When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice.
By Steve Amoia
Shiatsu is a Japanese word that means finger pressure. Although the therapeutic use of hands and fingers had been practiced for centuries in China and Japan, the actual term of “Shiatsu” was not first used until Tenpaku Temai wrote “Shiatsu Ryôhô,” which was published in 1915.
The father of modern Shiatsu was Sensei Tokujiro Namikoshi. He was the founder of the first institute to specifically teach shiatsu techniques, which was called the Japan Shiatzu College. He began this school in 1940; however, as a child, Sensei Namikoshi used thumbs and palms to treat arthritis in his own mother. As the therapy flourished in Japan, famous patients such as Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali helped to promote Sensei Namikoshi’s methods in the West.
Definition of Shiatsu
According to the Japanese medical department of the Ministry of Welfare, the following definition was published in 1957:
"Shiatsu technique refers to the use of fingers and palm of one's hand to apply pressure to particular sections on the surface of the body for the purpose of correcting the imbalances of the body, and for maintaining and promoting health. It is also a method contributing to the healing of specific illnesses." (1)
As we can see, the purpose of Shiatsu is similar to acupuncture. The therapy corrects bodily imbalances, and maintains a steady flow of chi, the life force, which prevents illness from occurring.
Method of Application
Shiatsu utilizes the same meridians as acupuncture; however, there are a few key differences. Needles are not used, and the patient does not remove their clothing. The shiatsu practitioner diagnoses a person’s imbalances by feeling the soft and hard areas of the patient’s stomach (torso) region.
Mr. Gareth Callister-Bischof, one of the practitioners at the St. Gallen (Switzerland) Yoga and Shiatsu Center, describes the process in the following way:
“You will find a warm comfortable atmosphere. The treatment is given on the floor with a soft underlay (Futon), pillows, and blankets are used for comfort. It is best to wear light cotton or natural clothes as the treatment is made on the fully clothed body. The treatment takes around 50-60 minutes and during this time it is common for the thoughts and emotions to drift in all sorts of directions. It is very much in the Zen meditative direction. A diagnosis is made by checking for soft and hard areas around the Hara (diagram 1). Once the softest and hardest areas have been found the treatment starts. Each diagnostic area relates to a Meridian and it is the meridians that are treated.” (2)
Diagram 1: http://www.yogawelt.com/shiatsu/yogaweltshaitsu1.jpg.
Please click on this link to see a very detailed diagram that was referenced by Mr. Callister-Bischof.
Expert Commentary by Mr. Gareth Callister-Bischof
Mr. Callister-Bischof contributed the following perspectives how Shiatsu could assist us during our study of kenpo karate and other martial arts:
“My Shiatsu view point of ‘Full Contact Martial Arts:’ Normal shiatsu finger pressure on a meridian produces a certain predicted result - if this pressure is elevated into a direct or accurate blow (on a meridian or specific acupuncture point) the resulting impact will send an overload impulse not only affecting the physical body but also the emotional and spiritual body too.
The ability to disarm or render one limb or part of your attacker ‘dead’ by the simplest blow or impulse gives a positive advantage; however, more importantly knowing which areas you need to protect on yourself will give you an even better advantage.
The ability to disarm the emotions and spirit of your opponent will also weaken their defense, i.e. the Wood Element in the body gives the ability for you to ‘plan and make strategies’ - a blow to the Wood Element will mentally hinder & subdue it. (NB. There are 5 elements in total all equally important).
For Students practicing Karate, I cannot stress how a ‘strong’ shiatsu treatment can be used to aid in finding ones weakest and strongest points (yin-yang), everyone is different. Shiatsu strengthens the person as a whole and helps greatly in relieving injury, after training or combat.”
Certifications and Titles
In North America, the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (http://www.aobta.org) certifies instructors and practitioners of Shiatsu. They certify individuals in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belize, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Uruguay, and the USA.
In order to achieve Board Certification and licensure in certain jurisdictions, practitioners must pass a rigorous exam given by the NCCAOM (the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine: http://www.nccaom.org,) and demonstrate at least 500 hours of documented training. Upon receiving this certification, the practitioner may use the initials of Dipl. A.B.T. (Diplomates in Asian Bodywork Therapy) after their name. Many states, including the District of Columbia, require this additional credential to practice Shiatsu. Since Western doctors undergo certification procedures and obtain state licenses to practice medicine, this additional credential demonstrates that Shiatsu and other Asian Bodywork Therapies are serious healing arts.
A new title to describe Shiatsu practitioners, Shiatsupractor, “… is an internationally recognized title given to those who have the appropriate education. ‘Shiatsupractor’ is a registered trade mark belonging to the International Shiatsu Association… In areas where there are no government regulations for Shiatsu, this title indicates that the Shiatsu Practitioner practices the original Shiatsu defined by the Ministry of Health of Japan.” (3)
(1) Shiatsu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiatsu.
(2) St. Gallen Yoga Shiatsu Zen Center: http://www.yogawelt.com/indexframe.html.
(3) Shiatsupractors’ Association of Canada: http://www.shiatsupractor.org/jsac/faq.html#q4
Rick Collette, 1st Degree Brown Belt, WDK
We had a guest in Tucson this past week who an extremely capable Kempoist. Aside from the basics though, he is also a Modern Arnis practitioner, and as such has an open mind and welcomes change to his system.
The class went through the basic knife and stick strikes, then onto drills, and eventually into application. Maybe sometime in the future I'll toss together an article on the stick or knife stuff we learned – if there's a demand. However, something he did sparked a series of questions, examples, and about 30 minutes worth of pure brutality.
In reality, when an attacker comes to us, they will not walk up, put their hand on our shoulder, and say "Stick em up.". More likely than not, it will be as verbally abusive as physically abusive. Yeah, we got a heavy dose of forceful shoving, and "Ok you son of a &^$ get you *$*ing hands up before I blow your G(* D* head off! I mean it &^@! NOW!" What do you think happened? Yep. Everyone froze, then looked completely shocked, then snickered. Immediately we understood.
We then shifted our training to this method, and quickly became desensitized to the verbal abuse, which was the idea. Once this became the standard for the nights training, another wrench was thrown in; our guest slams one of my Instructors into the concrete wall. Hard. Something you may have already figured out from just reading this is that the guest we had was very "in your face", however, he is also very traditional.
Now comes the aspect we hadn't (or rather, I hadn't) considered; what happens when you are being backed into a wall? What happens if you are slammed, face first into a wall? I find it difficult, at best, to describe what happened, but it sure did enlighten me a bit.
The initial scenario is this; you are behind a person, maybe you executed a technique and ended up there, maybe the attacker got confused and you ended up there, who cares, the point is that you are there. Now me, I would instinctively (I hope) try to choke the attacker out. But what if he's a big guy, and starts running backwards towards a wall? Stopping the momentum can be a tricky thing, so you shift your weight to the side (maybe a horse stance), and use his momentum to try and bring him down. Third time's the charm, and once he's down, you choke him out.
The second scenario was where you are maybe getting into your car, or you are at the ATM, or whatever, and some clown shoves you into a wall face first. Ouch! The idea is to get used to throwing your hands into the wall, and tuck your chin down so that your forehead/crown hits your hands. Once you have this, start practicing with digging your feet in about 2 feet before you get to the wall, clamping your knees together and sticking your butt out just a little. The attacker can't force your body into the wall now, can they? Not if you are doing it right. I had a 260 pound man trying to get me against the wall and he couldn't do it. But wait, there's more! We'll try this bit on the right side. As the attacker is trying to shove you against the wall, turn your right should into the wall, and slide away. Attacker, wall, Wall, attacker. Spin around counter clockwise, and palm heel the attackers floating ribs, then a swift kick to the knee will ensure he/she isn't attacking you any longer, and you can run.
I really liked these simple techniques, and it started the wheels turning with regard to other scenarios that might come up. Think about the bathroom at a football game, or maybe downtown watching the ball drop on new years, or even the family reunion when Uncle Ernie gets trashed. Both lethal and non-lethal combinations come to mind.
"I'm very much interested in choices and what it is and who it is that enable us human beings to make the choices we make all through our lives."
by Steve Amoia
When I was a child, my family used to take summer vacations at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. During the early mornings, I recall seeing the dolphins diving in and out of the ocean. They were close enough to observe; however, too far away for any contact. I always wondered what it would be like to swim with these graceful and intelligent creatures.
In Ancient Rome and Greece, scholars thought that dolphins had special healing powers. Or were good omens if they appeared during the launch of an ocean voyage. About thirty years ago, researchers, doctors, and behavioral therapists began to investigate this ancient belief. Could the dolphins actually heal humans, especially children, with disabling and/or other serious conditions?
Perhaps it would be helpful to provide some background information about dolphins; specifically, the bottle nosed family that are found in the Atlantic Ocean. Dolphins belong to the Cetacean order of mammals. Like us, they have lungs and breathe air. They live in “pods” with other dolphins, and are very social animals. Similar to the individual nature of human voices, dolphins have “whistles” that distinguish them from each other. Interestingly, their brains are larger than ours.
Dolphins have a highly developed sense of underwater vision that assists them in dark waters. They send out a series of signals, or clicks, that bounce off of nearby objects in the manner of an echo. When the clicks return through the dolphin’s inner ear, it provides their brains with an image of their surroundings. This unique sense is called echolocation, and is facilitated by a round organ called the melon that is found in the head of the dolphin.
According to Dolphin Human Therapy of Key Largo, Florida, and its founder, Dr. David Nathanson, an innovator in this type of treatment, many illnesses and disabilities are receptive to interactions with dolphins. The three most common diagnoses are cerebral palsy, autism, and Downs Syndrome. Although dolphin therapy may provide benefits for all ages, research and empirical evidence indicate a significant efficacy with children.
Some experts use dolphin therapy as a reward for desired behavior. Others expose the children to dolphins as a part of a comprehensive therapy plan. For some, it is the primary therapeutic vehicle. While it is not known exactly what mechanism is at work, the success rate with many illnesses is a positive result of this alternative therapy. According to Dr. David Wolgroch, a respected researcher who performed studies in Eilat, Israel, dolphin therapy merits our consideration.
“As an academic, many questions need to be investigated before definitive claims can be made about Dolphin Therapy. However, as a clinician there is no doubt that this unique modality of treatment has contributed significantly to the welfare of many individuals receiving treatment. Whether it is the Dolphin Sonar emissions, their permanently fixed anatomical smile, their playful nature or our mystical perception of them is unknown. One thing for sure, the presence of Dolphins produce an atmosphere unique in the therapy world.” (1)
I would invite you to investigate the informative links below. One of them, from Island Dolphin Care of Key Largo, Florida, whose Executive Director is Ms. Deena Hoagland, has an interesting video from an appearance on the NBC “Today Show.” (2) Perhaps for many, dolphin therapy would be a last resort. But if any of us had a child or loved one who did not respond to other treatments, I am certain that we would want them to swim with the dolphins.
(1) Dolphin Assisted Therapy by David Wolgroch
(2) Island Dolphin Care Video (Requires a fast connection.)
Dolphin Human Therapy
Island Dolphin Care
Wikipedia Encyclopedia: Dolphins
Ertl/Bendickson Productions http://www.karatevid.com
Without a doubt the most comprehensive and authoritative set of videos on JKA style Shotokan karate. I studied Shotokan for several years before beginning Dragon Kenpo. Although my primary traditional interest is now Shorin Ryu, these kata are extremely useful as a well standardized reference point. Shotokan is the most popular style of Japanese sport karate in the world. Regardless of one’s style these videos have a lot to offer in terms of instructional methodology. Joel Ertl and Anita Bendickson provide flawless demonstrations of each kata in the system as well as going through basic training techniques and the requirements for each belt level. The videos are extremely well mastered and easy to use. Sensei Bendickson also has two videos on Yoga.
Kenneth Funakoshi Shotokan Videos
These are excellent demonstrations; the footage is from the mid-80s. The bunkai is somewhat strained in places but the precision of performance of this first cousin twice removed of Gichin Funakoshi is unquestionable. The DVDs appear to be remastered VHS and suffer from not having a menu. I have the entire set including the self-defense. I was not impressed with the self-defense. Shihan Funakoshi’s videos are getting hard to find but one source is http://www.budovideos.com/.
George Alexander http://www.yamazato-videos.com
George Alexander’s video sales company has many classic videos of some of the old masters and some of their early students. He also has numerous DVDs in which he presents his style of Shorin Ryu as well as White Crane and kobudo (traditional Okinawan weapons). These straightforward instructional videos are very easy to follow. Those that I have found most interesting are the following:
Mastering Shorin Ryu Karate (10 DVDs).
The Essence of Shorin Ryu Karate (DVD)
Legend of the White Crane (DVD)
Speed and Evasion (5 DVDs)
Okinawan Kobudo (7 DVDs)
Advanced Bo Fighting (2 DVDs)
Secret of the Masters – Bubishi (2 volume set)
Patrick McCarthy http://www.koryu-uchinadi.com
Shihan McCarthy’s DVDs are intended primarily for members of his organization, International Ryuku Kenpo Research Society. This former Canadian and World champion karateka, now based in Australia, directs the world’s most respected traditional karate research organization. Videos are available to IRKRS members at substantial discounts. Many are footage of McCarthy seminars intended primarily for the attendees of those sessions, but those that have more general appeal include:
Volume 1: Two person drills (DVD)
Volume 2: Arigaki Seisan (DVD)
Volume 3: Yamane-Ryu Bojutsu (DVD)
Volume 9: Koryu Uchinadi Nyumon (DVD)
Volume 11: Kansetsu Tuite Waza (DVD)
Volume 12: Shime/Tuite Waza (DVD)
Volume 13: Nage Waza (DVD)
Volume 14: Ne Waza (DVD)
Phillip Koeppel http://www.uskk.org
Master Koeppel has 6 VHS tapes with his Matsumura Seito “Koeppel-ha” Shorin Ryu kata and Gokui Waza. Training methods are also included on the videos. Master Koeppel’s quiet authoritative delivery is awe inspiring. His student, Shihan James Webster (http://www.seitokaratedo.com), also has developed videos of much of the same material; Shihan Webster’s videos are available on DVD and organized by belt level. He also has DVDs of Matsumura Seito kobudo. I have all of Master Koeppel’s tapes and Shihan Webster’s Yellow and Orange Belt DVDs as well as his karate training manual. Some of Shihan Webster’s videos are shot at an unusual angle making them somewhat difficult to follow at times; he includes Neko Budi Ichi and Neko Budo Ni which were originated by Master Koeppel but not included on Master Koeppel’s videos.
Check both sites for availability of the videos, especially the DVDs. (Thanks to Randy Hall for unearthing the second URL above.)
Dr. Lam has excellent Tai Chi videos. There are five major styles of Tai Chi (Sun, Yang, Wu, Wu/Hao, and Chen). Most of Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Health series videos are based on Sun and Yang style but he also has videos from the other styles. I have the following DVDs. The list is arranged by my own interpretation of increasing difficulty, using the length of the form and “kicks” as indicators. (length of set in mm:ss):
Tai Chi for Back Pain. (3:10 both sides, all movements)
Tai Chi for Arthritis (1:35 one side, all movements)
Tai Chi for Arthritis 2 (4:00, a continuation of Tai Chi for Arthritis)
Tai Chi for Beginners (2:25)
Tai Chi for Older Adults (3:02)
Tai Chi for Kids (2:40)
Qi Gong for Health (3:48)
Tai Chi for Osteoporosis (3:30)
Tai Chi (for Health) (=Tai Chi 6 Forms) (4:30)
For reference, Dr. Lam’s “Based Yang” 24 Forms (6:20) is demonstrated on the Tai Chi for Beginners video and his Sun 73 Forms (7:05) is demonstrated on Qi Gong for Health.
Dr. Lam Talks You Through Tai Chi for Arthritis is an audio CD with Dr. Lam’s calming voice guiding you through Tai Chi for Arthritis, with background music. It is a great practice tool once you are able to get through the first six moves.
Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana (my employer) has agreed to allow us to offer Tai Chi for Back Pain at a nearby housing facility for elderly and handicapped individuals.
Kung-Fu Direct (http://www.kungfudirect.com)
Excellent source of Tai Chi videos and Tai Chi shoes. (I love those shoes!) The videos by Grandmaster Li De Yin are in Mandarin (no English neither on the DVD label nor case); those by Master Shu Dong Li have English narrative. We have had fun looking at the differences and similarities between the Masters Li and Dr. Lam, especially the Yang 24, Yang 32 Sword, and the Sun 73. The videos below are those that I have and can vouch for their excellence; there are several others (including Chen and Wu style) available on the Web site.
Yang Style 24 Movement Tai Chi Chuan (Master Shu Dong Li)
Yang Style 32 movement Tai Chi Sword (Master Shu Dong Li)
Sun Style 73 Movement (Grandmaster Li De Yin) (Chinese)
Yang Style 40 Movement (Grandmaster Li De Yin) (Chinese)
Yang Style 56 Sword Movement (Grandmaster Li De Yin) (Chinese)
Yang Style 88 Movement (Grandmaster Li De Yin) (Chinese)
We train with nunchaku and bo. Our bo kata is Chikin Bo (George Alexander’s version). Those who really enjoy the bo may also learn Alexander’s Sunakake no Kon, also from his Okinawan Kobudo series. Jacob and I have been working on McCarthy’s Yamane Ryu Bo Kata with limited success. (I attended one of Hanshi McCarthy’s seminars a few years back in which he covered a Yamane Ryu bo kata.) Yamane Ryu is very different from most other bo styles.
Recovering from a broken arm in 2005/2006 I began using Coach Pfeiffer’s nunchaku training as physical therapy. The surgeons predicted that I would regain only limited use of my left hand. I am convinced that Coach Pfeiffer’s nunchaku workout is largely responsible for an amazing recovery. (Thank you, Coach). The training is easy to follow. It is not a high budget production; Coach Pfeiffer’s strength is his lucid, down-to-earth instruction. The video is very reasonably priced. If you are a Dragon Kenpo student you should definitely own this one. Video Certification testing is available. As I explored nunchaku further I discovered that even in “modern” nunchaku there were at least three different categories of styles. North American Nunchaku Association (http://totalnunchaku.com) techniques are quite different from those of Coach Pfeiffer. Most techniques are delivered from the shoulder rather than from the elbow. The entire program spans eight DVDs. The NANA videos offer no narrative, just demonstration, but if you order the entire set you get a pretty good manual. Coach Pfeiffer’s presentation includes helpful verbal explanations of what is going on and how to perform each technique. Recently another excellent instructional DVD has come to my attention, this one “close to home”: The third style of nunchaku, with the techniques delivered from the wrist, rather than the elbow or shoulder is found in a video available from Kenpo Connection (http://www.kenpoconnection.com). It has a very high production value for the cost and Sifu Herb Patus does an excellent job of explaining the techniques. This video could be a good follow-up for those who are on the way to mastering Coach Pfeiffer’s WDK nunchaku and are looking for some additional exercises. Sifu Patus (my first cousin) also has a very good speed bag video that looks like it would work well for those new to speed bag training as well as those who have experience with this training device.
Video cross-training can be very helpful in the development of the modern martial artist. The opportunities described here are certainly not all-inclusive and are restricted to my personal knowledge, experience, and preferences. There are many other opportunities from many other styles.
In cross-training there is, of course, the danger that the student will get confused. That risk decreases with experience and an open mind. You don’t necessarily have to be a master to cross train but you should probably be comfortable and confident in your style before embarking on something that is either very similar or very different. Once you start cross-training it becomes a very pleasant experience, and it is definitely consciousness-expanding.
"We are more powerful than we even imagine."
"You'll see it when you believe it!"
--Dr. Wayne Dyer
"If you are open to new possibilities in your life, then that alone will give you access
to those possibilities - readiness is all."
--Dr. Deepak Chopra
"There is no such thing as chance;
And what to us seems merest accident
springs from the deepest source of destiny."
--Friedrich von Schiller
"Make divine choices. This is a matter of refusing to make a choice based upon the expectations of others. Instead, you decide to act in ways consistent with your purpose and who you really are."
"Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live."
"Imagination is more important than
"Do or do not. There is no try."
"People stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
--Sir Winston Churchill
"If you think you can do a thing, or think you can't do a thing - you're right!"
"Let the waters settle. You will see stars and moon mirrored in your being."
"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world."
"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
"If you believe it will work out, you'll see opportunities. If you believe it won't, you'll see obstacles."
--Dr. Wayne Dyer
"Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there."
"I believe in the perfect outcome
of every situation in my life."
After witnessing the power of the force,
Luke Skywalker exclaimed, "I don't believe it!"
His Jedi mentor responded... "That is why you fail."
--The Empire Strikes Back
"It is amazing what you can accomplish
if you do not care who gets the credit."
--Harry S Truman
"Life is like a phone call with a loved one.
When it is cut short, we realize how much of it we have wasted."
"People will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel."
"When given the choice between being right
or being kind, always choose kind."
--Dr. Wayne Dyer
"I'm just a soul whose intentions are good;
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood!"
"Never fight with an ugly person.
They have nothing to lose."
--Edwin R. Saferite
"Follow the path of serenity. Why lose your temper if by losing it you offend God,
trouble your neighbor and in the end have to set things aright anyway?"
"Never are we nearer the Light
than when darkness is deepest."
"The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there."
A former inmate of a Nazi concentration camp
was visiting a friend who had shared the ordeal with him. "Have you forgiven the Nazis?" he asked his friend. "Yes."
"Well, I haven't!. I'm still consumed with hatred for them!" "In that case," said his friend gently, "They still have you prisoner."
--Ernest Kurtz and Katharine Kitcham
"We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are,
the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves."
"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"The practice of forgiveness
is our most important contribution
to the healing of the world."
"The significant problems we face
cannot be solved at the same level of thinking
we were at when we created them."
"In the choice between changing one's mind
and proving there's no need to do so,
most people get busy on the proof."
--John K. Gilbraith
"Shoot for the moon! Even if you miss
you will land among the stars."
"Imagination is the eye of the soul."
"Opportunities multiply as they are seized."
"Obstacles are things people see when they take their eyes off their goal."
--E. Joseph Cossman
"When we choose actions that bring happiness
and success to others, the fruit of our karma is happiness and success."
--Dr. Deepak Chopra
"Karma is the eternal assertion of human freedom. Our thoughts, our words and deeds
are the threads of the net which we throw around ourselves."
Closing Comments by Coach Pfeiffer
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