ED MCGRATH'S SCHOOL OF TRADITIONAL ISSHIN-RYU
Isshinryu Kata Bunkai Tapes
Harold Mitchum was not only a ranking member of the first generation of the Isshinryu students of Shimabuku ryu Tatsuo, Soke, but is also a highly regarded retired Marine Corps veteran, of over twenty years service. This may give you an idea of why he has never allowed himself to get out of top shape throughout his life. That conditioning allows him to look and act like a young man, while doing Isshin ryu's first four katas and demonstrating the Bunkai for each.
However, this is not done in the usual manner, but rather in a distinctly professional and well thought out manner, which allows the viewer to see every movement from surrounding cameras. In many of the prior tapes, the demonstrator will, during the performance of the kata, turn from the camera, often with there back to the camera. In these tapes, you would have no idea of the movements that are taking place, if you were not already familiar with the kata and itís elements. Also, there is a personal touch about the manner in which Grand Master Mitchum displays each kata and then personalizes it, by explaining the purpose of the kata and then tells you a short tale that you may never have known. He gives you hints about how you should perform the action. He gives you an inside look at what his training with the Soke was like. In one of his friendly and familiar moments, he lets you know that in some areas of the kata, you are allowed during your own bunkai practice to allow your own reasoning to envision additional moves that could be made possible during certain portions of the kata. I am sure that during promotional shias, the kata are demonstrated with strict adherence to the moves as taught for decades by Isshinryu Sensei's, but when you are practicing, on your own, developing alternative Bunkai is a gift of the discerning student.
When Sensei Mitchum finishes, his student black belts take the stage and demonstrate the bunkai, by being attacked by a group of their peers, in a number suitable to demonstrate the defense against multiple opponents. Each of the katas is repeated in slow motion for the new students of Isshinryu, who are trying to absorb the moves, as well as learning the bunkai, or, at least one variation of it.
If you are looking for an Isshinryu tape, in order to add to the information that you have on the movements and at the same time, be able to actually see every movement of each kata, this is the tape to buy. On top of that, the down home manner in which Sensei Mitchum relates his information to his audience, gives you some insight into this affable and warm hearted individual, whom I consider to be a close friend, and that side of him shows why he was not only a great and valued student of the creator of Isshinryu, but tells you how he has turned out excellent students for decades. As you watch the students demonstrating the Bunkai, you will understand the rigorous training with which Master Mitchum trains his young men and women, within his school. This is an excellent purchase and a bargain, at any price. Add it to your collection. I will let you know when the second group of four katas is on the shelf.