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Onegai-shimasu Hanshi, Kyoshi, and Deshi of Ueshiro Shorin-Ryu Karate,
There is no first strike in karate. Gichin Funakoshi
We are often reminded by Hanshi when performing kata to step in and take over our opponent’s space. This effective strategy not only takes over our opponent's area of operation but also reduces the number of counter options available to him/her. It is particularly effective when used in conjunction with blocking techniques, as it allows for full body engagement. For example, in the last two sequences of moves in Pinan Shodan, by stepping in close, the placement of the foot and knee when executing the zenkutzu-dachi can be used to disrupt our opponents foundation and knock them off balance, which when finished by a powerful down block can be a devastating combination. This then followed by a head block delivered close in and powered by the momentum generated from the legs in stepping upwards and inwards into the shizentai-dachi will be enough to stop any opponent dead in their tracks.
Similarly, delivery of the sequence of three head blocks in Pinan Nidan in close will transform these blocks into a formidable series of punches, scrapes, and strikes delivered to the opponent’s head and upper body, not to mention the damage that can be done from the opposing elbow strikes that are simultaneously delivered to the rear. All of this available to us without having to execute a single attack!
When performing kata, bunkai, and across the deck attack and defense sequences with a training partner over the next week, explore how getting in close and taking over your opponent’s space can transform your blocks into powerful punching, scraping, and striking techniques.
Karate is a defensive art from beginning to end. Gichin Funakoshi
Respectfully submitted by Lisa Markowitz
Yon-Dan and co-Shihan of Ueshiro Northern Virginia Shorin-Ryu Karate Club
July 18, 2016
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