Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

September 8th, 2014

From Kyoshi David Baker, Chief Administrator,
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA
founded by Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro
under the direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione

General Principles of Shorin-Ryu


Here are some general principles of Shorin-Ryu, related to each other, and compiled here because either they have been addressed before (and linked below) or because they are reasonably self-evident and therefore need little elaboration.

· The striking surface is aimed at the target throughout the technique


· The smaller the striking surface, the greater the force per square inch
through the target (e.g., ice pick vs. snowshoe)

We have numerous techniques that use a reduced striking surface. The advantage is that, reducing the striking surface—if still able to withstand the impact of a full-force technique—multiplies force. This is because force is calculated by pressure per area (e.g., pounds per square inch); therefore the smaller the striking surface (area)—while maintaining the same force—the greater the force per square inch.

Examples are our, 1) Tsumasaki-geri (toe-tip kick), 2) Nakatakaken (mid-finger extended knuckle fist—also called a “one-knuckle punch”), 3) the prism-shaped blade of our ulna’s outside (lateral) surface in Yoko hiji-ate (horizontal, side elbow strike), 4) Nukite-zuki (spear-hand thrust), 5) Shuto-uchi knife-hand strike using the fifth metacarpal of the hand (found in kata F2, P4, and others), 6) ridge hand using the second metacarpal and tucked-under thumb, and 7) the Shi-zuki upward “beak thrust” strike of Gojushiho; among others.

In each example, the force per square inch is greater than that applied by its corresponding, full-surface technique. (Examples of which are, 1) ball-of-the-foot kick, 2) regular-fist punch, and 3) top-of-the-forearm hiji-ate, etc.)


· All force should be directed through the target or down into our foundation

Any force directed elsewhere is wasted energy. “Head bobbing” while kicking, rearward hip motion while in Neko-ashi-dachi, making “blow-dart” noises with one’s mouth, or striking one’s chest with the returning fist into the pocket, etc. are all examples of self-deceptive motions and sounds that make one think we are striking with more force than we actually are.

We train to generate a lot of force in our techniques. Make sure it goes through the target, or enhances your foundation.


· Techniques accelerate through the target



Corollaries of Newton’s Second Law of Motion:
[Force=mass x acceleration (in its simplified form)], related to Shorin-Ryu:

· Adding acceleration to a technique multiplies force
The speed of one’s techniques, as well as the ability to accelerate within each technique, increases over the years; from intensive training and the application of corrections given by instructors.


· Adding mass to a technique multiplies force
The closer to 100% of one’s body weight applied to a given technique, the greater the force. Again, this is learned through years of proper training, while guided by one’s instructor.


· Releasing gravity’s potential energy into a technique multiplies force from
both acceleration and mass
Dropping your body weight from gravity—as opposed to a controlled lowering of your body by relaxing your quadriceps—as you execute an upper body technique that is “oil drop” horizontal or downward; or in a downward kick, sweep, or Nihanchi strike; automatically applies additional body mass to the technique, while accelerating all applied mass at 32-feet/second2.


Again, these are principles handed down to us from the Shinden, through Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro.

Domo arigato gozaimasu,
Kyoshi David Baker,
Chief Administrator,
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA
founded by Grand Master Ansei Ueshiro
under the direction of Hanshi Robert Scaglione