Tag Archives for " Shotokan Karate "

The Shotokan Tiger

The Shotokan Tiger

Sports competition, although spectacular and with great appeal for spectators, represents only a small aspect of Karate, because it is not the competition with its victories and defeats that is at the forefront of our efforts, but the intense and consistent training, the analysis of the intricate and complex movements in Karate with the goal not only to command mind and body, but also to bring them in harmony. Time and again, the great old karate masters, and not only the Japanese, focus on the educational value of our martial art when insisting on having Karate taught as “Do” (path). The term “Do” means something like “path through life” or “path to shaping one’s life” and includes the path to self-perfection. Thus, Karate is closely associated with the spirit of Zen and influenced by the Bushido - the code of honor of the Samurai warrior. The goal of all martial arts of the Samurai is to incapacitate the enemy with lightning speed and preferably in one move (Ikken Hissatsu). Even today, this objective is still at the basis of Karate. First of all, this is an inhumane and destructive objective which demands without fail a commitment to the moral value system of a mature personality. Thus, Karate instruction has the great task and challenge to teach the student to recognize and understand his responsibility and to teach him to always keep one’s emotions under control. Strength and superiority should manifest themselves in assertiveness and confidence. To avoid hubris and arrogance, the karate student must learn respect, courteousness, modesty, yes, even humility: as a sign of absolute respect towards others and as proof of his self-control. The tiger crest – the Shotokan Karate emblem we all know – illustrates very well the goals and intentions of Karate-do. We see a tiger depicted within a circle. (Design by the Japanese artist Hoan Kosugi, a friend and student of Funakoshi Gichin). Shotokan Tiger 1 Both elements of the image – the tiger and the circle – are of particular importance. For that matter, the tiger represents the animalism, ferocity, courage, unrestrained combativeness, primal power and absolute determination. To fight successfully requires learning to fight like the tiger. However, the tiger is not depicted unrestricted, but shown in a circle and thus constrained. In turn, the circle represents reason and the human spirit. To fight victoriously and honorably requires control of one’s emotions and calmness. The circle (i. e. the mind) encloses the tiger thereby taming it. Reason and the human spirit prevail over the animalistic powers, rule and control them, in order to harness them if needed. In my opinion, the nature and the objectives of Karate-do can hardly be more clearly illustrated than with the example of this small emblem. However, it also becomes transparent, how closely very genuine karate instruction remains tied to the spirit and the atmosphere at the dojo. These, in turn, are determined and decisively shaped by the paragon and the example of the karate instructor teaching there. Bernd Hinschberger Karate instructor   translated from German into English by Sabine Becker

Shotokan Myth #6 Makiwara Training

Makiwara is a true tradition of karate and its training is a must for all karate-ka. The makiwara has been a fixture in karate dojos since its introduction to mainland Japan in the early 20th century. We have seen pictures of Funakoshi sensei punching one with his geta (wooden clogs) on. I have even heard that some of the modern day sensei would carry portable makiwara in their suitcases with them when they travel. The makiwara had been an important training tool in my karate life as well. Let me explain how I got introduced to this traditional equipment in my first days of karate training. At the first dojo I joined in the early 60’s (Kobe Shotokan Karate Club), I remember there were several makiwara posts, some were wrapped with straw ropes and some with softer pads. I also remember that those pads were no longer white or have their original colors, whatever they were. The pads I saw were reddish black, covered in dried blood. It was obvious that my senpai punched these posts over and over again even when their fists were bleeding. My senpai, Kato-san once said, “Now look. My fist is so strong I can punch like this.” He punched straight into a wooden 4 x 4 beam of the dojo. Bang! Bang! The beam shook but he felt no pain. (At least he did not show it.) Wow! I was very impressed. If he could punch that beam like that, he could easily kill me. Honestly, it really made me scared of this senpai and he won unconditional respect from me. So as soon as I was allowed to punch a makiwara I started the tradition with full might. My dohai (student who started at the same time) Nakai and I punched the makiwara hundreds of times every day. In a year Nakai had developed some very respectable calluses but I couldn’t. I was frustrated and thought I was not punching hard enough. No matter how hard I punched the makiwara, the calluses on my fists did not get larger. ( Later, I realized that this was due to my skin’s very rubbery and soft characteristics. Actually, these characteristics are very good for they also allow me to be flexible as well. ) Despite not developing any respectable calluses, I kept the makiwara habit for more than 15 years. I must admit that the resonating sound made by hitting a makiwara in a dojo was euphoric, especially when the rhythm is so close to that of my own heartbeat. I wondered if makiwara training is a true tradition and whether it was handed down for many centuries.We knew that the makiwara came from Okinawa but we have little documentation to support its history. I discovered, to my surprise, that this tradition is only 100 years old since its invention. It is believed that Matsumura Sokon (1809 – 1899) initially invented the makiwara and Itosu Anko (Master Funakoshi’s sensei, 1830 -1915) popularized it in the early 1900’s. Matusmura sensei took kenjutsu called Jigenryu of Satsuma. Jigenryu is a very unique style and their main practice is (read more...) Shihan Yokota has published numerous articles and books:

