Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

September 1st, 2014

From Sensei Larry Link, Ueshiro Midtown Karate Dojo


We have all felt the power of standing on the deck of the dojo, under the watchful gaze of the Shinden. We define "Shinden" as "those who came before us", and we bow and pay our respects to this formidable group at the beginning and end of every class. The Shinden taught our teachers and, like an ever-flowing river, those teachers are now teaching us.

Several months ago, my teacher, Kyoshi Mackay, made a single statement in class that set me on a journey. He said, "Let the move do the work". He went on to explain and demonstrate the concept, using natural movements and stressing a centered, balanced approach. For example, do not over-rotate your punches or "reach out" with your shoulder. Instead, stay rooted, hit the target and follow through - "Let the move do the work". Arigato Gozaimasu Kyoshi!

In my research since, I've let the S-H-I-N-D-E-N teach me what this means:

S - STRIKE - Karate is a striking art. With very few exceptions, you should feel the power of a STRIKE in every move you make.

H - HARA - All movement starts from the HARA. In the beginning, you should exaggerate this concept by getting the tips of the belt to swing. Move with the belly, hit with the HARA.

I - EYES - Look forward. Do not look down. Be aware of your surroundings. Look up at the Shinden, and just as they are watching you now, always use your EYES.

N - NATURAL - Step naturally. Move naturally. Do not force the movement. Shorin-Ryu is a NATURAL style.

D - DEFEND or DEVASTATE - Karate is a defensive art. There is no first attack in Karate. Therefore, we should only use it to DEFEND ourselves. Once you have decided to use it, however, then we have only one other option, which is to DEVASTATE our opponent.

E - ENJOY! - Karate is a beautiful journey - an exploration of ourselves, pushing our limits and expanding body, mind and spirit - JOY & VIGOR! ENJOY!

N - NEVER GIVE UP! - We will experience ups and downs on this journey. We will face physical and emotional hurdles along the way. The black belt is simply a white belt who NEVER GAVE UP!

Next time you are on the deck, look up and let the SHINDEN teach you!

ARIGATO KYOSHI! ARIGATO HANSHI!

Your humble deshi,

Sensei Larry Link