Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

March 12th , 2017

This week's thought is from Sensei Dawood Emmenuel with
input from Sensei Rob Neff.
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA

Onegai shimasu, Hanshi, Kyoshi, Sensei and Deshi of Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu.

Weaponizing Kara-te

Our limbs are effective tools which may also be weaponized. The
ability to transform parts of our body into various positions arms
the Karate-ka with a multitude of options. The efficacy of how we
utilize these weapons crucially depends upon how conscious we are of
our hands, and the degree to which we clench them. Regardless of the
stance, the fist must remain clenched so as to avoid the presence of
empty air, which renders the fist lifeless for its intended effect. A
clenched fist mimics the solidity of a rock as it dissipates another
object upon impact, as opposed to dissipating itself if it was filled
with air. For our techniques to penetrate at least six inches into a
target, the fist must be clenched and tight.

In addition to being essential for effective technique, a tight fist
also serves to prevent injuries such as broken bones and dislocation.
Tight hands alert the whole nervous system to be prepared for both
offensive and defensive applications. Such tension prepares the body
to withstand impact from the attacker. For proper transfer of
maximum potential energy, the wrist much be straight at all times. A
wrist bent in any way compromises the flow of energy and will likely
cause a countertransference of energy resulting in injury. Without a
straight wrist our knuckles lose their backing and support.

There are certain exercises which reinforce straight/tight wrists
such as pushups, hitting Makiwara, and training with Chishis. While
performing Kata, one of the easiest things to forget is keeping the
hands and wrists tight. But diligent training allows the body to
create muscle memory whereby the hands and wrists have a naturally
heightened response, and are always imbued with purpose. This is of
course difficult since most of our training entails imaginary
targets. But heightened awareness makes it even more effective when
put in situations where force is required. Perhaps what is most
essential is maintaining as much “physical awareness” as mental
awareness when not executing a technique, e.g., while warming up,
walking during the day, or sitting at your desk. Such physical
readiness will make our responses – and especially our ability to
respond – more fluid and natural, whether entering the dojo to
practice kata or leaving the dojo to resume our day-to-day life.

Arigato gozaimasu,

Sensei Dawood Emmenuel
Ueshiro Midtown Karate Dojo