Shotokan Myth # 5 Kime

Kime – Trademark of Shotokan karate

  The readers will agree that perfect kime is what we dream of when we do the oi zuki or gyaku zuki. Bang boom! Look at Enoeda sensei’s tsuki (photo on below)  Yes, this is Shotokan. Indeed, the powerful punches and kicks are trademarks of Shotokan karate.   When you look at Shitoryu kata, their performances look smooth and fluid but their techniques look “weak.”  The Gojuryu kata have a lot of neko ashi dachi and sanchin dachi, and although their arm movements are circular, these movements, just like their stances, look short and do not have enough kime. (Note: I want to emphasize that I am in no way trying to bash any styles at all.  I am simply comparing the general impressions of shotokan and other styles.)  If the impressions above coincide with yours, then you want to ask, “OK, so what?”  Hold your breath, here is a shocking statement: Kime (more precisely, encouraging it) is probably the most harmful action for most Shotokan practitioners while training, particularly for beginners. I am aware of the graveness and controversial nature of my statement.  However, I am convinced that all instructors and serious practitioners must be aware of and understand well this prevalent problem in Shotokan training.  Despite the risk of being misunderstood, I dare to write this article as I believe this knowledge must be expressed publicly.  So, please read on to catch the true essence of my statement. I want to emphatically state that I am NOT identifying kime itself or having a correct kime in your techniques as a problem.  If you are capable of producing a good and correct kime and you feel your overall movements are fluid, then this may not be an issue.  What I wish to convey is that the overly tensed body that kime creates is the problem. (read more...) Shihan Yokota has published numerous articles and books:

Shotokan Myth #4 Returning to the starting point in Kata

Must we really return to the starting point in our kata?

