“Be careful about the words you speak, for if you are boastful you will make a great many enemies. Never forget the old saying that a strong wind may destroy a sturdy tree but the willow bows, and the wind passes through. The great virtues of karate are prudent and humility.” - Gichin Funakoshi O-sensei
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"We need to look for "inside quality" and that is another level in practise... So, though with aging our muscular power will decline, we'll be able to do "more, sharp, more speed, more Kime"... clearly. This is the Way we need to follow. Already, for thirty years you've practised too much form. It's enough, stop thinking about muscles. It is only the mind that can take body to another level, not the muscles!" - Taiji Kase sensei
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Squatting as a general Karate skill?
From Dwight Holley Sensei:
Thought you might like this article regarding the relevance of Seiza.
Rei to Love: Etiquette is Healthy and Good for Fighting
Karate Dō begins and ends with rei.
Every Karateka is familiar with the first precept of Gichin Funakoshi – Karate Dō begins and ends with 'rei'. Also probably nearly every Karateka agrees about the importance of this precept, putting rei at the very centre of their Karate practice. Yet many seem to forget, that rei is not only describing a mental attitude, but also a very concrete physical practice. Paradoxically, while rei as a mental attribute is emphasized, the physical manifestation of rei is often shunned upon by the very same Karate practitioners. They see seiza and bowing as something unpleasant and antiquated, only done to fulfill some kind of Asian tradition but with no real usefulness to Karate practice, let alone fighting proficiency.
This lack of appreciation often shows in sloppy reihō. Even advanced belts are struggling while getting up from seiza, glad that the unwanted part is over and the 'real' Karate practice begins. But why not staying true to Funakoshis precept and starting Karate practice (yes, I mean the actual physical training) with rei and not after it? You might ask why? Seiza and bowing have no real relevance in the western world, they don't apply to your everyday life, let alone to physical Karate practice. Guess what: you're wrong.
Bowing in Rei
Did you ever drop something? Did you have to pick it up from the floor? Happens all the time, right? This is essentially bowing! The question is, did you pick it up correctly in a back sparing way? Or did you struggle somewhat, picking it up in an awkward position? Unfortunately many people tend to hurt their backs while picking up stuff.
We all look like really folded cashews.
This is were we can learn from other cultures. Use your hips! Ever heard about using your hips in Karate training? Do it properly while bowing, too. Bending at the hips engages the hamstring muscles and takes the pressure off the back muscles, sparing your spine and possibly preventing back pain.
A correct bowing will change your body!
Seiza in Rei
Ok, so now you might agree to the relevance of bowing. But seiza certainly doesn't relate to your everyday life and it hurts your knees. So more modern- and practical oriented martial arts are better of without seiza practice? Sorry, you're wrong again.
Tastsuya Naka shows how to get up from seiza correctly.
The 2012 IFA Report (Institute for Work Safety of the German Social Accident Insurance) about work-related knee-strains mentions seiza and kiza as a common posture within certain crafts while working on the knees (e.g. tilers, plumbers and painters). Laboratory screening shows, that the knee is exposed to less straining forces while sitting on the heels compared to other forms of kneeling and crouching. Seiza and hiza are identified as a recovery posture for the lumbar spine and knees, especially the knee caps. The erected upper body, a relieve of the patella exterior and the contact with soft tissue furthermore reduces the forces on thighs and knee joints.
Seiza and MMA
And regarding 'modern' martial arts, actually most BJJ- and MMA practitioners will find themselves in seiza in nearly every training. Working from inside closed guard, a very common grappling posture, will most certainly lead to a seiza position. Therefore you often read about problems with sitting on the heels in MMA and Grappling related internet groups. So if you deem traditional seiza to be not relevant for you, think again.
Seiza and bowing in MMA training
Rei: Seiza and bowing in MMA training
Rei: Seiza and bowing in MMA training
While longer periods of seiza sitting can have a negative effect on postural control after standing up because of occluding the blood flow of the lower limbsand seiza at first can be very uncomfortable, especially on individuals not used to it. Seiza per se is deemed to be innocuous for the knees. Of course regular training of seiza will reduce the negative effects so you can use the practice of seiza to it's full potential.
And there is more to seiza than to just sit on the floor. You have of course to transition from standing to the floor and get up again. While this is happening on a regular basis in every grappling- and throwing related art and is also still very present in middle east- and east asian cultures with a more floor-living lifestyle, this transitional movements are sadly very underrepresented in regular Karate practice. Transition into- and from seiza is your chance to experience this very important movement patterns.
