Monday 20 March 2023


In this brief article I will explain 矢勢(やいき) ‘Yaiki’, which is a term from 弓道(Kyudo: Traditional Japanese Archery), and is also an important concept in Budo/Bujutsu Karate: irrespective of Ryuha/Kaiha, Shotokan or otherwise.

Yaiki is ‘the movement of arrow's’.


Even when an arrow hits a target truly high level karateka can immediately ascertain the manner of how it hits ‘is either good or bad’. One may believe or conclude that ‘as long as the arrow hits the target, the movement is not so important’. However, if the arrow has insufficient ‘yaiki’, whilst it hits the target, it cannot puncture the board or, in the case of old school battle, puncture the opponents armor.


It should be obvious now how yaiki applies to the various waza of karate. A top level budo karateka’s waza is clearly dangerous (seen in its speed, power, control and autonomous adaptability). Karate with technical immaturity can have good form and speed, but lacks a devastating capacity and also the ability ‘to adapt and remain just as effective’ in a live scenario. Nowadays, many senior graded black belts fail to discern this, which is sad.


These karateka may fool the majority when demonstrating and/or they might wins points in competition, but they have bad yaiki, as they have not trained their waza correctly nor thoroughly enough with constant seeking of  一撃必殺 (Ichigeki-Hissatsu); that is, to finish with a single blow.


I’ve seen several Shotokan instructors on YouTube who many people think are good, even though they have very low Yaiki. Their karate is ‘performance karate’, laced with lots of well spoken talk. However, if they have to use their karate in a really violent situation, their ‘karate’ will fail them. They are 'karate salesmen and theorists', weak and easily crushed in a real fight. 


Yet, why do so many high graded karateka now cannot discern this UTTERLY CRITICAL POINT? WAKE UP!


For many years I’ve taught this, but still people are still confused. The Shotokan we have is effective in free fighting AGAINST ANYTHING.


Please always reference 矢勢(やいき)‘Yaiki’. If you do, you’ll understand the old school Japanese perspective of true karate—irrespective of the fakery—and, in this way, you be guided to seek true training and instructors. Like my masters, Asai Sensei, Nakamura Sensei, Osaka Sensei et al.


押忍!    アンドレ

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2023).

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