When we do kata is it really mandatory that we come back to the exact spot where we started?  I can almost hear your reply; “Yes. Nakayama sensei said so in Best Karate.“  You are absolutely correct.  He listed 6 important points for kata in that famous book: 1. Correct Order 2. Beginning and End 3. Meaning of each movement 4. Awareness of target 5. Rhythm and timing 6. Proper breathing For item 2 above, he clearly stated that “Kata must begin and end at the same spot on the embusen.  This requires practice.” If you are in a tournament this is absolutely a requirement, isn‘t it?  If you are off by, say, one meter, I am sure those careful judges will take some points off of your performance. Have you ever wondered why there is such a requirement?  Nakayama sensei did not explain why in his book.  Maybe it is such a natural thing and you may think I am wasting my time asking this.  But, I have wondered about this and foolishly investigated why for many years.  I was curious to know if the creators of kata (Itosu for Heian kata for an example) really designed all kata in such a way a performer will always return to the starting point.  After much investigation and direct questioning I concluded that this was not the case.  Someone changed the rule and created this new requirement of coming back to the exact starting point.  I wanted to find who was behind this and for what reasons.  This is a mystery and I wish to share my findings and my theory on this mystery with you today. If you are a Nidan and above, you must have learned Chinte and this kata could be your tournament kata, especially if you are a female practitioner.  We know this is a very unique kata (Chinte literally means “unique or strange hand”,) but do you realize it also has a very unique (strange) ending (three hops backward)?  I have researched for many years and asked many sensei about these ending steps.  For the longest time, no one could give me a believable bunkai for these “unique” moves with the feet in heisoku dachi and hands clasped together.  It had been a big mystery to me, as I could not figure out the meaning of these strange hops. The following is what I have found in the process of investigation.  One Japanese sensei, whose name I cannot reveal, told me it was for balance training.  Yes, it is indeed difficult to keep the balance with your feet and hands put together.  But if you think it through, it just does not make any sense as you wonder why they were put at the end of the kata.  After the final delivery of a kime technique (right gyaku zuki to chudan with ki-ai), we can expect a zanshin move as seen with the last step in Enpi.  However, why would anyone put three backward hopping steps that are not stable as a zanshin move?  Even if you buy this idea of having this balancing move there, why hop with two feet together?  Hopping with only one foot is more of a martial art move (like a tsuru ashi dachi in gankaku.)  No matter how much I considered the possibility, I cannot buy into this theory. (read more...)   Shihan Yokota has published numerous articles and books:

Are we practicing Bujutsu or Budo? Does it matter?

Are you practicing karate as Bujutsu or Budo?  Do you care?  I hope you do.  I believe it does matter and we must ask this question to all karate practitioners and instructors.  Unfortunately, many of them do not care.  Even if they do, they either fail to understand the differences or they are too lazy to research about these concepts. Let’s look at the popular reasons for the people to pick up karate and practice: • Self defense • Health/physical conditioning • Stress reduction/mental wellness • Competition/tournaments All these reasons are good and respectable ones.  We must not pass the judgment on any of the reasons and to regard any of them is better than the others.  Though I am glad to see the people practicing karate for whatever the reasons, I have a strong concern with the current trend of tremendous amount of participation in the tournament activities, especially by the children and the youths.  In fact too much emphasis is put on winning.  The participants are told to do whatever necessary to win the matches.  The things they are encouraged to do are to use only the certain techniques that are easier to score, to bend the rules, to do illegal things (by hiding them from the judges), to change kata moves to look “fancy”, etc.  Their ultimate goal is to win without paying much attention to anything else and that is the essence of Bujutsu, martial arts.  The 16th century Japan was in a war period and they cared only the best swordsmanship in order to survive in a battle. Well then, what is different between Bujutsu and Budo?   I believe a half of the problem comes from many of us not having clear understanding of the differences between the two terms and concepts.  Most of us consider them as same or believe that they are inter-changeable.  This is the gravest misconception and it is where the serious problem begins. (read more...)     Shihan Yokota has published numerous articles and books:

