Saturday, December 29, 2007

Principles of Shotokan.

Hmmm..... What is the principle of shotokan movement and fighting philosophy? Good question, if you ask me.... And you would think i would have a precise answer..... hihi... Well, i do not, but i will try to discuss this a bit to see where my train of thought leads me.

As a beginner we are all fed "the shotokan kihon" which is nice, crisp and to the point. Back straight, move from the center as a unit, end with a contraction of the antagonistic muscles to make everything snap to sharp finish. Done properly, i would say this looks very nice, indeed. (Heck, i spent a big chunk of my life getting this)

However, this seems to not be the most efficient way of making power. And to illustrate my point: Boxers punch harder than us while leaning in every direction and not applying what shotokan stylists love to call kime...... Hmmmm.... Even the great shotokan stylists dont use this "kime" or back straight while aiming for maximum power.... Then why are we doing it so religiously?

My answer is that its a way of gaining control over your body. We must first get total command of our body, so that we can let go and move with total freedom. Problem is that so few people progress beyond the kyugrade way of rigid "in the box" karate. After 5 years (or 15) the shotokan kihon way of moving should become second nature and at this time one should break free and develop ones karate to the maximum potential. At this point i think one should let go of all the rules and only worry bout efficiancy of movement, output power, speed and the likes.

In my opinion, the great karateka of the world have this in common: They have broken free of the rigidness after mastering it. Some names spring to mind as great examples: (In no particular order) Edda Bløndal, Andre Bålerud, Jose Dos Santos, Janne Linn Oftedal, Koike Yutaka, Steve Ubl, Paolo Bolaffio, Richard Amos, Geir Larsen, Andre Bertel. This list is for me very inspirational cause it represents many possible directions to take your karate after your mastery of the kihon is completed. (Its never completed, i hear someone think.....) Well, then we have a problem.... ;-)

I suggest understanding proper bodymovement should be the top priority as your karatejourney starts. When you have control of the body, though, dont quit. At this point you have developed the tools to make your karate work. Dont just prepare to do karate, get your shodan or nidan, and then pack it in. Its at that point "real karate" starts.

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