Saturday, 15 February 2014

The projection of energy: tachikata and unsoku

Sokumen jodan uchi-uke doji ni sokumen gedan-barai.
Something I rediscovered recently, but on a more in-depth level, was `directing power’ when moving in the various tachikata (stances); that is, how the weight is projected in techniques.

In particular, this relates to the width and length of stances in direct relation to techniques: for example, movements 38-41 of Jion. In all four of these movements if the zenkutsu-dachi (front stance) is even slightly too wide one’s energy will partially go to the side (as opposed to being fully projected forward). This is easier to feel, and correct, in the two jun-zuki but can subtly go under the radar, and is more challenging, when turning with the two uchi-uke. Quite simply, this is because the “sideward energy” applied in the uchi-uke (going from inside-outward); furthermore, the use of hanmi (the half-facing position) and zenmi/shomen (the front-on/squared position) respectively.

While all of this is plain, and very easy to understand in text, it requires diligent practice. Why? Because one must physically/subconsciously understand, and maximise, how their stances and movements optimise the various techniques of karate-do (especially in correlation with unsoku/leg movements). This starts from the straight line (choku-zuki, mae-geri etc) and runs a full course to the full-circle (kaiten-waza/ tenshin); subsequently, the added impetus/possibilities/combinations of raising and lowering the body are added to the equation.
Taken as a whole, as Nakayama Shuseki-Shihan stated, karate-do masters all of the possible bodily movements for potential offense and defence. Subsequently, effective application of technique can easily come from this baseline approach in training. Last but not least, knowing is not enough in Karate-Do. Only by having “…the ability to express knowledge within one’s physical technique” is knowledge useful for the karateka. Osu, André.

A snow covered view of Aso-San from my apartment. The volcanic steam, rising out of the crater, is hidden by clouds.
© André Bertel. Aso-shi, Kumamoto-ken, Japan (2014).

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