Thursday, January 24, 2008

An abridged look at the influence of the Crane Style on this thing that we call GoJu.

Starting our known leniage with Masters Wai XinXian and Seisho Arakaki born 1840 - died 1920, who was the original teacher of the Okinawan Master Kanryo Higashionna, born March 10,1853 51? - died December 23,1915, before he traveled to China, we later find our crane connection in the Fukien province in a city called fuzhow .

While living in Fuzhow Higashionna trained at the Kojo Dojo at the Okinawan ghetto under Masters Kojo, Iwah, and Wai XinXian, later meeting and beginning his training with White Crane “Whooping Crane,” master Xie ZhongXiang, aka RyuRu Ko, born July 1852 - died February 1930. Ryu Ruko was a student of Pan Yuba, who's teacher was Lin SiXian.

Ryu Ruko's office.

Ryu Ruko's dojo.

Ryu Ruko's Grave.

Ryu Ruko's Grand Sons.

Higashionna's top student and GoJu Ryu founder Chojun Miyagi, born April 5,1888 - died October 8, 1953 , continued to study after his teachers death.

Miyagi befriended the Chinese tea merchant Go Kenki, born 1887 - died 1940, who had relocated from China to Naha Okinawa. Go Kenki was a master of White Crane. The two masters formed a study group with other key martial artists, exchanging knowledge. Later, on two occaisions, 1915 and 1936, Go Kenki accompanied Miyagi on his trips to Fuchow as an interpeter.

Here is a clip of Crane Style San Jan The predessesor of San Chin Kata

Here are more examples of San Jan.

Can the reader spot any moves here in Bafen that may have influenced GoJu Kata?

How about here?

Various masters adapted Crane kata into their curriculum often known as Hakutsuru meaning White Crane.

Often the various versions of Crane form would go by various names.

Here is Matayoshi KoBuDo and KinGaiRyu KoDoKan Grand Master, Shinpo Matayoshi, born December 27, 1921 - died September 7, 1997, performing the kata Hakkucho that he learned from Go Kenki

Japanese GoJu Kai founder Yoshimi "Gogen" Yamaguchi composed Genkaku 玄鶴 Seen performed in this picture by his son Hirofumi "Goshi" Yamaguchi, the current head of the Japanese GoJu Kai.

Gen means "deep, profound, dark, black, mysterious, obscure" Kaku means "crane"; Gen-kaku can thus be translated as Mysterious Crane or Black Crane.

Lastly, Grand Master Peter Urban, born August 14, 1934 - died April 7, 2004,
composed Gesaku Sho and Gesaku Dai katas as the Crane forms indegenous to USA / Urban GoJu, seen here being performed by yours truly.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Long Lost Nunti Bo!

Coincidentally, immediately after I wrote the piece on sai in a previous post on this blog, we received a visit from one of my old students from the late 80s, George Kruckmeyer. When I closed one of my dojos years ago, some items wound up being stored at the homes of various students, often being passed on from one location to another. One of these items was my treasured Shureido Nunti Bo from Okinawa, which after being passed from Sensei Zino Salnave to George over the years due to various moves that we all had made. Being that these two students wound up going into the military, and I wound up moving out of the area, I pretty much detatched myself from the hope of ever seeing my nunti bo again.

Well, now that I began to regroup what once was, with my original people, low and behold, here came my old student, out of nowere, with a big smile on his face, nunti bo in hand!

It would appear that this is a sign of how a life, once left behind, is now reborn!

So.... with no further ado, ladies and gentleman, I give you The long lost Nunti Bo, performed with some of the movements of Arakaki No Nunti Bo, at the Highland Temple by yours truly. Special thanks goes to Uchi Deshi, Monday Salnave, for filming this clip.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Book!


The book that we have been waiting for is finally a reality!

It is with great pleasure that I can now announce the publishing of a book of the quality that befits the memory of Grand Master Peter Urban.

Many of you are familiar with the works that Master Don Warrener has produced in the past, but for those who are not, let me explain myself. Master Warrener is a class act. He has been a student and teacher of the GoJu system for many years, having trained under the direction of such notable masters as Master Bob Dalgleish "Father of Canadian GoJu," and Hanshi Richard Kim. He has been associated in various ways with Grand Master Urban, with the production of seminars and various video tape releases throughout the past, and has never been a disappointment to us.

The products that Don Warrener's company, Rising Sun Productions, puts out are always of high quality, and judging from the last publication I personally saw of his, done on Hanshi Richard Kim, I can only believe that this book on Grand Master Urban will be the best media that has ever been done on our late great teacher.

In collaboration with Hanshi Manny Saavedra, I contributed many photos and old peices from my personal collection, to this book's publication. This along with all of the other hunting for Urban treasures that I know Don Warrener did, not to mention the use of the graphic arts mastery of Sensei Angel Lemus "Editor of BuGeiSha Magazine," is a recipe for a "can't lose," production.

The book will be about 400 pages in length, hard cover, laminated dust jacket, certificate of authenticity, there will also be a CD of the book so that it can be played in all computers and a DVD of all the rare photos set to music and including an exceptional interview and demonstration of the Maestro doing kata in the 1960's, then placed inside a special box and each one will be signed and number by the author.

For more information on how to order your copy of this historical compilation, go to:

Friday, January 04, 2008

A Composition on Composition and Conduction.

Years ago, Maestro Urban wrote a story that he published in his Urban Speaks News Letter entitled The Maestro and the Organ Grinder. This, like many of the stories he wrote, was food for thought. I strongly encourage the reader, to not just skim the surface of this vignette, but to look down deep into it, and to your self, and perhaps to those around you.

The story went something like this:
A man, accompanied by a trained monkey, would play music in the streets in order to make a living. The monkey would hold out a cup in order to collect money, as the man would feebly play a well known tune. Unfortunately, people would just walk by, laughing and shaking their heads, instead of contributing any donations into the monkey’s cup.

One day, the famous Maestro so and so, dressed in his customary top hat and tails, who was the composer of the song the man played, happened by. The Maestro stopped and told the man that he was playing the song incorrectly. He explained to the man that if he were to slow down the tempo a bit, and adjust certain notes, he would be much closer to playing the opus as it was meant to be played.

The next day, the man and his monkey returned to the street, both dressed out in top hat and tails. He began once again to play the music, but this time heeding the Maestro’s musical advice. There was also a sign in front of them that said “Student of The Great Maestro So and So.” From then on, instead of mocking the man as they walked past, the people would drop coins into the monkey’s cup and actually pay them both some more respectful attention.

Here is an extrapolation / sophistication of my own, based on the previous premise.

The Conductor

As we view the dynamics of kata / knowledge perpetuation, we must recognize the rolls that the various Maestros play.

Where the composer establishes the original opus, which must be mastered intact as was meant to be, the Conductor will either act as a compass pointing to Magnetic North / True North, hence pointing in the original direction of the composers intent, or extrapolate and or sophisticate the opus with his own learned or supposed learned Nuance = his Satori.

The nuance of the conductor is reflected in the motion plus emotion that he leads his orchestra through.

This can either be a positive thing………………..

Or a negative thing………………..


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sensei, Gary Gascoyne, RokuDan.

It is my pleasure to announce that Sensei Gary Gascoyne of Massachusetts, seen here goofing around at the John Jay College Of Criminal Justice with the webmaster of the Official Urban Website Hanshi Price and I, has been promoted by his teacher Hanshi, Walter Parks, to the rank of 6th Dan.

Sensei Gascoyne is seen here in a pic taken years ago with Hanshi Parks in white towel, and of course The Sensei = Urban, receiving a previous promotion.

Sensei Gascoyne was one of the few folks, who at the end of Sensei Urban's life, actually went way above and beyond the call of duty. His and his teacher's support of Sensei Urban, when he needed it the most, will never be forgotten.

Thank you Sensei Gascoyne, and congratulations on your promotion, and on a job well done!