Kyudo

By Ajay Sharma

A colleague and friend sent me this link.

After watching it I was amazed by the “real-life” application of archery as a combat system. The long history, practicality and versatility are astounding.

We often think of martial arts or fighting arts as being primarily eastern or Asian in origin. However, all humankind has engaged in fighting and warfare regardless of geography or culture. This has led to the development of distinct but strikingly similar styles and methods of fighting practices. This makes sense when you think about the universality of physics and human biology. The Japanese form of archery is called kyudo. It is interesting to note that some aspects of original combat archery have been preserved in kyudo such as holding arrows in the right hand and loading the arrow on the right side of the bow. This video also reminded me to continually search for meaning in martial arts and to sometimes question the “modern” modifications in terms of fighting merit. I am glad that Yoshukai and our dojo teaches the historical rituals and emphasizes the practical combat aspects (bunkai) of the martial arts. Excellence in the martial arts requires strength, stamina, flexibility, precision and mastery of technique – Lars Anderson is probably archery’s equivalent of Soke!

Osu!

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Crosstraining

By Erik Hofmeister

Last week, five Athens Yoshukai students- Dr. Elrod, Mr. Griffeth, Ms. Serrian, Mr. Lash, and Mr. Cheesborough- promoted in hapkido under Sabumnim Ken Blumreich.  This was the largest non-Yoshukai test the dojo has ever held.

Crosstraining in martial arts usually implies learning techniques or a martial art different than your ‘primary’ style.  I began crosstraining with kickboxing very early in my training, and started judo not long after.  I can say that crosstraining is great for almost every student.

Learning a different style will expand your knowledge of techniques.  For example, in Tae Kwon Do they use the double knife hand block in a way we don’t use it in Yoshukai.  Learning a judo throw is a skill you won’t usually learn in a hard style.  This expands your options in a self-defense situation, and keeps your brain in a ‘learning’ mode.

Universal principles persist throughout all martial arts- use your hips, use your opponent against them, don’t remain static.  Learning these principles in a variety of different ways help reinforce the importance of each principle.  This was shown to me by an aikido instructor, who was talking about using the hips for kokyu nage, which is exactly the same thing I tell students when throwing a punch.

Your own style will improve as you learn other, related styles.  In Yoshukai, we use gokyu in ippon kumite #2.  Learning that technique in hapkido helped me understand the actual application and how to teach it to my students.  We also use kaiten nage in ippon kumite #5.  Again, contemplating that throw from a hapkido perspective makes it much more effective in ippon kumite.

The costs of crosstraining are time, money, energy, and brain space.  Some students can’t keep multiple techniques and styles straight, and so should probably not crosstrain or should crosstrain in very different styles (for example, Yoshukai and judo).  In order to progress well in a primary style, I usually recommend at least 3 hours of dedicated time a week.  For those students without much time, I would rather they spend all their time on one style than one hour in three styles.  Excepting these reasons, everyone should crosstrain, as the benefits are substantial, immediate, and lasting.  At Athens Yoshukai, we offer classes in Kyuki-Do, judo, hapkido, and kobudo to supplement the student’s Yoshukai training.  Come join us and try them out!