Tag Archives: Sensei Advincula


When in a confrontation, a cobra makes itself larger by rising up and spreading its hood to intimidate its prey and prepare for a swift attack. A mongoose rises up and makes its fur stand on end to appear larger to intimidate its opponent. Both animals show their fangs/teeth and make noise.

Many animals posture instinctively. People need to train for it.

Posturing is making yourself appear confident, strong and intimidating to your attacker so they lose their will to fight before the confrontation even begins. It is both a fighting position and attitude.

Perhaps you’ve seen someone about to get into a fight stand a little taller, puff out his chest, stick out his chin, shout, swear or flat out take a fighting guard. This is posturing. And it could help you defend yourself.

Sensei Advincula tells a story about a two hour self-defense class he gave in which he taught a woman what to do if grabbed: “Jump back, scream and get into a position and act like you know what you’re doing. Give them your meanest look.” In other words, posture. The next day in an airport a man grabbed this woman. She jumped back, screamed and postured. The man ran away. Why? Because an attacker is looking for a victim not an opponent.

Remember an attacker fears two things: getting hurt and getting caught.

A fighting stance and attitude may be all it takes to avoid an attack – for your characters or for you.

~K.M. Fawcett

Body Mechanics Part 2

On Monday’s blog, I said I’d post a video on body mechanics today. I figured it would be much easier to demonstrate rather than trying to type out each technique in a blog post. So, with the generous support of my husband and son (who filmed us), we made a little video on basic body mechanics of three Isshinryu Karate techniques: a punch, a middle block, and an elbow strike.

The purpose of the video is to demonstrate how different body positioning and proper tensing of the muscles, or chinkuchi (chin-coo-chee), helps increase a person’s strength. Feel free to grab a partner and experiment with these techniques on your own. The video covers the basics of body mechanics.  With further fine tuning of proper body alignment, each of the following techniques can yield even greater power.

~KM Fawcett

Experiencing Martial Arts – Okinawa Part 3

Lead by the #1 tour guide, Sensei Advincula, our group set off on a walking tour of Agena, Okinawa. The Agena dojo was where Shimabuku Tatsuo (our style’s founder) trained my teacher’s teacher, Sensei Advincula (did I mention he’s the #1 tour guide?). Sensei spoke of how the dojo helped the local economy, as Okinawan and American students bought gi (uniforms), weapons, and makiwara from local businesses. Though the dojo and businesses no longer exist, it was important for us to see and document these old historical locations related to Isshinryu Karate.

Tenchi Dojo Instructors in front of the Isshinryu World Karate Association Headquarters

We walked to the town of Gushikawa to the Isshinryu Karate World Headquarters dojo, where Shimabuku’s first son, Kichiro is now the head of Isshinryu. The dojo was closed so we couldn’t see inside.

In the same town, we were able to locate the property of Shimabuku’s first dojo, where he officially named our style, Isshinryu (one heart way or whole heart way). When Shimabuku’s top student asked him, “Why such a funny name?” Shimabuku replied, “Because all things begin with one.” This is so true for any venture, be it karate, writing, or even a relationship. You have to start somewhere. You must take that first step.

Heather, Sensei and Scott at Shimabuku Tatsuo's Tomb

We drove to the tombs of  Shimabuku Tatsuo, and his second son Shinsho (who had been instrumental in passing on his father’s karate) to pay our respects. On the way back, the group got to see livestock, a dam, and a garbage dump. Twice! Both our navigator and driver (*cough*Scott*cough*) told us that it was intentional, as they wanted us to see ALL of Okinawa. The #1 tour guide and the rest of us didn’t quite buy it.

Shimabuku Shinsho (Ciso)'s Tomb

Okinawa Prefectural Budokan

Also during our trip, we visited the Budokan, a huge martial center, where the Okinawan Karatedo Kobudo World Tournament took place. The first floor of the three story dojo houses a weight room and a karate dojo, kendo is on the second floor, and judo is on the third. There was also a small cultural room but it was closed.

Kendo floor of the Budokan

Our group also had the honor of training at the Ryukonkai dojo under Grand Master Iha Kotaro and Iha Mitsutada Sensei, the 2009 Okinawan Karatedo Kobudo World Champion in bo (6 foot staff). Ryukonkai is a kobudo school, meaning they teach traditional Okinawan weapons. The dojo, located on the second floor, had no air conditioning…oh yeah, and it was August. You bet I was dripping in sweat before I stepped out onto the hardwood floors! We learned some of their kata (forms), which uses a much deeper stance than we were used to. Good leg workout! Iha Kotaro Hanshi’s favorite quote is “You should not love to fight, but not, even for a moment, forget to prepare for fighting” by Miyamoto Musashi, The book of Five Rings.

The Codes of Conduct posted in the Ryukonkai dojo state:

  • Be civil, courteous, disciplined and well behaved.
  • Aim to train your mental and spiritual power as well as your physical power.
  • Endurance is the key to success.
  • Respect your seniors and love your juniors.
  • Regard every member of the dojo as brothers and sisters and treat them as such.
  • Try to master the most efficient skill of self-defense; preparing for the emergency.

Did you notice the first code of conduct? In Okinawa, everything comes back to courtesy.

~K.M. Fawcett