Since 1994 I have been teaching Uechi-ryu to highly motivated individuals who, for a number of reasons, wanted me to coach them. Many of you are also students in a Uechi dojo and a number of you are black belts in other martial arts. Only a few are very-white belts – having never set foot in a dojo nor experimented with “distance-learning” programs.
Whereas until 2004, when my Virtual Dojo only had 10 loyal members, this year the program has 49 students. As the program gains in popularity, the demands on my time and energy dealing with so many individuals, has taxed my administrative and creative talents to the max.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love working with each of you. However, more and more I’m finding that a couple months have gone by and I’ve forgotten to contact a couple of students, or I’ve forgotten to set up an on-line meeting with someone. Now, I’m not a person who throws in the towel when a problem comes my way. So, when I screwed up a couple months ago and forgot to add a new student’s email address to my select “Virtual Dojo Members” newsletter group and therefore essential lost contact with him, I decided it was time to rethink the best way to coach 49+ loyal students, who each have the same overall goals, but different time constraints, abilities, discipline and goals. Hmmmm!
Well, the member who I forgot to log-in to my members’ newsletter list and I worked out an interesting program that just might resolve most of my concerns and just might be best for each of you.
I call it simply the “Old Way” or as Grandmaster Ryuko Tomoyose referred to it, . . Shushiwa’s Way! Now, as a 19 year old new student on Okinawa in 1956, with just two years to spend on Okinawa, I was curious about the method, but totally against trying it out myself. My goal was to learn ALL of the system, so I could return to the USA and teach it to others. As a further incentive, I promised both Tomoyose and Grandmaster Kanei Uechi, that I would set up a dojo and write a book!
I was able to learn all the kata, bunkai and exercises, much in the same way I probably could have learned 10 or 15 dance routines. I knew and taught people how to perform the movements, but. . . . it took me twenty years to finally understand the secrets that Sanchin held and how these secrets were transmitted to the rest of the system and most importantly, how these secrets needed to be mastered and understood in Sanchin, before they could be integrated into the rest of the system.
What Tomoyose could not convey to me and basically, I did not want to hear at the time, was that there wasn’t a shortcut to learning Uechi-ryu. You can start by learning the physical movements, and keep doing them until, after a number of years, the “secrets” began to be reversed-engineered from the advanced kata, back to Sanchin, where suddenly the “WOW” moment and all of a sudden everything makes sense.
Today, after knowing and understand the “Wow” moment and attempting to teach Uechi-ryu in a way to make it both interesting and effective, I have realized the importance of providing my students with the “fast-track” way of learning physical movements, while. . . . offering them a way to experience the benefits and potential benefits that are hidden within the kata Sanchin. Sort of a modified “Shushiwa Way“.
I also believe another benefit this modified “Old Way” will have that should greatly speed up the process of understanding Sanchin!
Are you interested????
It won’t cost members anything and the benefits for me will be a efficient and standard way to handle incoming students, regardless of rank, the importance of Sanchin. Remember, it took me twenty years to finally understand Sanchin, which means, even my senior students will benefit from taking this program.
What the program will require:
- Commitment. You must begin the program at “week one” and every week, sending me a video clip of you performing the assigned movement. After reviewing the clip and your “blog” entries regarding what you are experiencing, I will determine if I should send “week two” to you.
- Feeling the movements and understanding your body’s way of accepting how the movements are supposed to be performed.
- Documenting these feelings and body reactions to your Dojo’s Training Blog on a daily basis.
- Spending 15 minutes a day, following the instruction for the week’s assignment.
- Spending at least another 20 minutes a day, working on your regular assignments and as the weeks pass, attempt adapting your Sanchin’s insights and feelings into those assigned movements.
- Recommended but not mandatory: Wake up 15 minutes earlier every morning and go through my “Wake-up” session. An added health and conditioning experience I do every day. (Let me know in your blog how your are doing with this, if you decide to try it.
I promise you that learning Uechi-ryu is the best and most healthful activity you will ever undertake. There will be days (we all have them) where you will want to bypass one or more of your promised sessions, but you must fight it, since the first excused, missed session will make it much easier to skip the second, third session. However, persevere and after the first month, you will feel too wonderful to miss a class.
OK, I’ve outlined the reasons why this “Old Way” program will benefit us both. The next step is easy. Mark this lesson as completed to let me know you are ready to make the commitment and that you promise to follow the program as well as your regular training assignments and I will get you started.
Before continuing, please read the “requirements” one more time. What I ask of you will not be a physical, mental or emotional burden, but it will require willpower and a definite focused commitment!
Here’s hoping I will hear from you.
Best, “Coach” George