Thursday 6 June 2024

The 'core kihon' is at the heart of karate excellence

Migi tobi yoko-geri (Mt, Cook, New Zealand), circa 2004.

One thing I've quickly learned, from when I first came here to Japan in 1993, is that "to do a high jumping technique and other such impressionable actions" is VERY EASY compared to the core fundamentals; that is, techniques like oi-zuki, age-uke, mae-geri, etcetera...

While techniques like the tobi yoko-geri above have their place in certain (but rare) applications, and certainly for physical practice (for younger practitioners), if taught to a competent gymnast, they would be mastered (form-wise) quickly, easily and spectacularly. 

However, teach the same gymnast, say an oi-zuki, and they will need as much training as anyone else to perfect it. I have personally witnessed this first-hand a few times (and let's not get into the aspects of making such a waza functional through kumite and impact training).

So, if you can't do such movements like high kicks, and so forth... Just remember, they are not very important for technical excellence nor for oyo (application), which run hand-in-hand (in Budo/Bujutsu Shotokan Karate).

In sum, the depth of the core KIHON has no short cuts, and separates the beginners, the intermediate, the advanced and the elite practitioners of karate. Understanding this highlights that Karate-Do is LIFETIME budo: as the most important waza are the most seemingly simple and don't require athleticism.

Again, techniques such as the jumps in the various kata, and other gymnastic waza certainly have their place. But their importance is less than the base tachikata, unsoku and kihon-waza. Yes! The 'core kihon' is at the heart of karate excellence. OSU! - AB

Hidari shuto sokumen jodan uchimawashi uchi (Meikyo Nidan Kata).

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2024).

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