(Issue 1: July/September 1997 )
CHITO-RYU TRAINING GUIDELINES:
Listed in this Technical Bulletin are some guidelines I learned from my karate teacher Doctor Tsuyoshi Chitose (O-Sensei) concerning Chito-ryu karate. Following these guidelines when training in Chito-ryu karate should assist you greatly.
Breathing: There are several methods of breathing which vary greatly from one another. You should first practice and learn the three basic methods of breathing. They will benefit you greatly. After the three basic methods are learned additional methods may be added.
Number One - Breathing IN - Takes approximately 1 second.
Number Two - Breathing OUT - Takes approximately 1second.
Number Three - Breathing OUT - Takes approximately 4 seconds.
Getting the sequences right will be a major problem if you do not have a qualified instructor. An example of the above are the initial double arm blocking motion of Niseishi Sho/Dai. As the arms separate you breath IN - #1, as the arms settle into the double block you breath OUT - #2. When you pull both arms back to your side you breath IN - #1 and as you perform the double punch you breath OUT - #3. This same pattern is found throughout many Chito-ryu kata.
Never exhaust all of your air when breathing out, always maintain at least 30% of the air in your lungs at all times.
Stances: All styles of karate utilize stances. Many of the same stances are used in various styles. Chito-ryu karate has some stances which are utilized more often than others and are known as "signature" stances. They can be recognized as representative of the style Chito-ryu when performed in specific patterns often enough. These stances are:
STANCE NAME WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION (FRONT/REAR)
Uchi-Hachi dachi 50% / 50%
Seisan dachi 50% / 50%
Shiko dachi 50% / 50%
Kagi dachi (to the side) 50% / 50%
Kosa dachi (to the front) 50% / 50%
Neko-Ashi dachi (elongated) 10% / 90%
The length of most Chito-ryu stances is one fist distance or approximately four inches (measured by dropping the rear knee on the floor to front heel).
All stances have a related inward/outward tension with the ankles and feet usually in counter rotation (Shime) to assist in locking-in the stance to diminish recoil when impacting a technique against an opponents body. This is difficult to properly explain but will be covered at future classes at the U. S. Hombu and at clinics, seminars, etc. held around the United States
Hip & Shoulder Angle:
Chito-ryu technique is based upon economy of motion, violent hip snap or vibration, coupled with shifting quickly from one stance to another with as little foot stepping as possible. Hip and shoulder angles in Chito-ryu are not as sharp as some styles. Angles listed below are approximate.
STANCE NAME - SHOULDER AND HIP ANGLE
Uchi-Hachi - 0 degrees
Seisan dachi - 20 degrees forward arm blocking and lunge punching or when performing an augmented arm block. 0 degrees reverse punching and reverse arm blocking or performing a double arm block.
Shiko dachi - 180 degrees when punching to the side (inline-chokusen stance) or blocking. - 135 degrees when punching to the oblique (angled-hanmei stance) or blocking.
Kagi dachi - 20 degrees to side then blocking or punching.
Kosa dachi - 20 degrees off front then punching, striking or blocking
Neko-Ashi dachi - 20 degrees off front when in stance with forward arm block - 0 degrees when performing double arm block.
Hand Position: The hand position on the hip will be palm up (hand in a tight fist). The position on the side of the body will be the same height as the elbow. Place your hand under your elbow and pull your fist backward into position. The elbow MUST slide against the side of the body when performing the basic-front straight punch.
Centering: Centering means several things. One is physical and the other mental. First (physical) is to keep your back as straight at possible which will enhance your ability to make rapid turns and body shifting. Second (mental) is to keep your center of gravity low, think low and relax. You will only tighten your entire body upon impact of your technique against the opponents body. If the body is properly centered all techniques will initiate with the hara/tanden and the power will flow outward to the technique and reach maximum speed/energy just before impact.
Muscle Tension: Proper muscle tension is of the utmost importance when performing any karate technique. To much tension, or tension on improper muscles will result in an ineffective technique. To little tension will result in techniques being initiated slowly or without proper body connection and reinforcement of the technique. Constant training and practice will teach you proper muscle tension.
Power Enhancing: Power enhancing techniques are, rotation, thrusting, vibration/snap, lifting, dropping, and shifting. These power enhancing techniques are found in all Chito-ryu kata, and should be understood, practiced and utilized in our daily training.
Vectoring: All stances, and techniques should be vectored. Vectoring is hard to explain but will be taught at some future classes at the U. S. Hombu and at clinics and seminars held around the United States. Proper vectoring enhances directional stability of stances and techniques.
Hip Foot Connection: A very basic rule of Chito-ryu karate training is that the hips place the feet. Example-move the hips then move the feet. If the feet move first (before the hips), you may be struck by the opponents technique and your block/counter punch may be slowed and weakened by improper body motion. Since the torso is larger and slower it should move before the arms and legs.
William J. Dometrich, Kyoshi
Founder, Chief Instructor
United States Chito-ryu Karate Federation