|Posted by Shihan Tatro on February 13, 2013 at 4:45 PM||comments (0)|
Since my last post, I've been in the hospital in Oct. w/ complications from chemo. Those complications weakened me further and it took me until early Jan. to fully recover.
Although I still have lung cancer, my energy level has been improved recently and I'm getting back into the dojo.
|Posted by Shihan Tatro on August 6, 2012 at 5:25 PM||comments (3)|
I've recently been diagnosed with stage 4 bladder cancer that has moved to my lungs. According to the Dr., even with Chemotherapy treatment I will only live another 2 or so yrs....without about 1 yr.
Since the surgery that removed my bladder back in Nov., I've been recovering nicely, even back to light training. I even developed the Chisai Bushi no Tonfa kata that can be seen here on the Videos page. I continue to teach karate which is my life long passion.
My all time favorite quote is a Japanese proverb that goes; "Seven times down, eight times up." Meaning, no matter how bad things are, or how often you get knocked down by life....you get back up...you go on.
I hope I've helped to instill that quality in the thousands of students I've been priveledged to teach karate to. That is the legacy I wish to leave.
|Posted by Shihan Tatro on October 25, 2011 at 6:00 PM||comments (0)|
Recently dealt with some bladder surgery and have been inactive for the past 4 weeks. Other than some light stretching I haven't trained at all. I just got back to work yesterday and realized I'm weaker than expected, but I'll get used to it.
Tonight I will do my first training. I'll take it easy and hopefully be able to complete entire class. Each class from here on, I will try to elevate my training by small increments. Within a few weeks I should be back to normal.
|Posted by Shihan Tatro on June 15, 2011 at 8:33 AM||comments (0)|
As I prepare for a series of seminars on tonfa, sai, bo and bunkai, I've broken out the weapons to prepare. I train fairly regularly w/ bo (like everytime I pick up a broom, shovel or pool stick) as I instruct students. I've recently returned to competing w/ the tonfa, so I train fairly regularly w/ it. Back in Dec., Master Holman asked me to teach a couple of his students the Sai, but I've done little w/ it since. So, I'll have to include time for Sai practice.
My strength is Tonfa. I became nationally rated (#9) competing mainly w/ tonfa. I won a couple tournaments w/ Bo, but most w/ tonfa. Few competitors used this Okinawan weapon that inpired the P-24 police baton, which I think gave me an edge.
Of course, considerable emphasis on traditional applications of such weapons requires some history. Basic weapon application mimics martial arts techniques allowing a reference point for weapons use. Which is why I recommend seminar participants have at least 6 months previous martial arts experience. The tonfa can be very dangerous to users who don't understand some basic martial arts principles. The extreme power of the tonfa is generated by centrifical force, much like nunchaku, only tonfa requires more technique, whereas anyone can whip a nunchaku. No offense to nunchaku practitioners. The sai requires similar finesse in it's proper application. As always, the most basic applications are stressed while teaching more advanced bunkai.
|Posted by Shihan Tatro on June 1, 2011 at 11:20 AM||comments (0)|
Summer training doesn't really alter much other than more water breaks. But intensity levels stay the same, let the summer heat do it's job and re-hydrate often. However, summertime does create opportune time to work on less aerobic training, such as muchimi, katecki-te, ippons or advanced work chushi stone or kamae jars.
It's probably a good idea on really hot days to incorporate discussions of bunkai or history, so education continues while bodies rest. I try to have handouts of subject matter for people to read while they stretch. The goal here is to waste no time on the dojo floor.
|Posted by Shihan Tatro on May 4, 2011 at 8:49 PM||comments (0)|
Probably the singe most rewarding moment for the traditiional karate teacher is when you finally see the "light go on" for the students.
Teaching the concepts of Muchimi, (rooting) Ki or meditation are difficult. Since they involve internal organs or concepts you can't as easily demonstrate these ideas. But, the experience karate teacher knows drills and tests that helps develop and prove/disprove these concepts. Using these drills does not guanantee immediate sucess. However, when the student does begin to understand or feel the technique, there's a certain "light" in his/her eye. That "light" is almost immediately followed by increased enthusiasm and improved technique. It's fun...and it's why I still teach.
|Posted by Shihan Tatro on April 9, 2011 at 2:03 PM||comments (6)|
What is Kyokushin?
By Shihan Larry Tatro
Kyokushin! When I first heard that word, my instinct was to say, “Bless you.” Then, I found out that Kyokushin means, “in search of the ultimate truth. I think that epitomizes what all martial artists do in training. We search for the truth within us, to reach our limits, then exceed them to reveal the ultimate truth…the person we CAN be. The true martial artist is pushing his or her own personal envelope, in an ongoing attempt to gain mastery over their bodies and minds. Because, as the founder of Kyokushinkai, Mas Oyama says, “To win, a man must first overcome himself.” #
In the United States, Kyokushinkai schools are rare, however worldwide Kyokushinkai boasts millions of students. Masutatsu Oyama is world renowned as one of the most accomplished karate masters in history. He was known as “God Hand” because of his amazing feats of strength, including killing a bull with one punch. He searched himself for the ultimate truth by living in the mountains for 18 months, dedicating himself to rigorous training. Then he tested his truth by creating and being the first to accomplish the “100 Man Kumite”, in which the karateka fights 100 Black Belts consecutively. Kyokushinkai is known for it’s full-contact fighting. In fact, PRIDE, K-1, Sabaki, Enshin and many other full-contact competitions are off shoots of the World Championships sponsored by Kyokushinkai in the early 70’s.
