Shorin-Ryu / Shorinkan Okinawan Karate: A personal view


Join us in continuing a legacy of honor, respect, discipline and humbleness...

Our organization...Is dedicated to providing our students with a strong foundation, a foundation of
respect, honor, discipline, kindness, and compassion.  Through Karate, our students will learn a
tradition of principles that will help guide them throughout their lives.

Sensei Sal
These words from Sensei Sal are perhaps the largest draw for myself and my family to the martial arts.  
As we move along on the journey we see that there is much more than meets the eye and are able to get
much more out of the experience if we allow ourselves to do so.  I think that everyone can take
something different from karate.  

Something I read struck a key and is what I have seen over the past years and I believe is important
enough to note:  “There is much more to a dojo than the development of technique and strength.  The
reality that the most powerful human being in the world can be struck down in a fraction of a second
graphically shows that power goes beyond physical strength.  The teaching of humility is of much
greater importance than the teaching of physical techniques.  This is why we bow and show respect for
others in the dojo.  We become stronger through and more powerful in the true sense of the word
through our deeds and through respect for ourselves and for others.  
The author continued; “the secret is to make your group stronger and so you as an individual grow
stronger.  No one achieves anything alone.  This is karate-do philosophy as well as the philosophy of
the great minds of the past.”

As I said, I believe that we all will get something different from our Journey.  From what I have read and
as it is often said around our dojo it’s all about the kata.  If not all about kata, it is certainly the base, and
if one can keep an open mind there can be more to learn than the physical expression of the kata.  It is
my understanding that kata is the most important element of karate.  Equally important is one’s
approach to utilizing kata as a vehicle to self-development.  
The following thoughts about Kata were taken from Sensei Karen Brophy, Co-Shihan Ueshiro Bushi
Dojo, Santa Monica.
Proficiency in Shorin-Ryu is measured by one's mastery of progressively difficult kata (forms).   
To the observer, a kata resembles a series of defensive and offensive fighting moves designed to
neutralize multiple opponents.  To a student practicing kata, however, these exercises represent an
invitation to challenge oneself: a trail map towards growth as an individual while exploring the rich
culture of ancient martial arts.  Kata embodies all the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual concepts
of the karate masters.  Through multiple repetitions of kata, the student comes to recognize, then
overcome, his or her limitations.  It is both empowering and humbling.
Key points on demonstrating kata
The following are some key principles to strive for when performing kata, whether in class or in front of a
large audience.  There are certainly more aspects to consider, but keeping these in mind as you practice
will help you perform well whenever you are on the spot.  

•        Take your time. This is your moment to show your best form!
•        Show every move.  
•        Relax.
•        Show speed and power. Remember, speed is how quickly you execute each move, not how quickly
you go from move to move.  
•        At the end of each move, show the tension, then relax and move on to the next move. Timing
between moves should be two seconds.
•        Breathe.
•        Don't rush the Kata!! (I said that 2x on purpose).  
•        Keep moving. If you make a mistake, don't start over - finish the kata! (there are exceptions)
•        Show courtesy.  
And that’s all there is to it.  That and years of experience and practice. (My comment)
There is more to developing the Kata than strictly the physical perfection of the moves.  Although we
should never be satisfied with poor or sloppy style we can still feel that we are making improvements on
our katas slowly and be happy with our progression.  It was written in the text Shorin-Ryu Okinawa
Karate Questions and Answers:  The most misunderstood aspect about karate technique is the concept
of everyone being able to imitate stances and techniques…Our kata in the advances stages, is as subtly
different as our signatures.  Our movements should flow naturally, then we can feel for ourselves what
can easily be seen by the experienced eye, a correct or incorrect technique… This is why spirit is of the
utmost importance and why one should try to maintain and optimum level of spirit, endurance and
strength in order to achieve maximum results from training.
Most important to me is the understanding that we as martial artists are a part of something larger.  
Something that teaches more than physical ability but teaches a humble mind, the importance of
spiritual energy and respect.  We should not forget these things as we move in years or in rank.  The
fundamentals of Karate-do, I believe should be included in core values in life and family.
I still like these words and they deserve repeating in closing:
Our organization...Is dedicated to providing our students with a strong foundation, a foundation of
respect, honor, discipline, kindness, and compassion.  Through Karate, our students will learn a
tradition of principles that will help guide them throughout their lives.
Join us in continuing a legacy of honor, respect, discipline and humbleness...  
OK, we will thanks.
Respectfully,
Jack Wethey, 3rd Kyu
aka; Captain Jack
Calander