Saturday, August 6, 2011

Shu Ha Ri - Paper for Rokudan Grading

The essence of Martial Arts training is to pass along the information to those willing to learn. The essence of learning karate is repetition of the basic techniques. The essence of the basic technique is learning and understanding the correct principle. The essence of understanding principle is application.

Learning, understanding and teaching is the essence of Shu-Ha-Ri

Shu-Ha-Ri is a way of thinking about how you learn a technique. The idea is that a person passes through three stages of gaining knowledge:
Shu: In this beginning stage the student follows the teachings of one master precisely. He concentrates on how to do the task, without worrying too much about the underlying theory. If there are multiple variations on how to do the task, he concentrates on just the one way his master teaches him.

Ha: At this point the student begins to branch out. With the basic practices working he now starts to learn the underlying principles and theory behind the technique. He also starts learning from other masters and integrates that learning into his practice.

Ri: Now the student isn't learning from other people, but from his own practice. He creates his own approaches and adapts what he's learned to his own particular circumstances.

As a Rokudan 6th Degree Black Belt in traditional karate it is most important to have received adequate instructions from your instructors in all aspects of karate training.

I believe there are addition steps and process that must take place on a continuous basis in order to achieve the highest levels of Shu Ha Rai.

1. Learning, understanding and processing what you have learned.
2. Learning how to teach and understanding how to teach.
3. Knowing and also understanding that you as a senior karate ka still
need to train and be under instruction from a more experienced and
higher ranking karate ka.
4. I believe all of the above mentioned should become the most
important part of your karate development at this level.

At the 6th Dan level I believe you should have a thorough understanding of how the basic principles work in kihon kata and kumite. You should be able to develop training drills and provide oral and written notes to help students understand the process. You should also be able to teach and have your students understand these ideals at the beginner intermediate and advanced levels.

In addition to my Shotokan training I also am ranked at the 4th Dan level in Goju Ryu Karate Do, under the instruction of Hanshi Belfour Wright. Because of my training in Goju Ryu and the system that Hanshi Wrights teaches. I have come to the conclusion when initially teaching a beginner student basic blocks and strikes, most of them seem to learn a pattern grouping of techniques easier than teaching single technique first. After these beginner students learn the grouped pattern of blocks fist kihon szuke and blocks first kihon Uke. It was easier for them to refine the individual techniques when done as a single technique. I have taken the concept and used it for elbow striking techniques. First kihon Empi.

I have also developed training drills for specific principles in kihon, Kata and Kumite. In kihon when teaching Hanmi half body position which is usually the first apart of Kaiten Koshi hip rotation. I have found it more beneficial for beginner and intermediate students to understand and preform kaiten koshi hip rotation when learning how to get into the correct hanmi position. The exercise I use is called Hanmi Drill 1, 2 and 3.

The next kihon drill is called Kaiten Koshi Technique Principle Application Drill 1 used to teach the mechanic of hip rotation.

In Kata I have developed shortened versions of the five Heian katas called Heian Kata Ometes 1 through 5. These Heian Kata Ometes are used to work both sides of the body and also to help students see the core fighting principles and applications of each kata.

For Kumite I have developed three drills to help with three core principles of kumite. The first one is Kumite Drill 0-1-2-3-3-2-1-0 used for distance and movement. This drill uses the Goju principle of staying directly in front of your opponent when fighting and the use of Sanchin Dachi. The second drill is Block Counter Grab Take Down Drill 1. This drill uses the principles of open hand blocks and Iki Jitsu usually associated with Goju. This drill also teaches the students to remember to use more than just block and counter when doing kumite.

Ready Stance drill 1 with Reverse Punch is the last kumite drill I developed for the principle of timing and seeing the opening in-between movement.

In conclusion this is my understanding of Shu Ha Ri as taught to me by my current instructors Hanshi Ricardo Johns and Hanshi Belfour Wright and my very first instructor Kyoshi Allen Phillips. This lesson was also taught to me by several other Sanseis I have learned from over the years by Master Reinard Jackson, Hanshi John Farrell and Hanshi Ronnie Burges. I have also learned what the meaning of Shu Ha Ri means from all my students.

Jeff R. Ghee, Shihan
Ikiru Shotokan Karate Do
Corpus Christi Downtown Karate
Society Of Harmonious Fist
Dai Ichi Shotokan Karate Do Int.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Central Nervous System and Vital Organs

Trenton B. Young

Student UTSA
Nidan Shotokan Karate Do
Nidan Goju Ryu Karate Do

The Central Nervous System and Vital Organs (Jintai Kyusho) of the Human Body:

The Urban A-B-D-C Sector with References

O’ Sensei Peter Urban created a model called the Urban A-B-C-D sector which divides the body into four basic parts and relates vital organ and references to them. Each sector as vital organs: A-Head, B- Heart, C- Belly, and D- Legs. Each sector as references to those organs: A- Bio computer, B- Compressor, C- Plumbing, and D- Suspension and Mobility of Body Parts. The chart below is more detailed and will show a better understanding.

Sector    Vital Organs       References
A           Head: Brain        Biocomputer
B           Heart, Lungs       Compressor/Engine Room
C           Belly:                  Organs in Abdomen, Genitalia Plumbing
D           Legs, Feet            Suspension and Mobility Parts

As a karate-ka it is essential to know about the vital points of the human body. For example, if the head is attacked with a good strong blow first at a random point and next at a vital point, then there would be a considerable difference in the effect of the blows. Striking to vital points with sufficient force could cause excruciating pain; temporary or permanent nerve damage which can cause loss of motor function; dizziness or loss of consciousness; and/or death. The physical condition of the person who is being struck and the person striking may have an effect on the effectiveness of the technique.

Sector A: The Head (brain) is referred to as the Biocomputer. The brain is that part of the central nervous system that is located within the cranium (skull). The brain functions as the primary receiver, organizer and distributor of information for the body. Objective is to shut biocomputer down.

A strike to the top of the head (coronal suture) with a hammer fist comes from the kata Gekki-Ha and the kata Saifa. This blow can cause loss of consciousness, or even be so severe that it can cause death due to trauma to the cerebrum, which is the largest part of the brain, and disruptive stimulation of cranial nerves (nerves that emerge from or enter the skull, or nerves that come directly from the brain through the skull).
Pressing the head down, a strike to the back of the head/neck with a lower level punch (gedan gyaku zuki) comes from the last few movements of the kata Sesan. The technique while being applied shall be done as if one were to drop all their weight downward as if breaking a board. Death may also occur due to disconnect of the brainstem. The brainstem is the lowest part of the brain which merges with the spinal cord and provides the major route by which the upper realms of the brain send information to, and receives information from, the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. The brainstem consists of the medulla oblongata, midbrain, and pons. All but two of the 12 cranial nerves originate in the brainstem. This can cause loss of consciousness due to severe trauma to the cerebrum, cranial nerves and spinal cord, producing loss of sensory and motor function. The brainstem influences basic processes such as alertness, breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Sector B: The Heart and Lungs are referred to as the Compressor or Engine Room. The heart is the muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body as the engine would pump fluids necessary through a machine/car. The lungs act as a compressor pumping oxygen rich blood into the heart, and from the heart carbon dioxide rich blood is sent into the lungs and then out of the body.

A powerful elbow strike to the sternal angle, which is center and about mid chest, can cause unconsciousness. Cause of loss of consciousness is trauma to the heart, bronchus, arteries supplying the upper part of the body, and the pulmonary artery, leading to malfunction of the respiratory system and shock. Following a block and kick this rising elbow (age empi uchi) can be found in the kata Gekkisai Ichi.

Sector C: The Belly (organs in abdomen, genitalia) is referred to as the Plumbing. The belly, the abdomen, is that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the chest and the pelvis.
A painful place to attack is to the lower abdomen, about an inch below the umbilicus, or right on the belt. Loss of consciousness is caused by trauma to the small intestine and bladder and in turn to the large nerves and large blood in the abdomen, producing shock and loss of motor function possibly causing one to urinate unwillingly. A good attack for this would effect be a front snap kick found in the kata Sepai, or a short punch, uppercut found in the kata First Kihon Zuki.
A kick (with shin, instep, stamping, or heel), or grab to the testicles and groin can be very painful. This can cause a person to be short of breath, lose consciousness, rupture the testicles, and even cause sterility and loss of motor function. A kick to make this possible can be found in the kata Empi-Go where the leg kicks up as if one is kicking themselves in the butt.

Sector D: The Legs and Feet are referred to as the Suspension and Mobility Parts. The legs as far as joints are concerned start from the hips, to the knees, ankles/feet/toes. Also, the thigh, shins and calves can be attacked as well. These attacks can be applied with strikes or joint manipulation.
A strike to the iliac crest, which is the top of the hip bone, can be an unusual type of pain. Trauma to this bone can cause the underlying artery and nerve to produce pain in the hip and in turn loss of motor function. This can be accomplished with a round house kick (mawashi geri) using the ball of the foot.
A side kick to the or even the middle of the fibula, orshinbone, produces trauma to the fibular nerve, leading to severe pain, painful enough to lose the ability to walk with correct posture.

The joint kick/low side kick as seen in many of the advanced Goju kata’s such as Sesan and Kururunfa can greatly damage the knees of the opponent as well. Trauma to the knees can cause loss of motor function. O’Sensei Peter Urban mentioned in The Karate Dojo, that while sparring is controlled, and most of these vital points mentioned already “are never direct targets for contact in sparring… one fully focused contact blow, called ‘sweeping,’ and irregular type of kicking against the opponent’s ankle or nerve centers of the knee for the purpose of knocking him to the ground” can be done effectively without causing major injury. This infers that karate-ka must learn that control and trust what they know while still being successful
Striking the top of the foot as seen in Saifa, Urban Taikyoku, and other kata’s with one’s own heel to either the instep or the toes can affect bones, tendons muscles, and nerves. This can cause nerves to send pain from the foot, through the leg, and into the abdomen leading to loss of motor function.

In conclusion: Some important factors in effectively applying all of the strikes from the A-B-C-D sectors, the karate-ka should follow these principles: have a relaxed mind for an active body (mushin), proper eye direction (messen), proper breathing (kokyu), and discrimination of technique and “target discrimination” (atemi). 


Karate-Do Kyohan. Master Gichin Funakoshi. First edition 1973.

Lessons from Hanshi, Balfour Wright.
Hanshi, Ricardo Johns.
Shihan Jeff Ghee.

The Karate Dojo. Peter Urban. Seventh printing 1996.

Karate History: Possible Origins of Karate

Trenton B. Young

Student UTSA
Nidan Shotokan Karate Do
Nidan Goju Ryu Karate Do
Karate History: Possible Origins of Karate

When we consider how karate was introduced to Okinawa, we have various opinions, most without any concrete historical evidence.

Opinions of Chojun Miyagi’s
Chojun Miyagi believed that there was no correct conclusion on the matter of where karate came from. He listed three main opinions starting with “Thirty-six Chinese Immigrants.”

In 1392 (Ming dynasty in China), thirty six Chinese Immigrants came to Okinawa from Fujian province. At that time karate was introduced to Okinawa by Chinese immigrants from Fujian province.

Next is “Oshima Notes”.

In 1762, the merchant ship of the Ryukyu (Okinawa) Kingdom was caught in a heavy storm on the way to Satsuma (now Kagoshima prefecture), and cast ashore on the coast of Oshima, Tosa (now Kochi prefecture). Shiohira Pechin, a high rank official of the ship was an intellectual who lived in Oshima. Tobe wrote down Shiohira’s interesting stories about the Ryukyu Kingdom. His notes were called “Oshima Notes”. The 3rd volume of “Oshima notes” says “Koshankun, a kungfu warrior, came from China to Okinawa bringing his disciples with him.” According to the Notes, at that time people called martial arts “Kumiaijutsu” instead of karate. These notes are the most reliable literature on karate.

Third is “Importation in Keicho Period”.

In 1609 (14tht year of Keicho period), the Shimazu clan of Satsuma (Kagoshima) invaded the Ryukyu Kingdom, and they prohibited possessing weapons by people of Ryukyu. Some believe that karate was created spontaneously due to the cruel oppression by Satsuma. The others insist that karate was not a domestic creation but what was imported from China. I think it is reasonable to consider that karate was a fusion of martial arts from China and “Te”, a native martial art which had already existed, so karate was developed remarkably and even today it is still improved rationally and developed.

We have a few different opinions on origin of karate, but they are popular misconceptions and not worth listening.