Among Mas Oyama’s first students was Shigeru Oyama. (no relation) Shigeru became a 7th degree Black belt under Sosai Mas Oyama and as one of the masters most accomplished students, was sent to the United States to spread Kyokushin. Shigeru Oyama was sent to NY and opened a Kyokushinkai dojo immediately. One of his very first students was a Goju-ryu Black Belt named Tony Zeno. That’s where I come in. I was one of Shihan Zeno’s very first student. I think I see a pattern here.
For me, Kyokushin has been the transformation of a shy, skinny kid into a confident man comfortable in addressing large crowds. I began my “search” in 1973 in upstate NY and never looked back. I got my Black Belt in ‘78 and opened my first dojo in Culpeper, VA in 1982. Between 1984-94 several of our students and myself were consistently ranked in the former P.K.L.(Professional Karate League) and N.A.S.K.A.(North American Sport Karate Assoc.) We also won the Virginia Battle of the Dojo’s three consecutive years. I’ve been fortunate to train with prominent Kyokushin masters including aforementioned Shigeru Oyama and Tony Zeno. I’ve also trained with Bobby Lowe, John Farrell, Don Allen and Randolph James, all Kyokushin legends. Additionally, I’ve trained and learned from several non-Kyokushin sources. I learned weapons from Karl Hovey, Isshin-ryu. I learned jui-jitsu from Ron Cherry. I also studied with Bill Hayes, Shorin-ryu. I’ve increased my knowledge by attending numerous seminars by greats such as; Garry Holman, George Dillman, Wally Jay, Dan Severn, Joe Lewis and Bill Wallace. Throughout my 37 years I continued to seek knowledge in my search of the ultimate truth. I have been blessed by my association with these great masters and by having an inquisitive mind. Also, I twice had the chance to train and even teach in Japan. The result is combined with my degree in Physical Education to produce an in-depth, scientific, yet traditional approach to martial arts training.
Kyokushin is a relatively young style of karate, having been founded in 1953. Yet, it’s roots extend deep into traditional karate. Sosai Mas Oyama was greatly influenced by Goju-ryu legend “Catman” Yamaguchi and the “Founder of Modern Karate” Ginchin Funakoshi.. In fact, Kyokushin is said to be a combination of three styles; Kempo, Goju-ryu and Funakoshi’s Shotokan system. It’s traditional roots are also reflected in the formalized structure of Kyokushin classes and the spirit in the dojo.
Despite Kyokushin’s traditional roots, it can still lay claim as the forerunner to modern full-contact, mma style competitions. Sosai Oyama developed the perfect vehicle to transition from traditional karate to modern karate and he named that vehicle, “Search for the Ultimate Truth”. So, regardless which style of martial art you study, you too will search for your ultimate truth, so you too will be Kyokushin. Osu!
|Posted by Shihan Tatro on March 10, 2011 at 9:44 PM||comments (0)|
We've had numerous "intro" students is class over the last few weeks. With these brand new faces, we're forced to slow the pace of class somewhat. This slow down helps the sempai to fine tuene their techniques, but too much will eventually hinder any students progress. Fortunately, this swell of new students has temporarily ended and we can focus on more advanced material. I appreciate the patience my sempai have shown during this time.
|Posted by Shihan Tatro on February 15, 2011 at 1:13 PM||comments (0)|
A bunch of newcomers to class recently, has turned the focus to basic kihon in class. The pace and attention to detail is different when you've got first week kohai. (juniors) I use the opportunity to remind the sempai (seniors) that all techniques come from the kihon. This is time for them to work on applying various belt level qualities to their basic techniques.
The ranking system of Kyokushinkai is both systematic and symbolic. The White belt represents the empty canvas. Hard work and sweat is what turns it colors!
While some systems sybolize that sweat with a yellow belt, Kyokushinkai uses a Blue belt, which represents fluidity. Once the mechanics are learned in White belt, the student must learn to move from on move to the next fluidly. This is represented in the kata and several techniques introduced at Blue belt.
Next, our Yellow belt emphasis' speed and quickness. Once someone has learned the mechanics and can perform those mechanics fluidly, speed can and will come. Yellow belt kata and drill help to cultivate speed.
Green belt represents the power of the rooted oak tree. The student has learned to do the basics smoothly and quickly and now turn that into power. Principles like muchimi are used to maximize this.
The Brown belt melds all these qualities into the ultimate goal, Black belt.
But, each level requires evolving your White belt technique, not just keep repeating them. And in that respect, we're always a white belt.
|Posted by Shihan Tatro on January 7, 2011 at 3:44 PM||comments (0)|
Do, means a couple things. Performing an action or applying knowledge to a subject, as in; "I'm going to do push-ups." In Japanese, do means way or path, as in; Karate-do. One who follows the "way" of karate.
Both applications are paramount to karate training. Not only must the karateka follow the way of karate, abiding in its values of hard work and a spirit of "Osu", but he/she also has to DO the work. Performing the techniques repetitively improves muscle memory and reflexes. You can't read about a technique to learn it, you must DO it. Reading can help in initial phases, but the real learning comes in the doing.
Often, I've had students who ask questions about techniques, and always the answer was to be found in them performing the technique. Once performed (doing), we could analyze it's application (bunkai), then come to the proper performance of the technique based on application. To instill muscle memory we would DO that technique repeatedly focusing on proper application.
Do remember that the Do of karate requires both do and doing.