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This video on bojutsu introduces the learner to the four ritualized patterns of development employed by Oshiro-ha Yamaneryu kobudo. These fundamental exercises represent the foundation necessary in preparing to study Shuji, Sakugawa, Yonekawa, Shirotaru, Chinen Shikiyanaka & Pechin Kumibo. Viewed from various angles, this tape includes 1. Fundamental postures 2. Blocking, trapping & deflecting 3.Swinging, grip changes, bo manipulation & body movement & 4. Koryu no Kon (representing the principal methods of impact & composite fighting techniques of Oshiro-ha Bojutsu.)

This DVD represents a completely systematized methodology through which fundamental skills can be effectively learned regardless of kobudo/bojutsu style.

Yamane Ryu Kobudo by Patrick McCarthy

There are several methods of Okinawan kobudo widely practiced throughout the modern karate world today. Amongst the most popular of these powerful & modern traditions are the Yabiku-Taira and Matayoshi methods. This new video presentation focuses upon a powerful yet graceful method of kobudo known as Yamaneryu. Until recent times, Yamaneryu has remained virtually unknown in the karate world.

  

In Koryu Uchinadi it is taught that Kata represent a myriad of brief composite techniques bound together in geometrical sequences. Their purpose, of course, is to provide sound principles in resolving specific acts of physical violence based upon varying essential circumstances, the uniqueness of the human anatomy and peculiarities of energy transfer.

  

The unabridged evolution of such defensive paradigms was originally based upon the understanding of such principles, the creativity of those most responsible for imparting them, qualifying the aptitude of a learner and what outcomes a teacher deemed necessary. When conducting a thorough comparative analysis of old-school kata learners can discover that, despite the signature characteristics that so often disguise generic intentions, defensive themes and application principles are, in fact, common. When learned correctly, it becomes apparent why various classical kata feature identical composite movements despite the varying geometrical configurations and signature emphases used by different groups/styles.

 

In comparing the content of this video with other styles it will  become immediately apparent that there is a significant difference between modern kobudo and that of Oshiro-ha Yamaneryu. While an entire dissertation might better illuminate the obscurity surrounding this phenomenon, a simple explanation tells us that such differences came about largely due to kobudo unfolding alongside modern karate. In the same way that old-school Okinawan karate conformed to the powerful forces of Japanese-ness, so too was modern kobudo similarly influenced. Introduced to the mainland of pre-war Japan during an era of radical military escalation, the original practice & purpose of karate & kobudo took on characteristics uniquely Japanese and have, for the most part, remained that way.

One method, however, untouched by this modern phenomenon was the tiny village-style of the Chinen clan. While the actual evolution of Yamaneryu bojutsu remains the subject of intense curiosity we do know that the origins of this unique clan-style can be traced back through Chinen Pechin (c. 1846-1928).

 

From the village of Samukawa in the old castle district of Shuri, Chinen Sanda was born the son of a Pechin class Kemochi during the later part of Okinawa's old Ryukyu Kingdom. Also known Chinen Pechin, or Yamane no Chinen as Taira Shinken described him in his 1964 Encyclopedia of kobudo, the youth was schooled in Uchinadi by his uncle, Chinen Sanjin Andaya Pechin (1797-1881,) also known as Aburaiya Yamagusuku. Despite his proficiency in  several kinds of bojutsu, Chinen most favored the traditions of Sakugawa and Shikiyanaka, but is probably best remembered for being a brilliant innovator. In an effort to help facilitate the teaching of fundamental technique, Chinen ingeniously developed three unique exercises that he called Shuji, Yonekawa and Shirotaru. He passed away at the ripe old age of 82 leaving behind him a rich & unique legacy.

Among Chinen's most prominent students were Yabiku Moden, Higa Raisuke, Higa Seiichiro, Higa Ginsaburo, Akamine Yohei, Maeshiro Chotoku, his own grandson Masami and his most prominent disciple Oshiro (Ogusuku) Chojo. Mr. McCarthy's teacher, Kinjo Hiroshi, was a direct student under Master Oshiro Chojo.

 

Given the name Yamaneryu by Chinen Masami (1898-1976,) the grandson of Chinen Sanda, the term actually brings together three separate Chinese ideograms: 1. "Yama," meaning "mountain;" 2. "Ne," meaning "foundation or root;" and 3. " Ryu," meaning, "stream." The term was simply intended to describe the locale in Shuri's Samukawa village from whence Chinen's tradition came.

 

Despite the widespread attention Yabiku Moden attracted (largely because of the popularity his student Taira Shinken) Oshiro Chojo (1887-1935) was the most visible proponent of Chinen Sanda during his day. Every year on August 11th, the people of Chinen village used to gather to commemorate the life of Bushi Shikiyanaka [1780-1841.] Bushi Shikiyanaka was a well known retainer of Governor Soeishi who had made a notable reputation for himself as a virtuous man with remarkable fighting skills in Soeishi family-style bojutsu. The legacy of this expert was handed down through a series of ritualized (bo) exercises posthumously named Chinen Shikiyanaka no kon.

One jikideshi (direct student) of Chinen Sanda who gained widespread notoriety for the way in which he performed these exercises was Oshiro Chojo. In fact, so skillful was Oshiro in the techniques of Bushi Shikiyanaka that the people of Chinen village always petitioned him to perform on August 11th in honor of the great Master. Oshiro is especially remembered for his performance of the Shikiyanaka bo style before the Emperor's family in 1924. Like many Uchinadi teachers before him, so too did Master Oshiro teach his art through ritualized sequences and associated drills that linked fundamental technique to corresponding defensive themes.

 

Identified by its signature characteristics, Yamaneryu bojutsu employs swift but powerful circular motion, a distinct pattern of twisting thrusts, vibrant body dynamics and pliable footwork. Some are of the opinion that the method is closely connected to So-jutsu, the art of spearman-ship. However, its pliable manner is consistent with the old-school Chinese-based Uchinadi once practiced during Okinawa's old Ryukyu Kingdom. Classically speaking, Yamaneryu refers to five kata; Shuji, Sakugawa, Chinen Shikiyanaka, Shirotaru and Yonekawa. Recently, however, highly motivated kobudo enthusiasts are beginning to apply the principles of Yamaneryu to their own kobudo traditions in an effort to improve its pliability and enhance its overall effectiveness.

As a tertiary-level teacher of Martial Arts, Mr. McCarthy was challenged to systematize a simplistic way through which to best impart these infinite principles without losing the essence of Oshiro's teachings. A well-published writer, author
of the best selling book entitled Bubishi and an internationally sought after seminar instructor, McCarthy has spent years studying & systematizing a simple yet effective way through which to teach this method. Our tape (the first in a series that we intend to produce) culminates his efforts. While we believe that educational videos can never replace old-fashion personal instruction, it's surely got to be the next best thing.

If there is any truth to the theory that Uchinadi was never a systematized coherent tradition but rather a body of defensive principles passed down through ritualized composite drills, then this DVD is a testament to that hypothesis.