Darren Gilbert is a 5th Degree Black Belt and stays as active in martial arts as he can with his busy schedule. He attends several seminars a year and works out with friends and fellow martial artists. He began his Isshin-ryu training with Sensei Allen Wheeler in 1983. His last formal instructor was the late Sensei Sherman Harrill from Carson, Iowa.
Other major influences have been John Kerker, Eddie Satterfield, AJ Advincula, Louis Grinnell, Rick Moneymaker, Joe Lewis, and Remy Presas. In his past, Darren has also studied Tae Kwon Do while stationed at Camp Casey in South Korea from December of 1981 to December of 1982 as well as Uechi-Ryu in North Adams, Massachusetts, while in high school.
Darren Gilbert likes to focus on what he calls “classical karate” with an emphasis on building a solid understanding of the basics, understanding the kata, and the application of kata techniques in personal defense.
Many seem to forget that kata was the primary mechanism used to train in and pass on the highly effective combat methods of the best karate practitioners of old. If a technique didn’t work, it never made it into a kata. The two main training mechanisms of classical karate are kata and makiwara.
Kata of the Month
Seiuchin Kata is typically the second kata taught in most Isshin-ryu dojos. Tatsuo Shimabuku learned this kata from Chojun Miyagi, founder of Goju-Ryu Karate and adopted it for use in the Isshin-ryu Karate system.
This kata stresses transitioning from and to shiko-dachi during the execution of techniques, both linearly and off=angle. Another thing to note is the absence of any obvious kicks in the kata.
In this video, my Sensei, Sherman Harrill, is demonstrating this kata for myself and a few black belts the day after one of our Clinton, Tennessee seminars (late 90’s).
Recently, I developed an interest in Escrima. Escrima is a Filipino martial art centered on knife fighting techniques. I train whenever possible with Sensei Richard Rosenthal of Raleigh, NC, who practices and teaches the system of Lago Y Mano Escrima as taught by Sensei AJ Advincula.
This is another fascinating martial art I enjoy very much, and I think is a good and practical compliment to Isshin-ryu Karate.