Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Hangeki-waza: The subconsciously grooved control of maai

Unambiguously, one of the key points of hangeki-waza (counterattacking techniques) is to subconsciously groove optimal maai (distancing) for oneself. While this is often given much lip service, it is not so easy against high speed and correctly applied/dangerous attacks: if you don't train in an extremely serious manner. One may feel safe within the confines of their own dojo, but when outside of their comfort zone this can often fall apart. Recently we had some black belts from a group called GKR attend Abe Sensei's seminars. However, none of them could even do the most basic karate technique correctly. Needless to say, even in light jiyu-kumite they could not stop anything I fired at them nor could they even touch me, and both ended up on the ground with an ashi-barai & finished. As nice as they were, their karate is not real, their black belts are worth nothing and against a serious attacker--what they do & what they teach--is useless. In Japan they would be a laughing stock. I really felt sorry for them, but more than that--their students--who are obviously learning fake karate. A fake style and a lame one for that matter.

Real karate trains specifically for goshin-jutsu (self-defence) at all times. The waza is always seeking ICHIGEKI-HISSATSU.

Here in these photos Matt Brew Sensei (3rd Dan) and I are demonstrating some kihon-ippon kumite techniques. Take note of the targeting and trajectory to cause optimum effect; in particular, Matt Sensei's superb shuto yokomawashi uchi. "Ichigeki-hissatsu in practice".

Real karate always practices the correct target, optimum angle of impact & trajectory of the attack, type of impact, maximum reactive speed and the gymnastic ability to deliver highly destructive waza. In an authentic dojo if you don't block correctly you'll get hurt, and your hangeki-waza simply won't happen... Training must be effective beyond the confines of the dojo. More than anything, if you are serious about karate - SEEK REAL KARATE! Here in Christchurch we are very lucky to have Hanshi Renzie Hanham (8th Dan Seido) and in Auckland we have Dennis May Shihan (8th Dan Goju Ryu)--you can't go beyond what these authentic karate-do masters have to offer. My point is, real karate is here in New Zealand and readily available, it is simply a matter of seeking the true "way".

Back to the original point of `hangeki', there is a hidden understanding from the past that can only be mastered by correct training; otherwise, ones hangeki will ineffective in a real altercation. This is concerned with the correct position of impact in relation to snap and body weight transfer. Overall, this must be physically understood and grooved into the subconscious via daily training. A superb example of this is Masahiko Tanaka Sensei's chudan kizami-geri, which if not controlled was said to be `hospitalising'. Whilst we should always be controlled in karate, our hangeki must always be pure martial arts; that is, if not controlled it will finish the person we are countering. This is karate-do, the "martial art", and this is hangeki.

Osu, Andre

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).