Opinions of Mabuni Kenwa

In 1934, Mabuni stated his opinion on the development of karate from his work, Free Offence and Defence: the Art of Self-Protection Karate Kenpo. He said that:

The source of boxing is the ancient Shaolinmonastery at Mount Sung in China’s Honan Province. Shaolin is the historical monastery where the famous Bodhidharma used to meditate facing a wall for no less than nice years. In those days the brave monk, who appeared from India, developed and taught the form “eighteen patterns” as a hygienic method. He did this because, as a result of excessive spiritual practice, the monks had fallen into an unhealthy condition.

In Mabuni’s eyes, this marked the beginning of karate.

Opinions Gathered by Harry Cook from Unknown Sources

Because of Okinawa’s trade with China, Korea, and other small Asian countries at that time, the Okinawan’s were either established small villages at the port of other countries, or delegates from other countries who wouldestablish temporary residencies near Okinawan ports. These ports usually thrived in education, art, and the possible exchanging of home grown martial arts techniques.

The first and most important point to make is that Okinawa karate is not simply Chinese Boxing performed by Okinawans. While Chinese systems supplied a great deal of theoretical information as well as actual technical input, the Okinawans also drew on other methods either developed bythemselves or derived from non-Chinese sources. Whatever systems of Chinese martial arts were learned by Okinawans to whatever level of skill, they were not passed on unchanged by the teachers. It is impossible to find Chinese styles taught in Okinawa unchanged.

These are the opinions and statements that usually accompany the explanation of where martial arts and karate came from. However, we do know that modern day karate started on the island of Okinawa, and much influence in the world of karate comes from the culture of Japan.


Harry, Cook. Shotokan Karate: A Precise History.  First Edition, 2001. pg 7.

Miyagi, Chojun. Historical Outline of Karate-Do, Martial Arts of Ryukyu. Translated by

Wittwer, Henning. Fighting Arts Magazine: Bodhidharma, Shaolin and Chinese Boxing in the Eyes of Japan’s Karate Pioneers. pg 56.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Corpus Christi Downtown Karate Article. By Steven Rhea

June 2010 - Corpus Christi Downtown Karate

Corpus Christi Downtown Karate
By Steven Rhea

“The ultimate aim of the art of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants”

To some, the systematic training and strengthening of the bodys’ limbs to be used as weapons in the event of physical confrontation is nothing more than the everyday, run of the mill, self defense class.  To those like 5th Degree Black Belt Jeff Ghee and 2nd Degree Black Belt Mathew Rosas this training and strengthening is only a small gift of the Shotokan Karate-Do teachings.  Like the past Shotokan Karate-Do masters, both Ghee and Rosas believe that the first purpose in pursuing this art form is the nurturing of a sublime spirit.  The spirit of  humility.

    Personally, my own dreams of being a Black Belt (or any color belt for that matter) ended when my older brother found other hobbies and I quickly became aware of the fact that both Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita (Karate Kid) were just faking.  The impressive resumes of both Ghee and Rosas describe two individuals who are quite obviously not faking and take their responsibilities, studies and training as instructors very seriously.  With over 40 years combined experience between the two Ghee and Rosas bring a vision of instruction to others and believe that Karate-Do can strengthen an individual’s physical and mental state.  “I want to promote the community to have a secure feeling for themselves so they can protect themselves, defend themselves and stay safe” says Ghee.

Shihan Ghee opened the studio, which is located above the Axis Tattoo Shop, on Starr Street in 2009.  He has studied the art of Shotokan Karate-Do since 1980 and earned his first Black Belt at the age of 18 while residing in Columbus, Ohio.  After joining the United States Navy he began to teach Karate and earned his 2nd Degree Black Belt while being stationed in Sesabo and Yokuska, Japan.  In 1991 Shihan Ghee began a karate organization known as South Texas Shotokan Karate-Do in Corpus Christi. The beginning of this organization was only an inkling of what was to come for both Ghee and our Sparkling City.  Ghee has since earned the rank of 5th Degree Black Belt in Shotokan as a member of Dia Ichi Shotokan Karate-Do under Hanshi Ricardo Johns, Sr. in Houston not to mention earning the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt in Goju Ryu Karate as a member of The Society of Harmonious Fists Martial Arts Organization under Hanshi Balfour Wright in San Antonio.  Ghee continues to receive instructions from both Hanshi Ricardo and Wright on a regular basis. As pointed out earlier Ghee opened the Corpus Christi Downtown Karate studio in 2009 and currently trains and teaches as Chief Instructor.

