Sunday, June 22, 2014

Iron Body Training Tool: The Steel Hitter (Tesutaba)

If you are interested in Hojo-undo (supplementary training) especially Okinawan iron-body training & impact conditioning, Chinese Iron Shirt & Golden Bell Cover training, or even such health, rejuvenation, and longevity practices as Bone-Marrow Nei-Gong & 99-Powers Shen-Gong, then there is a piece of equipment which is extremely useful (arguably almost essential) for all of these endeavors. It is the bundle-hitter... in particular the steel bundle-hitter (called a "tetsutaba" in Japanese)

And it's awesome...

These can be purchased from various martial arts and/or qigong supply shops for a variety of prices ranging from $80 at the lowest to well over $600 on the high end (and that is not including shipping costs which are substantial). Which I suppose is probably why so few people own and work with them...

But even if you are on a tight budget you needn't despair:

Did you see that? The rather attractive tetsutaba in the lower right corner says it is only $25!!

That can't possibly be correct...

 It is correct.

It is a Do-It-Yourself Tetsutaba built by Joseph Warner and posted to the Hojo-Undo Facebook discussion group.
Click to enlarge

The design it is based on is the brainchild of Matt Perlingiero. Matt has made a excellent video tutorial on constructing this device which is funny in addition to educational.

Here is Matt's video:

So... I supposed some readers are wondering what the heck do people DO with such a device...

Here is a playlist featuring a collection of videos showing the use of bundle-hitters in Okinawan karate's Tai-Tanren, Chinese Iron Shirt training, and health Qigong... (including a very long-winded video on throat conditioning by yours truly):
Click for the "Tetsutaba & Related Conditioning" playlist

I imagine there are a few of you out there who were hoping for something a bit more "esoteric" or from a more detailed TCM type of perspective. Well we can accommodate that. Here is a book on Bone Marrow Nei-Gong which is chock-full of esoteric jargon and Chinese medical theories (and actually is a fairly practical methodology when you get down to the actual core practices).

Monday, June 9, 2014

Seipai Kata (十八手型)

I am a member of a fair number of karate groups and I hear various kata discussed all the time, but I have noticed that Seipai is not mentioned very often... Which is odd because it is a very nice kata.

What makes it even more odd is that there is a real wealth of good quality information on (and applications for) Seipai available to karateka. This is not just a recent phenomenon, way back in 1934, Mabuni Kenwa shinshii wrote Seipai no Kenkyu (Study of Seipai). This book contains interesting insights on kata generally as well as some bunkai which go beyond the modern percussive "punch/block" karate so common in the 20th century including a few tuidi type techniques.

The original Japanese text can be downloaded here

Mario McKenna's English translation (which I highly recommend) can be purchased here:

A whole host of interesting YouTube clips exist. Let's start with Ian Abernethy (who's karate in these clips is uncharacteristically Okinawan in feel):

OK, that wasn't bad, both rational and practical... but lets kick it up a few notches and look at Taira Masaji shinshii doing some Seipai material:

Now a couple of his student Andrea Buttazzoni shinshii who is an impressive karateka is his own right.

Here is Garry Lever shinshii of the Shinsokai working Seipai waza on a wooden man dummy (tou).

Finally let's look at some more tuidi concepts and techniques based on the movements of Seipai

This one is from Dan Djurdjevic shinshii:

And another from Jesse Enkamp of KARATEbyJesse fame: