Sunday 9 April 2023

Some generic notes on Shotokan-Ryu

1.  (KIME)

The technical highest point of Budo and Bujutsu Karate is the ability to generate  (Kime): even under most extreme pressure. This “… this ‘true kime’ transcends the mere physique performance and theoretical understanding of karate; moreover, can only be acquired and exist from endless correct and intense practice”. This is the essence of ‘the trinity of karate’: 基本 (Kihon),   (Kata) and 組手 (Kumite).


2. Some important points, in brief, pertaining to 松濤館流の技 (the Waza/Techniques of Shotokan-Ryu)

a. 追い突きと逆突き

追い突き(Oizuki—chasing thrust) and 逆突き (Gyakuzuki—reverse thrust) are the two main tsukiwaza of Shotokan. Oizuki also commonly referred to as 順突き(Jun-zuki) is executed by the hips and upper body moving straight towards the target whilst making a step. The tsuki hand and the foot that is forward are on the same side; furthermore, 逆回転 (gyaku-kaiten) of the hips is applied. In contrast, gyaku-zuki is applied utilizing 順回転 (Jun-kaiten); that is, where the hips and upper body rotate towards the target; also, the hand delivering the thrust is on the same side as the rear leg.

b. 突き技と打ち技

Generally speaking 突き(Tsuki) and 打ち(Uchi)  are determined in relation to the direction of force being applied pertaining to the forearm. In the case of tsuki, the forearm being extended. For uchi, being applied at a right angle. There are exceptions to these points, but for the most part in Shotokan, this is the case and characteristic of it as a ryuha.


c. 猿臂

猿臂 (Enpi) denotes any waza impacting with an elbow in classical Shotokan-Ryu. The direction or action of the elbow is described with words preceding enpi. Furthermore, there are two groups of enpi, one belonging to tsuki and one to uchi. Enpi belonging to tsuki include: 横猿臂 (Yoko-enpi), 後ろ猿臂 (Ushiro-enpi) and 落とし猿臂 (Otoshi-enpi). Enpi belonging to uchi include: 縦猿臂 (Tate-enpi), 前猿臂 (Mae-enpi), 回し猿臂 (Mawashi-enpi), 振り猿臂  (Furi-enpi) and so on.


d.  足技

蹴上げ (Keage—rising kicks) and 蹴込み (Kekomi—thrust kicks) like uchi and tsuki are determined how the force of the lower leg is applied “…in relation to both force and direction/trajectory”. In kekomi, like tsuki, the lower leg is extended by it preceding the knee. In regards to keage, like uchi, the action is at a right angle. To achieve this, and in clear contrast with kekomi, the knee precedes the whipping action of the lower leg. In addition to these waza there are also 踏み込み (Fumikomi—stamps) which are the most common ashiwaza in the 26 standard Shotokan kata; furthermore, 振り蹴り(Furigeri—swinging). Various forms of 膝蹴り(Hizageri—knee kicks) and 足払い (Ashibarai—leg sweeps) can be performed in all of the aforementioned technical categorizations which I’ve outlined.

e. 内受けと外受け

内受け (Uchiuke—inside receptions) and 外受け (Sotouke—outside receptions) need to be clarified as different karate ryuha and kaiha define them differently. In Shotokan we follow Funakoshi Gichin Sensei’s labeling. Accordingly for us, uchi-uke represents the outer aspect of the forearm with its trajectory coming from the inside to the outside of the body; that is, ‘inside-outward’. In the case of soto-uke, it represents the inner aspect of the forearm and travels from outside in; thus, being an ‘outside-inward’ action.


f. 上段と中段そして下段

上段 (Jodan—the ‘upper level’), 中段  (Chudan—the ‘middle level’), and下段  (Gedan—the ‘middle level’) must be clearly defined ‘target areas’ as they are often not fully understood outside here in Japan. Jodan is every target on the neck, face and head in general. The reference point in basic training is the jinchu. Chudan is every target on the torso. The reference point in basic training is the suigetsu, otherwise referred to as the mizo-ochi. Gedan is every target “from the lower abdomen downwards”. The reference point in basic training is the myojo, also called heso-no-shita.


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

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