Sensei Matthew Rosas began his training at the age of 9 years old under the instruction of Shihan Ghee in Ikiru Shotokan Karate Do. He earned his 1st Degree Black Belt in July of 2003, and his 2nd degree black belt in July of 2006.  He is the assistant instructor at the Corpus Christi Downtown Karate studio and continues his training in Shotokan Karate Do and Goju Ryu Karate Do. Sensei Matthew is also an accomplished well known tattoo artist at Axis Tattoo.

    Together Ghee and Rosas offer unique study and training for any age, gender or physical state.  It is the vision of Corpus Christi Downtown Karate to “provide the highest quality martial arts instruction and training in a safe, productive and positive atmosphere in order to promote personal growth of mind, body and spirit for ourselves, our members and our community.”  It is their belief that these goals can be conquered by following the basic principles of Shotokan Karate-Do as set forth in the Dojo Kun (rules of the Dojo).  The Shotokan training consists of three elements; Kihon, Kata and Kumite. Kihon is the first and basic technique using punches, blocks, kicks and basic self defense. Kata is the next building block which teaches prearranged movements against imaginary opponents. Both Ghee and Rosas utilize choreographed sequences until the movements of the pupil’s bodies are able to travel in fluid motions that simulate actual fighting and self-defense techniques.  Once the pupil has learned Kihon and Kata, the method of sparring called Kumite is studied. This training and teaching involves acquiring both offensive and defensive techniques against an actual assaulting opponent in arranged, semi-arranged or free fighting situations.

    Since one of the most unique features of karate training is that it may be easily practiced and studied by all walks of life. It is this reason that Corpus Christi Downtown Karate offers a wide variety of instruction ranging from ages 4-6 years (Tiny Tigers Karate), Youth Beginner Classes, Adult Karate classes and annual summer training camps not to mention the Dojo participates in both local and national tournament competitions.  One-on-one instruction, group and even family karate programs are available along with structured exercise programs for those that want to get into shape.  With various instruction and price plans available, do yourself and your community a favor by inquiring at the Corpus Christi Downtown Karate studio by calling (361) 537-3004, checking out their webpage ( or better yet, by paying a visit to Jeff and Matthew at the studio located at 410 Starr Street, Downtown.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

CCDK Kihon Principles

CCKD Kihon Principles

1. Mushin - No mind, beginners mind ready to learn

2. Tai No Shin Shuko - Contraction Expansion

3. Kame - Correct posture

4. Hikite - Use of pulling hand into half body position

5. Hamni - Half body position

6. Kokyu - Breathing

7. Messen - Correct eye direction

7. Zanshin - Over all awareness

Jeff R. Ghee Shihan
Corpus Christi Downtown Karate
Ikiru Shotokan Karate Do
 4/5/11/jrg / Copyright© 2011

When We Enter The Dojo

When we enter the Dojo we leave behind the distractions of the day.
To focus more clearly on the matters at hand.

  • To develop our bodies through daily physical practice (exercise, kihon, kata and kumite)

  • To develop our character by way of learning and applying (learning, understanding and teaching)

  • To developed our true spiritual self through daily prayer and meditation (attending church, reading religious and spiritual books, and self reflection) Kata is moving meditation.

This is the way of a true Karate Ka

Jeff R. Ghee, Shihan
Corpus Christi Downtown Karate
Ikiru Shotokan Karate Do
 4/5/11/jrg / Copyright© 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My Defination of Budo

To dedicate your life in the pursuit of excellence and perfection of one thing.

A discipline that integrates Practical Technique of Combat (bu) - Daily self awarness and have a Spiritual Presence as a way of life - (do)

Daily physical training
1. Maintain the basic standards
2. Teach the basic standards
3. Promote the basic standards

Daily self awareness
1. Be in the present moment
2. Be aware of your actions
3. Be aware of others

Daily spiritual presence
1. Daily spiritual thought
2. Daily spiritual practice
3. Daily spiritual prayer

Daily physical practice to improve ones own mental character to understand ones true spiritual self, is a monk.

A monk is is a soldier engaged in conflict but in this case the enemies are internal - ignorance, anger, attachment and pride
HH.D. Lama

The greatest victory a warrior can achieve is victory over oneself
M. Ueshiba

This is Budo,