BEN OTAKE SENSEI
By Eddie Morales
Online Martial Arts Magazine
Ben Otake Sensei, is one of the most innovative and technically brilliant
martial arts instructors I have had the pleasure of knowing and interviewing.
He has demonstrated techniques from his system and there are two words
to describe his demonstration, Effective and Flawless. His movements were
cat-like and I was impressed with his knowledge and deep understanding
of counter defense against many holds and locks that are commonplace in
reality based fighting and self-defense. The type of counters that would save
your life in an all-out street fight or dark alley. I was and always have been
equally impressed with Ben Otake Sensei soft-spoken humbleness.
I have been teaching martial arts for many years and as of the last ten years
my focus has been on improving defensive tactics for Law Enforcement officers.
Ben Otake Sensei, demonstrated a tool that he developed called, the strap baton.
In my opinion, as an evaluator of law enforcement techniques for the purpose of
use on the field, I believe this tool should be given a chance because of its
simplicity in design and effectiveness of technique.
Otake Sensei has developed specific techniques for handling close quarter
and long-range situations with the strap baton and demonstrated these
techniques as part of this interview. I found none of the techniques to be
difficult to utilize and can be applied with minimal practice.
Ben Otake Sensei, also demonstrated over fifty moves from his system,
Shin Shin Mugendo. Every move flowed to the next with counter after
counter technique. He demonstrated not only how to get your opponent
in different arm lock positions, but also how to reverse the lock if your
opponent applied it on you.
The following is the interview with Otake Sensei. It is our hope, here at
martialforce.com, that you will better understand his system, way of life
and passion for the martial arts. This is definitely a unique man and
martial artist that has given a lot of himself unselfishly through the years and has a lot
more to offer.
Assisting Otake, Sensei in all the techniques presented is Shihan Tom Serrano
1) M.FORCE – When did your martial arts training begin?
Ben Otake Sensei - I began martial arts when I was about thirteen.
I started with judo and then when I was, fifteen I went into karate.
2) M.FORCE – Was it a decision you made or your parents?
Ben Otake Sensei – No, it was my decision because I wanted to learn
to defend myself because I was not very big in size.
3) M.FORCE – Is it true that you opened a dojo in Puerto Rico and if
Ben Otake Sensei – Yes I opened a dojo for the International Karate
Association for Tak Kubota’s association in Puerto Rico in 1967 and I stayed from 1967
to 1972 then I came back to the states again.
4) M.FORCE – With all the different ways to train these days, do you feel
kata is important?
Ben Otake Sensei – The importance of it is in building up the movements
and strength etc. It depends on how you want to use martial arts, so if
you’re basically in it to defend yourself sometimes it’s not necessary to do kata
but to get the furtherance of advanced movements kata really has some
use because you need to know how to use your body and to develop the
strength for different things.
It is also a way you can practice movements by yourself.
The only deficiency in kata is that a lot of people don’t know the movements
and what they really are for so a lot of times I prefer actually two man
movements like bunkai (applications).
Defense Against Bear Hug
5) M.FORCE – What is Shin Shin Mugendo?
Ben Otake Sensei – Shin Shin Mugendo literally translates as mind, body,
infinite way or the way of the infinite mind and body. Shin Shin Mugendo is a
development of trying to utilize all the different methods of fighting. If you
think about fighting most people specialize in one thing or another, they either
do impact techniques like karate, boxing, kung-fu or they will specialize in
grappling techniques. For a complete martial arts system to work against any
kind of attack you really need an understanding of everything involved.
You must be able to handle most movement from impact attacks, grappling
or whatever. Unfortunately when you specialize it is difficult to go easily
from one to the other. Shin Shin Mugendo is something I developed as a
way to do that, to go between impact techniques (Ate Waza) into Thowing (Nage Waza),
or (Kansetsu Waza) joint techniques and all the other ways of fighting.
The rest of the interview will be added shortly. It was damaged within the server. Please check at a later date, thank you.