Sunday 14 June 2009

Sashimi & Kihon

I enjoy eating sashimi (raw fish), a delicacy here in Japan. To me, the beauty of munching on sashimi is that you can really taste the fish. It's as if you are the actual predator eating it... Consuming something without any distractions (such as the addition of sauces, spices etc) gives one the 'real taste' of the food in its base form. Likewise, by eating fish raw, we can fully reveal the texture of it, in its original state.

In order to maximise our kihon training, we must recognise, and practice the techniques, in their most basic/raw form. Only by practicing techniques in this way, in their rawness, like eating sashimi, can we fully understand them. The more we 'add to them', the more easy it becomes to be distracted, from what really matters (the technical depth - the definition required for practical application which is optimal). Therefore, a single technique such as an oi-zuki, jodan age-uke, or mae-geri, is far more valuable, than any elaborate combination technique, or fancy maneuver.

In my opinion, the best way to establish a person’s level is by their execution of the most basic techniques individually. Because these waza in isolation cannot lie. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people do an athletic Unsu, which may seem impressive to a untrained person, or poorly trained karateka, yet cannot do a proper Heian-shodan! Put in a slightly different way, “Simple things’ are more difficult, as they show everything. They reveal deeper layers of skill”…

Advice for renzokuwaza: I'm not by any means implying that renzokuwaza (combination techniques), are not important, but more so stressing that they're only as good, as each individual technique featured within them. It is therefore crucial, throughout one’s karate career, to continue practicing the most ‘basic’ fundamental techniques, in their rawest form. Just keep in mind, that when practicing renzokuwaza and kata, we must ensure that each technique is full, not blurred, deteriorated, and thus cheating ourselves. We must still be able to distinctly taste the raw fish, even when the rice, wasabi and soy sauce are added.

Time for me to down some sashimi then practice some kihon… All the best from sunny Kyushu.

© André Bertel, Japan (2009).

No comments: