Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Not now Cato! (The Curious Konnection between Cato Fong & Ukei Kato)

Some years ago, I read a book written by Ellis Amdur called Hidden in Plain Sight:  Tracing the Roots of Ueshiba Morihei's Power. There was a page where Amdur recounts an anecdote of Ukei Kato of Kito-ryu which made me think of another personage by the name of "Kato". No not Bruce Lee's character in The Green Hornet, but the character "Cato Fong" as portrayed by the awesome Burt Kwouk in The Pink Panther series of movies which starred one of the greatest comedians ever, Peter Sellers, as the beloved Inspector Clouseau.

Inspector Clouseau would have Cato attack him anytime and anywhere so as to keep Clouseau's reflexes and awareness razor-sharp. I made two animated GIF's from the movie, A Shot in the Dark, of one of Cato's surprise attacks as examples.


Back to Mr. Amdur's fascinating book, he proposes that Neigong usually thought to be only taught in the Chinese Martial Arts can also be found in the Japanese Martial Arts. Neigong can be defined as "internal training" that is usually associated with the styles but not limited to:  Xingyi (Modern Pinyin)/Hsing I (older Wade Giles), Bagua (Modern Pinyin)/Pa Kua (older Wade Giles) and Taijiquan (Modern Pinyin)/Tai Chi Chuan (older Wade Giles). It is Mr. Amdur's belief that not only can Neigong be found in the JMA, but that it was the source of Ueshiba Morihei's power! The following passages below made me think of Cato Fong.

In Chapter 1:  The Chinese Connection, Mr. Amdur looks to establish how Neigong found its way to Japan. I couldn't help but chuckle and think of the late Burt Kwouk after reading this page.

Hidden in Plain Sight:  Tracing the Roots of Ueshiba Morihei’s Power
By Ellis Amdur
Copyright 2009
ISBN 978-0-9823762-0-1
Page 36

… a senior-ranked sumo wrestler challenged (Ukei) Kato while the two of them were dining in a tea house. Kato first tried to demur, but the wrestler insisted and when he made ready to attack, Kato suggested it would be a more legitimate test if the wrestler waited until he was off-guard.

The  wrestler agreed and Ukei sat down and started eating and drinking. After a while, Ukei summoned the young servant girl to bring him a cup of sake. As he took it from the tray and put it to his lips, the wrestler (who had been watching carefully) seized the opportunity and rushed in to knock Ukei down with a tremendous shove. Ukei moved slightly, seeming only to pluck the attacker’s hand lightly away from his shoulder, but actually sending him sprawling to the floor. When the wrestler looked up he saw Ukei seated just as he had been, sipping his wine calmly, not having spilled a drop.

The wrestler, chagrined, left, but rather than returning home, hid and waited for Kato to pass, then attacking him again.

But just as before, Ukei sent him tumbling into the dirt with just a small shift of his body, not even disturbing the flame in the paper lantern he carried . Only then did it dawn on the hapless sumo wrestler just what sort of individual he had challenged. Suddenly a bit frightened, he apologized profusely. But then he asked, seeming somewhat perplexed, “Uh, by the way, did you actually throw me or did I just stumble and fall down on my own?” To which Ukei replied, “Well, that’s hard to say, I’m not so sure myself.”

This event, which apparently took place when Ukei was around 70, is highly reminiscent of the “forgotten ki” mentioned above and suggests that Ukei himself had reached a state in which he was not overtly conscious of his own actions. 19

19 “Famous Budoka of Japan:  Mujushin Kenjutsu and Kito-ryu,” Kono, Yoshnori, Aikido Journal 111 (1997).

And now I bet you cannot get the image out of your mind of Cato and the sumo trying to surprise attack Inspector Clouseau and Ukei Kato respectively LOL


(This section I will not add towards November's tally as well as the header picture and video I made above... I will only use hand-drawn pictures or animated GIFs I've created towards Nov's NaNoWriMo totals):

It looks like I made my goal of 50,000 words via text and pictures towards the National Novel Writing Month/NaNoWriMo. Although I had a secondary goal of blogging everyday which I was not able to accomplish, but with NaNoWriMo, the ultimate goal was to blog regularly.

This post: 2,654 = 654 words + 2,000 (2 GIF's at 1,000 each)
November running tally: 67,722 words
Words in excess of NaNoWriMo's 50,000:  17,722



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Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps