Sunday, October 11, 2015

For those of you seeking the answer to the ultimate question...

YES!  There will be class on Monday, October 12, 2015!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Congratulations to my three new Orange Belt (white stripe) students!  Demarkus, Conner, and Samantha all received their well-earned promotion on Monday.  They came to class, with a good attitude, ready to learn, and ready to be "of service" at home.  Great work, yonen!

Additional congratulations go out to Robert Foshay, in receiving his Yellow belt, and Rylan Richards, who received his Junior Green Belt.  It has been quite a while since I've had a Junior Green in class.  I'm proud of all of you.

Monday, September 14, 2015

I have posted links to the Yawara list and Shime No Kata list on this page.  Both of these lists were considered part of the Shoden (Beginner's) course of study in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu.  The Yawara emphasize hand arts, such as releases from grasps, and techniques which attack the hands, wrists, and arms. I have heard Professor Chubb say, "The spirit of Danzan is in the Yawara."  If I understand his meaning correctly, he means that the underlying tenets of the style can all be observed and practiced using this list.  The emphasis is on leverage, not strength--intelligence, not brutality.  Essentially, Popeye, not Bluto.

The Shime No Kata comprise forms of "constricting."  They include pins, strangles, chokes (if you don't understand the difference between strangles and chokes, Email me), ground-fighting strategies and techniques, etc.  I love this list!  When I hear people talk about Brazilian Jujitsu, or Gracie Jujitsu,  I think of the Shime list.  The Brazilians have merely managed to do a better job at battle-testing, adaptation, and, especially, marketing!

Danzan purists get too caught up in staying "true to the art" than is in their own best interest.  I can't imagine that Okazaki, who cobbled his style together from numerous personal experiences, training in many different styles, would have objected to the notion of an evolving style, improving as innovation allowed.  Are we a closed personality cult, devoted to the "original teachings of our leader," perhaps destined to extinction?  Or, are we a style that will widen it's perspectives, and remain open to new ideas, whether measured in terms of efficacy, or simply in the underlying message of the style?

My experience, so far, leads me to conclude that there exist certain underlying concepts in this style.  My teachers, from the delightful, self-effacing Imi Okazaki-Mullens, to those that have taught me personal lessons they may not even be aware of, such as Senseis William Randle, Michael Chubb, Bryan Stanley, Joe (and Jody) Ristrom, Roger Medlin, Jon Jacques, David Williams, James (Sr. and Jr.) and Rick DeHaven, Amy Charlebois, Len Riley, Tracey Charlebois, Tom Jenkins, Tom Ball, Kevin Colton, Barry Posner, etc., have all taught me important lessons I can recall immediately, and who share some common ideals: they all honor their roots, but look for deeper meaning, some truer understanding!  Their quests, inherently, have led to innovation!  I cannot damn as "not Danzan" that which reflects the best of human intentions--of personal improvement, combined with the zeal to share it with our students.  They, my teachers, remind me that I should worry less about the turf I protect, and more about the message I choose to share.
Class size is picking up.  That's good!  Unfortunately, the class roster does not reflect our increased enrollment.  That's bad!

Remember, everyone, we owe the Boys and Girls Club it's due for hosting this class!

Renshi Craig, and the YMCA/Boys and Girls Club, are kind enough to provide a clean, warm, comfortable place for us to do what we love!  As Sensei, I have not asked a single penney for teaching in 30 years.  Please make sure you are up to date with the facility that allows us to use this excellent space!  If we don't hold up our end of the bargain, we will lose our right to use the dojo.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

There, and Back Again

Amy and I are just back from La Mirada, Calfornia, where we participated in Shoshin Ryu Yudanshakai's 2015 Reunion.  It was wonderful to reconnect with old friends.  Bryan and Allison Stanley still love pie.  I found that Dave Williams had married a lovely woman, Deb, since I saw him last.  Amy and I are very happy for both of them.
I could not help but notice two major trends--first, I and my generation of jujitsu people are rapidly becoming the "old professors" we use to gawk at when attending reunions and banquets decades ago.  Secondly, it is clear that this particular organization, our organization, is in a state of atrophy.  At the Saturday morning bow-in, where all the participating students come to see the introduction of high-ranking instructors participating in the weekend's activities, I counted only 26 non-black belt participants.  The ratio of black belts to non-black belts was almost three-to-one.  What a wonderful learning opportunity!  Yet, this was sad to see.  It was not uncommon for the Ryu to draw crowds of 200 to 300 participants at functions in the 90s.
The trend leaves me wondering what we, as instructors, can do to add value to our students' experiences at events like these.  We have an important job to do, and an important message to convey.  We have to find a way to show our students what they can gain from participating more fully.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Hi all,

I introduced the class to the Yawara list during the last class.  Here is a link to a copy of the list with my notes on it.  I expect students to save a copy to their own computers, and edit the notes to reflect what they need in order to remember the techniques.  Yawara comprises basic attacks and defenses related to grasps and locks.  It is one of Okazaki's original lists as taught in his dojo in Honolulu.  I suggest printing out a copy for the notebook, which can be updated during class as needed, and later used to update notes.

Sensei Rich

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Junior List link is now updated on the site also, and follows the same process.
As most of you know, our planned summer break fell through.  We are back at it, and having fun.  The senior list link has been updated on the website.  It now references a Pages document in iCloud that is viewable on the web, and downloadable in several formats for use at home.  My expectation is that senior students will be able to use this as the skeleton of their notebook, and then insert their own notes to replace my abbreviated notes with their own.  I will be inspecting notebooks for testing, and would like students to bring notebooks to class for reference purposes.

See you in class!