Sitting/kneeling on the ground and transitioning to and from standing are a fundamental movement macronutrient, many are missing in their life and their natural movement training.
The osteopath Phillip Beach lists three common sense and clinically practical approaches to prevent musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction:
spending more time on the floor in archetypal positions (e.g. squatting, kneeling and seiza, cross legged sitting - 'sitting on the floor in comfort is a developmental birthright')
paying attention on the feet (our feet play a crucial role in our biomechanical well being and the rehabilitating of our feet is essential for reducing musculoskeletal distress)
revisiting the processes involved in rising from the floor to upright ('the effort to erect oneself from the floor to standing are a way of finetuning the many muscles we use in life') 
To love your reihō is to love your body! Make yourself familiar with correct bowing, squatting, seiza and corresponding transitional movements. This will improve your health, posture and after all your martial arts proficiency.
Florian Wissmann: Practising Karate since the mid 1990s, I am currently a Nidan at the Nihon Karate-dō Shūshūkan, which is headed by Sugimori Kichinosuke (9.Dan) and its german branch is lead by Stephan Yamamoto (6.Dan). https://shushukan.com/
 https://www.dguv.de/ifa/publikationen/reports-download/reports-2012/ifa-report-2-2012/index.jsp, p.70
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGeB7oS_Qa4 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfH9JP8GDdk
 s. also https://www.shushukan.de/squatting-as-a-general-karate-skill/
 Beach, Phillip: Muscles and Meridians - The manipulation of shape, Elsevier Ltd. 2010, p. 3-4 and Foreword
Dwight Holley, Chairman KOJF
Karate of Japan Federation
U.S.A., Japan, Great Britain, Sri Lanka, South America, Italy, Malaysia, Canada, South Africa, Haiti, India, Philippines, Argentina, France, Bosnia, Iran, Mongolia, Brazil, Malaysia, Puerto Rico and growing.
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Sensei George Mattson reminded me of a famous Zen partible by the sage Gassho.
A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side.
The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman.
Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on his �journey. The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between themselves. Two more hours passed, then three, finally the younger monk could contain himself any longer, and blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”
The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, I set her down on the other side of the river, why are you still carrying her.
This simple Zen story has a beautiful message about living in the present moment. How often do we carry around past hurts, holding onto resentments when the only person we are really hurting is ourselves. We all go through times in life when other people say things or behave in a way that is hurtful towards us. We can chose to ruminate over past actions or events, but it will ultimately weigh us down and sap our energy. Instead we can choose to let go of what doesn’t serve us anymore and concentrate on the present moment. Until we can find a level of peace and happiness in the present circumstances of our lives, we will never be content, because ‘now’ is all we will ever have.
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From Charles Taylor Sensei:
The only thing that a muscle fiber can do is contract and relax. It cannot “push“; only contract or relax.
When you bend your arm/flex your biceps, your bicep is contracting which bends your arm. When you subsequently open your arm your bicep muscles relax and your tricep muscles contract to open your arm up. Your bicep muscles do not “push “your arm open.
There are basically two types of muscle fibers, slow twitch and fast twitch. As the names imply, slow twitch muscles are slower and more solid while fast which are faster.
The way to a speedy punch (or other technique) Involves two main facets. First the muscles required to extend the arm must be engaged as fast as possible. Just as important, the antagonistic muscles (The muscles which would pull the arm back) must be totally relaxed, otherwise the muscles which extend your arm and the muscles which retract your arm will be fighting each other, resulting in slower extension of your arm.
At the completion of the punch, the slow twitch muscles, the fast twitch muscles, the muscles which extend your arm, And the muscles which retract your arm must all be simultaneously tense as much as possible resulting in kime/focus of the punch. This also involves The muscles of both arms and legs as well as the core muscles. The entire body is focused in the punch for a fraction of a second. Timing is critical because if you focus too soon the punch will be slowed and focus will not be through the punch. If you remain focused for too long after the attack, you leave yourself open to a counter attack.
It is harder to learn to relax at the proper time than it is to learn to focus . If you watch and compare a beginner with a seasoned karate-ka, the most obvious difference (Aside from stance and hips)
Is the beginner will tense up at inappropriate points and there is almost always excessive tension in the shoulders. The seasoned-karate-ka , On the other hand will look extremely relaxed most of the time, almost lackadaisical in nature, but will strike out instantaneously reminiscent of the fight between a mongoose and a cobra.
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