite occasionally, but I do so with a purpose, knowing the benefits and disadvantages of it; I don't avoid it because my "style tells me to". That would be stupid. The point is, you can over-do circular steps. And you can overdo natural steps too. Just do what works for the moment.

hakutsuru
7th June 2002, 09:17
I have trained in Matsumura Seito Shorin-ryu, Matsubayashi-ryu, and Sorinkan Shorin-ryu. I was taught to step naturally in each. Their are some rare instances where I cresent step in Matsumura and Shorinkan. Seisan, for example, in Matsumura or the Kihon Kata and Pinans in Shorinkan. I'm not a very high ranking student so I can only pass on what I have been taught.

Tommy Lane

Tatsu
8th June 2002, 05:51
Hakutsuru: Who did you study Matsumura Seito under? Just wondering. Crescent stepping is used in all of the kata I was taught by Kyoshi Lindsey. Every one except Naihachi 1-3, that is. The Shorinkan kata I learned also make use of an even more pronounced, lower based crescent step. I have seen many Shorinkan guys perform their kata in this manner.

It has been mentioned that Goju has a very pronounced crescent stepping action in their forms. I can say that I know of a few BBs in Morio Higaonna's style, and they say that they only use crescent stepping in Sanchin, in accordance with the hourglass stance. Otherwise, they tend to step very linearly.

I don't think it matters in the long run. I posed the question in the first place to spark conversation. I have read many stylistic descriptions throughout my life and found it interesting that a majority of authors consider Shorin offensive and linear and Shorei defensive and circular. My experience with Shorin was a combination of both ideologies.

When we practice 2-man drills, a lot of linear stepping is used. This may be an illusion though, because like someone already said, everything in the universe is traveling in an arc-like manner, even light. Thanks to all again...

hakutsuru
8th June 2002, 06:51
I study under Chuck Chandler. Mr. Chandler at one time trained under Mr. Lindsy I believe.

I'll have to give my shorinkan teacher a call and ask him about his stepping. I watched him very carefully. I tend to be very picky about things like this. In all but the most basic kata he seemed to step naturally. Could be he just picked it up from watching me;)

Goju-ryu and Uechi-ryu are whole other animals I think. Their stances are a bit different from shorin type schools. I started in Matsubayashi-ryu then moved. I then trained in Seido and Goju-ryu. Man it was hard to break the cresent stepping habit when I went back to Matsubayashi. Got more then a few stern looks in class.

Now I have it squared away. I don't confuse styles anymore...well let me call my Shorinkan teacher and make sure I got it right:)

Tommy Lane