Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Thought/Technique Archive

Technique of the Week (July 10th, 2006)

From Sensei Tamir Godan, co-Shihan

Cocoa YMCA Dojo, Florida

Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA


Thought of the Week on Kata Vectors

Our kata[s] are designed to deal with multiple opponents attacking us from different directions. The karateka responds by handling each opponent. We therefore move in certain directions or vectors, usually one per opponent. Each vector involves a series or combination of blocks and strikes in response to each of these attacking opponents. The karateka must knockout (disable) the attacker by the end of the vector. Then the karateka changes to another vector to deal with another opponent. It may also be possible that an opponent changes his attacking vector midstream, requiring the karateka to adjust his response vector. However, it is necessary for the karateka to finish his opponent on each vector as soon as possible with the most efficient combination of blocks and strikes (provided to us in kata), so that the next attacking opponent can be dealt with swiftly and disabled, and the next, and the next … until there are no more opponents attacking and the fight is over.

Remember that kata is not a game. It is a most serious battle for life and death. The purpose of kata is not sport. It’s not for scoring points. It’s for teaching and training the karateka to knockout and disable each attacking opponent. As you practice your kata, finish each vector within your kata with this determination in mind – knockout your opponent by the end of each vector. Visualize your kata in this manner to make it more meaningful as a training tool. To help understand this, try once in a while to count once per vector. In other words, for every count you switch opponents, which means you switch direction (vectors) and carry through the combination of blocks and attacks designed for that vector till the end of that vector. Then count again. So in Fukyugata-Itch we have 8 vectors, or essentially 8 attacking opponents. Try doing this kata with 8 corresponding counts. Note that some vectors are much shorter than others. They can be as short as one block followed by one knockout strike. Also note, that what may appear as a block at the end of a vector is actually a knockout blow. For example, note the apparent high block at the end of the 4th and 5th vectors of Fukyugata-Itch. These are actually meant as a combination high block and elbow smash rising from a low stance with full body force upwards to “knock-off” the opponent’s head. This also occurs at the end of the last two vectors in Pinan-Shodan.

Keep training with joy and vigor!

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu.

Sensei Tamir

Godan, co-Shihan

Cocoa YMCA Dojo, Florida

Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA