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Northampton Karate Members' Manual
Copyright 2011 Northampton Karate llc

CONTENTS

1. Welcome To Northampton Karate
2. Statement of Purpose
3.The History Of Okinawan Karate
4. The Shorin Ryu Lineage
5. The Shorin Ryu Kata
6. The Dojo Calligraphy
7. Karate Terminology
8. Counting



WELCOME TO NORTHAMPTON KARATE


As a new member of Northampton Karate you will see that your karate training will help you do better in everything you do.

With sincere and consistent practice you can literally get stronger, more flexible and more skillful every day of your life. There is no need to wait a long time before you start to see results. You will feel healthier, more focused and more balanced within a few weeks of getting started.

At first it is important to take things step by step and not feel that you have to do everything at once. Nothing that you are doing in class should hurt. If you do get sore muscles after your first class, let your instructor know, so that he or she can help you continue to train -- while letting those muscles rest and recover.

You will see that there are lots of high points in your karate training. You will be able to do things that you never thought you could. But there will also be some challenges, both physical and mental. By sticking with it and seeing your way through these challenges you inevitably become stronger.

Everything we do in the Dojo has a purpose. Nothing is arbitrary. Everything is designed to help you make the most efficient use of your time to become as strong, flexible, balanced and focused as possible. If there is anything you don't understand -- from new moves, vocabulary or Dojo procedures -- feel free to ask. The whole Dojo is set up so that you can enjoy your training and do well.

To get the most out of life -- at work, at home, at school, in personal life, in athletics -- it is best to be healthy, confident, good-hearted and strong. As the old saying (from Lao Tzu) goes: "A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single step."

Enjoy your journey.

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STATEMENT OF PURPOSE


Practice goes straight ahead, although conditions and circumstances change. We hope that people will see the benefit of leading a life of practice, and so will begin. Each of us has to lead our own life. We need strong practice to accomplish our goals.

Adults and children alike need a daily practice that asks them to try hard, focus deeply, become healthy and recognize the true correspondence between strength and kindness. A practice that rewards them, inwardly and outwardly, with the natural result of their efforts: health, inner stability, good relationships with others, a sense of responsibility for one's own life and of shared responsibility for the world around us. That is the mission and the intended effect of our programs.

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THE HISTORY OF OKINAWAN KARATE

The origins of Okinawan karate are difficult to trace. There are several theories concerning the development of karate on this small group of islands.

Records of contact between China and Okinawa are mentioned in the court history of the Chinese Sui Dynasty (which ended in 618 AD). Some cultural exchange occurred, probably including the exchange of martial skills. From that time until the 14th century however, no written record of martial arts exchange exists. Oral traditions maintain that this was a time when there was a great deal of information about martial practices flowing between China and Okinawa. Legend has it that the indigenous Okinawan fighting style called "tode" was mingled with Chinese and other South East Asian influences. Traditionally the Chinese characters pronounced "karate" were the ones which translate as "T'ang hand." T'ang was the name of the ruling Chinese Dynasty during much of this period. This suggests that there was some connection between the art of karate and its Chinese antecedents.

It is known that in 1392 a Chinese cultural and trade mission to the Ryukyuan Kingdom known as the "36 families" settled in Kumemura village on Okinawa. Among this group were some individuals trained in martial arts. It is guessed that some of them taught the Okinawans. During this period the Okinawan port of Naha became a busy crossroads for trade. Among the many cultural and economic benefits of this trend was the Okinawans' newfound access to the martial arts of travelers, traders and sailors from other Asian countries. Speculation that kicking techniques were imported from Indonesia is based on material recorded in the Okinawan National Archive destroyed in the bombing in World War II. Those records stated that at this time there were official embassies from 44 countries, including representatives from areas that are now Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Java and Korea.

Okinawa served as a transshipment and warehousing point for goods from all over East Asia. Okinawan sailors were often hired by traders from other countries to transport their goods. The Okinawans had a reputation for being the most experienced and most skilled sailors of the stormy and treacherous waters of the western Pacific. The name Okinawa means a "rope in the water." For sailors caught at sea in typhoons the Ryukyu chain -- of which the island of Okinawa is the largest island -- often provided the nearest haven. The Ryukyuan archipelago arcs like a rope thrown across the water from southern Kyushu in Japan, towards Taiwan and mainland China.

Chinese court records of this period noted two extraordinary qualities of the Okinawan people. Both of these are reflected in Okinawan karate. One of these two qualities was the Okinawans highly refined sense of "propriety." Propriety was one of the chief virtues of Confucian philosophy, the philosophy that guided the Chinese culture for millennia.

This remarkable propriety referred partly to the Okinawans perfect performance of the elaborate court rituals. These formal functions were the most important obligation of most small Chinese tributary states. But a further mark of the "propriety" of the Okinawans noted by the Chinese is one of which court records make special note: the Okinawans were the most scrupulously honest of all China's trading partners. They were never known to cheat on transactions. They always delivered what they promised, the amount of goods arriving at port always matching the bill of lading, and they never tried to extract more than fair payment.

The fact that the Chinese praised the Okinawans so highly for their propriety was a source of tremendous pride to the Okinawan people. The "Shuri No Mon" or Shuri Gate, the only structure in the Shuri Castle precincts which survived the bombing during the Battle Of Okinawa in the final days of W.W.II, carries a plaque which was presented originally by the Emperor of China. It reads "Shu Rei Do" or, Land Of Propriety, the Chinese name for Okinawa.

The other quality the Chinese annals mention is one which may be seen as a further extension of the Okinawans' characteristic sense of propriety and fairness. They were absolutely relentless in defense of their ships and possessions. The Okinawans are peaceful and gracious people. But it was known that pirates, one of the chief perils of sea travel, would go out of their way to avoid ships flying the Okinawan flag. The few cases in which pirates attempted to raid an Okinawan ship ended with the pirates killed or captured.

It is not hard to understand why the Okinawans took self defense so seriously: ocean commerce and the biannual trade mission to China provided the majority of the Ryukyuan Kingdom's income. If the ships and their cargoes were lost the people of the island would be reduced to poverty.

As the prosperity of the island increased, strife between neighboring feudal lords on Okinawa became a severe drain on the country's resources. To end it, and unite the country under his rule, King Sho Hashi banned the ownership of weapons on Okinawa in 1429. The ban was reinforced by his grandson, King Sho Shin, in 1477. It is an interesting side note that this policy, and the requirement that rural nobles spend a considerable part of the year in residence at the capital in Shuri, were two policies that were previously unheard of and quite effective in centralized rule and quelling civil strife. Both were copied exactly by the Shoguns in Japan two centuries later, to great and lasting effect.

King Sho Shin also promulgated a caste structure among the gentry, establishing as one of many social divisions, the pechin class. The pechin had an upper and lower division -- for gentry and commoners -- and was further stratified based on seniority. The pechin class was charged with enforcing the law and providing military defense to the nation. The pechin class was also responsible for the development of and training in the martial arts. Especially important to them were unarmed self-defense techniques.

For these reasons the empty hand martial arts developed on the island of Okinawa under great pressure of practical need. Unlike the large imperial nations of Japan and China, which had large, armed, standing armies, the Okinawans needed to be able to use their hands in self defense. Of necessity they refined unarmed martial arts to a degree which may have been unmatched anywhere else in the world.

In 1609 a Japanese invasion ended Ryukyuan independence in all but name. The ban on the ownership of weapons was extended to include the Okinawan military. Legend has it that the Okinawans from that time on trained secretly, in the vast network of limestone caves that underlie the island, in secluded pine forests, and on the long, isolated stretches of beach, where the sound of the waves hid the sounds of training from the occupying patrols.

There was some localized resistance to the Japanese occupation but it was unsuccessful. In 1629 the various Okinawan martial societies united. The new fighting style developing at this time was called, simply, "te". Te means hands. The aim of these arts was far removed from sports or fitness. The need of the Okinawan people at this time was, every day, a matter of life and death: to protect their homes, families and towns from robbery, rape and murder.

There were some Okinawans who traveled to China to study martial arts. Sometimes they went as members of embassies. In some cases they were selected to be a member of an elite group of students, sent every other year, who were chosen to study in the Chinese capital as a prelude to a career in the Ryukyuan ruling elite.

The martial arts exchange worked in both directions. The names of some famous Chinese martial artists who visited Okinawa and were influential in the development of Okinawan karate include Saifa, Seiunchin, Ason, Waishinzan, Ananaku, Chinto, and Kusanku.

There were three groupings of styles on Okinawa which emerged. Each has its own emphasis and characteristics. Each is named for the area in which it was practiced. Shuri-te, practiced by the royal family and their guards; Naha-te practiced in the port district; and Tomari-te, practiced outside the capital area. Shorin Ryu, emphasizing speed and accuracy as well as natural breathing descends from the Shuri-te style. The Naha-te descendants tend to emphasize power and rootedness as well as controlled breathing. The Naihanchi kata derive from the Naha-te tradition.

In the late 20th century the Shorin Ryu style has branched in a number of directions. Some of the main post-war branches include Shobayashi Shorin Ryu (Small Forest Style), Kobayashi Shorin Ryu (Young Forest Style), Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu (Pine Forest Style), and Matsumura Seito or Family Style, handed down within the family of Matsumura Sokon.

All the Shorin styles are named for the Shaolin (pronounced Shorin in Japanese) Monastery in Henan Province, China. This is the legendary birthplace of karate and Chinese Ch'an meditation (pronounced Zen in Japanese), and was an active Buddhist monastery and fort for much of its 1500 year history. The system of martial arts that were developed at Shaolin spread across China, to Korea and Japan, and to many countries beyond.

In the first decade of the 20th century karate was made available to the public on Okinawa, for the first time ever. This was an era when the Japanese dominated public life on Okinawa, and when militarization of the culture was government policy. The Japanese officers recruiting young Okinawans for the China campaigns noticed that some of their Okinawan conscripts were tremendously fit and powerful. When they realized that this was a result of karate practice, the decision was made to make karate part of the required curriculum for boys in Okinawan schools.

Yasutsune Itosu devised a system of kata for public training. He created the Pinan kata which deleted much of the more difficult, subtle and deadly content from the karate techniques, but retained the physical fitness benefits.

In the 1920's karate was first demonstrated outside of Okinawa, by Kentsu Yabu on Hawaii and later in Los Angeles. At about the same time Gichin Funakoshi, another Okinawan Shorin Ryu practitioner, demonstrated karate on mainland Japan, at the annual national martial arts festival. He remained in Japan where the Shorin Ryu he taught was renamed Shotokan by his students. It is now strongly influenced in it movements and mindset by the Japanese sport of Kendo (fencing with bamboo swords.)

In 1936 the term karate, meaning empty hand, was officially applied to the Okinawan bare handed martial arts. It was changed from the homonymous word meaning T'ang or Chinese hand. This change was another one made under the influence of the Japanese domination of Okinawan culture.

Karate gained a lot of popularity in the years after World War II, during the U.S. occupation of Okinawa and Japan. The U.S. administration banned the practice of judo and Kendo in Japan. These were the traditional practices of the military forces, and were considered a threat to the return of Japanese society to a peacetime culture. The practice of karate was permitted. The Japanese did not understand it well and turned it into a sport, using tournaments, points, judges and so on. This system was exported from Japan all around the world. It has lately even infiltrated back into Okinawa itself. It was never a part of the traditional practice of karate. U.S. servicemen, enthusiastic but unskilled practitioners in many cases, returned to the U.S. and opened karate schools. Some invited their Okinawan teachers to teach in the U.S.

Today there are millions of karate practitioners all around the world. Most continue to practice the diluted and superficial form of karate that was popularized early in the century, and which was the type offered to the hundreds of thousands of American servicemen in the years following W.W.II. A few schools however are restoring the lost aspects of the art -- tuite, nagewaza, kyushojutsu, kiko, etc. -- which were retained in the practice of just a handful of Okinawan masters. Most of these have been reluctant to share their more profound knowledge with outsiders. A few, fortunately, have.

Because of the effort of many thousands of practitioners known and unknown who have passed the art of Shorin Ryu karate to us, we are able to practice, learn, and develop the profound and practical modern art of karate. As a result we have access to an endless source of strength, clarity and peace of mind; a means to make our lives and the lives of the people we know, better and better.

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THE SHORIN RYU LINEAGE

bodhidharma

Bodhidharma
The recorded history of Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu dates back to the middle of the 18th century. But the roots of the style extend back at least 1500 years. At that time, according to legend, an Indian Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma traveled to China, settling at the Shaolin Monastery to teach martial arts and meditation. He is considered the father of the Shaolin stream of Chinese martial arts. He is also the first patriarch of Zen.

Chatan Yara
Soon after the Ryukyuan kingdom entered into formal relations with China in the 1390's Chatan Yara went to China, probably as part of the first embassy. He studied martial arts while he was there, staying 20 years before returning to Okinawa.

Chinto
Chinto was the name of a Chinese martial artist who, according to legend was shipwrecked on Okinawa. One of our advanced kata is named for him.

Kusanku
Kusanku was a Chinese military attaché stationed on Okinawa early in the 18th century. He taught several Okinawans his style. The highest kata of our style is named for him.

Sakugawa
Sakugawa (1733-1815) was a leading student of Kusanku. He also studied with Pechin Takahara, a member of the king's guard. He traveled to the interior of China to train at the Shaolin temple. He is credited for handing down the Kusanku kata, and for creating one of the most famous Bo kata called Sakugawa no kun. His moral instructions for martial arts practitioners, the Dojo Kun, are central to the philosophy of Okinawan martial arts.

Bushi Matsumura
Sokon "Bushi" Matsumura (1796-1893) is credited with formulating much the collection of karate kata that make up the curriculum of practice that we follow today. He is the creator of the Shorin Ryu. The kata he passed on to his students include the three Naihanchi kata as well as Ananku, Wanshu, Passai, and Chinto. All the later members of our lineage trained under him directly, or with his students.

Yasustune Itosu
Yasutsune "Anko" Itosu (1830-1915) created the Pinan kata group as a means to train Okinawan high school students in a simplified version of karate. His nickname Anko means Iron Horse. It derived from his reputation for immense physical power.

Kentsu Yabu
Kentsu Yabu (1863-1937) served in the front lines in the Japanese army's invasion of China. He was known as "The Sergeant", a relentlessly tough disciplinarian in the Dojo. He is the only man known to have ever defeated Choki Motobu in kumite. He is also one of the first ever to demonstrate Okinawan karate overseas -- in Hawaii and Los Angeles, in the 1920's.

motobu

Choki Motobu
Choki Motobu (1871-1944) was not entitled to learn his family's style of martial arts because according to their tradition, only the eldest son was eligible to study. He tried to watch training through a hole in the fence. When this proved unsuccessful he turned to his own methods -- lifting rocks for strength and punching trees for power.

His nickname was "Saru," the monkey. He was a great jumper and could climb trees upside down. He was also known as a trouble maker, inclined to start fights to test his power.

Eventually karate master Kosaku Matsumura (the second Matsumura for whom Matsubayashi Ryu is named) taught him some kata. He traveled to Japan in 1921 and while there attended an open boxing match where a professional fighter from Russia challenged anyone who wanted to fight him. Motobu, in the presence of thousands of fans and numerous Japanese newspaper reporters, knocked the Russian out with one punch. Motobu was 50 years old at the time. Later in life he underwent a change of heart. He studied formally with other Okinawan masters back home and some years later opened his own Dojo. He pioneered the use of yakusoku kumite as a training method. This was his chief contribution to the Shorin Ryu curriculum.

hanashiro
Chomo Hanashiro
Chomo Hanashiro (1869-1945) devised the new kanji for karate, creating the usage "empty hand" as a replacement for "Chinese hand.
kyan

Chotoku Kyan
Chotoku Kyan (1870-1945) trained under Bushi Matsumura, Kosaku Matsumura and Anko Itosu. He was one of the preeminent karate men of his time. He was challenged many times but he was never defeated. He trained Shoshin Nagamine and Chosin Chibana, among many others. His school is known as the Shobayashi Ryu.

 

In his time the countryside and many of the roads in Okinawa were controlled by gangs who would beat and rob passersby. In those days martial artists were often called on to aid the police in getting rid of these gangs. Stories are told about Kyan's ability to defeat numerous opponents single-handedly, his refusal to back down even in the face of superior numbers, and his efforts to return orderly civil life to Okinawa. He is remembered as a master of kiko as he always emphasized the development of the hara (tanden) in practice.

