Monday, 2 May 2022

拔塞小 (Bassai Sho), 観空小 (Kanku Sho) and 五十四歩小 (Gojushiho Sho).

Currently I am going through all of three of the standard Shotokan ‘SHO’  kata; namely, 拔塞小 (Bassai Sho), 観空小 (Kanku Sho) and 五十四歩小 (Gojushiho Sho). 

Thus far I’m still going through the first two, but will probably get to Gojushiho within the next few days of training. As everyone knows, I'm a `Gojushiho Dai guy', as Sho doesn't suit my body; nevertheless I wish it did, as it is an epic kata. 


Taken as whole, I’m taking extensive time practicing each action, and breaking them down into minute detail. In this way, say, Bassai Sho can be thought of as 27 ‘kata’, with three more kata within each of these; thus, containing 81 ‘miniature kata’. These three are: (a) the initial position; (b) the winding up/chambering; and (c) the execution/completion.


Indeed, one can break this down even further, however, doing so reduces  results as it often interferes when the kata is executed properly, with rhythmical flow between transitions, actions and positions. With that point in mind, it is indeed most imperative to mostly practice kata as a whole (more so, than broken down); furthermore, practicing individual waza and renzokuwaza during impact training, and in kumite flow drills with a training partner.


On a personal note, after 30 plus years of doing these kata I still find it exciting to continue learning from them. Much more inspiring, than this, is that I have seniors with 50 plus years who say the same thing. So I stand under the shadow of mountains.

In addition to these kata, I am still engaged in an intensive strength and power training regime; furthermore, maintaining my usual cardio work. These routines involve alternate days of lifting lots of plates around in the gym, and mountain/hill running.


To avoid damaging my technical training, my typical day involves “...doing karate first and concluding with strength or fitness work”. That being said, after going for my run I often conclude with some kihon and/or kata to review my indoor (dojo) training. The photo above was after my run today. I know of some people who can do things the other way around, I admire that, but I'm not one of them. My point here is that "...each individual must work out a training regime which optimizes their personal development".


All the very best from Oita,

押忍 André


© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2022).

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