|Kihon training: the beginning and end of Karate-Do.|
|Hidari chudan gyaku-zuki.|
Let’s take a trip back to the time `before kihon’, where it is alleged that training was exclusively kata. Suddenly Funakoshi Gichin Sensei introduced kihon, simple kata (namely, then three Taikyoku and Ten no kata), and very simple yakusoku-kumite (prearranged sparring). He even reduced the number of kata down to 15 (in addition to the aforementioned four that he, and/or his son developed). While it is regularly argued that Funakoshi Sensei was making karate into a `less dangerous’ martial art (from what he learned in Okinawa), I do not believe that this provides a full picture. Certainly, on some levels, this idea has some truth in it; however, I think you will agree that ‘nothing in life is black and white’. Accordingly, I believe that he: (a) improved karate for his `introduction’ of it on mainland Japan; (b) made karate more accessible for a wider spectrum of society—karate as a ‘do’ form; and (c) also made karate ‘more combat effective’ based on traditional concepts… This `killing of three birds with one stone’ was achieved via his introduction of (and extreme emphasis on) kihon training.
My rationale for believing this does not need to be explained, insofar as making karate `more accessible to everyone’ and `putting safety catches’ on techniques (this is all very well documented online and, of course, in numerous publications); that being said, his increasing of karate’s combat effectiveness obviously does.