Kyoshi's Technique of the Week

Thought/Technique Archive

Technique of the Week (October 29th, 2007)

From Kyoshi David Baker, Chief Operating Officer
Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate USA


A technique correction without Hanshi’s prior instruction or approval is an unauthorized change.

“To ask may be a moment’s shame, but to remain in ignorant silence is a lifelong shame.”
- Oriental proverb, from dustcover of “The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do,” 1976 hardcover edition.

If you have a question about a technique, check with a higher-ranking student, rather than guessing. Otherwise, you’re risking making a change that will be nearly impossible to hunt down and fix once other deshi pass it on to others. Your Shihan can answer most of your questions and if he is not sure, he can call Hanshi.

Some of the most pernicious mistakes in my technique are ones that were told to me early on by an instructor who had learned his technique in another style. And once it becomes habit, it is very difficult to correct.

When I have a technique question, I’ll call Hanshi to make sure.

My strategy is to first remember Hanshi or Master Ueshiro’s specific instructions about a given technique or, if in an advanced class, I’ll ask if anyone remembers hearing Hanshi address it. If we can’t remember specifically, I then look at the Kata Reference Guide dvd. If that doesn’t answer my question, I look at Master Nagamine’s book. (Knowing that there are a handful of specific technique distinctions between Master Nagamine’s book and our system.) Finally, if I can’t satisfy my question with these sources, I’ll call Hanshi with my query.

Often, during Black Belt classes I encouraged questions about technique and we sometimes would look at the Kata Reference Guide dvd that was set up on the deck, to view it together. Or, if the dvd and Nagamine’s book didn’t answer the question, I would call Hanshi during the class and he would clarify it over the phone. That way all the Black Belts in the dojo would receive the correction at the same time, to pass it on in the classes they conduct.

But I found over the years that it is better to ask than to guess.

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