Chosin Chibana
Chosin Chibana (1887-1969) studied under Anko Itosu for 15 years. He was regarded as one of the two most outstanding karatemen of his generation. He was the founder of the Kobayashi Ryu branch of Shorin Ryu.

miyagi
Chojun Miyagi
Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953) traveled to China to study and practiced on Okinawa under Kenwa Mabuni. He created Fukyugata Ni; and he went on to found his own style
aragaki
Ankichi Aragaki
Ankichi Aragaki (1899-1927) studied with Chomo Hanashiro, Chosin Chibana, and Chotoku Kyan. He inspired Shoshin Nagamine in many ways, including his insight into Okinawa's unique cultural heritage and his understanding of karate. He was a proponent of the toe tip or spear foot version of the mae-geri, the primary kicking technique of our style.
nagamine

Shoshin Nagamine
Shoshin Nagamine (1907-1997) was the founder of the Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu style. He trained under Ankichi Aragaki and Choki Motobu. He primary teacher was Chotoku Kyan. His approach to karate is detailed in his book The Essence Of Okinawan Karate-Do, which is the text book of our school.

He was a police officer on Okinawa, and eventually rose to the position of Chief Of Police. He opened his karate Dojo to the public in 1947 in order to help the young people of Okinawa during the chaotic and desperate years after World War II. He was a devoted practitioner of Zen meditation.

One of his Zen teachers was Sogen Sakiyama, Roshi, senior Zen priest on Okinawa. Shoshin Nagamine was the head of the Okinawan Karate Federation, the governing body of all Okinawan Karate styles. He lived by the philosophy "Ken Zen Ichi Nyo" -- Karate and Zen are as one.

brooks Jeffrey Brooks
Jeffrey M. Brooks, founder of the Northampton Karate Dojo, began martial arts training in 1978. After studying several styles he chose Shorin Ryu for its practicality and the commitment of founder Shoshin Nagamine to the practice of karate and Zen as one. In 1988 Jeffrey Brooks opened Northampton Karate Dojo. He traveled several times to Okinawa to study, training with Shoshin Nagamine, and with senior people associated with him including the Kishaba brothers.

He holds the 7th degree Black Belt rank. Outside karate programs include: Hampshire Regional YMCA, the Northampton Recreation Department, Tri-County Youth Program, Eaglebrook School and others.

In addition to martial arts and Zen practice, Jeffrey Brooks is a screenwriter and speech writer. He attended the State University of New York with a scholarship for writing from ABC News. He received a fellowship from NYU Film School, and completed the Master of Fine Arts program in screenwriting. Since 1986 he and his collaborators have won the Gold Award at the New York Film Festival 12 times, as well as many other awards.


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THE KATA OF SHORIN RYU

The training kata:
White Belt -- Fukyugata Ichi, created by Shoshin Nagamine
RoKyu, One Green Tip -- Fukyugata Ni, created by Chojun Miyagi.
GoKyu, Two Green Tips -- Training exercise OyotanRen
YonKyu, Green Belt -- Pinan ShoDan and Pinan NiDan, created by Anko Itosu
SanKyu, Brown Tips -- Pinan SanDan, Pinan YonDan, Pinan GoDan, by Anko Itosu
NiKyu, Brown Belt -- Naihanchi Sho, created by Bushi Matsumura
Ikkyu, Black Tips -- Naihanchi Ni and Naihanchi San, by Bushi Matsumura

The traditional kata:
Wankan
Ananku
Wanshu
Rohai
Passai
Chinto
Gojushiho
Kusanku

These traditional kata of Shorin Ryu can trace their origins back to the martial arts of China. Each one offers its own set of tactics and techniques. Each one presents a unique approach to dealing with multiple opponents. Together they form a comprehensive system.

The most advanced practitioner select one of these advanced kata and use it for decades as the means to perfect their karate and themselves.

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THE DOJO CALLIGRAPHY

On the walls of the Dojo hang some pieces of Japanese kanji calligraphy. Each of the pieces has a meaning relevant to our training, and each has a further significance because of its author and the circumstances under which it was written.

On the front wall is a group of four pieces. The upper and lower pieces were written and given to Jeffrey Brooks by Sakiyama Roshi, at a ceremony at Kozen-ji temple. The middle row of two pieces was given to Jeffrey Brooks by Eido Roshi, a Japanese Zen teacher based in the United States and dharma brother (they trained in the monastery together) of Sakiyama Roshi.

