Isao Machii, master of, what I think must be, the Suiōshinryū (“New Water-Gull School”—commonly “Syuushinryuu” on the Net) Iaido, appears on one of those preposterous Japanese television programs where he performs almost unbelievable cutting feats.
The appearance of the short version of this video on YouTube earlier this year attracted many hits.
The video shows a referee, identified as Isao Nakamura Fushiki, putting a decisive stop to some post-karate-match aggression on the part of the contestant in blue.
It was clearly posted with intent, being labeled “Karate Master attacks 17-year-old,” and comments on YouTube and on martial arts sites have been overwhelmingly harshly critical of the behavior of Fushiki.
Apparently, despite the video’s recent appearance, the actual incident occurred a long time (eleven years!) ago at Autonomous University of Tamaulipas in Mexico. No explanation for the video’s sudden appearance has been found.
Isao Nakamura Fushiki is identified on the Net as a 7th (or 10th) dan Goju Ryu master (one source says Shito Ryu) who was World Kata Champion in 1970, 1971, and 1972 (one source says he was champion five times during the 1970s). One commenter in Spanish says that he served as an Imperial bodyguard for Hirohito and was known to Japanese karate fans as “the madman.”
The event was clearly not a conventional karate match, since the blue-clad contestant is wearing a kung fu outfit rather than a gi. Various commenters claim that the contestant in white was Fushiki’s pupil or even younger brother.
His takedown was certainly effective, but his third strike, the foot stomp to the head, seems generally to be thought to have been excessive.
Joe Hyams, novelist, screenwriter, biographer, and Hollywood columist (IMDB entry) and author of the much admired Zen in the Martial Arts passed away in Denver last Saturday at the age of 85.
Hyams was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and attended Harvard. He served in the US Army during WWII, and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. After the war, he became a nationally syndicated columnist, writing on Hollywood and the film industry.
Joe Hyams took up fencing lessons in the 1950’s and through those classes he met film music composer Bronislau Kaper. In 1958, Kaper introduced him to Ed Parker, who was teaching Kenpo in the weight room in Beverly Hills Health Club. Mr. Hyams became one of Ed Parker’s first private students and also one of Mr. Parker’s first black belts.
Joe Hyams was the first person to introduce Bruce Lee into the Hollywood community. He helped Bruce Lee, with whom he trained privately get a foothold in Hollywood during Bruce’s struggling years. Mr. Hyams trained with Bruce Lee for two years, and when Bruce left for Hong Kong to pursue his film career, he suggested that Joe learn from Jim Lau, who trained him in Wing Chun.
President Theodore Roosevelt demonstrating some wrist holds
Samuel Hill, a prominent attorney, railroad executive, and businessman of Seattle, Washington, concerned for his son’s health, decided that judu (which he had seen performed while visiting Japan on business) would represent an ideal form of fitness training. Despite his own Harvard background, he made inquiries in New Haven seeking an instructor, and was advised to retain Yamashita Yoshiaki, who was duly hired and imported from Japan.
A demonstration was arranged of Yamashita’s judo for President Roosevelt in March 1904. TR was a devotee of boxing and a strong believer in fitness, and before long Yamashita was giving the President of the United States lessons three times a week.
This fascinating October 2000 article, from Journal of Combative Sport, was recently posted on a martial arts list I read.
Japanese culture, behavior, customs, etiquette, and social expectations are very, very different from our own. Don Roley provides some useful advice for Occidentals considering studying martial arts in Japan.
When you take a Japanese martial art in Japan the first thing you need to understand is that it is not a business to the teachers. It is a relationship. In many ways it is like a marriage. But unlike a marriage- one side, the teacher, has all the power. The students defer to the teacher and follow his directions. There is no negotiations, no pick and choose of what to follow or not. The student pretty much jumps when the teacher says jump and sits when the teacher says sit. Your only choice should you not like the situation is to sever your ties and leave. Again, unlike a marriage leaving this relationship is much cheaper. Since you place so much control over yourself when you enter into this relationship, finding a teacher worthy of that trust is important.
Circulating in martial arts circles this morning are a pair of videos from Japanese television of an attempt by someone whose name I couldn’t catch trying to make his mark in the Guinness Book of Records in Tameshigiri, the cutting with a sword of makiwara (targets) made from tatami (rush floor mats) rolled around a bamboo shaft.
The particular feat being attempted is Senbongiri, 1000 cuts in as short a time as possible.
A lot of tennis-players grunt with effort upon striking the ball, but the fetching 6’ 2” (188 cm.) Maria Sharapova produces a veritable kiai, which the Melbourne Herald Sun measured at “71.5dB—louder than a vacuum cleaner (70dB) and approaching the level of a power drill (80dB).”
Little do they know in Melbourne that, at Wimbleton in 2005, Sharapova was measured reaching 101 db, almost as loud as a police siren!
Daniel Soar, in the London Review of Books, reveals that Vladimir Putin (along with some friends) published a book on Judo several years ago, which has more recently been translated into English as: Judo: History, Theory, Practice.
I suppose it is not surprising that a KGB officer would have trained in one or more the fighting arts. But Putin being a keen enough jūdōka actually to have written a book on the subject is definitely a surprise.
I find that his Wikipedia bio does discuss his involvement in martial arts.
One of Putin’s favorite sports is the martial art of judo. Putin began sambo (a Soviet martial art developed for the Red Army and NKVD) at the age of 14, before switching to judo, which he continues to study today. Putin won competitions in his hometown of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), including the senior championship of Leningrad. He is the President of the Yawara Dojo, the same St. Petersburg dojo he studied at as a youth. Putin co-authored a book on his favorite sport, published in Russian as Judo with Vladimir Putin and in English under the title Judo: History, Theory, Practice.
Though he is not the first world leader to practice judo, Putin is the first leader to move forward in the advanced levels. Currently, Putin is a black belt (6th dan) and is best known for his Harai Goshi, a sweeping hip throw. Vladimir Putin is Master of Sports (Soviet and Russian sport title) in Judo and Sambo. After a state visit to Japan, Putin was invited to the Kodokan Institute and showed the students and Japanese officials different judo techniques.
Putin is also an fan of mixed martial arts. He was in attendance at the BODOG Fight event in St.Petersburg.
Daniel Soar looks to Putin’s Judo to explain his technique for dealing with the United States.
The excellent thing about judo – in theory – is that you don’t have to be stronger than your opponent to beat him. The idea is that you use the momentum of his attack to keep him moving in the same direction, and then, with a little twist, you send him flying onto the mat. The bigger they are the harder they fall. This should be useful to Putin, since Russia is so heavily outgunned and outspent by the US military machine that it can’t win the arms race the old-fashioned way. Putin provides a striking metaphor to demonstrate the judo master’s technique. He calls it ‘give way in order to conquer’. Imagine you are a locked door. Your opponent wants to break you open with his shoulder. If he is ‘big and strong enough and rams through the door (that is, you) from a running start, he will achieve his aim’. But here’s the neat bit. If instead of ‘digging in your heels and resisting your opponent’s onslaught’, you unlock it at the last minute, then, ‘not meeting any resistance and unable to stop, your opponent bursts through the wide-open door, losing balance and falling.’ If you’re even more cunning, you can stop being a door and stick out a leg, causing him to trip as he sails through. ‘Minimum effort, maximum effect’, as Russia’s effortlessly effective president says.
The evident ingenuity of this technique made me wonder why Putin didn’t deploy it in the run-up to the G8 dojo. It was puzzling. On his way to Germany, Bush went on the offensive. He visited Poland and the Czech Republic to publicise his plan to install ‘exoatmospheric kill vehicles’ – little missiles designed to hit bigger missiles – on sites close to the Russian border. Putin’s counter-attack was very bold. He said that if America was going to play silly buggers with its Raytheon EKVs, then he would point his biggest ICBMs at Western European cities. ‘A new Cold War!’ the papers screamed. The leaders of the free world were righteously outraged, whereas Putin had merely closed the door. Any moment now he would flip the latch and stick out a leg.
But the analogy was troubling. When would the door open, and where was his leg? At first I wondered whether Putin was readying himself for the long game, hunkering down, raising the stakes to force the US to spend more and more money on more and more weapons until it bankrupted itself and went pop. Except, of course, that this would be playing into Bush’s hands, since American military spending is what the US economy depends on. The need for more weaponry would mean an even mightier America. So Putin wasn’t so clever after all: he’d forgotten all his old teaching and had taken up gunslinging in a fight he could only lose. Or so I thought.
On 7 June the full genius of Putin’s strategy was revealed. Earlier, Bush had said: ‘Vladimir – I call him Vladimir – you should not fear the missile defence system . . . Why don’t you co-operate with us on the missile defence?’ Ingeniously, Putin now called his bluff, and unbolted the new Iron Curtain. He quietly suggested that the US base its missile interception system on a Russian military installation in Azerbaijan, an unanswerable solution if – as the Americans claim – the EKVs really are intended to counter an Iranian nuclear threat. Bush’s people, wrong-footed, could only say that his proposal was ‘interesting’ and that the presidents would discuss it further in Kennebunkport, Maine at the beginning of July. But this is likely to be the end of the missile defence plan for Poland and the Czech Republic. Ippon!