Nunchaku, an unique weapon & its benefits to Karate

The nunchaku (ヌンチャクin Japanese and 雙節棍in Chinese) is a traditional weapon of the Kobudo and consists of two sticks connected with a short chain or rope.  I do not believe further introduction of Nunchaku is necessary as it became very popular among us by the Kung Fu movies in 70’s stared by Bruce Lee. Out of a dozen or so different kinds of Okinawan Kobudo weapons such as Nunchaku, Sai and Tonfa, Nunchaku is most popular or known by the public.  Less known factor is that Nunchaku can produce the most dynamic and versatile techniques among the Kobudo weapons due to its construction of having two sticks joined by a chain or a rope. The quick swings and striking motions are very sexy and many people remember the fight scenes of Bruce Lee.  One can spin Tonfa pretty fast but it cannot beat the speed of Nunchaku.  Sai can be a deadly weapon with its sharp end as it can spear through just about any protectors, but the destructive power of Nunchaku at a full impact of said to be over 500kg is far greater than Sai or Tonfa could produce.  Not only it is fast and destructive but also it has another very exciting characteristic; flexibility of two sections. I am not saying Nunchaku is a better weapon than Sai, Tonfa or other Kobudo weapons. Just as one cannot say a certain style of karate is better than another, different weapons have their own particular uses and advantages thus cannot be compared by a simple set of observations.   It is very unfortunate that modern day Shotokan (at least from what I know of) has dropped Kobudo from its regular training.  I do not know the situation regarding this subject in other karate styles such as Shito-ryu, Goju-ryu and Wado-ryu, so I will discuss this subject only referring to Shotokan style organizations.  There was a justifiable reason (at least then) why Kobudo was dropped but I will not go into this historic aspect of karate even though it is a very interesting subject.  What I want to mention here today is that karate definitely lost a very effective and useful training tools when the masters decided to drop Kobudo from its regular syllabus.  I do not think they were aware at that time of the seriousness and the amount of handicap and disadvantage this omission would bring.  Shotokan style now is said to be very linear and lacks circular movements. However, this claim is not true as one can observe the kata like (read more...)     Shihan Yokota has published numerous articles and books:

