Saturday 21 March 2009


This week I’ve been revisiting junansei (softness) in my karate. As a student of the late master, Tetsuhiko Asai Sensei, I focus on ‘softness’ and ‘snap’ every day. However, my present focus is 100%. Therefore, no ‘particular’ kata or set of techniques are being trained. I’m just doing ‘everything’, with my complete attention on my junansei. As Asai Sensei propagated ‘Whether performing Heian-shodan kata or Rakuyo kata, chudan choku-zuki or kaeshi-ippon kumite, it is all the same… Natural energy.’

We never stop learning do we… And the learning of karate can only be a result of physical training itself. One of the, dare I say, ‘hardest’ points of karate, is ‘physically learning’ to relax. ‘Masterful relaxation’ means to control the body perfectly, via eradicating unnecessary muscle power. Therefore the result of proper junansei training is “economy of motion to achieve maximum effect with any karate technique”. Here is a link to a past article I wrote on this topic:

Sensei’s rendition of Nijushiho (I’m sure you’ve seen this many times) is an unparalleled example of junansei. Click here:

To conclude, I’d like to say that seeing Asai Sensei perform this kata, standing next to him, was astounding. He totally ‘lived the kata’ and only thing you could do is stand there in total awe! Such wonderful memories have helped me to prioritize junansei.
© André Bertel, Japan 2009

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