Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

October 16th, 2017

This weeks technique is submitted by Sensei Dale Adamson, San-Dan
Ueshiro Viera Dojo Viera, FL

“Karate ni sente nashi”

Onegai-shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, and Deshi:
 
In August, we had a very inspiring and educational belt testing at the Florida dojos.  I was honored to be one of the judges.
 
I want to start my observations with a simple explanation.  Many professions have precepts or axioms that lay their foundation.  In one of the branches of the armed forces, from day one, recruits are taught "Leave no man behind."
 
In healthcare, on the first day of medical school, the student is told by his or her dean or professor “Primum, no nocere,” which in Latin means “First, do no harm.”  
 
The recruits and students are not told these maxims every day, but they are shown this in the training and education.  So, by the end of their journey, this philosophy is second nature to them. 
 
In karate, the Shinden, have left us with the following thought: “Karate ni sente nashi” or “There is no first attack in karate.”  Again, we are not reminded of this during every class, but in the way we are instructed.  Master Nagamine discusses this in his book, The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do, and there is a reference to this in Hanshi’s red book, Shorin-Ryu Okinawan Karate Question and Answer Book.  Even Gichin Funokoshi referenced this in the karate creed: “…should I be forced to defend myself, my honor or principles…”
 
So, at the most recent testing, I asked the students the following: “In your opinion, is the first move of every kata an offensive or a defensive move?”  Most of the students answered, “It is an offensive move.”
 
Here is my observation after more than 25 years of study, of the 19 Kata in the Shorin-Ryu system.  I know only 16, but each begins with a defensive move.  For example, Fukyugata-ichi (F1) - Zenkutsu-dachi, Gedan-uke - forward leaning, low stance and down block; F2 Shizentai-dachi, Jodan-uke - natural walking stance, head block; F3 Zenkutsu-dachi, Gedan-uke, followed by Chudan-zuki - down block, then punch.
 
Our Shinden were very thoughtful in how they taught karate with this intention - “There is no first attack in karate” – by composing the first move of every Kata as a defensive move.
 
Arigato,
Dale Adamson, San-Dan
Ueshiro Viera Dojo
Viera, FL