Debunking Shotokan Myths

Shihan Yokota: Debunking Shotokan Karate Myths

Shihan Yokota Yokota Shihan Koss Yokota is a 8th Dan Shotokan master who started his martial arts journey in the Hyogo Prefecture, more than 49 years ago. In 1981 and 1982, he was crowned champion of the Hyogo prefecture which he represented at the JKA All National Championship in Tokyo.  He currently serves as the technical director of the World JKA Karate Alliance (WJKA) and has recently published a book named "Shotokan Myths", in which he exposes myth and misconceptions many western Karate practitioners have.     What motivated you to write a book about Shotokan myths? I have been practicing Shotokan karate for 49 years.  Along the way I have come across with the questions and doubts in the way we practice but I was a blind follower until very recent.  I always kept myself under radar so to speak and did not express my opinions.  When two of my teachers passed away (Master Sugano and Master Asai, 2002 and 2006 respectively), I decided to come out.  I am aware that it is a taboo for a Japanese instructor to speak up and criticize his own organization or his teachers.  When I hit the age of 60 I figured someone has to do this dirty work for the sake of Shotokan karate.  There are many incorrect and wrong teachings and training methods.  Some are kept behind the curtain of mystery.  Some are simply believed so blindly they became the "fact" or "truth".  I wanted to tear down this curtain and show what real Shotokan karate is.  We must not follow teachers blindly.  We must think and continuously ask questions.
JunSuganoMaster Jun Sugano (1928-2002)9th dan JKA, Vice Chairman of JKA TetsuhikoAsaiMaster Tetsuhiko Asai (1935-2006)10th dan JKS, Founder of JKS and Asai style karate
  Where do these Shotokan myth come from? Who first propagated them? The word "Myths" came to me because I have trained in many dojos in Japan, US and some other countries and found that some wrong ideas were believed by almost all the practitioners.  It bothered me as no one seemed to doubt or question them, let alone challenge them. I also realized there is a cloud of mysticism around the Asian culture particularly of the martial arts.  Some Asian instructors hide behind that mysticism curtain as it makes them look good or give them more value. I felt it was about time that some one to step out and blow away the cloud so we can really understand what Shotokan karate is.  Without this process we cannot expect Shotokan to truly improve or advance.  With the current trend, it will end up in a museum not too far in the future as the people begin to realize the mysticism does not work in a real fighting.   What is your definition or idea of what "real Shotokan" is (or should be)? An excellent question!  Some people define it to the original JKA lead by Master Nakakama.  I go even further back to Funakoshi and his roots. I want to find how the original karate was when he brought it to Japan.  During the years of propagation of karate in Japan, Funakoshi had to compromise many things.  For instance he had to de-emphasize the throwing and join locking techniques from bunkai as he did not want to compete against Judo and Jujitsu.  He also emphasized "gentleman's way" by tagging the art to "self defense".  I do not mind he changed the names of kata and adopted judo uniform, etc.  But I want to search for the original techniques that are more martial art and not the techniques that are modified for sports karate.   Why didn't you simply debunk the myths and create a new style with it? Some people may do that but that is exactly what I want to avoid.  Putting a different wrapping on the box will not make the thing inside the box different.  My last teacher was Asai sensei.  He introduced a lot of techniques from White Crane kung fu into his karate but he did not call it Asai karate.  He continuously called Shotokan karate.  He is my model and I teach his style of Shotokan karate.   By introducing white crane techniques, doesn't Asai sensei make his Shotokan teaching less authentic? You are correct that Asai sensei introduced some kung fu techniques.  I call it "extended" shotokan karate because it is still based on Shotokan karate.  Indeed it has some techniques and kata that are not found among the regular shotokan organizations like JKA.  So, we keep authentic shotokan as a core and we have some extended or additional techniques to supplement the areas where we think Shotokan lacks, namely close distance fighting.   Unless you are the creator of the kata, how can you be certain that the bunkai or meaning of the kata is the correct one, or the one that the creator meant to propagate? That is very true.  Most of the explanation to bunkai before 20th century was handed down from a master to the students verbally.  This is why there are many different interpretations and many were lost.  We assume Funakoshi sensei learned all the bunkai to the kata from the two sensei he had; Itosu and Azato.  In order for us to believe Funakoshi sensei's bunkai was correct, we have to assume the bunkai Itosu and Azato were correct.  There is no way we can prove those assumptions are correct. I know many parts of bunkai were lost through the handing down process over many generations.  Even though we will never know the true intentions of the creators, it is still our responsibility to research and investigate to find the "true" bunkai.  Doing a kata without knowing bunkai I call it karate dance.  Some of the instructors chose to drop off all kata practice from this fact.  However, I believe there is enough value left in practicing kata.  It would be a totally different topic to discuss on the value of kata.   Have you trained in Japanese Dojo? What were the differences in the understanding and beliefs about karate. I was a member of JKA dojo in Kobe between 1963 and 66, then 1970 and 1971, and 1981 till 1983.  The Japanese students are very serious and well disciplined.  They are also very diligent and never give up.  They do not cut corners and follow to a letter of what the instructors ask them to do.  On the other hand, I must say that I found most of them lack the sense of curiosity or mind of investigation.  They follow the orders but never dare to ask "why?" or "is this true?"  I do not think it is because they are incapable of doing so but they are discouraged to think that way.  I hate to say but it is mostly to protect the sensei so they will not be challenged.  One other thing I noticed recently in Japan (I travel to Japan very frequently) is that sports karate is becoming more popular and the martial arts karate is more difficult to find.   Being a Japanese instructor, are there concepts that you understand differently from your Western counter parts? Many Japanese truly believe that they have a unique culture that no westerners would understand completely.  When they speak among Japanese instructors in Japanese, I sometimes hear comments like: "They (the westerners) cannot know (comprehend)  this kind of thing because they are not Japanese". I think the gap of communication definitely is one of the causes of the myths and mysteries.   What benefits does Japanese speaking instructors have over non Japanese speakers? The advantage I have over the western instructors is that I can get the comments that are not made up or modified from my sensei as I am a Japanese student of his. Another advantage I have is the ability to read the martial arts books that are written in Japanese.  I have more than couple of hundred books that are not only on traditional karate but on wide range of other martial arts and most importantly on ki. .  I have not seen any good books on Ki that were either written in English or were translated from the Japanese originals. Unfortunately to the western practitioners, the level of martial arts (of all traditional karate styles) books in English is very low.  There are only a few books that are worthwhile as they were translated from the original Japanese books such as Hidden Karate.  I wished more good books were translated and that would narrow the gap of understanding martial arts and what are commonly believed by many of the western practitioners.   What are the difference in the conception of Ki between a Japanese teacher and a westerner one? This is a thousand dollars (pounds) question.  I can write a book on this.  I believe the difference is not in the conception between the westerners and the Japanese or Asian teachers.  It is the degree of understanding or the lack of by the western teachers.  I am not saying this to belittle the western teachers.  I know the western teachers are very intelligent and diligent in studying the subject.  But I think the subject of Ki goes beyond the power or martial arts.  It in fact enters into the realms of religion and spiritual concepts which I believe the westerners have problems accepting. kiKi (or Qi/Chi for Chinese martial arts practitioners) Your book, "Shotokan Myths" mentions that pre-JKA Shotokan karate katas most likely had no Ki ai or at least, involved no yelling. Could a Ki ai be done without the yelling? Yes this is exactly the point of the chapter in my book and the title of the chapter is "Silent Ki ai".  The higher level of Ki ai in martial arts is one without any sound.  As you know, Ki ai is made when a Kime (tension or focusing of muscles) is made such as at a delivery point of a punch. This is done by tensing your diaphragm and usually the diaphragm is pushed upward resulting in squeezing the lungs thus the gush of air goes up the throat and you will have a yelling. By controlling the vocal code you can let the air out without making a sound but creating a Kime.  In martial arts we must be able to make a Kime not only when we exhale but also when we inhale which is a difficult tast but can be and must be done.  Try to make a Ki ai as you tense your diaphragm as you quickly inhale.  It is diffcult to make a sound even if you tried.  What you did is a Kime without a Ki ai.  You can do the same thing as you quickly exhale.  Ki ai is not a wrong thing but it is unnecessary to make a kime.   Shihan Yokota has published numerous articles and books:

Der Shotokan Tiger

Shotokan Tiger 1 Der Shotokan Tiger Der sportliche Wettkampf, obgleich spektakulär und publikumswirksam, stellt nur eine kleine Facette des Karate dar, denn nicht der Wettkampf mit Erfolg und Niederlage steht im Vordergrund unserer Bemühungen, sondern das harte und beständige Training, die Auseinandersetzung mit den komplizierten und komplexen Bewegungsabläufen des Karate mit dem Ziel, Körper und Geist zu beherrschen und in Einklang miteinander zu bringen. Immer wieder stellen die großen, alten Karatelehrer, und nicht nur die japanischen, den hohen erzieherischen Wert unserer Kampfkunst in den Mittelpunkt, wenn sie Karate unbedingt als „Do“ unterrichtet wissen wollen. Der Begriff des „Do“ bedeutet soviel wie „Lebensweg“ oder „Weg zur Lebensgestaltung“ und beinhaltet den Weg hin zur Selbstperfektion. Dabei steht Karate in enger Beziehung zum Geist des Zen und ist beeinflusst vom Bushido, dem ritterlichen Ehrenkodex der Samurai. Ziel aller Kampfkünste der Samurai war es, den jeweiligen Gegner blitzschnell und möglichst in einer Aktion kampfunfähig zu machen (Ikken Hissatsu). Diese Absicht liegt auch heute noch dem Karate zugrunde. Zunächst einmal ist dies eine inhumane und destruktive Zielsetzung, welche unbedingt der Bindung an die sittliche Wertordnung einer reifen Persönlichkeit bedarf. Somit hat der Karateunterricht auch die große Aufgabe und Herausforderung, den Schüler zur Erkenntnis und Einsicht seiner Verantwortung zu erziehen und ihn zu lehren, die eigenen Emotionen stets unter Kontrolle zu halten. Stärke und Überlegenheit sollen sich in Selbstbewusstsein und Selbstvertrauen äußern. Um aber Überheblichkeit und Hochmut zu vermeiden, muss der Karateschüler Respekt, Höflichkeit, Bescheidenheit, ja Demut lernen: Als Zeichen seiner unbedingten Achtung gegenüber den Mitmenschen und als Beweis seiner Selbstbeherrschung. Das Tiger-Wappen, das uns allen bekannte Emblem des Shotokan-Karate, verdeutlicht sehr gut die Ziele und Absichten des Karate-Do. Dargestellt sehen wir einen Tiger, der sich in einem Kreis befindet. (Entwurf des japanischen Künstlers Hoan Kosugi, eines Freundes und Schülers von Funakoshi Gishin) Den beiden Bildelementen, dem Tiger und dem Kreis, kommt eine besondere Bedeutung zu. Der Tiger verkörpert dabei das Animalische, Wildheit, Mut, unbändige Kampfeslust, urwüchsige Kraft und absolute Entschlossenheit. Wer siegreich kämpfen will, muss lernen, wie ein Tiger zu kämpfen. Der Tiger aber ist nicht frei dargestellt, sondern in einem Kreis abgebildet und gebunden. Der Kreis wiederum steht stellvertretend als Zeichen der Vernunft und des menschlichen Geistes. Wer siegreich und ehrenvoll kämpfen will, der muss seine Emotionen kontrollieren und bedarf der Besonnenheit.  Der Kreis (Geist) umschließt und bändigt so den Tiger. Die Vernunft und der menschliche Geist herrschen über die animalischen Kräfte, beherrschen und kontrollieren sie, um sie sich notfalls nutzbar machen zu können. Deutlicher als am Beispiel jenes kleinen Emblems lassen sich Wesen und Ziele des Karate-Do m.E. kaum veranschaulichen. Erkennbar wird allerdings auch, wie sehr wahrer Karateunterricht gebunden bleibt an Geist und Atmosphäre des Dojo. Diese wiederum werden bestimmt und entscheidend geprägt vom Vorbild und Beispiel des unterrichtenden Karatelehrers. Bernd Hinschberger Karatelehrer

