Mississippi Isshinryu Karate
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Keep It Simple Stupid


As posted on Isshinkai Message List

Shimabuku said to learn all of the kata but master one and keep a few other techniques for fighting. Not the same as many think and the one thing I have been harping on. In a actual life and death situation, only the simplest tried and true techniques you are very familiar and have fine tuned will have any success in working.

The dojo is the laboratory where we can experiment and create different dojo bunkai. We can create  a unlimited amount of techniques in a environment that is suited for the dojo or seminars, but for combat and in all reality, less is better. Dream, create and practice other bunkai but have a core foundation of kihon that you are comfortable with,

Motobu is a prime example practicing mainly naihanchi shodan kata. Shimabuku always emphasized that it is not the number of kata but how well we knew a kata. We should all teach and learn all the kata and if one is trying to be an instructor it is mandatory you learn them all.

It is a well know fact that Chinto and Kusanku were Kyan’s favorite kata. Both these kata are suited for a small person who can use the double flying kicks and open hand techniques which requires speed and flexibility. Shimabuku always talked about Kyan practicing Chinto kata on a bridge near his home.

As already stated each kata emphasizes different techniques better suited to different people. Each kata has its advantages. Remember what Nolan Webb said when he earlier this year visited with Tokumura on Okinawa. he said Tokumura said Seiunchin kata had everything in it for self defense. In other words, this is probably Tokumura’s main fighting kata. He has probably geared himself along with a few other basic techniques to use the various techniques found in seiunchin kata along with its strategy and tactics.

It is interesting that my Hindiandi instructor mainly taught me one kata with only a few techniques yet it is a formidable kata that is easy to use in a combat situation. Something like naihanchi and the way Motobu used the short kata.

If we look at the past history of kata, you will find that a kata was a fighting system or style in itself and was most likely created using techniques that its creator used successfully in actual encounters. Latter the different masters started training with different teachers and learned other kata.

Today there are styles that have 50 or more kata yet if we look at Uechi-ryu originally they had only three kata. Today most would be bored practicing only kihon and one or two kata but in the past, this was norm. People who understand will not practice 100 different techniques if they know they will really have to use it soon. They will practice only the techniques that they are comfortable with that are suited for there body type.

Since most of us will never have to use our skills if we follow our training to avoid conflict, it is good to learn and practice all our empty hand and kobudo kata. Variety is good and keeps us from getting bored. Looking for hidden techniques is good but in all reality, nothing is better then block him and clock him, for it is the tried and true method passed down under the majority of Okinawan martial arts and they call it karate. As Shimabuku stated, Teach all kata but the most important is master one kata, along with a few other techniques.

Because a dragon hides in the clouds, we must remember, If every cloud had a hidden dragon, all they would do is get in the way. So sometimes seeing only the blue sky is good. Translation, KISS.

*****Keep It Simple Stupid*****


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