The piece on the top is a Zen symbol called an "Enso". It can be interpreted as representing unity, eternity, oneness, continuity and ceaseless change or sunyata, emptiness.

The two pieces in the middle row read "Ichi" and "Ho"; together they are pronounced "Ippo." This means One Truth. They were presented to Jeffrey Brooks following a discussion of the relationship of Zen and karate.

In the recess on the front wall is a calligraphy that reads "Nin Tai". This means endurance in the sense of not yielding to anger or frustration or other negative emotions in the face of difficulty. It is one of the "six perfections" or actions of an enlightening being.

 

nofirstattackinkarate

On the back wall is a famous saying "Karate Ni Sente Nashi." It can be translated as "There is no first attack in karate."

On the window wall are two pieces of calligraphy. The one on the left reads "Bun Bu Ryo Do". This means the harmony of pen and sword. Literally the characters mean Peace War Both Ways. It represents the ideal of the cultivated person in samurai philosophy -- to develop mastery of both the martial arts and the arts of literature (especially for administration and persuasion) -- as the way to master one's self and to become an effective leader. It was given to Jeffrey Brooks by Sensei Ryuhei Teneya, a top ranking Kendo master. At the time that he wrote it he was in his eighties, and was the Sensei of the Japanese National Kendo Champion. He suggested that it be the motto of the Dojo.

The calligraphy on the window wall closer to the front wall reads "Shojin". It means Pure Effort. It is complementary to Nin Tai.

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KARATE TERMINOLOGY


Anza...............................Crossed legged seated posture
Arigato...........................Thank you
Atemi..............................Breaking
Bo...................................Long Staff
Bunkai.............................Divide and analyze
Chishi...............................Strength stone
Chudan.............................Middle
Dan...................................Black Belt rank
Dachi.................................Stance
Do.....................................Way
Dojo..................................School, way place
Dozo.................................Please
Eku...................................Oar
Fukyugata.........................Basic kata
Gedan...............................Lower
Geri...................................Kick
Gi......................................Uniform
Hajime...............................Begin
Hara..................................Center of the body
Hidari.................................Left
Hiji ate...............................Elbow strike
Hikite……………………..Returning hand
Jodan.................................Upper
Kama..................................Sickle
Kara...................................Empty
Karate.................................Empty hand
Kata....................................Form; a set of fighting moves against imaginary opponents
Ki........................................Energy
Kiai......................................Convergence of energy and spirit
Kime....................................Focused energy
Kosa dachi...........................Crossed leg stance
Kumite.................................Crossing hands; fighting practice
Kyotske................................Attention
Kyu......................................Rank below black belt
Maai.....................................Distance
Mae......................................Front
Matsubayashi Ryu.................Pine Forest style; Shorin Ryu
Mawashi................................Round
Mawatte................................Turn
Migi......................................Right
Naihanchi...............................Gripping the earth from within
Nunchuku..............................Grain flail
Obi........................................Belt
Onegaishimasu.......................Please teach me; I request
OyotanRen.............................Apply and refine; basic exercise
Pinan......................................Peaceful spirit
Ren Zoku...............................Flowing; without a count
Rei.........................................Bow; courtesy
Sai..........................................anti-sword weapon
Seiken....................................Fist
Seiza......................................Kneeling position
Sempai....................................Senior
Sensei......................................Teacher
Shihan.....................................Director
Shinden...................................Predecessors
Shinden ni rei..........................Bow to those who have come before us
Shotto matte...........................Wait a minute
Shuto.......................................Knife hand
Tanden.....................................Hara; center of vital energy
Tanden kumite..........................Fighting from the center; three point arm training
Tonfa........................................Mill handle
Uke...........................................Block
Uraken......................................Back fist
Waza.........................................Technique
Yakusoku Kumite......................Pre-arranged fighting
Yame.........................................Stop
Yoi............................................Ready
Yoko..........................................Side
Zuki...........................................Punch

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COUNTING

Ichi............................One
Ni..............................Two
San............................Three
She (or Yon)..............Four
Go..............................Five
Ro (Roku)..................Six
She (Shichi)................Seven
Hachi..........................Eight
Ku...............................Nine
Jyu..............................Ten

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