Tekki Keypoint 3

What I am doing here is not an instruction. Or the answering board to your questions. I am providing this space so that the readers can exchange the ideas. I only wish to provide you the basic concepts from which you need to build your understanding. We have already established that there are several levels of interpretation and applications. If the application works then basically that bunkai can be considered as "applicable" or "realistic". If it does not work then it means either the interpretation or application is incorrect or you do not know how to apply it. There are two fundamental concepts we must know about Tekki bunkai. #1: It teaches many short distance fighting techniques such as tsukami uke, kagi zuki, ashi uke or knee kicks (blocking with knee or leg) with nami gaeshi, unpi uchi, jodan nagashi uke, tate uraken uchi, hold breaks (first move of Nidan), throws (kagi zuki in Shodan, 2nd and 3rd moves of Nidan), gedan zuki, joint attacks and arm twisting waza, etc. #2: Fundamentally, your imaginary opponent is in front of you and not necessarily to your side. This does not mean that you are to fight using kiba dachi exposing your front (groin and mid section) to your opponent which is unwise and unrealistic. Look at Funakoshi photo in my earlier posting where he is doing morote ude uke to his right side but in a beautiful kiba dachi. Scroll the photo so that his lower body below the belt is hidden and see only his upper body above the belt. Doesn't it look like he would be in his right zenkutsu dachi? In bunkai you will do this technique in zenkutsu, but in Tekki kata you practice from kiba dachi (for the purposes I had described). My opinion is that this kata was not designed as a fighting method with your back against the wall or in a narrow corridor. It was designed to teach a fight method with the limited hip rotation that means short distance fighting. How clever those Okinawan masters were!! 531381_10200206103817902_1136166350_n

Little Karate Joke

A little Karate Joke:

  Helga's mom brought her to her first Karate competition. Noting that the organizers seemed a little shorthanded she approached the table. "Good morning," she said to the Director, "you look a little shorthanded. Anything I can do to help?" "Well it just so happens we're short a fighter for the under 90 kg division," the director replied. "Sorry," Helga's mom said, "I don't know a thing about Karate." "That's OK" said the director. "We need referees, too."